1995 Tbird 4.6 power improvements - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I've had my 95 Tbird 4.6 for a little more than a year. It's my weekend toy. I'm not into drag racing or racing anyone really, but what I am into is hugging the curves of the Blue Ridge Parkway or the curves of West Virginia's byways. So far the car is pretty much all I need, but I do want a few things.
1) Trans gets mushy and whinny when it gets hot. In shop now for repairs and B&M Shift kit for the Street/strip mod. Suggestions on a shifter for this application. On most mountain roads I hold the trans in 2 and run rpms from 2 to 3500.
2) Change to stiffer neoprene sway bar bushings front and back for a flatter turn.
3) Shed some weight. Any help here is appreciated. I am already planning to remove the rear seats and light weight carpet the area.

The engine is stock 88,000 miles running good. I swapped out the 195 degree thermostat for a 180. I hooked up a 40 amp relay at the battery direct into the hi side of the cooling fan. The computer won't turn on the fan until 195 so I use the cooling fan override switch in the ashtray to keep it super cool in mountain curves or city traffic.
I opened up the air filter box by removing the horn/silencer for direct cool air induction. K&N filter. I noticed a power increase with the Royal Purple HPS 5w20 that I now use. That's it so for for the engine. Original plugs will be changed soon.
Not looking for a rocket, but if any of you guys know of any inexpensive tricks or mods, I'd be really interested to hear.
That's about it. Like I said, I don't race, but I do like to straighten out a curve or two a few times a summer.

Thanks

Mr.Thunderbird

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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 04:48 PM
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Might have gone with the J-Mod instead of the shift kit.

A tune would have taken care of the 180* thermostat, not too cheap a mod but something to keep in mind!

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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 06:23 PM
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definitely would have gone with the J-mod vs any shift kit.

"Inexpensive" is relative. I just paid over $380 for Grade 5 Titanium bolts to save weight and I thought it was pretty darn cheap if you ask me. See what I mean? What is your actual realistic budget?
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 06:51 PM
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Ok, I've had my 95 Tbird 4.6 for a little more than a year. It's my weekend toy. I'm not into drag racing or racing anyone really, but what I am into is hugging the curves of the Blue Ridge Parkway or the curves of West Virginia's byways. So far the car is pretty much all I need, but I do want a few things.
1) Trans gets mushy and whinny when it gets hot. In shop now for repairs and B&M Shift kit for the Street/strip mod. Suggestions on a shifter for this application. On most mountain roads I hold the trans in 2 and run rpms from 2 to 3500.
2) Change to stiffer neoprene sway bar bushings front and back for a flatter turn.
3) Shed some weight. Any help here is appreciated. I am already planning to remove the rear seats and light weight carpet the area.

The engine is stock 88,000 miles running good. I swapped out the 195 degree thermostat for a 180. I hooked up a 40 amp relay at the battery direct into the hi side of the cooling fan. The computer won't turn on the fan until 195 so I use the cooling fan override switch in the ashtray to keep it super cool in mountain curves or city traffic.
I opened up the air filter box by removing the horn/silencer for direct cool air induction. K&N filter. I noticed a power increase with the Royal Purple HPS 5w20 that I now use. That's it so for for the engine. Original plugs will be changed soon.
Not looking for a rocket, but if any of you guys know of any inexpensive tricks or mods, I'd be really interested to hear.
That's about it. Like I said, I don't race, but I do like to straighten out a curve or two a few times a summer.

Thanks
Not aware of any aftermarket shifters for the 4r70W, since you can select all four gears already. The Jmod would have been a better, cheaper alternative than the B&M, but run what you brung.

I would also run a 0w30 oil vs the 5w20. I prefer the lubrication of the 30 weight oil over the 20, the only reason Ford switched to 5w20 was to get .5mpg improvement.

A transmission cooler would be a good idea, plate style, up in front of the AC Condenser. Make sure your transmission guy puts real Mercon V in.

For corner carving, here's what I've got. I wouldn't call it "cheap" but here's what I recommend...

Brakes. Either go with the PBR swap (1999-2004 Mustang GT calipers on our rotors, a little grinding, and they work beautifully. For even more braking, swap over to 13" Mustang Cobra calipers and rotors. You'll need to re-drill the rotors for our bolt pattern, or extend the holes 1/8", but it's easy. For the Cobras, get the rear caliper relocation brackets and do the cobra rear rotors too.

Suspension... Vortgland springs, Tokiko Blues or Monroe GR-2 shocks, shock/strut tower braces front and rear, Super Coupe or Addco front and rear anti-sway bars. Do not get the "biggest" Addco units, as they are overkill and add way too much stiffness, which will pull a wheel up in cornering, reducing overall traction. Get something apporximating the 1989 SC sway bars. Bushings, bushings, bushings! Replace any worn bushings with good ones. Good alignment too.

