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MODIFYING

HIGH TORQUE STARTER UPGRADE

For All 1983-88 Cougars / Thunderbirds
Revised September 7, 2016

Thanks to Ed for contributing this article.

In 1989 Ford began using a newer style starter called the Permanent Magnet Gear Reduction, or PMGR, starter. It weighs half as much as the old style starter that our cars came with: the old one is about 30 lbs., and this one is about 15! The new starter provides more torque and requires less power to operate. This upgrade is a win/win situation all around. The PMGR starter can be had purchased from your local salvage yard or from parts stores. Here's a list of potential donor vehicles for the newer starter:



Vehicles that use the PMGR starter compatible with the 3.8L, 5.0L, and 5.8L:

  • (1996-92) Ford Bronco 4.9L, 5.0L, 5.8L w/ AT
  • (2002-92) Ford E Series 4.2L, 4.9L, 5.0L, 5.8L
  • (1998-92) Ford F Series 4.2L, 4.9L, 5.0L, 5.8L
  • (1991-90) Ford LTD Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis 5.0L
  • (2003-94) Ford Mustang 3.8L
  • (1995-92) Ford Mustang 5.0L
  • (1997-90) Ford Thunderbird 3.8L, 5.0L
  • (1992-90) Lincoln Mark VII 5.0L
  • (1990) Lincoln Town Car 5.0L
  • (1997-89) Mercury Cougar 3.8L, 5.0L

Vehicles that use the PMGR starter compatible with the 2.3L:

  • (1993-92) Ford Mustang 2.3L
  • (2002-91) Ford Ranger 2.3L, 2.5L
  • (1999-94) Mazda Pickup 2.3L, 2.5L



Old vs. New Starters

Left: The old starter on the left; the new one on the right (these are for the 5.0L engine).

Starter Wiring Change

Left: There is one wiring change that must be made for the new starter to work on your car. Here's a picture of that change.

 

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