Mustangworld's QnA !

Always being updated...

Here are some tips you may want to see. These are not solutions, rather, use them as a "general guide". Just some simple ideas. In our own words....

New Q n' A are placed at the top, some older Q n' A have been revised, those are placed near the top as well.

I don't have those special tools like a spring compressor and others, do I need to buy them all ?

No, most autoparts stores offer a "loan" program to gain more customers. You can leave a deposit and take the tool you need like a spring compressor, harmonic balancer puller, tie rod puller, special torque wrenches and more. Ask your local autoparts store about these loaner tool programs. We know Pep Boys, Chief and Kragen stores offer these programs.

On my 4.6L my check engine light goes on and off with my off-road h-pipe what's happening ?

Depending on your off-road h-pipe, your computer has detected the removal of your rear most cats (because of the 2 rear most O2 sensors mandated by OBD2 specs). On certain days this spec will be "just" on the borderline of bringing on the OBD2 friendly warning. After a few months of driving, we found that on cold or rainy days, the check engine light comes on. On hot summer days, the check engine light goes out. We noticed the check engine light goes out faster than it comes on, that is after a few full days of "cold air" driving will the light come on, but only after a few hours of "hot air" driving will the light go out. This value is stored in the ECC's RAM, a local Scantool test for us has not revealed a "hard code" stored in Flash ROM, we're looking into this. Also, OBD specs have renamed the "check engine" light to the MIL warning light. Driving in different types of weather conditions with an off-road h-pipe in place will have your check engine light turning on and off several times during the week, month, or year.

How good is my stock speedometer and gauges ?

Your stock speedometer is fairly accurate up to around 100 Mph. After that any speedo that can't be calibrated is not very accurate. It could be off by as much as 5 - 10 MPH. This is especially true if you are running aftermarket rims / tires or are using an aftermarket Ring & Pinion set like 3.55, 3.73, 4.10's etc. Even if you get the correct speedo gear for your new ring and pinion set, your stock speedo may still be off, based on your rim or tire combo. This is true for all types of cars, not just Mustangs. For accurate readings in "race applications" the stock speedometer (and all the other stock gauges) are virtually useless. You'll need to upgrade to VDO (or another brand) of gauges that allow you to calibrate them. For example, you can calibrate a VDO race speedo by simply pressing a button, driving one mile, then pressing it again, the speedo will compensate for rear end gear ratios, speedo gearing, windup, etc. You must also calibrate a speedo often to compensate for many factors to insure accurate readings (in racing). The stock gauges are fine for street applications and general driving, but for road racing / drag applications and to ensure accurate measurements, we recommend you upgrade your stock gauges. Just to note, 99% off all folks out there will be fine with the stock gauges, we are talking about sponsored race applications (or folks that want accurate readings) only.

Can I install gears myself ?

You sure can. 3.55's 3.73's, 4.10's etc.. BUT we would only recommend that a middle to advanced home mechanic do it however, (we are not speaking to the beginner here unless you are a mechanical engineer or mechanically inclined, or can follow directions to a tee). An ultra quick overview: It involves un-bolting the rear axle cover, pulling out the two rear axle splines from the differential, removing the diff&ring, removing the pinion, then swapping the ring and pinion out with the new set. It also involves getting the ring & pinion spacing "just right" with spacers, the correct backlash, gear engagement etc. There is also a special tool needed for measurements and another tool for easy pinion removal. The speedo gear install is also easy. One quart of new gear oil is needed but if it's your first gear install we'd say get 3 quarts, you may not get the spacing right on the first try and need to crack the case open again. Doing it yourself will save you $200 - $300, but may cost you that if you screw up.

I have this bad smell after my new muffler / h-pipe install, what is it ?

This is normal (It does not happen in all Mustangs). It is not the special coating on your muffler or h-pipe causing this smell. This is the underside of your paint on the floorpan heating up and curing. Paint "cures" at different temperature levels. The underside of your Mustang's paint is cured to withstand the temperature from your stock mufflers (with heat shields). An aftermarket muffler may run hotter than your stock system, this is especially true if you are using an off-road h-pipe. An off-road h-pipe will generate more heat at the mufflers by increased exhaust flow. As far as "smell" goes, every time you raise the temperature at the mufflers a few degrees, the paint on the underside of your mustang will start to smell until it's had a chance to cure at that temperature. This explains why you may not get the smell for a while and then when you drive your mustang HARD, you'll begin to notice the smell again. The way to solve this problem is to drive your Mustang HARD (many 0-60's, long highway trips, etc.) for a long time and really get the mufflers and pipes under your stang HOT. This will cure the paint under your stang at the highest possible temperature and the smell will begin to go away. During this period your stang will smell very badily, we suggest keeping the windows up or full down to make sure you don't smell it too much. Once the paint has cured to this higher temperature under your stang, you will have no smell whatsoever. Depending on your driving, this may be several days, to several months! Hard driving will cure your paint faster, everyday normal driving will cure the paint more slowly (several weeks to cure.) The other answer is to re-paint the underside of your stang with high temperature paint that has a "fast cure" this paint will cure faster than your stock paint and won't smell for that long. This paint smell is not an exhaust leak, you'd need a terrible exhaust leak to produce a smell inside the cab with the windows down and you would hear it as well. Also, newer mustangs ('96 - newer) have a greater chance of getting this smell problem because the paint on the underside floorpan is still new.

I forgot to change my oil at 3000 miles am I in trouble?

