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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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24 Hours of Lemons - Not so good 3rd Race...

After going flag-to-flag for 2 races with my 95 tbird, I was feeling pretty good about my team's ability to field a car that would last this past weekend. As you folks can see from my Splitport DIY and other threads, I did what I thought was a pretty decent amount of testing. This included both high RPM runs down the hwy (it's still street legal) as well as even a 100mi rt commute to my office.

Well, life threw me a curveball here and after a mere 17 laps, one of my drivers came in with the engine "making popping noises like one of those kid's lawnmower toys". Nothing overheated and until the noises came up, we didn't have any oil pressure issues. All my datalogging had shown a nice safe ~11.5 AFR even had max engine load across the RPM band.

The engine had lunched itself.
- One sparkplug was completely lunched.
- We had oil being pushed into the intake via the PCV valve (massive blowby)
Upon removing the engine (we needed the oil pan for my spare), we found:
- one of the piston heads had been turned to little metal bits so one of the heads might be bad. [updated]
- The rings were thrown about and all over the crank like onion strings.

The lower engine was a goner. Well, we made the decision at that time to attempt an engine swap as I had the SC engine from the donor car that gave us the transmission with heads and lower intake manifold ready to install. We got the engine mostly put together with parts taken off the blown engine and got it installed. However, in the process of trying to mate it to the transmission, the transmission fell and pulled out of hydraulic clutch line. Well, that was a part I didn't have a spare of so our race weekend was finally over at noon Sunday.

Potential Causes of Failure:
- Only reason that the piston could die that way would be detonation.
- Block was bad to begin with. It came with my car and had a rebuilt tag on it. Someone decided it was a good idea to set the ignition timing at 30 degrees adv flat (jumper to tell the ECU to advance timing removed). Engine refused to rev beyond 4K. Perhaps something was out of spec and a mechanic for my friend decided this was the best way to keep this car running as a commuter car.
- Perhaps two of the injectors were dirty and the engine went excessively lean at the sustained high RPMs..
- Did we suck a valve?
We won't know more until I pull the heads. I'll post pics.

Lessons Learned:
* Get a transmission jack.
* Get/keep a clutch alignment tool (this will help tremendously if we ever need to swap clutches)
* Get the injectors reconditioned before use
* If we are going to only race once a year, don't just bring a spare engine and expect to swap things over -- bring a fully dressed spare engine already mated to a matching transmission. With our skill level, we can swap an engine/transmission and still leave time to actually race but trying to swap/mate everything together at the track is beyond our team's current skill level.
* Beat the hell out of my co-driver to ALWAYS take the inside line around hairpins or they forfeit their session -- especially if these occur after a high-speed section. With 179 other idiots on the track, people WILL be playing bumper cars to make it around these corners and I'm sick of being the car they bump off of because we can actually hold our lines vs. skidding out drift style.

What's next for "Myopic Motorsports?"
Well, the judges liked our theme (Bozo Texino) and our shopping cart/snowboard rear wing so will probably keep it. It looks like I have a deal with a guy for a 93 Tbird with a 5.0L engine in it and a bad AOD transmission (don't care).

Since I won't be racing for another year, I plan to:
- Swap over to a 5.0. We can keep the 93's stock computer (doesn't control the trans) and the stock harness. This may cause further problems (like MadMikeyL's diff cooking and need for Cobra front brakes) but it'll be fun.
- Bodywork. Despite being on the track for only 17 laps, a punk driving a Pikachubaru managed to bang up our side. Sigh.
- Sell off my Splitport/V6 parts. This will be a great opp for you folks wanting a power upgrade to your V6 but not sure how to start. As you can see from my Splitport DIY (http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.php?t=141039), I've done a lot of homework here. According to my project log, 148.75 hrs (compared to 262 for my initial racecar prep and 130 for the manual transmission swap).
- Disassemble and sell off the non-engine bits from the 93 Tbird 5.0. The body/interior looks pretty nice so I'm hoping you folks can upgrade your existing cars and while helping me defray my racing expenses. Stay tuned.
- Fix the 2nd gear synchros in our M5R2. Why not? It's already out and we can replace that wonky clutch line that you couldn't remove.
- Acquire and refurb an entire spare V8/M5R2 engine/transmission combo. I'm totally serious here.

