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  1. #1

    Default Need a little more h.p.

    What is the best way to go on a 1985 mustang with only 65K on eng. Looking for exact parts like intake, carb. & roller rockers. Don't really want to do cam & heads just yet. Also what air cleaner to get to replace the stock one with the tubes Don't want to go wild Just a mild increase. This is a 302 carbed. Thanks for any help

  2. #2
    FEP Power Member Bryan Knebworth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Lexington, MA


    You might simply upgrade to 3.73 rear gears. Its a very inexpensive modification that will make your car more fun to drive. Sub Frame Connectors too, if you don't already have them.
    Start there, and let us know. K&N makes a nice air cleaner for the money.
    Last edited by Bryan Knebworth; 07-13-2019 at 08:46 AM.

  3. #3
    FEP Power Member richpet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Lowell, Oregon


    That dual snorkel intake is actually a very good air filter housing, sucking cooler air from the wheel wells. A K&N replacement filter is a good option.

    Roller rocker do not add a lot of power. Sure, a little, but it is mainly a loss in friction, and wear, which frees a bit of power but also contributed to longevity.

    Gears will set you back a few hundred bucks, but they are cheaper than heads by a long shot. An intake will add a little power, but again, not a lot. Those factory e5 heads are not able to benefit from a lot of other improvements.

    It boils down to this- how much do you want to spend. A lot depends on paying for the work or doing it at home.
    83 5.0 GT. Quicker than it looks! 10:1 (or just over) 306, Motorsport a332 cam, 140A alt, t5 conv, 8.8 w/ 3.27's, Edel rpm, alum rad, very worked e7's, Holley SA carb, etc... SOLD IT!!!!

    Now have a 1981 Granada! Building a 9.5:1 .040 over 302, Edel E-street heads, 268 cam, T5, 8.8 with 3.55, plus all the stiffening goodies, control arms, ...

    "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups"

  4. #4


    Biggest problem with the 302 is breathing. for street usage a dual plane manifold with a 600cfm holley tuned properly and then open the exhaust up a bit. you won't see a big jump without changing heads and cam but that is for later. The 1.6 roller rockers will "Fake" the engine to think the cam is bigger and the rollers do help remove friction. Most roller rockers will hit the breather splash guard on the inside so modification/removal or the use of 2 valve cover gaskets wiil be needed.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
    Albert Einstein

    1984 20th Anniversary GT350
    Almost "Stock"

  5. #5


    1.7 roller rocker add duration and lift. The lift itself doesn't do much but, because you move the whole curve up, there is more area under it and that looks like a little more duration to the engine. They are a worthwhile add on but, as people say, there isn't much you can do with e5 heads. e7 heads are actually and improvement on those and they still suck bad.

  6. #6
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Barboursville, WV


    People swear an electric fan will free up a noticeable amount of hp. You'll also need a 3g alternator swap, which I would suggest everyone do to these cars due to safety. The plugs on the oem alternator harness is a fire hazard. The 3g swap and e-fan can be done on the cheap, if you don't mind used parts. Even new parts aren't too expensive.
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    86 coupe - rotbox roller
    86 coupe - working on 408w, c4
    88gt - 302 efi, t5

  7. #7


    The best bang for the buck will be equal length ceramic coated shorty headers.

    An electric fan with a 3G alternator upgrade is the next best bang for the buck.

    Then 1.7 ratio roller rockers are the next best bang for the buck.

    Do not get rid of the stock air cleaner housing or air inlet tubes. Any aftermarket pieces will make less power and increase AIT.

    All of the above is assuming that the ignition system is in correct working order.
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  8. #8
    FEP Member Mgino757's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Virginia Beach, VA


    A properly tuned 4180C carburetor will do wonders. I'd do long tube headers, true dual exhaust, and 3.55 or numerically higher gears. Recurve the ignition timing to be all in by 3500 rpm, add a few degrees on initial timing and let it eat. My setup runs the best ET at 36-38 degrees of total timing. 1.7 rockers wouldn't be a bad idea. They make valve cover spacers to help with clearance issues if you want to keep the stock covers. I'd maybe run a performer 289 or Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold to help with breathing a bit.
    1985 Mustang GT conv. modified 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, 2003 V6 T5, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch.

    1998 Mustang GT auto. PI swapped. Daily beater

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