No, don't worry about it. 3000 miles is a good safe time to change your oil to ensure optimum engine performance. You do not have to follow this to a tee however, depending on your driving style and oil you are using it could be 5000 miles or more. We say if you missed the 3000 mile mark then make sure you do it by the 5000 mile mark. If you are using synthetic oil and doing a lot of highway driving then 5000 miles may be when you can change your oil. If you run your mustang HARD on the street OR highway then we would recommend 3000 miles. Millions of dollars have been spent in consumer testing of synthetic and mineral based oils, most tests have actually reported 5000 miles as a safe time to change oil (mineral OR synthetic !). It's up to you, here at Mustangworld we try to change oil every 3000 miles but often end up doing it every 4000 or so. We use synthetic oil. Your Mustang owners manual mentions some info about this topic as well. Keep a log every time you change oil (or anything, mods, etc.) in your engine, this will make it easier to diagnose engine problems in the future.

I got a hole in my tire, do tire "plugs" really work ?

Tire plugs have worked very well for us in the past. You can have your tire plugged at a service station (for a few bucks) or do it yourself with a tire plug kit, it is a very easy thing to do. Even though we don't recommend it, we have done burn-outs, and have road raced with plugged tires (we've ran multiple plugged tires as well.). Tire air pressure is not very high (around 40 - 60 psi) much less than the pressure in a bottle of champagne for example. It also depends where the hole in the tire is. Small holes in the tread area are easily plugged, small holes in the sidewall can also be plugged, but drive with more caution. We recommend plugs for small holes caused by nails, bolts, etc. You SHOULD replace the tire if you notice large tears, rips or gashes (especially in the sidewall). We recommend running "plugged" ties in the rear of your stang and not in the front as your steering tires. Also use common sense, if you are running plugged tires, keep it under control and only venture into high performance driving only every once in a while. For folks that don't  know, tire plugs are small holes in your tire that have been filled by a rubber "plug" with rubber cement added to seal or "glue" the rubber plug in place. It's a 5 minute procedure (+dry time) that can save you from buying a new tire. We only recommend plugging newer tires, bald tires should never be plugged, or they should only be plugged as a temporary fix only.

I was racing my new mustang, my engine gave me trouble at high rpms, what could this be ?

Don't worry, you probably hit the rev limit built into your stock ECC computer. The stock computer will not let you rev your engine real high, depending on your Mustang, this limit could be around 5000 for the 5.0, 6000 for the 4.6L GT and 6500 or so for the 4.6 Cobra. If you noticed a "putt, putt" type of sensation at very high rpms, then it's most likely the rev limiter. The rev limiter reduces the fuel flow to the engine at high rpms to prevent engine damage for warranty reasons (which is smart for Ford). Racers can buy a chip that will raise the rev limit (or remove it), so you can venture into higher rpm levels at your own risk while racing. If you are running a heavily modified Mustang, then it could be your fuel pump is starving the engine at high rpms.

Will buying new gears give me more power ?

New gears won't give you more horsepower or engine torque, but what new gears will do is multiply the torque factor of your engine at the rear wheels. This enables you to launch your stang more quickly off the line. Aftermarket gears allow the weight of your stang to be moved around a bit more easily by your engine. Mustangs come with either 2.73's, 3.08's or 3.27 gears. A good mod for 5 speed Mustangs is a 3.55 gear ratio, this is a good balance between launch and pulling power and gas mileage. 4.10's are also good but at the expense of using a bit more gas on the highway. A Mustang with aftermarket gears (3.55's etc.) will launch a bit more quickly off the line, and on the highway, it will "pull away" slowly from an equally powered Mustang with stock gears in the rear end. Keep in mind that you may need to improve your shifting skills to take full advantage of a new gear ratio. Some racers with extremely high horsepower engines (400 +) may prefer to use the stock gear ratios to avoid breaking the tires loose at the starting line or on the highway. It depends on the driver and your driving style.

I just put on a new Mass Air and Throttle body, I didn't feel any power increase, why ?

Any mod that is done to your Mustang that involves computer sensors will require the computer to re-adjust to those new sensor ranges after installation, especially on the intake side of the engine (Throttle Body TPS sensor, or Mass Air sensor). This is why you must disconnect your battery for a few hours to clear out the ECC's RAM before you start installing new computer sensor involved mods. After you install the new mods, you may not notice the power increase right away, depending on your driving, it may be a few days later until you notice the complete full power increase, it could take this long for your computer to re-learn all the new sensor settings / ranges, which is normal. Generally, you'll want to perform all different types of driving styles to speed up the re-learn period, some freeway, stop and go, and 0-60 type driving. Also, it depends on how sensitive your "butt" is, some racers can feel as little as a 2HP difference :-)

Where do I put the transmission fliud in my manual 5 speed Mustang ?

In the automatic Mustang, there is a place to put automatic transmission fluid right in the engine compartment. For the 5 speed or manual transmission, you'll have to put the transmission oil in through a small hole on the transmission itself. (When under your stang), You will see 2 screws, a "drain" and a "fill" hole on the side of the transmission case itself, each hole is clearly marked. By unscrewing these set screws you can drain and fill your manual transmission fluid using a tube and an oil squeeze bottle. It's quite easy. You'll need to be on a level surface when doing this. It does not need to be changed very often, check your owners manual for service schedules.

I can't seem to remove my Mustang's stock stereo, how do I do it ?

For the last ten years most Mustang stereo systems have employed the same mounting scheme. In the four corners of the stereo face plate you will see 4 holes. 4 pins (with an integrated puller) must be pushed into these 4 holes and the stereo can then be pulled out. If your desperate, You can stuff 4 stiff wire pieces into the holes (like 4 keys) and push the stereo out from behind (but we don't recommend it). The tool to remove the stereo can be purchased for around $5 at most pro stereo installation places. It is only a couple of pieces of bent stiff wire, but it does the job easily and can be re-used.

Will my Mustang pass a smog check with a Supercharger, K & N air filter or other mods ?

