Build Update

   Posted by: kdavis

Man, it’s been almost a month since I’ve done an update. It’s been pretty busy around here. Making some progress here on the build, but it’s been a little slow.

It seems like with every step, I spend a couple of hours researching, clarifying, and modifying the build step.

What I’ve been working on:


I have the engine about 90% completed. I installed the intake manifold, carb, distributor (temporarily), coil, water pump, and alternator (complete with Mike Everson’s bracket.) I need some parts to finish things up, then I’ll be able to get it all assembled and ready to put in the car.


Test Fit with Headers:

I was able to put the engine in the car and put the 4 into 4 headers on so I could verify my passenger foot box modification. I was pretty pleased with the results. With just measurements to build from, I managed to fit it with about 3/4″ of clearance to spare.


Front End:

Some of the parts were already assembled, and I had already painted the rotors and put the brakes on. Michelle and I got the steering rack installed (we installed and uninstalled it 3 times to get it right.)

After spending hours and hours learning about SAI, bump steer, caster, camber, toe-in, toe-out, etc., I finally felt like I could put all of the components together for the front end. My steering rack is an 18:1 manual rack from Mike Forte, and I also got my solid offset bushings and my bump steer kit from him.

Bump Steer Kit and Offset Bushings:

There are many different configurations for installing the bump steer kit. The tie-rod ends can be installed on top of or below the spindle, and you have a varying number of spacers. As a starting point, I used the “parallel to the LCA” configuration, and ended up with my tie-rod ends on bottom of the spindle arms with one spacer on top. I also added a washer for protection on the bolt head. To get the right angle and to get the rack centered, I put the bushings so that the rack was as high as possible. I also used the bump steer kit to pull the wheels in so they are marginally in pre-alignment location.

Once I’m ready to align, I’ll end up measuring bump steer throughout the top to bottom of the wheel stroke, and adjust as needed.


Rear End:

I had my 3.55’s put in locally since I didn’t have all of the tools needed to complete it. I figure it was $300 well spent, as it was all ready for me to prepare the rear end for installation.

The first step was to replace the old axle seals. Getting them out was a bit of a challenge, but a carefully placed hammer (claw end) worked well to pop them out. Getting the new ones in was even more challenging as they are pressure fit. I placed them in the housing, tapped them with the hammer, and used a pulley I found that was the right size to pound the new seal in place. A little touch up spray paint, and I was ready for the axles.

After this, I removed the rear cover, removed the pinion shaft bolt and pinion, and put both axles into the shafts. The original owner didn’t give me the c-clips to hold the axles in, but I had picked up a set (they sell them in 4’s for some reason) from Ford. You basically just push the axles in all the way, put the clips on, and pull the axles back out to seat the clips in place. Pinion shaft and retaining bolt back in, then I used some rtv to seal the rear cover and gasket, and torqued the bolts down.

One thing that didn’t go well was getting the drain plug out for the rear end. You just use a socket extension since it’s a 3/8″ square plug. Someone in the past had really put that thing in well, so I managed to bend my extension a little. Nothing the grinder can’t fix. Unfortunately, it was my long extension, which I don’t have 10 of like I do the short ones.


I’m now ready to get the rear end installed in the car. Michelle and I will likely work on this tomorrow night for date night!

Inspiration and Ideas

   Posted by: kdavis

As I’ve gotten started, I’ve been learning a lot, and having spent more than a year just researching the kit and the build process, I’ve gathered a ton of valuable information. I’ve also been researching colors, interiors, engine options, etc.

I thought it would make sense to put this information here on the build site to not only give others a chance to use the information, but to give me a place to archive it as well.


This may not be the best way to start off my build site, but hey, it’s MY build, so I can do whatever I want, right? All you die hard blue-oval fans might want to just skip this section all together, and move on to less controversial topics.

I’ve grown up on Chevy’s. I was really into Chevy heavy metal in my earlier years, and I’ve owned 2 different 1967 Chevelle Malibu’s. I loved the both, and have always really liked the Chevy power plants.

I’m really not one of those all Chevy’s are awesome and all Ford’s suck kind of guys. I pretty much love all well-made cars, from every manufacturer and every part of the globe.

