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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Profuse Leaking Detected

Monday evening, I'm driving my Bird back home from school (appx 60 miles), and while driving on the freeway, I notice wisps of smoke coming from my bird in my rear view mirror. Mind you, I know my Bird already leaks oil and some ATF so I didn't think much of it.

Fast forward to when I stop at my freeway exit and I see smoke coming up from either side of me. A few minutes later, I'm home and I go to pop the hood. As soon as I do that, the smoke just begins billowing from the engine compartment. I check the top end of the engine bay for the source and find nothing. I lay down on the floor to see the bottom, and what do I see? Fluid dripping down the bottom end; about a drop a second, perhaps more. I swipe some fluid up off the floor with my finger and it's red. An obvious dead giveaway that it's ATF fluid.

Posting the issue on the TCCOA FB page, some people have said it's likely the tail shaft seal. I'll look around for some threads first for DIY, but I just wanted to share with everyone first before I start asking for help .

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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 09:46 AM
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Fluid flows down and back (when moving), the tailshaft seal, yoke seal, pan gasket, fill tube, front pump, cooler lines, etc are all places for it to leak.

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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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In what order is the easiest to hardest to replace / fix?

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDsDontBurn View Post
In what order is the easiest to hardest to replace / fix?
I'm not sure where the front pump is located (I have a manual) but repairs at all the points of leaking mentioned require you to be underneath the car. From what i can see, the transmission doesn't need to be removed either and the most involved one is probably the tailshaft seal replacement which will require you to drop the driveshaft which in turn requires you to temporarily drop the differential (just leaving it to dangle on the axles will give you enough clearance to pull the driveshaft back without messing with the fuel tank).

You shouldn't ask what is easier harder but instead jack up the car and look yourself for the source of the leak. Brake Parts cleaner + paper towels should help you remove the old oil and discern new leaks from just old accumulation.

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 12:45 PM
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Front pump seal is behind the torque converter, which would require removal of the trans.

These are highly engineered precision vehicles, the first step in diagnosing the problem is to strike the suspected offending part sharply and repeatedly with a blunt object, then re-test.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 05:53 PM
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Check to see if the tail housing is loose.

I had vibration issues, which loosened the bolts, which leaked very profusely, lol.

The vibration issue was the OEM driveshaft, which is the first replacement part anyone should buy.

In my case, it took out the DS, Ujoint, diff, and wheel bearings.

Oh, and the transmission was toast from being run with the fluid too low.

1qt is too low...

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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDsDontBurn View Post
I swipe some fluid up off the floor with my finger and it's red. An obvious dead giveaway that it's ATF fluid.
You're right. But check your power steering level; it should take Mercon V too...
Five seconds and you can check it off your list. (I had the steel section of my PS line under the motor rubbing against the oil pan; it eventually wore a hole in the line just to call attention to itself. Imagine my relief it wasn't my freshly rebuilt transmission!)

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 07:06 PM
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yep, depending on where the leak is under the car, i would definitely start with the power steering system. i know my rack blew out a seal on the inner tierod, and it dripped like crasy. otherwise from front too back, behind the power steering would be the pump seal between the engine and trans. then it would be the trans pan, then the tailshaft/output seal.

hopefully its the power steering, since its a lot easier to replace a pump/steering rack/lines. well, maybe the pump... the lines and rack take a bit more effort since their hidden in a tight spot between the subframe and engine... its a lot easier to just drop down the subframe for the rack.

and of course if its the front pump you'll have to separate the trans and engine, dropping the trans out of the car to slide off the torque convertor and access the pump.

trans pan, and tailshaft/output seal would be the easiest, but like mentioned above, if it is a broken or loose tailshaft from the driveshaft vibration, the driveshaft must be replaced or theirs a chance a bad Ujoint or shaft could crack your trans case and cost you a whole lot more then just a good $300 aftermarket shaft.

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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 09:11 PM
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If it's the rear tail shaft seal, just get a new one from a ford dealership, i did it with mgino on his 96. Its pretty simple drop exhaust, drop the tank or diff, pull the driveshaft out, remove the VSS sensor, and undo the 4 or 5 bolts that bolt the tailshaft in, clean the contact surface, throw in the new gasket, reverse assembly, then check trans fluid once its back together and add as necessary, sounds worse than it is.



