Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
March 1, 2000
Photos By: From the 5.0 Mustang archives

Step By Step

View Photo Gallery
138_38z Ford_mustang_coupe Left_front_view138_43z Ford_mustang Supercharger
While parity exists among power adders in most other classes, Renegade is definitely dominated by Superchargers. Last season the Paxton Novi and the ProCharger D-1 commanded the top of the ladder. Next season these blowers will be challenged by the T-Trim in Fun Ford and the V-7 YS-Trim in NMRA. Whatever blower you choose, plan on squeezing out 20-plus pounds of boost with a meager eight-rib belt.
Rule changes for the 2000 season will make a nitrous-injected Renegade more viable. You can run a plate or a nozzle, but no foggers, so build it strong and juice it with as many stages as you like. NMRA is giving juiced cars a weight break, while Fun Ford is allowing short-runner intakes. The weight break and the availability of stronger 351 blocks makes NMRA more attractive for the nitrous crowd.
138_45z Ford_mustang Cylinder_block
Though it goes against the original intentions of the class, a stout block is an absolute requirement for any Renegade car. According to Rick Anderson, Ford Racing Performance Parts’ R302 or obsolete A4 block are the top choices, but an old Boss 302 block is an option for those on a budget. As Unlimited Performance’s Mark Mainiero says, use one of these blocks or, "You’re going to split anything else in half." Of course durability costs money, so be prepared to spend a few thousand dollars on your block. Then you still have to machine it. Boring it .030 for 306ci is the preferred method, but larger displacement, in NMRA, may be the way to go if you think you can make up the 200-pound weight penalty with the cubic inches.
138_46z Ford_mustang Cylinder_head
If you’re trying to build a Renegade racer, there aren’t really that many secrets. Though any inline cylinder head with standard-height ports is allowed, the Trick Flow Twisted Wedge aluminum head is the head of choice in Renegade. Though a new crop of inline heads debuting at PRI may change that this year, whatever head you choose needs porting. According to Mainiero, something like a Fox Lake Stage II port is preferred, but be sure the porter pays special attention to the exhaust port so the head can vent all that power adder airflow.
138_47z Ford_mustang Intake_manifold
Mainiero suggests you want the shortest runner available. For nitrous guys running in Fun Ford, a box intake, an Edelbrock Victor, or a Coast High Performance EFI Spyder make that easy. For Fun Ford blower guys and everyone in NMRA, the choice really comes down to the Edelbrock Performer RPM, the Holley SysteMAX II, the Saleen/Vortech or the Trick Flow Track Heat. Last season, the Performer RPM dominated, but expect to see a variety in the pits this season. You can port or Extrude Hone the intakes in any sanction, even welding the lower is legal in NMRA, but don’t smoke-wrench the upper.
138_48z Ford_mustang Cam_shaft
Two of the truest limitations on Renegade performance involve the valvetrain. Camshafts cannot lift the valve more than .550-inch as measured at the retainer. Racers must also retain the stock Ford hydraulic lifters. According to Anderson, it’s typical to see 6,700 rpm from these lifters, while 7,000 rpm is occasionally attainable. At that rpm, he says, you run the risk of floating the lifters. As for the cam itself, you’re basically playing with duration and lobe separation. For blower cars, Mainiero recommends 228-238 degrees of duration and 114 degrees of lobe separation, while Anderson sells his own B4R cam meant just for Renegade racing. Nitrous fiends best work with an engine builder or spend lots of dyno time to come up with the killer ’stick.
138_49z Ford_mustang Air_filter
In an effort to keep e.t.’s in check, this season’s maximum mass air diameter is 80 mm. This means most racers will run one of Pro-M’s new 80mm Bullet meters or one of Vortech/C&L’s 80mm MaxFlow units. Be sure to run the meter in the fender to keep it away from hot underhood air and, if you run one, run the largest air filter possible to limit airflow restriction.
138_50z Ford_mustang Air_intake
Some might think it a gimmick, but Anderson Ford Motorsport’s Power Pipe has proven itself an effective power builder on supercharged and naturally aspirated/nitrous Mustangs. According to Anderson, blower inlets are just like naturally aspirated engines. They try to suck in air, so they need plenty of available volume. They also don’t like turbulent air and try to suck air from the edges of the inlet, so the larger, smoother pipe provides a steady, smooth flow of air and unshrouds the blower inlet. These parts simply provide the engine with better air and more of it, which is a boon when faced with the confines of the Renegade rule book.
138_51z Ford_mustang Fuel_pump
As with any hungry, power-adder Mustang, feeding fuel to a Renegade car is critical. Lots of boost or nitrous coupled with healthy compression means there’s little room for error. At the least, a lack of fuel will hurt performance. At most, it will take out head gaskets or pistons. Many racers run two pumps, like this one from Aeromotive, to ensure adequate fuel flow, but large single pumps like those from Aeromotive, Product Engineering, and Weldon will become de riguer in Renegade.
138_52z Ford_mustang Fuel_injectors
Time was, 50 lb/hr fuel injectors would be enough, but the latest 9-second Renegades are thirsty. According to Anderson, you might be able to get by with 50s for a while, but 72 lb/hr squirters are considered the new minimum. For those wanting a cushion, he says 82 lb/hr injectors are the obvious option. These numbers are, of course, indicative of the requirements of a supercharged car. Nitrous cars running wet systems can run smaller injectors, as the nitrous system takes care of supplemental fueling.
138_53z Ford_mustang Transmission
Due to the rpm limitations presented by the rules, you’re pretty much limited to 3.55 or 3.73 gears, but the transmission choice is fairly open. Both Anderson and Mainiero suggest running a built C4. Anderson says the automatic is a good choice for a blower car as engine rpm only slips back 1,400 during each shift; Bob Kurgan has done well running a Dynamic C4 (pictured). For those that must shift, a Jerico four-speed is the full-boogie choice. Making this move also requires familiarity of clutch adjustment, so the Jerico is not for the newbie.
While EFI Systems’ Programmable Management System dominated last season, the rules have opened up to include FRPP’s EPEC (pictured) and the Speedbrain. Electronics will certainly play a key to generating the most power and making it live, so pick an electronics package you are comfortable working with. If electronic tuning is new to you, buy a system from a tuner willing to provide you with tech support.
138_55z Ford_mustang Engine_bay138_56z Ford_mustang Suspension
While you can go too light with one of these cars, a tubular K-member will help you shave critical weight off the front end so you can put it elsewhere in the car, like over the right rear tire. According to Anderson, this class will be a chassis class this season, as most people will make similar power. Applying it will be critical, and adjustable struts and shocks will be key to help adjust for track conditions.

