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Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter #1
I used to drive my '89 5.0L down from Vancouver, Canada to Arizona and back every Christmas to visit family, but finally moved back to Arizona and haven't done any long distance drives for some time. The longest trip I've taken in the last 7 years would be 6-7 hours driving into Mexico and the occasional 6-7 hour drive to the California coast. Next week, I'm driving the ol' 5.0L past Vancouver to Whistler, BC from Tucson, AZ. That's about 1800 miles one way. What kind of preparations would y'all recommend to enjoy a nice hassle free journey up to the great white North and back? Here's a few details about my rig:


  • '89 5.0L hatchback, clean in and out
  • Dart block based supercharged 306 build with about 4000 miles on the odometer now, conventional motor oil for the time being, just changed.
  • Tremec 3550 5-speed, Redline MTL oil.
  • Rear end has 3.31 gears and a Truetrac with Chevron Delo 75W140 conventional gear oil.
  • Fairly new Nitto 555 extreme tires, 255-40R17 all the way around.
  • Fresh brake fluid in a '95 Cobra MC (Pentosin DOT 4, I believe).
  • A/C fully functional using a Sanden retrofit - works pretty good.
The bad:

  • I've got a PA Racing tubular K-member made out of mild steel, but I'm not sure it's really streetworthy.
  • I've torn my torque boxes completely out before and have welded it all back together with multiple reinforcements, but it's just kinda scary.
  • 1800 miles one way!
 

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Super Moderator
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Drive it. Take a toolbox with standard stuff including 15mm and 18mm wrenches, maybe a spare serpentine belt, and drive it. And take pics!
 

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Don't forget the duct tape and vice grips.
 

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Good post. I'm going to follow it. I've been slowly gathering a "road trip tool bag" to keep in the car. I drive my car as much as I can and would like to make a decent trip in it one of these days. Curious to see how everyone else prepares for a long trip.
 

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Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter #6
I've actually done this north border to south border and back trip in my 5.0L about 20 times in the last 15 years. I generally take a giant Husky cantilever toolbox since it offers better organization than a standard toolbox. Some items I pack with me:

  • Supercharger pulley tool in case I need to remove the blower for any reason (had to do it once when I blew my lower intake gaskets near San Francisco once - always use steel reinforced gaskets when supercharging).
  • Hex key sockets
  • Cam sync tool (I have EDIS8)
  • Swivel sockets (required to access some of the nuts on the supercharger mounting)
  • -6 AN wrench (I've only got -6 on my car).
  • tube wrench set for brake service
  • partial metric and SAE socket set
  • 3/8" ratchet
  • 18" 1/2" drive breaker bar
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Some aircraft ratcheting wrenches (the flat closed kind)
In consideration of the delicate nature of electronic tools, I pack a separate, significantly smaller toolbox (that fits inside the big cantilever) that also incorporates a reasonably powerful LED lamp:

  • Good quality wire strippers
  • Ratcheting crimpers for insulated splices and terminals
  • Portable Weller soldering iron
  • Bit of solder
  • misc assortment of terminals, splices
  • 3M black electrical tape
  • assortment of zip ties
  • good side cutters
In lieu of a spare tire, I carry the following in the spare tire space:

  • Mini hydraulic jack
  • Long pry bar that doubles as a lever for the jack
  • jumper cables
  • fender cover
I have a bin that contains spare motor and supercharger oil, along with a small funnel, disposable gloves, and some rags. My overalls normally accompany all this paraphernalia. I often bring along a small Viair air compressor and am considering getting some "Fix a Flat" type stuff, but need to research that a bit more.
 

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Love the mods done on the car and you still take it on road trips!

I unfortunately am not 100% comfortable in my car on anything over an hour or two (seat doesn't quite go back far enough for my long legs). I agree. Pics along the journey please!

If it was me I would take my Large Craftsman socket set, small bag of misc hand tools, small jack, tire plug kit, multi-meter (electrical issues), paper-clips (jump codes), Spark Tester Indicator and Fuel Pressure Gauge (If you don't have one on your rail).

Most importantly take the car to a repair shop (or preferably do an inspection yourself) of all front end components, drive shaft, fluids etc. From the sounds of it your no spring chicken when it comes to these long road trips though.

I also have AAA, so if those can't fix it easily or safely I have no problem throwing in the towel. Not sure if AAA goes into Canada?
 

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Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter #8
Perhaps not enough people have enjoyed driving a Fox Mustang on long trips. Even in stock form, I think the old Mustang is a fantastic road car with crisp handling, good performance, terrible factory brakes, but good interior amenities and comfort to support a long trip. It's certainly a fairly basic interior lacking many luxury items, but add some heated seat elements to a power lumbar seat, air conditioning, a stereo system upgrade, and you're good!

