5.0 Mustang & Super FordsProject Vehicles
1986 Mustang T-Top - Plumb Assignments - The Project Car
Air IntakeFor most engines, if fuel is one side of the induction coin, air, or inlet-air, is the other. Since we'll be boosting the air charge for our stroker with a 15-plus pound boost blast from Paxton's Novi 2000 supercharger, it's imperative we get as much air as possible into the blower and make sure its exit to the throttle body is smooth and direct.
The small-diameter tubing provided in the Novi 2000 Tuner Kit is perfect for achieving eight or so pounds of boost. Since our plan is to make boost above and beyond that range, we decided to use tubes (4-inch inlet, 3-inch discharge) that will be more efficient than those provided in the blower kit. Danny Akre of Fast Intentions Performance Exhaust in Northridge, California, is the mastermind behind the stainless steel pieces of art seen here. While we watched Danny plumb our supercharger's airflow, he explained the importance of keeping the path simple. "You want to have as small a number of bends in the tubes as possible when you set up inlet-air systems." A direct-as-possible route maintains a steady air charge, which is what we want for our blown combination.
ExhaustAs you may already know, fuel and air are burned during the combustion process. Exhaust is the basic end-product of combustion; based on our engine's makeup ("Big-Bore Score," Dec. '06, p. 58), we'll need an exhaust system that will quickly and efficiently scavenge gasses out of the exhaust ports of the high-flowing AFR 205s that are bolted on the coupe's 347.
A really good, high-performance exhaust system for a blown 'Stang is based around 131/44-inch headers. Most headers are made of mild steel, but the exhaust plumbing can be crafted out of stainless steel or aluminized steel tubes. Both have greater corrosion resistance.
We're happy about the way we've been able to bring new Fox Mustang technology to the forefront during the last few months.
One of the nuances of using raised-port cylinder heads is the limited selection of "shelf" headers available. While they're not true high ports, AFR's street/strip heads have exhaust ports that are approximately 11/48 inch taller than stock cylinder heads. To put it bluntly, enthusiasts usually have to get custom headers made, which can be costly.
Thanks to our project T-top coupe, JBA now offers stainless steel, bolt-on, one-piece long-tube headers for '79-'93 'Stangs with AFR's 205 or 225 cylinder heads. That's right, they're not custom or one-off; they're affordable 131/44-inch headers on the shelf.
Due to an insane schedule around the time these new headers were developed, we couldn't cover the step-by-step build process. But the finished products are bad to the bone, and are complemented by a 3-inch, X-shape crossover tube and JBA's stainless steel mufflers.
CoolingThe cooling system is a major player in our all-world 'Stang. To effectively handle its street driving and dragstrip assignments, the car needs equipment to keep both systems operating at their optimal temperatures by removing heat from the engine and the transmission.
We faced a challenge with our Mustang's cooling system. Since we're using a beltdrive setup for the cam timing, and with our car not having power steering, air conditioning or other serpentine-belt-dependent accessories, we have to use an electric water pump for our engine.
In any vehicle, the water pump transfers coolant from the radiator, through the engine, and back into the radiator. Controlling heat is always an issue for street 'Stangs, especially those similar to ours that are driven daily in high-temperature areas. To supplement the electric water pump, we know our combination requires the superior cooling ability of an aluminum radiator.
We spoke with the folks at Afco Racing Products and Meziere Enterprises about combining an electric pump with a bolt-in aluminum radiator for Fox 'Stangs, and the part they've developed is outstanding. Here is another Fox-specific innovation that has come about as a result of this project effort: Afco's direct-fit, Performance Series two-row aluminum radiator (PN 80270FN), featuring an optional Meziere high-flow, remote electric water pump (PN WP362) that's built into the radiator. We have seen this type of cooling technology on some NMRA Pro 5.0 Mustangs, but the big difference is that those systems use wafer-thin radiators and fans since they only have to support 6- and 7-second quarter-mile blasts.
Our coupe is being built for the quarter and the road, so we're pumped that this type of street-specific, racing-influenced cooling product featuring a standard-sized 'Stang radiator, high-flow pump, and large cooling fan/shroud has been created and combined in one unit.