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Discussion Starter #1
Facebook has made discussion forums a dying breed, which is unfortunate given the apathetic developers at FB haven't made a quality system for indexing and searching tech posts. It's been a while since I've signed up for one, but rather than seeing "what do i need to swap my v6 to a v8 is it hard hmu bro" posts, I'm hoping for a bit better insight from the personalities here as I've stocked up on a lot of information from this group (I think eschaider can build a 4.6 using just his teeth). I have plently of pleb questions, as I have never built an engine before.

First off, here is the car. An 03 that started it's life with an automatic and a V6. Currently has a 99 Cobra motor, a T56, built 8.8, bodykit off a wrecked Saleen.

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My garage is pretty crap, so here is my 'workbench'.

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I purchased the swap component for an 03 Cobra, and also bought the sum parts of someone else's abandoned 4.6 build. The items I have are:

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Shortblock:
WAP aluminum block, bored .020 over
Manley platinum series pistons, 18cc dish
Manley H beam rods
Forged 4.6 crank, unknown original application
Clevite bearings
Total Seal piston rings
Ford Performance 4V oil pump with Boundary billet gears
Canton windage tray
MMR oil pan
ARP rod bolts/crank bolt/main studs/sidebolts

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Heads:
1 DB and 1 DC casting heads from a Lincoln Aviator (never been so dehydrated pulling these in my life)
MMR bronze guides/valve seals
Replacement Ford lifters and rockers
96-98 Cobra camshafts
ARP head studs
Felpro head gaskets

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For my first questions off the bat, which Facebook did a crap job of answering:

1) Dumb question, but on the rear main seal, it has a lip about 1/3 of the way around the side. Do I knock the seal in to the depth of the lip, or is it supposed to sit flush with the retaining plate?
2) I've read the oil slinger discussion, which left me feeling inconclusive about it's use. If it keeps the seal happier, I'm inclined to do it. Thoughts?
3) In reference to the oil cooler, I think I am inclined to delete the stock water/oil cooler and install a remote cooler. It seems an oil filter relocation kit deals with the block side things. I assume I can just run a cooler inline with any path the oil is taking?
4) In order to prevent the oil from being over-cooled, I think I would add an oil thermostat into the mix. Is block out > oil filter relocation adapter > oil thermostat > oil cooler > block in an appropriate routing?
 

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For my first questions off the bat, which Facebook did a crap job of answering:

1) Dumb question, but on the rear main seal, it has a lip about 1/3 of the way around the side. Do I knock the seal in to the depth of the lip, or is it supposed to sit flush with the retaining plate?
The seal, properly installed, should look like this from the outer surface of the retaining plate;

Oil Seal Top.jpg

Some seals come with a dust cover that will snap in place on top of this. If your seal has one it is recommended to use it.

When you look at the retaining plate from the inside (back) of the plate it should look like this;

Oil Seal Back.jpg

2) I've read the oil slinger discussion, which left me feeling inconclusive about it's use. If it keeps the seal happier, I'm inclined to do it. Thoughts?
Do it.

3) In reference to the oil cooler, I think I am inclined to delete the stock water/oil cooler and install a remote cooler. It seems an oil filter relocation kit deals with the block side things. I assume I can just run a cooler inline with any path the oil is taking?
That is correct, and that is how you should design it.

4) In order to prevent the oil from being over-cooled, I think I would add an oil thermostat into the mix. Is block out > oil filter relocation adapter > oil thermostat > oil cooler > block in an appropriate routing?
That is correct, This is the thermostat I recommend, click here => Improved Oil T-Stat. When you order it, it will be available in various temperature settings. Get the 215 ˚F unit so the oil temperature gets high enough to vaporize any water that might be present.

There is an option to order it with fittings. You should order it with fittings. You will not be able to buy those fittings anywhere near as well priced as they sell them. try to use -12 fittings everywhere.

For the remote filter and remoter filter mount use the Peterson Large Remote Primer Filter mount.. It will use the WIX 57003R filter, click here => WIX Filter.

The benefit of this system is the superior filtration of the large WIX filter and also, importantly, you can prime you engine with oil whenever you need or want to by simply using an electric drill to spin the small internal oil pump built into the remote filter mount.

