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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to hear from some people with real world experience, so I figured this would be a great start.

My 67 Mustang is fun to drive, but not nearly as fun as it could be.

302 4bbl - out of a 74 maverick, runs strong but doesn't spin much past 4500 rpm if I remember right
4 speed top loader
3.00 open rear, 8" axle

From what I've pieced together 300hp/350tq with a TKO and 3.55 posi should be a complete blast.
I plan on upgrading the suspension and brakes considerably at the same time.


My hangup is finding that spot that is the most fun and reliable for years to come, but also not knowing how much power is too much. I'm not sure where that line is between crushing the gas pedal and being thrown happily into the seat vs having to use half the gas hoping I don't break my tires loose at 80mph. In my experience if you top out in first gear around 35mph or so it tends to be a good balance of fun. Less than that means shifting mid street light launch, a lot more means in daily use the car will feel like it wants to go faster than you should on the streets.

I also don't know about stroker reliability. Or if I even need to venture down that road.

The 302 or a 347 stroker seem to spool up faster from what I have read than a 351w. While the 351w could be stroked I think it pushes me from a fun street car to a dragstripe car that can also putz around town. In my experience driving a slower car fast is much more fun than a fast car slow. This however is actually really difficult to find reliable information on, so much I come across wants the Fast and Furious Hollywood dream and would want to know why I wasn't putting in a 460 stroker with NOS and a supercharger. I think the 302 might also benefit me over the 351w in handling. 50lbs doesn't seem like much but I also remember people moving their battery to the trunk to try and help things and that's less weight.

Going to 400hp over 300hp doesn't look like that much more investment which if I'm being honest is why I'm trying to nail down the right amount of power now. Otherwise I'll probably just throw "all the best parts" in it and make it useless on the street.

Keeping the turn signal hood is a must, so clearance is a big deal to me.



So if you have a setup that is fun, especially at legal speeds, I would appreciate your input.

(Please list the whole power train as gearing from the transmission and axle have a huge effect on things, even tire size if you have it would be very helpful)
Thanks
 

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A rather elderly friend who raced dirt track starting in the 1950's once told me he always preferred a 289 over a 302 on short tracks because it would spin up faster out of the turns. (Locally famous for running almost an entire season without a clutch installed in the car, among other cheats.) I've always treated such comments from this guy as gold. There's something to that also. All else being equal, you can rev a 289 to higher RPM's for about the same reasons as your comparison between a 302 and 351. THink about it. A retro 289 hi-po setup. Maybe spiffed up with some aluminum heads. If you couldn't right about 300 HP out of it with a package that would drive like a scalded cat you would have done something pretty bad wrong.

Says the guy who put a 351W in his '67. Weiand intake and two inch filter all fit under my stock Deluxe hood. I'm just a sucker for 351W's for some reason.
 

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I have a 400hp 331 stroker in my '65, with a T5Z (better first gear) and 3.55's on 225/60r15 tires. Its a riot! I put 5000 miles on it this summer in about 10 days. it makes power from 2000rpm smoothly to 6400.. although I rarely spin it past 6k. Nice and streetable. Literally anyone can get in, turn the key, step on the clutch and go.

Aluminum heads. 10:1 compression. I have a fairly mild cam for the combo that idles nicely. Dual plane aluminum intake. Of course it was built out of a 5.0L roller block. So roller rockers and lifters. I've got holleys sniper on it for easy starts, easy tuning and better mileage. Just now making the swap from cast iron HIPO manifolds to Headers.

I had an issue this summer with something that caused an intake leak and some detonation that had me pull the whole thing apart again. Nothing to do with the stroker portion though. The 331 doesn't locate the wrist pin way up into the rings like the 347 does. I guess way back when there were some oil control issues as a result of that.. but thats long since been sorted with most of the 347 stroker packages. Both the 331 and 347 will last nicely and give you great torque.

300-350whp in a mustang is plenty! Can do that without a stroker too. Although you will have to push the rpm's up a bit. I JUST drove a friends 300hp 306ci TKO backed '67 and it was just as fun as mine. I think he has 3.80 gears in a 9in though. Then got a ride in another friends '67 Falcon with a 500hp 408 (351 based stroker) and Holy! Although it has a pretty mean idle...
 

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Want the engine to spin up quick?
Use an aluminum flywheel.
And lighten all the other rotating/reciprocating parts.

How high an engine will rev is dependent on the valve train and how fast air can fill the cylinders.

It’s tough to beat the torque of a 351w though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I thought the 302 was just a slight stroked 289? The idea of it is interesting though, my car was orgjnally a 289.


Rowdy that's exactly the type of information I am trying to find, thank you. Right now, looking at crate engines with dynos, if I can swing it there are some nice efi, aluminum head, roller ones out there. A 302 @ 370hp and 350lbs, and a 347 @ 400hp and 415lbs, the torque is a lot closer to a flat line than a curve.

