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Cobraholic
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1,073 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Searching around, I've found I can buy a late '80s or early 90's Mustang GT 5.0L for between $3500 to $5500 more or less. I presume that comes with everything I need for the donor, and I may or may not have to rebuild the engine.

Or I could buy a cheap, non-running or 4 cyl Mustang from same era for about $700 and buy an old 351 Windosr or something similar for around $500 and have it rebuilt. I don't know if I'd add EFI with this though.

Any suggestions on what probably be the best route to take. I would rather save money and take more time, than spend lots of money to get it done quicker. However, I don't know how much money I'd actually save going with the older engine.

Any advice?

Thanks in advance,

Future Cobra owner,
Joe
 

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consummate slacker
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1,430 Posts
The 4 clys are different cars. Wires, rear end, tranny... different. You need to buy an original 5.0 if you are using a donor. The usable parts from the 4 cyl can be purchased cheaper piece-meal. You will save more money by getting an original 5.0. Also, with the weather getting cooler and the new model year coming out now, the prices will drop over the next few weeks/months.
 

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Premium Member
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10,474 Posts
Donor pallet.

Still save some money by having to clean and refresh, but don't have to spend the time taking the donor apart.

The full kit is now a very attractive alternative to the donor/pallet route.
 

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Senior Member
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2,746 Posts
For what it's worth, all I ended up using from my donor was the engine, trans, diff and a few connectors and grommets. I completely re-built the engine and the trans, changing gears along the way. New clutch, pressure plate, cable. Changed to carb, put on new heads, all new engine from the crank out. You get the idea.

I would go non donor doing it the next time, might even work out cheaper.

Chris.
 

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Premium Member
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6,413 Posts
Can we assume that you are going donor due to budget considerations?....If you are trying to finish a road-worthy car , under $20,000, you can do it by going with a donor car....If your budget is more like $35 to $40,000, you should think in terms of the new complete kit ($19,000). This is truly a bargain, and you will easily have this much invested in the donor build, but without the engine/transmission, and wheels....But, depending on what you want, you can rebuild a used 5 liter motor, and T-5 tranny....This can be done fairly cheaply...If you can live with steel wheels (there are some really nice ones available), you can even do the complete kit, under $30,000 (not including paint/body).......Look really closely at your budget, and see what you NEED, and compare with what you WANT.
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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24,700 Posts
Think real hard about the complete kit.Donors are now at least 12 yrs old and need a lot of refurbishing/rebuilding.many people end up using donor parts for cores just to get clean rebuilt stuff on their cars.You've already thought about a 351 and that is a good plan.A rebuilt 351 shortblock w/ a mild cam and Edelbrock heads,intake and carb is a great engine.
 

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What's a 'n00b'?
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387 Posts
There's always the 4.6L option. You can get a much newer donor that way.
 

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New
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1,144 Posts
I've replaced alot of my donor pieces despite getting a relatively good car. Really depends on your budget and be honest with yourself about what you really want.
 

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Junior Charter Member
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1,146 Posts
I'm in this mode right now - donor, pieces, cash flow, etc. Lots to consider, and the comment on "parts being good enough to use as cores" is accurate - 5.0 Mustangs aren't getting any younger.

I backed up a whole step in thinking - what did I want in the finished car as a "mandatory option," what did I care less about? Now I can sort forward knowing I prefer 5 lug to 4, don't plan on pin drive, want a roller cam Mass Air flow 5.0 with explorer intake, big disc brakes, etc. That gets me to narrowing down which donor is most effective - and quickly kills the '87 Town Car in the driveway - not a prime source for a 5 speed, anyway.

You might pay more for separate parts - but it is a good middle road to go when specific items on your list are desired and not otherwise available in a easily acquired combination. There may be cash flow restrictions that further limit larger acquisitions - which can force research, inspire creativity, uniqueness, and helps bring out targets of opportunity that you didn't know existed.

Like the $50 paint job that brings home awards from car shows . . .

Wrenching is the easy part, figuring it all out is where the action is.
 

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3 Generations on a MkIII
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1,415 Posts
I second the "Donor Pallet". A LOT of work taking stuff apart and cleaning.

OR....
Check the Weather Channel.


I found a 1990 LX GT (3.08 gears) for 500 bucks... ran like a striped a$$ ape. I went on the internet and looked for places that have had huge hail storms. As luck would have it, a giant hail storm hit MY town. You have your pick of the litter of 5.0 Mustangs.
 

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Cobraholic
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1,073 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the links, Perl.
Lots of good advice in those posts!
 

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It's a car!
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173 Posts
Refractor, as has been said, dismantling & cleaning donor parts is difficult & time consuming. I'm doing mine that way, and everything said above about pallets & new is correct.

If you really want to go donor, cobradore70 is right about the 4 cylinders yielding almost no usable parts. You might try contacting salvage yards for a more reasonably priced 5 liter. The value of these cars is such that a minor accident or breakdown will often end their useful life. But their value as a donor for usable parts or cores is equal to the ones still on the road.
 

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Senior Member
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566 Posts
I will say that doing the donor thing the first time is helpful. You remove the parts from the 'stang location and see how it was placed and works. I did find however you really only save the core charges on most parts. I took a good looking steering rack out and thought, do I really want to put in a used one? Then trade it in for a rebuilt, same with the bushings, booster, master cyl etc. Even the aluminum panels could not be installed without anodizing them first, some do powder coating but along the way you start to think and spend. Next time I would NOT do the donor but glad I did this time!

Henry
 

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Supreme Cobra Commander
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9,692 Posts
$3500 for a Fox donor would be hard to justify- unless it was in pristine condition before a slight accident that happened to total it. I bought mine for $1500 and was able to recoup a lot of the purchase price reselling the parts I didn't need. I even swapped out some parts and gave some away. If you have to spend that much I would seriously look at going non donor. There are always deals that pop up, it may take a little longer but in the long run I think you would be better off financially.
If I do this again I will go the donor route but with a later model 4.6.
 
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