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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thunderstruck's Thunderbird Build Thread

I bought my 95 Thunderbird from my cousin (the original owner) when I was 13. It had 175,000 miles on it. (it has 245,000 now)

When I was 16, I put on KOOKs headers, a full exhaust system, 3:73's, a B&M shift kit, and had it dyno-tuned. It ran a best of 14.72 in the quarter mile. The car stayed that way for many years and was always used as a summer/ weekend car and I did a lot of bracket racing at the drag strip.


About 3 years ago, I did some work to the car. I put in a PI 4.6 with a bullitt intake manifold, stage 2 MHS cams, a 4,200 rpm dirty dogg converter, battery relocation, and 4:10 gears. Right in the middle of the engine swap, I had a major loss in the family that completely drained me emotionally and the car has pretty much just sat unfinished. I am now ready to clean up the loose ends and get the car back on the road this summer.

Stay tuned-
 

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Cant wait to see it done man
 

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Post some pics and good deal getting back at it... bet it will help you feel even better emotionally..

jeez...I'm all emo now.............
 

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Nice build. Good to see you're getting back into it.
 

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When the car was new, it was fully rust coated (I think through Zeibart). This included in the engine compartment. The coating has always looked pretty dirty so I decided to remove it to clean up the engine bay. I found that laquier thinner removes it well, but it also is stripping the paint if I am not super careful. I am going to try mineral spirits next to see if that is less harsh, but does anyone have any ideas for removing the old coating and not hurting the paint?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am also putting together a fender well intake.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I got a set of 235/60R15 Mickey Thompson drag radials to try out.

 

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Chemically stripping undercoating completely will be very messy and likely do damage from the sheer quantity needed, you can easily end up with a slurry of undercoating and factory paint on now bare sheetmetal if you go it this way, you really can't rush it.

I stripped the undercoating from the shock towers in February, you may recall. The way I found was taking a piece of hard plastic(like plexiglass), clamping it in some vice grips and lightly hammering at the coating so it flakes off in chunks(any old undercoating hardens and gets brittle). The factory paint is much harder than the undercoat, and since it's applied with little to no prep on top of the factory paint it won't have a strong bond to it.

For the remaining stubborn chunks use a plastic scraper, and as a final step then use a minimal amount of chemical stripper to break down any remaining spots or stains. I used strypeeze, which is a gel type stripper that breaks down pretty much all paint after several minutes - the key here is not letting it sit, just dab it on a cloth and rub the undercoat spot till it's gone within the timeline of a minute or two tops, then immediately wipe the area clean of any residue so the factory paint doesn't get broken down by it, and repeat if necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Finished up my intake and I've been knocking out a lot of the loose ends.

I also have a dyno tune session scheduled with XR7 Dave at Soupercoupes Unlimited.
 

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When the car was new, it was fully rust coated (I think through Zeibart). This included in the engine compartment. The coating has always looked pretty dirty so I decided to remove it to clean up the engine bay. I found that laquier thinner removes it well, but it also is stripping the paint if I am not super careful. I am going to try mineral spirits next to see if that is less harsh, but does anyone have any ideas for removing the old coating and not hurting the paint?
get degreaser or wash solvent from an autobody supplier .... it will not harm the paint. avaiolable most jobbers....
 

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I took my car to Soupercoupes Unlimited in NE Ohio to get dyno tuned. I got to meet XR7 Dave. His shop is great. It's set up in an old gas station / service station and is has a great look and vibe. There was probably 16 other thunderbirds and cougars there along with a few classic cars. (I even got to see Dave's short wheel base 89 Soupercoupe- number 3 of 5)

The dyno session went great. I ended up putting down 244 at 5,400 rpm on his mustang dyno. After the engine tune was dialed in, we made a few street passes to dial in shifting and converter lockup. The car pulls really well.

I'll be back at the drag strip soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #12

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Discussion Starter #13
I finally put my car back on the road last night and I was going to be driving to the drag strip today. I picked up a helmet with the hopes of being in the 13s.

I was about 4 miles from home when I noticed my torque converter wasn't locked. While playing with trying to get it to lock back up, I heard a higher piched whine coming from the front of the transmission. I slowed down, tried to speed back up, and the car was struggling to gain speed. Now the whine is constant and it only goes into gear when I am giving it throttle.

I think my trans is done. I'll drop the pan next week to access the damage. It sucks. But after 245,000 miles, I can't be too upset.

The replacement trans will need to handle big future power. Any recommendations?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Back to the shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #16

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Thanks for the lead. Have you used any of their stuff?

I was also looking at these guys-

https://www.bcawebstore.com/
SilverFox is a member here IIRC, and BCA is Darrin; They don't post as much as they used to but are great guys.

You might email them at their websites and get an idea of what you're looking at, or post up in the tranny thread; they usually keep an eye on those.
 

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I say look for one already built and do the install your self...trans are pretty easy job on these cars.. I did one in my garage with just hand tools , the trunk jack and stand and a trans jack by my self in 3 days ..and I swapped parts over and was my 1st time even touching a trans.
I think there's s nice one for sale from a member on here rite now..
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Progress.
 

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