Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
March 2, 2007
Photos By: Anderson Ford Motorsport
How about that-a nearly stock 5.0 LX hatch, 10-holes and all. A big thanks goes out to Chad Kolakowski for letting us experiment with his ride.

It's been a while since we've gone completely old school on a 5.0 Mustang. That's not such a huge surprise, because by now it's been done before. We know some of you are still scooping up your first 5.0 Mustangs or even embarking on projects with newly acquired 5.0s. Let's face it-these cars aren't going away, and we have no doubt that one day you'll be able to build a complete 5.0 Mustang with all aftermarket parts.

While discussing the the need to test more 5.0 gear with Rick Anderson of Anderson Ford Motorsport, we came up with the idea of starting from the beginning, then climbing the bolt-on ladder using the tried and true bolt-ons with a splash of the knowledge gained since the 5.0 heyday. As it so happens, Anderson Ford employee Chad Kolakowski had a nearly stock 5.0 LX hatch that he wanted to modify. Rick and Chad agreed to put the car back as close to stock as possible. They tracked down a stock exhaust, an air silencer, and other stock parts to put the bolt-on car back to showroom-type power.

Chad was kind enough to return his car as close to stock as possible for our testing. The only piece they could not find was the rubber junction that joined the stock airbox and mass air meter, so a piece of blue silicone hose is the only non-stock blemish. If they had only asked. . . I had one in the garage-Ed. He even went so far as to replace the tired stock engine with a near-virgin 31,000-mile stock engine. The car baselined with a healthy 202 hp and 286 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels, which tells us it was making a bit more than the factory 225 at the flywheel. While that's cool, we wanted more.

Along the way, the Anderson crew discovered the 128,000-mile engine in Chad's ride was a bit tired. When revved beyond 5,500 rpm, it sounded like it was ready to fly apart. As luck would have it, Chad managed to find a stock, 31,000-mile engine for sale. He bought it, yanked the old engine, repainted the engine compartment, and added a tubular K-member (hey-while you're at it, right?). We then had a "stock" 5.0 Mustang to build up.

With a stock canvas ready, we asked Rick to sketch a few stages of modifications that made horsepower sense, yet reflected what anyone might tackle on a such a project. Rick was happy to oblige, and he decided to make the packages available for purchase. Take the numbers with a grain of salt if you will, but Rick's always been a straight shooter with us. We'll start this month by making the most of the stock engine and install the Quick Kit Stage 1 package. As you'll find, the results were quite impressive. In coming issues, we'll add heads, cam, intake, nitrous, and more, so stay tuned.

Horse Sense: From 1987 to 1992 Ford rated the 5.0 H.O. at 225 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. In 1993, as the Fox era faded, Ford down-rated the essentially unchanged engine to 205 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. The company said the new rating was more accurate, based on engine revisions over the years and changes in the testing procedure, which require full accessories on the dyno. That might not sound like much power, but remember the 5.0 LX was just over 3,000 pounds, unlike the 3,356-pound S197s of today.

Part PN Price
Bassani BX headers n/a $360.00
Bassani off-road X-shape crossover BX-5093-2 $239.00
Bassani mufflers w/turndowns BX-5092R-4 $269.00
FRPP underdrive pulleys {{{M}}}-8509-A50 $95.00
Professional Prod. 75 T.B. 69215 $144.85
Professional Prod 75 EGR 69505 $36.42
90mm mass air w/Power Bell & filter n/a $199.00
Load IO with plug-in n/a $279.00
Anderson Power Pipe AF-0112c $232.00
Total if Separate:   $1,854.27
Anderson Quick Kit I Package Price:   $1,486.68

Here's all the gear in our first batch of parts. The bulk of the kit is Bassani's full BX exhaust system, featuring headers, an X-shape crossover, and after-cat exhaust with turndowns. The remainder of the kit consists of an Anderson Power Pipe, a Lightning truck mass air meter with an Anderson Load Tuner, Ford Racing Performance Parts underdrive pulleys, and a Professional Products 75mm throttle body.

Talk about a white rhino-the air silencer should be on the endangered species list. Of course, the silencer on Chad's car had been removed, so he found one and reinstalled it before our baseline runs. Then he took it out to start us down the road to more power. In the good old days before Mustangs were aftermarket darlings, people used to gut these silencers and attempt to convert them into ram-air setups with a dryer hose. There are some things we don't miss.

Ford was overprotective of its mass air sensors back in the day. They all featured this mesh screen, presumably to keep large debris out. Most people removed it, and Chad followed suit on his car. Another old-school trick before replacement mass air meters were available was to hog out the stock mass air housing to gain more flow. While the shock throttle body was 60 mm, the mass air was 55 mm and is one reason Ford down-rated the horsepower in 1993.

