Shelby Gt500cr Coyote 07  2
KJ Jones Brand Manager, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
March 31, 2014

Swap Neat

Q I’m thinking about doing a big-block (514) swap with my ’89 LX. I know this isn’t the most popular mod for Foxes, but I have the car and the engine, so I figure why not? In addition to these two key ingredients, can you give me some idea of what I’ll need to make it all work, but also keep it clean-looking and sort of like it might belong in the car? The ’Stang will be street driven, taken to shows, and definitely raced at the track.

Name Witheld
Via the Internet

A While the big-block swap (429/460-based engines) has never been overwhelmingly popular with the late-model Mustang crowd, it still is a viable engine upgrade. The primary hard parts required for pulling it off (oil pan/pickup/dipstick, headers, engine mounts, radiator, crossmember, bellhousing) are still available in kit form from companies such as Holcomb Motorsports (www.holcomb

However, since you wish to present the swap in a clean manner and potentially display the car at shows, we recommend you configure the ’Stang’s accessory-drive system by using brackets and pulleys (and a power steering pump, if desired) from March Performance ( March’s slick setup allows you to retain all of the serpentine-belt-driven, OEM accessories, eliminating the need for having to make custom pieces.

Optimal Fitent

Q I want to put an Optima battery into my ’11 Mustang GT. I’ve been looking at the forums online and haven’t been able to find any help. I am wondering if you have heard from any readers or have any insight on how to install an Optima cell in my car. I really would prefer not to relocate the battery if at all possible. I appreciate any advice.

Beau Ayers
Bremerton, WA

A Believe it or not, the Optima battery that you would install in your GT (Group 35) has the same height dimensions as the ’Stang’s stock cell. The difference, and the cause of many S197 owners’ concern about Optimas, is that the Positive and Negative posts on the aftermarket battery are not countersunk/lowered into the case of the cell, like the factory battery. With this difference, the Optima battery’s posts are almost a full inch taller, and can potentially come in contact with the Mustang’s closed hood (which can cause a short and lead to an electrical disaster).

The Red Top Optima Group 35 battery is not a direct-replacement piece; to really make it fit properly, you need an aftermarket or custom battery tray that actually lowers the battery. UPR Products offers a pretty cool solution for S197 owners who want to install an Optima Red Top Group 35 cell in their ’05-’10 Ford Mustang. The company’s ½-inch-thick billet Replacement Battery Tray and Hold Down Kit (PN 9008-03; $99.99) is mounted in the OEM location, and supports the Optima battery you’re interested in using.

Give Us a ’Brake

Q I’m about to step up the power in my ’12 GT with a built Coyote and twin turbos. I’m also getting the stock 6R80 automatic upgraded with a hardened input shaft, new clutches, and we’re changing the torque converter out for a higher-stall converter. I really would like to have a transbrake for better launches, but I haven’t been able to find anyone who can modify the transmission so that I will have transbrake functionality. Is it even possible with the ’12’s automatic?

Aaron Pedersen
Blairsville, PA

A Thus far, while many ’11-’14 Mustang GT tuners are quite proficient in getting 6R80 transmissions to shift hard and function properly under the forces of mega horsepower, their ability to manipulate Copperhead PCMs for transbrake functionality has not been as widespread. As of this writing, we understand one company, CPR Turbo Kits, has created a functional transbrake for the ’Stang’s six-speed automatic and includes this technology with its turbo systems. Unfortunately, we don’t know much more than that about the CPR ’brake. And, per a recent discussion with Ford Racing engineers, it appears it will be up to other Mustang tuners and modifying outfits like CPR to take the lead in further developing the 6R80 transbrake.

Virgin of the Month

Off Trac

Q How do you turn off the Advance Trac system on a ’13 Mustang GT Premium?

J. Rick Kirby
Via the Internet

A Premium GTs and Mustangs equipped with the Brembo brake option feature Advance Trac that includes a Sport setting in addition to the basic On and Off settings. To completely disable Advance Trac, press down the brake pedal and press the TCS button until the setting you desire—Off—flashes in the dash display (just beneath the tach).