5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
Fox 500 Project - Interior Gear - Inside Addition
Long-running project might be an understatement when it comes to Fox 500, but I've always said you are never really done with a project until someone else is holding the title. So if you enjoy toying with Mustangs, it's nice to keep them going.
Honestly, I had hoped this one would be "done" a long time ago, but I knew it would be a while. Since it began with the at-the-time outlandish concept of transplanting GT500 power into a vintage Fox, it was bound to take a while. Any project of this scope will create its share of complexities.
The mechanical end of things actually went along pretty smoothly under the tutelage of Paul's High Performance (www.paulshp.com). Then the paint went downright swiftly over at Motor City Solutions (www.motorcitysolutions.com). When I received the functional and beautiful car back at home, that's when things really slowed down.
It's easy to let life and daily work get in the way, but I have been chipping away on it a little bit at a time. Of course as you get closer to the finish line, the excitement builds, and it makes it easier to make progress in chunks. It came time to bring another installment to you to see how the finished interior will look.
Admittedly some of this is a facade, as there are some quirks that need attention and the matter of an audio system to install. However, you have to admit that it's quite a transformation from the worn gray interior that this car arrived with.
Horse Sense: You know how the factory door panels warp with time, especially if they get a little moist? Well the reproduction panels from TMI Products not only look great, but they are far more rugged than particle-board stockers. The TMI units are built to last.
As it turned out, a couple of Fox 500's Auto Meter gauges still needed some work. While tidying up the wiring, I just couldn't get the fuel gauge sorted out, so I pulled it out of the cluster and discovered that it was the wrong gauge for the sending unit in the Rick's Hot Rod Shop (www.rickstanks.com) tank. The proper Carbon Fiber gauge from Auto Meter did the trick.
When it came to the temp gauge, I needed a way to put the sending unit into the coolant, so I opted for this billet adapter from Auto Meter. You simply cut a small section of hose and clamp this adapter into the hose and the sensor is where it needs to be. Easy enough.
After sitting around for longer than we'd like to admit, the polished hoops on Fox 500's True Forged (www.trueforgedwheels.com) Chicanes were starting to look a little dingy. Fortunately, our friends at Meguiar's have a solution in a box. That solution is the company's Wheel Polishing Kit (PN G3400).
Inside this magic box is the DynaCone polishing cone, wheel polish, and even a cleaning solution that removes the black residue from the polishing cone. All you need to add is your power drill and a little elbow grease.
Your author isn't a huge fan of polishing wheels, but the Meguiar's kit made it relatively painless to restore the luster to the Chicanes.
The Tremec (www.ttcautomotive.com) Magnum six-speed backing up the 5.4 in Fox 500 is a stout, smooth-shifting unit. It's one that's gaining in popularity for swaps like ours and as a replacement upgrade for vehicles as new as the latest GTs. However, we can't leave well enough alone. The shift throw just seemed a bit long after our years of banging gears with aftermarket short-throw shifters.
To the rescue came American Powertrain's White Lightning shifter for the Magnum. It features a shorter throw and a narrower shift pattern to hasten shifting. An adjustable spring bias allows you to dial in the shifter feel on the fly. You can also rotate the shifter handle into four different positions, so it's just where you want it.
The shifter is a direct swap, and in practice the shift throw feels much brisker. In an unplanned, but pleasant side-effect the shifter's lower profile base and countersunk bolts provided far better transmission tunnel clearance. The factory shifter was so close it made an impression in the tunnel!
So, if you are using your Magnum in a swap like ours or just looking for a shorter throw, the White Lightning shifter is a great option.
While pawing all over Rob Miller's T-top coupe during our Mustang Week photo shoot, I learned that Rob covers his 'Stang because the T-tops still leak even with new seals. They leaked when they were new, so that's no real surprise. It did get me thinking though. I needed a cover for Fox 500.
I didn't have to look too far for an idea of which cover I wanted. Right next to the exposed Fox 500 is the safely stowed PVT with its Covercraft Weathershield HP cover. When I chatted up the company reps at the SEMA show, I discovered that they had the ability to add custom logos to their covers, so the die was cast. A 5.0-logo'd Weathershield was the move for Fox 500.
If you are unaware, the Weathershields are lightweight, weather-resistant covers that you can freshen up in your washing machine at home. I dig the cover because it is easy to handle, and it blocks out most of the Florida rain. On PVT I've only seen a few drops sneak through at the seams. It also blocks dust and UV radiation, so it's a good call all around.
While not related to the car's insides, there were a few mods that came along during this process. First up, True Forged Wheels (www.trueforgedwheels.com) requested we find out if its billet Terminator hood vents would fit the Cervini's (www.cervinis.com) Heat Extractor hood on Fox 500. It turns out they are a direct swap, as the hood uses the factory Termi vents. The TF units are a snazzy upgrade for this hood or a stock '03-'04 Cobra hood.
While the vents definitely make the hot engine air look better on the way out, it also seemed like a good idea to cool the engine down with the proper thermostat. PVT has had great luck with the Reishce Performance unit from Lethal Performance. This piece opens at 170 degrees and has the proper opening reach for the GT500 thermostat housing. It's a simple R&R for the stock thermostat, and it even includes a new O-ring.