Filed under: 1992 Ford Thunderbird (Silver Thunder)

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Spring is in the air and many of us are looking forward to getting our beloved cars back on the road. Well, while all you are driving this spring, I’ll be working on what would likely be your “winter” projects! My projects are progressing nicely, but of course, never fast enough for me!

Right now, my heads are at the machine shop getting completely worked over. They are receiving a full port job, new valve seats for larger 1.940” intake and 1.625” exhaust valves. The valves, themselves, are Ferrea 6000 12* Super Flo valves. To compliment the valves I have some Crane dual springs capable of greater than .600” lift. I will be shortly ordering a bump stick with .590” lift with 218*/224* duration. That will really wake up my little supercharged 3.8 as well as taking advantage of the incredible flow that my heads will offer.

I also have in my possession brand new lights for my Super Coupe. These consist, not of the housings, but the actual bulb configuration. I will be installing a competition limited wiring harness that draws current directly from the battery as opposed to through the multifunction switch (known to fail). This not only allows for higher wattage bulbs, if desired, but also allows both high and low beam to be on at the same time. In addition to the comp ltd wiring harness, I also have two sets of HID conversion kits for installation, one for low beam and another for high beam. The comp ltd wiring harness allows for a transition to high beam so I’m not driving for a very short time with no lights and then slightly lower lighting until the HIDs warm up. The same goes for the converse. The HID conversion should eliminate the extremely poor lighting that the stock lights provide on the Thunderbird platform. And with properly aimed lights, there should not be a problem with oncoming traffic as I have evaluated this on other Thunderbirds with HID lights before I purchased mine. I also purchased the “coolest” possible temperature bulbs which are 6000K bulbs. This should match nicely with my PIAA fog lamps (driving lights) which are a slightly cooler 5300K.

In addition to the above, I have also purchased a slightly used rebuilt 3.8 shortblock from a fellow Super Coupe enthusiast who couldn’t leave stock alone! The block has less than 10k miles on it, which means that it’s already broken in and has made over 350 rwhp. It made that power on a relatively small bump stick which has .491” lift with 210*/220* duration. I will need to purchase a harmonic balancer for it and I’m currently looking at a SFI certified balancer for it.

I’m also reworking the stock intake manifold which is very poor at best. Currently I have to top completely cut out of it and will be consulting my machinist (head porter) to develop a flow strategy that will be much improved over the stock capability. Regardless of head flow capability, the stock manifold restricts flow to roughly 200 cfm on each intake port. We hope to remove the intake manifold as a restriction completely. My plan for the manifold is to raise the floor of the manifold so it is closer to the bottom of the intake runners (but this is still up for discussion) and to also raise the top of the manifold to no lower than the upper opening of the intake runners. What may change my plan is if I decide to install velocity stacks inside the manifold to produce a more even flow distribution and better flow into each cylinder head. In that case, I would likely not raise the floor of the manifold as I could better utilize the volume of the manifold. This is where I will defer to the subject matter expert in flow. Therefore, a lot of my final plan will be determined after I talk with my machinist.

To complement my intake manifold, I also have upgraded to a 75mm throttle body and Magnum Powers inlet plenum. This should increase the flow to my supercharger sufficiently to allow for the increase flow of the manifold and heads. I will still likely lose a few pounds of boost, but will pick up dramatically in performance!

I also have a nice set of aluminum under drive pullies that will be ready to be installed on my new-to-me engine. In addition, I’m also planning on getting a nice 9.5” 3000 stall torque converter to install while I’m performing the engine swap. I also have a Lentech valve body awaiting installation that will allow me to manually shift through each gear as well as electronically eliminating OD as needed. No more shifting into OD on the dyno or as I’m about 300’ short of trapping in the quarter mile!

I have many more, but much smaller modifications in mind while I’m swapping engines. I would very much like to clean up the engine bay which means new paint as well as possibly upgrading various lines including vacuum lines, transmission cooler lines, etc to braded -AN lines with the appropriate fittings. I will also likely swap my rack and pinion since the engine will be out and I’ve already got the new one sitting on my shelf!

All-in-all, it is going to be a very busy spring and summer for me. In addition to all the above, I also will have to tune the car which means purchasing the quarter horse and appropriate tuning software that I will have to learn how to use. It looks to be a very busy year for me and my Super Coupe. I’m definitely looking forward to it though as I haven’t completed anything more than regular maintenance for the past 5 years or so!