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Death Of The Pushrod V-8
Can the Coyote 5.0 spell the end of the pushrod Ford V-8? It might.
OK, so the idea might be shocking and a little "out there," but hear us out. In the realm of mid-to-high-end customs, the Coyote 5.0 is an interesting, and as time inches on, very viable choice. It offers great power (we've seen the standard GT engine pop 460 horses on a dyno with minimal tweaking), better than average fuel economy (stock GT Mustangs can see 26 mpg), and can run a 13ish-second quarter mile. And best of all, it is less expensive than a professionally built 351ci pushrod V-8.
But the question runs, what does it take? We contacted Allan Shepley at Mustang Central in Byron, Georgia, and asked him that and a few other questions. And the answers may shock you. While the pushrod V-8 Is far from dead in the old car world-Ford Racing Performance Parts still offers a number of these in its catalog-it's the Mustang GT's DOHC 5.0L crate engine that's getting all of the attention. And a growing aftermarket that's creating parts just for this swap, as well as companies like Rod & Custom Motorsports and Gateway Classic Mustang, have made the Coyote a far more reasonable engine choice than we have any right to expect. What will it cost? Hey, we know that you are interested in the numbers. And after talking with Shepley, the Coyote will dance into your engine bay for around $14,000. That sounds like a lot doesn't it? But in reality, the costs can be nearly identical for a built small-block with a supercharger-that won't have the same power numbers. And that 14 large includes a Mustang II or strut suspension, transmission, harness, and the necessary power steering pump and A/C compressor. And it will do it all while getting better gas mileage and throwing out fewer emissions due to the variable cam timing.
The very nature of any of the four-valve V-8s is that they are wider than they are long. Be it 5.0 or 4.6, Ford never put a V-8 in a vintage chassis any wider than a modular V-8. And, so ends the idea of popping one in a '64 Falcon and using the stock suspension.
So, we took the time to go out to a Temple Auto Parts (Batesburg, South Carolina) in the hot southern sun and get photos and measurements for installing the 5.0 Coyote into the most popular classic Ford chassis. Our concentration was on the width measurements and cars with shock towers, since that would be the biggest issue because the Coyote is 112 inches shorter than the small-block 302. The big full-frame cars will actually accept the 427 SOHC with its 32-inch-wide valve covers, so we're pretty sure that the 5.0 (at 28 inches) will fit all snuggly in the engine bay.
In addition to the engine bay, there will likely be fitment issues in the transmission tunnel (And with the carpet that covers it) when using the Coyote in most of the cars listed. Ford was fond of tight tunnel configurations to maximize interior space, and used bolt-on humps to accommodate four-speeds in some cars. Keep in mind that these measurements are usually plus or minus due to assembly practices back in the day.
Dimensions: 26 inches long x 27 inches high x 28 inches wide (to exhaust flange)
Weight: 444 pounds
Dimensions: 27½ inches long x 26¼ inches high (stock carburetor) x 22¾ inches wide (at exhaust manifold flange)
Weight: 470 pounds dry
Top of shock tower width: 27¾ inches
Bottom of shock tower width: 22116 inches
Framerail width: 2758 inches
The '65-'66 Mustang had the narrowest shock tower arrangement of this model, therefore the shock towers will definitely have to go in favor of a Mustang-II-style front suspension from companies like Rod & Custom Motorsports, or a strut suspension and notching kit using parts like those from Gateway Classic Mustang. And according to Allan Shepley, the tunnel will have to be modified if you are going to run the T-56 six-speed-a modification that just might go for all of the Ford models we cover. The problem isn't so much at the bellhousing as it is at the transmission tailshaft.
'67-'70 Mustang and Cougar
Top of shock tower width: 28316 inches
Bottom of shock tower width: 2578 inches
Framerail width: 27½ inches (should be relatively the same as the '65-'66)
Still not really enough "comfort room" as the towers angle in toward the center. A Mustang II or strut and notch will need to be done here as well. The recommendation is at least a half an inch or better between the cam cover and the fender apron.
'71-'73 Mustang and Cougar
Top of shock tower width: 29¾ inches
Bottom of shock tower width: 27½ inches
Framerail width: 30½ inches
If there was ever a unibody engine bay in the Ford universe that was "designed" to cart around a modular V-8, it would have to be the '71-'73 Mustang and Cougar. That is because Ford had planned to shove the Boss 429 (which measures out at 34 inches long x 30 inches wide) into the car, as well as the mammoth 429 Cobra Jet. The engine would require the Canton front sump pan and pick up. The T-56 six-speed is another story, as it still causes issues in the tunnel.
