Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
May 20, 2007
Contributers: K.J. Jones Photos By: K.J. Jones

Horse Sense: Clevite is a sponsor of "Follow a Dream" founder Jay Blake, the only completely blind crew chief in motorsports. He is the crew chief for the foundation's alcohol funny car, driven by Dave Ray. Jay has more than 15 years experience in the auto mechanics field and 20 years in drag racing. Not only does he perform countless mechanical duties for the team, but he's also responsible for the organization's management, operations, and community outreach programs.

What do you get when you attend a PRI show? You get to see the components that make 2,000 hp a reality. You get an up-close look at cutting-edge suspension pieces that make your Mustang out-handle anything on the road. You get to rub elbows with the who's-who of the performance aftermarket industry. You get to leave the frozen tundra of the north and escape to Orlando, Florida.

For us at 5.0&SF, the first two points are the primary reasons why we like to attend. That, and we get out of the office for a few days to test the limits of the magazine's budget. Just as much as readers do, we love to see the new products designed to take our hobby to the next plateau. The products are aimed at making each racing class that much faster, safer, and more exciting. They enable you to make the Mustang in your garage a giant killer.

We can't wait to see the products in action during the '07 racing season. Will your Mustang be wearing any? If you want to go fast, it will be.

OK, so ad sales rep Glen Castle and Associate Editor Johnson are walking down one of the many aisles at PRI, and we pass by Scorpion Performance [(954) 779-3600], manufacturer of high-quality roller rocker systems. Scorpion happens to be holding a raffle right when we go by, and two tickets come our way--but we're working so we take the tickets and keep going. When we pass back by, T-shirts and hats are being thrown to winning ticket holders. Then comes the big-ticket set of roller rockers, and guess who wins. No, not Johnson; he doesn't have that kind of luck. Glen won the set of rockers, but he owns a Toyota Corolla, a Lincoln Navigator, and a Yamaha R1. None of those vehicles have roller rockers in the traditional sense. Guess who got a free set for a 5.0? You got it-Associate Editor Johnson. Thanks, Scorpion.

We didn't know whether to drool over BLE's [(305) 221-1017; www.bleproducts.com] new solid-lifter conversion setup for Shelby GT 500s or the spicy Latin models at the booth. We couldn't nail down details about the babes, but we did learn that the conversion package includes everything needed to replace the OEM hydraulic lifters in your Shelby's blown 5.4. The benefit of a solid-lifter valvetrain is that solids won't collapse like their hydraulic siblings will when revs are taken way past redline. The solid lifters also eliminate the dreaded lifter tick since BLE sets each one to spec lash. They don't require any attention unless you decide to make an adjustment.

We got our first look at this idea in the pits at NMRA events. Hot Street World Champion Charlie Booze is a huge fan of rapid, between-rounds engine cooling using a coolant-circulation system such as this Drag Chiller that was on display at C&R Racing [(317) 293-4100; www.crracing.com]. Just plug this unit into a race 'Stang's waterway, and it will efficiently cool down a hot engine in record time using a combination of ice and fresh water that's stored in its tank. The chiller features a three-position diverter valve (radiator only, radiator/tank, and tank only) to set cooling methods that will prevent engine or radiator thermo shock.

There seems to be a surge in bolt-on rear suspension trickery for '79-'93 Mustangs, and we appreciate companies that are keeping Fox technology alive. Chassis Engineering [(561) 863-2188; www.chassisengineering.com] showed off its new Advantage Mustang Traction System. It's a no-welding-needed collection of upper/lower control arms, an antiroll bar, and Strange Engineering adjustable coilover shocks. The system is designed to optimize hook-and-go for street/strip Mustangs.

We brought news of Classic Tube's [(800) 882-3711; www.classictube.com] '05 Mustang stainless steel braided brake hoses from the '05 show, but this year the hoses were aimed toward the '07 Shelby GT 500. These stainless steel braided brake hoses stay true with no expansion within the brake hose, which causes inconsistent brake performance. That's the last thing we need for the GT 500.

Probably the most popular engine-bearing manufacturer, Clevite Engine Parts' (www.engineparts.com) new catalog with new part numbers across several automotive lines made its debut at PRI. In the Ford realm, the big deal is a new line of Windsor-based engine bearings. Also, Clevite told us about two new enthusiast Web sites accessible via the company's Web site: motorheadheaven.com and askclevite.com. The latter is a 24/7 tech question site. The former features an E-learning section to educate people on mechanical goings-on.