This depends on your supercharger or performance part manufacturer. Assuming that your engine is tuned well, a strict service shop may be able to fail you on a visual inspection if you do not have an E.O. number (assigned by C.A.R.B.) for certain performance mods (visual modifications mostly). Like an IRS tax audit! If you install a supercharger, make sure it has it's E.O. number clearly visible on the unit itself. Most popular supercharger systems have this CARB # on their units (Paxton, Vortech, etc.). K & N 's FIPK (exposed filter element package) also includes a CARB E.O. sticker, regular K & N air filters used in a factory air box are also legal for use on the street in all 50 states, as are many other engine performance parts. Most people don't have problems getting a smog check even with heavy modified stangs (as long as you pass the pipe emissions test), but we've heard "horror stories" about certain smog shops "nit picking" every modification in the engine bay and exhaust system. The most common reason (we found) for smog shops not passing a modified stang is when they find an"off-road" h-pipe on it (which has no catalytic converters on it). It also depends on the state in which you live as to how strict smog laws are. Here in California we have to deal with very strict smog laws.

Under hard acceleration, my check engine light comes on, but then it soon goes out, what could this be ?

If your Mustang has over 100,000 miles on it, then it may be time for new oxygen sensors. This is a problem that is usually related to the O2 sensors on the h-pipe. These sensors are VERY IMPORTANT for proper engine operation, your stang may not pass smog (even with a catalytic h-pipe) if your oxygen sensors are bad (or going bad). The O2 sensors are the judge and jury for your ECC computer, many ECC ROM table look ups and timing changes at different throttle levels are based on what the O2 sensors report to the stang's ECC computer. Faulty O2 sensors can also contribute to terrible gas mileage. This "on and off "check engine light condition (under hard acceleration) problem usually only occurs in high mileage stangs with factory O2 sensors still in place or highly modified Mustangs. This condition can also occur with a faulty TPS sensor (or other faulty sensors), although a faulty TPS (or other sensor) usually brings a solid check engine light illumination.

I lost my gas tank cap, can I buy just any one to replace it ?

Depends on what year your stang is, but generally No. Each gas cap you will find in a parts store will have different pressure release spring ratings. When the pressure in your gas tank builds up, a spring in your gasoline cap will compress and release this excess fuel tank pressure, important for closed looped EFI stangs. Though most gasoline caps these days are standardized, just make sure you buy one that is made for your model year Mustang. Sometimes you will hear some pressure being released when you remove the cap at a gas station (normal), a properly working fuel cap keeps this pressure within spec.

I snapped a bolt in my engine block while putting on headers, what do I do now ?

Well, you'll have to completely un-bolt the header itself (for good measure) then with a drill or hi-speed roto tool, carefully cut or drill out a "notch" into the top of the broken bolt (that's sitting inside the engine block). With this "notch" you can now use a flat head screwdriver to take the broken bolt out of your engine block or heads, just un screw it. Next time you'll know not to torque it down so hard :-) Always use a (working) torque wrench for all engine block bolts / nuts and tighten to the specs given in the instructions.

On my new 4.6L stang, my check engine light came on, what do I do now ?

First off don't panic / worry, you must re-trace your steps. If the light just came on and you have absolutely no modifications to your engine or exhaust, then a computer sensor is probably malfunctioning, visit your Ford Dealer for a free fix. If you just put on an off-road h-pipe, then it means that the two rear most oxygen sensors detected the removal of the cats, your check engine light may not come on right away for this mod. If you are sure the check engine light condition is because of your off road h-pipe then you don't have to worry, this condition does not (negatively) affect engine performance, though you will get slightly better performance with a new chip or computer re-program with an off-road h-pipe. To clear out most check engine light conditions, completely disconnect your battery and leave it off for a least 5 hours. A heavily modded 4.6L mustang will probably have the check engine light on all the time, you can use a piece of black electric tape to cover it up if it bothers you :-) NOTE: After "re-setting" your computer like described above, you must allow a few miles of driving for your computer to "re-learn" some values about your engine. You will get optimum performance from your engine / computer after this "re-learn" period (like 5-10 miles).

I can't get my Mustang into gear, what could the problem be ?

Sometimes getting into reverse gear can be a problem and it's actually NORMAL. All manual transmission cars and trucks may have this problem from time to time depending on the angle of the street, etc. If you can't get into reverse then you may have to put it into first gear and move forward a bit (or let the car roll backwards a bit) and you should be able to get it into gear then. If you can't get into first gear then you may need to let the car "roll" a bit either forwards or backwards, if you still can't get into gear then it could mean a possible transmission problem.

Will I pass a smog check with an off-road h-pipe in place ?

Probably not. Your Mustang "may" pass an actual smog "emissions" test WITH an off-road h-pipe (which has NO catalytic converters on it), BUT in most states there is also a VISUAL inspection that is performed by the service station or smog check place that is performing the smog check. So even if your stang blew out pure clean air, it would not pass a visual inspection, which is a "quick glance" (by the service person with a good eye) to check for your catalytic converters. It's technically illegal to tamper with any smog equipment in your Mustang (unless damaged or for off highway racing use). You can purchase h-pipes with 2 catalytic converters (instead of the stock 6 in a new stang) to pass a visual inspection. You can also opt to "weld in" high flow catalytic converters into your off-road h-pipe for use on the highway. If you don't pass the visual inspection, you will need to re-install your stock catalytic h-pipe before you can pass the smog test.

I'm hearing this slight "hissing" noise under hard acceleration, what could it be ?

