by Mike Kojima
We were eager to get into our motor and install the Ford Motorsports parts that would basically enable us to rev to over 8000 rpm reliably and breathe better on top. The parts we accumulated would bring us to a spec about the same as the Ford Motorsports Aluminator performance crate engine and a little bit more than the Drag Racing Cobra Jet NA engine.
In the last segment covering the engine build on our 5.0 liter Mustang, we addressed the top end with CNC ported heads and camshafts from Ford Motorsports. Now it's time to fortify the engine's bottom end so we can have a screaming high-revving naturally aspirated Coyote engine that is still reliable.
Our target for this build is to have a safe 8000 rpm redline, wheel horsepower in the high 400 range and run on 91 octane California pump gas with reliability and track car endurance. We feel that this stuff is all pretty easily done.
Our Project Mustang came stock with pretty decent brakes. From the factory our Ford features 4 piston Brembo calipers with 355x32mm one piece rotors. However, we still wanted to upgrade our brakes as our much wider tires, 20" wheels, upgraded suspension and engine would stress the brakes a lot more. Our Mustang also weighs a punishing 3700lbs with really cooks the brakes. The Ford factory has put larger brakes on some of the higher end SN197 Mustangs so we figured we should follow suit as well.
We have just about maximized the bolt on potential of Project 5.0 Mustang in our last installment with the addition of the Ford Racing Cobra Jet intake manifold. Now, in order to attain still higher power levels from our engine, we will have to dive into the internals
We are big believers in the benefits of parts designed by factory engineers with factory technical resources for factory race programs. Many of the parts we will be using for our build are straight from the Boss 302R Grand Am and Cobra Jet NHRA drag racing programs. Factory engineered and best of all factory validated and proven on the track is good enough for us.
In previous installments of our Project Mustang we had installed most of the common bolt ons for our 5 liter Coyote engine. We had gotten a pretty decent boost in power but we had noted that our power would really fall off at higher RPM, more that what we thought a free breathing 4 valve motor should.
The McPherson strut suspension found in our Mustang has some good and bad points. The good points are that it is simple, lightweight, inexpensive to produce and takes up minimal space in the car. This in turn allows room for more narrow shock towers so the wider DOHC Coyote engine can fit. The bad points are few but perhaps the worse is that strut type suspension has some compromises when it comes to geometry, particularly when lowered.
The benefits of lowering a car can be nullified in a strut car if the car is lowered by more than just a little. Often lowering a strut equipped car makes the car handle worse, particularity in the front of a strut equipped car where over lowering manifests itself as increased understeer. Some lucky owners of cars where there is a healthy aftermarket have off the shelf solutions to fix the front suspension geometry. If you are a Mustang owner you are in luck as Ford Racing has a well engineered geometry correction solution available for you right at your local dealership's parts counter.
In our last edition of Project 5.0 Mustang, we added some basic bolt on's being a cat back exhaust system from Borla and a cold air intake from AEM. We got excellent results for these mods. In this week's edition of Project Mustang, we are continuing to work on the engine with the addition of some long tube stainless steel headers from Borla.
In the last installment of Project Mustang, we freed up the engine's breathing with an AEM intake. Now we will work on the other end of the car by reducing backpressure with a free flowing ATAK exhaust system from Borla
Our Project Mustang has been doing just fine with its new suspension and tires which have drastically improved the car's handling. With the chassis doing a lot better and with the car's factory Brembo brakes adequate for now, we decided to do the classic Mustang thing and tackle the engine. Our first step will be the addition of an AEM air intake.
Last time we saw Project Mustang, it was off getting some new suspension. With much improved underpinnings the stock wheels and tires were pretty wimpy. Our Mustang came with 255/40-19 tires on a 19x9 inch wheel from the factory, pretty small for a heavy and powerful car. With an improved Whiteline and KW suspension setup we wanted wider and more grippy tires to exploit all that our highly adjustable suspension has to offer. Well look out, HRE and Nitto are coming in to fix the situation, check it out!
With our last installment of Project 5.0 Mustang covering the correction of our Mustang's rear suspension geometry and the addition of larger adjustable anti sway bars by Whiteline, to complete our suspension, we badly needed a good set of dampers. Like a lot of other MotoIQ project cars, we turned to KW Suspension to provide us with a set of their Clubsport coilovers with front camber plates.
Mustangs in general are misunderstood when they show up to a road course. It seems like a significant amount of prejudice starts to manifest itself from owners of more popular platforms for road course duty, especially here in SoCal where the scene is dominated by S2000s, turbo AWDs, FWD Hondas, and Miatas. The notion that the big horse should stay on the drag strip because it is "slow in the corners, and fast in the straights" give this thoroughbred a bad rap. In recent years Ford has put forth the effort to change this stigma, as the current 5.0 liter powered ponies are no longer something to be scoffed at.