Modified Mustangs & Fords
25 Low-Buck High-Performance Restomod Tips
Get there faster and look better with these trick ideas
We tend to ignore the water pump as long as it isn't leaking or making noise. But the water pump is the hardest working part in your Ford's cooling system. This means your high-performance engine needs a high-flow water pump for adequate coolant circulation. Aftermarket companies, such as Weiand and Edelbrock, offer high-flow water pumps for small-block and big-block Ford V-8s. When you are buying a radiator, remember to shop for a high-flow water pump and the appropriate thermostat.
Overheating has been the lament of vintage Ford enthusiasts since these old Fords were new. Classic Mustangs, Falcons, and Fairlanes suffer from limited air-flow through the radiator support. Mix in one of those factory two-row core radiators with crusty tubes, and you have a formula for frustration and engine damage.
Vintage Fords with high-performance engines need high-capacity radiators that can keep you running cool even in the hot desert sun. Griffin makes some of the best aftermarket radiators in the industry, trusted by avid racers all over the world. Aluminum radiators weigh less and offer greater cooling capacity. The nice thing about these radiators is the weight they save you, and the heat they transfer.
Install a Hotter Cam
Camshaft swaps are as old as the four-cycle engine itself. Changing the camshaft changes the engine's personality. With a more aggressive camshaft profile, the engine's power output is increased significantly depending on the grind. If you're going to perform a camshaft swap, save your pop bottles and change to something even better--a roller valvetrain upgrade from Crane Cams.
Flat tappet camshafts did the job of making power for years. However, when we discovered the benefits of roller tappet camshaft technology in the '80s, all of that changed in the world of hot-rodding. We have learned how roller camshafts allow us to run a more aggressive profile without drawbacks. Roller cams also afford us a more civilized idle (with street cams), allowing the engine to come on strong when the throttle is opened. Roller camshaft technology also reduces internal friction considerably because the lobe and the lifter work together smoothly, with virtually no friction at the lobe.
While you are considering a roller camshaft, remember the area beneath the valve cover. Opt for roller-tip rocker arms, which wear better and operate with less friction. There are budget stamped-steel roller rocker arms from Comp Cams for those of you on tight budgets. If you are running a really aggressive camshaft, step up to forged aluminum rocker arms. Remember, it's important to buy matched valvetrain components designed to work together by the camshaft manufacturer. When you are considering a Crane camshaft, make sure the entire valvetrain is Crane for best results.
Seems like we've been looking at the same old method of coolant transport since mass production of automobiles began a century ago--the humble radiator hose. However, how we channel coolant inside our vintage Fords is changing thanks to Cool Flex, known as the perfect radiator hose. It flexes in just about any direction. It never wears out, and it looks sharp. Cool Flex also makes heater hoses for vintage Fords in 5/8- and 3/4-inch sizes.
Serpentine Belt Drive
It's no mystery that Ford has been using serpentine beltdrive systems since 1979. At first, serpentine beltdrive was hit and miss, available only on certain makes and models. Today, serpentine beltdrive is the norm. Serpentine beltdrive technology is solid and reliable. The belts last 75,000 miles, and they keep accessories turning no matter what the conditions. March Performance has a variety of serpentine beltdrive systems available for Ford V-8s.