Chances are that you have an exhaust leak. If you have just put on new headers, H-pipe or a new Muffler system, you must make sure you fully tighten everything in your exhaust system (to the specs in the directions). Especially after a new header install. New headers are almost certain to leak after 2 weeks or so, this is normal. You must re-tighten and inspect your headers after the first 2 weeks and then every month after that to ensure a proper seal. On muffler and h-pipes, make sure you tighten "2 bolt" type flanges evenly on both sides, don't tighten down one side of the flange then do the other side, tighten both sides of a muffler flange evenly to ensure a proper seal. If you recently "grinded" your muffler over a speed bump, this may have kocked your exhaust system loose as well and you may need to re-tighten it. Exhaust leaks are very common when installaing aftermarket headers and mufflers, they almost never occur in a factory "bone stock" engine though.

What's the top speed of my Mustang ?

This depends on several things, how much horsepower you have, gear ratio, and your aerodynamics. It's the last one (aerodynamics) that actually plays THE MOST important role in achieving a top speed. Despite rumors about a "speed limit" built into the computer, we have not found this to be true. There is a "rev" limit on the stock chip but it can be changed with aftermarket speed chip add ons. We had our near stock '96 Mustang GT up to 150 (on the speedo) which means this figure could be off by as much as 10-15 mph (not in our favor), we were also heading into the wind which was a severe speed penalty, we have not had the chance to try to top out our stang with the wind at our back yet, when we do we can add a few MPH to a solid radar clocked figure (which we do not have on our '96 GT yet). Our supercharged '89 GT we got to 174 (radar clocked) around the same as a stock Viper GTS. We simply could not go any faster because of the wind resistance. We do not recommend that anyone attempt to top out their Mustang, you're only a "tire blowout" away from almost certain death. The only "economical" way to get a higher top speed would be to "re-style" the front and rear end of the current Mustang, we would much rather have a killer looking stang than one that can go 10 MPH faster in a top speed test !

What can I expect from a new ignition module ?

Basic explanation: Well, let's look at how your engine runs first. In your engine there are several series "explosions". In each cylinder, an explosion happens after your piston has compressed the air fuel mixture and after your spark plug has fired (ignighted the mixture), triggering the mini "explosion" above the piston sending it down to turn the crankshaft. In the 5.0 for example, the (internal parts of the) distributor spins around and directs electric current or "spark" to different cylinder spark plugs. This electric "pulse" or spark comes from your ignition coil (controlled by the ignition module). In a stock stang it's a single "pulse" that comes from the stock ignition coil, under ideal conditions this spark will reach your engine without losing any "intensity" and get to your spark plug and ignite the mixture in perfect time. But this is not always the case. An MSD ignition or ( Multiple Spark Discharge) type of unit will send multiple "pulses" (at extremely close intervals to form one killer spark) this ensures proper combustion and ensures that the spark is "hot". A weak spark means a slightly less than 100% explosion may occur (a full 100% explosion/combustion is ideal). An MSD unit or Jacobs ignition module (and others) will mean that you can be assured that your "spark" or electric pulses that are sent to your spark plugs are powerful.

Note: An upgraded ignition coil, low resistance (but well shielded) spark plug wires are also needed to ensure proper electric pulse delivery to your spark plugs. This also means having a clean distributor, inside and out. Any place you can loose "electric current" like corroded spark plug ends, dirty distributor / points /communicator, distributor "arching", thin "high resistance" spark plug wires, etc.. all will contribute to a weaker spark.  If you notice an HP gain after installing a new ignition module, it could mean that your previous or stock module was producing a "weak" spark. Any un-shielded electrical connections can give you trouble with your FM radio system, buzzing sounds in your speakers, and can cause electrical interference throughout your stang. Make sure you have a "clean" ignition system from start to finish. Also Note: New 4.6L engines use a different type of ignition system and does not use a distributer / points system at all.

On my new Stang, sometimes my key won't open my trunk, what's the deal?

First, (just for your info.) your Securelock ignition key is only coded for your engine, there is no "special coding" involved with opening the trunk. You can in fact copy your key to have an extra key that will open your trunk (but not start your engine). This is a problem with the upper lock-tumbler, it may not be triggering the relay switch to open your trunk or other problem. If you can open your trunk with your key after you've "poped it" with the power trunk pop, then you may need to go to the dealer and have them fix the problem. Note: Re-adjusting the lower latch will not solve this problem, the dealer must replace the entire upper lock assembly (or fix the old one).

Can I paint my brake calipers with red paint to improve the look of my Stang ?

If you want to. We know a few racers that have done this. Most of them do this on import cars. This is to emulate the "look" of Brembo racing brakes which are bright red in color. Some of us here argue that if a thick glossy paint is used, this paint may act as a heat insulator and prevent your calipers from cooling off properly. We have no data to prove this is true, we have not painted our brakes so we can't be sure. Folks that have painted their calipers red don't report any problems. If you are going to do this, make sure you don't put paint where it's not supposed to go (like into the piston or rotors). If you don't want to paint the whole caliper, next time you change your brake pads on your stang you can just paint the backs of your new brake pads red (and leave the calipers stock), this may add an exotic look to your brakes if that is what you are trying to go for. Doing this does not give you extra performance, it only changes the "looks".

I was driving my Mustang hard, I noticed smoke coming out of my front brakes, did I destroy them ?

Probably not, what happened here is commonly refered to as "smoking the brakes", many racers are quite familiar with this situation (and are probably laughing out loud while they are reading this). This usually happens on the fox 4 platform (or Mustangs with rear drum brakes). If you use your brakes a lot, in hard "traffic light to traffic light" type racing, you may smoke your brakes. This is not good. First off you will loose most of your braking ability, your stang just won't stop while brakes are red hot and this causes your front brake discs to "crack" with these little tiny cracks if you do it often. Your front brakes are most likely the ones to be smoked, they do most of the braking. If you notice smoke, stop racing immediately and allow your brakes to cool off by driving slowly. After your brakes cool off completely you should be back to normal. This may be a good time to check your brake pads to see if there is anything left on them for your future braking needs. You may need to change your brake fluid if it looks black, as well. Don't worry, this happens to all folks who drive Mustangs HARD. It has not happened to us on the SN95 platform "yet" (which has 4 wheel disc brakes).