Ed

p.s. For a race application a 0.020" overbore is asking for trouble. For a street build you are better off but you are still very thin in the cylinder wall department. You should read this thread, =>Why You Want to Use Standard Sized Bores

p.p.s Use a GT500 oil pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
1) Exactly what I needed and couldn't find on YouTube or elsewhere. And I should probably know better. Thank you.
4) I assume a natural segue is to use the Improved Racing oil cooler adapter then?
5) That's an uncomfortable read, but I'm fairly set on the path of the current parts going forward. The parts lot that I bought already had the machine work completed, and now that I've got the short block assembled, it's hard to undo that commitment.

The intention with the car is ultimately to have a well mannered motor that can reliably spout out up to 600 RWHP, travel 1,000 highway miles on demand, and take an occasional 15 minute beating up a mountain road. While I await my winning scratch off ticket, I've been selective about what I'm willing to invest in, with the philosophy that a broad margin in cooling mods are key to the longevity of the engine. I don't intend this to be the conclusive motor build for the car, but rather if I can build up selected modular fun-bits, I will have a solid parts stock in place when it comes to making incremental, and perhaps more excessive, purchases. I'll keep a standard bore block in mind for that.
 

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I assume a natural segue is to use the Improved Racing oil cooler adapter then?
I would suggest selecting one of the Setrab oil coolers they offer, that fits into the budget and the available space on the car, click here => Setrab and then buying the fittings and hose to complete the job. It will be less costly and better.

That's an uncomfortable read ...
I understand.

The intention with the car is ultimately to have a well mannered motor that can reliably spout out up to 600 RWHP, travel 1,000 highway miles on demand, and take an occasional 15 minute beating up a mountain road ...
That kind of use will probably work out well with your planned power level and the bore size you are using.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is the last weekend I'll spend with the engine for a while, but it actually looks more put together.

Last weekend I put the billet gears into the pump and attached it to the crank. This weekend I finished up the oiling system.

Pump primed (and spurting oil on rotation). Pump installation was pretty, as I used the stock Ford gears to push up into the crankshaft flat spots. I then used this orientation to approximate the billet gears in the oil pump so that when the RTV'd oil passage on the back of the pump went on, it was quick and clean.

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Since I'm using a deep seated MMR pan, I needed to move the oil pickup height. In stock form, it was easily over an inch away from the bottom of the deeper pan. Conveniently, I had purchased a ton of odds and sods from a modular engine builder, including several standoffs. Using a bit of clay on the bottom of the pickup, I cut down one of the standoffs, used a longer bolt, and stacked it with the original standoff. This was followed by torching the pickup tube to allow it to bend to the oil pump passage. My final pickup to pan height was .405 inches, which is farther than the suggest max of .375 inches (and within elsewhere on the internet that says .5 inches with a race pan), but I think I'm close enough, and would rather be on the higher end of the spectrum than too low and running into an oil starvation issue.

Some comments on the MMR pan, I know that Moroso and Canton take a stock 4.6 pan and cut into it, and MMR are no different. I haven't seen those other two vendors products in person, but I'm pretty underwhelmed with the MMR pan. Looking through the stock bottom (which I guess serves as a baffle of sorts), I could see a really crappy, crooked cut of the original pan, the oil drain bolt doesn't sit at the lowest point so I imagine all the dirties from the engine aren't going to be evacuated during an oil change (probably good call for a magnetic bolt), and the powdercoated finish was pretty flimsy, with what looked like corrosion that was simply coated over in one spot of the pan. Reading online, I'm going to be scraping this on just about everything anyway, so I'll probably get a good look under the powdercoating soon, but I guess I get what I pay for in a $160 pan.

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I wanted to get the pan on the bottom of the engine sooner rather than later to keep the dirt out+, so I layered the block with silicone, stacked the windage tray on top, then the oil pan gasket, then the pan, then torqued the oil pan to the block following the Ford specs. Then came the heads.

The cylinder heads are machine shop fresh, and I purposely installed them without cams or followers so that I wouldn't do something stupid like bend a valve until I'm ready. Mating surface hygiene seems to be key, so I wiped down head and block deck with a tack rag > a dash of brake cleaner > towel wipe down > quick blast with a propane torch to burn off fibers or lint > lint free rag wipe down > blast of compressed air before seating the head gasket.

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As I'm a lightweight, I was also happy to not have the added weight of cams, lifters, and followers when seating the heads on the block. Per the JRGoffin build thread, two of the studs were placed on each corner to assist in getting the heads onto the dowels, and the heads went on easily.

I followed the ARP 8740 torque specifications, which calls for three equal increments to the stock Ford torque specification, but opted for 80 ft/lbs final torque over their suggested 75 ft/lbs. I feel given this is a boosted application, a bit more torque on the head studs is reasonable. Washer to head was dry, washer to nut and threads were coated in moly lube.

