Sunday, June 22, 2008

MSD Coil Packs

I'm back from my test drive after changing the spark plugs, wires and cleaning the MAF. I forgot to mention that I also replaced both four tower coil packs with the MSD four tower blaster coil packs. The sales copy says: "These new coils from MSD are designed to be bolt-in replacements for OEM coils but with a hotter spark that improves performance. They are designed with better materials and windings to help burn the fuel mixture more efficiently which results in a smoother idle and more mid range power." They were easy to bolt in, four bolts per coil pack, unplug the coil connector put wires back in the correct place and you are good to go. I did notice a much smoother idle and no stumbling in 5th gear with the cruise control on. After all this work the GT idles better, accelerates smoother and is smoother in cruise control at low RPMs. So I'm very happy with the results. I got the plugs and coil packs at Mustangs Unlimited and the Ford Racing 9mm plug wires at Summit Racing.

Spark Plugs & Wire

Since I have only had the car 6 weeks now, I thought it would be a good idea to change the plugs and wires. I did not want to go crazy yet and get some super expensive plug so I just ended up getting the Motorcraft Platinum plugs. I also installed new plug wires, the Ford Racing Blue 9mm wires. I'm glad I did this because when I took out the old plugs they looked in rough shape and there were two plugs that were different than the rest of the plugs that I took out. Six plugs were Splitfire and the number 3 and 4 cylinder had very bad looking Bosh Platinum plugs. I always like to start with the hardest plugs to reach first so that means the passenger side of the engine. I had to take off the K&N cold air induction tube and unplug two fuel injectors. I started with #4 it was Bosh, then #3 same thing Bosh. So the last person that changed the plugs did not do #4 or #3 because they are the hardest to change. All the rest of the plugs were the Splitfire. I'm heading out now to see how the thing runs. It fired up and idled nicely, now to see how it is on the road.

Cleaning the MAF

The GT had thrown some some error codes and the idle was a tad rough so I thought it was a good time to do some tune up items. I went to this link and followed the instructions on cleaning the MAF. Keeping the wires clean is important if your computer is going to get a correct reading on the amount of air that is coming into the intake. I have a K&N cold air induction and I had just cleaned and oiled the filter element. The info at the link above said that the oil from the filter can coat the wires and skew the signal reading. They looked clean, but I wanted to make sure. I just hit them with a blast of quick drying contact cleaner and let them air dry before I put the whole thing back together.

Friday, June 20, 2008


This past weekend I used four different Zaino products on my car. I started with the Z-PC polishing compound that you don't use all the time, just when you want to get a glass smooth base and take off the stuff that is stuck in your paint. Then I used their all in one wax, Z-AIO which is a polish, wax and leaves a protective layer. The next step is the clear seal, Z-CS that you rub on and walk away, no buffing. It self levels to leave another UV protective layer to protect your paint. Then after 12 hours I topped it all off with Z-8 Grand Finale Spray Seal. The car is now as smooth as glass and looks great. It is amazing what this product has done for the original ten year old paint! Photos are below. You can read all about Zaino at: Go to this link for the Zaino Store.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ford PATS Key

When I got my car it only had one key and no fob. Fobs I can get off ebay cheap, I guess I'll have to get a key blank there also. Ford has a security system called PATS that uses a computer chip / transponder in your key. The car's computer won't start the car unless the chip talks to it. My car was made in 08/98 so that makes it a late '98 which is a bad thing if you only have one key. With two keys I could get a blank cut and follow a process that will program that other key. Since I only have one key I have to get another one made.

At lunch Friday I went by Tim Stewart Ford Lincoln Mercury at 5675 Peachetree Industrial Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30341 and went to the parts department to have a key made. They told me it was $45 for the key and $90 to program it for my car. I'm not going to pay $135 for a key! So I'll have to call around to independent locksmiths or find a way to defeat the PATS systems so I can us a normal skinny $1.25 home depot key.

I have also read that some Ford dealers will not rape you for the cost on programing your key. If that is so then shame on you Tim Stewart Ford Lincoln Mercury!

Steeda Underdrive Pulleys part II

The underdrive pulleys are installed! I started on Friday night and the first problem I ran into was the radiator fan would not allow me to get my impact wrench square on the crank pulley bolt. I took the radiator overflow tank off, then the radiator fan. The crank pulley did not want to budge so I sprayed some Teflon penetrating oil spray on it and the other nuts to let them soak overnight. This morning I put the impact wrench back on the crank nut pulley and it broke loose right away. Also loosened the other nuts required for this install.