Then get a traction lok rear end, mark 8 aluminum diff housing, and 3.73:1 gears, and a one piece aluminum driveshaft.

PI heads, intake, and cams will wake the motor up, along with a tune.

97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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New at this. What's a J mod?? Start work on Monday so I'm all ears

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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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OK, Tune is on the way. LOL Great ideas Thanks a Million. I was just looking at a B&M Super Cooler (plate style). That's going in now. Buying that on Monday.
Holy Crap that's a suspension. When I tell you I go road racing, it's actually more "old man driving quickly"..... So I'll do the sway bars and new struts and shocks. Monroe sensa trac is what I was told would be good for my driving. Been looking at the Road King torque converters. Some are marked "High Stall". Anyone know what's in my stock 4.6 95 bird?? Thought something like a 2200 would be better than stock and be driveable???

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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 10:59 PM
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OK, Tune is on the way. LOL Great ideas Thanks a Million. I was just looking at a B&M Super Cooler (plate style). That's going in now. Buying that on Monday.
Holy Crap that's a suspension. When I tell you I go road racing, it's actually more "old man driving quickly"..... So I'll do the sway bars and new struts and shocks. Monroe sensa trac is what I was told would be good for my driving. Been looking at the Road King torque converters. Some are marked "High Stall". Anyone know what's in my stock 4.6 95 bird?? Thought something like a 2200 would be better than stock and be driveable???
Not sure what stock is, but they don't like high rpm at all and tend to balloon out. Minimum I'd go is a Mark VIII or Mercury Marauder torque converter which is smaller in diameter, can take higher revs better, and has a stall around 2800RPM. I have one in my car and it does very well.

All the suspension stuff listed is done in my car, mostly by the previous owner, and my car corners VERY flat, and handles very neutrally. Mine has 1989 Super Coupe front and rear sway bars, and the strut/shock tower braces are very nice as well.

The one piece drive shaft is also pretty much a necessity if you get rear gears over 3.27:1, the stock steel shaft is VERY heavy, and is a two piece design. It gets a very distinct vibration at higher RPM's, which is detrimental to the driveline.

The JMod is modifying the fluid paths in the transmission to allow the solenoids to fill more rapidly, resulting in less heat, wear, and sharper, firmer shifts, particularly the 1-2 shift. Go to the transmission subforum and look there, instructions are very easy to come by. My car has it, and at mid to full throttle, it'll chirp the tires from first to second, and at WOT, it'll chirp 2-3.

Another thing about the transmission, DO NOT, EVER EVER EVER EVER do a WOT shift into OD or from OD. The overdrive bands on the 4r70w are a weak point, and cannot handle full power when engaging/disengaging. I recommend using the OD button to downshift out of 4th before hitting the throttle, then once you're in third, mash it.

97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 11:21 PM
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do the Jmod, plain and simple.

Never heard those torque converters. I've invested in a DirtyD0g 6000+ RPM stall torque converter, if that says anything.
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 11:47 PM
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I know everyone here says the j-mod is the only way, but I had the B&M shift kit up into my car 65,000 miles (and a few hundred drag strip passes) ago and I haven't had any problems with it. The kit has two options- rv/heavy duty and street/strip. I went with the lower rv setting and the tires squawked at 1-2 and sometimes cherped at 2-3. I have been very happy with it.

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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 10:05 AM
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I know everyone here says the j-mod is the only way, but I had the B&M shift kit up into my car 65,000 miles (and a few hundred drag strip passes) ago and I haven't had any problems with it. The kit has two options- rv/heavy duty and street/strip. I went with the lower rv setting and the tires squawked at 1-2 and sometimes cherped at 2-3. I have been very happy with it.
I cannot speak for the quality of the B&M unit, nor the reliability. Being the "don't spend if I don't need to" kind of guy I am, a drill bit and a few dollars worth of springs using OEM parts seemed more useful to me, especially since it was designed by one of the engineers who designed the transmission itself.

97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 12:30 AM
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The previous owner of my '96 had a B&M shift kit put in it.

I eventually tore it apart for a full rebuild and decided to J-mod it at the same time. None of the separator plate's holes were enlarged beyond the mild J-mod spec, but there were some that had to be enlarged to complete the J-mod.

I also found that a stiff aftermarket spring had been hammering the intermediate clutch. I'm not sure if it was part of the B&M kit or not, but the inner teeth on the intermediate frictions were worn about half-way through. Before putting it back together, I acquired a stock spring to put back in there.

