From basic bolt-ons to turbos, everything it takes to build serious 5.0L firepower is righ
Modern modular motors have a lot going for them, especially with the recent introduction of the new 412hp 5.0L variant. Sharp-eyed readers will no doubt recognize that the Blue Oval marketing department took a retro step back because the original 5.0L had, and still has, such a strong following. In fact, 5.0L guys are diehard, often dismissing the modern mod motor for its lack of torque and the inherent limitations on displacement thanks to the diminutive bore centers.
Meanwhile, the trusty pushrod 5.0L has no such deficiencies, and can be taken to the high side of 370 ci with the proper combination of block, bore, and stroke. The limiting factor is actually the deck height. What the original 5.0L has over the modern machinery is also cost, as a 5.0L Mustang can be had for about the price of a decent value meal at your local fast food joint.
Knowing boost and juice were on the to-do list, we stepped up to a 4340 forged-steel crank
To illustrate just how receptive the original 5.0L is to modifications, we put one through the ringer on the engine dyno, running it with a myriad of modifications. We did eliminate a few tried and true mods, however, like the air silencer removal, mass air meters (we ran with a FAST management system), and underdrive pulleys. But it did allow us to run the full gamut of performance upgrades starting with a simple throttle body and ending with a complete turbo kit. Along the way we tried a pair of intake manifolds, performance aluminum heads and even nitrous. In short, it was a full day of dyno testing and part swapping, but what better way to spend the afternoon than watching the power needle climb and climb and climb?
Not wanting to limit ourselves with a stock (junkyard) 5.0L, we built a 302 capable of withstanding our eventual boosted output. To that end, we assembled a 302 using a factory 5.0L roller block machined by L&R and assembled by Demon Engines. The short-block consisted of a forged-steel crank from RPM, combined with a set of forged rods from ProComp and matching pistons from Probe Racing. The flat-top pistons yielded a static compression ratio of 9.35:1 with the 61cc chambers in the stock heads.
Probe Racing supplied a set of forged-aluminum flat-top pistons. The 0.040-over pistons, a
In addition to the stock heads, cam, and intake, the build up also featured new hydraulic roller lifters, a double-roller timing chain, and hardened pushrods (6.25-inch), all from Comp Cams. The stock E7TE heads had been previously modified to accept screw-in rocker studs, which we used with self-aligning roller rockers.
We hoped to test stock rockers versus the roller rockers, but the modified heads would no longer accept bolt-down rockers. Other than the screw-in studs and a spring upgrade (to work with the Xtreme Energy cam installed later), the head ports, chambers, and valve job remained completely stock, meaning they performed just like a stock set would in terms of flow and power.
The short-block featured Fel Pro PN 1011-2 head gaskets and ARP 7/16-inch-head studs. Note
Stock 5.0L: 252 hp at 5,100 rpm, 306 lb-ft at 3,300 rpm
First we established a baseline.
Hooker 13/4-inch Headers: 261 hp at 5,100 rpm, 321 lb-ft at 3,400 rpm
We replaced the sh
GT-40/AccuFab 65mm TB: 280 hp at 5,300 rpm, 326 lb-ft at 3,400 rpm
The GT-40 intake offe
Comp XE274HR Cam: 312 hp at 5,400 rpm, 349 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm
Next up was one of the aut
The 5.0L was first run with a stock five-speed H.O. cam. Hardly a performance piece, it wa