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"A bone-stock AOD mustang can be expected to run 15.0's, 14.90's if you are lucky."

This is a quote from our article "13's The Easy Way!" Well, from now on I guess we will call our newest edition at FM "Lucky"! Let's meet our latest project car- a 1992 LX hatchback with a 5.0 V8 and AOD transmission. I have lusted after this car for almost a year, now. As my friend's wife finally decided to buy that luxury SUV she has always wanted, I was able to buy her impeccably maintained pony for a very reasonable price. Emerald green and showing only 90,000 miles, the LX hatchback had been garaged at both home and work! Follow along as we take it to the track for the very first time and see what a stock, automatic, 5.0 can do. Oh, yeah- "Lucky" is a little too cute a name for something I have to drive everyday. That's why we are naming it "Project : Green Machine II".

How did this name arise, you ask (at least the II part). Well, it is green and a machine but the name credit has to go to my father who built a racing sailboat out of junk parts in our backyard and proceeded to beat a lot of very expensive rigs all over the southeast. The color came from the unpainted fiberglass used to cover the plywood decks. In the rush to get it ready for it's first season paint was put off as a luxury item. Competitors named it "Langley's Green Machine" and the name stuck. So in deference to my father who taught me how make things faster using ingenuity rather than wads of cash, I named my "new" Mustang "Green Machine II".

The car ran perfectly when I picked it up. It had just passed California smog testing so I did not even give it a tune up. I pulled the air silencer from the passenger fenderwell (pull the air filter, unbolt three nuts, and pull out the silencer from under the right front fender) and replaced the paper air filter with a K&N. I then pulled the spout connecter from the distributor harness and set base timing to 14 degrees. The marks were hard to read on the harmonic balancer so I filled them in with a white crayon. After the excess wax is wiped off the numbers are quite easy to read. This covers the full extent of modifications for GM2's first track outing!

We drove out to our favortie track, Sacramento Raceway, to baseline the bone stock LX. The weather was in the high 50's and dry- just about perfect! We pulled the spare, jack and sound insulation out of the hatch for some weight savings. I got in line after passing tech and waited for my turn at the track. I was nervous as it had been over year since I had actually made a pass. At least the automatic would make it easier to pull consistent ET's compared to my T5 shifted '65. I pulled up to the line and backed into the water box. Doing a burnout is just too easy in an AOD equipped 5.0! Simply place the left foot firmly on the brake and floor the throttle with the right. Instant vulcanized rubber! There is an ongoing debate on whether doing burnouts on radials helps your traction or hurts it. Our experience with radials has shown a moderate burnout yields significantly better 60-ft. times compared to no burnout. Simple physics supports our conclusion-

AOD 1-D-1 shuffle
Because the "D" position on an AOD is both second and third gear, the only way to hold second gear in a stock AOD is to shift from the 1 to D position, then immediately back to 1. When you are ready for third gear, move the shifter back to "D". This process is rumored to accelerate clutch band wear in the AOD, however a Trans Go shift-kit apparantly enables you to do the shuffle without hurting the transmission. We've been doing this regularly with the high-mileage AOD (with Trans Go shift kit) in our '88LX, and have experienced no problems.

the hotter matter gets, the greater it's friction coefficient. After seeing two good plumes of smoke in my side mirrors I let off on the brake and backed out of the throttle so GM2 could roll forward, gently. I pulled up to the lights and staged both bulbs. I launched on the last yellow light, right off of idle. I saw the 60 ft. on the board, 2.289 seconds. Not great, but about average on radials (Pirelli P4000's) stock gears and suspension. I shifted the AOD at 5000rpm, doing the 1-D-1 shuffle.

I went thru the traps at just over 93mph. I picked up the time slip and saw I had run a 14.857 ET at 93.7mph. I was happy that the first run of GM2 was in the 14's, not the 15's. Now I just needed to improve on that number. My goal was to break into the 14.70's by days end. My first step was to lower the tier pressure in the rear tires from 31psi to 24psi. looking for better 60 ft times. I was able to pull a 2.277 60ft. but only ran 14.855 at 93.5. I was still shifting at 5000rpm, which meant by the time the AOD responded it was shifting at 5500rpm. Next we increased the base timing from 14 degrees to 16 degrees. I had intentionally put in 89 octane gasoline so I could play with the timing without risking detonation. The next run was begun with a 2.291 60 ft., but ended with a 14.829 at 93.8. GM2 liked the extra timing ( we have seen this before in 289 and early 302 iron heads, they run best at around 40 degrees total timing.) I was still shifting at 5000rpm and we felt that the lag inherent in a stock AOD was causing it to shift too high for a stock EFI 5.0. We were out of time, the track officials called for last run. I pulled into the water box and really heated up the Pirellis. I drove thru my own smoke screen and staged, reminding myself (out loud) I wanted a great launch and to shift no higher than 4700rpm. I placed my left foot on the brake pedal and pushed the throttle with the right to bring my launch rpm to 1100. With the converter just at stall speed I floored it on the third yellow. I was rewarded with a 2.266 60 ft.!- the best of the day. I clicked the shifter back and forth at 4700rpm and the car felt great going thru the traps. Chirag had sat out the last call and was waiting for me back at our pit area. He grinned and said "You did it!, Dude!" and handed me the timeslip, a 14.772 at 94.212, the quickest and fastest of the day! It was a really good feeling to have achieved the goal I set at the beginning of the test and tune. Green Machine II ran 2 tenths faster than I hoped it would, giving me good baseline to improve upon.


So what are the future plans for Green Machine II? Well, it is now my daily driver and has to be reliable and comfortable for everyday use. Other than these two caveats, almost anything goes! It will certainly will be seeing increases in both the "Go" and "Whoa" categories. I also intend to keep it very close to stock looking, for stealth purposes in regards to the local constabulary.
Stay tuned! F/M

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