Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
March 8, 2007
Photos By: Anderson Ford Motorsport
Sure, there are plenty of exotic parts available for 5.0 Mustangs, but our goal with this series is to use proven packages of relatively affordable parts that get the job done. Stage 2 of our buildup includes a Professional Products intake manifold, Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads with AFM High-Rev springs, an AFM N-51HR camshaft, a Professional Products SFI crank damper, Trick Flow pushrods, Performance Racing Warehouse roller rocker arms, AFM valve covers, ARP head bolts, Ford Racing Performance Parts gaskets, a Mallory HyFire VI ignition box and coil, and a PMS engine management system (not pictured).

Horse Sense: Not only was 1993 the last year of our beloved Fox Mustang, but it also marked the debut of the SVT Mustang Cobra. That's right, 5.0 Mustang mania was well underway before the SVT era ever started, but the massively underrated, 235hp Mustang Cobra was a nice way to celebrate the end of the Fox era.

In case you missed Part 1 in our January '07 issue, we have decided to take a new-school approach to an old-school theme-Fox bolt-ons. We set out to start all over again with a stock-as-we-could-make-it 5.0 Mustang, and take it through the usual progression of bolt-ons, but use any new twists we could come up with along the way. As luck would have it, Anderson Ford employee Chad Kolakowski was up for our experiment with his '93 LX. He agreed to put the car back to its original form, going as far as digging up a low-mileage stock engine, as well as the exhaust parts, to replace the few bolt-ons already present on the car.

To review last month's story ("Fox Flashback," p. 50), the Anderson Ford crew-led by main man Rick Anderson-began as we all did, trying to squeeze the most power from a little tuning and an air filter. From there, we moved to add the new Anderson Ford Quick Kit 1 for Foxes, which includes Bassani BX headers, a Bassani off-road X-shape crossover, Bassani mufflers with turndowns, Ford Racing Performance Parts' underdrive pulleys, Professional Products' 75mm throttle body, Professional Products' 75mm EGR, a 90mm mass air with Power Bell and filter, an AFM Load IO, and an Anderson Power Pipe. All told, Chad's LX gained more than 43 hp and 45 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels.

This month, we're here to bring you the results from Stage 2 of our buildup. We say our because-not to pat ourselves on the back-Rick put these packages together as a result of us urging him to test some 5.0 parts for these stories. That becomes no clearer than the cam that's part of this head, cam, and intake package. Our idea was to install affordable parts on a stock short-block, so readers could do it themselves without expensive machine work. But, we really wanted to employ Rick's High-Rev cam technology in the combination. The problem was, Rick didn't have a High-Rev unit for stock pistons. Fortunately, his cams are built with high-tech CNC equipment; with a few adjustments in the computer, the AFM N-51HR we requested was born. We sure hope someone wants to buy it.

The new cam anchors an effective and affordable combination of gear that can be installed in your driveway-at least that's the way Chad and Rick did it-and is good for huge gains all the way up to 6,500 rpm. Be sure to hit the newsstand or buy a subscription, because next month we'll be topping off this combo with nitrous.

We're not going to take you through the bolt-by-bolt disassembly and assembly here. If you've never done it before, there's no better way to learn than by jumping in. That said, it's best to at least have a mechanically inclined friend on call if you are like your author. Disassembly is no big deal; it's putting things back together that gets tricky. You can eliminate some problems by taking digital pictures along the way to remind you where things go. It also helps to group fasteners and small parts in bins. Always be sure to disconnect the battery and drain the coolant before you tear into it.

Don't worry-my friend Rick has a killer set of tools. Believe it or not, Rick Anderson likes to do a lot of his project work in his own garage and driveway. Having the family and comforts of home a few steps away can make any project more fun. So, he invited Chad to bring his car over for Stage 2 of our buildup. We're not sure how the neighbors feel about it, but the project came together with great results.

Though the AFM N-51HR cam is designed for stock pistons and 1.6:1 rockers, it's no slouch. Rick bills the cam as the "wildest and best" for stock-displacement 5.0s. It's a little soft below 2,300 rpm, so he recommends 4.30 gears to make the most of the 2,500- to 6,500-rpm powerband. Don't expect to use this cam with your stock heads and worn-out valvesprings. The AFM High-Rev springs are required, and high-flow aftermarket heads with at least 1.90 intake valves are recommended.

Speaking of high-flow heads, some of the best out-of-the-box heads around are Trick Flow's Twisted Wedges. Untouched, except for the addition of AFM's High-Rev valvesprings, the heads are dropped onto the freshly cleaned and FRPP-gasketed stock short-block. Standard practice is to apply more force to the upper bolts, as the intake tends to act as a wedge when it's bolted in place. Although, Rick says if you don't detonate it, you won't blow head gaskets. As such, he simply torques all the bolts to spec, which is 70 lb-ft.