I live in a warm part of the country, do I need to use anti-freeze in my radiator ?

Yes. Anti-freeze (also refered to as engine coolant) provides several benefits to your radiator / engine. The most important parts of coolant are of course, an anti-freezing agent to prevent your radiator from ice expansion damage, it also makes the water in the radiator less volatile (the speed in which water boils and cools), but most importantly.... it provides anti-corrosion agents to prevent rust and other build up. Rust and other build up inside your radiator damages it big time, using anti-freeze / coolant prevents this. You should use a 50 - 50 mix. Half coolant, half water in your radiator. If you run "pure coolant" in your radiator and no water, your engine can overheat and your check engine light may come on. If you run "pure water" then on hot days the water will boil and you will look like you are driving a steam powered Mustang. It's good to completely flush, drain out and change your coolant according to your service schedule (included with your owners manual) there is a valve at the bottom of your radiator to do this.

Can using synthetic oil or oil additives like Slick 50 or Prolong give me more horsepower ?

Well, using synthetic oil will reduce engine wear during engine operation. Some performance shops have reported as much as 10 HP gain using synthetic oil on mildly modified stangs, why? Because less friction means better engine performance, it also means less heat... BUT, Remember that 70% of all engine wear occurs at engine STARTUP because overnight (while your engine was off) all the oil in your engine has drained to the bottom of the pan, leaving most of your engine "dry". The only way to prevent this wear is to purchase an engine "pre-olier" that pumps oil through your engine before you start up. Oil additives are a mystery, some use teflon additives which arn't too good for newer engines because teflon is a "solid particle". As your engine gets older (50,000 miles), everything gets "looser" so using a Teflon based additive won't be to harmful. Synthetic oil is formulated to last longer than mineral based oil, but does not contain Teflon or other additives (in most cases). There are some oil additives like Prolong that do not use "solid particles" in their lubrication. This type of additive is preferable to ones that use solid particles like teflon to aid in lubrication. We DO NOT recommend using ANY type of oil additive  (like slick 50, etc.) until after at least 15,000 miles (in a brand new engine). This ensures a good engine break-in. We DO recommend using synthetic oil for your regular oil changes. The makers of Prolong and Slick 50 may claim increased HP when using their products, we have not personally tested and "dynoed" these products, so for the moment, we must take their words on it. Keep in mind that using certain oil additives may technically void your new engine warranty. Most warranty policies are 3 year, 30,000 miles.

I want to make my Mustang sound louder, which muffler system is the loudest ?

So you want your Stang to boom? Well there are several companies that make mufflers to fit your bill. What you want to look for is how many "chambers" a performance muffler has. A 2 chamber muffler will sound louder than a 3 chamber muffler. The more chambers a muffler has, the more the sound is "baffled" within the muffler, hence a softer sound. A muffler with no baffles at all would basically be like running no muffler at all and be very loud. A "baffle" is like a wall inside your muffler, sound bounces around these walls inside your muffler, the more it bounces (and de-flects), the more the sound is reduced, like throwing a "super ball" on the ground, the first bounce is great and high, but subsequent bounces get lower and lower, etc. When you order, ask about how many chambers the muffler has and  ask about it's sound characteristics. Some mufflers don't use "chambers" at all but use other ways of baffling sound like glass pack, Fiber fill, etc. Performance mufflers are available from Mac, Flowmaster, Borla, Dynomax and others. Most are available in complete "cat-back" systems as well. Keep in mind that a very loud exhaust note may have your neighbors running for cover :-o

Can a strong magnetic field damage my Mustang's Securelock ignition key?

Technically it depends on the magnetic field. Your Securelock key will easily stand up to any "normal" amount of magnetic fields you are likely to encounter personally, while they are in your pocket. If you throw them into a 4 million watt magneto-nuclear particle accelerator they may not survive. You should be aware that there is a chip inside your Mustang's Securelock ignition key and that it should be treated with some care. Try not to throw your keys around etc. We have dropped our Securelock keys (several times) and even dunked them in water (accidentally) for a second and they still worked, they seem very tough. We have not pushed the limit of abuse on our Securelock keys enough to know when they will actually break, we're sure they would survive the "monkey cage" test at the zoo. Also, don't microwave your keys to test them... :-)

I noticed my air conditioning turned off when I floored the gas pedal, is this normal?

Yes. One neat thing about your new Mustang (and other ecc mustangs) is that your computer can control part of your AC system. When it detects that you have floored the pedal or need extra power, like when you are 5th gear trying to climb a hill, it will cut the AC compressor and vent air upwards in the stang. You may be able to notice this inside your stang while you drive.

How does an adjustable fuel pressure regulator give me extra performance ?

Fuel pressure is one very important thing in fuel injected cars. It controls how rich / lean your mixture is. During engine operation, each injector is opened for a period of time determined by the computer, the computer however can not control fuel pressure (unless you have a remote fuel pressure servo). If you purchase an adjustable fuel pressure regulator you MUST (in our opinion)  also purchase a fuel pressure gauge (or you can't see your adjustments!) . Both are VERY simple to install and "very" easy to use (and cheap, both for under $200). We've installed the gauge on the fuel rail in the engine compartment so we can always check fuel pressure at a glance. Generally, you'll want to lower your fuel pressure from the factory setting (around 39 psi) to 30-32 Psi to give you a richer mixture at high RPM's for some extra bang.

I would like to get a larger Mass Air Meter, can I just buy any one ?