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Unfortunately my trash bag to cover it is too small now that the heads and pan are on it, so it's sitting with the valve covers loosely draped over the heads and the bag covering front of the engine, which is where it will rest for the next weeks. Up next is loading the heads and setting up default timing, which will then segue into the complexities of degreeing the cams, a process I am pretty anxious about given the opportunity to make metal and metal go crunch.
 

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Jetsetter, you want your pickup to be between 0.3125" and 0.375" off the bottom of the pan. When it is higher you can uncover the pickup with a sideways slosh of the oil (turning?), a rearward slosh of the oil (accelerating?) or a forward slosh of the oil (decelerating?). Any of those scenarios will produce incremental damage to your cam journals (they are oiled last) and your rod bearings (they are next in line). After a short time you will experience a bearing failure for no apparent reason and spend a lot of money repairing the damage only to be greeted by a repeat performance.

If you run a high volume oil pump (3V or GT500) you want to use a good windage tray (The GT500 combo tray and oil pan gasket is very good) and at least one extra quart of oil if not two more than the pan manufacturer recommends. Best way to determine how much oil to use is to fill the pan with water when it is off the engine. You want the oil level to fall just short of touching the underside of the windage tray. When the engine is running you will have between one and two quarts of oil continually in transit between the engine and the oil pan so the operating level will be deceptively lower than you think, making it quite easy to uncover the pickup if the pan is underfilled or the pickup is too high.


Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Is that true of even the deep pan? The internet is suggesting a capacity of between 8 and 9 quarts, and it was my intent to use the stock dipstick which should give a reading right about the bottom of the crank. As the pickup is situated significantly lower than the stock pan, and thus is submersed more deeply, it seems like my margin for slosh starvation is greater?
 

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Slosh starvation potential increases as the pickup positioning is rises in the pan. To produce a 1" drop in the oil level a moderate turn is required. To produce a 4 inch drop in the oil level a severe turn is required. A pickup 4 inches under the surface of the oil is less likely to be uncovered than one at the top of the pan. Your own observations / thinking in the last sentence of post #9 reveal the correct answer, you just don't take the logic to its final conclusion.

Think about this scenario, is it easier to uncover the oil pickup at the top of the oil fill level (pan) or at the bottom of the oil fill level when accelerating the vehicle. If higher was better wouldn't the guys in Detroit place the pickup at the very top of the oil pan oil level? Obviously not, the example is silly but the learning point is real. You want the pickup as deep in the oil as possible to prevent uncovering it.

The high pickup placement advice is yet another example of (presumably) well intended but incorrect and certainly untested information being published for the use of others. When you source build information off the net it is perfectly reasonable to ask the why question. This stuff in not inscrutable logic and if it doesn't make sense it is time to stop and noodle out the correct answer or get a second opinion — sort of like doctors and life threatening diagnosis.


Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #11
One could say that progress has been slow on this, most prominently on account of being in a different country from the engine. I have been toying with a different kind of Ford product during that time.

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In the meantime, I have a question regarding the timing of the engine. I have coaxed myself into the premise of degreeing the cams (thanks in large part to this video which finally made it click for me) but I understand there is a balancing act. I've read threads on this forum that indicate an advance of between 5 to 10 degrees beyond centerline is ideal, and I believe even in the Aluminator thread a 12 degree advance was suggested. What goes into calculating that decision?

It's my understanding the degreeing process aims to set the valve event straight in the middle relative to either side of the piston hitting the stop, and then there is some engineering wizardry to settle on the correct amount of advance if warranted. I also think it's worthwhile to consider my objectives with the car too:

  • 600 RWHP once combined with a 2.3L Whipple (which I gather needs to run in the range of 15 to 19 lbs of boost to reach that figure)
  • Reliability - needs to be able to take a 1,000 mile road trip on demand
  • 91/93 octane - needs to be able to accept whatever fuel is available during said road trip

Now I believe those three objectives weigh into the decision here - namely, additional intake advance will increase cylinder pressure. On a naturally aspirated or low boost car, meh, but on one that is already forcing more air (thus pressure) into the cylinders, and one that is limited by the quality of available fuel, it seems like 'conservative' timing is the panacea to prevent detonation as I cannot have my cake and eat it too. I gather the 96-98 Cobra cams that I have on my shelf will still be of benefit thanks to the longer intake duration, and I should just be happy with a benefit from that.

