Buttoning up: Under Car Inspection

I’ve been driving the car — but I’m far from done. Since the car is so fresh out of the oven ;) I need to make sure that the work I did stays “done” — and that means I need to inspect the car over and under. Over is easy — open the hood. Under, not so easy. Fortunately, I have access to a lift and I can get under the car and look at the work closely. Every bolt that’s been turned as part of the build needs to be closely inspected.

Items I go over in the video but are worth mentioning here are:

  1. K-member bolts — 4 under the frame and 4 at the back (8 total).
  2. Exhaust bolts — the stainless exhaust system has 9 bolts per side — 18 total. There are also bolts that hold the hangers in place that need to be inspected.
  3. Fuel tank bolts — all of the hardware that holds the fuel tank in place needs to be inspected. 3 total.
  4. Fuel line — go from back to front and make sure that all of the parts are not colliding with things like the exhaust, the rear end and of course the drive shaft.
  5. Transmission — there are about 6-8 bolts that can be located and checked under the car. The ones near the top of the engine are of course hard to get to.
  6. Starter motor — while you’re there, there are a couple of bolts for the starter that should be checked. Note — there’s an un-fused power line running to the starter and you need to respect it.
  7. Alternator (under the engine) fasteners. In my case — one.
  8. Hydro-boost pump — check the four bolts that hold it in place and the two bolts that hold the bracket to the engine.
  9. Belt tension.
  10. Radiator lines.
  11. Hydroboost lines.
  12. Visible wiring.
  13. Tires (the usual stuff — tread, wear patterns, air pressure).
  14. Brakes (the usual stuff — wear, fluid leaks) and caliper mounting bolts.

Along the way, bring some soap stone (My buddy Dean uses this stuff and showed me the way — Thanks Dean Smith!). As you tighten a bolt or check for tightness, make a mark along the nut or bolt head, such that you can check the alignment of the nut later. The video illustrates how this works. Soap stone does wash off, so it won’t be there forever. It will be there for days though — enough time to get a feel for something if it’s not appropriately tight.



Weight Stats are in!

I took the car to the same scale that I used before the engine transplant, and the results are in. It bears noting that I did not install the A/C compressor and the strut tower brace is yet to be installed.
The spare is out also out of the car but a sub-woofer was installed. There were a few (not all that heavy) tools in the car as well.

Before Coyote:

Front 1980
Rear  1480
Overall weight: 3460 lbs
Bias:  57% front, 43% rear.
Weight difference front to rear: 500 lbs heavier in the front.

After Coyote (No A/C and without spare and cross member brace).

Front: 1790
Rear: 1560
Overall weight: 3350 lbs
Bias: 53% front 47% rear.
Weight difference front to rear: 230 lbs heavier in the front.

Weight loss total: 110 lbs. Front loses 190, rear gains 80.

Other items of note — I’m sure that the Herculiner applied all over the place added some significant weight. Likely 10 to 20 lbs but possibly more. About a gallon total was applied and it’s not exactly light. Thanks to the careful application of Herculiner and sound deadener, I am getting far less drive-train noise.

The remarkably lower front stance — although it looks awesome I’m starting to re-evaluate it. I think I’m going to ratchet things up another 1/2 inch. Simply too little travel up there and I’m already bottoming out all over the place just trying to drive the car…

Just attempting to merge into traffic with the car out of the weight scale area I was able to roast the tires — it’s got way more horsepower and torque (obviously). It used to be a bit “chirpy”, but this was a brand new experience. The car smoked the tires with such ease — I’m going to have to re-learn how to drive my old GT…

The balance change is actually more noticeable than I expected. I’ve driven the car a few more times and it simply handles a lot better than before and it can’t all be the coil-overs as they’re not totally adjusted — and the alignment is not fully complete.

Also note that I fully expected that with a fully aluminum motor that I’d be losing more weight from the front of the car — the battery has been relocated after all and the k-member + coil overs + lower control arm setup alone nets somewhere near 100 lbs. My suspicion is that the Coyote is a similar weight to the original iron-block 4.6 motor. It may have a lighter block but it’s definitely a larger motor and the heads are more complex (more steel parts there for sure).

Still, you have to see that a large amount of weight has shifted — almost 300 lbs at the end of the day (190 off the front to 80 on the rear — picture a big squishy weight of 270 lbs that slid from the front to the back of the car and some kind of evaporated along the way).

Engine Install Finalizing 7/7/13

Had some issues with the clearance between the k-member and the engine oil pan. A good friend helped me through this — but I should have looked more closely while the engine was on the k-member stand and I would have noticed it at that time. The bottom line is that the engine sits differently on the k-member when it’s on the car, and stuff like the steering rack clearance is extremely important for a Coyote swap.

The good news though is that the anti-sway bar does not interfere with the oil filter for the Coyote in a new edge. At least not mine :) A bunch of things have happened since last post — the fuel system is cut to length and installed. The computer mounting is almost complete. We’re down to a couple of items to mount in the engine bay (coolant overflow and windshield wiper tank and pump assembly. Minor compared to what we’ve been through.

Note that without some modification, my engine shock tower brace is not going to fit without keeping the main cover off the motor (a minor problem, but still).

The hydroboost lines are off at Pirtek being brazed for -6 and -8 AN fittings at this time, so that should be the next thing you see here.



About that k-member

For a new Coyote motor in the old new edge, the stock K member is simply not up to snuff — mainly, it’s taking up space that the oil pan and headers want to use, which is unfortunate.

Or is it?

The stock K-member is a porker — it weighs a lot and gets in the way of any kind of decent set of headers. Add the fact that the weight is right over the front wheels, and that the Mustang is a front-heavy car, and you have nothing but positive news if you swap it for an aftermarket K-member.

This is one of the places where the costs can wrack up pretty quickly — you can go for cheap, but there really aren’t a lot of good choices here — although it may seem like it if you just search for quantity. Here’s what I went through in choosing the UPR chrome-molly K-member for my project:

QA1: Looks like a decent choice — but the unit is made in china of mild steel and appears to be of inferior quality compared to the UPR or Maximum Motor sports units. I might have gone with MM instead though, if I hadn’t chosen UPR — the UPR unit is made in the USA and after talking with Adam Bennett at UPR products, I chose their coil-over conversion kit, which would allow me to keep my existing KYB adjustable struts and steeda camber/caster plates.

This is the kit I ended up getting. I also opted for a 3/8″ spacer kit, just in case I needed more space in the engine bay (prolly a good hedge there) and a spanner wrench to adjust the ride height of the front of the vehicle.

The kit is on order, and expected arrival sometime next week.

One of my goals for this project is to lower the weight of the vehicle and this unit will give me that and valuable space under the engine for the (factory) shorty headers and larger oil pan.