5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
Dream Factories: Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 Production, Start to Finish
We followed the GT 500 from its start on the Romeo Engine Niche Line to its finish at the Auto Alliance International assembly plant--and tried not to drool
Even a non-Ford guy knows this engine takes on a special personality as Jeff bolts on the Four-Valve cylinder heads. They're also visually inspected before being lowered on the short-block. The heads are shared with the Ford GT 500 supercar, but the GT 500 engine uses unique head gaskets due to the dissimilar aluminum heads and iron block.
First, the secondary tensioners and chain guides go on, then the timing gear and chain sets are preassembled and installed as sets. Gary holds the crank in place with a torque wrench as Jeff torques the cam gears in place. As we had previously reported, the GT 500 shares cams with its Terminator predecessor.
As luck would have it, a dozen or so Ford GT service engines were scheduled to go down the Niche line while we were there. As such, we were able to compare the cam gears between the two engines.
The larger cam gear is from the Ford GT, where the Shelby uses a smaller cam gear, a revised timing cover, and revised cam covers to clear the Mustang shock towers.
Similar to the other critical fasteners, the flywheel and clutch bolts are installed with the automatic torque wrenches. Here, Gary double-checks the fasteners' torque with a standard torque wrench. The automated tools and the standard wrenches are periodically checked for accuracy.
We're getting closer. After checking the crankshaft endplay, the oil pan, the crank damper, and the oil cooler adapter go on the engine. The oil cavity is then air-checked for leaks.
Here's our favorite part: the protective blue cover comes off the intake ports, the intake gaskets go on, and the blower/intercooler assembly are lowered into place. This is followed by the coolant tubing, wiring, and throttle body.