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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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I guess the first thing I should do is clean up all the mess and then see where the drips come from to make sure what it is I need to get replaced. Hopefully it's not the bell housing or anything that requires dropping the trans. If that's the case, it's going to a shop when money is available....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
Check to see if the tail housing is loose.

I had vibration issues, which loosened the bolts, which leaked very profusely, lol.

The vibration issue was the OEM driveshaft, which is the first replacement part anyone should buy.

In my case, it took out the DS, Ujoint, diff, and wheel bearings.

Oh, and the transmission was toast from being run with the fluid too low.

1qt is too low...
You had 1qt of ATF in your trans when it died? Or if I'm not understanding you correctly, I added 1qt of ATF to compensate for what I lost.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nall_one View Post
yep, depending on where the leak is under the car, i would definitely start with the power steering system. i know my rack blew out a seal on the inner tierod, and it dripped like crasy. otherwise from front too back, behind the power steering would be the pump seal between the engine and trans. then it would be the trans pan, then the tailshaft/output seal.

hopefully its the power steering, since its a lot easier to replace a pump/steering rack/lines. well, maybe the pump... the lines and rack take a bit more effort since their hidden in a tight spot between the subframe and engine... its a lot easier to just drop down the subframe for the rack.

and of course if its the front pump you'll have to separate the trans and engine, dropping the trans out of the car to slide off the torque convertor and access the pump.

trans pan, and tailshaft/output seal would be the easiest, but like mentioned above, if it is a broken or loose tailshaft from the driveshaft vibration, the driveshaft must be replaced or theirs a chance a bad Ujoint or shaft could crack your trans case and cost you a whole lot more then just a good $300 aftermarket shaft.
You're right. But check your power steering level; it should take Mercon V too...
Five seconds and you can check it off your list. (I had the steel section of my PS line under the motor rubbing against the oil pan; it eventually wore a hole in the line just to call attention to itself. Imagine my relief it wasn't my freshly rebuilt transmission!)
I have standard PS fluid in my PS sytem and it's never leaked (yet). The reservoir is still at the same level I saw it at last time.

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If it's the rear tail shaft seal, just get a new one from a ford dealership, i did it with mgino on his 96. Its pretty simple drop exhaust, drop the tank or diff, pull the driveshaft out, remove the VSS sensor, and undo the 4 or 5 bolts that bolt the tailshaft in, clean the contact surface, throw in the new gasket, reverse assembly, then check trans fluid once its back together and add as necessary, sounds worse than it is.
That does sound pretty difficult, lol.

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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 05:23 PM
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You had 1qt of ATF in your trans when it died? Or if I'm not understanding you correctly, I added 1qt of ATF to compensate for what I lost.
No, I was a Qt low, every day, for a week. (at the end of the day)

This is not good for our transmissions; even if you top it off daily, it will kill it in a short while. About a week, for me.

I totally agree, you need to get under it, wash it off a bit, and look at it carefully.

Don't pressure wash it; it has a big leak somewhere, and those work both ways, lol.

I don't use a lot of pressure unless it's coming apart.

Remember, the glues in a tranny are Water Soluble.

The main things are going to be the pan gasket, the shaft where the shifter attaches, the fill/dipstick tube, the tail housing, the tail seal/bushing, or the TC/front/pump area.

Everything except the front pump area stuff can be fixed in the car; you have to pull it (or the engine, lol) to get there.

I'd find a driveshaft, if you haven't replaced it.

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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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You're making me want to jump on upgrades I had planned for much later on to happen now...

Not saying it's a bad thing, but I wish I could do these upgrades right now. I'm just now getting back on my feet after having been out of work for 4 months. I need to get my monthly living expenses in order first. I was going to get a PI intake as my first upgrade, lol.

Speaking of drive shafts though, where can I get one (I've yet to search since like I said, it wasn't even on my radar just yet).

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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 06:56 PM
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Speaking of drive shafts though, where can I get one (I've yet to search since like I said, it wasn't even on my radar just yet).
There's a few real good aftermarket choices out there, but if you want to spend as little as possible try to look for a DS from a Mark 8 that features the one-piece aluminum one. IIRC, they were only available for like one year (93 ?) before going to a 2 piece design.

The stock steel shafts that MN12s came with are junk and replacing it with a quality one-piece shaft should be very near the top of any upgrade list.

