Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
2001 Ford Mustang GT - Nice Ice, Part 3
Project Ice Box is complete-we thrash it hard on the dyno, then rip it at the dragstrip.
Welcome back for the conclusion (we hope!) of our engine/blower installation and test of Project Ice Box, our in-house '01 Mustang GT. If we've learned anything about hot-rodding in the last 15 years, it's that you should always expect the unusual and unthinkable. Sometimes parts go on without a hitch, other times they don't. This was one of those times when even the best-laid plan needed modifying.
As it turned out, changing the short-block and blower was not as simple as we originally planned. We encountered a few bumps in the road-thankfully, we had a good team behind us. Oh, the engine went right in and purred like a kitten, but we battled belt slippage and a lean condition. After a few long nights, we sorted it out, and we're glad to report our Oxford White GT is up and running-and doing quite well, we might add.
If you're new to the magazine, we'll get you up to speed on this project. The vehicle in question is our own '01 GT. It's equipped with a stock five-speed and 3.73 gears, and the engine had been upgraded with a ported Bullitt intake, a Bullitt twin 57mm throttle body, a Vortech SQ huffer with Aftercooler, PI heads that were ported by Patriot Performance, and a set of Comp Cams camshafts. Exhaust exits through JDM Engineering long-tube headers and H-pipe (with cats) and an SLP Loud Mouth after-cat.
With this combination, our GT was running like a champ-in fact, it rolled the Dynojet at JDM Engineering in Freehold, New Jersey, to the tune of 542 hp, and it traversed the quarter at E-Town in just 11.26 seconds at 126 mph. Not a bad emissions-legal ride for the daily commute.Still, it wasn't quite fast enough for our fearless leader, Jim Campisano, who must stomp F-bodies and Corvettes on his way to the office. Besides, what self-respecting gearhead could pass up a chance at 10s, especially when his chariot is just a few ticks away? In addition, we thought it would be cool to show you, our readers, how to build an honest 10-second Two-Valver that could be driven daily. With this in mind, we opened up the catalogs and went wild. After selecting what we thought would be the best parts, we-well, actually, the gang at JDM-went to work.
The Tech Of It
With the Stang safely in the Freehold-based shop, the engine was removed and the stock short-block was kicked to the curb. Shaun Lacko of JDM then added 19 ci, for a total of 300, in the form of the Coast High Performance stroker short-block. (The short-block was discussed in detail in Parts 1 and 2 of this series.)
Lacko then torqued down the Patriot heads and swapped our Vortech SQ blower for a polished T-Trim unit. (We felt we were at the limit of the SQ and the extra cubes weren't going to help matters.) Lacko also installed the obligatory Anderson Ford Power Pipe to complement the potentially potent package. To get the power to the pavement, we tossed the stock clutch in favor of a Ram HD unit from Downs Ford Motorsport, though we left the 3.73 gears alone. Lacko continued on and changed over our old timing-chain assembly, along with the front cover, water pump, cam covers, and balancer. Lastly, the engine, transmission, and exhaust were back in place and we were ready to roll.
With Ice Box operational, Jim D'Amore put a few test miles on the engine and clutch, loaded the GT on the Dynojet, and the tuning began. After establishing that the engine was in good running order, D'Amore went to work using Superchips Custom Tuning software. He was concerned with running the engine lean, so the initial pulls were limited to 5,000 rpm.Right off the bat the engine showed signs of greatness, but on the first full pull D'Amore noticed a problem: "Above 4,500 rpm, this thing really comes on strong, but it flattened out just before 6,000 rpm because the belt was slipping like crazy."
The problem, according to the folks at JDM, was belt stretch. This occurred from use and mileage, so a new, slightly smaller belt was installed. With the belt tight, D'Amore flexed the muscles on the GT, and a second problem popped up. The blower was pumping serious boost-15 psi, to be exact-but D'Amore noticed a lean con-dition and shut it down. The Dynojet's data showed the air/fuel ratio climbed to 13:1 at 6,500 rpm, but it began going lean just before 6,000. Despite the lack of fuel at high rpm, the Coast High Performance 300 made 560 hp and 505 lb-ft of torque.