Somewhat relatedly, I believe my timing gear setup will consist of the TrickFlow crank sprocket, Comp Cams primaries, and L&M adjustable secondaries. Thinking that when I order the secondaries, I'll ask L&M if they are able to supply 4 adjustables rather than their kit which includes 2 adjustables and 2 single keyway gears, as it doesn't seem there's a downside to having two adjustables on each bank. I like the look of the Boundary GT500 billet crank sprocket, but I gather that doesn't fit a 4.6 application, so the TFS seems to be a definitive billet option for near exactly the same price as the Cloyes S869 (and I am not interested in the adjustable crank sprocket as I don't have the means to weld/pin it).

-Matt
 

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Welcome to the site!
Edit: just realized you've been here for almost a year! 🙂
Gonna subscribe to this since I'll be starting my own soon and there is good info with links posted here!
Thanks
Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #13
While I continue to be 4K miles away from the car and being able to do anything useful during my weekends, I thought I might provide a bit of a spotlight on the rear end build and the story of where the rear suspension is now.

I used to have a 97 GT that I was going to build the rear end for. I ended up losing interest in that car, and recently sold it after sitting for the better part of 10 years. But I had bought a set of Moser axles and 9 inch ends that had been sitting in the shed for that time, and building out this car gave me the opportunity to leverage them. While I get there is a lot of love for the IRS, a properly optioned SRA I would argue is going to perform equally in a curvy road situation.

I pulled a junkyard rear end out of an 01 GT, took it to a guy that said he could weld the ends and the tubes for $250. 6 months of back and forth and about 5 excuses later, I got the rear end back uncompleted and he had cut into the axle tubes with a cutoff wheel to try and 'straighten them out'. That rear end went into the dumpster.

Fortunately, I guess, I had a rear end out of an 03 Mach 1 in the shed that had a ring gear that started to eat itself. I had lost the bearing caps 10 years prior, and I committed a cardinal sin of mixing and matching caps and housing. I also took it to a more accomplished shop that welded the axle tubes and 9 inch ends on for $550. You get what you pay for.

On the topic of the 9 inch ends, they address an inherent weakness with 8.8s which are the C-clips that hold the axles in. Given that I'm likely going to put high side loads onto the wheel, and the propensity of C clip eliminators to leak, the bulletproof option is to go old school, cut off your current axle ends, and have 9 inch ends attached in their place. A bearing is slipped over each axle towards the end, and then a bearing retainer plate is bolted around the axle. Now when encountering heavy side loads, a press-fit bearing and four bolts are keeping your axle from coming out of the side of your housing instead of a small clip and your caliper only.

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I forked out for an Eaton Truetrac to match the 31 spline axles, and garnished with a GT500 diff cover (rather than most aftermarket ones that focus on having bearing cap support bolts rather than cooling fins), Ford Performance 3.73s, and a Ford Performance 8.8 install kit for the meat and potatoes. The housing also got a a coat of POR-15 in cast iron gray, which I've been pretty unenthused with in terms of its resiliency.

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Moving away from the internals, I used a set of Cobra rear brake brackets (which require milling to accommodate the 9 inch end bearing retainer clip) which I modified with a Dremel over two days rather than taking it to a machine shop because I'm a dumbass.

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These had powdercoated GT calipers (Cobra and GT rear calipers are the same, the brackets just place them differently), which I've managed to break one of the parking brake spring retainer studs off of, which means I'll likely be swapping the calipers out. Considering at moving to a Taurus Varga rear caliper when I get around to it. To round out the brakes, I used some drilled and slotted rotors that bought as part of a parts collection, and some stainless steel lines. Also pictured are MM extreme duty control arms which have spherical bushings on the axle side and delrin bushings on the chassis side. The upper control arm bushings in the picture are cracked and shot, but I didn't care as it will become apparent in the next few pictures.

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The axle assembly joined a MM panhard bar that's been on the car for a few years, and I also added a set of MM coilovers with new Bilstein shocks. The threaded sleeves on the MM kit were of an early design and provided some MAJOR hassles in securing the spring perch with set screws. I really have to stop buying used parts.

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The suspension end-game also included an MM torque arm and MM subframe connectors. I had a set of crappy LMR subframe connectors on the car, which required a couple hours to cut off gently without getting any of the OEM metal. Speaking of cutting, I also cut open the torque box for an LMR lower reinforcement kit. I would've done the uppers too, save for the torque arm, which bypasses the need for upper control arms altogether. The install was straight forward and I put several hundred miles on the rear end and it performed flawlessly, although the car is frankly pretty slow with the N/A 4V. What I was most amused about though was the lack of bearing noise, given I was playing with fire with the bearing caps, and the install didn't feature any measurement of backlash or reshimming or marking the ring to pinion interface. Instead, my parents shop foreman gave it a wiggle with his hands and said 'okay, it's good right there, bolt it down'. His wizardry worked.

