Posted on October 26, 2016
You just bought a well-used Mustang and you want to make it fast, but you also want to drive it as soon as possible. How do you do both? Approach your build like it's a restoration, working your way from critical issues to cosmetic ones while improving performance at the same time.
Rubber and Fluids
Nothing on your car suffers more from sitting than fluids and rubber components, so they're the first things that should be addressed.
Royal Purple makes high quality motor oil, gear oil, transmission fluid and coolant additives to help your car cope with spirited driving. Have a Traction-Lok limited slip rear end? It needs a friction modifier mixed in with the gear oil to function properly. How do you know if the axle has a limited slip differential? Lift up the rear end and spin one wheel by hand: if the other wheel spins in the opposite direction, it's an open differential. If it spins in the same direction, it's a limited slip differential.
When it comes to bushings, there are a lot of options that are stiffer than stock rubber, keeping the suspension geometry where it needs to be. Swapping out a control arm is easier than replacing a control arm bushing, and switching to tubular arms adds strength and reduces unsprung weight. Don't forget the transmission mounts: a loose transmission can harshen launches and shifts. As for coolant hoses, a set of silicone replacements will last longer, especially when dealing with high engine compartment temperatures.
Brakes, Wheels and Tires
Brake work overlaps with rubber and fluid replacement because it's tied to brake fluid and tires. Switching to five lug hubs opens up wheel and brake options, and naturally that means getting tires to match your new wheels. Later model Mustang brakes can be adapted to earlier models thanks to kits from Ford Racing, while Strange offers options for bigger front brakes and rear disc brake conversions. Even if you don't plan on upgrading your brakes in the near future, modern performance pads and drilled or slotted rotors can have a huge impact on braking performance, especially when they're in constant use on the track.
Have a bad clutch? A high performance clutch kit will keep the clutch from slipping with a more powerful engine. Replacing the transmission with a stronger gearbox? The stock driveshaft will probably be the wrong length, so you might as well get an aluminum replacement to shave off some weight. Does the shifter feel sloppy? Instead of fixing the stock shifter, get a short throw shifter to make shifts faster and more precise.
Once the rest of the car is ready to handle extra power, you can finally work on the engine. Most builds uses a combination of old factory parts and new aftermarket parts to get power at the lowest price possible. Manufacturers know this, so they make parts that are compatible with a lot of setups. That means putting a set of GT-40 heads on a 5.0 or three valve heads on a Mod motor doesn't limit your options for headers or intakes. We even make cams to fit these setups so you can get the most from your factory parts.
While you're working on the engine, there are plenty of upgrades you can make to get more power. A cold air intake makes it easier for the engine to draw in air, especially at a higher RPM. Aluminum underdrive pulleys reduce rotational weight and parasitic losses from accessories, while also taking the stress off those accessories when running at high engine speeds. Switching to an electric radiator fan reduces power loss and can increase air flow for better temperature control, and a new aluminum radiator will be able to extract more heat created by the extra engine power.
Where Do I Start?
Anderson Ford Motorsport carries everything you need for your project, including Mustang restoration parts, performance parts, dress-up pieces, and fluids. We even have kits that bundle together all the parts you need for a conversion or performance upgrade. Get started today!
All prices are in USD