The 347 with those numbers sure does make for a cool pop the hood moment...

It did look to be about the same as a 351w built that way, just 50lbs lighter.


Ok, since we're on the topic, I have an 8" rear, I will need new a new pumpkin, if I throw in stronger axles too with the combo work with that much power or am I in the "maybe" section?. It's sort of like 4x4s, a Dana 44 handles a tire up to 35" no problem, anything above that and they break when you use it offroad. I have no idea where to get a 9" axle that would fit my car.

Thanks for the help, keep it coming :)
 

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I would definitely send my distributor to Dan for a re-curve the car will perform 10 times better.








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8" works great with most Windsors, but that's assuming you're running street tires, where the 'extra power' gets let out in the form of smoke. You put on some slicks or sticky drag radials, and suddenly, you discover a new form of "Neutral" while your rear end pukes gear parts.


If you're planning on drag racing, and intend to hook hard enough to lift the nose, you should probably go 9". It's going to steal about 4% of your horsepower, and it's heavier so it does slightly affect your ride quality as well.

8.8" rear end takes more work, but it's basically 'in between' the 8" and 9" rear ends in terms of weight and strength they're cheap and plentiful too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Ok, after crunching some numbers it looks like 3.55 gears will put me around 2200 rpms at 35 and 80. 3.73 gears are about 2300 rpms there and on average 100 to 200rpms more at any given speed. 3.00s will put the rpms too low or be a lot higher a gear down. 4.10s put me around 2550 rpms, and I think would be serious over kill. At 6000 rpms in first gear with 3.55s it's 45mph. So that should be a good range since I won't be red lining it daily. I am thinking the 3.73s might be making it a bit too much, unless I go with a 302 and not a 347.

A G-Force T5 might be a good option, still need to research the more , but they are built up to 600hp and 500lbs torque.

So... 347 with g-force t5, 3.55 gears in the 8". Easy enough.

Don't suppose a t5 works with a 67 center console ?



Ok, on to suspension and brakes. Looks like wilwood makes 12" discs that work with 15" wheels, awesome,I dont want larger wheels.
Now to open this can of worms called suspension... don't suppose anyone has a good starting point? Mustang II fronts seem popular.
 

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... but no to the MII suspension. You lose suspension travel, and have less 'correct' geometry through most of it.

You will spend far less money in correcting the stock suspension, and as you're intending to just use it as a driver - not a track car, here's where I'd start:

1) Replace any worn bushings in the suspension. High durometer rubber is a great compromise between compliance (smooth for driving) and performance (slightly better than stock) without squeaking or fuss. If you can free up things by using roller spring perches, even better. Check your steering box for play, and put some new grease in it while you're at it. If it's really worn out, talk to Chocostang!

2) Get some good shocks! Monro-matics are cheap, but they are good for cushy boulevard cruisers. For more spirited driving, KYB, Bilstein, and Koni are good choices, in order of expense and quality.

3) Do the Shelby drop. Relocating the upper control arm corrects geometry issues designed to make your car understeer from the original manufacturer. It will drop your ride height somewhere around 5/8", but the big deal is less body roll, and superior handling with modern tires. It's also free!

4) Get your car properly aligned for radial tires. The specs have been posted many times in here, but if you have trouble finding them, most of us could probably quote them by heart. =)

5) Brace your frame. If you don't have one, get an export brace and a Monte Carlo bar to stiffen up your front end! With the stock shock tower braces, there's a lot of flex that eventually leads to cracks in the shock towers, and to the fenders collapsing inward/getting floppy. It will also significantly improve chassis rigidity, and help your steering and handling. Because you are improving your engine's torque output significantly, I would also consider some other stiffening for the chassis, and possibly traction aids to help prevent wheelhop.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks that helps. I guess googling for suspension parts got it in my head that it's usually all swapped out like 50s trucks. Especially seeing full frames popping up. Do those actually improve anything or are they made for bragging rights and dropping the body low?

I'm sure getting things properly setup will make a huge difference, in fact looking at some parts it would seem mine lost the engine bay braces before I bought it. That's probably not helping the body roll, lol.

Appreciate the help.
 

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The big reason for going to MII style front suspension is mostly so you can carve out the shock towers and put in something like a Boss 429 or Mod Motor that's about 1/4 mile wide. A lot of people who go through all the fuss don't bother to reinforce their frame properly though, so they have very little triangulation, and that causes big trouble down the road. These unibody cars were designed to transfer stresses through the firewall, and taking that out doesn't do much for the already 'flexible' design, as you already figured out! =)


IMHO, given the practical power limitations for these early lightweight cars, unless you want to tub it out and redo the back end too, you can pretty well get it all done with a Windsor between the fenders anyway. On a street car, going with a modest cam but some good heads will give you a broad powerband that works great with the old Toploaders or 3 speed C4's anyway. It keeps the car's look, sound, and feel vintage - only better, in my opinion.


