An update of sorts on the 1973 Thunderbird project. The heads and intake are being prepared at a professional porting shop and are almost done. The short block has been machined and is being assembled now. I drove the bird home from the chassis shop where it has been for a while. With the orginal engine in it, we installed the headers and fabricated a full 3" exhaust system with an "H" pipe and 3" straight through Magnaflows. Also flanges just before the mufflers so the front half of the exhaust system can be dropped for tranny servicing.
The 2.75 gear ratio open differential was replaced with a nodular iron cased, 3.73 geared, Detroit Locker. The stock axles were replaced with Moser 31 splined axles and a big bearing kit. As for the rear axle housing control arms, the plan was to replace the stock rubber bushings with polyurethane bushings and box the lowers. We ordered a bushing kit from PST for $98, changed the bushings in the 2 upper control arms, and wouldn't you know it, there were no bushings large enough for the lower control arms. Damn! Called PST and they could not help us. So I ordered a kit from Energy Suspensions for $58. Same thing, no bushings large enough for the lower control arms. Energy Suspensions was helpful and told us our control arms were from a performance package from Ford and that no one made a polyurethane bushing for it. Soooooo, we made our own lower control arms from thick walled chrome moly tubing and used the smaller polyurethane bushings and sleeves. What we learned is that PST buys the Energy Suspensions kit, puts it in a plain box, and cuts Energy Suspensions' name from the instruction sheet. Oh ya, and increases the retail price from $58 to $98.
The suspension on the bird already has coil springs 25% stiffer than Ford's heavy duty option. The ride height is stock in the rear and 1 and 1/2 inches lower than stock in the front. Also it has sway bars front and rear from ADDCO.
As soon as the engine is together, it will be broken in and tuned on the shop's new top line dyno.
The bird is being set up to be a big, comfortable road car that will be fun to drive.
Sounds like an interesting build.