As tried and true a modification as there is, the first part we added was a K&N direct-replacement panel filter. The promise of better performance in a reusable package has long been a hot-rodder's siren song. Popping out the silencer, removing the mass air screen, and adding the K&N gave us 5.64 hp and 3.68 lb-ft of torque at the peaks.

As tried and true a modification as there is, the first part we added was a K&N direct-replacement panel filter. The promise of better performance in a reusable package has long been a hot-rodder's siren song. Popping out the silencer, removing the mass air screen, and adding the K&N gave us 5.64 hp and 3.68 lb-ft of torque at the peaks.After removing some obstructions and adding a high-flow air filter, it was time to maximize the combination. Chad found that 16 degrees of initial timing was the sweet spot before detonation and far more efficacious than the stock 10-degree setting.

The factory fuel pressure wasn't too far off. Chad found that a leaner 39 psi base pressure worked best. With the tweaked timing and fuel pressure, we picked up another 3.35 hp and 3.67 lb-ft of torque. It might not sound like much, but every little bit helps. By the way, Chad's car obviously had an adjustable fuel-pressure regulator on it, and that's not included in the Stage 1 kit. Consider it a mandatory option if your 5.0 doesn't already have one.

With the basics out of the way, it was time to move on to Stage 1. Hardly anything gets out of the AFM shop without one of its Power Pipe induction systems. The naturally aspirated Power Pipes require enlarging the existing hole in the fender, which was a holdover from the carbureted 5.0's induction system. The Power Pipe mounts the mass air meter in the inner fender where it can slurp up air unaffected by the hot engine. It's an aggressive variation on the popular "cold-air" induction theme.

Since the old days, Rick Anderson has been a believer in the larger surface area offered by conical air filters. Hence, Anderson Ford Motorsport offers its own Power Stack filters. He couldn't help having Chad try one to see if the engine liked it. Rick is not sure if it's due to more ample air or the way the air travels into the mass air, but it did improve peak performance by 2.2 hp and 2.45 lb-ft.

Rick developed a filter adapter that improved the airflow of the popular 90mm mass air meter sourced from the Lightning truck. It isn't just an off-the-shelf meter, as Anderson adds its Power Bell filter kit which Rick says improves airflow by 55 cfm over just a clamp-on filter adapter. In concert with his company's trick Load IO mass air modifier, which allows recalibrating the mass air for a variety of popular fuel-injector flow rates, Rick set up this meter for the factory 19s. With the Load 10 software, you can simply point and click your way to a new mass air calibration. Rick says he was impressed with the repeatability of the engine's air/fuel ratio, saying the Load IO-equipped 19-lb/hr Lightning meter's curve laid right on top of the factory mass air's air/fuel ratio. Such repeatability is a boon to tuners.

It's been a long time since we've seen this. There was a time when 5.0 intakes weren't falling out of trees. Back then, hogging out the factory throttle-body opening to match the diameter of your larger throttle body was the way to go. Here, the Anderson crew shows how to do it with the manifold still on the car. Stuff a rag in the opening to keep the filings out of the intake, put a towel or blanket under the opening, use a new throttle-body gasket to draw a template, then grind away. When the hole is large enough, use a shop vacuum to carefully remove all the metal filings.

After cleaning the mess, Chad installs a new Professional Products 75mm throttle body. These affordable throttle bodies have a trick adjustable mechanism for the throttle-position sensor, which eliminates the need to grind the mounting holes on your TPS sensor to properly adjust it to 0.90 volt with the throttle closed. Rick Anderson is also a fan of bypassing the coolant lines that travel through the EGR spacer. Heat is the enemy of horsepower. You can either cap the coolant fittings, use a single hose to connect the two, or install coolant tubes from a '93 Cobra that doesn't have provisions for EGR coolant.

For as long as we've been playing around with 5.0 Mustangs, it seems underdrive pulleys have been an easy and affordable way to add a handful of horsepower. These bright blue pieces are from FRPP; it's comforting to know FRPP still sells gear for our beloved 5.0.

We've long been fans of Bassani's high-quality exhaust parts, but premium parts usually command premium prices. The company's line of BX products is more affordable and it follows the same designs as its Bassani counterparts. Aluminized tubing is substituted for pricier stainless steel whenever possible. These are spanking-new, unequal-length short-tubes for the Fox 5.0.

Stopping with the headers is pointless when you consider the factory four-cat H-pipes on most Fox Mustangs are well past retirement age at this point. The Anderson crew continued the BX theme, bolting in one of the company's X-shape exhaust crossover pipes. In the BX version, the X is still stainless, but the other tubing is aluminized.

