Anthony Giagnacovo
January 28, 2005

Welcome back to part two of our engine buildup for Project Ice Box, our slick, little, supercharged Mustang. When we last left you, our white '01 pony had its engine pulled and our plan was to stuff in something a little bigger and a lot hotter, namely a Modular stroker built by Coast High Performance.

In order to keep up with the slew of amazing Cobras roaming the northeast, we decided that more cubic inches and boost was in order. We contacted Coast High Performance, Vortech Engineering, and JDM Engineering to help out, and they had all the answers. Utilizing the stock short-block with ported heads with larger valves and Comp Cams Stage 2 bumpsticks, Ice Box had produced 540 hp (at 6,250 rpm) and turned a best quarter-mile time of 11.26 seconds at 126 mph. That's pretty sporty for a 3,600-pounds, daily-driven, emissions-legal GT, but as I stated in the opening, it was time to find more. More being 10s.

We got to the business of preparing the Coast High Performance short-block by slipping on the new ROL head gaskets.

But in order to find 10s, more also meant we'd need to up displacement and boost, so CHP sent over a complete 300-cube short-block stuffed with a stroker crank, Probe pistons and rods, and a main stud girdle, just for good measure. Meanwhile, Vortech swapped out our SQ supercharger unit for a more potent T-Trim. Putting the puzzle together and tuning this monster were the fine folks at JDM Engineering in Freehold, New Jersey.

It's important to note that our machine was running in top form when we tore it apart. There was no death smoke, no detonation, and no unusual noises. With that, we could have turned up the boost on the hopped-up stock short-block combination and pushed it further. It's likely to have gone much quicker, but for how long? We realized that making much more than 540 rwhp with the stock crank, rods, and pistons was not a good idea. At MM&FF we're into making power, but we don't see the point of a one-shot wonder. We're big on durability and longevity, so out with the old and in with the new.

Shaun Lacko of JDM Engineering then popped our Patriot Performance cylinder heads into place.

Speaking of new, our new Ford Modular block was prepped by CHP with a steel up-stroked Cobra crank, Probe rods and pistons, and a Probe main stud girdle. CHP can actually open the cylinder bores up as much as .070 inches (to make 5.1 liters/310 cubes), but because of the high boost levels we plan on, we decided to go with a .020-inch overbore to keep some extra rigidity (this was at Coast's recommendation). When combined with the 3.750-inch stroke, our .020-inch over short-block arrives at an even 300 ci, just about 20 more than stock. And to that we'll add our Patriot-ported PI heads, along with the rest of Ice Box's components, which includes the aforementioned Vortech blower, a ported Bullitt intake, JDM headers, and SLP Loud-Mouth exhaust. Then, once the beast is running, we'll add an Anderson Ford Powerpipe, which is sure to unlock even more power.

To date, we've dressed the CHP short-block and slipped it back between the rails. We also took the opportunity to swap out the 37,000-mile factory clutch with a RAM Powergrip Performance series clutch supplied to us by Downs Ford Motorsport in Toms River, New Jersey. The RAM clutch features a blueprinted high-clamp pressure plate, a 900/300 series clutch disc, a new throw-out bearing, and a clutch alignment tool. We also installed a new RAM flywheel from Downs.

Lacko torqued the heads to the block. The stock hardware required a special torquing sequence that goes as follows: 30 ft-lb of torque, then turn 90 degrees, then loosen each bolt at least one full turn, then tighten to 30 ft-lb, turn 90 degrees, and then turn 90 degrees once more. This ensures the proper stretch on the head bolts and a good seal from the gasket.

Like the stock short-block, the Ford clutch was doing a great job, but with the potential for about another 100 hp, we felt it was time to upgrade. Joe Amato, the top dog at Downs Ford Motorsport, sells a lot of different clutches for different applications. When we told him about our combination, the car's daily-driver status, and the horsepower level, Amato had no reservations about the Powergrip clutch. The RAM unit should provide us with plenty of grip, but without massive pedal pressure. We've yet to use this style RAM unit so we'll let you know how it works next month when we get to the track.

Though the motor and clutch are in, we still have a bit of work to do. Ice Box is in running order and D'Amore is finalizing its tune-up. I urge you to comeback next month for a full performance review. Intial reports are we'll have around 700 ponies at our disposal. Heh, heh.