Michael Galimi
July 1, 2009
The engine lifted out of the engine bay easily once all the accessories, wiring, and miscellaneous equipment were unhooked.

They bolted Manley rods and pistons (built to MMR specs) onto the 3.750-inch crankshaft. Moving topside, MMR worked over a pair of bare Two-Valve heads, which were purchased new from Ford Racing and are not a junkyard set. The Two-Valve heads have new Manley stainless steel valves and flow 232 and 194 cfm at 0.500-inch lift. The Comp cams are rev-happy. The card says maximum rpm is at 5,800 rpm, but we routinely went to 6,300 rpm with ease. Valve lift is 0.550 inch on both the intake and exhaust lobes. Duration is listed as 234/238 degrees at 0.050-inch lift.

The MMR crew shipped the engine across the country from Ventura, California, to Radical Racing's shop in New Jersey. In our minds, the swap was going to be a simple one as we exchanged the parts and pieces from one engine to the other. As we mentioned earlier, things didn't go as planned. Thankfully, Radical Racing handled the hiccup with ease, but not without some bailout help from Downs Ford Motorsport's vast inventory of parts.

Miner and Craig Radovich unbolted the exhaust and driveshaft. It was easier to remove the transmission with the engine because of rusty transmission bolts that wouldn't loosen up.

"If you aren't doing these swaps all the time, then it's easier to buy a complete piece. After you start buying more and more parts and pieces to complete this engine, the price adds up," commented Radovich. In hindsight, we should have bought a complete setup from MMR, but we didn't thinking we'd cut costs by reusing the stuff off our '99 engine. "It's always the little things that you don't realize. On this engine, MMR used all of the newest style Two-Valve parts. That's the right thing to do--after all, engine builders and shops don't work backwards. We happened to be working with an older Two-Valve engine.

"You can't get mad--these little things happen in this hobby. The important part is not to rush because you want to install the engine with the proper components," was Radovich's comment to our frustration. Don't overlook the small steps in the excitement of firing up your new engine.

Our first problem started with valve covers. Miele's stocker has the Windsor 13-bolt valve covers and the new bullet needed the Romeo 11-bolt covers. Radovich and Miner then began to swap over the little parts and pieces. The crank-trigger was the next bump in the road. The thick steel crank-trigger interfered with the crank sprockets. A quick raid on the Radovich parts bin netted us a thin steel trigger that slid on. Radovich leveled with us: "You have to be careful and check the small stuff like the crank-trigger clearance. We've seen a couple of different thickness triggers. It could get ugly if you install the wrong one." Radical provided us with a new front cover and the appropriately sized bolts, too.

We ordered an MMR stroker engine with the bare minimum parts. We expected to simply swap over most of the components from our stock '99 Two-Valve engine.

Downs Ford Motorsport came through with intake gaskets, front cover gaskets, valve-cover gaskets, and new oil-pump bolts that fit the pick-up tube. The reason for all the new components is that we counted four different variations of the Mustang Two-Valve modular engine, with possibly more out there and many service updates. Radovich also added a new intake manifold. The stock plastic piece was updated with an aluminum water crossover. Ford changed to an intake with the aluminum crossover for better durability over its service life.

It took Radovich nearly a day to go through the engines and identify the parts and pieces needed. One day later, the parts were delivered from Downs Ford Motorsport, and the MMR engine was fully dressed and dropped into its new home. At this time, we kept the shorty headers and stock manifold in place despite the restrictive nature of each component. We also kept the factory 19-pound fuel injectors against the advice of MMR's Mark Lutton, who suggested 30-pound units for this combination. The car was strapped to the DynoJet chassis dyno at Radical Racing, but only after Miele drove it around the block a few times to make sure everything checked out okay.