Looking For Some Header / Intake Advice

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by GrandmasterK, May 29, 2013.

  1. I've got a 1989 GT that blew a head gasket and I figured while it's apart, I would replace some parts two. The two major things I want to replace are the upper/lower intake and the heads. I've never done this before and I'm unfamiliar with why I'd want certain heads or intakes over others.

    For the intakes, based on feedback I've read here, I would like to go with Trick Flow (unless someone gives me a compelling argument otherwise). Hopefully the link below works for everyone... I think I'd like to go with one of these between the $500 to $629 range.


    For heads, I'm less sure of what I need but I'm looking for something that will work with the Trick Flow intake I get above and stock pistons / rollers / etc. Ideally I'd find something under $1,000 that would work with this setup. I've seen some new priced in this range and a lot of used GT-40 heads in this range (though I think I may want the GT-40P heads, which I see less of).

    I'd also like to determine any other parts I need so that I have everything together when I start assembling things (ie gaskets, larger throttle body, etc). Thanks in advance, sorry if this is vague, I've never bought these types of engine parts before.
  2. from your sig you also need to think about a throttle body in my opinion accufab makes the best TB some of the cheaper brands out there have issues with whistling mostly from the idle air control valve. if your going to do heads id try and find something like afrs but i dont know your budget but on the low side i know edelbrock makes a few sets just not sure about egr passages. keep in mind if you get heads they might require special headers like the P heads due to spark plug placement and since you already have an exhaust I would avoid spending more then you have to.

    also consider a cam shaft.


    cam w/ 1.7:1 rockers and a great choice for the street heat IM
  3. though to be honest a budget and HP goal would be great to know. cause I'm sure we could all blow $10,390,428,958,043 for you.
  4. First, figure out what your goal/use is/ Street. street/strip,? Then what is your budget. Then understand that once you start to throw more HP at the car, that will necessitate all sorts of things like larger injectors, MAF, throttle body, etc. In addition, added HP puts more strain on the rest of the car- cooling, braking, transmission, etc., so I would take all of that into consideration.

    There are many tried and true setups. DO you want to stay N/A or are you planning a power added- Nitrous, Supercharger. Most guys will say for the biggest cam you can find, but I would advise against that. You want to match the cam to the heads and IMO the stock cam will get you deep in the 12's and retain driveability. Yes, a custom cam or aftermarket cam is nice and will make more power, but that will set you back another $700 or so with lifters, pushrods, etc. You can throw on a set of 1.72 RR on a stock cam and it will perform very well for the average DD without the surging /roaming idle problems.

    Here are some popular top end setups.

    1. Basic economy upgrade- Top end off a mid 90's Explorer- heads, intake, Throttle body. With the stock mustang cam expect to be in the 260-270 hp range. You can reuse your existing injectors and MAF. There are a million writeups on this swap. Expect the cost for this swap including better springs and cleanup on the heads to be around $600-$800. That's what I swapped on my Mustang a few months ago with a MAF from a 95 gt. You can find all of these at most junkyards, on message boards, and on CL.

    Once you start approaching the 300+hp area then you need to upgrade the fuel system- fuel pump, injectors, MAF, Throttle body from stock. Also, upgraded cooling and drivetrain components are recommended.

    2. TW top end kits- Summit and others sell this as a complete kit. Heads, intake, Throttle body, cam, timing chain, etc. Expect around 325-350 hp for about $2500 for the kit. You will need larger injectors, MAF.

    3. Top end kit from Ed Curtis at TFI. Custom cam and worked heads. Expect 350+ hp. Cost - varies. Again, you need the requisite supporting parts.

    For headers, most will tell you go with LT if you are looking for the most HP. If you want the easiest install and again if the budget is an issue, a good set of shorty headers will give you around 10-15 hp. You can find deals on headers and exhaust all over the boards. The best IMO are ceramic coated. Know that there are specific LT headers for auto vs. manual transmission cars.

