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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone!

Figured I’d share my project with everyone here and maybe get some input along the way

Car is a 1981 Capri that I’ve actually owned two different times. First was back in 2019, traded an old Datsun 280zx for it and the car was a blast.

Busted gas tank led to me trailering it back home. Car came with a tank but it was the wrong one. Threw a fuel cell in it as a “for now” thing


Had a 302 with some mild stuff, cam, carb conversion, gt40 heads and a t5.


Needed some small rust repair done to the rear quarters, luckily came with some stock rust free ones cut from a parts car

new ones welded In but not painted yet


Found some spray paint at Walmart that was almost an exact match to the faded old black so touched up the rears and drove it all summer/fall.



At some point during the winter/early spring I decided I wanted a Harley and sold the car back to the guy I got it from.

Fast forward to May this year and I see it up for sale again. Engine and trans had been pulled but I knew it was a good shell so scooped it up.





Sat for the better part of the 2 years it was gone but thankfully didn’t deteriorate too bad.

Thought hard on throwing a 351w in it but they’re fairly hard to come by around here so went with the tried and true lsx swap.

local junkyard had an aluminum 5.3 I picked up, figured I’d throw a cam and intake on it and call it a day but when I pulled the cam out the journals and bearings had some marks so took the plunge and brought it to the local engine shop.



Getting them to do the crank/rod bearings, install new valve springs, and throw the cam in while its there.

Found a t56 local that needed a 3rd gear synchro so picked that up for a steal



All kinds of goodies coming in





sn95 hubs/spindles



All settled into the new place



Old K member out!



And the new one waiting to go in



Still have some small rusts spots to fix around the passenger strut tower then can throw the new k member in.
Also still debating the whole turbo vs na thing but that’s a constant back and forth lol
 

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Cool car. Looks like a solid starting point for sure.
 

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I'm interested in seeing you updates! She'll be fun.
 

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Ditch that intake, it'll cause you more grief than the ford diehards on this forum will for doing an LS conversation. LS6 intake.
Look forward to the build, I'm doing an 5.3/glide in an 02' mustang as we speak, almost done!
 

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1981 Capri
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ditch that intake, it'll cause you more grief than the ford diehards on this forum will for doing an LS conversation. LS6 intake.
Look forward to the build, I'm doing an 5.3/glide in an 02' mustang as we speak, almost done!
Oh I’m waiting for the diehards all right haha. My father is one and have the gears put to me every time we get talking about the car. I looked pretty hard at ls6 intakes but in the end couldnt find any that weren’t priced insane, not bad reviews on the summit intake so figured I’d give it a go
 

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1981 Capri
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got the shock tower patched up and the new K member installed!



Going to pick away at the rest of the front suspension but still waiting on my wheels to ship, damn back orders and product shortages add some frustration to this.

Probably going to order a manual rack soon, i like the feel and simplicity of them plus my stock power one was pretty nasty with inner and outer tie rods completely trashed too
 

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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Test fitting the front suspension pieces just to be sure there were no issues. Everything looks great! Steeda lowering springs will be getting thrown in and everything torqued down in the next few days.



Manual rack, sway bar end links, sway bar bushings, MM brake lines to adapt the fox hardlines to sn95 calipers and my wheels finally shipped too!
 

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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Started some work on the t56 today. It supposedly has a bad 3rd/4th gear synchro and of course that’s the last thing you get to when disassembling.

So far everything looks good but then I’ve only got the reverse and 5/6 gear out and they’re not really the ones you beat on.

Excuse the mess and lack of insulation in the garage, it’s getting spray foamed in the next few weeks then can finally cover the walls and hang up some stuff



Parts all laid out at the other end of the garage on the clean work bench



Might pull the rest of the trans apart tomorrow then order the parts I need. Thinking carbon blockers, bronze shift fork pads, and probably billet keys plus whatever damage has been done to the 3/4. Fingers crossed it’s just blocker rings!
 

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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Front suspension/brakes are almost done!

Threw the springs in today, tightened everything (besides the control arms, will give them a final torque at ride height) and have all the brake hardware besides lines done.

Hitting the big torque specs is easy when you have a 4 foot long snap on torque wrench haha



The difference in brakes is pretty insane



Shipping company says my wheels should be here tomorrow! Going to be watching the driveway pretty close
 

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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Did some more work on the car tonight

New manual rack, sway bar bushings, sway bar end links and steering column are in!



Daughter helped as much as she could but mainly just wanted to steal the tools haha

 

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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Finished tearing the t56 apart today, thankfully everything besides blocker rings look great!



Everything all laid out, ordered new carbon blockers, billet keys, steel 3/4 shift fork, and bronze shift fork pads, and a few seals/bearings it needs.



Probably clean up the case a bit while I wait, the black rattle can job it got at some point in the past isn’t holding on too well

 

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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Parts are finally shipped for the trans but haven’t gotten around to anything on the car, been picking away at things the house needs before winter. Ordered a few fittings for the brakes and a new set of rear shocks though.

One interesting development though, my father is about to give this build and my car a run for its money.



My 19 year old sister passed away suddenly a few years ago and she had a mint 2002 Mustang V6, it’s obviously stayed in the family but needs some shock tower repair now that requires the engine to be pulled. Instead of throwing the v6 back in it’s getting a coyote swap with an auto trans (so my mother can still drive it from time to time.) Obviously the V6 car needs some improvements over a GT but can’t buy the sentimental value of that car.

It’ll be getting worked on next to mine in the garage so will get to see all kinds of pictures of that progress too!

I may have to turbo mine after all just to make sure I’m faster haha
 

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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Trans parts showed up today! Finally got to use my new press I picked up over a year ago



Everything was going together so great until I hit the 1-2 synchro hub. Got it 3/4 on then had the spring on the bottom side pop loose (my fault accidentally slid the outer part too far down and lost tension on the new billet keys) so now I have to make a trip to the hardware store for some metal stock to extend my gear puller so I can get it back off

 

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‘93 Mustang LX
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Kudos to you brother. I’ve not had the nads to tear into a tranny. I look forward to your progress!
 

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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Kudos to you brother. I’ve not had the nads to tear into a tranny. I look forward to your progress!
Thanks! It’s honestly not all that complicated just have to be clean and very well organized so you know what order everything goes in. I’ve built a fair few engines and this is far easier
 

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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Picked away at the trans tonight, that 1-2 synchro was being a pain but finally got it happily on the main shaft with the help of a 2” pvc pipe and a rubber mallet



Messed around with the shift forks a little and got them roughly into place. Will fine tune them tomorrow and get the case back on!

 

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‘93 Mustang LX
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Looks like “Greek” to me. Kudos bro 😎!
 

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1981 Capri
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Had a bit of a busy week with a local car show I put my Harley in so finally got around to working on the trans yesterday and today.

Won best bike and was a great show overall!





Got the main case put on last night



And finished up the rest today! Glad to say it shifts into all gears and doesn’t have any extra neutrals haha



Finished off by giving the bay a bit of a clean. Still have to go through and remove all the stuff I won’t need but at least it looks a little nicer now


 

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I can’t imagine why they gave your bike that award!
 
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