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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 07:40 AM
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Monroe sensa trac is what I was told would be good for my driving.
Whomever told you this doesn't own a T-Bird. They are the worst shocks you can put on a T-Bird.

Unless the car floating up and down a couple times after you hit a dip in the road at speed is what you're after?

I put up with that for a LONG time in my old 95 T-Bird. Wasn't worth changing shocks because it didn't do it often, but when you hit a dip, you were hating life.

Sorry, I don't have a recommendation on which shocks to get, just one on which ones NOT to get.

Al
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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 10:38 AM
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Whomever told you this doesn't own a T-Bird. They are the worst shocks you can put on a T-Bird.

Unless the car floating up and down a couple times after you hit a dip in the road at speed is what you're after?

I put up with that for a LONG time in my old 95 T-Bird. Wasn't worth changing shocks because it didn't do it often, but when you hit a dip, you were hating life.

Sorry, I don't have a recommendation on which shocks to get, just one on which ones NOT to get.

Al

The GR-2's are firm, more road feel, but still very comfortable even with the Eibach 1.5" lowering springs. The Tokico blues are firmer, had them on my 1999 Mustang GT and enjoyed them, but that car had really stiff springs and was not a comfortable car to drive.

The best of the best are Bilstein, but the fronts for our cars are unobtanium, and the rears can use the Mustang Cobra units from 99-04.

Personally, I am VERY happy with the GR-2's, my wife is happy to ride in my car, where she wouldn't get in the Mustang if she didn't have to. It's comfortable to drive over regular bumps, but stays nice and flat in the curves.

97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 10:52 AM
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Tokico blues really aren't that firm either, OEM sport shocks were actually firmer, but they're the best of what's bolt-on available now. Eibachs and monroes ride almost exactly like a stock LX, just lower.
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 07:52 PM
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Not sure what stock is, but they don't like high rpm at all and tend to balloon out. Minimum I'd go is a Mark VIII or Mercury Marauder torque converter which is smaller in diameter, can take higher revs better, and has a stall around 2800RPM. I have one in my car and it does very well.

All the suspension stuff listed is done in my car, mostly by the previous owner, and my car corners VERY flat, and handles very neutrally. Mine has 1989 Super Coupe front and rear sway bars, and the strut/shock tower braces are very nice as well.

The one piece drive shaft is also pretty much a necessity if you get rear gears over 3.27:1, the stock steel shaft is VERY heavy, and is a two piece design. It gets a very distinct vibration at higher RPM's, which is detrimental to the driveline.

The JMod is modifying the fluid paths in the transmission to allow the solenoids to fill more rapidly, resulting in less heat, wear, and sharper, firmer shifts, particularly the 1-2 shift. Go to the transmission subforum and look there, instructions are very easy to come by. My car has it, and at mid to full throttle, it'll chirp the tires from first to second, and at WOT, it'll chirp 2-3.

Another thing about the transmission, DO NOT, EVER EVER EVER EVER do a WOT shift into OD or from OD. The overdrive bands on the 4r70w are a weak point, and cannot handle full power when engaging/disengaging. I recommend using the OD button to downshift out of 4th before hitting the throttle, then once you're in third, mash it.
Back in the day with my 96 bird and 3.73s and my buddies quick 97 bird with 4.10s we use to slam into od quite often. I takes a lot more then just 1 wot into 4th to kill them, though it is very very bad for the bands.
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post #16 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 07:55 PM
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I had blue shocks on my first 94 bird. I was an idiot back then but I think they performed quite well. I guess I will see how they are with my senses now as eventually mine will see them. KYB's feel more stock like to me, I have a set on the rear.

I wish they still made bilsteins, I preferred those over anything. I wonder if our birds could use a stang front strut, they have to be close?

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post #17 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
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I had blue shocks on my first 94 bird. I was an idiot back then but I think they performed quite well. I guess I will see how they are with my senses now as eventually mine will see them. KYB's feel more stock like to me, I have a set on the rear.

I wish they still made bilsteins, I preferred those over anything. I wonder if our birds could use a stang front strut, they have to be close?
Not even close lol Our cars don't use struts.
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post #18 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 08:29 PM
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As far as weight reduction goes, the rear seats are so incredibly light weight that its probably more beneficial to leave them in place for the few times you may need them.
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post #19 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 09:31 PM
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I went with the monroe sena-trac, they ride fine...just not super sporty. but they are better than 20 year old ford shocks.
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post #20 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 09:44 PM
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Back in the day with my 96 bird and 3.73s and my buddies quick 97 bird with 4.10s we use to slam into od quite often. I takes a lot more then just 1 wot into 4th to kill them, though it is very very bad for the bands.
Unless he's owned it since new, I figure an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

97 Thunderbird LX (The GT Bird)
2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #21 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 07:16 AM
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As far as weight reduction goes, the rear seats are so incredibly light weight that its probably more beneficial to leave them in place for the few times you may need them.
Agreed. Plus it makes the car look like trash to save 40 lb.