Even the stock steering on these is really good once it's not all worn out and sloppy. No one fussed about them when they were new, and a lot of them work well even with 50+ year-old grease in 'em, so that says something.
 

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A 1985-93 type T5 like most people use will have the lower part of the shifter assembly close to or touching the front of the opening for the shifter in the transmission tunnel. Depending on your choice of shifter and because our cars aren't quite all exactly the same. I don't have a stock style console but I would imagine one could fudge it forward just a bit if need be and have it work. As many T5 swaps as have been done, no doubt someone here has actually dealt with that.
 

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alright, decide first what you want from this car. it sounds to me like you want something of a toy that can be used as a daily driver, or a back up driver. this does make a difference. for a driver on the street, you must make the car as dependable as possible before anything else.

so assuming a back up driver/toy, here are my recommendations;

suspension/chassis/brakes;

upgrade the stock suspension as it flat out works well. there are many suggestions on this board, like the shelby drop, roller spring perches, stiffer springs, etc. also stiffen up the chassis as much as possible, export brace, subframe connectors, torque boxes, etc. go with the stock type four piston front brakes, and upgrade the rear drums to later model F150 11x2.25" rear drums. this is a great combination and parts are available even in resume speed iowa if needed.

transmission and rear gears;

3.55s with an overdrive manual trans is great.

engine;

you want this engine to operate best in the 1500-5500 rpm range, so select parts to accomplish this. this information is available from the manufacturer of the parts. you want to take a systems approach to building the engine for best results. for specific recommendations, ask later when you are ready to build the engine. get the above stuff done first.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That makes sense on the front swaps, I'm surprised how many big engine swaps I see, explains why I'm seeing these suspension kits. Appreciate the clarity, I'm glad I don't have to do anything major like I thought. I had been under the impression that the original suspension was OK at best, but given my missing braces and warn parts it's safe to say I was mislead, lol. In all honesty it's not bad now, just saw all the kits and figured everything got swapped like my other project.

And that's good news on the console. Fudging a few things works easy enough, "3 inches off" would mean more custom work.



To answer your questions on the build, it would be a summer toy but a backup daily driver. Thankfully that's not the same as sitting in traffic with it. I agree with upgrading the brakes, chassis and suspension first. I wanted to figure out what I was going to use as the power train before starting that just to make sure the other parts would work.


I appreciate the help and clarity, glad I asked. Wasn't too far off on the power train but I was about 9 miles off the suspension.

Thanks again for the help guys.
 

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Want the engine to spin up quick?
Use an aluminum flywheel.
And lighten all the other rotating/reciprocating parts.

How high an engine will rev is dependent on the valve train and how fast air can fill the cylinders.

It’s tough to beat the torque of a 351w though.
Good point, that maybe a lighter flywheel could make a 302 spin up like an ol' 298 HIPO?

Can any of you tell the difference between a 28 oz vs 50 oz imbalance motor spin up? Or are we talkin' about the LIGHT flywheels like this 13.5 lb Fidanza? Stock is something like 22 lbs? I'd really really be sad if my new 302 didn't sing because I simply didn't get this flywheel!! Considering this and an alum driveshaft too.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/fiz-186501

Link is just an example, don't go order this one, I've not verified it for any of our mills...
 

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Fish, you will see far greater difference by setting your timing right and tuning your carb than you would by removing a few ounces from your flywheel. You'd never in a million years be able to tell 28 oz. vs. 50 oz, even in a side-by-side comparison unless you include using the 'wrong' counterweights for your engine. I would venture to say that most people in a side-by-side comparison between 'identical' 289 and 302 engines (same supporting parts and accessories) would say the 302 is 'faster'.


Something else to consider is what will happen to that flywheel when it gets roaring hot from someone besides you driving the car... aluminum doesn't act like steel when you get it glowing.


The 289 can rev to slightly higher RPMs, valvetrain permitting, but the 302 would produce more torque, and better average power, especially with typical 2.80 gearing. A 289 makes about 15 lb-ft less peak torque, and needs about 400 more RPMs to hit its peak, compared to a 302. Why? Because the longer stroke of a 302 offers a longer 'lever' to spin the crank with. In a car the size of a Mustang, 15 lb-ft is noticeable, if you're familiar with the vehicle.


While the venerable 289 engine is a sweet little mill, it's not enough 'different' from a 302 to worry about putting a 289 crank in a 5.0 block for sure. For any street driven car, higher torque production is king. When you add in the roller cam of the later 5.0 engines, any advantage the 289 has pretty much vanishes until probably somewhere well north of 6500 rpms, and that introduces a lot of other problems.


