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  1. #1

    Default Chuck's '83 TBird Turbo - The reanimation

    So, some people may know me, most probably don't, but I've been a member around here for a while.

    I've had this '83 TBird since 1996 and it's been an evolving project the entire time.





    Until recently, I'd parked it for a couple years because it really needed a couple issues addressed, and life got busy with a new house and 2 kids.

    The past year plus, I've been taking care of a few things that needed to be fixed, but I just had never gotten around to it.

    The list of projects that just wrapped up were:
    - 8.8 swap and FINALLY installed the Cobra rear brakes I've had for almost 15 years.
    - Power distribution and lighting upgrades.
    - WBO2 install
    - Megasquirt update
    - Total rear suspension redo (semi-custom 5-link)

    Now the car is out of the workshop and getting driven again (At least when the weather is nice...and I have someplace to go). I have some other future plans, but I have a couple other projects to work on first. At least this isn't sitting in the garage on stands any longer.

    I'll probably make separate posts in this thread for the recent upgrades, as there is just too much to dump into one post.
    83 TC "Clone"

  2. #2

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    One of the bigger things that needed to be addressed was the rear end. The old 7.5 I'd had in there for the past 20 years was starting to get questionable.

    I'd grabbed an 87-88 TC 3.55 rear a long while back, so I got the 7.5 out and started to rebuild the 8.8.
    (The panhard bar bracket was in there for some initial test-fitting...)



    I wasn't planning on using quadshocks, so I worked on getting rid of all of that nonsense.


    I rebuilt the TL diff



    I needed to do some rear suspension mock-up first, so I took care of that before I got everything cleaned up for reassembly.


    After that was done, I got everything stripped and powdercoated.


    I bolted on the Cobra rear brakes (finally) and it was ready to go. The slotted rotors wouldn't be my first choice, but I got such a good deal on them, I couldn't pass them up at the time. When I pulled them off of the shelf, the date on the shipping label was 2006!


    That's enough for tonight.

    More to come later.
    83 TC "Clone"

  3. #3
    FEP Member
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    A work of art like this is not created over a long weekend.

  4. #4
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    Sweet looking machine. Very clean. I am assuming you are already running front Cobra brakes? Were you running regular GT/V6 rear discs until now?
    '89 XR-7 5 Speed
    '95 SC 5 Speed
    '91 Crown Vic P72 351W
    '97 Thunderbird
    '85 Ford LTD Squire

  5. #5

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    Yes, Cobras up front. I'd been running 87-88 TC discs that I'd drilled/bored to run 5-lug. I'd had them before I got the rear Cobra stuff.
    83 TC "Clone"

  6. #6
    FEP Senior Member Patrick Olsen's Avatar
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    Sharp looking car! That style really has aged well. My Mom had a baby blue '83 V6 that I occasionally drove in high school (when I wasn't rockin' the Country Squire wagon!).

    You said a semi-custom 5-link. Is that based on the old Steeda 5-link setup?

    And are those functional brake cooling scoops on the rocker panels?
    '89 GT convertible - not a four-eye
    '82 Zephyr Z7 - future track car

  7. #7

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    Yes. It started off as an old Steeda 5-Link 2 set-up. Might as well discuss that modification now.

    I bought it used and knew I was going to have to modify it anyway, to fit the car.

    I started with the idea of just using the original set-up and modified one of the original upper links (Lengthened to match the length difference between the Mustang and TBird uppers).



    Once I had those in place and checked some geometry numbers at ride height, I immediately scratched that plan. I wasn't at all happy with how things looked.

    I needed to raise the front of the upper links up a bit...and I chose to burn it all down.







    I also threw the crappy upper links in the trash.



    The panhard bar chassis bracket wasn't going to clear anything, so I had to mod the lateral support a bit.



    I reused my old KB TracKit axle brackets, to keep the dropped rear mounting location of the RLCAs


    I kept my old RLCAs as they were, and just recoated them with everything else.


    Once I got everything back from powdercoat, I realized that I messed up something and the panhard bar was hitting the chassis bracket, so I needed to tweak it a bit and mod it so I could keep it adjustable.



    Once I got that all together, we were good to go.
    83 TC "Clone"

  8. #8

    Default

    You can see the exhaust in the first of those pics above. yes, I have a full 3" tailpipe snaked around all of that nonsense...with no hitting or rubbing.

    I pulled everything out of the car to freshen it up a bit. Replaced band clamps with v-bands, etc.







    I then cut my Stinger tailpipe into about 6 pieces and worked on fitting it around everything.




