Nor-Cal SVO Owners Association


Internally Regulated Alternator on an SVO
By Lou Medina

        The stock alternator on an 84-86 SVO is externally regulated and rated at only 60 amps.  For stock applications this is fine, most of the time.  As it gets older, if you start to notice that your headlights start to dim or your turn signals start to operate slower then you are in need of an upgrade.  Sure the stock alternator is cheap enough, especially with those "lifetime" warranties, but who wants to keep swapping out alternators once a year or worse yet, consider where you may be when that "lifetime" alternator decides to crap out.

        I have had same used 130 amp 3G alternator on my 90 GT since 1996 with absolutely no problems.  I initially installed them to get more juice after I installed the underdrive pulleys and was unhappy with the reduction of electrical energy at stoplights or rush hour traffic, mostly at night with the headlights on.  After I got my Interrad installed on the SVO, with its dual fans, I noticed that during rush hour traffic my headlights would dim and my car would start to run rougher at idle.  I surmised that the alternator was insufficient at idle with the fans, headlights and radio and AC on.  Knowing that it was a 60 amp I knew a larger alternator would improve the charging system.  Ford began using the 2G alternator around 1986 which was internally regulated but which had the power going through a plug that has been known to spontaneously combust.  I knew that this alternator would not do.  In 1992 Ford came out with the 3G alternator, with its internal cooling and stud mounted 12V source wire.  These came in two varieties, the 95 amp and 130 amp, the latter being most evident on the 94-95 Mustangs with the 5.0L and 94-98 Thunderbirds with the 5.0L.  The 95 amp was available in the earlier F-series such as the 93/94 with the 429ci V8 and the 95-97 with the 5.7L V8 and E-series vehicles such as the 92-96 with the 7.5L V8, 92 with the 5.0L V8 and 5.8L V8, 97 with the 4.2L V6 and finally the 94-95 Aerostar with the 3.0L.  All this information was taken from an industry standard reference book at a local alternator shop.  The alternator I ended up using was the 95 amp Motorsport/NASCAR unit which is high speed balanced (racing, duh!) and brand new and it comes with both of the plugs you will need.  Not a bad price at just under $140 either.  If you end up getting a used piece then make sure you get the two plugs also.  They can also be found at parts houses if you don't.  I initially wanted the 130 amp since I had a spare but with the serpentine setup I have the power steering pump bracket interfered with the large case.  I was going to modify the bracket to make it fit but then I found that it just rested against the hood.  I am sure the 95 amp will fit any and all SVO's but have seen the 130 amp installed in non-serpentine application with success.

        Now for the wiring.  The diagram you see is the final connections I came up with and have had no problems with it so far.  It is my own monkeying, trial and error, until it worked type of solution.

Alternator Diagram         The diagram should be self explanatory.  But I will make some clarifications here. The L,A,S by the alternator is what is marked on the 3 spade plug.  This designates what each plug is for.  The S wire goes into the other 1 spade plug on the alternator which is right next to the 3 spade plug.  In order for me to not have to cut any wires I went to a boneyard and grabbed the wire loom that attaches to the stock alternator and attaches to the unique charging system plug.  My diagram shows what wires must be spliced using this extra loom.  The jumpers that I have indicated are in order for me not to have to have cut the plug that the old voltage regulator attached to.  Just make the jumpers out of some spare wire and two spade connectors.  You can cut and splice the wires and not mess with the jumpers if you wish to cut off the plug.  The "red green to gauge" is what will allow your "ALT" light in your dashboard to function like its supposed to.

        Note: Something I learned later and was substantiated by another SVO owner even later is that the SVO WILL NOT charge the battery with the instrument cluster removed or not connected properly.  I suspect it has to do with the "red green to gauge" wire which is called the "904" wire in the schematic but since I've made it work I haven't researched any further.

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SN95 Cobra R brakes on an 86 SVO
By Lou Medina

        As anyone who has ever driven an SVO knows, the brakes are more than adequate for most uses of the car. A change to a larger rotor, bigger caliper setup would require considerable expense if purchased through one of the major after-market brake companies.  In addition to the expense, proprietary parts are not always that easy to find when you need it in a pinch.  With some research and considerable luck I learned how to install the later SN95 Cobra R brakes using used parts that, though not very easy to find in boneyards, are easily enough found at the local dealer or parts house.

