S351 Re-build 95-112

delvin.a

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Picked up this 1995 Saleen S351 in late 2020 with the plan to bring it back to an OEM+


95-112
When I got it someone had spent a lot of money building it years ago, it’s 408/D1SC Procharger/OE Saleen Edelbrock heads/GT40 lower and a box upper plus a full Aeromotive A1000 fuel system.

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I drove it around for a couple days and found it had some issues, lots of belt slip, bad aftermarket fan wiring, low boost plus all the added white and the awful wheels so I made the easy decision to start asap.

Removed the blower and upper intake to sell then started cleaning. For a 14k miles car it was incredibly dirty, I assume the belt slip was a factor.

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Once I got the intake and valve covers off I sent them and the front accy brackets out for powder coating.

Then I started cleaning the interior and found a ton of aftermarket wiring running all over the car and one thing led to another and next thing the interior is all out and the bumpers were off. The amount of relays and wiring was staggering

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I’ll leave it there for now
 

delvin.a

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Progress

Once I got all the excess wire out I cleaned the metal and started reassembling the interior without the white painted pieces. It looks so much better back to stock. I also pulled the Saleen 2-point brace out, chopped the tabs for the harness bar off and powder coated it black.
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A little velcro to protect the brace from the belt clip


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Found this cool mirror tag for sale

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I got lucky and bought a whole new set of headlights from Ford before they went NLA. Also got lucky on a trunk cargo net and passenger fender liner from Ford before going NLA.

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Restored the intake plate and mounted it to the freshly coated upper
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Then the process of putting it all back started.

Restored fuel rail and new crossover tubing

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Big fan of these Powergrip clamps from Gates. Yes, I replaced the broken timing pointer with a new Ford piece.


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Here it is back together about to start for the first time since January on a startup tune I wrote (first time working with a QH). That MAF unit was tough to find at a not ridiculous price, again I got lucky and found it in a 3-4 year old FS thread on corral
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The start up went well enough, I was able to set the idle at 800, fill the coolant, set the fuel pressure and confirm the fan comes on after rebuilding the fan harness that was cut for some reason. I’ve got a very lean idle at 18:1 that I’ve got to fix before the first drive.

I was able to get the AF down enough to stop the pinging and pull it out for a wash

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It wasn’t optioned with the heat extractor hood originally but the PO was able to locate this one with some paint issues.

That brings it up to the current state, I’ve got an appt for tuning next week then I should be driving. Once that is done the only things left to do is the exhaust. Currently the car has longtubes that hang way too low and aren’t original so they are coming out for a set of OE shorty headers and some sort of stainless x-pipe and the Borla catback I have waiting. I’m planning on re-making the Saleen machine gun tips for the catback as well since they are no longer available.

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Redoing the rear bumper fabric covering
 

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delvin.a

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Glad you got rid of those rovos, it didn't look right

They were awful, I have no idea why someone would buy those when the LeMans wheels were already there.

Very nice. That wiring was a mess.

It was wild man, I kept finding more and more. I’d think I was about done and then a wire would show up and the chase start all over. The strobe light unit was a pretty cool find I suppose and I did score some sweet 12’ RCA cables lol

The car was a pacecar for a small track at some point in it’s past, I also found a track horn behind the rear wheel.
 

98 svt

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Great car. Love it.
Glad you went back to the original black pieces inside.. Aren't the door pull pieces supposed to be painted body color though?
 

delvin.a

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Great car. Love it.
Glad you went back to the original black pieces inside.. Aren't the door pull pieces supposed to be painted body color though?

As far as I can determine the painted pulls were an option later on but I’m not real sure. I held onto them but the passenger side will need to be redone if they go back in because it is rough. I do like the added color pop
 

99BOSS

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Good find and great job on the restoration. Always glad to see a S351 get preserved. I had a 99 version. Cool cars but the stock tunes leave a lot to be desired. People have to remember back in 94 when these came out, putting a 351 in there wasnt too hard, but when it was the supercharged version, the technology in blown cars isnt what it was say in the 2000s. Saleen used a Vortech kit with a FMU to spike fuel pressure and it had a modified Econoline van PCM. The early cars used Lightning truck shortblocks with hypereutectic pistons. These early cars were bad about blowing the engine due to the iffy fuel system/tune combo. The cars got better as time went on. In 96 the Twisted Wedge cylinder heads replaced the Edlebrock units and the FMU went away to be replaced by bigger injectors and a better calibration. The T56 tranny also replaced the Tremec 5 speed unit. Somewhere in the later cars, 98 maybe, the Lightning shortblocks were all gone from Ford inventory. Saleen used the beefier sportsman blocks with actual forged internals. The final year, 99, like mine, all had Wiseco pistons and Eagle H beam rods in that beefy block. These were the most desirable but very scarce. Anyone that has a S351 needs to go through it and see what they really have because by now, its not stock due to an issue at some point in its life. Overall, very cool cars and with modern advances in fuel systems and upgraded parts, the 351 can be a beast. Saleen had a great idea back in the mid 90s, just the technology wasnt quite there to make the most of it. Cheers on your find and good luck with it. These cars will always be desirable, rare, and collectable.
 

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