For mountain type cruising, gears should be your first mod. 3.55's should work well with the 95 w/o requiring a tune.

Al

97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k miles
Previous Fords:
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96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years, 187k miles
88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles
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post #22 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 08:50 PM
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If you want to improve cornering nothing beats some wide sticky tires. You'll have to watch the offset though of you don't want to chew up your tires on your fenders.
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post #23 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Just bought this car about a year and a half ago. It's been well cared for, just not driven much. Only 56,000 miles when I got it.

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I tried a set of Accelera Alpha tires for a year. For me those were great and I liked the tread pattern. Driving on them was like being on rails. Only last a year, but real cheap. Listed as a summer tire, they worked surprisingly well in the snow here in the mountains of Virginia. Now I have Fuzion tires by Bridgestone on. They're noisy but hold for what I do. Last better than the Alphas but don't hold as well.
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post #25 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 10:37 PM
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I tried a set of Accelera Alpha tires for a year. For me those were great and I liked the tread pattern. Driving on them was like being on rails. Only last a year, but real cheap. Listed as a summer tire, they worked surprisingly well in the snow here in the mountains of Virginia. Now I have Fuzion tires by Bridgestone on. They're noisy but hold for what I do. Last better than the Alphas but don't hold as well.
I've had excellent luck with General GMax AS03's. They are a z rated, all season radial, with a very high treadwear rating.

I had them on my 99 Mustang GT, and they were excellent. I have a set on my Thunderbird, and I love them. They communicate very well, hold onto to the ground like glue, and the treadwear is very nice. There are grippier tires, but for the cost I want one that is a good balance and last awhile.

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post #26 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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I've never tried those tires. V speed rating seems to be good enough and the
Accelerate Alphas hold just fine and are cheap enough that I don't mind buying a set every year. Just pull the car out of the garage in spring, have my shop install the new tires... $350 and I get new tires every spring.
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post #27 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:53 AM
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I've never tried those tires. V speed rating seems to be good enough and the
Accelerate Alphas hold just fine and are cheap enough that I don't mind buying a set every year. Just pull the car out of the garage in spring, have my shop install the new tires... $350 and I get new tires every spring.
Or you could spend $500 and have a great set that lasts four or five years.

I never tried them either until I did. LOVE THEM! I have had great luck with many varieties of General brand tires. The Altimax Arctic are my go to snow tire, and I live in Minnesota, so I need snow tires on my cars. On my old Thunderbird that got driven in snow, they were amazing. They also worked very well on my 2002 Crown Victoria and we have a set for my wife's 2016 Escape.

I also used the General Altimax RT on my 2002 Crown Vic, and it was an excellent tire as well. Plenty of grip, nice cruising, no noise.

But hey, if you want to spend $350 a year on tires, go for it.

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2003 Explorer WAP block with Modular Head Shop "street ported" heads and Stage 2 PI NA cams, 75mm Accufab throttle body, C&L upper intake plenum, Kooks 1.75" primary/3" collector headers, 2.5" full exhaust with mid mount Magnaflow dual in/out muffler, 24lb/hr injectors, 80mm MAF, Tuning from Don @ www.lasotaracing.com, CAI that feeds from fenderwell. Jmod, 3.73:1 TL in Mark VIII carrier, Mark VIII aluminum LCAs, 93 Mark VIII driveshaft, PBR brakes (soon to be Cobras), 18x9 wheels with 35mm offset, 255/40/ZR18 Tires, Front and Rear strut/shock bracing, GR-2 shocks, Eibach 1.5" springs, 1989 SC front and rear sway bars.
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post #28 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 07:51 PM
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to Segway, I don't think running your motor super cool benefits performance or anything for that matter, probably causes more issues then anything. Motors need to run just hot or cool enough, not super cool. So may I ask you, how low do you keep the temp? Usually a 180 stat keeps these cars on the very bottom end of the ect gauge in the dash. I cant imagine they need to run much cooler.

Second thing is, I think we may live near each other if your in central VA and jump into wv a lot, are you far from Maryland?

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post #29 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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They wouldn't last that long with my driving. While I am not even close to being fast as fast cars go today, I don't mind drifting around the corners some.... Ok mostly sliding, LOL

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post #30 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Running an engine cooler does help reduce wear. That's from folks that know light years more about this stuff than I do. Also 180 isn't super cool, 160 would be in that range and running too cool can cause more wear. So I choose the 180

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