KJ Jones
February 1, 2013
Contributers: KJ Jones

Lockless Monster
I have an '04 GT that’s pretty well built. All of the mechanicals are perfect, but I’m now having a problem with the door locks of all things.

The driver door does not unlock or lock (at all) when I press the button on the fob and when I use the switch in the door. It sounds like the mechanism is getting power, because I can hear a clicking noise inside the door panel whenever I try to use the lock.

I plan on going to a dealer to have this problem addressed, but I guess I would like to have a basic idea of what’s going on (what the problem actually is) before I take it.

Name Witheld
Via the Internet

It sounds like you’ve got a door-lock actuator that is failing. The repair actually is something you should be able to do yourself, using simple tools that include a drill (and small bit) and a rivet gun.

After removing the door panel, drill through the rivet that secures the actuator bracket to the door frame. Remove the actuator/bracket assembly from the door and then simply swap the bad actuator with a new one, which can be purchased from National Parts Depot.

Make sure you test the lock and ensure it is functioning properly, then re-secure the actuator bracket with a new rivet (or bolt it to the door frame). Reinstall the door panel and you’re all set.

Don’t Get Stroked
I bought a ’91 Fox coupe that I was told has a 347 stroker engine. Visually, the motor looks like it’s pretty hopped up and it definitely runs strong, but I’m wondering, is there any way to verify it really is a stroker without taking the whole engine out and taking it apart?

Austin Davis
Raleigh, NC

Yes, you can verify your engine’s stroke while it’s still in the car. The process is somewhat crude/low-tech, but it’s easy enough to do yourself.

First, remove the Number 1 spark plug and drop a round piece of wooden dowel (that’s roughly the same diameter as the spark-plug’s threaded end) into the spark-plug bore, until you feel it sitting on the piston. Have a friend manually turn the engine and watch the timing pointer until the piston is at Before Top Dead Center, then mark the dowel just at the edge of the spark-plug bore.

Next, don’t remove the dowel; continue to turn the crank until the piston reaches Top Dead Center. At TDC, mark the dowel again at the same spot, then remove it from the head. The distance between your two marks should be approximately 3.40 inches, which would confirm that your Pony really does have a 347 under its hood (3.400 stroke).

Rest Your Weary Head
Can you tell me if there is any way to adjust the headrests in a 2011 Mustang? The angle of those things is horrible! I appreciate your help.

Name Witheld
Via the Internet

A quick (and cheap) fix for this problem is to remove the head restraint and simply turn it around/reinstall it backward. For balance in your ’Stang’s interior, you’ll probably want to do this for both front seats.

Another option is to replace the 2011 head restraints with an adjustable set, which can be acquired through aftermarket companies such as TMI Products (www.tmiproducts.com), or through your Ford dealer’s parts department (the headrests in ’12-up ’Stangs are adjustable).

Tire Trend
I’m looking for info on racing with basic street radial tires. Has anyone determined what’s the best size, and how fast they can go at the track…without disintegrating?

Kyle Richardson
La Porte, TX

Various sanctioning bodies such as the PSCA have experimented with heads-up classes that are dedicated to racing on the proverbial cheap radials, with rear tires relegated to DOT-approved, off-the-shelf, and with a minimum tread rating of 180.

The P255/60 R15s seem to be the tires of choice for this style of racing, and Mickey Thompson’s MT Sportsman is the unofficial quickest/fastest tire out there, having run in the high 8s and consistent low-9s on several PSCA Street Challenge cars. 5.0

Have a friend manually turn the engine and watch the timing pointer until the piston is at Before Top Dead Center, then mark the dowel just at the edge of the spark-plug bore.

Virgin of the Month
I have a ’12 Mustang GT that has a CAI, off-road X and 4.10s. My plan is to add a Boss 302 intake manifold, along with a bigger exhaust.

I know at this point there are tons of 5.0 ’Stangs out there with similar upgrades, but I’m not sure whether I should install the long-tube headers or replacement short-tube headers. I appreciate your help with this decision.

Todd Baker
Via email

Based on the tests we’ve done, your best bet would be to pass on the short-tube headers and bolt a set of long-tubes on your ’Stang’s Coyote, especially since you’re adding a Boss 302 intake.

Check out our website (www.50mustangandsuperfords.com) for more detail on the benefits, as we’ve performed several tests with all of the components you’re considering.