I know what I will be working on for the next year...
-g




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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 02:05 PM
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Hmmm those oil rings seem to over acheivers , wiping the oil off before it gets on the cylinder walls.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Update: it appears that only one of the pistons (#3), the rear passenger side piston, seams to have exploded.

This means that the other head should be good but I'll need to pull them both off before I can make a judgement/sell them.

-g

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2013, 08:02 PM
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Sorry you missed out on the race, but glad to hear you're going to drop a V8 in that bird. I know you have the 93 5.0 already, but I highly reccomend getting a 5.0 out of an explorer for your main motor, and using the tbird 5.0 as the backup. The explorer motor has the GT40 heads and intake, and it will make substantially more power than the tbird motor and also rev higher. The tbird motor will be pretty much out of steam by 5500rpms. With the explorer motor, we have our rev limiter set to 6250, and there is another team that runs the explorer motors to 7K rpms, but they frequently split engine blocks in half, so I don't reccomend spinning it that high.

If it is in the budget, swapping to a T5 might make engine/transmission changes easier, as well as last a bit longer in this type of racing. The M5R2 is stronger than the T5, but the T5 has better designed synchros which will last longer for road racing, and it also has a separate bell housing, and you can set it up with an external slave cylinder pushing on the mustang clutch fork so you won't need to worry about that hydraulic line popping out. The M5R2 we currently have in our car is still in good shape, but we may do a T5 swap when that one finally dies, or we may try to modify it to eliminate the synchros entirely, but we haven't looked that far into the trans to see if that is feasable.

As for why that 3.8 failed, a lean condition likes to melt pistons, not shatter them. A dropped valve is a possibility, but I would just attribute it to a cheap rebuild meant for a commuter car and not for racing. I have seen lots of horrible work from places like Jasper that just do stock rebuilds, and lots of mis-matched parts thrown together enough to make it run. I personally would put much more trust in a 100K mile factory assembled engine than a rebuild from a chain type place like that.

Good luck with the swap, and if you have any questions or need anything along the way, let me know.

Mike

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 10:25 AM
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Sucks to hear man, but PM me when you start ripping that splitport apart.

1994 Thunderbird - 2000 4.2L M5R2 now has 55k

1995 Thunderbird - 2002 Alum 4.6L SVO - Awaiting transplant... (Parts donor)

1996 Cougar - 2004 3.9L 4R70W
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMikeyL View Post
Sorry you missed out on the race, but glad to hear you're going to drop a V8 in that bird. I know you have the 93 5.0 already, but I highly reccomend getting a 5.0 out of an explorer for your main motor, and using the tbird 5.0 as the backup. The explorer motor has the GT40 heads and intake, and it will make substantially more power than the tbird motor and also rev higher. The tbird motor will be pretty much out of steam by 5500rpms. With the explorer motor, we have our rev limiter set to 6250, and there is another team that runs the explorer motors to 7K rpms, but they frequently split engine blocks in half, so I don't reccomend spinning it that high.

If it is in the budget, swapping to a T5 might make engine/transmission changes easier, as well as last a bit longer in this type of racing. The M5R2 is stronger than the T5, but the T5 has better designed synchros which will last longer for road racing, and it also has a separate bell housing, and you can set it up with an external slave cylinder pushing on the mustang clutch fork so you won't need to worry about that hydraulic line popping out. The M5R2 we currently have in our car is still in good shape, but we may do a T5 swap when that one finally dies, or we may try to modify it to eliminate the synchros entirely, but we haven't looked that far into the trans to see if that is feasable.

As for why that 3.8 failed, a lean condition likes to melt pistons, not shatter them. A dropped valve is a possibility, but I would just attribute it to a cheap rebuild meant for a commuter car and not for racing. I have seen lots of horrible work from places like Jasper that just do stock rebuilds, and lots of mis-matched parts thrown together enough to make it run. I personally would put much more trust in a 100K mile factory assembled engine than a rebuild from a chain type place like that.

Good luck with the swap, and if you have any questions or need anything along the way, let me know.

Mike
I'm glad to hear that you think it was a crappy bottom end vs. going lean; I think that may make whomever buys my injectors feel a little better about things.

Also, thanks as always for the suggestions on going to a 5.0, Mike.

