Project cars take time and a lot of patience, especially when you decide to incorporate new products and technology like we did with a just introduced 2011 Ford Racing 5.0 4V engine. Fortunately Mike Raburn and his Stangnet.com crew have plenty of engineering know-how and a lot of patience to work through the challenges a transformation of this magnitude presents.
To recap for readers just joining us, last winter Mike Raburn approached me about rebuilding his tired, but straight 1989 Mustang 5.0 Notchback into a fun ride that we could cruise to the local drive-in or enjoy driving to an event like Mustang Week or the 37th Annual Mid-America Ford Team Shelby Nationals. We resisted the urge to build a Mustang that was more at home on the dragstrip than on the street and we wanted to use performance aftermarket equipment to accomplish our goal that any reader of Mustang & Ford could purchase. No “demon tweak” parts to be used here.
The 1989 5.0 Mustang starting point was well known to Mike Raburn as he had bought and sold the car three times! No stranger to performance Mustangs, Raburn’s Stangnet shop located in Auburn, Alabama, has turned out some very exciting, enhanced Mustangs including Mike’s 2001 Bullitt and 2007 GT500.
Originally the idea was to replace the stock 5.0 engine with a Ford Racing 5.0 crate engine with all the parts needed for the engine swap. Mike had a Tremec TKO 500 five-speed gearbox on hand to replace the original T-5 unit.
We also planned to update the Mustang with a new suspension, five-lug bolt conversation, new wheels and tires. The worn out interior would be replaced with a new interior with leather seating. Because Mustang owners of all generations enjoy their tunes, a new, state-of-the-art, Kicker performance audio system would be installed. All this seemed fairly straightforward when I contacted Ford Racing’s Jesse Kershaw. During our conversation Jesse suggested we use the brand new 2011 Ford Racing 5.0L 4V engine just being introduced to the market in the Mustang GT. It was an offer we could not refuse, but it also took our Built to Cruise Mustang into another realm of engineering for the transformation of the Mustang.
With any new motor or major component there are numerous new parts and pieces needed to complete the project, but they are not necessarily available right from the start. This is where Mike Raburn and his team are so good, they take the time to figure out what is needed and then go about sourcing the pieces. Raburn has developed excellent relationships with any number of performance aftermarket suppliers who were eager to participate in the Built to Cruise Mustang project.
Part 1 of the Built to Cruise (BTC) Mustang was featured in the November 2010 issue of Mustang & Ford and we covered the disassembly of the Mustang as well as a list of the challenges facing the project. This included the fitment of the Ford Racing 5.0 4V engine into the Fox-body. The new engine comes with an eight-quart oil pan that will not clear the stock K-Member or any other aftermarket units then on the market. Mike contacted the talented engineering group at J&M Products and they have designed and are now manufacturing a new K-Member for all 1979-2004 Mustangs. The even better news is that it also accepts all 4.6L, 5.4L as well as the new 5.0L 4V engines. The J&M K-Member will allow for the use of stock control arms, coilovers or the standard MacPherson strut/spring combination. Now the large oil pan clears the K-Member with any problem allows for aftermarket headers and will require a bump steer kit for proper suspension alignment.
The BTC Mustang also received new front end sheetmetal before heading to the paint shop for a new paint.
Our second installment in the January issue of Mustang & Ford covered rear suspension upgrades, five-lug conversation, engine fitment and the solution to engine cooling.
Performance Aftermarket Engineering
One of the issues facing us was headers for the 5.0L 4V engine. Being so new on the market there were not any performance aftermarket headers available. Once again Raburn swung into action and soon we were very pleased that BBK Performance has stepped up to the plate. The company has designed and engineered true long tube headers for the new Ford Racing Performance Parts 5.0L 4V crate motor.
They have also designed a catted and non-catted crossover pipe for the new setup that will allow for connection to a stock or aftermarket Fox-body cat-back exhaust. Working with the folks at High Flow Performance, who has been also trading information with the Stangnet.com team on a similar 5.0 4V engine swap BBK was able to use their Mustang as the design mule to make the fixtures to produce production parts. The parts will be available in February 2011. BBK stuck with the original 2011 Ford 5.0 4V design and used 1¾-inch primaries with 3-inch collectors to insure optimal airflow.
As the subtitle of this article suggests, there are many small details to figure out in this project. As we have stated before, we want all the parts used in the building of the BTC Mustang to be available so readers can duplicate the total BTC project or just the segments they want for their Mustang.
