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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys; I've been posting in a few threads talking about the various mods for our cars, and I thought I'd start a thread where we could pull a bunch or the info together, and link to the various Howto threads.

So, in our best free-for-all fashion, lets discuss the various mods, and kick around the various things that we've actually done; that's a Royal We, including everyone who has ever posed a mod here, not just stuff we've personally done.

We'll do a "Sissy Power Adder" Thread, for those who are considering Turbo or Blowers. (I miss you, JL. :( )

"American V8 engines have made very low 5 second passes without any kind of sissy power adder at all. You aren't impressing me." -KDanner

Lets try to include pros and cons for our ideas, as it seems every mod has its advantages and disadvantages, some you don't realize until you've already installed them.

Let's try to keep bashing to a minimum, but legitimate comments are welcome.

As an example of a mod with Pros and Cons, the PI mod comes to mind: Yes, it gives pull over 5000 RPM, but it removes some of the low end oomph.

Let's see if we can come up with a "Top 10 List". I'll edit this top post over time, to reflect the current state of the list, as it evolves. (If anyone else even posts, lol)

I've listed these in approximate order of difficulty; we can discuss this.

Top 10 MN12 Mods: (list may change over time)

PI intake Swap
02 GT MAF swap
Mark Control Arms swap
02 Tranny Swap, with Teflon seals
Manual Tranny swap
PI Cams Swap
PI engine swap
DOHC Swap
Bilstein Front shock mod
Full body MN12 Bracing

Let's see some other ideas; maybe 10 is too short, maybe it needs to be 50; let's discuss.
 

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I think 10 is borderline too many to be honest, 50 is basically everything lol

Here would be my top 5, excluding tune since it is a is necessary given for a few anyway

#1a PI engine, ideally explorer, only hope for a 94-95 and gets you enough power to hoon with even if you aren’t beating 5.0s at the stoplight.
#1b PI cams and intake. You can do this for under $200 in parts and it’s worth the same horsepower. only applicable to 96-97

#2 manual transmission swap. More fun than any power upgrades past a power adder as far as I’m concerned, it changes the whole feel of the car.

#3 Wide lower profile tires and 17-19” x 8-9” wheels. While upgrading the suspension is good and all, the improvement in grip and reduction in roll and slop you get from this alone makes a huge difference in handling. Looks are a bonus too

#4 Cobra brakes or better. Once you have them you take for granted how sketchy stock brakes or even PBRs feel in comparison.

#5 Supercoupe seats. Can’t beat the support, comfort, fit and finish for the price
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What size wheels are required for the Cobra brakes?

I have to say the PBR's are cheap, and fit stock wheels, and are a major upgrade over the stock brakes.
But, I've not had a car with the Cobra's to compare.

I was surprised to find that the mark control arms required 16" wheels, or they rubbed on the driver's side, regardless of the bolt configuration; I never read that anywhere.
 

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The rear ends are a big area for our cars. Not many MN12's came with the Trac Lok rear end from the factory, so that could be considered an upgrade for most. That was the first major thing I did to my Cougar. Having the Trac Lok makes a huge difference in spirited driving, and just having fun in general. That brings up the topic of gears as well. I never had the desire to chenge the gear ratio because I like running a low RPM on the highway. My Cougar came with 3.27 factory like all 96+ models do, maybe I would think different if it had one of the 2.** rear ends the older models could have come with
 

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Discussion Starter #6
IIRC, only the manuals came with the 2.xx rear ends.

I've swapped a 3.08 into the Red cougar, it helped gas mileage on the interstate. :)
Not much tho; gas mileage is proportional to throttle position. :D
 

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The Parts Guy
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If we're talking about brakes, I'd skip right past the typical Cobra stuff.
37436
 

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Gears are near the top of earlier cars. My 91 LS 5.0 had the open diff, 2.73 rear. Swap to TL 3.73. was 7 tenths in the 1/4 alone. And as a newer member, I think this is an awesome idea and it's much appreciated!
 

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Yeah, 3.73s dropped my highway mileage 15-20% or so, but my city mileage really didn't change.

So, is this thread for N/A engine mods, or anything and everything? :)
 

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I put NA engine mods into 3 categories; bolt on stuff that does little to nothing, top end swaps, and full engine builds. Things like a GT MAF, or PI intake swap, or cold air intake, or even full exhaust, or underdrive pulleys, are in category #1. You may get some small horsepower gains from some combination of these things, but none of them are going to make the car much faster or transform the feel of the car. For that, you need to step up to category #2, and at that point you should really consider the heads, cams, and intake as one mod. Putting trick flow heads on a car with stock NPI cams and intake is going to perform like ****. Same with putting massive cams and intake on a car with stock heads, so the mod isn’t the heads, or the cams, or the intake, but rather the combination. If that doesn’t get you to where you want to be, or if you will have to spin your motor to dangerous rpms in order to get there, then you need to step up to category #3. This can include big bore or stroker motors, or can be stock displacement with upgraded parts, but once again, you don’t build a big-inch motor and put stock heads on it and expect to make more power, so again I would consider the whole engine to be the mod.
 

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I was surprised to find that the mark control arms required 16" wheels, or they rubbed on the driver's side, regardless of the bolt configuration; I never read that anywhere.
Not to hi-jack the thread, but.. I ran 15” cougar wheels on my Mark VIII that I did sand dune stuff with. I am pretty sure that I did not have rubbing issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The poly bushings move just enough to rub on heavy accelleration on the driver's side, no matter which way I installed the bolts.

Look at the inside of the wheels; you may be surprised.
I wouldn't have heard the rubbing over my current exhaust.
 

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Where would ported OEM manifolds (Being in Commiefornia, I'm interested in this mod!) fall in this?

Let's also not forget the 93 single piece driveshaft.....or any aftermarket single piece driveshaft for that matter.
 

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Unless you’re moving a lot of air via forced induction the ported manifolds are more a thing to have on your mod list than an have as a meaningful performance mod. Naturally aspirated you’ll see very little benefit since they have virtually no scavenging effect, ported or unported, compared to longtube headers or midlengths to lesser extent. They fall into the category of plenum upgrades and underdrive pulleys.

@brandon I went with anything and everything, simply because there are things I would prioritize in importance more on the rest of the car NA vs forced induction and vice versa.
 

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The poly bushings move just enough to rub on heavy accelleration on the driver's side, no matter which way I installed the bolts.
From what you saw, do you think that the bolts could be ground/ clearanced safely to still run the Mark LCA’s and stock 15” wheels?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I don't know; I plant to revisit this this spring.

It' supposed to work on 15's, but my driver's side rubs.

I also managed to bugger up the clamps on the halfshafts by one combo of install direction.
 
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