KJ Jones
April 2, 2013
Photos By: KJ Jones
Upon arriving at GTR High Performance (www.gtrhipo.com), Lupillo De La Cruz’s ’87 Mustang GT could barely manage a squeak from the rear tires, let alone a monster burnout. This hellacious Broadie comes courtesy of a top-half revamp featuring Trick Flow’s all-new 170cc heads, Track Max hydraulic-roller cam, and Track Heat intake manifold.

Sometimes in the process of trying to keep up with the newest developments in the ever-evolving Mustang world, you might assume we leave the older stuff behind. While we can say that's not the case, there's nothing like presenting a project to prove we're sincere when we say that all of the Ponies from the modern era are important.

In the past, we've presented various cylinder heads/camshaft/intake-manifold swaps for fuel-injected Fox 'Stangs that have clearly shown the benefits of performing the simple top-half upgrade on naturally aspirated pushrod 5.0 engines. In late 2011, Trick Flow unveiled a brand-new version of its vaunted Twisted Wedge cylinder head—a 50-state-legal casting that's perfectly suited for stock, small-block-Ford engines in '86-'95 Mustangs. The heads (PN TFS-51410004-M61) feature port dimensions of 170cc (intake) and 66cc (exhaust), stainless-steel 2.02/1.60 valves, and the now-famous combustion-chamber design (rotated valve locations) that enables use of bigger camshafts in otherwise-stock 5.0 short-blocks.

For this effort, we're coupling the new 170s with their complementary Trick Flow top-half bits: a Track Max hydraulic-roller camshaft and Track Heat intake manifold. Our test car is Lupillo De La Cruz's slightly modded/mostly stock '88 Mustang GT. Lupillo's GT represents a perfect platform for this type of upgrade, as it is already set up with the basic induction and exhaust upgrade, including a CAI, short-tube headers, and a 2.5-inch exhaust; and its stock 5.0 still pumps out respectable horsepower, despite having more than 100,000 miles on its internals.

An HCI swap certainly can be accomplished by confident do-it-yourselfers, and this Trick Flow collection is available in everything-you-need form through Summit Racing. We turned to our friends at GTR High Performance in Rancho Cucamonga, California, where technicians Ricardo Topete and Eddie Zapata teamed up on the project as we snapped the photos you see here.

As you'll learn when you read through the install details and dyno results, the Trick Flow upgrade definitely is an affordably priced hit for the EFI Foxes. For those who reside in California, the heads are endorsed by the almighty California Air Resources Board, which will reduce some of the anxiety at inspection time.


Horse Sense: Over the years, we've worked with pretty much all of the popular 5.0 HCI combinations, as well as many lesser-known packages. For the most part, they have excelled, producing anywhere between 40 to 60 additional horses at the feet of stock Ponies.

On The Dyno

As we stated earlier in this report, the basic HCI swap is a tried-and-true power gainer, especially for stock or lightly modded '86-'93 5.0 ‘Stangs. We selected Lupillo De La Cruz's '88 Mustang GT for the Trick Flow top-half upgrade (PN TFS-K514-350-370; $2,599.95) because it exemplifies the exact type of Pony we think should be treated to such mods—one with a small assortment of the basic bolt-ons and only a better induction-system away from making big steam.

As you see in the accompanying dyno graph, but moreso the chart, adding Trick Flow's 170cc cylinder heads, Track Max camshaft, and Track Heat/Street Brawler intake package makes a huge difference—especially once revs reach 3,600.

On the street, Lupillo reports the gains make his Pony "a lot more fun to drive," and that his plan is to install a set of 3.73 rearend gears as soon as possible to reap the full benefit of the midrange torque increase.

Baseline Trick Flow HCI Difference
RPM Power Torque Power Torque Power Torque
3,000 159.98 280.08 152.55 267.07 -7.43 -13.01
3,100 165.21 279.91 159.62 270.44 -5.59 -9.47
3,200 169.53 278.25 168.72 276.93 -0.81 -1.32
3,300 175.57 279.44 177.68 282.79 2.11 3.35
3,400 181.89 280.97 187.11 289.03 5.22 8.06
3,500 187.68 281.64 198.25 297.49 10.57 15.85
3,600 192.82 281.31 205.22 299.4 12.40 18.09
3,700 198.31 281.50 214.52 304.51 16.21 23.01
3,800 203.10 280.71 224.37 310.11 21.27 29.40
3,900 206.48 278.07 235.86 317.63 29.38 39.56
4,000 210.28 276.11 246.32 323.43 36.04 47.32
4,100 213.88 273.98 255.78 327.65 41.90 53.67
4,200 215.03 268.90 263.33 329.29 48.30 60.39
4,300 216.34 264.25 271.71 331.87 55.37 67.62
4,400 218.46 260.77 277.51 331.26 59.05 70.49
4,500 218.32 254.81 282.17 329.33 63.85 74.52
4,600 217.71 248.57 287.24 327.96 69.53 79.39
4,700 219.37 245.14 292.65 327.03 73.28 81.89
4,800 218.53 239.11 297.14 325.13 78.61 86.02
4,900 216.83 232.41 302.39 324.13 85.56 91.72
5,000 214.74 225.57 306.63 322.09 91.89 96.52
5,100 211.59 217.90 310.36 319.62 98.77 101.72
5,200 207.36 209.44 312.55 315.68 105.19 106.24
5,300 199.69 197.88 312.21 309.39 112.52 111.51
5,400 187.45 182.32 311.42 302.89 123.97 120.57
5,500 n/a n/a 310.31 296.32 n/a n/a
5,600 n/a n/a 308.44 289.28 n/a n/a

If you live in Cali, this sticker (note the C.A.R.B. Executive Order number D-369-18) is another reason why going with the Trick Flow 170cc HCI package is a smart idea.

The Trick Flow Track Max hydraulic-roller camshaft (PN TFS-51403001) is perfect for this basic HCI project, as it offers a good idle and typically shows power improvement around the middle of the rpm band. The all-important specs for this camshaft are 0.499 intake/0.510 exhaust lift and 283 intake/291 exhaust (at 0.050) duration.

A new Trick Flow double-roller timing chain (PN TFS-51478520) is installed with the Track Max cam. It’s important to make sure the enclosed thrust bushing is added to ensure there are no endplay issues.

A fresh set of lifters is also on the must-include list for top-half upgrades. Trick Flow offers stock-replacement hydraulic-roller tappets in sets of 16 (PN TFS-21400004-16).

Our package includes a set of chrome-moly 5⁄16-inch-diameter/6.700-inch-long push-rods (PN TFS-21406700). With Trick Flow’s 1.6-ratio, 3⁄8-inch-stud-mount roller-rocker arms (PN TFS-51400510), the HCI package can be bolted together on a stock 5.0 without concerns about piston-to-valve clearance.

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