SN-95 Coyote Engine Swap, Part 1 - Living The Dream
Embarking on a Coyote 5.0 engine swap into our ’94 Cobra
From the August, 2011 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Michael Johnson
Photography by By The Author
When your editor asks what you would do with a Coyote engine, your mind suddenly clears of all other worldly concerns. The weekend events don't matter, what you had for breakfast isn't even on the radar, and that old pushrod 5.0-liter is already sitting on the shop floor. My answer to Mr. Turner must've been pretty good in his opinion. I told him I would put it in my '94 Cobra. After all, the '94-'95 cars are known as red-headed stepchildren. Why not give it a power injection befitting a Cobra?
Most people associate a Cobra with the '03-'04 supercharged models, so when they find out my '94 Cobra doesn't boast a lot of power, it's a Debbie Downer for everyone involved. Also, the '94-'95 cars were the last to feature 5.0 pushrod power, so why not throw a new 5.0-liter under the hood? Why not, indeed.
With '11 GTs making upward of 400-rwhp, we'd be hard-pressed to build a pushrod engine making that kind of power. Even if we did go that route, we wouldn't enjoy the same driveability or fuel economy as we would if we did the Coyote swap.
Building a pushrod combo making north of 400-rwhp would be just as expensive as buying a Coyote engine, so the pros were outweighing the cons. The swap made so much sense, I was given the assignment.
With the excitement wearing off and reality setting in, I had to find a shop capable of pulling off the swap. Immediately one shop came to mind--Lamotta Performance in Longwood, Florida. Jake Lamotta has mixed and matched so many Mustangs (and other Ford vehicles) it's not even funny. Jake actually agreed to make it happen, but we're not sure if he's still happy about making that choice. We gave Jake's shop address to Ford Racing, and started tracking down parts with which to complete the swap.
Since there were maybe just a couple of swaps underway at that time, this was the difficult part. We were in uncharted waters for sure, and whenever you're paving the way, you're going to make a few potholes. However, we knew Jake could help smooth out any bumps along the way.
Our first installment will cover putting the engine in the car, and all that process entails from a mechanical standpoint. This was the easy part. The next installment will cover the wiring, getting the car running, and tuning.
Horse Sense: In case you've been living under a rock and haven't heard, the '11 Mustang GT Coyote engine is rated at 412 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque at the flywheel. We're hoping for at least 400-rwhp in naturally aspirated form when we're done, or roughly 150 hp more than with our Cobra's mostly stock pushrod combo.
We did a lot of research and...
We did a lot of research and talking to others who had started similar swaps when figuring out what to use on the Coyote Cobra swap. Since no one was working on an SN-95 car, we were unsure of how everything would to fit. We heard from Christian France at High Flow Fuel that a Maximum Motorsports K-member was the way to go, so we chose a ’96-’04 Mustang tubular K-member with control arms, coilover springs, caster/camber plates, and Koni struts. The coilover springs are of the street variety, but Maximum Motorsports has different spring rates for different performance needs, even drag applications.
Here Jake’s getting ready...
Here Jake’s getting ready to drop the Coyote between the Cobra’s fenders. Notice he has installed factory ’96-’04 engine mounts on the Coyote. We sourced the engine mounts, along with a ’98 Cobra starter, and a GT500 power steering pump, from Anderson Ford Motorsport. The engine mounts bolt right on to the Coyote engine, which makes it a lot easier to bolt in an earlier chassis. The ’98 Cobra starter is smaller than the factory ’11 GT starter, which makes it more compatible with this swap. The GT500 power steering pump is what will give the car power steering once we have a bracket made for the pump. For the A/C compressor and radiator hoses, we called up Sansone Ford. The crate engine doesn’t come with an A/C compressor, and existing ’94 Cobra radiator hoses aren’t compatible with this swap. We ended up having to mix and match a couple of the radiator hoses.
The engine went in with zero...
The engine went in with zero drama, and the Maximum Motorsports K-member was the right choice. The engine’s oil pan configuration is said to hit others on the market, but we had no such problems with our setup. You’ll notice our engine compartment is still part ’94 Cobra, part Coyote. At this point, Jake was still unsure how much of the original wiring and other lines, fittings, and hoses we’d be using. Plus, we just wanted to get the engine in the car to see if it fit and worked with the K-member. We breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the engine resting in the engine compartment. Notice Jake outfitted the car with a Hydraboost setup to clear the path for the new engine. We sourced the Hydraboost from AMP Performance’s salvage yard business.
We used factory ’96-’98 Cobra...
We used factory ’96-’98 Cobra transmission crossmember mounts from Kurgan Motorsports. The Magnum T56 moves the transmission mount back and out of alignment with the factory ’94-’95 Cobra transmission crossmember brackets. Therefore, to do this swap we had to add these crossmember brackets. Here Jake outlines where they need to be welded in with a marker. Jake makes sure to grind the area clean of any paint before welding the brackets in place.
With any engine swap, you...
With any engine swap, you run into several moments when you say, “Ah, crap, we need a (insert part name here).” We had one of those moments when we were about to install the clutch and transmission. The crate engine doesn’t come with an engine plate so you will need to get one for your swap. We picked up one from the local Ford dealer. Here Jake’s installing our Ram Powergrip clutch and aluminum flywheel. Ram’s Powergrip clutch is good for up to 550 horsepower, which is ideal for our naturally aspirated Coyote engine. What we like best about the Powergrip is that it holds that kind of horsepower without necessitating a heavy clutch pedal, or On/Off switch clutch engagement. Since this is my daily driver, I didn’t want a heavy pedal, and the Powergrip clutch is perfect.
