I am a little jealous. While I am not complaining about my '05 Mustang, I get to drive it only on short trips. Other than a few squirts down the quarter-mile, I don't get a lot of seat time. Now that the cars in 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords magazine are into the nine-second zone, the amount of equipment required-five-point harness, three-layer pants and jacket, helmet and neck brace, along with fireproof gloves-desensitizes the driving experience. I remember how much fun it used to be to drive a Mustang on the street. As we make performance improvements, we get farther and farther away from the fun factor that made us fall in love with these cars. Every so often, I steal the keys to my son's '91 hatchback. It reminds me of why I love these cars so much.
As I said in an earlier story, I always wanted to take a Mustang on the Hot Rod Power Tour. Everyone loves a road trip. So many times while on the road to or from a race, I wish we had a little extra time to enjoy the trip. We are in such a hurry to get to the race or get home, all we see is interstate highway in the dark. I can remember when I was 8 years old going on a family vacation in a new '65 Mustang (Thankfully, I won't have to ride in that back seat again). All this wanderlust gave me the idea to take my Real Street Mustang on the Hot Rod Power tour in August 2004.
After talking to Editor Turner, I was convinced I needed to make the trip. I was surprised when Steve asked me to write about what we had to do to the car and our experiences on the Power Tour. If you have never heard about the Hot Rod Power tour, you certainly must not be reading Hot Rod magazine or watching Speed Television. The Tour has been around since 1995. Covering 1,200-plus miles over six days, the HRPT usually kicks off where it ended the previous year. Because of the poor reception last year in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the '05 tour kicked off from Miller Field in Milwaukee. Sadly, we don't have room for the whole sordid story here, so please check out our Web site for all the dirty details.
Makin' ChangesAs you might expect, we will need to make a few changes to the car. Normally, the car is set up to cover the quarter as quickly as possible. Longevity, driveability, and gas mileage are not priorities there, but driving 1,400-plus miles, we need to ensure we have no problems along the tour.
One reason to go on the HRPT is to showcase the streetability of the parts we use in Real Street. I didn't want to damage any of our current race parts. So while some parts were changed to preserve our race parts, others were changed for safety and reliability.
There will be a lot of different priorities with our engine. I had to concentrate on keeping the engine cool. Our experiences had been limited to the quarter-mile. With the thought of stop-and-go traffic, combined with extended periods of idling, I had to make some big changes.
After looking over several previous articles I decided to give the guys at Evans Cooling a call. At first I checked out its Web site at www.evanscooling.com. I was amazed at the different products that were offered. They work with heavy equipment down to intercoolers for supercharged systems. Steve Pressley recommended we install a larger accessory drive pulley to spin our Edlelbrock water pump at 25 percent over crankshaft speed. As we were running a Paxton H.O. series accessory pulley at the time, we just switched to the standard Paxton pulley. We looked into a smaller grooved pulley, but Dan Garn informed us we had the smallest grooved pulley that March made. At the same time, we removed the large alternator pulley and installed a stock size. With all the low-rpm driving, I wanted to be sure the alternator kept the battery charged.
Evans provided a larger aluminum radiator that had two 1-inch cores. We also filled the system with its unique coolant. I must say, this stuff really works! We had no cooling problems whatsoever during the Power Tour.