Considering that we will still need a tbird oil pan, engine mounts, and exhaust manifolds for the spare engine, I'm thinking that we will look at an explorer engine somewhere down the line but I want to keep the car as stock as possible for the next race (well, we'll see how I feel about it once I get it in the car and working).

One thought would be to get the 5.0 tbird engine into the car and working, build up the explorer engine and then mate it a 2nd transmission as a spare, convert it to OBD1 to maintain consistency (or upgrade on-car engine to OBD2). I hear what you are saying about the strength of the T45 but I'm thinking that the M5R2 will still be the most straightforward to swap. A guy offered me one as he's got piles of parts for his 3.8SC powered lemons project and if the price is right, I may go that direction.

Q: Will I be able to reuse the same driveshafts (I have two) that I currently have? I think so b/c the distance between the M5R2 transmission and the diff will be the same no matter what engine is placed in front of the M5R2....

As far as the splitport parts are concerned, thanks for your interest jco1385. My primary interest will be to sell as much as a I can as a single bundle as I think that will get the most value for the buyer and my team. Most parts are off the car already as I need but I need to do the following:

a) Inventory all the parts -- our retreat back to my garage from Sears Point left me with several boxes of bolts that I need to categorize/inventory. In the unlikely event that I'm missing such and such a bolt, I want to make a note of it so that any prospective buyers know exactly that they will get from me and what they will need to source themselves. From what I can see, with the potential exception of the passenger side head (where the piston bits hit the top of the cylinder), you will be able to source most items from Rockauto.com order to get most of the bits you'll need (mostly a head gasket kit, bolts, etc). IMO, the hard part is already done for you (by me).

b) Pull the splitport heads from the blown engine and determine their condition.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 12:27 PM
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Yes, the stock 5-speed SC driveshaft will work with the 5.0 in front of the M5R2. That is what we have in ours as well. You will need to change your clutch, flywheel, and starter to ones for a 5.0 5-speed F150, or just have your stock 3.8SC flywheel rebalanced to match the 5.0's 50oz imbalance, and keep your current clutch and flywheel.

OBD2 is nice if you have the software to tune it and delete the auto trans functions. Without that, keeping with the tbird OBD1 harness and ECM may work better for you. Either way, a 5.0 will definitely help that car down the straights.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMikeyL View Post
Yes, the stock 5-speed SC driveshaft will work with the 5.0 in front of the M5R2. That is what we have in ours as well. You will need to change your clutch, flywheel, and starter to ones for a 5.0 5-speed F150, or just have your stock 3.8SC flywheel rebalanced to match the 5.0's 50oz imbalance, and keep your current clutch and flywheel.

OBD2 is nice if you have the software to tune it and delete the auto trans functions. Without that, keeping with the tbird OBD1 harness and ECM may work better for you. Either way, a 5.0 will definitely help that car down the straights.
By this explanation, this means that in order to go to an Explorer engine for the main/spare engine, I will need to start with quite a few Tbird 5.0 parts. At this point, wouldn't I be better off just putting the GT40/GT40P heads/intake manifold on the tbird 5.0 block?

Also, for your lemons car (as I know you have multiple tbirds), which exhaust manifolds do you use with the GT40/GT40P heads? As I understand it, there are clearance issues with both the heads AND the steering shaft of the tbird.
My first preference would be to stick with stock Tbird 5.0 exhaust manifolds.

Finally, is there any chance I can use my existing "true dual" 3-inch exhaust that came off a 95 SC? I seem to recall posts here saying that the exhaust pipes for 3.8L and 5.0L engines line up.

-g

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 01:18 PM
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I have a set of MAC long-tube headers on it, which clear the P heads and the stock tbird steering shaft just fine. What I did before was run stock mustang headers with the steering shaft mod, and I cut the flange off the explorer manifolds and used that as a spacer to space the exhaust away from the head a little bit, which gave enough clearance for everything. Also, only the P heads have the issue with the spark plug clearance. If you get regular GT40s, the plugs are in the same location as the stock E7TE heads. Swapping heads and intake onto the tbird bottom end is also an option, but would require new head gaskets and bolts. Explorer motors don't need to ever be opened up, and you can buy a complete wrecked 5.0 explorer for what it costs for just the heads and intake, so for me it was easier to just swap motor mounts and oil pan and pickup to the explorer motor. We still even have the explorer front accessories and valve covers on the engine.