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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 08:17 PM
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We had a group buy from precision shaft technologies a few years back; they honored the GP price then, anthough I bet they can't now.

http://pstds.com/

Our shaft specs are in the drivetrain section in a sticky.

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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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w00t! Thanks for the info guys! I'll be reading up on all this over the next few days and see if a drive shaft upgrade is doable for me. Otherwise, I'd have to wait on that until it is doable.

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post #16 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 09:51 PM
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w00t! Thanks for the info guys! I'll be reading up on all this over the next few days and see if a drive shaft upgrade is doable for me. Otherwise, I'd have to wait on that until it is doable.
You won't believe how smooth the car feels after the DS upgrade. It's one of those things where you always heard/felt these weird things going on while driving on the stock shaft without being entirely sure what it was, then suddenly it's gone after the upgrade. And you think to yourself, "How the hell did I put up with that nonsense all this time before?" lol

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post #17 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-10-2014, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I went to that website, but it only showed part availability for Mustangs and no prices were listed. Would the Mustang DS work on our cars? I imagine it would since many Mustang parts are interchangeable, but that info isn't listed on the website.

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post #18 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-11-2014, 12:59 AM
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Um no, not even close.

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post #19 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-11-2014, 12:31 PM
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Um no, not even close.
Sure it will...with some splicing...LMAO!



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post #20 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-11-2014, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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This weekend I plan on getting under my Bird for some clean up of all the mess that's under there. Afterwards I'll give her a 20 - 30 min drive around town take her back up on the jack stands and hopefully be able to find where the leak(s) are coming from. I'm hoping it's the tail shaft and / or the trans pan as these don't require the trans to be dropped as previously stated by others here.

Oh, and I'll be sure to take before and after pictures as well as pictures of where I see any fluid dropping from.

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post #21 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-11-2014, 07:59 PM
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Sure it will...with some splicing...LMAO!
He's already got a spliced shaft under there....the STOCK one.

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post #22 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-11-2014, 10:41 PM
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He's already got a spliced shaft under there....the STOCK one.


I had the one on the red Cougar take out a bunch of parts, it was in two separate pieces; it was obvious when it was out.

The stock one is a front and rear piece of sheetmetal, glued together with rtv.

Replacement is the only cure.

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post #23 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-13-2014, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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Update:

Today I lifted up my Bird and cleaned up her underside as best as possible. Two hours, a bottle of cleaner, and several rags later, I took her out for a spin. My drive was about 55 miles or so, all freeway. I come back home and I immediately go to lift the hood. I find the source of the smoke and it's the 3rd cat as oil is being burned off on it as everyone here had said. A little after I lift up my Bird, she starts leaking from between the transmission and bell housing of the transmission. I go make sure what type of fluid it is by swiping some up off the ground, and it's not ATF, it's my motor oil!!!! I know I was leaking oil, but I didn't know I was leaking from the rear main seal! I knew my Bird was leaking from the valve cover gaskets and upper intake manifold, but not from the rear main seal. I think it busted when I was cleaning the transmission as I used my garden hose to wash down all the cleaner I used. A long shot as to why my Bird was leaking from the rear main seal is because the oil was still hot and I lifted the car at an angle causing oil to seep through the rear main seal. It's a thought, but more than likely it's busted.

After a while, the rear main had stopped leaking and I moved the car back a little bit. Apparently, ATF started to drip a little bit a little while later as I found the motor oil to be a little red. So, this tells me that my trans is leaking in the bell housing area as I was unable to find any ATF anywhere else on the trans.

Anyways, here are pictures I took.







Looks like one of my brake lines' O-Ring had fallen off at some point in time. I put that little buy back on. Hopefully it's not another big issue.



Close up of Engine-Transmission segment. Notice the ATF accumulated over the black plug. When I saw this, I had a pretty good feeling that the transmission is leaking from the Bell Housing area and not anywhere else on the unit.







It's hard to see, but that's red ATF dripping down my finger. I had swiped a little bit off of that black plug.



Some connector that I have no idea what it does.



Transmission all cleaned up





And the main rear seal leak.....




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post #24 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-13-2014, 12:14 PM
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Pop that plug out; it's the plug to access the drain plug for the TC.

If fluid pours out, that's bad.

It's normal for the front and rear main seals to leak, at this point.

Front leaks on heavy breaking, rear on heavy acceleration. (or jacking, lol.)

You have to pull either the engine or the transmission to replace it, so...


