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1989 Mustang LX 4-Cylinder Conversion

ECoogan

Member
Hi Everyone!

Forgive me, I am quite new so I am sure that all of these subjects have been talked about ad nauseam; however, I wanted to just kinda tell you a bit of background on the purchase I'm currently making for my Modular conversion project. I found a gorgeous 1989 Mustang LX 4-cylinder with an automatic transmission (the only downside right now, but not like I could keep the stock transmission anyhow) for only $2,000 near my home and I will be buying it this weekend. I have been considering this modular conversion for about five years ever since I saw folks starting to put the 32 valve Modular engines into fox bodies and they were getting them working beautifully! I really want a consistent daily driver that I can also have a blast with on the weekends. I really could use you guys advice for my particular situation...

Okay, so I have absolutely adored the Mustang fox body since I was just a kid (I'm 33 now by the way), but I was unfortunately unable to ever get my hands on one despite having owned some pretty nice "sports cars" like an '89 Pontiac Firebird Formula (with the 350 and Tuned Port Injection or TPI which I actually rebuilt the engine on, put new heads, headers, cam, and swapped in a t5 pro transmission) and a 1991 Camaro RS (which had the GM 305 5.0L with Throttle Body Injection but also some work on the heads, rear end, the t5 transmission, long tube headers, etc...) so I have missed having a car with a little bit of "get up and go." I have always loved Ford, and I have always adored the Terminator 32 valve 4.6L s/c engine which was so over-engineered as far as the bottom end that I've seen some that have over 850 on that very stock bottom end. The weak part seems to be the pistons, but the rods are obviously fabulous which makes those engines nearly indestructible.

Herein lies the problem though, my dear friends and fellow enthusiasts. I really want to do a Terminator conversion into the Mustang LX I will be purchasing this weekend as my project car. The problem is... The Terminator engine is not the easiest in the world to find and I am on a bit of a budget - of course not that much of a budget or I wouldn't even be attempting a Modular conversion, I would just grab a 351 pushrod out of an old Bronco in the salvage yard along with a fairly nice six speed transmission, some nice heads and headers, and then go have some fun. I am worried about the fact that I want this to be my daily driver if it needs to be (I have two other vehicles - one for my wife and one for me to ferry us both back and forth to work), so I am a bit concerned about the amount of heat a vehicle with forced induction puts off and the potential problems they could have. Given that the Terminator '03 and '04 Cobras are some of the most sought-out Cobras period right now, I would say that it has been long proven that the Terminator engine is more than adequate to be used for a number of purposes. On the other hand, would it just be better to go straight for the Coyote? What do you all think? What would you do if you were in my position? I'm going to try to keep build under $15,000, but that probably will not happen. The '89 LX 4 cylinder I'm purchasing is in fabulous condition - the paint is beautiful, the interior is actually very nice as well, and the headlights and taillights are brand new. I will be making lots of changes and I also have to put in another consideration here - the Colorado emission laws are a little bit strict... I had been used to using straight pipes from the long tube headers back in Louisiana, but obviously my days of doing that sort of thing are over...

I am eager to hear what you guys would suggest and what you guys would do in my shoes. Thank you all so much in advance and I really look forward to hearing your responses! Thanks again for your time!

Sincerely and Respectfully,
Eric C.
 

Bill

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Donator
Hi Eric. Welcome to the site. We are no strangers to budget builds. There are lots of options. The coyote is a great option, but they tend to get a bit pricey. You might consider doing 99-04 donor GT, as it would come with all the parts you need to get a 2V going. There are a lot of Lincoln 4V motors out there if it has to be 32 valves. You could also consider doing the aluminum block build: https://modularfoxmustangs.com/community/threads/teksid-2v-tech-article-must-read.821/
I saw one of these at a show a few weeks ago with a Roush blower installed. The dyno sheet was north of 700 and they guy said he had less than 10K in the build. At this point, planning is everything. Your Fox will need everything, so a donor car is the quickest and easiest way to get all the little parts you will need to make the build a success. Dig in and make your self at home.
 

ECoogan

Member
Hi Eric. Welcome to the site. We are no strangers to budget builds. There are lots of options. The coyote is a great option, but they tend to get a bit pricey. You might consider doing 99-04 donor GT, as it would come with all the parts you need to get a 2V going. There are a lot of Lincoln 4V motors out there if it has to be 32 valves. You could also consider doing the aluminum block build: https://modularfoxmustangs.com/community/threads/teksid-2v-tech-article-must-read.821/
I saw one of these at a show a few weeks ago with a Roush blower installed. The dyno sheet was north of 700 and they guy said he had less than 10K in the build. At this point, planning is everything. Your Fox will need everything, so a donor car is the quickest and easiest way to get all the little parts you will need to make the build a success. Dig in and make your self at home.
Hey Bill! Thanks so much for the information! I'm not able to visit the site too much lately because of how crazy things at work have been going. Unfortunately, the gentleman I was going to purchase from had gone out of town and then gone silent for the weekend so I thought he was probably busy, so no problem, right? I got a little nervous by Wednesday and I hadn't gotten a single word from him... When I sent him the fourth message of the week on Thursday, he finally let me know he had taken a better offer - which I cannot blame him for, I thought $2k was a bit too good to be true for such a clean car with the 5 lug conversion already done on the 4 cylinder... I was pretty upset about it, but I told him I understand and asked if he knew anyone else. He gave me the name of his buddy with another late '80s 5.0 GT hatchback. The gentleman wants at least $4500 for it, but said he is willing to wait on me getting financing since I don't have that much in my bank account right now. Wish me luck my friends!

Respectfully,
Eric C.
 

Bill

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Donator
I see decent Fox bodies on FB marketplace all the time. What part of the country are you in?
 

Bill

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Donator
I'm in Aurora, Colorado, my friend. I don't see them around here very much unfortunately :(
Agreed. I lived in Thornton for years. They are not as plentiful there, but they do come up. Keep watching.
 
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