No, when you purchase a new mass air meter it must come calibrated for your injectors. Fuel injectors are rated in Lbs. 19, 24, 30lbs etc. Most performance companies manufacture their performance mass air meters with calibrations for all standard fuel injector sizes, stock through modified. Actually, you can buy any one, just make sure it's calibrated for the injectors that you are running.

My Mustang didn't come with a wing, how much does one cost ?

We've seen them for about $350-$480 (GT style), painted and with a complete installation. Even though the wing is mostly a cosmetic item, at speeds over 60 MPH it actually makes a "slight "difference in performance. Because the wing is not adjustable, it's not to useful in a racing situation. What a rear wing is supposed to do is keep the rear end down in quick high speed turns (at the expense of a getting little more wind drag). Many people crash on freeways when they cut someone off at 80 MPH with a "quick" turn.... they spin out. A wing aids in keeping the rear end down at high speeds. Unless your making quick "snap turns" at over 80 MPH, the wing issue is purely cosmetic. Buy what you think looks cool on your stang. You can also save some bucks and buy a used wing off a wrecked GT that is painted the same color as your stang. Unless you got at least a "C"  in body shop, We'd recommend a pro (or the dealer) install it for you.

Why would I want to use urathane bushings on my Mustang ?

Every sway bar and sway bar end link on your stang has bushings to enable these parts to "flex" slightly under suspension loads. Metal bushings are a little to harsh for street use. Urathane bushings are just hard enough to offer an improvement in performance. When you go into a tight turn your sway bar and end links will be held in place tighter with urathane bushings over using rubber bushings. Rubber bushings compress under heavy g-loads (like when your racing a road course). With urathane bushings overall handling is improved. Steering response is also improved. Your ride may get a little more rough, just a little. Urathane is what they make most skateboard wheels out you know how stiff it is. Make sure you grease urathane bushings when installing ! If you don't, you will have more squeaks than a packed mouse house when you drive down the street. Generally, you'll have to re-grease them periodically to prevent them from squeaking. Most aftermarket performance bushings are made of urathane.

Will a supercharger damage my new Mustang's engine ?

No, not if it's properly installed. What ruins an engine is a bad driver and bad maintenance. Folks have been reliably supercharging engines since World War II. Supercharging is a great way to get more horsepower out of an engine. A supercharger makes an engine run at it's most efficient and productive levels at all RPM's by forced induction.  Using a supercharger with other internal engine mods like heads, cams, nitrous, etc... takes skill and is a different story, but a stock engine with a supercharger installed should last every bit as long as a stock engine without a supercharger. The stock T45 tranny can easily handle a supercharged engine mod as well. Most people that purchase superchargers are racers that subject their engines to greater wear than the average driver. We drive our supercharged Mustang to hell and back every day with no problems.

I'd like to upgrade my rims & tires on my new Mustang, but to what ?

One of the great things about the SN95 platform is the number of choices you have in tire upgrades and styles. You could spend from $1,200 to $14,000 (that's fourteen thousand) on 4 tires and rims. Most people are looking for maximum street performance. Tire sizes are specified in width to height ratios, but for simplicity we'll give you only the widths. The stock GT comes with 16 inch P225's on all fours. Here are our recommendations: P225's to P255's for the front, anything wider up front might bring problems for most drivers, freeway groove "tracking" problems, full lock turn rubbing with the front sway bar (which can be dangerous in road race track situations), a harder ride, and other problems. If you want to put a tire wider than P255's up front, then have your stang custom modified for the fit and and upgrade your front suspension setup and geometry. For the rear you can go with P225's to P275's. P285's and P295's will also fit by a simple alteration to your exhaust pipe location in the rear. Make sure you purchase a rim with a proper offset for TIRE & RIM fit on your stang. 17 inch & 18 inch rims are good for the street. Anything more at this present time, and you'll need a big checkbook.

If performance is your goal, don't worry about tire rotation. On the street, wider tires in back (P255's - P295's) and a slightly narrower tire up front (P235's - P255's) are ideal. You'll probably go through 2 times more rear tires than front tires. Having different tire sizes for the front and rear means no tire rotation is possible and means you're buying 2 tires at a time, more often, which is less money spent per tire store visit. Having 4 tires of the same size, with a rotation schedule, means your buying 4 tires at a time, less often, which is more money spent per tire store visit, assuming normal tire wear. Also, buying a lighter rim means better performance, your suspension will work less, last longer, stay cooler and perform better. A heaver rim will work your suspension more by increasing suspension travel because of it's heavier rotating weight momentum when going over bumps, etc.

If looks are your goal, then buy what you think "looks good" on your stang, and deal with drivability as a secondary issue.

Will removing the heat blanket from under the hood of my new Mustang give me extra performance ?

Most racers remove this hood blanket only because they are changing hoods all the time or it get's in the way (for mods). There IS a reason for it being there. If you remove it, you won't feel any difference in power, what you may notice over time is that your hood is beginning to change color! The blanket is there to protect your bone "stock" hood  from heat discoloration and to prevent violent change in engine block temperature during the winter (which can harm the engine block after the engine is turned off). Your engine temperature is virtually the same while driving with or without the blanket in place. Put a heat sensor strip in there and see for yourself. Generally it's wise to leave it in place.

I want to lower my Stang, what is the difference between Progressive and Specific rate springs, which should I use ?

The answer is in the question (as the wise man might say). The simple explanation: A progressive rate spring will increase it's torsional resistance "progressively" during suspension travel. This allows your suspension to "suck up" small bumps, pot holes, etc... but still maintain enough tension to support the chassis under heavy load, like while taking a fast tight turn. A specific rate spring has a "specific" torsional resistance rate. That is, from the first coil on up, the force needed to compress the spring is the same. It may be easier for racers racing on a smooth road race track to "dial in" their suspension using specific rate springs, but on the street, progressive rate springs may offer you a slightly softer ride. Progressive rate springs are more expensive. The type of springs you want depends on the type of driving / racing you will do. There is more to springs than meets the eye. The info could fill a book. Contact your performance spring dealer for more info.