An aluminum driveshaft though - that can make a big difference, especially for an overdrive-equipped car, because of vibration and harmonics. Steel driveshafts just don't like to spin at 5K+ rpms. They wobble and bend. Aluminum shafts don't experience resonance problems till you hit speeds that your car will never reach.
 

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To give you a funny example of how my initial 67 build started its progression way back 15+ years ago...

I swapped in a very mild 351W, after rebuilding the front suspension and installing front disk brakes. I had an 8” 3.00 geared open rear end that also went in and some not very sticky 235R14 tires all around with a C4 installed for the time being. A stock 90’s Honda Civic could outrun me to 60mph because I couldn’t get traction if my life depended on it!

I eventually installed a T5 and new wheels/tires and ran that setup for a few years while I was in college. If the roads were wet and I punched it at 60mph in 4th I would lose traction instantly. I couldn’t, rather, dare give it full throttle if the car wasn’t pointing in a straight line in anything less than 3rd gear otherwise one of the rear tires would let all it’s smoke out. The fun of instant wheel spin was wearing off and I wanted to shift my focus to making it stick and accelerate quickly.

I went to an 8.8 rear with 3.73 gears and a beefed up limited slip. I started buying tires with an A or AA traction rating and higher speed ratings than H. I also was increasing power output out of my 351W, and trying to trade some TQ for HP to allow it to still produce good torque (vs excessive) at low RPM and make power past 5000RPM as I wound it out. I also continued to modify the suspension and added rear traction aids and the car was starting to feel more and more balanced in power and handling.

I am still tweaking the car now (the modify bug is never satisfied!) as there is always room for improvement (and uses for a vehicle can change over time). I can still light up both tires now but it’s done purposefully; vs the old days of running over a small pebble and getting a tire chirp trying to slowly pull away from a stop sign. The car is super fun to drive with plenty of power on tap to get silly. I’ve never dynoed my Mustang but I’m guessing engine HP/TQ is around 325/375 when comparing its performance to my other vehicle having a similar weight and HP but very different drivetrain (Subaru).

There is lots of fun to be had in the 300-400 HP/TQ range, more than that, IMO, will require a lot of right foot diligence and/or traction modifiers to keep it safe. When the lbs/HP number is 10 or less, thats when the fun factor goes up quickly and the smiles are endless.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the example, that's very helpful. Didn't stop to think about my tire choice. I'm hoping they make good ones for 15" rims, I want to keep the look, I know there is some performance to be had with larger wheels but it really changes the look to me.
Also didn't think about too much torque, I'm used to big heavy trucks and too much torque is something I never heard there.

So brakes, suspension, traction, tires. Drive that, see what to improve. Maybe put a 5 speed behind my current 302, and change the rear gear to 3.55 or 3.73. Then, at the end, look at power.

I'm thinking a nicely built 302 may give me what I want, then down the line if I want more it can be stroked. If nothing else bitting off too much too soon makes for a slow driver. There is a reason professional GP riders start on 250cc bikes.

Thanks for the help. :)
 

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My $0.02 for what it's worth...

a. Toss any focus on a horsepower "goal" out the window. Horsepower doesn't start the car moving, TORQUE does. The only "horsepower" that counts, IMHO, for a street engine, is horsepower "under the curve", and that's what you feel in your seat.

b. Start with a realistic budget. With an idea of what you have to spend you can prioritize those things that give you the best bang for your buck.

c. There are some "almost free" and relatively low cost things that can be done that can have a significant effect on performance. They include:
1) Cylinder head porting and port matching to make your OEM iron heads breathe better. Exhaust port restriction is one of the biggest bottlenecks in small block Ford cylinder heads. (also bear in mind that your '74 cylinder heads have large 63+cc combustion chambers vs. the earlier '65-67 versions with 53.5cc. The earlier heads are worth an additional 1.0 point in static compression ratio.
2) Distributor "blueprinting". Over the course of time, your distributor mechanical advance can get out of tune and vacuum advance diaphragms can dry up and leak. Sending your distributor to Dan Nolan at The Mustang Barn for an overhaul can restore that "crispness" and throttle response your engine had when it was new.
3) Moving your vacuum advance source from ported vacuum at the carburetor to full manifold vacuum will lower combustion temperatures and reduce the tendency for detonation (amplified a bit by your '74 302's increased deck height over '68-72 and '78+ versions) and improve combustion efficiency.
4) A proper "state of tune" where all your ignition and fuel system components are in good condition helps total performance.
5) Removing excess weight will directly affect performance. If that "good buddy" in the passenger seat isn't contributing by buying the beer or putting some fuel in the tank, swap him out for someone lighter... LOL.

After the cheap stuff then you can move on to utilizing that improved breathing by thinking about selecting a camshaft that matches your application, and some shorter rear gear to get your rpms into the power band quicker.
 
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