That being said, since I know what I’m getting into with a Chevy engine, I’ve decide to drop one into my FFR kit. I feel fine about it since it’s a kit car and since it’s mine to choose what goes into it. In the old days of the kits, you’d have to do some frame modification and fabrication to make this work since the FFR Roadster is built around Ford options, but thanks to guys like Mike Forte, it’s become a little easier since he makes custom adapters for the motor mounts. I’ll still have to make my own headers to fit the 5.0L j-pipes, but there are lots of options and guides out there.

To discuss non-ford power in the FFR, visit this forum: Non-Ford Forum.

I’ve decide it still would be right for me to drop an Auto tranny in here, so I’m going 4-speed. If I can find a decent deal on a Muncie M21 or M22, I’ll be going that direction since they are bullet-proof. If not, I’ll probably be looking at the Saginaw 4-speed instead. I’m not dragging this car, and those are a pretty good proven tranny and should do the job to handle what will be a sub-400hp and torque car.

I’m hoping to find a nice SBC 327 I can drop in here, it’s a nice high rev motor that should make the Roadster an absolute joy to drive. Second option is a SBC 350. Either of these would get me into the 300-375hp and torque range without a ton of money and parts.

Suspension Options:

This was where I was pretty confused with ordering. There are several options when placing the order for the FFR base kit. It was a little unclear to me what you get with each kit, what you still need, and what it all means and costs.

Here’s a summary of what I found out:

1) IRS – Independent Rear Suspension is all the rage nowadays, and is supposed to offer the best balance of handling and ride comfort. Most modern sports cars come with IRS from the factory. This is an option for FFR kits, and not a cheap one at $2000+. I was excited to learn that you could find a full IRS rear end from an SC Ford Thunderbird (1989) that would fit into the FFR for under $500 usually. That excitement quickly faded, however when I realized that this only got you so far, and you still needed the IRS option added to the base kit to make it work. Still a cheaper option than others out there, but not important enough for me to go that way.
2) 3/4/5 Link Options – These are the other options out there. Talking to the FFR factory guys, the 3-link gives you the best bang for your buck and seems to be a good option to order from FFR. 4 Link is the standard solid axle choice for the Mustang and OEM applications. 5 Link is a new setup, and is supposed to be a great alternative to IRS. Gordon Levy has them for about $1600, and I’m still looking at it for an option.

Since I’m trying to keep my initial cash outlay down, I just went with the basic 4-link OEM setup, and I can use the rear end out of the 87-04 Mustangs to get it done. As I see it, I won’t be track racing this thing, and the ride quality isn’t all that big of an issue (they stink, their load, and bumpy anyway.) If that doesn’t work long-term, I can go looking at the 5-link instead.


I’m really into custom interior stuff, to the type of fabrics chosen to the Audio system and little features that make things cool and unique.

Some ideas I’m tossing around:

1) Using a double-din Nav-type stereo with the full screen display, hidden behind a panel of some sort to make it look nicer.
2) Integrating a rear-view/backup camera and feeding it into the display. I have this on my suburban and love it, and it should help to add some better rear visibility, which these cars suffer a little from.
3) Bass Shakers in the seats – the interior of the car is pretty limited, so fitting a 12″ sub will be impossible. I use the LFE’s in my home theater chairs, and they work great, so this will be a relatively simple way to handle the system’s bass.
4) Behind-the-Seat shelf – I saw this on and it looked great (J Persons), plus it gives a place to mount some speakers (in each rear corner firing across,) and possibly the system amplifiers.
5) Tan Interior – I really like the Orange on Tan look, and will likely be replacing the supplied black interior with a tan one, and hope to recover the black vinyl seats with some nice tan leather ones, and hoping I can pull off doing my own upholstery. We’ll see how that turns out.

Still lots of planning to do, and I’ll keep updating the blog. In the meantime, here are some inspirational pics.

FFR Car I really like the Orange Color of (House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl sprayed over white base coat):

This is Mike M’s Car.

Interior Pics: (This is a 67 Chevelle Vert, I really like the integrated center column and painted dash, plus the tan leather):