Jon Spengler — Coyote Aluminator Swap Video

Jon Spengler’s coyote swap into a 2000 Mustang

This is video of Jon Spengler’s 2000 Mustang Coyote Aluminator XC swap. Taken 4-5-14, Jon’s car is the only Aluminator of this caliber that I’m aware of in a new edge. 1 of 3 2000 Mustangs I’m aware of for that matter — Mine and Skyar Birkhimer are the other two. Jon is using a modified Cobra IRS in the rear and a ton of suspension mods. This video was taken with my camera phone, as I left my go-pro on a charger at work so it was sadly not available. Still, a wealth of interesting information is here — enjoy.

Skylar Birkhimer: Swap breakdown

Sklyar’s car is a 2000 GT convertible — with almost exactly the same mileage as mine had when I started my swap. It does have one difference — it hasn’t been driven a lot in something like the winters of Ohio (note: very salty winters, much thanks owed to the salt mines under Lake Erie).

Skylar has a similar part breakdown to my initial swap but he has different goals:

  1. Low cost: Skylar went into this with a tight budge and a laser-like focus for wasted cash. Gotta admire that because these swaps often turn into money pits without some effort.
  2. Speed: Here we’re not just talking the way the car runs after the swap — Skylar is executing a Coyote swap at a rate of speed that is breathtaking. I doubt a seasoned machine swap with 2 or three dedicated mechanics would be going much faster than he has been building.
  3. Practicality: He wants the car to be his daily driver when he’s done.

All of these add up to an exciting car and some really interesting Coyote Swap News goodness — here’s a teaser of his engine bay:

Sklyar’s car:

  • Base Coyote crate motor from Ford
  • Boss control pack
  • Alternator from a 98 (new)
  • UPR forged K-member
  • UPR coil-overs and forged lower control arms.
  • Stock 4.6 steel flywheel
  • 10.5″ clutch (*)
  • Front accessory kit that adds capability to run the hydro-boost in stock location(*)
  • Cold air kit (*)
  • BBK long-tube headers.
  • After market rims (*)
  • Stock GT brakes
  • Stock steering rack with a bump steer kit (*)
  • Stock hydroboost setup with stock lines.
  • Fuel hat conversion that uses stock front-to-back stainless fuel lines(*)
  • Return-style fuel system that uses above with a regulator (*).

More news to come shortly!


New New Edge Swaps in flight!

Ok, so it’s been a slow posting season — you would think with Christmas and the long winter we’ve had that I’d be posting here like a mad-man. It’s not like there wasn’t time — more like there wasn’t bandwidth on my end. Some tight family issues got in the way of progress. Those issues appear to have abated (at least for now and hopefully for a long time).


In the mean time, three more new edge Coyote swaps have come to my attention —

  1. Skylar Birkhimer: Patterned after TJ Lapinski’s and my car — a 2000 GT convertible. More on that shortly. Sklyar is doing his swap in his own garage and appears to be wasting no time and I have to add — much less money that I did! Pay attention here, we’re going to start breaking down his swap, because I think long term, more people are going to follow his lead.
  2. Jon Spengler: Another 2000! This time the body is from a v6, with a ton of Kenny Brown goodness rolled into the mix. As a matter of fact, it looks like just about everything that can be Kenny Brown, on this car, is. I have video uploading as I type this that describes the build as it’s happening so far.
  3. Brian Stokes: Still mostly in the planning stages, this is a 2002 GT (so far). I’ll post more on that when I get more data from Brian.

So, Coyote fans, we have much to be excited about! Swaps out the wazzoo! Wish I had my book done now. I am putting together a swap guide that will (hopefully) incorporate everything I’ve learned — not just from my own swap, but from the general community.

Stay tuned!’


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).

The first sounds of the Aluminator

I wanted the next video posted after first start to be a first drive — but there was a lot to be done (it’s evident if you watch the first start that there’s a lot of road in front of me before a first drive, but I was optimistic).

