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Discussion Starter #1
The 3.8, though usually considered a hinderance, is really a beneficial engine to start out with. Why? Well, let me explain.

The 3.8 is the lightest engine, as far as I know, oftered in the MN-12. Not enough of a diffrence to affect the power to weight issue, but enough to keep the front just a bit lighter than the S/C or 5.0/4.6. This means better handling. And because of the lack of power, the driver is forced to compensate in a road course type run, with improved technique in the corner. Where the driver of the more powerful versions may be able to compensate for a slightly more lacking technique with brute force, the 3.8 driver doesn't have that luxury. So, after a time of driving with the underpowered 3.8, when the switch is made to a S/C or V-8, after a time familiarising themselves with the diferent handling propreties caused by the extra nose weight, they'll be a better, quicker driver than someone who started out right with a more powerful version

I typed this in class. This is what I do when I get bored. Perhaps I should concentrate on school more?
 

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It is nice
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Iv'e owned both; having my 3.8 cougar for nearly 7 years I can say it does handle turns better then the 4.6 and can take corners easier. The only disadvantage is there is no power to get out of the turns half way in so you kinda just plow through them if there isn't enough time for the engine to build power, and the 3.8 does take some time (hesitation) lol.
 

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And there lies the necessity of manual shifting of the AOD, which I hope isn't hard on it. Through trial and error I think I've figured out controling the...ultra quick shifting AOD.






That, or I'm ending it's life sooner
 

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it's called manu-shifting... lock the car in 1 for low speed turns, 2 for higher speed turns. It will respond to it and keep the car more stable.
Learning proper shift technique to maintain a nice line and keep it real smooth-like is positively crucial in maintaining a good line with an automatic, and massaging the throttle so that the tranny will behave how you want it to is a lot more challenging than it is with a stickshift, that, and you're short a gear...

anyhow, doing it that way, you can maximize the outright minimal power output of the 3.8L.

Honestly, I think the best way to learn superior technique is to start with a ****tier car, but I disagree with the automatic bit.
Yes, the 3.8L will be the most difficult platform to work with because the brakes aren't as good, the car is underpowered, and has all of ZERO go-power (reminds me of that stupid taurus I had), but... yes, it forces the driver to either compensate, or crash.

Coming from a stickshift SC over to a 4.6L LX (w shift kit), there is a definite difference in handling between the SC and the 4.6L, but the 4.6 is smoother in power delivery and more willing to rev, but the key feature is that it is easier to work on than the pain-in-the-*** 3.8L... split port 3.8's are nice, though..

I find the 4.6L is easier to drive and handle than the 3.8L SC because I ACTUALLY HAVE TRACTION, whereas with the SC, it was a wild, angry BEAST of a car, much like the RS200, that had to be manhandled around corners and beaten into submission.
I think the 4.6L is a much better starter car than the SC, while I find the 4.6L's understeer happy handling orientation to be less forgiving than that of the SC.

Perhaps it is all the extra weight on the nose.
The downside to the 3.8L is that there weren't any of them that were offered with ABS, so far as I know, and I haven't seen any with 4-wheel disc brakes.
 

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The Parts Guy
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The_Ghost said:
The downside to the 3.8L is that there weren't any of them that were offered with ABS, so far as I know, and I haven't seen any with 4-wheel disc brakes.
ABS/4 wheel disc was optional on the 3.8L MN12's (at least for the 94-96's, maybe other years as well).

-Rod
 

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Slow down going into turns??? I never do that. I've got a 5.0 and speed up when going through them. That's how I keep all the Mustangs, Camaros, and other sports cars off my arse.
 

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racecougar said:
ABS/4 wheel disc was optional on the 3.8L MN12's (at least for the 94-96's, maybe other years as well).

-Rod

I'm with rod on this one, My 96' is 4 wheel disc and I have 94' cougar parts car thats 4wheel disc also. ALL Midyear 96 and ALL 97's had 4 wheel disc with or without ABS.

Also N/A V6 cars should run the same size tires front and rear since the car is pretty much balanced. When I had 275's out back and 245's up front my car had a bad habit of pushing in corners no matter which combo of swaybars I tried. 255's on all 4 corners and she corners like a dream now. Also swapping an aluminum explorer 02-03 4.6L into a 4.6L MN-12 gets you close to the balance a 3.8L car has.
 

