Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
Modular Mustang Racing 850 Stroker Engine Build Part 1
Modular Mustang Racing Adds A Long-Swing Crank To Pump Up Project Silver Stealth Stang's Engine Displacement.
For those who have been following our latest in-house project vehicle, the Silver Stealth Stang, we are well under way in taking an innocent '99 Mustang GT and turning it into a budget-minded street/strip stormer. Ken Miele, author of our Yo, Ken! column, picked up the high-mileage Stang for the reasonable sum of $5,800. It serves as a daily driver and the odometer shows over 160,000-miles and counting. As of today, though, we are well on our journey to reviving the Stang's health and performance.
After adding a better suspension system, we turned our focus to power and performance at the drag strip. Radical Racing added the usual assortment of intake and exhaust upgrades. The baseline output was 215 rwhp and 247 rwtq, with a 100 percent stock car. The intake and exhaust modifications upped output to 234 rwhp and 272 rwtq. That helped push the Stang to a best of 13.97 at 97.50 mph, with a set of 3.73 gears out back. We came back last issue and added 4.10 gears and an aluminum driveshaft, which effectively knocked Silver Stealth Stang down to a best of 13.62 at 99 mph. A looser torque converter was added, too, but unfortunately the winter months in New Jersey have prevented us from getting strip results. Long story short, we think the Stang can run 13.30s-if the Nitto 555s can hook up. The looser torque converter made a big difference in seat-of-the-pants feel, so we may have to get stickier tires for our next outing.
Our initial plan for this month's installment was to add a set of ported Two-Valve cylinder heads and some bumpy camshafts. Unfortunately, things didn't go as we hoped. It wasn't that we couldn't do the swap, it is just that Craig Radovich of Radical Racing (the shop handling the build) talked us out of the idea. Radovich warned us about continually chasing horsepower on such a high-mileage engine. Our 4.6L bullet was running fine in its current trim, but Radovich felt that at 160,000 miles the short-block was getting really tired. He said the car would pick up power at the wheels, but it wouldn't be optimal-eventually we would need to add a new short-block.
Turning higher rpm and increasing airflow certainly isn't the wisest thing with a overly tired engine. Essentially, we'd be wasting time and money adding a new induction system-the ring seal and bearings could be mostly worn out and if we have to replace the short-block later we'd have to do most of the work twice. We didn't do a leak down test, but odds are the cylinder seal isn't optimal. If adding heads and cams was out of the question, then turning to forced induction couldn't even be considered.
Our hopes and dreams of cracking into the 12s with the factory short-block vanished as we listened to reason. After all, who wants to spend money on parts and not get the full potential from the mods? That left us scrambling for a back-up plan. The quest for more power sent us west-and it wasn't to search for gold. Our mission was to link up with Modular Mustang Racing (MMR), a mail-order engine shop that focuses solely on modular engines (as per the company name). We boarded a flight and headed to Ventura, California, to discuss a street/strip Two-Valve combination for SSS. Since the car is a daily driver, MMR's Mark Lutton suggested one of the company's 300ci crate engines. "Our crate engine's ingredients make for a high revving, cam loping monster that most Two-Valve Mustang owners want," Lutton explains. "Power is increased dramatically throughout the powerband and the rev limit is raised to 6,700, in most applications. The Two-Valve crate engine we are building for the Silver Stealth Stang will put a stock supercharged '03-'04 Cobra to shame in a drag competition."
The engine is built using brand new parts and comes in many variations to suit mild street engines to twin-turbocharged strip stormers making well in excess of 1,200 hp. Our main goal has always been natural aspiration, primarily to keep the cost reasonable as well as simple.