Marc Christ
Brand Manager, Modified Mustangs & Fords
December 1, 2009
Photos By: Staff

In the pursuit of big power on a low budget, our '93 5.0L SSP coupe has shown a serious improvement with just a few bolt-ons and a couple of old tricks. Last issue, we advanced the timing; installed a BBK Performance cold-air intake, mass air meter, and throttle body; swapped our stock-length belt for a short-belt, and iced the intake. For less than $600, we made 44 rwhp and 58 rwtq. Quarter-mile e.t.'s dropped from 14.522 at 97 mph to 13.669 at over 103 mph. We were very pleased.

However, like other gearheads, we wanted more. Sticking to our theme of low-cost upgrades that most 5.0L Mustang owners can install themselves, we narrowed our options to a few basic options. We could add a nitrous kit, port the existing heads and the intake, or replace the cylinder heads altogether. Even though the GT-40P cast-iron heads that we were running are better performing than the stock E7s, they left a lot to be desired compared to aftermarket aluminum heads.

With the manufacturing and sale of budget small-block Ford cylinder heads in recent years, many buyers are opting for the less-expensive alternative to higher-cost traditional products. To regain market share, some companies like Edelbrock have jumped into the budget market as well. This summer, Edelbrock introduced its new small-block Ford aluminum cylinder head dubbed "E-Street." Since the E-Street is manufactured in the same facility as its Performer and Performer RPM, and with the same A356 aluminum, you can expect the same quality and workmanship as all other Edelbrock products.

Since the E-Street heads fit our theme, we ordered a pair. They come completely assembled with either 1.90 (PN 5023) or 2.02 (PN 5025) intake valves, and retail for $973.95 a pair. We chose the 1.90 valves. Edelbrock also sent a gasket kit (PN 7364), head bolts (PN 8552), 1.6 roller rockers (PN 77780), and head-bolt bushings (PN 9680).

Additionally, we were still running the stock fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator, so we were nearly at the end of our rope in the fuel delivery department, and didn't want to run lean with our new heads. To prevent this, we made a call to BBK Performance for a 255-lph pump (PN 1607), an adjustable fuel pressure regulator (PN 1706), and a fuel pressure gauge (PN 1617).

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Roller Rockers
Roller rockers are an inexpensive and simple bolt-on, but can be intimidating if you've never installed them. Our E-Street heads came equipped with rocker studs, so we didn't have to incur the cost of studs. Factory late-model Ford SBF heads have bolt-down rockers (E7TE, GT-40, and GT-40P), so there is no adjustment-you just torque the rocker retaining bolts to spec. With studs, you have a nut (and lock nut) that retains the rocker, and it must be adjusted properly.

Also, it is necessary to replace your pushrods to the hardened type when stud-mount rockers and guideplates are used. The guideplates help keep the pushrods aligned, but factory pushrods will wear against the plates. This is solved with hardened pushrods, which we sourced from Latemodel Restoration Supply (PN M6565L302). The length of your pushrod is also important. Check to make sure the center of the roller is in the center of the valve stem.

Like any other moving part, lubrication is very important to your rocker arms. Be sure to lube both ends of the pushrods, the rollers, and the valve stems to prevent premature wear on initial startup.

When installing roller rockers on an engine equipped with hydraulic lifters, it is best to adjust the rockers with the engine warm. So adjust them initially; then run the engine to normal temperature, shut it off, and adjust them again. We had to readjust ours anyway, because our valvetrain was a bit loud on initial startup. It takes a little while to do this, but it's always a good idea. Also, we utilized the valve covers being off to re-torque our head bolts.

Finally, be sure your valve covers have enough clearance for your new rocker arms and throttle linkage. If you're not sure if they clear, mark the rocker arms with a grease pencil (or clay), install your valve covers, and turn the engine over by hand. Then remove the valve covers to see if any of the color was transferred to the cover.

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Fuel Upgrades
Typically when power is increased, fuel consumption is increased. Since our LX had a stock fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator, we knew it was a good time to upgrade, especially since we didn't want to start running lean with a new set of cylinder heads. Lean conditions can cause a misfire or detonation, to name a few issues.

Since we have bigger plans for our coupe, we went with a 255-lph pump. It may be overkill for our current setup, but now we won't have to go back into the tank. The pump kit comes with everything needed and installs easily. Two things we suggest purchasing separately are the filler neck seal on the tank and a fuel filter. The filler neck seal is prone to leak, and it's always a good idea to replace your fuel filter when replacing the pump.

Along with our pump upgrade, we decided to go with an adjustable fuel-pressure regulator and gauge. Using our chassis dyno, we were able to adjust fuel pressure to achieve our target air/fuel ratio.

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