🔧 BUILD 1984 Ford LTD Wagon 4.8L 78/75 Turbo 4L80E Build

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It didn't just feel right, not having an 80s shitbox. There has just been a void in my heart that I couldn't fill with new cars. Since my recent mishap with my Mustang, there was an open spot in the stable. I do have a new DD, but that's another thread for another day.

Saw this gem of a vehicle on the BookFace, only a short 4.5 hour drive up in Wisconsin. Thing looked pretty clean in the pictures so I figured I'd check it out. Talked the fiance into the drive, somehow.

I got up there and it was even cleaner than in the pictures. The interior is like a time capsule. It's just about Mint, no cracks, no breaks, 100% original and unharmed. Only downside is that it is red. Although, the ugly color kind of fits the ugly (read: awesome) car.

It's a 1984 Ford LTD Wagon. It's basically a Mustang Wagon. It sits in the fox chassis, and pretty much all the parts are interchangeable. It had a little bit of surface rust here and there, and then some rust on the bottom of the driver side doors. Nothing that really concerned me.The paint seems like it may be original. Can't totally tell, but looks like it.

It has a 3.8L V6 which makes a blistering 120HP (new, this one probably makes considerably less). It has a 4 speed automatic transmission with overdrive. The car runs surprisingly well, and transmission shifts silky smooth. It felt like it ran a little bit choppy on decel, but nothing that really concerned me. The car made thr 4.5 hour drive from middle of nowhere Wisconsin no problem.

I took one picture myself, the rest are from the ad. Will add more pictures tomorrow when the sun comes up.

Mook Mook already made the "how long til you sell it after doing nothing with it joke" so save yourself the time :rofl:






Bob Kazamakis

I’m the f-ing lizard king
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Oct 24, 2007
Real Name
The ones that just came out weren't 7 layer MLS (can't remember what I bought). So I'm not sure what it would be compared to "stock". I don't think it's going to be super low compression, just lower than it just was. Probably mostly due to the larger CC on thr 799s
Like a factory gm gasket. Just looked and ls9 7 layer is the same thickness.
Are the chambers big enough that you have almost no quench area?
we’re talking a 61.15 cc head to a 64.45 cc head


Public Enemy #1
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Oct 8, 2008
Grand Rapids, MI
3.31 gears all in and ready to go.

Car had a slight mishap when driving it around in traffic. Alternator stopped charging and car wouldnt drive. Got it back to the shop with a jump box. Seemed like the alternator may have gotten overheated because of its proximity to the exhaust manifold and crossover pipe. So he made a little heat shield and wrapped the pipe.



It seems to have cured the issue. It idled with the hood closed for a good hour or so and seemed to have no problems. Hopefully it'll do the same when driving around.


Public Enemy #1
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Oct 8, 2008
Grand Rapids, MI
Car made it to the track day. Got the worlds most conservative tune in it just to get it down the track. Holy shit is the setup just wrong though.

I knew the car wouldnt be flying as really the plan with it was just to get it running and driving around before I started putting the correct race car parts in it. But god damn is it slow. 12s and 120s for MPH.

The thing drives like a dream on the highway and cruising around. Shifts great, doesnt over heat, just generally a fun experience. And when you are driving it around like this, the car is mostly always under load, and will downshift to get it into the powerband, and it feels pretty quick.

Well, that's where that ends. The car from a stop is an absolute turd. It takes 3-4 seconds just to build boost. So when it finally takes off, it moves pretty good, but it takes f o r e v e r to get there.

The biggest problem is that the car has a stock truck converter in it. I could get maybe 1800rpm out of it before it wants to push through the brakes. So I couldnt even load it at the line. And we didn't have enough time to work on the tune to get a 2-step or anything setup on it. On top of that, since we were rushing, I asked the tuner just to make it a relatively conservative tune so that it doesnt blow up. The tuner also said that he thinks the cam timing is off (I'm not too sure about this one, the cam went in with the engine on a stand, but I'll verify it either way). A little more futzing with the tune could have probably picked up some good power, but it wouldnt have helped much with the extreme turbo lag.

All of it was kind of a perfect storm for it being a turd. But thats okay, I learned a lot about the car, and now have a plan on how to get it right. It also helped me still care about this thing. I havent driven the car, or really even seen it, in a couple of years. It's hard to keep watching money siphon out of your account on a car you don't ever get to see or enjoy. Now that I've done that, I have some renewed interest in the car. So maybe by next season it'll be dialed in well. We will see.


Doing the jobs nobody wants to
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Feb 4, 2012
Nashotah, Wisconsin (AKA not Illinois)
Hell, anything is probably going to be better than the stock truck unit.

Even pulling that out and taking it to Carl so he can have his guy work it over a bit would be money well spent. I had him work over a converter for me. In your case it's likely the biggest cost would actually be dropping the trans to get the damn thing out.

They did make a couple different stalls for a 4L80E, not sure what a "high" vs "low" stall will get you on one though. I'd think a few hundred RPM at most.


Oct 29, 2020
By the way you can verify physical cam timing against what Terminator thinks is happening using a piston stop, a timing light and marking the balancer. Plenty of videos out there on it, Sloppy has one and so does Blaser Builds. There was a guy on LS1Tech (Forcefed86) who really struggled with slow times at the track in what should have been a very high powered car. Turns out the actual timing was something like 10 degrees less than what was being commanded and that's why it was a dog.

I have the 3200 stall from Circle D and it still drives like stock just loafing around town, but really helps spool when you load it up. Call those guys and talk to them, tell em you're on budget, I don't think you need a triple disk or anything that locks up under boost.


Public Enemy #1
TCG Premium
Oct 8, 2008
Grand Rapids, MI
Just bought a Circle D 245mm 3500-3600 stall triple disk converter. Says 3 week lead time, so hopefully have it in by September.

Thinking about also getting the HD2 shiftkit for it since the trans will be coming out. But not sure yet. Might just run as it til it grenades and then upgrade to a proper trans with a brake. I have some time to think on it.

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