Professional Products' Typhoon EFI intake manifold offers familiar architecture at a bargain price. Chad uses fresh FRPP gaskets on the heads, but-like most techs-forgoes the cork gaskets at the front and rear for familiar beads of high-temp silicone. Just as it's important to properly torque the cylinder heads, don't overtorque the lower intake manifold-that can work against the cylinder head fasteners.

Rick chose PRW's affordable aluminum roller rocker arms to hold down the top end of the valvetrain. These rockers are easily $100 cheaper than any extruded aluminum rockers we could find, and they are just the ticket for our attainable 6,500-rpm package. There is a trick to setting up the rockers for high rpm. "Take the top of the rocker arm," Rick says. "Move it back and forth with your hand against the pushrod. There's clearance between the pushrod and the rocker arm. Tighten it down until there's no clearance, which is zero lash. With the High-Rev cam, you go a full turn past zero lash. Then I usually back it off to 71/48 and tighten the nut and jam nut together, which will give you your full turn."

Here, Chad reinstalls the Bassani BX headers we originally installed in our Stage 1 buildup. BX products offer all the design and engineering of the company's more expensive Bassani cousins-but at a reduced price, thanks to more affordable materials. They still fit easily, sound good, and make great power. The AFM crew reused the exhaust gaskets to save a little cash, as they just put fresh gaskets on when the headers were originally installed.

The Typhoon EFI intake is designed around a 70mm throttle body, but when more power and rpm are the plan, bigger is better. We're fairly sure Rick had to sweep the porch after he used a grinder to open the throttle-body opening to accept the Professional Products 75mm throttle body that we covered in Stage 1 of our buildup.

Chad shows that you can add new rockers on the cheap by simply clearancing the baffles inside the stock valve covers. Chad wasn't sure where to clearance them, so Rick showed him an old set of valve covers he clearanced back in the day.

Of course, you can't add more airflow without adding some fuel to balance out the equation. Rick selected 31-lb/hr injectors to keep with the fuel demand at high rpm. At this power level, the stock rails aren't a problem, so you can hold off on those trick billet rails until you are ready to try out for King of the Street.

After cleaning out all the shavings, Chad drops the Professional Products upper into place. If you wanted to add more power at the top of the tach, you could select a larger, more aggressive intake-but it would be tough to do it for less than $400.

If you are going to rev to the moon, it helps to have an SFI-spec damper holding down the bottom end. This unit, as well as all the gear from Professional Products, does its job for an affordable price. The damper requires a spacer to adapt it to the 5.0 crank pulley.

Rick Anderson can't help but put a PMS on every car he gets near. While you could use a chip to add tuning and raise the rev limiter, Rick likes the flexibility offered by the PMS, as you can infinitely adjust your tune-up to reflect your latest combination without paying for a new tune. In addition to moving up the limiter, Rick took out some fuel and added timing throughout the rpm range.

To compensate for the larger FRPP 31-lb/hr injectors, Rick adjusted the injector flow rate in the software and downloaded the new settings to the load tuner to achieve a good, consistent air/fuel ratio for the PMS to work from.

Here's the finished product. Only having the Professional Products intake and AFM Power Pipe, this engine looks fairly stock. Our new combination gave up a little power and torque down low, but made up for it with triple-digit gains at the top of the tach. It certainly doesn't look as if it's cranking out 320 or more horsepower to the rear tires. The guy in the next lane would never suspect it.

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

Stage 2: Same as Stage 1 with Professional Products Typhoon intake, PP 75mm throttle body, Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads, AFM N-51HR, PRW 1.6 roller rockers, Trick Flow pushrods, and AFM PMS.

 Stage 1Stage 2Difference
PartPart NumberPrice
AFM N-51HR camshaftAF-N-51hr$299.00
AFM High-Rev valvespringsAF-15018$139.00
AFM valve coversAF-WA6069-1$113.56
ARP head bolts154-3601$49.95
FRPP head, intake, valve cover gasketsN/A$66.64
FRPP timing thain{{{M}}}-6268-A302$69.95
FRPP 31-lb/hr injectorsM-9593-M31$250.00
Mallory HyFire VIMAL-685$255.93
Mallory E-core coilMAL-30440$59.95
Mallory adapter harnessMAL-29062$20.45
Professional Products intakePP-54021$349.00
Professional Products SFI race damperPP-90007$168.00
Professional Products spacerPP-81007$15.00
PRW 1.6 roller rockersPRW-0330207$191.25
Trick Flow Twisted Wedge headsTFS-51400002$1,150.00
Trick Flow push rodsTFS-21406700$86.95