Ken Miele
Ken Miele
May 30, 2014

Four-Valve Variation

I am wondering if the stock block on an '03-'04 Mach 1 is the same block used in the '03-'04 Cobras. If it's not the same block, are the pistons forged in the '03-'04 Mach 1?

LaGrange, Ohio

Joe, there are many differences between the Mach 1 and Cobra engines from '03 to '04. Let's start with the Cobra—it uses an iron-block with a forged crankshaft, rods, and pistons. The manual Mach 1 uses an aluminum-block with a forged crank, powdered rods, and hypereutectic pistons. The automatic Mach 1 uses an aluminum-block, cast crank, powdered rods, and hypereutectic pistons.

Sly Fox

I have an '82 Fairmont with a 255 V-8 and would like to swap in a 5.0L. It's a clean car and I'd like to have something different to drive.

Will everything from a Fox-body Mustang bolt into my Fairmont? I am looking at swapping the rear, trans, and engine out of a '84 Mustang GT that is rusted beyond repair. Is the suspension also something I can swap? I would like to have a car that no one will suspect is a performance car.

Is there a place I can buy new parts? I know I will need some new parts.

Smithtown, Virginia

Brian, the Fairmont is a Fox-body car, the trans, rear, and engine will bolt right in. The suspension components will also bolt in. It is a very popular swap and makes a great sleeper.

A great place to get new parts for Fox-body Mustangs is It has everything you need to complete this swap.

Shocking and Staggering

I'm looking to install staggered 18x9 and 18x10 wheels with 245/40-18 on the front and 285/35-18 tires on the rear. I am also looking into lowering my '03 GT, but I don't know how much. I was thinking 1.3 inch in the front and 1.4 in the rear. Is the Eibach Pro Plus system with sway bars, struts, and shocks worth the investment?

Via the Internet

The Eibach Pro System Plus is a great choice for your tire combo. It will lower your GT about 1.1 inches front and rear. I recommend this kit for your tire application. You could go with the Sport Line, but the drop is 1.8 inches in the front and 2.0 in the rear, which could cause issues with tire clearance on rough roads.

Many times, people overlook the struts and shocks when lowering their car. Dampers are the most important part of your suspension, and without the proper dampers, the ride quality and handling with suffer greatly. The Eibach system is well worth the investment, and you will not be disappointed with this upgrade.

Wheel Swap

I got a good deal on OEM '10 GT-500 wheels that I am powdercoating black. With the '10 GT-500 wheels being 18x9.5 with a plus-43mm backspace, can I use 275/40-18 tires on all four corners so I can rotate them? Will I have any issues with tire clearance on my '05 Mustang GT? I would like to lower my GT, 1.5 inches or maybe lower.

Staunton, Virginia

Mike, the 275/40-18s will work great with the '10 GT500 wheels. As long as you don't go any lower than 1.5 inches, you will have no tire clearance issues. There are some who have dropped it 2 inches with very little tire clearance problems, but I suggest only going with a 1.5-inch drop. The roads dictate how low you want to go, if your area is like most roads, 1.5 drop is the safe bet.

Double Down

I want to lower my '00 GT about 1.25 to 1.5 inches. What do I need to set up the steering besides caster/camber plates? Do I need offset rack bushings and a bumpsteer kit, or just the bumpsteer kit, or the other way around?

Via the Internet

Caster/camber plates are always recommended, but the bumpsteer and offset bushings are not always needed. It most cases, you will need only the caster/camber plates for a good alignment on a 1.25- to 1.5-inch drop.

If you are really into the pushing your GT in the turns or at the track, a bumpsteer kit is a good idea. There is no need for the offset bushings when using the bumpsteer kit. The bushings are static, but the bumpsteer kit is dynamic, and a much better solution for proper handling.

The main thing you need to consider is the angle of the tie rods. To correct bumpsteer, the tie rods should be as close to level with the ground as possible at static ride height. A bumpsteer kit should correct this on its own.

Low-Flying Bird

I have a '97 Ford Thunderbird, and I'm having the hardest time finding lowering springs for it. Do you guys know of any company that sells them?

Orenthal Turner
Spring, Texas

Many companies offer lowering springs for the '97 Thunderbird. Eibach, H&R, Tokico, Suspension Techniques, and Jamex all offer various springs to suit your needs. A great resource for everything Thunderbird is website You can find all the retailers and products, and even how to install.