Brakes before         First of all let me explain that the only reason this project even got started was my lucky acquisition of a set of 98 SVT Cobra wheels and tires at an exceptional price.  I just could not pass them up.  I didn't even know if they would fit, having heard from an "expert" who has his own website, that it wouldn't but I took the chance and picked them up.  Voilá, they fit well enough.  Unfortunately, the center caps could not be installed on the front wheels because of the spindle sticking out of the center of the wheel.  It was here that I decided to try and make the SN95 stuff work even if I had to find or make some custom parts.  I did not have to.

        As you may or may not know, the lower control arm and spindle are specific to the 84-86 SVO.  This said, I found that I could not just swap the SN95 spindles.  The ball joint taper is larger on the SVO application.  That left me with the task of finding a suitable replacement for the lower control arm.  Not only is the ball joint larger but the arm is physically longer than a standard Mustang arm.  I found what I needed on the 98 SVT Cobra.  Here we had a correct length control arm and a spindle to match.  Now, there are two different spindles available.  The 94-95 spindle and the 96- spindle.  The earlier one has the tie rod end location higher than the later one and is actually about 6MM narrower (each, these are my personal measurements).  The later one also has an ABS ring.  I originally installed the setup with the later spindle but found that the track was incorrect and the wheels stuck out too far.  Don't forget to install poly bushings in the control arms while you have the chance.

        As for the actual brakes, ANY setup from a 1994-1999 Cobra or Cobra R will work.  The Motorsport M-2300-R or M-2300-Q are good kits and are complete with the only difference being that they come with different master cylinders for 94-95 and post-96 cars (which aren't needed for our application).  The kit does not come with the control arms, spindles or hubs. Brakes after If you find used parts make sure you get everything, as you will need the calipers, caliper brackets, caliper bracket to spindle bolts, pads and the caliper to caliper bracket retaining rod with snap ring in addition to the arms and spindles assembly.  If you find used parts, the spindles/hub assemblies are the same for the V8 and V6 cars.  I also didn't have to change my stainless braided brake lines.  Take note that the 99 Cobra rotors from Ford are now supplied by Brembo and should be of higher quality than the standard fare.

        The install is straightforward with the only stumbling block being that the stock Koni struts would not allow the control arm to turn due to being too long under the spindle attaching bolts.  Installing non-Koni struts modified for an SVO application solved this.  Elsewhere on this website, you will find how to do that modification also.  Another quirky piece of information I found was that the spring perch must be lower on this arm than the stock arm since my car was actually lowered by this install but, not knowing that it would, I didn't take before and after measurements.  Getting springs with a taller height can solve this but at this point  I have not done this.  This will get updated if/when that gets done.

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Non-Koni Struts Into an 86 SVO
By Lou Medina

        My first Mustang was a 1990 GT.  From the start I knew it had its shortcomings, handling being high on the list.  This became clearly evident at my very first autocross and high speeds (80+) on the highway.  I initially put on a set of KYBs which dramatically improved this area.  However I had a slight mishap which required me to replace a damaged strut and my mechanic managed to get the insurance to pay for Bilstiens.  Top shelf stuff and lifetime warranty.  I have had them on for 7 years now and have never felt the need to change.  Now, when I bought my 86 SVO it had some black generics that were unidentifiable.  I found that the "only" true application for the SVO was made by Koni and I found a set of used 86 valved Konis. Big improvement.  However, I had Eibach springs with progressive rates (497#-657#) part #3509.101 that would only get dampened in one direction and no matter how firm I put it it was still not enough.  I hated that.  So my two options were to get some more expensive Konis or find some other way to install something that dampened in both directions(read-nonadjustable).  I chose option two.  I actually had the setup complete long before I actually installed them but since I like to do things in a natural progression I waited until I was gonna need an alignment for another reason.  I found out during my SN95 Cobra brake install the the Konis would not work at all due to the length of strut below the attaching bolts.  Thus my pre-configured Bilstien setup came into play at a very opportune time.  I love them.  I won't buy anything else now.

        Here is how it is done:  The onion head strut mount must be modified and the spacer bushing has to be trimmed.  First remove the dust shield from the mount which will give you access to a rubber bumper/bushing that must be removed.  I took a pair of dykes to it and with some effort removed all of it.  You can now reinstall the dust shield if you wish but the Bilsteins I had came with their own blue dust covers.  The Bilstiens I used had a 1" shaft compared to the Koni 1/2" shaft thus it wouldn't fit into the rubber bumper/bushing.  Next the spacer/bushing must be trimmed or replaced.  The stock Koni bushing is just under 1"( I think .900").  I had it cut to .435" by a professional machinist so I could get two spacers from one original one but if you don't have a good machinist then you would need two that can be machined to .500".  Install everything as normal and you now have the complete option.  This should work as well for non-Bilstein shocks but I can not attest for anything but Bilstein.

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