Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
Yo Ken! - Tech Q & A - July 2013
Answering your technical questions
Too Much Head?
I have been reading and thoroughly enjoying your magazine ever since I purchased my first Mustang in March 2008. Since then, I have slowly immersed myself in the Mustang hobby by reading and learning about different things that I can do to my car to make it faster.
My car is a 2002 Mustang GT with a manual transmission. I’ve added a performance tune via an SCT programmer and a BBK cold-air intake. The car came with a set of Flowmasters on it when I bought it. I’m looking to make it more powerful and figured the best place to start would be with a good flowing set of heads, mild cams (since it will still be my daily driver), and a nice intake. I’m considering the Trick Flow Specialties 185 or Race 195 heads, a set of Trick Flow cams (either PN TFS-51802001 or TFS-51802002), and a Trick Flow intake that was featured in the Jan. ’13 issue of MM&FF.
Is there such a thing as too much cylinder head? Will the cams that I have in mind work well for my intended purpose of good driveability with a smooth idle, reliability, and excellent power gains? The car will see lots of highway time and will be supercharged at some point in time. My goal is to see 320 rwhp or 375 hp at the crank. If this combo won’t work for my goal, can you recommend a different head, cam, and intake combo?
Glendale Heights, Illinois
Alfred, to answer your first question, yes, you can have too much cylinder head. A cylinder that flows high numbers with big valves and ports on a small-cubic N/A engine will be a poor daily driver. Heads that have big flow numbers make their most power in the upper rpm range with lots of cubes—not good for a daily driver. For a daily driver in your case, the 185 head will work best along with the TFS-51802001 cams. If you plan on supercharging your GT, go with the 44cc combustion chamber heads. A little less compression will allow more boost if you so choose. The heads and cams will give a dramatic increase in power and should give 300-plus rwhp. Well worth it, in my opinion.
I have a 1991 LX coupe with a stock front end. Which tubular K-member can I use with the stock A-arms and stock rack-and-pinion?
Danny, check UPR Products. Its K-member works with all stock suspension components. It’s a simple bolt-in swap, and if you decide to upgrade your stock control arms, its K-member also works with aftermarket controls arms.
5.4 Three-Valve Swap
I have a 2008 Bullitt with 90,000 miles on the clock. I want to swap the 4.6 for a 5.4 Three-Valve with VCT. I know it’s heavier, wider, and taller. I can offset some of the weight with lighter brackets, such as the ones MM&FF has used in the past. Are all ’05-09 F-150 5.4L Three-Valves VCT? Are there any other donor vehicles?
I’m approaching this as a low-buck endeavor. I want to find one with relatively low miles, drop in a pair of stage-one cams, and that’s it. I’m not interested in racing it. I want a solid street engine with gobs of low- and mid-range torque—because that is what’s needed on the street—and maybe a centrifugal supercharger in the future. Sure, I’d love a Coyote, but I don’t have $8,000 of disposable income.
What flywheel should I use? I realize I have to get creative when it comes to an intake. I’ll come up with something, and probably re-locate the alternator. Would the 5.4 tame the Stage 1s? Are the motor mounts the same? I might get a stout short-block and swap the 4.6 heads and other needed parts onto it. Are the oil pans the same? I’ll have to get the appropriate chains and front cover. Any other pitfalls? Am I nuts? Be honest…I can handle it.
Via the Internet
Mark, I don’t think you’re nuts, and in theory, it sounds like a good choice. For practicality? Not so much. And low-buck it won’t be. Unless you have a good background in engine management and fabrication, I think I would stay away from this swap. If you have your heart set on it, the 5.4 will bolt right in. You will have to use your 4.6L oil pan; the trans will bolt right up. The cams will be a little less aggressive but still be noticeable, and you will need a tune.
I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but I don’t advise this swap. For the money and time you will spend on it, you could bolt on a centrifugal supercharger for just over $4,000. The charger will increase power across the board and will easily make more power and torque than a 5.4 Three-Valve with mild cams. There are no custom parts to make, and you will be done in a weekend for the install.
I have a 2003 Mustang GT. I would like to install a grille delete kit. I see different options from vendors, ranging from a cheaper two-piece kit to more expensive seven-piece kit. What are the differences, and are there quality variances with price?
Jonathan, the two-piece kits are of lower quality and not made in the U.S. They fit okay, but it comes down to getting what you pay for. I like the Genuine Ford Parts for the grille delete. They are expensive—over $100 more than lower-quality kits—but the fit is perfect, along with the look.