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Late-Model Corral, ’79-’13 Questions - April 2014
Questions from our readers about their late-model Ford Mustangs
Keep Your Chin Up
I own a Competition Orange 2004 Mach 1 with 33,000 miles on it. I am the second owner and the Mach is all original with the exception of Flowmaster mufflers and short chrome rolled-edge slash-cut 3½-inch exhaust tips, which I added. I'm thinking about adding the popular '03-'04 Cobra “Terminator” front fascia with the round fog lights and brake cooling ducts. Is the chin spoiler on the '03-'04 Cobra front fascia different from the Mach 1 currently on my car from the factory? If so, where can I buy the correct one for the new Cobra fascia I plan to install?
El Paso, TX
Unfortunately for those who love the looks of the '03-'04 Cobra front fascias, the chin spoiler is unique to that fascia. If you look at the front of a '03-'04 Mach 1, the front fascia is nothing more than a base/GT fascia with GT fog lights and the Mach 1 grille surround/grille delete and a bolt-on black chin spoiler, whereas the '03-'04 Cobra rolled off the Dearborn line with a unique front and rear fascia treatment. The Mach 1-style chin spoiler is a popular addition for base and GT Mustang owners (it'll work on any '99-'04 base/GT front fascia), which is why the chin spoiler is available in reproduction from companies like Latemodel Restoration (www.latemodelrestoration.com).
Due to the lower build numbers of the '03-'04 Cobra, that chin spoiler is only available as a Ford service part at considerable expense—roughly four times the price of the repro Mach 1 piece. If you really want the looks of the Terminator front fascia, your shopping list is going to include the following: a '03-'04 Cobra fascia, a '03-'04 Cobra chin spoiler, and a '03-'04 Cobra fog light and bezel kit. All of these items are available through Latemodel Restoration.
We've done the '03-'04 Cobra front fascia swap a few times, so take note that the upper portion of the fascia (where it mounts between the headlights) usually requires new mounting holes to be drilled to pull the fascia back a little to allow the hood to close properly with a non-Cobra hood.
A leaking valve cover gasket can cause oil to leak down the block and look like an oil pan or rear main seal leak.
Fox Oil Issues
I recently acquired a very original and low mileage 1993 Mustang 5.0L LX with a five-speed. I have two engine oil related questions. I notice that the oil pressure gauge tends to drop to the very low side of the “normal” range during steady driving. At start-up and for the first several miles, the gauge needle is centered in the “normal” zone. The engine runs fine and is quiet. It does not use oil between changes. Is this a serious concern?
Also, I have an engine oil drip which is noticeable on the garage floor when the car has been parked for several days. I cannot seem to pinpoint the leak location. Is there a suspect area for such an oil leak on the 5.0L engine? If so, is it going to get worse, and should it be repaired immediately?
Dave (last name withheld)
Via the Internet
In our experience, the Fox Mustang's factory gauges are estimates at best. Referencing our own daily driven '90 5.0L LX, the oil pressure gauge usually runs just over halfway above the center of the “normal” area on cold start and then settles to right around the center of the gauge once warmed up, with the occasional dip below that at idle. This is with traditional 10W-30 weight oil. The only way to know your oil pressure reading is to remove the stock sending unit at the left front of the engine and install a mechanical test gauge. Alternatively, you can add aftermarket pressure/temperature gauges and mount them with an A-pillar gauge pod or on the dash to better track your engine's condition.
Oil leaks can be irritating and often hard to trace to the true root problem. A leaking valve cover gasket can cause oil to leak down the block and look like an oil pan or rear main seal leak. Your best course of action is to clean the engine of any oil residue, add some leak detection dye to your oil, and carefully check the engine for leaks with UV light over the course of the next few days. UV light pens are relatively cheap (and many dye kits come with them). Common leak areas are valve covers, oil pan, front and rear crankshaft seals, and front and rear intake gaskets.
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