Wrapping up the exhaust is a pair of BX mufflers with turndowns. In the Midwest, turndowns are quieter than tractor exhaust, so they seem fine for all occasions. Besides, these center-in/center-out mufflers with turndowns are considerably cheaper than the more traditional offset mufflers and tailpipes.

Despite the shiny Power Pipe and throttle body giving themselves away, Chad's engine still looks relatively stock. Of course, it acts much different than stock.With a little tuning and the addition of the AFM Quick Kit, dyno numbers jumped to 43.96 hp and 45.28 lb-ft of torque for under $1,500. Not too shabby and, better yet, power and torque improved throughout the engine's useable rpm range. Just wait until we open up this baby with heads, cam, and intake.

Baseline: Timing 10 degrees, base fuel pressure 40 psi, mass air screen in place, stock paper panel filter, stock air silencer

K&N Filter: Timing 10 degrees, base fuel pressure 40 psi, no mass air screen, no air silencer, and a K&N filter

Tuning: Timing 16 degrees, K&N filter, base fuel pressure 39 psi

Power Stack Filter: AFM conical air filter

Stage 1: Base fuel pressure 42 psi, BX headers, BX X-shape crossover, BX mufflers and turndowns, Professional Products throttle body, AFM Power Pipe, Lighting mass air meter with Load Tuner

 
Baseline
K&N Panel Filter
Tuning
RPMPOWERTORQUEPOWERTORQUEPOWERTORQUE
2,700140.4273.11n/an/an/an/a
2,800147.86277.34n/an/a151.49284.15
2,900155.52281.65157.58285.38159.47288.82
3,000163.1285.53165.29289.38167.09292.52
3,100168.82286.02171289.7173.16293.37
3,200172.87283.74175.49288.03178.59293.11
3,300177.64282.72180.41287.14183.2291.57
3,400182.94282.6186.23287.67188.86291.73
3,500187.67281.61191.78287.79194.39291.7
3,600190.79278.35195.21284.8198.24289.21
3,700193.24274.31198.69282.05201.67286.27
3,800196.21271.19201.37278.32204.32282.4
3,900197.99266.63203.6274.18206.79278.48
4,000200.66263.47205.24269.49207.99273.1
4,100202.24259.07206.95265.11209.69268.62
4,200201.89252.47207.88259.96210.77263.57
4,300202.05246.79207.86253.89211.23258
4,400200.4239.21206.92247210.36251.1
4,500198.32231.47204.97239.23209.26244.23
4,600197.19225.14203.21232.02207.95237.43
4,700195.06217.97201.08224.7205.79229.96
4,800192.54210.68199.3218.07203.4222.56
4,900188.59202.14195.43209.48199.74214.09
5,000186.02195.4192.35202.05196.39206.29
5,100181.76187.18188.04193.65192.79198.54
5,200178.12179.9183.43185.27188.77190.66
5,300174.98173.4181.4179.76186.93185.25
5,400171.54166.84176.57171.73183.12178.11
5,500162.47155.15170.04162.38178.88170.82

 
Power Stack Filter
Stage 1
Difference
RPMPOWERTORQUEPOWERTORQUEPOWERTORQUE
2,700145.86283.74n/an/an/an/a
2,800153.08287.15153.97288.816.1111.47
2,900161.01291.6162.95295.127.4313.47
3,000168.52295.03170.64298.757.5413.22
3,100174.61295.82177.35300.468.5314.44
3,200179.42294.48183.04300.4210.1716.68
3,300184.34293.39189.51301.6111.8718.89
3,400189.86293.28196.87304.1213.9321.52
3,500196294.11203.42305.2515.7523.64
3,600200.78292.92209.03304.9518.2426.6
3,700204.1289.72214.06303.8620.8229.55
3,800206.59285.53219.34303.1523.1331.96
3,900209.75282.47222.99300.32533.67
4,000211.57277.8226.33297.1825.6733.71
4,100212.24271.88229.13293.5226.8934.45
4,200211.69264.72230.29287.9828.435.51
4,300213.43260.69231.32282.5329.2735.74
4,400212.5253.66232.12277.0731.7237.86
4,500212.68248.22232.98271.9234.6640.45
4,600211.75241.77232.85265.8635.6640.72
4,700208.99233.54233.42260.8438.3642.87
4,800206.41225.86232.64254.5540.143.87
4,900204.19218.86229.99246.5141.444.37
5,000200.03210.11228.71240.2442.6944.84
5,100196.08201.93225.72232.4643.9645.28
5,200191.38193.3221.41223.6343.2943.73
5,300189.58187.86216.78214.8341.841.43
5,400186.54181.43210.51204.7438.9737.9
5,500179.27171.19202.7193.5640.2338.41