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Following installation of the torque arm, I took the car on the freeway and the thing was shaking itself apart - a discovery I made two days before being scheduled to drive it from New Mexico to Florida. I was also remiss in having the appropriate hardware during the install - I bought the torque arm used and I was missing some bolts and one of the spherical washers - but I believed the problem to stem form an unbalanced steel driveshaft that I had modified to accommodate the T56. A quick look on the local parts group turned up an 03 Cobra aluminum driveshaft which, given the T56 already in the car, was a perfect fit and cut down the vibration significantly. Prior to departure I put the car up on a drive on lift to check the installation, and found the one spherical washer I had installed had cracked into three parts. I didn't have any time to receive the replacement parts from MM, so I threw on some thick washers and sent it for 1,700 miles.

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The car had a bit of driveline vibration for the trip at highway speeds, but the bigger problem came when I spat out a spark plug in Wichita Falls, Texas on a Friday at 4.30PM. Thanks to a helpful auto shop, I was back on the road by 11AM Saturday morning. As it sits, I have to get under the car and install the cupped washers and reshim the pinion angle (I think I'm a quarter of a degree off which is responsible for the vibration), but I've basically got a rear end that should have plenty of margin to accept more power.

Rear end build list:

  • 03 Mach 1 solid rear axle housing
  • Eaton Detroit Truetrac 31 spline differential
  • Moser 31 spline axles with press fit bearings
  • Moser 9 inch ends
  • Welded axle tubes
  • Ford Performance bearing kit
  • Ford Performance 3.73 ring and pinion kit for 8.8
  • Cobra rear brake caliper brackets, modified for 9 inch ends
  • GT rear calipers, powdercoated gunmetal gray
  • StopTech stainless steel rear brake lines
  • Unknown drilled and slotted rear rotors
  • GT500 finned differential cover
  • Maximum Motorsports rear coilover kit
  • Hyperco rear springs (unknown rate but on the softer side)
  • Bilstein rear shock absorbers
  • Maximum Motorsports panhard bar
  • Maximum Motorsports light duty torque arm
  • Maximum Motorsports full length subframe connectors
  • Maximum Motorsports extreme duty rear control arms
  • Mach 1 rear sway bar
  • 03 Cobra aluminum driveshaft
  • LMR lower torque box reinforcements
 

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Nice update. I share your thoughts on the rear end build and have a very similar housing build on mine. 9" ends, welded tubes, Moser axles and machined cobra brake brackets. I ran into issues with gear oil sloshing to the bearing side and eventually weeping through the bearing even though it was of the sealed variety. The first time it happened I blamed the bearing and install so I installed a brand new 9508b bearing and was sure to seal the outside race of the bearing with rtv on install. Sure enough about a year later the same issue popped back up and the inside of the wheel started getting a fine mist of gear oil on it. This go around I pulled everything out of the housing cleaned the tubes and bearing cups and installed some of these in each tube. Since then I have not had any issues with any leaking. I think what was causing the issue was the lube would slosh to the bearing side it would get caught in the lip the 9" end caused. Eventually the fluid would get into the bearing and thin the grease out causing it to weep through the outer seal. I also had an issue of the bearing retainer ring contacting the inside of the axle tube partially because it was not clearance enough and partially because the id is not perfectly round so the smaller spots were making contact. I used a carbide burr on the id to enlarge it slightly to solve that issue. Hopefully you don't encounter either issue but in the vent you do know you're not alone.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Nice update. I share your thoughts on the rear end build and have a very similar housing build on mine. 9" ends, welded tubes, Moser axles and machined cobra brake brackets. I ran into issues with gear oil sloshing to the bearing side and eventually weeping through the bearing even though it was of the sealed variety. The first time it happened I blamed the bearing and install so I installed a brand new 9508b bearing and was sure to seal the outside race of the bearing with rtv on install. Sure enough about a year later the same issue popped back up and the inside of the wheel started getting a fine mist of gear oil on it. This go around I pulled everything out of the housing cleaned the tubes and bearing cups and installed some of these in each tube. Since then I have not had any issues with any leaking. I think what was causing the issue was the lube would slosh to the bearing side it would get caught in the lip the 9" end caused. Eventually the fluid would get into the bearing and thin the grease out causing it to weep through the outer seal. I also had an issue of the bearing retainer ring contacting the inside of the axle tube partially because it was not clearance enough and partially because the id is not perfectly round so the smaller spots were making contact. I used a carbide burr on the id to enlarge it slightly to solve that issue. Hopefully you don't encounter either issue but in the vent you do know you're not alone.
I'll keep an eye out for a shower of diff fluid. I assume you installed the seals as far out as allowed without contacting the axle bearing?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Rather nostalgic today, so figured I would tell the story of the exterior.

