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Upon finding n buying my old Cougar, I noticed immediately a fact I had ignored for 25 years... and all of you guys knew all along.... a 94 4.6 Cougar is a great 3400 pound factory v8 hot rod..
its got the torque, the horsepower, the solid transmission, heavy duty indi rear end four discs, rack n pinion and a nice interior comfy coupe.. arguably its a
much better platform than the Mustang and weights are about the same.

BUT it lacks the gear ratio.. i mean its 2500rpm at 90mph but still burned the rotting large diameter 215 70 15 michelin tires (as i mentioned i saved mine from an elderly persons yard).. so.. part of my hot rod hack is going fast without spending cash.. i mean any of us can throw 5 grand at a car and make it go fast.. but performance without $ takes brains n resourcefulness.. ;}

picked up a free set of decent 185 65 15 which I scoffed at... but.. thought about it.. why not try them and achieve an effectual 12% gear reduction and see how it drives!!
WOW!! a free smaller tire 12% gear reduction really puts the torque in the sweet spot for every day driving..
it corners better. it drifts in control, it burns out on demand.. and yes NOW my tach at 2500 im going about 81.5 instead of 90. but at a true 90 im registering about 100 and still well below 3000 rpm.
I am not a track burner so I do not have before and after 1/4 mile times... and dont like to really push an old car THAT hard but i might suggest when you see those tires on the side of the road being thrown away, there might be a nice set to fit your old cougar to you great look at how shes going to perform before making that Diff investment..

moral of the story... test the smaller tire method of effective differential ratio changes... then you know exactly what to expect..
 

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Well, that's one way to do it I suppose ....

Now, do it right and get the gears swapped. It probably looks ridiculous on those smaller tires.
 
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Those tires are likely not rated for the weight of our car; and if they're over 5 years old, are prone to breakage under heavy driving.

Our weight of car required 98 load index tires, 1600 pounds/tire.
Lower ratings wear really fast.

I ran 205/55 15's for about 6 months; they also make the speedo way off, and kick in the speed limiter about 85 mph. :)

Get a 3.55 or 3.73 differential gear, and it will feel the same with good tires, and you can get a speedo gear to fit.
 

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These cars are not fast stock. I did run a 15.78 and a 15.67 in my 95 and 97 T-Birds respectively, both stock.

They also are not 3400 lbs, lol! A little more like 3800.

Got to spend money to go fast. No way around it. Even a gear swap + Trak-loc is $700-900, depending on whether you do the differential work or a mechanic does (the latter recommended).

Correction: you could do a bunch of weight reduction to make the car quicker, but you would remove all the creature comforts that the T-Bird is known for.

Al
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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1994 is the least solid 4R70w transmission made, even the casing is considered poor for a performance build!

Burning out on demand and drifting isn’t good handling, it’s poor traction, which a low profile 185 tires contact patch will be on a 3700-3800lb chassis heaving over them. You’re seeing less body roll and perceiving it as good handling because the tires are losing grip through a corner before the weight can fully transfer. And I notice you didn’t mention braking in the positives. Tires are the number one most important component in a braking system, it doesn’t matter how big the rotors are, or how many pistons a caliper has if there is subpar grip with the road surface. If you don’t mind the skateboard wheel aesthetics and like the poor grip side effects in handling I’d just say “hey, it’s your car”, but if you end up rear ending someone because you had inadequate tires, well... I hope it’s not me.


My 1994 Cougar is built on brains and resourcefulness, almost everything is pieced together with used parts, junkyard parts, blems and take-offs that I sometimes had to go to great lengths figure out and how to make work. Truthfully it all probably tallies up near $5000 (I purposely never keep track) and it’s still not that fast, compared to people who have spent real bucks modifying these and not to mention most current muscle cars.
 

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its got the torque, the horsepower, the solid transmission, heavy duty indi rear end four discs, rack n pinion and a nice interior comfy coupe.. arguably its a
much better platform than the Mustang and weights are about the same.
You are definitely enthusiastic about your Cougar! What you said is mostly why I wanted a Cougar over a Mustang. Mine is the first RWD V8 car I bought. I was considering SN95's as well, but they are just not that interesting to me. I have always been attracted to unique cars.

Not a huge fan of the tall diff gears myself I really like a low RPM for the highway. The 3:27 in mine has always been fine. With the extra gear now even more so :)

I agree with what Matt said on the subject of your tire choices. They are the only thing touching the road; be carefull!

Edit: opps
 
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