Still, the sound is pretty amazing. That motor has a wonderful sound and reminds me a bit of my Mach 1 on steroids. The coolant is now in the motor and there don’t appear to be any leaks (hallelujah). The transmission fluid is in the TR3650 and I’ve bolted the shifter into place for hopefully a few years. I have 1 gauge wired (fuel pressure) and the following remain: Water temp, trans temp, diff temp, oil pressure. I also have to wire up the vehicle speed sensor to the speed dial and to the Coyote PCM (and possibly find some way to get the stock electronics to see this output signal as well — since it runs the speedometer). The tach wire needs to be connected as well. I still need to wire the fan up, and the starter wiring is in a temporary (rigged) position. I’m still not happy with the route it takes to get to the starter, so I may end up cutting and re-splicing it. The ground situation to the motor/trans is still in limbo as well, since I don’t like the way it runs as well.

It sounds like a lot, but really we’re in the final stretch here. I’m buttoning things up and the car is quickly coming together. Here are some recent pics of the build for the curious:



First Start!

We (Matthew Overbeek and I) have been working a lot of nights to get the car running recently. The hydro-boost plumbing and fuel system are braided stainless lines (AN fittings). Matthew’s engine bay on his car is amazingly clean compared to mine (And I don’t mean just free of dirt — the motor in his car could be a Coyote show-case, as all of the lines and fittings are hidden from vie). I’ve gone for a more industrial look (cough) :) I did really dig his hydro-boost setup — so I have my hydro-boost plumbing hidden like his. I’m working on at least making the visible stuff yellow and black (or stainless/gray for minor items). It’s going to take some time to clean that up, and even after the fact there’s still going to be some warts.

Anyway, Matt came over and we were talking about what the bare minimum would be needed to get the car running. One thing led to another, and we got enough together to check the fuel system for leaks — and there were some minor leaks due mainly to running 100mph (figuratively) trying to get the car done. After closing those, we disconnected the fuel system and worked on just getting the hydro-boost lines filled with fluid. Score 2 for 2, as almost all of the hydro-boost lines were good.

At that point, Matt was in for extra innings I think — it was late, like 11 PM at night and I have to say I was running on adrenalin (and Mountain Dew) — we decided to start the car.

Stuff was half-butted everywhere. The fuel system in the back was grounded with a pair of vice grips and a temporary line. The engine in the front was grounded with a pair of vice grips (The line was there but will bolt to the engine using one of the motor mount bolts). The fan wire was not hooked up. There was no radiator fluid in the radiator. No exhaust hooked up past the shorty headers. No drive shaft in the transmission. No transmission fluid in the trans for that matter. The clutch cable is sitting in a box. The drive by wire gas petal was temporarily hooked up and sitting on the floor (still have some work to do on the adjustable bracket I fabbed). wiring for the starter was temporarily in place. The main power to the PDB was rigged with a bolt and some electrical tape.

And yet, the car started right up like a champ.

So much remains, but I have to say this was one satisfying moment, and I owe a lot of credit where it’s due. Ray Herron of FRPP helped a lot with my endless questions. My buddy Jess Dale who loaned me an engine hoist and a lot of moral support. Mike (Gold Dust) of “Coyote swaps “suck” fame, helped out early in the game as well. But the real help and amazing synchronicity was the help of Matthew Overbeek, who was there through a lot of my planning and all the way through this moment. I don’t know where my swap would be without his amazing perseverance.

Thanks everyone – I hope to have a “first drive” video out here shortly.


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.



Engine install using the low boy method (imgur album)

One of the breathtaking aspects of the Coyote is the engine’s overall size — it’s big. It’s wide and it sits high compared to the stock motor. If you look at the pictures in this album, this aspect will stand out as a major problem. Putting the motor into the car presents issues for this reason. It will barely squeak by a lot of things — the brake master cylinder, the shock towers, the front ABS rat’s nest — it’s tight.

Which is why you should consider putting the car over the engine, instead of “putting the engine into the car”. The vast majority of swaps seem to focus on engine insertion the hard way — they involve finding a way to sling the motor into the car and how to work around all of the obstructions.

Over the course of this project I found that you need to be comfortable putting the engine into the car easily — it shouldn’t be something that painful in other words. The album presented here shows that it’s a lot simpler to put the engine in, with the k-member and transmission (and exhaust in my case) attached. The install using this method allows you to work easily on your engine in a place that’s comfortable — then put the car over the engine — in a method very similar to the factory install — with some simple parts (some jack stands, u-bolts, c-clamps, a crow-bar and a pair of lawn-mower ramps. and an engine hoist (of course).

Hope you enjoy my install photo album,