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I went back and forth with the parts guy at autozone when buying rear rotors for my '97. He was absolutely positive '97's came with rear drums in base trim. :rolleyes: He got somewhat arrogant about it when I didn't take his word for it, I just laughed and dropped it. :tongue:

I'm not buying it that these are good reasons to have a 3.8L MN12 as a starter car... perhaps you should concetrate on school more instead. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Southpaw said:
... perhaps you should concetrate on school more instead. ;)
Eh, I'm getting a 'A' in the class I did that in anyways...
...it was auto tech

And maybe it's not. Maybe that's just my minds way of rationalising having the 3.8 for at least another 11 months (Just had to put that $1900 in the bank)
 

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how would a stock 3.8 have better handling then the sc with the autoride suspension???

not to mention they both have the same size motor with the sc having aluminum heads and the supercharger intercooler and extra goodies only adding about 150lbs to the front of the car?


it seems hard to believe that my sc could be out cornerd by a base 3.8 lx
 

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StupidFly said:
If you're speeding up for the turns, you obviously didnt go fast enough through the straights :D

:uppoint:
 

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Kelsey Smith said:
Eh, I'm getting a 'A' in the class I did that in anyways...
...it was auto tech

And maybe it's not. Maybe that's just my minds way of rationalising having the 3.8 for at least another 11 months (Just had to put that $1900 in the bank)
eh whatever, your the one that suggested it might be a good thing in the first place. You do seem to be trying to do alot of rationalizing though.

Kelsey Smith said:
The 3.8 is the lightest engine, as far as I know, oftered in the MN-12. Not enough of a diffrence to affect the power to weight issue, but enough to keep the front just a bit lighter than the S/C or 5.0/4.6. This means better handling. And because of the lack of power, the driver is forced to compensate in a road course type run, with improved technique in the corner.
One) The weight distribution might be a bit different but I don't buy it for a second that my '89 3.8L LS actually handled better then my '97 4.6L XR7 Sport. The '97 will out accelerate it in the straight aways and out handle it in the corners.

Two) That aside, even a non-sport 4.6L doesn't necessarily handle worse. More so they just handle a bit differently over the 3.8L. The spring rates are different on the two. It's not as simple as one it lighter and that's an automatic plus.

Anyway, how does the driver reaching the corner first equate to him not taking his cornering technique as seriously as someone who's losing? Being ahead usually isn't good enough for competititve road racing types. Perhaps he's motivated to leave you even further in the dust coming out of the corners as well. :D

Your premise seems to be that the slower car will force him to improve cornering technique so as not to fall even further behind, not that the lighter front end will give him the advantage in learning better cornering technique. If he has to take time readjusting his driving technique to a new faster / heavier car then isn't he actually at a disadvantage having learned to road race in the other car?
 

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Street Freekz
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racecougar said:
ABS/4 wheel disc was optional on the 3.8L MN12's (at least for the 94-96's, maybe other years as well).

-Rod
My '96 Cat has 4-wheel disc brakes w/ ABS along with some other options.



StupidFly said:
If you're speeding up for the turns, you obviously didnt go fast enough through the straights :D
Haha....:uppoint: :uppoint:. I don't have that problem....just ask some police officers around here :D ;-)
 

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Too darn heavy to go fast through the straights. Need more torque. I'm trying to put a 418 ci in it. Just need to find a 351 to start.
 

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3.8's are horrible starter cars. So far, I can only find two positives on my 93 T-Bird.

It's reliable, and it's not a cop magnet. Other than that, it sucks. I have to floor it just to keep up with traffic. I raced my cousin in his 95 Aerostar, and got killed. That's just pathetic.

Luckily I just bought a 94 Camaro, going to pick it up tomorrow. Hopefully I'll see better performance from that and I can bid my Thunderbird farewell - it's not that I don't like the car, it's just way too ill-powered, especially for today when they're making mini vans with 250hp.
 

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mwood88 said:
3.8's are horrible starter cars. So far, I can only find two positives on my 93 T-Bird.

It's reliable, and it's not a cop magnet. Other than that, it sucks. I have to floor it just to keep up with traffic. I raced my cousin in his 95 Aerostar, and got killed. That's just pathetic.

Luckily I just bought a 94 Camaro, going to pick it up tomorrow. Hopefully I'll see better performance from that and I can bid my Thunderbird farewell - it's not that I don't like the car, it's just way too ill-powered, especially for today when they're making mini vans with 250hp.

Why did you buy a 3.8L Thunderbird in the first place? I bought it cause I couldn't afford the high rollers at the time, and you are what? 18, In my eyes, you are still wet behind the ears for anything with more than 150HP. Really. My first car was an escort, and I am a better driver because of it. I think you wanted a camaro and a mullet all along, are you sure you are from Waterford? Or Taylortucky.... Just joking. I just don't understand where you are coming from.....
 

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I didn't buy it. My parents bought it for me. It was only $500 from eBay. 49,000 miles at the time and a blown head gasket. My dad fixed it, and I've put on 15,000 miles since. It's been a really good car (except for the balljoint breaking and the wheel coming off), but I'm 18 and want something with a little more power. The Camaro only has 20 more horsepower, but it gets moving a lot quicker and it looks hotter.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Thunderchicken, I just hate the engine. Whatever engineer at Ford that decided a car the size of a small tank should get such a low powered engine deserves to be shot.

And for the record, my brother has an Escort. We raced. He kicked my ***. Both stock.
 

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When I had my 92 3.8L V6, it moved way better than my friend's escort, both stock. We never raced because we both had slow cars and being reckless is not good in the cities either

- Stephen
 
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