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Updated on Jan 29, 2013
Welcome to Chris's 1988 Thunderbird page
Thanks for checking out my T-bird. This car has been in my family since new. I drove it all through my high school and college years and have become quite attached to it! I even drove it away at my wedding.
Check out my youtube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/50tbrd88
After college I decided it was high time to give the car a makeover. I started out with a 100% stock '88 T-bird and starting modding the driveline, suspension, brakes, etc to make it what I believe Ford should have done with these cars in the 1st place. The driveline is basically that of a '88 Mustang now (with a turbo coupe rearend).
Below pic is the car in the garage with my 2007 Mustang GT. The Alloy gray Mustang is set up with the 3V 4.6 (300hp), 5spd, leather, and 18" polished factory rims. The only additions so far are Pypes cat back mufflers and 20% tint all the way around.
check out that sparkle...
Old Wheels: 17x9 Cobra R's w/Falken Ziex 512 tires 245/45/17 & Steeda springs and hiding behind the wheels are fox body Mustang V8 11" brakes with Lincoln calipers. New Wheels: Spring of 2012 I put on 17" chrome 93 Cobra replica's.
I like this picture the best!
MOST RECENT NEWS:
Feb 2011--My PS pump had developed a bad leak fall of '10. I changed it and the rack-pinion out for a 15:1 ratio setup out of a Thunderbird Sport or Turbo Coupe. The parts were bought at Advance Auto Parts and were reasonably priced. This was a cheap and easy upgrade that made a big difference in how the car feels when driving. The original rack was 20:1 I believe.
May 2011--My original AOD transmission started slipping and leaking pretty bad. My goal for the car this year is to take it on Hot Rod Power Tour in June, so I had to make it as reliable as possible. Therefore I swapped in a T5 manual transmission from a '93 Mustang GT. I used fox Mustang clutch/brake pedal assembly, clutch cable, etc. A center console from a turbo coupe was used on the inside since I originally had the consollette attached to the drivers seat.
June 2012--This year I have changed the wheels out for 93 Cobra Replica's in chrome, added new Tokico HP blue shocks/struts, changed the rear springs to cut turbo coupe springs for a better ride, added police fan and fan clutch, added a BBK adjustable FPR, welded in the Subframe connectors, and tuned up with; Ford Racing 9mm wires, MSD cap/rotor, MSD blaster coil, and autolite plugs. Also had a custom aluminum driveshaft made due to a vibration I have experienced since doing the 3.73 rear end. The alum. DS cured my issue. Took it on Power Tour 2012 and averaged about 23 mpg with no issues. The car ran smooth as silk down the highway.
The car had a repaint winter of '08 (SEE PAGE 5). I got it back new years eve. The orginal paint was getting thin and rough looking. The rear deck lid and roof clearcoat is pretty much gone, there were a couple small rust spots starting in rear quarters and there were small door dings,scratches, etc associated with having nearly 200,000 miles on a car. I'm excited to have her looking good again. It has been painted back the stock color.
The "Blueprints" of My ride:
At first I focused on upgrading the suspension and driveline on the car for when I added more HP. The first thing I did was to remove the stock 2.73 geared 7.5'' rearend and replace it with an 8.8'' unit from a Turbo Coupe I picked up from a salvage yard. The 8.8 rearend has a factory "trac-loc" 3.73's and disk brakes. In order to make this work I had to get all new e-brake cables for a disc brake car since my car originally had drums on the rear. When changing the rear I also put a set of used Steeda springs from a '92 Steeda Mustang.
After swapping in the lower geared rearend, the car experienced a vibration around 70 mph. I fought this issue until finally buying a custom built aluminum driveshaft in 2012. This totally cured my issue!
After lowering the car I needed to find a way to adjust my ride height because the car sagged pretty bad with the new springs. Therefore I ordered some CHE adjustable lower control arms. I now have a slight "rake" on the car which I like.
Next I got some subframe connectors of the weld-in variety. Finally I threw on Turbo Coupe swaybars front and rear. I most recently installed adjustable upper rear control arms from CHE to adjust my pinion angle. I also upgraded the front brakes from the stock 10" to a 11" set from a fox body Mustang. This required changing the front spindles and has helped improve stopping power dramatically. I utilized Lincoln brake calipers with Hawk pads. I am still running the stock master cylinder but I did gut the stock proportioning valve and put an adjustable one in from Summit racing.
With the brake and rearend upgrade I had to get a set of wheels that were at least 16'' in diameter to fit over the brakes. I decided to go with 17x9 cobra's and ran those from 2004 until 2012. I got flamed on a lot because everyone seems to have these wheels but you find your options are pretty limited when looking for affordable 4 lug 17'' wheels. The tires I went with are 245/45/17 Falken Ziex 512's. In the Spring of 2012 I changed it up to chrome replica 93 Cobra wheels. I think these wheels go with the T-bird a lot better than the old Cobra's...if you squint they kind of remind you of the MN-12 T-bird wheels a little.