    Then had it Cerakoted




    So far, so good. Still feeling out the new rear set-up, but I haven't had ANY exhaust rattles or interference. It gets as close as 3/8" to the frame and other parts at times.
    83 TC "Clone"

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen View Post
    And are those functional brake cooling scoops on the rocker panels?
    They are not. I added them when I had the car painted years ago. I wanted something subtle, but different. They are an homage to the side ducts on the old M81 Mustang.

    They could be useful, but currently they are just there for looks.
    83 TC "Clone"

  10. #10
    FEP Supporter NAVYCAT's Avatar
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    wow looking good,loved those birds
    2017 Mustang ECO BOOST (DD) 1986 Capri 5.0 Silver/Red
    1969 Falcon XW GTHO coupe (SOLD) went to australia
    Past 4 eyes-
    4th. 1981 Capri "White" Black Magic I6
    3rd. 1984 Capri RS V8 Black/grey
    2nd. 1984 Capri RS V8 White/red
    1st. 1984 SVO Grey/grey (traded it for a worn out 1970 BOSS 302)
    Both '84 Capri's vin# were 10 away from each other
    U.S. NAVY 1980-2009

  11. #11

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    A 4-eyed bird. ...Gotta love ‘em!

  12. #12
    FEP Senior Member Patrick Olsen's Avatar
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    Impressive fabwork on the rear suspension setup! And to make a 3" exhaust fit through there?! Wow!

  13. #13

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    I love this all around.

    Sweet build, and the SN95 wheels look so fitting on it! I'd love to do a 'bird or cougar next after my Fairmont.

  14. #14
    FEP Power Member mcb82gt's Avatar
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    I follow you on Foxtbirdcougar. This is a great post on here as well. Chuck always does amazing work/attention to detail!
    Mike

    Now stang-less.

    88 Cougar 5.0

  15. #15

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    One of the other nagging problems what the issue of how the lighting is powered from the factory in this thing. It had gotten to the point that I couldn't run the brights without the switch overheating and ALL of the lights would shut off. I'd also never gotten around to actually wiring up the Marchal fogs I'd installed (They were just holders for the awesome white covers )

    The power distribution was also kind of a sad sight.


    There were inline fuses for the cooling fan, some stereo equipment and the old MS install. Also, fusible links...ick.

    My original plan didn't include power distribution changes, so I'd picked up this custom relay/fuse box.


    It had relays for LO and HI beams, foglights, and the fan, as well as fuses to replace the inline ones, with a few spares.

    I pared things down to what I needed and stashed the extra terminals away for when I might need them.


    I also made a couple brackets to hold the fuse panel to the DS inner fender.


    "What's that other panel for?", you say.

    Well, remember those fusible links? They went bye-bye.



    I picked up a MAXI fuse panel and replaced all of them with a MAXI fuse. Somehow I never did take a pic with the fuses installed. The 3 links I replaced are all 40A fuses now. So far no issues.

    Once I got it all together and wrapped up, it looked much better.


    Now, the main reason behind all of this was to fix the lighting. I wasn't going to just dump sealed beams back in there, so I did an H1/H4 conversion.

    The new housings were a bit big for the light holders, so I got creative on opening them up. I wasn't going to nibble away at them with some tin snips.




    Oh, and the fogs work now!


    Also, as part of this, I installed a Spartan II WBO2 sensor. I had one in my 240 Volvo and liked it well enough.

    I swapped out my older Alipne CD headunit with a newer one I had with AUX/USB inputs. I just dump a bunch of music onto a microSD drive and let it roll, or I could plug in the phone and stream, if I really wanted to.




    Another task was to replace the dead bushings in my motor mounts.

    These were an early set of the mounts I produced from '02-'17-ish. The bushings were from a failed attempt at a second-source for the isolators. Energy Suspension pieces went back in (What I started with originally).

    I did one thing that could be considered "cosmetic" and that was to install a ScottRodFab "nose cover".


    My main reason was for airflow improvements through the IC and radiator, but it does clean things up a bit.

    That is the large chunk of work this round. I've got a few small details to button up or address, but tuning and driving manners have been great so far.
    83 TC "Clone"

  16. #16

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    WOW! Don't know how I missed this one. I love it. I always loved the Turbo Birds. I got sooo close to owning one back around 1987 or so but it was black and even then I knew better than to get a black car. That thing would haul even in stock form. It would make those VR60 Gatorbacks bark in third. Great cars.

  17. #17
    FEP Power Member mcb82gt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by homer302 View Post
    it was black and even then I knew better than to get a black car. .
    What wrong with black cars? lol
    Mike

    Now stang-less.

    88 Cougar 5.0

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