Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsHow To Tech Qa
Yo Ken! Tech Q&A - November 2014
Answering Your Technical Questions
First Fox Fixup
I'm fairly new to Mustangs and domestics in general. I'm getting ready to make the transition into Mustangs by picking up my first Mustang project, which should be a Fox-body LX (not sure between the hatch or notchback). I understand through talking to more experienced builders that FRPP alphabet cams are some of the tried-and-true cam combinations. But in doing my research, I can't really find the difference between them. B303? E303? F-cam? What's the difference? I know what would help a lot would be some kind of rwhp goal, so I'll suffice it to say that long-term plans include bolt-ons/heads/cam/gears, but still keeping it street legal. I'd like to build a small-block that could keep pace with most bolt-on/cammed LSX F-bodies. I'm sure you've answered this question before, but I've searched and can't find a bare-bones, no-B.S. answer. I hope you can shed a little light on the subject.
Via the Internet
The E303 cam is designed to be an emissions-legal upgrade from the stock 5.0 GT cam. The B303 cam, although it has slightly less lift, it does have more duration and is designed with a more aggressive profile for better performance. And the F-cam is the most aggressive. The Fox-body is lighter than later model Mustang and F-bodies, too, and therefore a 350 rwhp goal will be able to hold its own and then some. Those numbers are easily within reach with the wealth of aftermarket parts for the 5.0. The Fox body is a lightweight package with a power-to-weight ratio that's one of the best in the business, you will not be disappointed. Many crate engines on the market allow you to plug-and-play. I'd recommend going up in displacement, to either a 331, 347, or 363 stroker.
T-Bird V-8 Swap
I have a '90 Ford Thunderbird with the 3.8. I want to swap to a 5.0 and I was told that an engine from a '91-'93 model works best. I just need to know what parts on the 3.8 will work with 5.0 and what I will need for this swap to work. How much horsepower can the IRS take? I am hoping to get a 300hp daily driver in the end. And will the trans hold up? I don't know how different the AOD models were. A lot of people have said it would be better to get a newer T-Bird with the V-8 already in it (and I realize the advantages), but I am set because I love the '90s style and I have a lot of work into this car. I'm really a beginner in all of this and this is my first car, so any help you can offer would be great.
Via the Internet
Nothing from the 3.8 will work with the 5.0. The IRS will handle about 300 hp, but not much more. You will need the complete wiring harness from a 5.0 Thunderbird, along with motor mounts and accessory brackets. The swap is not a difficult one, as your Thunderbird chassis came with a 5.0. The best way to go about this swap is to get a donor car. This way you will have all the parts you need along with knowing what has to be replaced. A good resource for your Thunderbird is the Thunderbird and Cougar Club of America (www.tccoa.com) and Cool cats (www.coolcats.net). These websites have loads of info and how to articles.
Noise in the Nose
I own an '06 Mustang GT automatic with less than 5,000 miles that I drive on nice days and weekends. I love everything about the car except one major thing that is driving me nuts: a dull clunking or rattling sound coming from somewhere in the front suspension that happens between 1 and 45 mph. It sounds the loudest on the right side when driving over rough roads. I took the car into my local Ford dealer and they were very nice about it and put my Mustang up on the rack to see if anything was loose. After that the mechanic asked me to take him for a ride to check out the noise. He told me that they have had many complaints about noise in '05-'09 Mustangs, but unfortunately Ford has no fix in the works at this time.
I emailed Ford to ask if they knew about this problem, but they blew me off with a response that they agreed with my dealer that my Mustang was within specs. Since then I have checked many websites that are devoted to Mustangs and Fords, and this problem is talked about a lot. Some think it is in the front sway bars, others think it is some play in the front strut bearings. I am hoping that you know about this issue and can at least tell me how to fix it. I can't imagine that something has worn out so soon with the miles I have on the car.