It's always cool to see new performance goodies for 4.6 Two-Valve modulars. Cloyes [(479) 484-5555; www.cloyes.com] showed off this sweet, adjustable timing chain kit for '96-'04 Two-Valves. The 4.6 Performance Kit includes new tensioners and guides, as well as adjustable cam sprockets, an upgraded steel crank sprocket, and fine-finish timing chains. This setup allows for +/- 12 degrees of timing changes-a big deal when boost or spray levels are high or when maximum performance from your all-motor modular is the only acceptable option.

To expand its line of roller rocker applications, Comp Cams [(901) 795-2400; www.compcams.com] had these new shaft-mount roller rockers at PRI. Made from 2024 aluminum riding on an 8620 hardened steel shaft, the shaft-mount rockers are built to withstand high rpm, but also promise a specially designed oiling system to assure consistent oil flow from the pushrod cup to the shaft bearings and roller tip. Comp's shaft-mount rockers are designed to deliver valvetrain stability and performance.

Currie [(714) 528-6957; www.currieenterprises.com] brings the S197 'Stang even closer to its OG roots with this 9-inch rear-end upgrade. With Currie's 9-Plus heavy-duty housing as its foundation, the upgrade includes big-bearing housing ends, jig-mounted factory brackets, and Currie performance axles. The thing we find cool is that this upgrade allows retention of the OEM rear disc brakes and all ABS equipment. This could be the ultimate rear for any big-horsepower '05-'07 Pony.

Diamond Pistons [(877) 552-2112; www.diamondpistons.com] brings a welcome relief to Two- and Four-Valve mod motors in the form of these cool, dished pistons. What's different? Check out the deep valve reliefs in these slugs. Valve pockets such as these are perfect for higher-lift cams, which are making their way into the powerplants of more and more New Edge GTs and '03-'04 Cobras.

EMP Stewart brings more for mod motors [(906) 233-3505; www.stewartcomponents.com]. These water pumps for '96-'01 and '01-'04 Mustangs were inspired by famed 4.6-engine maven, Sean Hyland. They fill the void for high-performance water pumps for Two- and Four-Valve engines. Each unit requires less than 3 hp to turn, and they're available with either long or short snouts for use with factory or underdrive pulleys.

Probably not a household name yet, Electromotive Engine Controls [(703) 331-0100; www.directignition.com] cranks out new products for a variety of automotive applications. Its TEC3 line of engine management systems received a revision to TEC3R standards, which does the job of the TEC3 standard system and its 6/12 operating system. The TEC3R also incorporates Electromotive's XDI starting circuitry. The TEC3 line is an integrated engine management system and direct ignition control.

The high rpm of supercharging and big-time spring pressures needed for fast-lift cams are no match for Jesel's [(732) 901-1800; www.jesel.com] new double-roller, overhead-cam followers. These billet aluminum rockers feature needle-bearing rollers on the cam and valve tip. They eliminate the scrubbing and galling that's common to OEM followers under severe conditions, and can be used with either the factory hydraulic lash posts or Jesel's solid posts.

Naturally, this company's name was enough to attract our Tech Editor, but it was really this cool assortment of small-block Ford accessory brackets that drew us to Jones Racing Products' [(610) 847-2028; www.jonesracingproducts.com] PRI display. The billet-aluminum brackets are lightweight, and the alternator bracket is perfect for the 5.0 racer who wants to run his 'Stang with an alternator without the bulk and weight of the factory bracket. The bracket holds a 130A, 3G alternator with no problem.

PRI offered the debut of these long-tube Shelby GT 500 headers by Kooks Custom Headers [(866) 586-KOOK; www.kookscustomheaders.com]. Papa Kook, Kook Jr., and George R. are the guys responsible for these 131/44-inch headers and 3-inch X-shape crossover for the new Super 'Stangs. This exhaust is built from 304 stainless steel and designed for producing maximum horsepower and torque from Shelby's supercharged 5.4.

Mostly known for its water pumps, Meziere [(800) 208-1755; www.meziere.com] showed off a new line of starters and a transmission cooler at the PRI show. The company makes starters for small- and big-block Fords with a 164-tooth flywheel in traditional and adjustable mount to achieve precise gear mesh. The transmission cooler is initially available for Powerglide transmissions, and it comes with an oil pan designed with water passages from a Meziere water pump to cool the transmission fluid, thus keeping your transmission cooler.

