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My 87 SCCA Trans Am Cougar

Old 07-01-2008, 12:40 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 13

It never ceases to amaze me how the more things change the more they interchange. Take for example. I have an 87SCCA Cougar and just about everthing in it is from another Ford vehicle. As you may well know these older Fox body Cougars and T-Birds were a starange breed with very few suspsnsion parts inter changing between the other Ford lines. This was a MAJOR set back when I embarked on this project back in 2004. Here is my story.....

I bought the car at the Cancer Society for $100 with a 194k, a seized up V-6 and three flat tires. Once I got it home I had a refreshed 302 ready to drop in that came from a 1988 Lincoln. I called my buddy at the Ford dealer to find out that the 302 engine mount plates were discontinued and that NONE were to be found ANYWHERE. I was frusterted but thru a massive search I managed to finda pair off of E-bay for $50. Once I got them I they bolted right on and I dropped in the engine. Hooked up everything nessary to make it a carberated beast(it originally had throttle body inj, yuk!) like triping the relay to turn the fuel pump on with IGN and not a ground from EEC-IV comp was pretty easy and the 6 psi the pump produced made it useful for the time being.I had an old 87 stang in the back lot that was smashed in the rear and the engine had been removed by my buddy for his racecar but the 5 speed was still there. After some measuring ect I removed the assy, located the old flywheel, block plate and clutch assy and began ripping out the AOD and going to a manual. The trans assy bolted in in less than 2 hours and the only things I had to do was cut a hole in the floor for the shifter and cut down a larger driveshaft to replace the AOD one as the 5 speed was a few inches shorter. Once that was done I canabalised the pedal box from the doner stang along with the clutch cable. Everything was finally done and man did she move. I had so much fun rowing through the gearsand she ran exceptionally well. I finished the roll cage, adjusted/replaced the brakes, bolted on some short track specials for tires, installed the race seat and installed some gauges on the dash leaving the factory dash in place for removal later. My first day out for a test run was on a Thurs and after 20 mins I was kind of pist. I had plenty a power on the long front straight but I had tons of roll in the turns and lots of dive under hard braking causing my rear tires to lock up. I went back to the shop that afternoon and grabbed the springs and sway bar from theold GT and installed them also as well as eliminating as much weight off the nose as possible. I also had another problem which was no positraction which was its own set of problems. My buddyJason from the shop next door helped me out with supplying and installing a used set of 3.27 gears and a posi carrier from a wrecked Ranger. Day two was very noticible but still lacked something. I tried giving the front end more camber/caster but the factoryadjustment pointswere pretty weak at best and the performance was margional. After ending the day I was glad to see some changes but it sucked that they were so small. The next day was Saturday and I went over to Bell Ford to skim through their motorsports catalog. I had a buddy who worked there and after about 1 hour he came to the conclusion that ANYTHING that would help me was either discontinued or wouldn''t work. I went to the track again on Sat afternoon looking for ideas. I noticed that a bunch of the old Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving cars had camber/caster pates on them along with a few otheritems like Cobra brakes. My mind imediately beganprocessing these ideas as I drove hometo look up what I could find on the internet. Ifound a company called Maximum Motorsports and they had some stuff for the Cougarlike the camber caster plates but that was pretty much it. Most of their stuff was for Mustangs citing the lack of demand for the Cougar parts. I scanned E bay for the next few weeks and came up with a used set ofCobra rear brakes and a set of SN-95 stang hubs complete with rotors. I ened up buying the Maximum Motorsports stuff for an 87 Stang which included a tubular K member, camber/caster plates, tubular control arms and coil over Bilsteins for the front. Installed the shocks and plates first and noticed that the difference between the holes for the strut towers was different. My holes were about 1/2 inch more forward. Well no worries just a quick buzz of the carbide and what was once a round hole is now a slotted one. With CC plates in and coil over struts in place I went to revmoving the K member. The old one came out pretty easy. I supported the engine from the top and loosened 8 bolts and two motor mount bolts and the k member was out. Now the differences were starting to become more obvious. For one the rear of the k member(where it bolts tothe sub frame)on the Cougar was more at a 90 degree angle and the Mustang one was more at a gradual slope. This caused the mustang k member to not sit flush at all. I went back to the donor stang and after a few measurements I ened up grinding a channel in the "L" bracket where the bend was and just beating it until it went together with each piece of metal overlapping each other. Now the K member fit fine and after bolting it up to help with any extra squish it may need, I removed the member and welded the ends together. After grinding them flush, I installed the new K member. It looked so nice and seemingly un-cluttered now. Everything was easlity accessed and even my old long tube headers still fit. I ended up using 87 convertible Mustang motormounts as they are stronger and bolted the engine into place. I have picts and details for anyone interested. BTW anyone from the midwest who races SCCA?

Edited by: scott89racin
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