We all want to do grand things with our cars. It's in our nature as oppos. Every single person here has a list of mods or projects floating in their minds, just waiting for that perfect chance to leap out and become reality. You can have a great car to show for it if you're responsible, financially well off, and clever about it, and are able to prioritize your life like an adult.

I am none of those things.

A couple of years ago I made the sound and mature decision to impulse buy a 2003 Cobra Terminator IRS to swap into my DD beat to crap v6 Mustang. My father's friend's brother ('s mother's friend of a friend of a friend...) ran a Mustang performance shop in San Antonio, nice enough dude, set up Cobras for the 1/4 mile. One day he called my father and told him of spare IRS lying around, and if his gearhead eldest would be interested for $400. "WHAT A DEAL" slightly younger me yelled in ignorant joy, "now I can have outrageous positive camber on all four corners! Look alive stance nation!"

So dad and I bring it home in his town and country and get to work. An hour in we've got the SRA dropped and the IRS alligned underneath. Stuff's looking good, we're cracking smiles and cracking beers, dreaming of fancy pants suspension set ups until we take a look at realize we're screwed. Here's why


These are typical ford mustang axles. Look outside, point at a Mustang, and I bet you every dollar you got in your pocket one of these is tucked underneath. Two control arms on the pumpkin, two to hold the springs, and two shocks, as KISS as can be.

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This...is not as simple. Ford did, IMO, a great job packaging an IRS into a log axle's home and reusing the mounting points of the regular axles, but engineering is full of little compromises and here is no exception. You see the little buggers behind the shocks, the fixed tie rods? Yeah those don't bolt up to the frame without a specific bracket. Mister 'nice enough' forgot to mention that

"NBD, I can make this work" I call my hookup at the local Ford dealer and we begin the search. By the end of the day we've found literally the only pair of brackets left in the tristate area, leftie in West Texas, rightie in Oklahoma. I whip out the ol trusty Visa, hand my numbers out like condoms at a college sex ed seminar, and call it a day.

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Couple of days later and it's Christmas in summertime! "It is Christmas in summertime!" I declare as I shred the wrapping to my new saving graces. I open up the left package and observe the beauty of an immaculate left mounting bracket, no scrapes, no wear, it'd just been sitting in a warehouse for years. I open up the right package and observe...the beauty...of another immaculate left mounting bracket. It would seem a certain Oklahoma Ford dealer employs the sort of people you'd expect to meet in Oklahoma.

Compounding on top of this crap salad are little details of crap toppings and crap dressing on an otherwise rancid metaphor. The larger brake calipers prove too big for my 15" rims, the passenger half shaft's metal spinny thing falls apart when you give it a mean look, the brake lines don't match up, and I swear half the gear oil just grew legs and walked away. Now realizing I've purchased a rear end nothing short of cursed I take responsibility and bite the bullet of my mistakes, following the only logical course of action at this point in time.

"Hi hello I was calling about the 2003 Cobra Terminator IRS you put up on Craigslist for $500?"

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Why tell this story now? I want people to learn from my mistakes. Impulsivity has it's advantages, but automotive work needs care and patience as much as passion. Do your research, know what you're getting into, make your mods count. And if you screw up? Find some sort of benefit from it even if it's just a little bit of profit.

Speaking of, anyone looking to purchase two IRS left mounting brackets?