A major player in the Mustang performance niche, McLeod Industries [(714) 630-2764; www.mcleodind.com] had its new T56 bellhousing and Twin Disc clutch at PRI. It's a street-type, high-performance clutch rated for 900 hp. We've driven several Mustangs with it and can vouch for its streetability and performance. The new T56 bellhousing is part of McLeod's modular program in that it's available with a variety of spacer plates, allowing the ability to bolt a T56 to many different Ford engines, such as the FE, 351M, and 400M engines. Of course, McLeod has the spacers to mate a T56 with our favorite engines, the 5.0/5.8 small-blocks and the 4.6/5.4 modulars.

NANO [(866) 380-6266; www.nano-nitrous.com] makes this cool, nitrogen-based insurance policy against performance losses due to changing bottle pressures and nitrous temperatures. The Nitrous Oxide Management System adds full-time bottle pressure to a nitrous system and provides the kind of consistency that's crucial for maximizing the horsepower potential of your nitrous unit.

If nitrous oxide is your power adder of choice, check out Nitrous Express' [(940) 767-7694; www.nitrousexpress.com] new '05-and-up Mustang GT plate system, featuring its Phase 3 Spraybarless technology. The plate bolts between the upper plenum and the intake, and the kit is available with 50-150hp jetting. All wiring, solenoids, and nitrous lines are included, and the system is available with or without a bottle.

Proving its range, Nitto Tire (www.nitto-tire.com) had a full gamut of performance tires on display, as well as a few cars showing the fitment possibilities. Nitto had a Steeda Autosports road racer and John Urist's NMRA Super Street Outlaw championship car in its booth. Both cars were proudly wearing Nitto's latest in tire technology for the road course and dragstrip. Of course, the display wouldn't be complete without the company's line of street tires and Extreme Drag radials.

In case you didn't think the Mustang market was popular, OX [(877) 694-7699; www.ox-usa.com] brings its line of 8.8 differentials and covers. OX got its start in the off-roading community, but has ventured into our neck of the woods with a locker differential and rearend cover. The pair comes as a package, and although the cover you see here is made from billet aluminum, production items will most likely be made from forged or cast aluminum to keep weight down.

Not that Fox-body distributors have a high replacement rate, but when you need an upgrade, it's always good to have options. Performance Distributors [(901) 396-5782; www.performancedistributors.com] has two 5.0 distributors available. The first is a stock-replacement-style unit with a full-length, oil-impregnated bushing to replace the factory distributor's weak upper bushing. Performance Distributors uses a Motorcraft housing for this unit, but if you want even more performance, check out its billet distributor. Both units feature a brass terminal cap and rotor, a Performance Distributors' Dyna Module, and a steel gear for use with factory-style roller camshafts.

The performance-parts parade marches on with help from Performance Automatic [(301) 963-8078; www.performanceauto-matic.com], which unveiled two new, SFI-approved, 164-tooth flexplates for small-block Fords. The first plate, available in 0-, 28-, or 50-ounce balance weights, is a trick deal that's drilled with multiple bolt patterns (10.5-, 11.5-inch, and GM), allowing use of either a Ford C4 or GM Turbo 350/400/Powerglide transmission and torque converter. PA's Harvey Baker also showed us the company's new flexplate for Cobra-crank-equipped (eight bolts instead of six) modular 'Stangs that utilize the 5R55 tranny.

Underdrive pulleys have been popular for several years, but now Pro/Race Performance Products [(800) 977-0767; www.pro-race.com] is offering an underdrive damper that features a 25-percent underdrive, bonded harmonic damper. It's all steel and is available separate or with a complete underdrive pulley kit. Dyno testing at Livernois Motorsports resulted in a 13hp gain on an '05 Mustang GT. The kit features a damper, water pump pulley, new crank bolt, alternator bracket bolt, and installation bolt.