This is a tough problem that the some '05-'09 Mustang owners are having. It seems that different owners have found different solutions—there does not seem to be consensus on one particular fix. The first thing I would do is check the upper strut nut; many have cured the clunk by just tightening the upper nut. Another place to look is the sway bar endlinks and bolts. Others have replaced the upper strut mount, which seems to be the most popular solution.
First I would like to say that I love MM&FFmagazine. I have an '01 Mustang GT with many of the basic bolt-ons. The car also has a SCT tuner, BBK ceramic long-tube headers, and 3.73 gears. I want to get 300 rwhp, so I'm planning on getting cams and maybe an intake. Although the Trick Flow intake gives better high rpm power, will it hurt my low-end torque? I have read that the PI intake may work best with a N/A application. Also, do the Trick Flow cams perform as good as the Comp Cams for the SOHC 4.6? Which would be the best cam and intake for performance and daily driving? Thank you for your help.
Via the Internet
The Trick Flow intake works best with ported cylinder heads or forced induction, such as supercharging or turbocharging. You will lose a little low-end torque but gain a little extra high-rpm horsepower. I suggest you stick with the stock intake; it can easily handle 300 rwhp. Both companies' cams perform equally as well, but choosing the right cam is import for an everyday driver. The cams we choose for project Silver Stealth Stang are a little much for everyday street use, and if you're running an auto, the tune is critical for drivability. Performancewise, the cams in Sliver Stealth Stang rev high and make lots of high-rpm power. I suggest you choose a cam with a lift around 0.550 and duration at 0.050 of 220 to 225. Comp Cams and Trick Flow offer grinds in this range. Not sure whether you're running a stick or auto, but in either case to reach 300 rwhp you will need to port the cylinder heads. Or better yet, get yourself a set of the new Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads. These heads will easily produce 300-plus rwhp.
The best way to go about this swap is to get a donor car.
First of all, MM&FF is the best magazine ever—keep up the good work. I have a '94 Mustang GT that I'm ordering a Dominator long-block (331) for from Coast High Performance, along with an RPM II intake and a TKO 600 tranny. Then a Kenne Bell supercharger is soon to follow. What is my best option for tuning and controlling all of this? Should I just get a chip for the stock computer and have it tuned at local dyno, or buy a standalone computer? This is my first serious build so it may have to be tuned several times. If a standalone is best option, which one do you recommend? The PMS from Anderson Motorsport and Simple Digital Systems are the only two I have really looked at. Please help.
Via the Internet
You are correct in that you have many options, such as a custom tune or a standalone unit. Pro-M makes a plug-in system that can be installed easily and allows you a the full range of engine control. A standalone is nice, but the high-end systems can be very expensive. Of course, you can find a good tuning shop and get a custom tune.
Won't Sit Down
I am at an impasse. I purchased a new 347 short-block, and I'm building it myself. With the exception of some hard-to-find nuts and bolts, everything is new, purchased entirely off of eBay. I have everything assembled on the block except for one thing: the distributor. I am catching the D-Devil trying to get the darn thing to sit in the block. The distributor in question is an MSD 8456. I can get it set down around the gears of the camshaft somewhat, but getting it down around the oil pump driveshaft is another matter. I have tried manipulating the oil pump shaft with another oil pump primer in hopes of getting the driveshaft in the correct position, but have thus far been unsuccessful. I have had thoughts of draining the oil, dropping the oil pan, and manipulating the driveshaft by hand, while simultaneously setting the distributor. Is it possible that I have the driveshaft installed upside-down, or am I just doing it wrong? Also, the cam I'm using is an X-303. And one more thing: Should I change the gear on the distributor for the optional brass gear?
There are a couple of reasons I can see for your distributor not seating properly. You may have the wrong oil pump shaft. The MSD 8456 is a direct replacement for the '86-'93 5.0, and you should being using an oil pump shaft for this application. Another reason may be that the oil pump shaft is not seated properly in the oil pump. In either case I would remove the oil pump shaft to see if it is correct for your application. The brass gear is not necessary.