Tech Questions And Answers July 2014 2002 Ford
KJ Jones Brand Manager, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
May 20, 2014


Q: I drag race my '02 GT and I want to improve its launch by spraying nitrous oxide as soon as I let the clutch out. The car has an MSD two-step module, and the juice is activated with a WOT switch. I don't know how to get the nitrous to only come on when I'm at WOT, but not when I'm at WOT and also on the two-step waiting to launch. Do you have any ideas?

Rance Adams
Houston, TX

A: Getting your nitrous system to activate only when you dump the clutch out of the hole (and after kicking the clutch to make shifts) is accomplished by using a relay between your Pony's clutch switch and the WOT switch for the nitrous kit. Simply link the positive side of the WOT switch with the hot post on the relay, and vice-versa with the negative leads from both. You'll also have to run an rpm window switch through this negative circuit to program the rpm parameters for the nitrous system to work within.

Mystery Manifold

Q: Do you guys know if Ford or Ford Racing ever produced a cast-aluminum intake manifold for Coyote 5.0s? I actually saw one on eBay that definitely had Ford cast onto it and what appeared to be part number. Is this thing legit?

Name Witheld
Via the Internet

A: Yes, the aluminum intake is official, and at this point, it is extremely rare. What you saw was a prototype piece, which was probably made in the very early stages of Coyote development.

For R&D purposes, it actually was cheaper and easier to make one or two manifolds in aluminum. While the plastic intakes that are now standard on all new 5.0s did have a much higher initial tooling cost, they're better than the aluminum pieces as they don't require machining, are not subject to core shift or heat soak, and are considerably lighter, thus ultimately lower in production cost than aluminum.

Within Range

Q: I'm a little confused about the 8.8 rearends. I want to convert the 8.8 in my '87 GT to five-lug, and I was told I can use axles from a Ranger pickup truck. That sounds like a pretty inexpensive way to make the change. Will it work?

David Easton
Lowell, MA

A: Yes, the information you've been given is correct. The driver-side axle in '83-'92 Ranger pickups measures 29.188 inches, the same length as both 28-spline axles in an '86-'93 Mustang. While the axles and drums probably can be sourced by picking through wrecking yards for the correct-year pieces, we recommend Latemodel Restoration's five-lug conversion kit (PN LRS-4234K; $399.99). The Latemodel package includes all of the major hard parts necessary for a complete four-lug-to-five-lug conversion (rotors, drums, axles), and you'll probably find it is a better move in the long run.

Mr. 400

Q: What is the best way to make 400 rwhp with a pushrod combination? Is it easier to add boost to get there, or cubic inches, or both?

Name Witheld
Via the Internet

A: With a pushrod combination, there's more than one way to make 400 rwhp. First off, with a stock Fox 5.0L engine, boost alone probably won't get you there. And with a stock bottom end, a H/C/I swap won't get you there, either.

With a stock bottom end, either a H/C/I swap or a blower install will get you to 300-350 rwhp. With a stock bottom end, H/C/I swap, and boost, you can make 450-460 rwhp. Note that a H/C/I boosted combo can be driven daily, but with substantial cost at the pump.

Or you can go with naturally aspirated. You can make 400 rwhp by going the 331-347 stroker route. We even know of a 306ci combination built by Revolution Automotive out of Maryland that makes over 400 rwhp. This will not happen with off-the-shelf parts, though. To get to 400 rwhp, a well-built 331-347 with ported aftermarket heads, a ported aftermarket intake, and a pretty wicked cam will be needed.

While on this discussion, a 351-based stroker is pretty close to the same price as a 331-347 stroker kit. However, you would have to locate a 351-based block—and the roller block version is more desirable. A retrofit roller cam can be added, but that adds cost. A 351-based 393-408 has the capability to make sick power even in naturally aspirated form.

Your plan comes down to your budget and what parts are at your disposal.

Speaking of budget, don't discount a Coyote swap. If you want 400 rwhp, a Coyote swap will get you there with ease and much better fuel economy, plus 7,000 useable rpm.When looking at the cost of a 331-347 stroker with the right heads, cam, and intake, plus all the supporting hardware, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't at least balance that cost against a Coyote swap.

Virgin of the Month
Taillight Query

Q: Will '13-'14 taillights work in a '12 Mustang without harness modifications?

Karl Schmidt
Hampton, VA

A: Our guys at MPS Auto Salvage tell us you would have to modify the harness due to the '13-'14 Mustang's LED taillight outer surround. Plus, the taillights are physically different, as are the rear bumper covers between the '10-'12 and '13-'14 Mustangs.

We've installed AmericanMuscle's '13-'14-style taillights on a '05-'09 Mustang, but they aren't available for a '10-'12 car. The best and probably cheapest way to do this is to find a '13-'14 Mustang, and swap the taillights real quick to see what works and what doesn't. The swap will literally take 10 minutes to do.

We understand there will be a gap between the '13-'14 taillights and the '12 Mustang bumper cover, but if you're able to meld the two together, you could live with the gap if the '13-'14 Mustang taillight is the look you're ultimately after. Keep us posted if you try the swap and let us know the results.