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The Coyote Engine Swap

Putting a New 5.0L into a 1966 Mustang

By Car Craft Staff, Photography by , Grant Peterson,

We've mastered the G3 Hemi swap, and a 10-year-old could install an LS into a Chevelle, but the Coyote into a Mustang job has remained nearly untouchable. The engines are just too wide and the engine compartment of early Mustangs too narrow. It was in the realm of handmade crossmembers and questionable engineering.

Those times are changing, as aftermarket companies like Heidts Hot Rod & Muscle Car Parts develop new front- and rear-suspension systems designed for your favorite street machine. The company recently released the Pro-G front-suspension kit for 1964–70 Mustangs. It is a completely new, dual-crossmember subframe that replaces the car's stock suspension, brakes, and steering. It requires the shock towers to be removed and the parts welded in place, so the job might be above the average builder. With the help of our pro-fabricator Grant "Sasquatch" Peterson, we managed to install a front kit to see how it was done. We also did the math on the peripheral parts like cooling, exhaust, and transmission fitment, in case you want to try this job yourself.

The Coyote!

You might flinch a bit at the seven grand out-of-pocket price for a 302, but you get way more punch than any Windsor-based mill can deliver. For the money, you get an aluminum block and heads, forged steel crank, forged rods, and hypereutectic aluminum pistons. The factory rating is 412-plus horsepower and 400 lb-ft, but we've seen Mustangs making these numbers at the rear wheels. With headers and some tweaking, we should have 425 or more horsepower, no problem. The engine has 11.0:1 compression, so it should take a shot of nitrous with ease. We're thinking a 150–200hp shot would make this a daily 600hp street cruiser with good manners.

Description Source PN Price
5.0L Coyote engine Ford Racing M-6007-M50 $7,279.00
Brake flexline kit Wilwood 220-7056 59.95
Front runner Vintage Air 174020 1,433.99
Master cylinder Wilwood 260-9439-BK 239.95
Pro-G front Heidts MTF-101 6,030.00
Sway bar Heidts SB112K 190.00

1. The car we are experimenting with is a '66 Mustang convertible with a six-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. The goal is to make it act as much like a new car as possible while maintaining the classic look.

2. This is the Heidts Hot Rod & Muscle Car Parts base kit without the brakes. There is an option for a sway bar, and if you are a drag racer, the suspension can be ordered with 8 degrees of positive caster to keep the wheels going straight.

3. The engine we're going to install is the Coyote crate engine from Ford Racing. The base version makes 412 hp at 6,500 and 390 lb-ft at 4,200 rpm. Perfect for a light car like this Mustang.

4. The frame needs to be cleaned where it is to be welded. Boxing plates are provided in the kit and can be MIG-welded to the front subframe. The key to this job is getting the plates square in the car. The upper plate should be tacked in place 18 inches from the radiator core support.

5. This kit requires that you cut everything off the front subframe of the car, including the factory shock towers. To expedite things, Grant used a Lincoln Tomahawk Plasma Cutter.

6. We bent the 1⁄8-inch lower plate to match the lower curve of the framerail. The boxing plates not only strengthen the frame, but they also create a flat surface to connect the Heidts crossmembers.

7. With the boxing plates in place, Grant tacked them to the subframe and to each other.

8. The crossmember needs to be square in the car. To achieve that, we marked the spindle centerline (center of the crossmember upper control-arm mount) with Steel Red layout fluid and a scribe and referenced it to the door gap, making sure both the marks and the reference points were the same on both sides of the car.

9. We also ensured that the crossmember was equal distance from the outside of the subframe.

10. After the plates were tacked, Grant TIG-welded the plates to the front subframe using a Lincoln 225 Precision TIG, making sure to weld in sections to avoid warping the metal.

By Car Craft Staff
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