It took me a total of 3 hours for this install. I took my time, that is the nice thing about working on a car that is not your daily driver, no real rush to get it done. After I put it all back together I fired it up and watched the belt for any wobbles. It tracked true, so I went in, washed up and took the GT for a spin.

I noticed the engine wants to rev. freer and it had a tad more pull over my last mod. I could feel more power, just not as much as what the Diablo performance tune gave me. The old harmonic balancer was looking ratty so this mod made sense for a performance and maintenance standpoint. A win / win if you ask me!

Below are the photos of the install. The first is of the crank pulley puller that I got at O'Reilly Auto Parts, it was $14.99 and it worked great! The second photo is of both set of pulleys, the factory set is on the left. The third photo is the engine getting ready for the new pulleys and the forth is the completed install. All and all this mod was worth the money and time it took to install.

Steeda Underdrive Pulleys Photos part II

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Steeda Underdrive Pulleys

Mustangs Unlimited gave me a call and told me my pulleys were in. I went to pick them up and when I opened the box I could tell that the build quality was much higher than the BBK UDPs that I had gotten and taken back. I'll be installing them Friday night or this weekend. I still need to get a pulley puller so I can remove my old one. I'll post photos and comments once it is installed. Thanks go out to Mustangs Unlimited for getting these to me faster than the time they quoted!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Diablo Sport Tuner

I went out looking for a tuner this weekend and ended up buying the Diablosport Predator. I drove down to Summit Racing again this weekend to look at tuners. They had two for the Mustang GT. The Diablo that I ended up buying and the Granatelli Fuego Flash Tuner. The thing that I did like about the Granatelli was the fact that you can use it on up to six Ford vehicles and their website said it will datalog. Well, after doing some research on the web I had seen nothing but negative reviews about that tuner. To sum up what I had read was this gem of a quote: " DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON GMS.. That tuner is craptastic.." So after looking at both, I will have to say that the build quality was better on the Diablo. It was a little more money and you can only use it for one vehicle, but most of the reviews I had read online were positive. Plus there are two shops that are close by that will make custom tunes once I have an engine that is modified enough to warrant a dyno tune.

I am aware of another quality tuner out there for the Mustangs and that would be the SCT SF3 Power Flash. I have also heard nothing but good things about SCT, but while reading their manual I came across this: "X3 Power Flash VIN locks to a single vehicle. You cannot use the device to tune a new or different vehicle, until you have returned the original vehicle back to stock, which will unlock the device. You can only change vehicles 5 times before the unit is permanently locked." With the Diablo tuner you can change to any number of vehicles, you just have to put back the stock program before you move on to another vehicle. That right there knocked SCT out of the running for me. Now it looks like the new SCT LiveWire tuner does not have the 5 vehicle limit, but it is way out of my price range.

After I got it home, I went to The Diablo website and downloaded the software and the updates for this tuner. The instructions were great and the process was painless. Another neat feature is using this hand held tuner to do 'check engine' diagnostics. It reads the fault codes from your OBDII port and if your 'check engine' light is on it will list the fault codes with explanations. After you read those fault codes then you can clear them and turn off the 'check engine' light. My check engine light has been coming on every now and then and by checking the codes they are more from the light mods I have on my car (cat back FlowMasters and K&N cold air induction). A custom tune will take care of these.

After I cleared my fault codes I went for a drive so I could burn up some of the last bits of gas I had in my tank. I know, it's tough to HAVE to drive your car around burning up gas! The reason to empty the tank was so I could fill it with 93 octane fuel. The Diablo Performance tune requires 93 octane. I filled up the tank and headed home to flash the computer with the Diablo Performance tune. This took maybe 5 minutes tops and was very easy because of the excellent menu on the tuner. After it was done, I unhooked the tuner from the OBDII port and fired up the GT. As soon as I hit the street I could tell a difference on how my Mustang now accelerates, it has more power lower in the RPM range. When I took it on the freeway ramp and stomped on it, there was a noticeable difference on how hard the car pulled down the ramp. I was all smiles!

I'm very happy with this tuner. I have just scratched the surface on what it can do, but for now it has helped my project car move down the road a little faster. As I add more mods I'll be able to use it to upgrade my tune to keep up with my modifications. Another good weekend upgrade!

Oh, I'm still waiting on the Steeda underdrive pulleys. Called Mustangs Unlimited and they said that the order should be in by the 10th of June.