Handling the exhaust is always...
Handling the exhaust is always a major swap consideration. Common swaps are supported by some version of stock or specialized headers, but the less common, newer swaps may not be, or you may need to save some money. In that case, most of the current Ford exhaust manifolds are surprisingly good, and you certainly won’t find a more space efficient exhaust solution. This is a stock ’03-’04 Cobra cast-iron manifold. Yes, it’s heavy, but it’s also likely “free” if it came with the swap engine, fits any engine compartment, is quiet and leak-free, eliminates the chore of snaking in a set of headers, and best of all, will support over 600 rwhp in our experience.
Back in the mid- to late-’80s, plopping the giant 460 anvil into then-new Fox Mustangs had its 15 minutes of fame. These were sinfully heavy all-iron big-blocks that produced mountains of chassis-twisting torque in near stock form and untold power fully hot-rodded. In short, they proved too much for a Mustang, and today the same torque and power can be had in a 200-pound-lighter package. But if you insist, the headers and carburetors are still available, and you can get 514 ci from one of these without trying too hard or 600-plus inches on a big budget.
Ford engineers must have an F-150 EcoBoost V-6 powered Mustang somewhere in Dearborn, but we’ve yet to see one. It would make a great conversation piece and a sharp-handling Mustang with approximately ’11 Coyote straight-line performance (or better in a lightweight Fox?), but without factory support it would be impossible to wire up. Only the most experienced and well-connected pros should try this one.
We doubt anyone would bother with this swap unless they prized handling above all else, even if the straight-line performance should easily out-run a ’96-’98 GT. Still, the resulting car would be a novelty--although given the still-as-yet-unknown complexities of the newest V-6’s engine management, a nearly impossible stunt to pull off.
Sold as the base engine in Super Duty pickups and the SVT Raptor F-150, the new 6.2-liter V-8 is the stuff of exotic Mustang swaps. There are no kits and the large 6.2 measures 3.5-inches longer and a 1/4-inch wider than a Three-Valve V-8; it packs unique engine mount placement and who knows what electronic gremlins. But the bellhousing pattern is stock modular, not to mention it’s a beefy 380 ci and the cylinder heads support 750 hp with minimal hand detailing. There’s a reward of fame here for the pioneering Ford enthusiast, but it would be hard-earned.
We’re as guilty as anyone for using Ford jargon. Here’s a quick explanation in case you’re new to the club.
|5.0 HO||’82-’95 302 pushrod V-8, the original 5.0|
|Two-Valve||’96-’04 Two-Valve modular 4.6-liter V-8|
|Three-Valve||’05-’10 Three-Valve modular 4.6-liter V-8|
|Four-Valve||Any Four-Valve modular 4.6-liter V-8|
|Coyote||’11 Mustang GT engine, the new Four-Valve 5.0 |
|Early Cobra||’96-’98 4.6-liter Mustang Cobra Four-Valve, naturally aspirated|
|Late Cobra||’99 and ’01 4.6-liter Cobra Four-Valve, naturally aspirated|
|Terminator||’03-’04 4.6-liter Mustang Cobra Four-Valve, supercharged|
|GT500||’05-’11 5.4-liter Mustang Cobra Four-Valve, supercharged|
|Fox||’79-’93 Mustang, lightweight, excellent parts support|
|SN-95||’94-’98 Mustang, inexpensive, still sort of lightweight|
|New Edge||’99-’04 Mustang, a restyled SN-95|
|S197||’05-’10 Mustang; modern, tight chassis; heavy|