In 2009 I converted the original 302 in the car to HO specs by using parts from a '91 HO motor. This required changing the heads, cam, intake, throttle body, injectors, computer, etc. The car had TWO busted motor mounts so I used some Chuck W motor mounts (he is a member of fox Tbird/Cougar Forums). These mounts are one of the best upgrades I have made! Also added was smog pump delete pulley and EGR delete, and underdrive pullies. We ended up pulling the motor and giving it a new oil pan gasket, freeze plugs, rear main seals, etc. Figured we might as well freshen her up as much as possible! The E7 heads were also sent off for a hot tank and valve job.
In 2012 I added a BBK adjustable fuel pressure regulator and tuned up with: Ford Racing 9mm plug wires, autolite plugs, MSD cap/rotor, and MSD blaster coil.
For exhaust I was running a fox body Mustang Pypes Violator stainless catback kit modified to fit the longer t-bird. It also has BBK chrome shorty headers with BBK H-pipe. Click here for a youtube vid of what she sounded like. I have since removed this and went to Dynomax turbo style mufflers and Fox GT tailpipes to quiet things down a tad.
In 2011 I took out the AOD and converted to a World Class T-5 manual from a '93 Mustang GT. The swap was really pretty easy. I am using the center console out of a Turbo Coupe, Steeda aluminum clutch quadrant, Steeda adjustable clutch cable. It has a stock-style clutch in it (can't remember the brand). I had to change the speedo drive gear in the trans as well as the speedo gear to get my speedometer accurate with the 3.73 rearend. It is about 1 mph off per GPS.
(Above pic is from Summer '08 before it was repainted. If you look closely you can see a hole in the drivers side hood scoop. It looks good in pics but was getting pretty aged when you got up close.)
Mods so far:
'93 Mustang T5 manual transmission, E7 cylinder heads, HO cam, HO intake, 19lbs injectors, Speed Density 5.0 HO Computer, Chuck W motor mounts, 8.8 turbo coupe 3.73 rearend (totally rebuilt), front and rear swaybars from turbo coupe, Summit Racing adjustable proportioning valve, Ford Motorsport prop. valve plug, all new rear brake pads; rotors turned and caliper rebuild kit, new turbo coupe specific emergency brake cables, Steeda mustang springs, 17" Chrome 93 Cobra wheels, Falken Ziex 512 tires 245/45/17, Mustang GT 11'' front brakes and spindles with Lincoln calipers and Hawk pads, weld in Subframe connectors, CHE adjustable upper and lower rear control arms, Stewart-Warner tach, BBK 1515 headers, BBK 2.5" h-pipe, Pypes violator stainless catback, 15:1 steering rack and PS pump for TC or Sport Thunderbird, custom made aluminum driveshaft, Ford Racing 9mm plug wires, MSD cap/rotor, MSD blaster coil, Police fan and fan clutch, Steeda aluminum clutch quadrant, Steeda adjustable clutch cable, BBK adjustable Fuel Pressure regulator, 20% window tint
1.) interior redone
2.) convert to MAF
The standard output 5.0 powerplant is rated at 155hp@3400 and 265 ft/lbs@2200 from the factory. Not a barn burner by any means but it definately has some potential. And it was a hell of a lot more potent than a 305 GM product of the same era. However, by swapping my SO motor to HO specs, I picked around 75 hp (stock Mustangs were 225 hp). Combined with the underdrive pullies, smog pump delete, BBK headers and H-pipe it should be pretty potent compared to what it was in stock form.
More pictures of the car taken at my Grandparents barn lot:
The turbo coupe hood is a nice visual upgrade and added some sportiness to my LX. Something I did to really improve the front of the car was to polish the taillights, turn signal, marker lamp, and headlights. I used Meguiar's PlastX plastic polish...the stuff worked amazingly well!
Thanks for looking at my Thunderbird! A lot of iuseful nfo on these cars can be found at: www.foxtbirdcougarforums.com/. It is a great forum for anyone who owns one of these cars!
Check out my BAD ASS '72 Chevelle on pg. 2
Displaying entries 1-5 of 72
Nice Bird!!! Awesome work. STARZ!!!
Yeah I will sell it. $1 million. lol. No seriously I would not sell this car unless it was for waaaay more than it was worth, too many memories.
Chris would you be willing to sell her? I would like to talk numbers! Josephtennant@yahoo.com
Chris I LOVE the car! I had one in high school it was a blue LX loved it.
haha is that a real poster or just something you mae up, the thunderbird becasue everyone else drives a mustang i like that if that is a posetr where can i orderone
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