As for the exhaust, the factory 5.0 tbird exhaust manifolds let out in the same location as the factory 89-93 SC exhaust manifolds. 94/95 SC exhaust manifolds are different, and I don't know for sure about any of the 3.8 N/A manifolds.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMikeyL View Post
I have a set of MAC long-tube headers on it, which clear the P heads and the stock tbird steering shaft just fine. What I did before was run stock mustang headers with the steering shaft mod, and I cut the flange off the explorer manifolds and used that as a spacer to space the exhaust away from the head a little bit, which gave enough clearance for everything. Also, only the P heads have the issue with the spark plug clearance. If you get regular GT40s, the plugs are in the same location as the stock E7TE heads. Swapping heads and intake onto the tbird bottom end is also an option, but would require new head gaskets and bolts. Explorer motors don't need to ever be opened up, and you can buy a complete wrecked 5.0 explorer for what it costs for just the heads and intake, so for me it was easier to just swap motor mounts and oil pan and pickup to the explorer motor. We still even have the explorer front accessories and valve covers on the engine.

As for the exhaust, the factory 5.0 tbird exhaust manifolds let out in the same location as the factory 89-93 SC exhaust manifolds. 94/95 SC exhaust manifolds are different, and I don't know for sure about any of the 3.8 N/A manifolds.
It's good to know that the explorer front accessories are all compatible.

Q: Are the stock mustang headers that much of an improvement over the Tbird 5.0L exhaust manifolds? Was it for performance or just fitment that required you to use Mustang headers over the Tbird stock manifold? Could you use the Tbird exhaust manifolds with GT40P heads?

I believe I understand what you mean by cutting off the flange to create a spacer.
Q: Did this bring the exhaust point of the mustang headers to the same spot as if when you used the tbird manifolds?

Q: Finally, did you need longer exhaust bolts since you are going through the mustang flange, the explorer flange turned spacers, and into the head?

Thanks,
-g

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 02:49 PM
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It was more just for fitment than performance, but there was a performance gain from it as well. The tbird manifolds are horrible from a performance standpoint. I never tried to use the tbird manifolds with the GT40P, but it would be easy enough to mock up with the engine outside of the car. The issue is that on the P heads the spark plug comes out almost straight as opposed to the angle like the regular GT40s, and that causes the plug wire to hit the exhaust manifold, which burns it up and causes a misfire. As long as you can get enough distance from the manifold that it doesn't melt the wires, you'll be fine.

The mustang headers come out completely differently from the tbird manifolds, so we had to re-make the downpipes for the exhaust. And yes we needed longer bolts for the exhaust, but we just picked up some cheap ones from home depot since they didn't need to be very strong. We also used 2 sets of exhaust gaskets to do that, as well as copper RTV to avoid any exhaust leaks.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 05:17 PM
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[QUOTE=MadMikeyL;1471951 The issue is that on the P heads the spark plug comes out almost straight as opposed to the angle like the regular GT40s, and that causes the plug wire to hit the exhaust manifold, which burns it up and causes a misfire. As long as you can get enough distance from the manifold that it doesn't melt the wires, you'll be fine.[/QUOTE]

Yep I Burn a wire or every season.

Stock Fox Pony manifolds
Drivers side. #6 Pass side no problem.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 08:35 PM
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Tbirdtess, I think you should take some new pics and post them of your T-bird. I've been curious about your build, but I've never really seen any good pics of it.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 08:40 PM
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x2....

Jason H.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 09:48 PM
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Well she is all apart right now.

No rear, trany or engine.

Body kinda pounded.

real tough to take pictures while racing.

last picture.


Finished 8th in points. with 1 dns & 1 dnf & 1 week miss.

Need to renew the engine. (351w) No cash
will rebuild the back-up I picked up.(86 351w truck)
put the C4 back in & fix the rear pumpkin cover & put the gears back in.
I have to mount the nose better. alittle low.

need to open the grill up. Car still runs HOTT!!
she hit 280* last race. Yes a steaming 280*

Picked up a different front racing shock (LF)

Here is reason for the DNF


Reason for DNS

blew the axle on parade lap. cracked the cover also.

looking for a crew. need to work for free & pay own way.


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C-4 Auto
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Last edited by tbirdtess; 03-27-2013 at 09:55 PM.
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