5.0 Mustang & Super FordsProject Vehicles
Project Roadkill - Closing In
Our Project Roadkill gets closer to turning the ignition and hitting the street
Horse Sense: Since Editor Turner's Fox 500 being built by Paul's High Performance will probably make around 500 hp to the wheels, we're shooting for 650 hp on MV Performance's Mustang Dynamometer for Project Roadkill.
We're making progress with our much-maligned Project Roadkill Mustang LX. The progress has been slow since the car stays in the Atlanta area at MV Performance, and our offices are located in Tampa. That means we have to take off work, travel to MV, and hope Tim Matherly and the crew have time to work on it while we're there. That has been a big problem in the car's build since Tim stays busy winning in the NMRA Real Street class, not to mention keeping the shop going at the same time. The day-to-day repair and installations get attention over Project Roadkill, which languishes either in the shop corner or-gasp-outside in the sometimes inclement Georgia weather.
We're closer to taking Project Roadkill back home to Florida, and this latest installment shows how close we are to lighting this candle.
Here's how we left Project Roadkill the last time we visited MV Performance. The MV-built Four-Valve with Fox Lake Power Products-massaged heads was safely snuggled into an engine bay that once played host to a four-banger. Suffice it to say, this powerplant should make more power than the original. As you can see, a Vortech supercharger hangs off the side to make that happen. Specifically, a Vortech T-Trim supercharger with an aftercooler will send boost through a cleaned-up stock intake, and then through the aforementioned Fox Lake heads. We'll be utilizing stock cams, but we're not ruling out the possibility of some aftermarket grinds should the desire arise. We have to make more power than Editor Turner's Fox 500, so we may resort to covert activities to make that happen. Something else you can see in these photos is the color we plan on using. It's LeMans Sunset Metallic from Nissan's 350Z. We wanted something different, and that color fits the bill. We'll look to Carnes Customs to add tribal-style flames to complete the exterior package.
From the underside you can see the Bassani Xhaust system, the Currie 9-inch rear with the company's upper and lower control arms, and a Behind Bars Race Cars sumped sheetmetal fuel tank. The Currie 9-inch boasts a stout 4.30 gear, but we have a Tremec T56 with a Ram clutch and flywheel in the tunnel to keep things streetable. The Bassani system uses mid-length headers, an X-shape crossover with high-flow converters, and a 2 1/2-inch after-cat.
Project Roadkill's fuel system consists of components from Weldon Racing Products, UPR Products, and Precision Turbo, along with the aforementioned Behind Bars Race Cars sumped fuel tank. The Weldon system we chose is its SS combo, which includes a 2025 fuel pump, regulator, and fuel-pump controller. The pump should easily handle any horsepower level we throw at it with this car, while the controller will enable the pump to run quieter and keep the fuel cooler.
We had to make a custom bracket for the Weldon 2025 fuel pump to feed the UPR Products' fuel rails and Precision 72-lb/hr injectors. Weldon provided the braided fuel lines and the appropriate fittings, but we had to order a couple fittings from Summit Racing to complete the fuel system.
Our UPR Products' fuel rails and Precision Turbo injectors wait patiently for fuel to come their way via the Weldon fuel system. The injectors we're using are of the 72-lb/hr low-impedance variety. They should provide plenty of flow for our application.
Even if we step up in power output, we'll still have enough injector to meet those needs and enjoy everyday driveability. Likewise, the UPR fuel rails we've chosen follow right in line with the flow we'll need to feed our supercharged Four-Valve.
MV's Johnny Riddling mounted the Weldon fuel pressure regulator on the passenger-side inner fender apron. This area is common for regulator mounting, and with all that's going on underhood of Project Roadkill, this was about the only free real estate anyway. This mounting position also makes fuel pressure adjustments a breeze.
Johnny's chosen mounting point for the fuel system's Y-block is on the backside of the passenger-side shock tower. The main fuel feed line from the Weldon fuel pump is routed into the engine compartment and into this Y-block. The two fuel lines coming out feed the fuel rails. The lines coming out of the rails are routed to the fuel pressure regulator, and a return line is routed back to the tank from the regulator.
The engine management system we've chosen to go with is Electromotive Incorporated's TEC GT unit. This is a PC-controllable engine control system that hasn't really enjoyed the following of other systems on the market, which is the main reason why we chose it. We've always wanted to get a closer look at the TEC GT system, and we'll get this opportunity with Project Roadkill. The system is as complete as any other engine management system on the market. We'll go through its features when we begin tuning the car. As you can see, the TEC GT comes with an ECU, Direct Fire Unit coil packs, and a timing trigger wheel to be installed on our Innovators West dampener. The Electromotive ECU will be mounted in the stock computer's location, and the wires fed through the factory firewall hole to connect to vital sensors and ignition system.
Johnny mounts the coil packs on the firewall to ease spark-plug wire installation, and to provide a cool area for the coil packs.
To get the fire from the Electromotive Direct Fire Units to the spark plugs, we chose MSD Ignition's spark plug wires for a '96-'98 Four-Valve engine. They don't come assembled so they can be cut to custom lengths, which is exactly what we needed. Johnny measured the wires, cut them to length, and assembled them for use on Roadkill. If we have ignition issues, little Johnny will get a smack upside the head. To tidy up the cam covers, we'll need to decide on which coil covers to use on the car.
Even though we're not using a coil-on-plug ignition system, we're using COP cam covers. MV had these from another project so we jumped on them like Tech Editor Jones into a pair of Dickies shorts.
As a basis for our accessory drive, we chose an Innovators West 10-percent overdrive, eight-rib dampener. The overdrive feature spins the blower faster, provides increased belt wrap, and its eight-rib layout provides 40 percent more contact area. With the dampener, we get more blower speed, which means more boost, thanks to its overdrive feature and eight-rib layout.
As you can see, the Electromotive timing trigger wheel had to be mounted to our Innovators West damper before installing it on the crank snout.
To cool our Four-Valve beast, we're using the combination of a Fluidyne radiator, a Flex-a-lite electric fan, and a Canton Racing Products coolant expansion/fill tank. For the radiator and coolant expansion/fill tank, we chose to use '96 Mustang Cobra applications so some custom fabrication will be needed to mate with our Fox LX's front structure. The Flex-a-lite fan we're using is its X-treme puller fan designed for Fox Mustangs, but it will fit perfectly with our Fluidyne radiator. You should know by now that an aluminum radiator will dissipate heat better than other metals. Generally speaking, Fluidyne says its aluminum radiators offer a 20- to 25-percent increase in cooling ability, which we'll need with our supercharged Four-Valve.
Our Fluidyne radiator mounts perfectly in the factory location. It's a tad wider, and Johnny had to make custom brackets, but he made quick work of them. They don't detract from the overall look, either.
As nice as the radiator brackets look, we can't really say the same for the center bracket Johnny made for the Canton coolant expansion/fill tank, but we'll have to go with it until we find a suitable replacement.
Our Flex-a-lite X-treme electric fan includes mounts at the bottom and top of the radiator, but Johnny had to get out his fabrication wand out once again and whip up a bracket for the top mount. The X-treme puller fan features a 16-inch fan diameter, an adjustable thermostat, and the capability to move 3,300 cfm. That's it for this Project Roadkill installment. Stay tuned to see us finally light this candle, and see what it's worth.