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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2008, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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87-88

ok i know this is for turbo coupes, but i'm looking into getting a fox body thunderbird. the only model i really like is the 87-88 body style. what i'm wondering is if anyone knows about any interior or feature differences between the two years. are they the same? different? just curious

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2008, 01:51 AM
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IIRC they are virtually identical only difference is in the trim packages.
Base or Standard, LX or Turbo Coupe.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2008, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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so if it's gonna be a build up it really doesn't matter which one i get? my step dad had an 88 with a 5.0 when i was a kid n i absolutely loved it!! i've wanted another one ever since. i considered turning my mn12 into a track car but i decided i want it to be more of a classy cruiser. i want the fox for a track car. well, a street legal track/muscle car.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2008, 02:15 AM
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so if it's gonna be a build up it really doesn't matter which one i get? my step dad had an 88 with a 5.0 when i was a kid n i absolutely loved it!! i've wanted another one ever since. i considered turning my mn12 into a track car but i decided i want it to be more of a classy cruiser. i want the fox for a track car. well, a street legal track/muscle car.
Based on what you want to do with it I would recommend you start off with a Sport 5.0 or Tubocoupe platform. I don't think it makes any difference 87 or 88 but those packages will have advantages that will help you get where you are going with less effort.

For example the 5.0 Sport will already have a V8 and AOD with all the w iring neessary to upgrade. The TC will have the option of 5 speed manual if you wish to go that direction along with 4 wheel disc brakes.

I always wished Ford had come factory with a V8 5 speed platform.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2008, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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so the TC does have 4 wheel disc? didn't know that. the tc will probably be the one i get. i like the hood. any companies that make decent ground effects kits for the fox body?

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2008, 09:22 AM
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so the TC does have 4 wheel disc? didn't know that. the tc will probably be the one i get. i like the hood. any companies that make decent ground effects kits for the fox body?
GFX aren't the easiest to find for Fox Birds, if at all. There were a few companies that made kits, but most are out of the game or discontinued the line.

http://www.coolcats.net/modifying/groundeffects.html

As far as I know, the interior never changed a stitch from 87-88, and perhaps even back to 85, when the updated interior first came out.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2008, 07:33 PM
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The TC will have the option of 5 speed manual if you wish to go that direction along with 4 wheel disc brakes.
Be aware that you will grenade the T5 if you stick a V8 in front of it. The internals from the turbo 4-cyl. cars cannot handle the torque from a V8, so you will need a T5 from a Mustang (or have one built).

The '87-'88 Turbo Coupes also have adjustable shocks/struts, which are incredibly expensive to replace. Actually, they're obsolete and nearly impossible to find, so be prepared for that.

Other than that, the body style is killer and you will get some looks if it's in good shape.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2008, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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the turbo coupe comes with ground effects doesn't it? or at least different bumpers? and the adjustable shocks struts can be replaced. what kind of suspension does it have exactly? spring/shock in the rear and coil-over in the front like the mn12? i have yet to work on a fox so it's all new to me. but i've always loved the lines of the 87-88 fox body so i have to have one

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2008, 08:37 AM
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GFX aren't the easiest to find for Fox Birds, if at all. There were a few companies that made kits, but most are out of the game or discontinued the line.

http://www.coolcats.net/modifying/groundeffects.html

As far as I know, the interior never changed a stitch from 87-88, and perhaps even back to 85, when the updated interior first came out.
85-88 Turbo Coupe interiors are all the same. Cept for a coupe swihces here and there (Premium fuel comes to mind). Personally I think the TC seats were the best Ford ever produced. I have driven many many miles and not gotten tired. Cannot say that about the MN-12's.
Ground effects, what he said. Good luck.

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the turbo coupe comes with ground effects doesn't it? or at least different bumpers? and the adjustable shocks struts can be replaced. what kind of suspension does it have exactly? spring/shock in the rear and coil-over in the front like the mn12? i have yet to work on a fox so it's all new to me. but i've always loved the lines of the 87-88 fox body so i have to have one
Study up on fox Mustangs. Everything they have suspension wise is what the bird has. You can replace the struts and shocks with standard ones. One trick I will give you. Replace the lower control arms with Mustang peices. This will draw in the camber and allow a better setting on the front alignment. Not much room for alignment changes on these cars.

