How to Tune 5.0 Mustangs


The Fox-body 5.0 Mustang is one of the most popular basis for a tuned American muscle car, whether it's one of the earlier models or a 1993, which was the last year for the model. The V8 engine takes very well the addition of more power and the rest of the car is easily modified and improved as well, from a better handling suspension to more immediate braking.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Specialized automotive tools
  • Build the engine to produce more horsepower. Though the 5.0 Mustang is pretty powerful in stock form, one of the first areas that owners often address is the addition of more horsepower. Higher revving camshafts will allow you to get more power from the top end and make the engine feel more performance oriented. The relatively restrictive exhaust should be replaced with a larger diameter header and exhaust system that will help the engine breath better. Smaller, underdrive pulleys for the accessories like the A/C and alternator will also reduce parasitic drag on the motor. Many people also install forced induction on 5.0 Mustangs with turbocharging and supercharging. Keep in mind that though this is a great way to get more power, it is also costly and time-consuming to install and may shorten the life of the motor.

  • Modify the suspension by lowering and stiffening it. The benefits here are twofold. One, the car will handle better and the other is that it will look better as well. There are adjustable shocks (see Resources 2) available that will allow you to precisely tune how the suspension behaves. Another good upgrade is the installation of urethane bushings and larger swaybars, the latter of which reduce body roll. Subframe braces that weld into the subframe are another popular aftermarket addition.

  • Improve the braking by upgrading the front brakes with larger rotors and caliper and replace the antiquated rear drum brakes with disc brakes which offer far better stopping power. For a better feeling brake pedal, install braided steel brake lines in place of the stock rubber lines, which expand and flex when the brakes are applied.

  • Install larger wheels and tires. Like most cars, the 5.0 Mustang comes on relatively small stock wheels and tires. Replace these with larger 17-inch (or bigger) aftermarket wheels and tires (see Resources 3). Performance alloys will usually be lighter than stock alloys, while the wider width will allow you to install wider tires for more grip.

  • Replace the stock seats with a set of sport or race seats. These will be lighter than the stock seats and will offer more grip for the occupants when the Mustang is being driven aggressively or quickly. These can be combined with racing harnesses to offer an added level of restraint. After that, replace the stock steering wheel with a smaller, sport wheel, install an alloy shift knob and alloy pedals.

  • Have the exterior custom painted. No tuned car is complete without a customized exterior. Here, have a paint and body shop add some stripes down the center of the car for a sportier, more unusual look. You can also add a typical hot rod touch like flames racing down the hood and sides of the car, though that may draw undue attention to the vehicle.

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  • Photo Credit Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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