Q And A
KJ Jones
September 1, 2013
Contributers: KJ Jones

Little Steamer

After going through all of the power adders for 4.6-liter Two-Valves, I have to say that I really have been enjoying my '01 GT more than any other setup after adding a complete Trick Flow top half and a single turbocharger. I like the power and the feel of boost, but my engine recently developed a problem that has me concerned.

After driving only a short distance and quickly mashing the gas for the first time, I'm seeing a healthy puff of white steam come from the exhaust. This only happens once, but the engine never used to do that at all, which tells me something's wrong. It's also smoking a little bit after it idles for a few minutes and condensation develops in the exhaust. The weird thing is, there is no visible coolant leak and no smoke/steam whatsoever when I actually get on the car and sustain boost for a lengthy period. Do you think it might be a cracked head?

Donovan Bradley
Anaheim, CA

The steam-like white smoke leads us to believe the problem is associated with your Mustang's cooling system, but not to the extent that you have a blown head gasket. The first thing we recommend is a pressure test on your Pony's cooling system. Loading 16 psi of pressure on the system typically uncovers the source of such leaks, as it seems like coolant definitely is seeping into the intake tract somehow. If the pressure test does not present any evidence of the problem, remove the intake manifold and check its gasket. While we don't know of intake-gasket failure to be common, it's possible one of the gaskets' rubber O-rings may be slightly torn, or is not seated properly with the manifold or cylinder head (at the coolant passages).

Pump It Out

I have an '89 Mustang GT project car that has been sitting for some time. I tried to siphon or pump the gas out of the tank without success. Is there a way to siphon or pump it out? If not what is the safest way to empty the gas tank?

Gene Hultman
Via email

Both methods are viable options for removing the old fuel in your Pony's gas tank. However, we think pumping the gas out is probably the best way to do it. To do this, you will need a piece of wire and a container big enough to handle the contents of the tank.

First, find the fuel-pump relay (located under the driver seat in '89 5.0s) and bypass it at the leads for the PCM and ignition coil (by using the small jumper wire to connect posts 30 and 87, you can trick the processor into thinking the engine is actually running). Next, disconnect the fuel line at the rail and attach a length of rubber fuel line that runs into a catch-container for the gas. Turn the ignition to On (do not start the engine), and the pump should run continuously and remove the fuel from the tank.

Ring Thing

For a stock 5.0 piston (pushrod engine), what is the correct gap orientation for the upper and lower (compression/oil-control) rings? I just built my motor and lined the gaps up. Now people are telling me that the motor isn't going to run right when I fire it up. Is this true?

Name Witheld
Via the Internet

No, you're getting incorrect information. The piston rings actually spin in their grooves, so theoretically, the gaps eventually become aligned thousands of times (while the motor is running) over the course of your engine's life. Ensuring rings are gapped properly is far more critical. As long as your block was properly cross-hatched (by the machine shop) and you didn't install the rings upside down, everything should be fine.

Like a Boss

Hey, guys. I'm starting a project on my '90 LX 5.0. She has some moderate work done to her and currently runs 13s at 104 mph. I'd love to convert the engine into a Boss 302. I do have a '96 351 Windsor engine, but I don't know exactly what makes the Boss engine a Boss. Is there a number on the block? Does it use the next-size cylinder heads or something? Would it be possible to use '96 351 Windsor heads on my '90 5.0 engine? Bryce Moran
Gibsonia, PA

You're somewhat on the right track, but not exactly. A Boss 302-style engine is based on an 8.2-inch-deck, 5.0/302 Ford engine block (like the one that's currently in your 'Stang), not the 351W, which has a taller 9.5-inch deck. In ‘69 and '70, original Boss 302s were recognized by a few unique internal and external features, among the most notable are their large-port, canted-valve, 351 Cleveland cylinder heads; wide intake manifold; cross-drilled, forged crankshaft; heavy-duty, forged connecting rods; four-bolt main caps; and screw-in freeze plugs on the side of the block.

Modern-day Boss-style engines can be created in various cubic-inch ranges, using either of Ford Racing Performance Parts' Boss engine blocks (302 or 351W), as well as Cleveland-style cylinder heads and intake manifolds from Edelbrock or Trick Flow. While combining the '96 Windsor cylinder heads with your original 5.0 block is doable, the swap will not qualify your engine as a Boss.

Virgin of the Month

I have an '11 Mustang GT with a Steeda shifter and Flowmaster mufflers. I need to take the car to the dealership for service, but I'm concerned my car cannot be worked on because of the mods. Should I just go to a regular repair shop for the oil change and such?

Antonio Seralente
Chicago, IL

We don't think you will have any problems if you take your GT into the dealership for its regular maintenance service. However, keep in mind that the aftermarket shifter may be a concern to the dealer if you ever have a transmission concern addressed by a Ford technician while under warranty. Technically, they have to attribute any failure to the aftermarket part before negating your warranty, but that often means putting up an argument.

There's really no way to say whether comments will be made about the changes. Our gut says it's highly unlikely for simply an oil change. But, if the concern is really getting the best of you, replacing the bolt-ons with the OEM hardware (if you still have it) is easy enough.