And as a side note. I have a storage facilty full of 85-88 TC parts. Mostly body and interior. However I do have 87-88 shocks and struts, and other items too. There is even a brand new door hinge. Very expensive, and you know how these birds doors sag.
$500 takes the lot.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2008, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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85-88 Turbo Coupe interiors are all the same. Cept for a coupe swihces here and there (Premium fuel comes to mind). Personally I think the TC seats were the best Ford ever produced. I have driven many many miles and not gotten tired. Cannot say that about the MN-12's.
Ground effects, what he said. Good luck.



Study up on fox Mustangs. Everything they have suspension wise is what the bird has. You can replace the struts and shocks with standard ones. One trick I will give you. Replace the lower control arms with Mustang peices. This will draw in the camber and allow a better setting on the front alignment. Not much room for alignment changes on these cars.

And as a side note. I have a storage facilty full of 85-88 TC parts. Mostly body and interior. However I do have 87-88 shocks and struts, and other items too. There is even a brand new door hinge. Very expensive, and you know how these birds doors sag.
$500 takes the lot.
i've never sat in a turbo coupe so i don't know how comfortable the seats are, but if you say they're more comfortable than mn12 seats then i'm sure they're nice. i take many trips with my 97 (cloth seats) and every trip is by far the most comfortable i've ever taken.

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Be aware that you will grenade the T5 if you stick a V8 in front of it. The internals from the turbo 4-cyl. cars cannot handle the torque from a V8, so you will need a T5 from a Mustang (or have one built).

The '87-'88 Turbo Coupes also have adjustable shocks/struts, which are incredibly expensive to replace. Actually, they're obsolete and nearly impossible to find, so be prepared for that.

Other than that, the body style is killer and you will get some looks if it's in good shape.
is the t5 the only manual option for the 302 engine or is the t45 interchangeable between the 281 and 302? i've just heard a lot of bad reviews about the t5 that's why i ask

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-09-2008, 09:07 AM
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No their not. The t-45 have a different bellhousing pattern for the mod motors.

I wouldnt worry about the t-5. Im making around 280hp in my TC still on the stock t-5. Remember, the t-5 has been used in everything under the sun including mustang GT's.

The suspension is a modified mcpherson strut setup. There is a strut with a spring behind it on the a-arm. The tc's actually have pretty high spring rates (600lbs in the front, 300lbs in the rear.) and some pretty thick swapbars. The only good replacements are sn-95 mustang springs. As for replacing the a-arms:

A-ARMS FROM:............................................. ................ARE THE SAME AS:
1983-86 Cougar/Thunderbird.....................................19 79-93 Mustang
1987-88 Cougar/Thunderbird.....................................19 94-98 Mustang
From coolcats.net

Later ones are an inch longer and carry a few extra benefits like ride, control, and steering. I would recommend a set of caster and camber plates from Maximum Motorsports to go with them to dial in your alignment a little better.

The NOS PRC struts are pretty much impossible to find, if you do be prepared to spend over $1,000 on a set. Mustang shocks and struts can work but the rears are about an inch shorter. I know that adapters can be bought from a guy named Chuck W, but dont know much else about them.

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Last edited by Hobohuey; 03-14-2008 at 04:48 PM. Reason: correction
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 11:18 AM
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No their not. The t-45 have a different bellhousing pattern for the mod motors.

I wouldnt worry about the t-5. Im making around 280hp in my TC still on the stock t-5. Remember, the t-5 has been used in everything under the sun including mustang GT's.
The difference is you have a 4-cyl version of the T-5. Most of those other cars you mention, the GT Munchtangs in particular, can take a lot more twist with their V8 T-5's.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 07:15 PM
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No their not. The t-45 have a different bellhousing pattern for the mod motors.

I wouldnt worry about the t-5. Im making around 280hp in my TC still on the stock t-5. Remember, the t-5 has been used in everything under the sun including mustang GT's.
As I stated in my earlier post, the internals of the 4-cyl T5 are not the same as the internals of a Mustang's 5.0 T5. They can't handle the torque from a V8.

I would worry about the T5 in your car. It likely won't last too much longer.


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