A popular manufacturer on the street and drag Mustang scene is RPS Performance Products [(818) 993-9174; www.turboclutch.com]. Its Ultra Light Carbon Twin Friction clutch package includes an aluminum pressure plate to reduce weight. The wear surface features carbon/carbon material, which is similar to F1 and Top Fuel brakes; the pressure-plate side of the clutch disk uses the same material. RPS leaves ceramic material on the flywheel side because the pressure plate and that side of the clutch endure more wear than the flywheel side. These materials eliminate the glaze associated with conventional ones, meaning the clutch will last longer and withstand more abuse. Furthermore, the carbon/carbon material stands up to temperatures exceeding 1,400 degrees. These clutches are available for six- and eight-bolt crankshaft Mustangs, in both Two- and Four-Valve form.

Stroked Ford engines have been popular for a long time, and some of you have first-hand experience in building big-cube engines using 302s and 351Ws as starting points. But not everyone is an expert builder, and for those who might be first-timers or a little apprehensive, Scat [(310) 370-5501; www.scatcrankshafts.com] now offers complete cast, forged, or billet rotating-assembly packages that include not only the usual crankshaft and rods, but also pistons of the customer's choice (JE, Ross, SRP, Mahle, and so on). Each rotating assembly is precision balanced and comes as a collection of ready-to-go, wash-and-install parts that takes all the guesswork out of building a stout stroker for your 'Stang.

Former NMRA Pro 5.0 pilot Brandon Switzer's company, Speedtech Innovative Nitrous Solutions [(205) 758-7100; www.speedtechnitrous.com], showed off its 75-150hp wet nitrous system for S197s. This Speedtech kit features the company's Liquid Force nozzle that increases/decreases fuel flow accordingly when nitrous flow is increased or decreased. Brandon says the unique nozzle promotes a flat fuel curve, which is a plus for maintaining proper nitrous-to-fuel balance throughout the length of a run.

During our King of the Street competition, we had the opportunity to drive an '05 Mustang GT with a TCI stall converter. We barely noticed it was there, thanks to its smooth operation, and the car was a legit 600hp, 10-second ride. TCI's [(888) 776-9824; www.tciauto.com] '05-and-up Mustang GT converter is a 10-inch diameter, direct bolt-in 5R55 stall converter. Available in Super StreetFighter (3,500-stall) and Competition (3,800-stall) versions, the increased stall speeds allow the engine to get into its powerband at launch. Both versions are full lock-up converters and feature hand-built steel stators, heavy-duty clutches, furnace-brazed turbine fins, a modified impellor fin angle, TCI-exclusive HDT coating, and INA thrust bearings for lowered internal friction.

Trick Flow has more news [(330) 630-1555; www.trickflow.com] with its Two-Valve modular intake. These things are begininng to show up on the aftermarket. Trick Flow's 4.6 Track Heat intake is made from A319 aluminum alloy and designed for '99-'04 Two-Valve PI heads. Owners of '96-'98 Two-Valves will have to add either PI heads or the appropriate spacers to adapt Trick Flow's intake to the heads. This intake is ready for serious power since it comes with a 75mm throttle body inlet, a symmetrical high-velocity intake port design, and a broad rpm range with stock or modified heads. The intake is the same height as the stock plastic intake, so hood clearance shouldn't be an issue, either.

If you have taken your S197 Mustang to the next performance level and are in need of more traction, TRZ Motorsports' [(407) 933-7385; www.trzmotorsports.com] rear suspension package might be what you need. The package features an antiroll bar with an integral sway bar to replace the factory Panhard rod, tubular lower control arms, and a double-adjustable third link (upper control arm). TRZ designed this suspension system to help your '05-and-up Mustang launch straight, with more effective weight transfer.

Vortech Engineering [(805) 247-0226; www.vortechsuperchargers.com] has made a huge comeback into racing with its new V-28-130A Race Trim supercharger. With 32 pounds of boost, we can already see racers lining up to get their hands on it. The biggest deal on this supercharger is its sprag drive (overrun clutch) option, which reduces belt and supercharger stress during on/off throttle situations. A sprag setup allows the supercharger to freewheel during deceleration and throttle modulation instances. That will come in handy in racing classes such as Super Street Outlaw and drag radial-type racing. It's capable of supporting 1,800 hp or more, so the weak need not apply.

Roughly 1 percent of Mustang owners need Wilson Manifolds' [(954) 771-6216; www.wilsonmanifolds.com] new 105mm throttle body elbow, but 100 percent of us want one. This CNC-machined billet elbow is computer-optimized for maximum power and optimum airflow distribution. The elbow is able to support upward of 2,000 hp and features a 4500 series carburetor flange design.