    Again, the choices are infinite and depend on your setup- auto/stick, gears, and most important your budget.
  5. For the heads, you could get trick flow or edelbrock for a little more, and have a better flowing head. On intakes, the trick flow is a pretty good intake (edelbrock about the same), the only one that might be significantly better is the Holley systemax. You should have a MA in the 75mm range, and a TB in the 65/70mm range. The heads and intake are going to put you in the area where you should be upgrading to 24# injectors and a 110/155 lph fuel pump.
  6. Thanks for all the thoughts so far. At this point in time, I want to be more economical with my updates. If I could get away with spending between $1,000 to $1,500 for everything, that would be great. Headers and intake are the two items I absolutely want to upgrade while everything is apart. Probably not going to do cam shaft at this time. I'm prepared to upgrade a few other pieces that need to be updated along the way (throttle body seems to be the most obvious). If there are some pieces that are good to have but can wait (fuel system upgrades for instance), I might wait simply because I'm putting all this on my credit card right now and don't need to rack up more debt.​
    My initial though was pairing a Trick Flow intake w/ some new heads, either AFR or if I go cheaper, the GT-40 (40p?) but I wasn't really sure exactly what GT-40 heads I would want.​

  7. If you can put together a package that includes a TF intake, new AFR heads , throttle body, headers, and all of the other parts- bolts, gaskets, etc. for under $1500 let me know. I'll take 10 at that price. The heads alone are that much. At that price point, I agree with keeping the stock cam.

    For that amount of money, look for a good used set of TW heads, rockers, pushrods, intake, Throttle body, and headers. There are always guys swapping or upgrading their setup. If you are lucky and can bargain, you might be able to be around the $1500 area. Remember, you also need to factor in cost for new head/ intake/header bolts, gaskets, fluids, RTV, etc. You will need to get a set of heads with 1.90 valves unless you notch your pistons for the 2.02. HOWEVER, you will be maxing out your injectors and stock fuel pump at these hp levels. Used 24lbers and a decent MAF will set you back around $150-200. 155 fuel pump another 50 or so.

    For under a grand you can do the Explorer/GT40 swap. It will not get you near the power of the TW setup though. About 40-50 less hp, but you can keep your stock injectors, maf and fuel pump for now.

    Like I said, your budget will determine how much HP you want to make. IMO, you want to spend the most money you can on your heads and build everything around that.
  8. The best budget minded complete performance set up would be like a trick flow kit.... A little more than your current budget but in my opinion it would be the best way to go.

    If interested let me know I can put together a nice kit for you and as an authorized SN dealer I give a nice discount

    Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk 2
  9. Woops. I was trying to remember pricing from yesterday and replying today. It's the Edelbrock heads that are cheaper, thinking those and pair with a TF intake.
  10. I'd be interested if you could do that. My big concern is buying parts that all fit and perform well together and with what I already have. The TF packages I've seen online are $2500+ though which is more than I want to spend now but if something was more customized and didn't include as much, that could work.
  11. Regarding the P heads vs the GT40. They flow a little better, have a smaller exhaust valve - same 1.84 intake- and a slightly higher compression due to the smaller combustion chamber, but need specific headers as the plugs stick straight out vs. on an angle like the gt40 heads.. If you have any emissions they are not drilled for the thermactor holes. I know for a fact that FMS, BBK, and MAC shorty headers will work but plug changes are a pita. Do a search on the net as this has been discussed a million times.

    Those heads are nothing special. Stock springs and they only do the valve guides IF needed? lol What about the valves. do they replace bad ones with new or other used ones. I would never put those heads on my car without a spring upgrade.

    Now this is just me, but the one area you do not want to skimp is the heads. I would rather pull a set out of a JY explorer, buy the TFS spring upgrade and have a quality local machine shop go hot tank, magnaflux and go through the heads. Figure $100 for the heads, $150 for the springs and then maybe $200-300 for the machine shop work. At least you will know the quality of what you are putting on the car.

    Yes you an use the stock rockers on both GT40 and P heads.
  12. Is there something off the shelf I could buy for Header / Intake / anything else I need for around $1000 to $1500 that would perform well and bolt on without having to take it to a machine shop? I haven't delt with machine shops before and would feel better to get something that I know would work without modifications.