I have a rattling sound coming from my new Mustang's interior while I drive, what could it be ?

Almost all Mustangs, and almost every other new car, has some kind of "minor" interior rattle or noise. It could be a loose fitting or nut. Most of these rattles are harmless and eventually go away. They are common in most new cars sold today. We had some rattles in our Mustangs here that went away. You can have someone ride with you and try to track where the sound is coming from. If the sound is really annoying and is affecting your driving, go to the dealer and have them fix the problem.

Most common rattles / noises are: Coin tray, cell phone antenna blowing in the wind and the emergency brake button (on the tip of the handle). To fix the emergency brake button noise simply rotate the button toward the driver side until it stops (it's a very short turn).

What type of gas should I use in my Mustang ?

If you have a bone stock (no mods) Mustang 4.6L SOHC or 5.0 then you can use any type of gas from regular unleaded (cheap gas) all the way up to race fuel. The new DOHC 4.6L requires only premium unleaded gas (or higher) or the engine will knock. To put this into perspective, we use the cheapest gas we can find in our bone stock 4.6L SOHC Mustangs and climb up hills at 1000 rpm in 4th or 5th with no knocking whatsoever. We've even raced head to head on stock stangs with race fuel and one with regular unleaded and there is no difference. Your injectors are fouled the same amount (when using name brand gasoline). When you get around to modifying your stang, then you can step up the gas octane. Using supreme unleaded in your bone stock stang (with no mods) is only costing you extra money, but not that much extra, like a couple bucks per fill. In the end it's up to you which gas you want to use. Never use a gasoline with an octane rating less than the minimum rating mentioned in your owners manual.

What's the difference between my stock shifter and a "ripper" or short throw shifter ?

The main difference in modified shifters is that the rubber mounts that insulate the stick from the lower shift mechanism and transmission have been removed. With these rubber mounts removed your stang will shift more positively. The rubber mounts in the stock shifter are there to lessen the vibration to your hands, if you race, I guess a little more vibration is acceptable. A short throw shifter is simply a shorter stick. With a shorter stick you don't have to move your hand that far to shift, hence speeding up the shift process. Keep in mind that with a shorter stick you may have to lean forward or adjust your seat position to reach the shifter comfortably. Most of these shifters allow you to adjust stick travel as well.

In my Mustang, which A/C setting gives me the best gas mileage ?

The MAX A/C position gives you the best mpg. The NORMAL A/C position takes outside air, cools it, then circulates the air. The MAX A/C position simply re-circulates the "already cool" air inside your stang. Your compressor will turn over less frequently. hence the better mpg.

If I run out of gas in my new Mustang, can I damage my engine ?

No, what may happen is that your computer may think your Mustang is mis-firing. A trouble code will be stored in the ECCV and the "check engine" light will illuminate. To clear out this problem you will have to get more gas, and drive the stang for at least 3 miles, then highway drive it for at least 5 miles. The check engine light should go out after that. If not, you can try again, or you'll have to drive to the dealer. If you think you will run out of gas, stop your stang before you completely run out of gas.

If I remove my air silencer from my Mustang will water get into my intake and damage my engine ?

No, actually there is an extremely small chance (under rare circumstances) that a drop or so may enter, but not even close to enough to harm your engine. We've hosed our Mustangs with full blast pressure from a water hose from all angles and were not able to get water to "splash" into the air filter. If you have a K & N (or other cotton filter) there is no worry at all. When washing our cotton filters, after shaking loose most of the water, we "final dry" our cotton filters on our Mustangs with the engine running all the time, then remove them and re-oil and re-use. Even if you took a cup of water and threw it directly on your K & N under full throttle, it is very unlikely that you would damage your engine (don't do this though).

On a side note: We go off-roading (in trucks) and sometimes suck water into the engine while crossing small streams... all that happens is the engine stalls out. No big deal. No damage.

Sometimes I get a static "shock" after driving and touching my new Mustang's exterior, is this normal ?

Yes. When you move around in the car you build up static, pressing the clutch pedal, etc.. It also depends on the type of shoes you have on. Generally, we found that flat rubber shoes (like loafers or tennis shoes) produce the strongest shocks. Hiking boots produce the least shock. You'll get more "shocks" in the summertime than in winter.

Is it normal for my shifter to vibrate or shake while driving ?

It's perfectly normal for your shifter to vibrate or shake while driving under throttle but not to make a rattling sound or noise. If your shifter makes a rattling noise it could be a loose shifter boot or other problem. Call your dealer for more details.

Will using underdrive pulleys ruin or drain my Mustang's battery?

No, in fact by under driving your water pump and alternator you are actually extending the life of each by putting less wear on them. As far as the battery goes, if you have installed and use major amounts of stereo equipment like 5000 watt amplifiers, CB Radio, etc. then under drive pulleys may not be for you... you can't have everything in life (unless you have the money). Installing a new high output alternator almost negates the installation of the underdrive pulleys by adding extra torque to drive the new alternator. Installing underdrive pulleys is a cost effective way to gain extra HP at the crank, but make no mistake, to get that HP gain you NEED to underdrive the alternator and the water pump, this is no mystery. If you have charging problems when using underdrive pulleys (because of  lots of extra installed electrical equipment) then simply re-install the stock pulleys or leave the alternator pulley stock and get a new custom length accessory belt or tensioner bracket.

Can I use underdrive pulleys with a Supercharger (blower) ?