See if the TC drain is leaking; it happens.

The shifter linkage is covered, so that probably means the shaft seal is leaking.


Grab the DS, and try to turn it while looking carefully at the u-joints; movement in any of the bearings is a problem. Check both ends.

17 year old seals are the problem; Time for upgrades!

You can rebuild the tranny, but there are better ones to do that to.
You could rebuild the engine, but the same thing goes.

Note: If you can rebuild one of these for less than $1k-2k including machining, you are an Ebay Master, lol!

I buy 02 trannys, then hope to rebuild them as I wear them out.
The 03 PI swap was much cheaper than a rebuild; it had 725 miles, lol.
The Teksid block on my stand is worth rebuilding, but Man is that a lot of work.

The next one I won't take the lower end apart; every one I've disassembled has still been within factory specs. I'll replace the seals, and go with new heads.

Just be aware there are 3 stock piston sizes, with about a gram of weight difference between them; not the best thing for a race engine. Or Nitrous.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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post #25 of 33 (permalink) Old 07-14-2014, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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How do I pull off the black plug off? Just a flat head screw driver? Or is it some other way? I've noticed it just spins freely in place, so that tells me that it's not threaded.

Also, it looks like I gotta pull the trans based on what you're saying in order to replace most of the seals / gaskets as well as the engine's main rear since it'll be accessible once the trans is out. Since that's the case, I think I'm going to have to let it be where it's at for now then due to financial reasons . I'm trying to get my finances situated correctly first after having been out of work for nearly 4 months. Once all that is settled and out of the way, I want to at least get the drive shaft replaced with an aluminium single drive shaft when the transmission comes out. Hopefully, I'd be able to get the trans replaced with something else, perhaps the 4R75W? Or maybe just J-Mod the stock 4R70W I have in there now. I've skimmed through a couple trans threads and I've read that the Crown Vic trans also works, but that's a different drive shaft all together. IDK. I've yet to be more knowledgeable on transmissions. I imagine that either way, J-Modding the stock trans or getting a different trans all together, will require a tune though.

Priorities first thought like I said. This might just turn into a stock trans rebuild with an aluminum drive shaft. But hey, even that small upgrade will make me happy .

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post #26 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 09:01 PM
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Leaky tranny

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I have a transmission leak. The puddle under the car has grown significantly in the last two days. I have a new pan gasket and new filter so I am going to change those out tomorrow and hope to God that the gasket is my issue. Any suggestions?
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post #27 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 10:10 PM
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You should swap to a 96+ pan and filter while you have a chance.

Leak looks pretty much like mine, despite replacing every gasket and O-ring when I swapped transmissions . My solution is 5 speed swap

-Matt
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post #28 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 10:19 PM
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Which gasket did you get?

Michael M. ASE P2 Automobile Parts Specialist.

1996 Thunderbird LX. Gone, but not forgotten Oct 1995-March 24 2016 Trick Flow headded, E85 guzzling beast.

1985 Mustang GT. modified stock Holley 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 5 speed, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch.

1998 Mustang GT premium. Trans Go shift kit, Bassani catted x-pipe, PI heads, cams, intake swap, Accufab elbow, SCT Xcal 4 tune, Eibach Pro-kit, Maximum Motorsports Caster/camber plates, fat tires. Banging audio system.
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post #29 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 07:21 PM
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A transmission pan gasket.
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post #30 of 33 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 12:00 AM
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No kidding...lol

I mean which brand? What's it made out of? Is it like the original Ford gasket?

My tail shaft housing gasket, not the tail shaft gasket that seals the drive shaft yoke, leaked for a while and my pan almost looked like that too. It put tranny fluid everywhere, on the exhaust, on the wiring, and on the shifter cable.

Michael M. ASE P2 Automobile Parts Specialist.

1996 Thunderbird LX. Gone, but not forgotten Oct 1995-March 24 2016 Trick Flow headded, E85 guzzling beast.

1985 Mustang GT. modified stock Holley 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 5 speed, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch.

1998 Mustang GT premium. Trans Go shift kit, Bassani catted x-pipe, PI heads, cams, intake swap, Accufab elbow, SCT Xcal 4 tune, Eibach Pro-kit, Maximum Motorsports Caster/camber plates, fat tires. Banging audio system.

Last edited by Mgino96tbird46; 09-03-2014 at 12:06 AM.
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