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Ford Takes The Fight To Chevy; New Power For Mustang On The Way

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On: Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 3:16PM | By: John Welch


Ford Takes The Fight To Chevy; New Power For Mustang On The Way

The Ford Mustang has always been a desirable car. Not a good car per se, but certainly desirable. From the compact proportions of the Fox-body cars to the muscular quarter-window dogleg found on SN-95 Mustangs, there were always things to like about the modern Mustang. In 2005 Ford decided that the car deserved an influx of 'cool'. The consumer climate at the time was arguably as fertile for Ford as it was in 1965. Having the intensely popular "pony-car" market to yourself (GM killed the Camaro/Firebird in 2002, and there was no offering in the sub-thirty grand price range featuring a V8 and rear-wheel drive . . . from any manufacturer!) is one thing, but Ford placing itself on the leading edge of 2005's retro-styling trend was sheer genius. The Mini was selling like Copenhagen at a Marine BX and Ford had learned many lessons on how not to produce a retro car from the ill-fated 2002 Thunderbird.

Using this knowledge and the market reports from Mini, among others, Ford redesigned the Mustang and pooped out a serious winner. Ford took the car racing. They won . . . everything. Grand-Am, Euro GT3 and 4, even the Shelby Cobra began to rack up victories in the Speed World Challenge GT division.

For 2009 the Mustang was updated with smoother exterior styling and a niffty one-piece dash. The car is nice looking, but as usual the powertrains offered in the non-Cobra models left something to be desired. Still, the Mustang was able to take comparison test wins from the Camaro and Challenger despite being down nearly 100 bhp to those to cars. Ford hath conquered, but there is no rest for the wicked.

For 2010 the Mustang GT gets the power it has been sorely lacking, in the form of a high-tech DOHC beast affectionately named "Coyote". To those of us occupying real estate in Central Florida, the engine is called, simply: "Five-Oh" . . .

The "Cammer" as it is known to Mustang Road-Racers, has been in development since 2001. It has been tested under the harshest conditions possible inside the engine bays of Ford's turn-key Mustang race-car, the FR500C Boy-Racer. This car swept the Grand-Am podium at Daytona in 2006 two days after it was first offered to customers. Pretty bad-ass for a car with a birch log for a rear-end and zero development time.

The Camaro belts out an impressive 426 bhp- but it's from an o.g. pushrod V8. Eh, cool enough I guess, but overhead cams were old hat in 1990; time for an update, fellahs. The Dodge Challenger is such a niche vehicle that comparing its engine to the Mustang's is just pointless. The Challenger is not going to see much abuse from any owner. It would serve its purpose if it were powered by twelve hamsters on hamster wheels- as long as the badge on the side says "Hemi". So, dominating this class isn't so difficult for the Mustang; but with the edition of a 412 bhp 4.9 Liter V8 to the Mustangs drivetrain-stable victory is all but assured.

Enter the Coyote, Indy Legend: I believe I would be remiss to assume that I could describe the gestation of the Coyote Five Liter better than Ford's PR department. That being said, here's what Ford had to say about their new Baby:

Many of the engineers on the development team have worked in the Engine and Electrical Engineering Building on the Dearborn, Mich., product development center campus. For years they walked past the original 5.0-liter V-8 Coyote Indy racing engine on display in the lobby, continually inspired by its mix of heritage, high technology, and horsepower.

The powertrain development community had long wanted to develop a new 5.0-liter powertrain, with strategic discussions beginning in 2000. By 2007, the Mustang competitive landscape was beginning to change, a sign that the time was right for advancing the Mustang GT powertrain to world-class levels.

The team began 5.0-liter engine development with the objective of delivering 400-plus horsepower, on a timetable accelerated by 12 months without compromises in reliability, durability, fuel economy, or noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) control.

“Nearly all of the team members have worked on other high-profile powertrain programs,” said V-8 Engine Programs Manager Mike Harrison. “They all had a clear vision of the work required on their particular component or subsystem. Their passion for engines, racing, and delivering every last ounce of performance throughout the engine speed range really demonstrated that they put their heads and their hearts into this powertrain.”

Development test engines and benchmarks included 5.0-liter blocks, employing different bore and stroke measurements, GT500 four-valve-per-cylinder heads and cams, various intake manifold runner configurations, differing compression ratios, and a deep-sump oil pan. The team also evaluated Ford Racing’s 5.0-liter “Cammer” V-8 crate engine for transferable best practices.

Extensive computer-aided engineering (CAE) modeling, development engine experimentation and evaluation in combination with intricate machine work brought this promising, all-new configuration to jaw-dropping life in an accelerated time frame.

The result of this development is an “and” solution, not an “or.” 2011 Mustang buyers will enjoy the benefits of a powerful engine as well as responsible fuel economy.

Nice, Nice. But what of this Ti-VCT you mention, Ford?

A critical element in the 5.0-liter V-8’s ability to deliver 412 horsepower, with improved drivability, tractability, and fuel economy over the 2010 Mustang GT powertrain, is enhanced Ti-VCT.

For a high-performance application, the team specified cam-torque-actuated variable camshaft timing. Using existing cam torque energy, with assistance from pressurized oil, meant that minimal upgrades to the oil pump were required, resulting in less parasitic drag. Increased volumetric and thermal efficiency gives faster Ti-VCT response at all engine speeds.

During the development phase, camshaft lift profile and port optimization started with higher-lift Ford Racing aftermarket units, modified for compatibility with various four-valve-per-cylinder heads. Extensive CAE and dynamometer testing was performed to fine-tune camshaft events and port flow for performance and fuel efficiency in conjunction with the variable camshaft timing.

The resulting all-new aluminum four-valve-per-cylinder heads feature a compact roller finger follower valvetrain layout leaving more room for high-flow ports for free-breathing performance. Head structure was designed to support higher cylinder head pressures and cross-flow cooling for sustained high-rpm use. Head bolt size was increased from 11 to 12 millimeters to contain the higher combustion pressures.

The aluminum block was developed for optimized windage and oil drainback under lateral conditions and high rpm, such as a track-day outing for an enthusiastic owner and driver. Increased main bearing bulkhead widths and nodular iron cross-bolted main bearing caps with upsized bolts were also employed to accommodate the significant performance increase.

An additional element is the increased capacity and baffling of the deep-sump stamped steel oil pan to enable sustained high-rpm use and offer the convenience of 10,000-mile oil change intervals. Piston-cooling jets also were incorporated for performance-minded customers and for faster oil warm-up on cold start.

Specially designed tubular exhaust headers were developed to maximize exhaust pulse separation and improve flow. A team analyst actually fabricated the tubular headers in his home workshop, bringing the CAE design to life.

Right, right- sounds like you guys know what you're doing with the unequal cam opening doohickies. Now, how does this mother drive? Seeing as the engine weighs the same as the old 4.6 mod-motor and is about the same size dimensionally, it should drive about the same. Just faster. Faster is always a good thing.


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