One of these details is the power steering bracket as we felt that the BTC Mustang must have power steering to be a legitimate cruiser. Again the good people at Ford Racing have made available a bracket that will allow a 2005 model power steering pump and pulley to be used to allow for a power steering and hydraboost setup in Fox-body Mustangs. The use of the late-model (1999-2004) hydraboost setup is needed for clearance of the new engine, there is no room for a vacuum boost setup.
Another one of the details was the selection of the radiator hoses. Fortunately Mike was able to order Ford stock 2011 5.0L 4V hoses. They will work well, the bends match up perfectly with the new Mishimoto radiator. Mike noted that the upper hose is 1½ inches and the radiator upper inlet is 1¼ inches. Jonathan at Late Model Restoration told Raburn to use a nice screw-type clamp and it will seal just fine. They do this all the time on their project vehicles.
The Late Model Restoration people also provided new Fox LX taillights. The lenses, new out of the box, have a good bit of lens trim molding in Fox grey. We wanted these to be black so Mike taped up the lenses, cleaned them with DuPont Presol and painted them with SEMS Trim Black.
After installing the taillights Mike noticed on the passenger side that the outside edge that matches up with the rear quarter seemed too far inward exposing some of the seam molding where the taillight would normally cover up. Since there are always tolerance variations in Fox-bodies from the factory, Mike took a die grinder with a drill cutting bit and lengthened all six holes to the right, allowing the lens to shift outboard. This adjustment cured the problem.
Now the true paint/body line is matching up with the lens perfectly. Also note that when you install these, be sure to get your up and down height correct. Mike Raburn tells us that you do not want them resting on the bumper cover. They should be about ¼-inch above the bumper and use the deck lid line to make sure you are parallel all the way across.
Door Trim Restoration
As a significant part of the BTC Mustang project, the restoration of the Fox-body has always been part of the plan. After SEMS black trim paint was applied to the door and jam area, the team started to put the door and exterior trim back on the Mustang. Cleaning up and or replacing the trim area around the door makes a big difference on the overall appearance of these cars. Here is a parts list, sourced from Late Model Restoration and CJ Pony Parts.
- Mirrors ME11L & ME11R
- Quarter Window Coupe FB QW3P
- Door Belt LRS-20934 & LRS-20935
- Roof Rail Molding LRS-51726
- Run Channel Liners LRS-21596 LRS-21597
- Outside Belt Strip LRS-21452PR
- Door Striker LRS-22008B
The new mirrors come in shiny smooth black. Of all the parts, these are the only ones that needed to match the black trim that is on the Mustang. Mike taped the mirror glass, applied Klean-Strip Bulldog Adhesion Promoter and painted them with SEMS black trim paint.
The run channel liners are the felt strips that run around the frame of the door and down into the window track. The old ones were removed when the Mustang went to the paint shop so when the new ones were installed they made a big difference as the felt is soft and pliable again and the exterior rubber part is new and clean. Mike reports that you will need aluminum rivets to replace the outside belt strips, but that replacing them is more than worth the effort.
The Mustang coupe quarter-windows are a hard-to-find item. Mike was able to get one new one, and since they are out of production, a used, clean driver side window to repair is on the “to do” list.
In our next edition of the Built to Cruise Mustang Project, we plan to cover the new engine install, front suspension, wheels and tire combination information and a lot more details as the Mustang gets put back together.
To reduce road and tire noise in the BTC Mustang, a layer of Dynamat sound deadening was added. This will improve the sound quality of the soon to be installed Kicker performance audio system and eliminate the body boom associated with the stock Fox-body Mustangs.
BBK Performance has designed and engineered long tube headers for the Ford Racing 5.0 4V Fox-body application. Since the 5.0 4V engine is so new there were not any headers for it on the market when the Built to Cruise Mustang Project began.
BBK Performance designed a catted and non-catted crossover pipe for the setup that will allow for connection to a stock or performance aftermarket cat-back exhausts systems.
New rear taillights from Late Model Restoration. Since all Fox Mustangs have variations in the body and each one is different, some modification to the six holes that hold the taillights was necessary to achieve a clean look with the lights parallel to the bumper guard.
The door trim restoration includes new mirrors that were painted to match the black trim. Cleaning up and replacing the trim area around the door makes a big difference in the quality look of the Fox-body Mustangs. The window channel runners liners were replaced and made a huge difference as the felt is soft and pliable again with the exterior rubber part being new and clean.
CJ Pony Parts
Ford Racing Performance Parts
High Flow Performance
Late Model Restoration