H/C/I or heads, cam and intake, are probably the most common and most responsive mods you can do on a 5.0. There a many different variations, and talk to 5 Mustang guys, and you’ll get 5 different opinions on what combo is the best. The best combination for me, is the one that cost the least and delivers the most. I already have the Ford Explorer GT-40 intake, so I have been combing the forums and CL for used deals on heads. It didn’t take long to find a friend of a friend selling a set of used AFR 165 aluminum heads.
Here they are side-by-side to my stock OEM E7 heads
I weighed them both and the aluminum AFRs were 20 lbs. lighter. The E7s are 50 lbs. and the AFRs are 30 lbs.
I was actually debating this one, whether to do the cam or save some money. I don’t want a lopey, rough ideling cam. Some large cams even create vacuum problems, among other issues. I even was thinking of pulling the stock stick and retarding it 4 degrees. I remember reading about this trick in a magazine, I think stock class racers did this. By replacing the timing chain and accurately timing the cam, at 4 degrees retarded, the stock cam makes more power at higher rpms, closer to the GT-40 intake’s power band. With everything apart now would be the best time to do it, I know down the road I would regret not doing anything , so I decided to start looking for the right camshaft. As for the cams, again there are many to choose from and everybody has their favorites. FRPP has a set of “Alphabet” cams which are very popular, the B, E, F, X or Z303 camshafts. Each have different specs and requirements. The E and B303 cams are probably the most popular for naturally aspirated 302 motors like mine. But I did some research, and decided to go with a custom grind camshaft. I discovered 3 popular grinders…Jay Allen, Buddy Rawls and Ed Curtis of Flowtech Induction. After careful research and posting a thread on Corral.net, I decided to order a cam from Ed Curtis. I filled out a full page questionnaire off his website on all the specifics of my car and engine. He contacted me after some time and recommended a “Street Beast” cam of his. I also added a set of hardened pushrods and purchased a set of Scorpion 1.6 roller rockers.
Full length headers are a great improvement over shortys, especially when adding heads, cam and intake. Years ago when I was in high school, an old-time hot-rodder explained to me the benefit of tri-y headers. It made a lot of sense to me, so one day at a swap meet in Englishtown, I picked up a set for a 302. They made a tremendous difference on my slightly modified ’86 GT. Basically, the reasoning behind a tri-y header is this…instead of each cylinder having it’s own primary tube and emptying into one large collector. The result being better top end power but a loss of bottom end torque. This is not a problem for most 5.0 owners, the 302 has plenty of bottom end torque and many of us have hi-reving rear end gears anyway. The tri-ys have all the benefit of a the long tubes, plus no loss of bottom end power. This is because of the tri-y design. Two cylinders combine into a secondary and the two secondarys empty into a collector. Luck would have it, I found a set of used fox-body 302 Doug Thorley Tri-y headers on Corral.net. The guy was nice enough to ship them from CA to NY, they were in a bit of rough condition. So I sent them out to Jet-Hot to be coated.
I also found a 2000 Ford Cougar electric fan. I was originally looking for Contour fan, but snagged this comparable one at a salvage yard for $80
Install begins at Realspeed Auto