Sure those big-time Renegade racers are running 9s with the same blower and cylinder heads you've got on your street 5.0. That doesn't mean you can pull up next to Bob Kurgan and trailer him by just putting slicks on your street car. There's a bit more to it than that. You've got to consider power production, durability, and putting it all to the track. Still, Renegade is a pretty straightforward class. Take it from the guy who created the class.

"...Build it right the first time using the appropriate components that will hold up under the amount of power, torque, and the level of power adder that you plan to use," The Mustang Works' Dan McClain says. "An essential factor to success, at least in my eyes, is building a consistent and durable package (read: engine, drivetrain, and chassis). If you are decently competitive, never break, and the other guys do, guess who will end up accumulating the most points?"

"To win, you will need to build an engine skirting the very edge of the rules with a car coming in as close to the minimum weight as possible," McClain adds.

But whatever you do, don't get cute. "Don't go too trick. Try and keep to the basics, and do the basics right. They need to have the air bypasses run right, so they go back in. Just little stuff like that," Rick Anderson of Anderson Ford Motorsport says. "I think that's where guys are trying to go too trick. That's where they hurt themselves more than anything else."

Horse Sense:
Shortly after releasing its rules on the Internet, the NMRA decided to open up the supercharger restrictions in Renegade by offering up dimensional limitations, rather than restricting certain models. The immediate effect is the legality of the Vortech V-7, but the long-term effect is greater blower manufacturer creativity within the class.