With the Tremec Magnum firmly...
With the Tremec Magnum firmly mounted and installed, Jake adds the Arizona Driveshaft aluminum driveshaft from the AMP kit. These aluminum shafts are made specifically for AMP for the company’s transmission conversion kits. AMP has a variety of transmission conversion kits for pretty much every late-model Mustang application. The one we ordered for our Cobra is a ’96-’98 T56 conversion kit for a modular engine combination.
We opted for a ’98 Cobra starter...
We opted for a ’98 Cobra starter because it’s smaller than an ’11 GT starter, which won’t fit through the hole in the headers. Using the Cobra starter, like the one we got from Anderson Ford Motorsport, is just smarter from a swap standpoint. Even if you have to change it out or remove it for clutch/transmission work, a ’98 Cobra starter works better in this case.
Here’s a look at the headers...
Here’s a look at the headers as they exit to the back toward the X-shape crossover pipe. Our issue was that the driver-side collector was aimed right at the transmission crossmember. BBK also has a 3-inch X-shape crossover pipe for this application, but we didn’t have sufficient room to install it. Jake had to use the lead pipes from the BBK crossover pipe, cut them off, and blend them with my Cobra’s 2½-inch exhaust. It’s not as pretty as BBK’s crossover pipe, but we had little choice in the matter. You can also see in this photo that Jake has reinstalled the car’s rack and front suspension.
Finishing up the bottom side,...
Finishing up the bottom side, Jake installed the six-wire oxygen sensors. These are the same oxygen sensors found on ’11 Mustang GTs, as the computer that is included with the 5.0 Coyote Control Pack is essentially an ’11 GT PCM set up for a return-style fuel system. These oxygen sensors come as part of the Control Pack wiring harness.
One major hurdle we had to...
One major hurdle we had to cross relates to the exhaust. In talking to Bart Tobener and Christian France, both told us the factory headers wouldn’t work in either a Fox or SN-95 chassis. However, we heard BBK Performance and Christian were working together on a long-tube swap header for Christian’s ’86. We jumped on board to try and hurry up the process as we knew Christian’s car was going to BBK for header design and prototyping, but we were up against the clock to try and get ours done around the same time. These headers feature 1-3/4-inch primary tubes with 3-inch collectors, and will be available in either chrome ($589.99) or silver ceramic-coated versions ($779.99). Stainless headers may be available by special order, as well. I must thank BBK’s logistics manager, Luis Parra, in helping us get the headers. He played an integral role.
Another of the large components...
Another of the large components we got to go along with the Coyote engine is a Tremec T56 Magnum transmission from AMP Performance. As a matter of fact, we got a complete T56 conversion kit from AMP. The conversion kit comes with the transmission, bellhousing, shifter, handle, knob, reverse lockout harness, and an Arizona Driveshaft aluminum driveshaft with yoke. We chose the Magnum because of the Coyote’s high-rpm capabilities, and we wanted a transmission that could shift up there. Plus, the Magnum has a 0.050 Sixth gear, which will also come in handy for fuel economy. The Magnum truly presents the best of both worlds. Furthermore, the Magnum’s shift gates have been reduced, thereby shortening shift-throw distance. The shifter almost puts the transmission into Third gear by itself with its aggressive shifter spring.
BBK Performance’s Ken Murphy...
BBK Performance’s Ken Murphy advised us right off that these headers are designed for a Fox Mustang and he wasn’t sure if they would fit my ’94 Cobra. However, Jake and I know that Fox and SN-95 chassis are quite similar, so we didn’t think there would be any issues. Jake was more concerned about the headers bolting up and how they would fit around the steering shaft and K-member. The headers almost fell on the car, they were that easy to install. Jake had to raise the engine slightly to get them into place, then the driver-side header was a handful to bolt on, but that was due to the K-member’s sturdy construction. If this swap is in your future, bolt the headers on the engine while it’s on an engine stand; then install the K-member and engine mounts; next install the assembly from the bottom. For hardware, we used the factory header studs and nuts.
Back up top, Jake dropped...
Back up top, Jake dropped the radiator and fan into place. We intended to employ an ’03-’04 Cobra radiator and fan, but that radiator proved elusive, so we lined up an ’03 Mustang GT radiator and fan from Latemodel Restoration Supply. We used an ’03 GT radiator and fan because Jake had an ’03 GT parts car at the time and we are using many of the A/C parts off that car as well, so using that same year radiator and fan seemed like a good idea. Also in this image you can see JLT Performance’s oil separator for the ’11 Mustang GT Coyote engine. However, because of how we had to route the cold air kit, we were unable to retain it. We hope to work that out when our swap is finalized.
We’ll tease you with this...
We’ll tease you with this image for now. You can’t even see those wicked BBK Performance headers, but you can see the one-off cold air kit Jake made from JLT Performance’s parts bin, along with a 4-inch pipe. JLT supplied the elbows, mass air housing, and a filter, which is located in the fenderwell. It’s just in mocked-up form here. The mass air sensor housing is located right at the fenderwell opening. Fortunately, the best place to locate the control pack PCM and wiring harness is on that side of the engine compartment, so we didn’t have to extend any wiring. Until next time, people.