Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
Ford Racing Peformance Parts Boss 302 Engine Install - Tedious Tribulations
Installing The Engine In Project Stolen Goods Is Slow Going When You Start From Scratch.
We had hoped to have our '93 Cobra project car, Stolen Goods, up and running in this month's installment, but we've come to the conclusion that no matter how long and precise your parts list is, you can still come up short when it comes time to actually put things together.
At the beginning of this project, we started a list to keep track of items needed for the build. We modified it as we went along, marking things off and adding things that we left out. The list is now over two pages long, yet we still find ourselves scrounging for parts we hadn't thought of.
These parts consist mostly of bolts and other fasteners, but these are the things that hold the car together so they're fairly important. Some of them, like the harmonic balancer bolt, are nearly impossible to find at the local auto parts or hardware store, and we found ourselves waiting on bolts to come in the mail. This can easily push back a job two or three days unless you overnight everything-and let's face it, there's only one Donald Trump.
This sort of thing kills deadlines and delays progress, but we didn't get discouraged. Assembling a project like this is no easy task, so you should expect issues to pop up, unless you have a complete donor car sitting right next to your main vehicle. Even then, there's the possibility of rusted or broken parts as you remove them.
We were thankful that Stolen Goods' previous owner, George Xenos, was on hand to help us with the assembly and for his knowledge of the car and Mustangs in general. While we had sourced a lot of fasteners from MPS Auto Salvage in Winder, Georgia, there were things that we just didn't think of. Luckily, Xenos' garage full of spare parts provided us with numerous items.
Beyond the missing bolts, we were able to finally install Centerforce's Light Metal Clutch setup, which is a low-inertia clutch assembly designed to reduce rotating mass while offering plenty of grip to get the power to the pavement. The LMC piece was designed with road and circle track racing in mind and is SFI-approved for competition. Of course, it uses Centerforce's patented ball bearing-actuated diaphragm to keep a strong grip without too much pedal effort.
In order to lighten up the pressure plate, Centerforce machines it out of billet aluminum and attaches it to a heat-treated, replaceable friction surface. The clutch disc uses a dual-segmented composite lining for better cooling and more torque capacity.
We also ponied up for one of Centerforce's SFI-approved, low-inertia aluminum flywheels. These pieces feature a mechanically retained starter ring gear, as well as replaceable steel friction surfaces that have been heat-treated for abrasion resistance and long life. They're designed using CAD/CAM software and are then cut using a CNC machine for a perfect fit. The LMC clutch assembly retails for around $800, while the flywheel goes for about $680. They're not the most inexpensive pieces, but nothing great ever is. Behind the LMC clutch assembly we mounted the Astro Performance A-5 five-speed manual transmission that we showed you in the May '07 issue.
We also installed Flex-a-lite's new Black Magic Extreme radiator and fan combination. The Extreme is a drop-in unit from Flex-a-lite that retails for $749 (Summit Racing), and comes with just about everything you need for a clean installation. We popped for Flex-a-lite's optional aluminum coolant overflow reservoir, and the whole assembly fits like a glove. In fact, the included radiator and its support brackets look far and away better than the factory pieces.
Flex-a-lite started with a two-row aluminum radiator and utilized unique, grooved end tanks for better cooling and easier mounting. The grooves are used to mount the electric fan, which is much better than running the plastic ties through the fins. We also used the grooves to mount the aluminum coolant overflow tank as well. The company includes a temperature-control module and all the wiring you may need to hook up the unit.
After we installed the engine/transmission combination, there was a definite sense of accomplishment and of things finally coming together for this snake, which hasn't seen public roads in about eight years. The front end was no longer high in the sky, and the car looked as though we could hop in and take it for a spin.
But things don't always work that way, and Stolen Goods is no exception. We ran into several issues that prevented us from firing up the Boss 347, and we will outline each solution in the next installment. Some of these problems were related to missing, broken, or incorrect parts, but we'll have our Cobra sorted out and track tested-or editor Smith will have our heads. See you next month.