'62-'65 Fairlane ('62-'63 Mercury Meteor)
Top of shock tower width: 28 inches
Bottom of shock tower width: 21¼ inches
Framerail width: 27½ inches
The Fairlane and early Meteor were never destined for big engines. Ford designed them to run the small-block V-8 and six. So like the early Mustang and Falcon, the modular conversion will require using either the Mustang II or the strut/notch combo. Tunnel mods may be in order for the T-45 and the T-56. The 4R70W automatic should bolt in easily.
'66-'69 Fairlane ('66-'69 Mercury Comet, Montego)
Top of shock tower width: 28¾ inches
Bottom of shock tower width: 2558 inches
Framerail width: 2858 inches
While the '66-'69 Fairlane was set up to accommodate the FE engines, it is not quite wide enough for us modern "free-thinkers" that are eyeing a modular V-8. So, Mustang II or strut/notch will rule the day as with most of our other cars. Same problem with the transmissions as the earlier Fairlane; most automatics are OK, but the T-45 and T-56 will require mods to the tunnel for proper fit.
'70-'71 Torino ('70-'71 Mercury Montego)
Top of shock tower width: 30½ inches
Bottom of shock tower width: 271116 inches
Framerail width: 30½ inches
In 1970, the folks at Ford went wider on the Torino in order to pick up room for the new 429 LIMA-series engines. Look at the '70-'71 Torino/Montego chassis and you will see the genesis of the '71-'73 Mustang chassis. Interference will be essentially the same as the '66-'69 Fairlane.
'63-'65 Falcon ('63-'65 Mercury Comet)
Top of shock tower width: 2838 inches
Bottom of shock tower width: 2318 inches
Framerail width: 26116 inches
You might think that the Falcon would win hands down for the narrowest engine bay among our choices, but you'd be wrong. The Falcon's transmission tunnel, however, does "win" for the smallest area. While the Fairlanes and Mustangs will throat the AOD OK, even that transmission will cause headaches in the little predatory bird. You'll also have to invest in custom headers for this application as well.
'69½-'77 Maverick ('71-'77 Mercury Comet)
Top of shock tower width: 25 inches
Bottom of shock tower width: 2258 inches
Framerail width: 26½ inches
The Maverick was, like the '60-'65 Falcon and '65-'66 Mustang, never destined to carry anything bigger than a 302. Thus the shock tower tops on this car are the narrowest in the line. The only area where the Maverick gets better marks is the transmission tunnel, which is much like the '65-'70 Mustang. We feel pretty confident that the Maverick and '71-'77 Comet will need to use the Mustang II suspension to allow enough room for the 28-inch-wide 5.0.
There are a couple of ways a builder can go, either with the Mustang-II-style or the strut-style suspension with a shock tower notching kit. Either set up will set you back in the neighborhood of $3,000 to $4,000. The Mustang-II-style setup will work with all applications. Modifications depend on the engine bay, and smaller framerails will require custom exhaust. The T-56 Transmission will require tunnel mods on most all applications.
With a modified strut suspension, fitment may be an issue with Maverick and Falcon chassis. Modifications, again, depend on the engine bay. Smaller framerails will require custom exhaust, a shock tower notching kit, and a front-sump oil pan and pickup. Using the T-56 Transmission will require tunnel mods on most all applications. Here's a look at the various transmission upgrades and their measurements.
Outside of the four-speed, the C4 is the smallest transmission Ford placed in the cars we're talking about.
Note that the AODE and the 4R70W are dimensionally similar. Mustang Central only had an older Windsor-based AOD at its shop. Case and bellhousing sizes will be very close between the two transmissions. The Falcon can fit an AOD, but the "blocks" (red arrows) will need to be allowed for.
We've managed to sneak a T-45 into a Mustang with only minor transmission crossmember mods, but it is a tight fit. Also, the T-45 may move forward or back in the tunnel with the application of the 5.0 Coyote.
Big is one word to describe this formidable transmission. When hunkered down next to the C4 automatic, it is easy to see why tunnel mods are necessary with the T-56. This one won't fit into the tunnel on almost any Mustang. The '71-'73 might have a chance, but we're not counting on it.