The car started its life as a 2003 V6 with an automatic. My parents bought the car for me in March of 2006, following me getting my drivers permit in February. I thought I was cool because I had a Mustang. I was, in fact, slow. Had a 'Boss 3.8' side stripe and a leather wrapped steering wheel, but that was about it in terms of options.

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I had a passive interest in cars up to that point, but eventually gravitated towards it as my primary hobby. In my senior year of high school, the car a crappy 00 Cobra R knockoff hood from VIS Racing, a GT rear bumper with exhaust cut outs, and most prominently two black racing stripes down the middle. Also added a Mach 1 chin spoiler, GT fog lights, and a Mach 1 grill delete back in the day when they were still pricey.

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In its final iteration, it had an 03 Cobra spoiler, GT side scoops, a rear splitter thing, and a set of OEM 03 Cobra rims. It also had a fresh coat of paint following 10 years of wear and tear on the stripes, and a year of scrapes from sitting at the electrical shop. To be honest, I kind of miss the setup. I felt like I had grown out of the racing stripes, but the car filled out it's 17 inch rims pretty well, I love the stock bumper and ducktail spoiler look, and it was well proportioned despite the parts not being all that special.

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In the interests of becoming an adult, I started gravitating towards the look of the Saleen kit. Of the special edition Mustang's you could buy through a dealership, few will argue that Saleen had the most outspoken design. I had been passively looking, and then in 2017 the following car showed up on Los Angeles Craigslist. Not my pictures.

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A 2000 naturally aspirated, automatic, lambo-doored S281 that had been miraculously flipped on its roof. I contacted the guy about buying the whole kit and, based on FB Marketplace prices, got a great deal on the full array of Saleen aesthetics sans rims. I dispatched a friend in SoCal to pick it up, and then drove from New Mexico to LA and back over two days with a trunk load of body kit.

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The kit included the front and rear bumpers, side skirts, side scoops, standard 3 piece rear spoiler, and - most importantly - C pillars. He also threw in the data plate on the firewall for good measure. Unfortunately, my investment in new paint on the car was largely rendered moot, and for the fourth time I had the roof of the car painted, as well as the parts which were in a pretty poor state of repair.

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Saleen had a number of variations in their kits throughout the New Edge run, although my personal preference is for the standard kit stuff with the exception of the Extreme hood. I supplemented the collection with a Trufiber fiberglass version.

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For about two years the car didn't change much on the outside, and the Cobra 17s looked dwarfed by the proportions of the Saleen kit. But I did drive it to Phoenix, Dallas, and Las Vegas during this time.

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Ultimately, once I had completed the suspension work that is best done on a car hoist, I brought the car to Florida, where it sits today. I have since swapped the 03 Cobra Rims for a set of staggered 9/10.5 18in Forgestar F14s in gunmetal with 275/295 Continental Extremeontact Sport tires. And, as a final touch, I got a custom license plate. I find it amusing how the Saleen community consists of purists that require absolute originality from a car - I guess at least my V6 VIN number is irrelevant, and the T56/4V combo is beefier than the original S281 00-54.

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The exterior isn't quite finished yet. Up next I'm looking at either forking out for a Carter's Customs front lip (or potentially making my own as I am wanting to make some personal modifications), as well as rear bumper and side skirt 'splitters'. There is also some maintenance to perform, such as replacing the faded 3rd brake light, swapping the current headlights out for a set of cleaner clear-corners, replacing the broken cowl, swapping on my Arabic script side mirror, adding back in some panel trim mesh, and the side skirts need to be rehung which, after cavalier use of the stock fasteners, will also probably require a dab of weld and paint into the fenders that I'll outsource to a body shop. The Saleen skirts loved to take a beating from the arms of the hoist or a jack.
 

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They're probably about 2/3 of the way to the bearing from the diff. You have to push them from the inside out due to the 9" ends id. I used a large socket and every extension I had to hammer it in from the opposite side. I just hammered it in a far as I could with the extensions I had.

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