I've totally upgraded my chassis and suspension extensively at this point, so the handling, smoothness, and brake power is a huge improvement over stock. I've also added a fair bit of sound deadening material throughout the car which is super important to avoid driver fatigue. I do not have the annoying Flowmaster cabin drone and roadnoise has been reduced to very acceptable levels.

It's a great highway car that lives up to the stereotypical free spirited driving experience on par with how well the earliest Mustangs were able to capture that essence.
 

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You seem confident with two things, since you didn't mention them: cooling system and brakes. I've been bitten by cooling system before but lucky as I also carry what I termed: "the breakdown box." You MUST carry essentials because you never know. Your Mustang could be in tip top shape but you must account for the road and everyone (and everything on it). On long trips, not nearly as long as yours, I like to run a thicker oil and I always dump a bottle of Krex in every oil change, on every single car I've owned going on over 20 years. Sounds like a lot of fun. Hope your trip is safe and enjoyable. Glad to see someone unafraid to take a Pony long distances!
 

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I've moved in mine twice, once from Detroit to KC, and again from KC to Phoenix. In addition to a few 9-hour drives to and from Corral Day lol. It really is a nice highway car.


Perhaps not enough people have enjoyed driving a Fox Mustang on long trips. Even in stock form, I think the old Mustang is a fantastic road car with crisp handling, good performance, terrible factory brakes, but good interior amenities and comfort to support a long trip. It's certainly a fairly basic interior lacking many luxury items, but add some heated seat elements to a power lumbar seat, air conditioning, a stereo system upgrade, and you're good!

I've totally upgraded my chassis and suspension extensively at this point, so the handling, smoothness, and brake power is a huge improvement over stock. I've also added a fair bit of sound deadening material throughout the car which is super important to avoid driver fatigue. I do not have the annoying Flowmaster cabin drone and roadnoise has been reduced to very acceptable levels.

It's a great highway car that lives up to the stereotypical free spirited driving experience on par with how well the earliest Mustangs were able to capture that essence.
 

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Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Here's how the car looked before it my left my garage in Tucson.



A snap from the north end of the Big Smoky Valley run in Nevada, en route to Portland, OR.


No issues and runs super hard! Actually, not entirely true. Maybe it was some of the crap fuel I was getting as I got further north, but I had to reduce some spark timing under boost slightly to avoid pinging. I drove the car pretty hard and was making some very high speed passing maneuvers using a fair bit of boost. The fastest I could maintain the car running on a flat 6000 ft altitude stretch without getting into boost was about 100 mph. Any faster than that and it started using boost output. The fastest I sustained cruising under boost was about 130 mph for about 10 minutes. I even had some followers tailing me at those speeds, which was surprising. In one case, it was a newer Ford F-350 pickup truck, chipped or modified or something because there's no way the stock truck could maintain those speeds and corners stock, right? Another vehicle tailing me at one point was in Oregon... there is a road called George Millican Rd which is absolutely gorgeous. No issues, aside from fuel consumption.

I may have gone a bit too lean on my HEGO bias during cruise because I noticed some light bucking during cruise conditions. My fuel economy has been great despite having a positive displacement supercharger on the car. Roughly 25-27 mpg highway.
 

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Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter #14

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Awesome pic... Not sure what's more striking... The Pony or those snow capped mountains... Looks like one of those 80's cigarette ads... ".... You know what? Nothing means more than the open road and my Fox Body Mustang. Maybe a Fox Body Mustang and a cool menthol Marlboro..."
 

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Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Currently in Winnemucca, NV stopped to grub. This place is reasonably big with good food options and fuel services. Still have about 4 hours to Tonopah, where I'll stop for the night.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! I almost ran out of fuel and stopped in Hampton, OR where I had to buy a few gallons of regular 87 octane fuel. Looking at the delta in spark tables for the LA3 strategy, where Ford implemented? separate regular and premium spark tables, I pulled 5 degrees out at high load and managed to get into boost, make a few passing moves and not ping with my new regular table. Needless to say, I got a full tank of Chevron Supreme later and flipped the switch back to the normal tune.
 

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Super Moderator
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You're actually staying overnight in Tonopah? It's less than 30 mins to actual better-than-truck-stop civilization.
 

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Indo-Canuck-Yankee
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Discussion Starter #20
You're actually staying overnight in Tonopah? It's less than 30 mins to actual better-than-truck-stop civilization.
You know, it does seem like a ####hole, but it's got one shining gem of a hotel: the Mizpah Hotel, circa 1907. It's great!
 
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