Yes, BUT it's not recommended in some cases. In Mustang platforms where 2 belts are used, most blowers will need a special crank pulley that is usually machined in the stock pulley's size or designed to work with the stock crank pulley. In the new 96-98 platforms only one belt is used (on popular blower systems). In this case keeping the underdrive pulleys isn't a problem, for more boost you can vary the size of your blower's pulley and a smaller crank pulley in place means less HP lost to drive it. For ease of blower installation (with the computer, etc.), it may be easier for some to just revert back to the stock pulleys.

My Mustang won't start, what could be wrong ?

A faulty fog light / switch or wire harness could drain your battery in older Mustangs if it gets grounded.  Also, (duh) check the battery. Did you know that a faulty battery is the No.1 cause of most car problems. Even if your can turns over and over but won't start, it could be your battery. The battery is the FIRST PLACE to start looking for ANY type of engine problem, even a transmission problem (just to emphasize the point). The battery must be able to maintain proper voltage for your modern EFI engine to operate and start properly. Always buy Heavy Duty service batteries for your Mustang. Never use a cheap battery.

Sometimes my Mustang "putts out", stalls or "vapor locks" after driving for a while, what's wrong ?

Most likely....a bad fuel pump. Your fuel pump (located inside your gas tank) must maintain proper pressure to ensure fuel delivery. Even if your dealer checks the fuel pressure and it reads OK, your fuel pump may still be faulty (older Mustangs). With a faulty fuel pump your are more likely to "stall out" when the gas tank is half full or less. This problem can also happen if you've upgraded your injectors and intake and neglected to upgrade your fuel pump. Another thing to check is your EGR valve, make sure it's not stuck open.

If I use an off-road h-pipe on my new Mustang will my "check engine" light go on ?

Depends. A well engineered off-road h-pipe should not trigger the "check engine" light but without modifying the computer or your fuel pressure, your Mustang will probably be running lean, even if no check engine light comes on. Sometimes this lean condition is automatically corrected by the computer after 30 miles of driving or so. There are sensors before the catalytic converters and sensors just after them. If the computer detects something is astray, it will change your engine performance. A well engineered off-road h-pipe has the sensor  mounting locations in strategic locations to minimize the effects of removing the catalytic converters (to the computer). This is also why most "speed chip" companies offer "off road" chips and regular chips. For any change you do to your Mustang where sensors are involved, you'll need to change the computer or adjust things elsewhere to maximize performance. In a '96 or newer stang (which all have OBD2 spec computers) have the check engine light come on for the h-pipe won't give you "worse" performance, you still enjoy the benefit of a free flow exhaust but your check engine light will not be available for warning you about other potential engine problems. You can buy a chip from some chip makers to remedy this minor problem with the check engine light.

My new Mustang seems to run hot, is this normal ?

This is a relative question. If you look at your dash you'll notice that NORMAL is actually N O R M A L, that is, it has a WIDE range. If it's a hot day out and you are using the AC and blasting the radio, then expect to see your needle near the red HOT line, but still within the NORMAL bar. A new Mustang should not overheat with steam coming out of the engine, even under stressful driving, we know, some of us live in the desert near Palm Springs and drive our Mustangs to "hell" and back every day. Other problems may be that you are using too much coolant and not enough water, it should be a 50 - 50 mix, in fact on some cars if there is too much coolant and not enough water in the system, the "check engine" light may come on. If this happens, just add more water and the "check engine" light will turn off.

I have a CB radio with a 120 watt linear amplifier, can this damage my ECC computer ?

Yes it could. If you "key up" with full power on your CB & linear (100w or more), the RF "may" damage your ecc computer. To reduce the chances of this happening, wrap the ecc in tin foil or other RF shielding. Run the CB radio cables as far away from the computer as possible. In the past we damaged 2 ecc computers accidentally by not shielding them.

I grind all the time with my T45 on high RPM shifts from 1st to 2nd, what could be wrong ?

Your Mustang may need a clutch adjustment (not the self adjusting clutch). This could be a "sticky clutch" problem, that appears after the break-in period. Make sure that the proper oil is in the trans (even if your stang is brand new). Getting a new shifter won't solve this problem. call your dealer for more details. If you are not racing, it's good to wait at least 1/2 to 1 second between shifts to extend transimission life.

I just put new headers and exhaust on my Mustang, I noticed this strange smell, is this normal ?

Yes and No. Yes if your headers or exhaust system has a special heat coating. It is normal for new headers with this coating to "cure" for a few days after installation and running hot. NO if your spark plug boots are burning up! Check to see if your spark plug boots / wires fully clear all header tubes.

My idle on my Mustang is rough and jerky, what could be wrong ?

It could be a million different things. Some simple things to check is the PCV valve, make sure it's new. Make sure your throttle body is clean, opens and closes properly. You may also be due for an oil change. If you've just changed your oil, and your idle is still rough, then have your Mustang serviced.

My Mustang seems to be burning oil, the "low oil" light comes on between changes, is this normal ?

Burning oil is not normal. This usually happens because of an oil overfill. NEVER overfill your stang with more oil than is recommended in the owners manual (or your performance manual). Burning oil also means other problems.

If the "low oil" light comes on it DOES NOT necessarily mean that you need to add more oil. It may have come on because your Mustang was parked at a slight angle. Drive to the nearest level flat parking lot, turn your engine off, wait a few minutes and start it up again. The low oil light will go out if it was a false alarm. Of course check your oil with the dipstick WEEKLY on a flat level surface. At Mustangworld we check it at every gas refill. Note: Older 100,000 mile Mustangs may burn oil but not more than 1/2 quart between changes.

How much air should I put into my performance tires ?

For performance street tires you should inflate your tires to the specification imprinted on the side of your tires when your tires are cold (unless noted). This is CTP Cold Tire Pressure. Drive to the nearest service station or use an air compressor at home to inflate your tires. Your air pressure gauge will always show a higher pressure than normal if you check a HOT tire.


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