Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
2001 Mustang GT Roush Body Kit Install - Mustang Metamorphosis Part 1
Project Ice Box Goes Under The Surgeon's Knife For A Makeover.
Before we turned a wrench, wielded a spray gun, or installed a body component, we checked out the parts that Roush shipped to us. For starters, the kit can be ordered in two different versions-one coming with the rear wing and the other without. We chose the kit with the rear wing. We got the 411 from Eric King, a customer service representative at Roush Performance, who previously served duty installing the parts in the shop on the cars Roush built for sale. "The body components are made of a urethane material that is similar to the factory body component's hardness," Eric says. "The front fascia is a bit thicker, but for the most part, the Roush components were molded to be a factory-style part."
Our kit came with the front bumper and included a foglight kit, a set of side skirts with exhaust openings, a rear wing and pedestals, and right -and left-side rear valances. "The more parts we offer, the better business will be for us here at Roush," Eric says. "The body kit is very popular, and has always been one of the products we offer that has been in high demand. All of the parts can be ordered separately or, obviously, together as a kit. We have two different kits simply because some people like the Roush wing, while others like the factory GT wing, or they go with the wing-delete option."
One thing we couldn't get away with was keeping the exhaust system that was already on Ice Box, as the Roush body kit requires the use of its side-exit exhaust system, which is not part of the body kit. "The kit is only offered to be used with the side-exit exhaust system," Eric states. For those wondering if there will be a kit that doesn't require the side-exit exhaust, you're up a creek without a paddle, as there are no plans to offer a body kit that doesn't require the side-exit system. "The exhaust is more of a styling cue that Jack himself wanted than it is for performance," Eric says. "The system is offered with two types of mufflers depending on the customer's sound choice, and while it will pick up some power over the factory exhaust system, like I said, it was a performance part that was designed more with styling in mind. Also, the exhaust is a 50-state emissions legal system."
Since Ice Box's wheels had seen better days, and, more importantly, we were installing a Roush body kit, it was only natural that we went with a set of 18-inch Roush-emblazoned wheels. The chrome five-spoke wheels are of the '03-'04 design. The '01-'02 wheels had the Roush name in raised letters, while the '03-'04 rims have the name laser-etched into the wheel. The raised-letter wheels have been discontinued, so we received the laser-etched set. Sizing for the rims came in at 18 inches, and we transferred the nearly new Nitto tires from the old rims to the new ones. "Our 18-inch wheels clear just about anything," Eric says. "They clear our 14-inch big brake kit fairly easily. The only thing that may need to be done is the addition of a 3/8-inch or 10mm rack spacer to clear a larger sway bar. If the stock sway bar is still in use, then the factory steering rack spacer will be adequate."
With all of our questions answered and with parts in hand, we drove Ice Box to Motor City to let the transformation begin. Disassembly began with the removal of the front bumper and front inner fenderwells. The rear bumper was removed next, followed by the lone remaining side skirt and the rear wing. In addition, the wheels were taken off to facilitate removing the tires and transferring them to the new Roush rims.
With the old parts off of the car, the crew at Motor City set about fitting the new front bumper and side skirts. "You want the new parts to fit like factory parts," says Motor City's proprietor Manny Costeira. "You don't want a fitment problem after the parts have been sanded, primed, and painted. If there's a fitment problem, you're going to have to press on the parts, and that will cause the clear to crack."