JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
2/13/03 7:35 a.m.

A lot has happened in Mustang world since the last update, and not just because I hardly ever get updates to Per until he puts me in a headlock.

Speaking of "lock", That's what happens to an internal combustion engine when it ingests a lot of water. How do we know this? The hard way. During a particularly ugly Florida rainstorm the Mustang found its way into a deeper-than-it-looked puddle and took a drink through the fenderwell-mounted intake. Okay, the fact that the wheelwell liner was out didn't help matters, but it sure was a tough way to learn a lesson.

Thanks to cell phones, AAA gold memberships and Miami Dolphin-loving towtruck drivers, the Moist-stang found its way to Steeda (www.steeda.com) in Pompano Beach, FL, to await resurrection.

A call to Central Coast Mustang (www.centralcoastmustang.com) and an unleashing of the Discover card got a fresh powerplant on the way, and the loving hands of Chad at Steeda handled the swap duties. CCM's Dennis Hilliard put together what basically amounts to an all-iron Cobra engine, featuring one of his several thousand NEW 302 blocks, cast pistons, and a set of GT40P heads. Dennis claims that just bolting some P heads on in place of the stock E7TE heads is worth 30-35hp. We'll be doing some dyno work soon, as well as testing some different intake combos, and hopefully doing some electronic tuning as well.

As it sits now, the engine is the aforementioned CCM 302, with a Cobra upper and lower intake manifold, being fed by a MAC cold-air fenderwell system (yes, we have built a splash guard) and a C&L 73mm airflow meter. The exhaust is MAC shorty headers (GT40P spec) dumping into a MAC Pro-Chamber crossover and onto the MAC mufflers. Look for a couple of stories detailing a lot of the engine and bolt-on power pieces in summer issues.

Under the car, we've traded the Steeda G-Trac stuff for something a bit more sophisticated: Steeda's Five-link rear suspension. The Five-link replaces the seriously angled upper arms with pieces that are more parallel to each other, allowing more freedom of suspension movement and less bind, and also adds an adjustable height panhard bar for side to side axle control. Our first autocross outing with the setup is in a couple of weeks, and we're excited about trying out this new suspension.

In the front, we're also further refined things with Steeda's X2 ball joints. These feature an exta long taper to raise the spindle relative to the control arm and help define a higher roll center. We also installed Steeda's new bump steer kit, which relocates the tierod ends to help minimize bumpsteer.

Inside the car, we knew it was time to do something about the mediocre seating, so we got in touch with the Auo Toy store (www.autotoystore.com) and ordered some Corbeau Forza II seats. These featherweights are just 16 lbs each, and comfortable enough for daily use, while providing race seat support for autocrossing. They also mount easily with the supplied hardware, right on to your stock seat tracks.

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