D'Amore commanded more fuel through the SCT software, but the existing fuel system couldn't answer the call. The engine remained lean, so more mods were in order. The answer was to modify the fuel system to provide more flow; JDM had the answer.
With the old combo, our GT was outfitted with twin '03/'04 Cobra pumps, which replaced the single GT pump. The Cobra pumps were tied together to feed one single outlet line (in the tank), which then fed the stock fuel rail and 42-psi injectors.
To increase the flow, JDM decided to separate the lines coming off the pumps to get more volume to the main feed line, which would also be replaced, along with the injectors. Lacko removed the tank from the vehicle and dismantled the Cobra pump assembly in order to separate the pumps. Now, each pump feeds into an external fuel bulkhead that's attached to an external Mallory canister-style fuel filter. The filter has two inlets and a -6 line feeding the engine. The stock rails were maintained, but 60-pound Mototron injectors were installed.
This increased fuel flow to the engine and enabled D'Amore to get back after the tune. When he did, the results were outstanding. Horsepower skyrocketed from 562 (the number achieved prior to the fuel-system upgrade) to 621 at 6,400 rpm. Meanwhile, torque climbed to 541 lb-ft at 5,600 rpm. It's important to note that while the GT was making roughly 80 more horsepower than before, D'Amore explained that the huge airflow increase caused the SCT Big Air 90mm mass air meter to max out. So he was unable to unlock the full potential of the engine. In other words, once he installs a differently calibrated mass air meter, he feels there's another 30-50 hp to be had. But that will have to wait for another day.
Nevertheless, we were glad to see the new combination was producing more than 500 hp from 5,200 to redline and over 500 lb-ft of torque from 4,500 to 6,400 rpm. But how would this translate into track numbers?
11th-Hour Track Thrash
With the car complete and the dyno numbers in the bag, there was but one thing left to do-drag test. Our man D'Amore would have loved one more day to tune, but there just wasn't time. In fact, Raceway Park had officially closed the evening before, but, thankfully, we managed to coax the RP staff into leaving the power on for one more day. Hey, we love the chassis dyno, but you want real-world dragstrip numbers. So here we go.
For the first few runs we decided to leave the car in street trim, meaning we'd keep the Nitto Extreme Drag tires, along with the Eibach front and rear antiroll bars, in place. With so much power on tap, we launched easy on the first hit and scored an 11.48, but at a whopping 131 mph. A more aggressive launch netted an 11.26 on the second hit and, after a cooldown, the third run produced an 11.05. Amazingly, the tires hooked like they had teeth, and we were darn near the 10s on the drag radials. Although we planned to go to the stickier M/Ts, we were determined to run in the 10s with the Nittos.
Thankfully, we nailed the next launch and it happened-a 10.93 at 133 mph. The level of power was just insane, especially for a Two-Valve GT. Heck, 133 mph is up in the territory of a Cobra when equipped with a Kenne Bell or a Whipple. Geez, 133 is more than you'll see in a $600,000 Ferrari Enzo! As D'Amore stated, this combination is animal-like above 4,500 rpm. It pulled and pulled, then pulled some more. We shifted right at 6,700, but could have taken it higher. It never stopped pulling.
With a 10-second drag-radial run in the books, we attached the 26x11.5/17-inch M/T ET Street tires. With the new combo and sticky Mickey tires, Ice Box ripped through the E-Town quarter-mile in 10.701 seconds at a whopping 132.78 mph. Equally impressive was that our GT ran an "off-the-street" 10.90 at 133-mph run with radial tires, catalytic converters, fat front tires, and both antiroll bars in place. It weighed 3,630 pounds and we drove it home after the test.
As do many projects, this one proved to be time-consuming and extremely chal-lenging. We were pitted with some serious deadlines and there were no second chances, but we completed the mission and brought home the goods. We couldn't have done it without the crew at JDM. We'd like to thank them for the late hours, along with the staff of Englishtown's Raceway Park, who kept the electricity and water turned on for a few extra hours so we could complete the test in time for publication in this issue.
|*Nitto NT555-R Extreme Drag 285/35ZR/18-inch|
|**M/T ET Street 26x11.50/17-inch|