PART 2 Sensors
1. OK, so lets start with cleaning
the engine compartment, one really easy way to clean the engine
is to use "simple green" or equivalent type of de greaser. We
encourage you to use only "environmentally safe" stuff.
First you have to cover some stuff that might be damaged by water such
as the wiring harness connectors and that K&N you have exposed under
the hood (in some cases). Use a plastic bag for the K&N and aluminum
foil to wrap the connectors. Don't worry about the distributor since
you will change wires and cap later.
Apply the cleaning solution liberally to the engine using a sponge,
work your way under all small crevices, accessories etc, etc. Also apply
to the hood insulation, this sucker gets pretty dirty.
Now wait for 15-20 minutes for the stuff to start working, then use
a hose to wash off all that dirt. Start the engine and let it idle for
10 minutes so the water evaporates. Use an old T-shirt to completely
dry the engine. Aluminum parts will stain if you leave water on them.
2. If you have a K&N, this is the time to clean
it, but use only the K&N cleaning and oiling products. If you have
a stock air filter then get a K&N
3. Next is changing your plugs, wires and distributor
cap & rotor (5.0s), start by changing the cap
and rotor, replace by first swapping the OLD wires to the
new cap, check that the wires are replaced in the same order, the cap
has a mark for #1 piston. Now loosen the old cap and replace the rotor,
make sure there's no water in there.
Now change the plugs, this is the "fun part"
cause it is not that easy to remove the plug wire boots from the plugs.
Use mechanics or leather gloves to do this, your hands will thank you.
Start by calibrating your new plugs, we recommend you to use AUTOLITES
#24 on 5.0s, stay away from "sh*tfires" ouch..mean SplitFires
and similar types of plugs, also stay away from platinum's. If you cant
find Autolites use Motorcraft's. Gap them to .052
4.6 and DOHC's should use platinum's, buy Bosch or NGK's.
Btw, don't remove your wires if you don't know the firing order, just
place the old wire boots over the new plugs without pushing them all
Change the plug wires now, do it one by one until
all are replaced and don't forget the coil wire. Here we recommend to
try the FMS 9mm, Accel 300 or LiveWires. Or choose the brand of your
choice. Buying a thermo insulation for your wires and boots is a wise
thing to do if you have Equal length headers and if you want your wires
to last longer.
After this step, start your engine to check for possible arcing on
the wires. Make sure the boots are all the way down on the plugs.
4. Oil change time.
This you can do at home with simple tools, an oil filter removal wrench
and a large pan to drain the old oil. Our recommendation is to have
your oil changed at a place where they have the tools and oil recycling
facilities. It takes 30 minutes and it is not that expensive. Our recommendation
is to go with Synthetic oils, they last longer and have better heat
dissipation qualities. Try Mobil 1, we have had great results with it.
Just stay away from PTF (Teflon) loaded oils, such as Slick-50,
they can clog your filter and oil passages. For the filter get a MOTORCRAFT
one, stay away from FRAM and the cheap ones. Not all filters are alike.
5. Flush your radiator
and change your Thermostat, Here start by removing the Coolant drain plugs
on the block and opening the radiator flush (on front lower passenger
Remove the thermostat by loosening the 2 bolts and removing the water
pump and radiator hoses that connect to the thermostat housing. Remove
all the gasket material at the lower intake and thermostat housing,
you can use a sharp knife or exacto knife to do this.
Install the thermostat housing without a thermostat
or gasket, place the block drain plugs in place, re-attach the hoses
and fill the system with water using a hose. Start the engine with the
water running, open the radiator drain. This will flush most of the
gunk out of the system. Let it run for a few minutes and Drain the system
Now install your new thermostat and new gasket. But first some important
notes about Thermostats:
all thermostats are created equal, the "cheap" ones are
not a good choice since they will not open and close exactly at the
same temperature and water pressure, you best bet here is to buy a
"BALANCED" thermostat such as the ones
sold by Mr. Gasket, this thermostats have a special
construction that makes them open and close exactly at the same temperature
regardless of pressure.
They will also not get stuck, we have seen lots of new cheap thermostats
do this after a few days or even hours.
Make sure you place that thermostat in the right direction, the spring
side goes to the lower intake. Good thermostats have an arrow pointing
which side goes to the radiator.
Now assemble everything back, put the block drain plugs in place and
close the drain on the radiator, start the engine and fill the radiator
with a mix of coolant and water, here just a few notes, if you are on
a HOT location, use a 70% water 30% coolant mix, on colder areas increase
the coolant to a 50-50 mix. Also on hot places use "Water
Wetter" for added cooling efficiency, this stuff can lower
the temp as much as 10-15 degrees.
Start the engine with the radiator cap removed, add water/coolant mix
until it is completely full and you don't see any more air bubbles.
Also fill the drain bottle to the top. Take the car for a spin for a
few minutes and check coolant again. The level on the drain bottle might
go down until all the bubbles are out of the system. Re-check the coolant
level for the next couple of days and inspect for possible leaks at
the thermostat housing gasket, if so re-tighten the bolts a bit, but
not much as you can break the housing.
6. Setting your timing
is important from a performance stand point, when you increase timing
a bit, you improve the combustion efficiency. Setting timing can only
be accomplished MANUALY on 5.0 engines. 4.6 owners should either get a
chip or buy a special timing wheel to adjust it. We don't recall the name
of this piece but we will look for it and let you know.
An increase in timing can make your car DETONATE or ping, this is caused
by a larger need of fuel by the engine or a need for higher octane fuel.
Check our complete explanation here.
Your timing should be increased to a point where you don't hear detonation
and where your car makes the most power. Since not all cars are created
equal some respond better to advance and some others don't. High altitude
Calibrated EEC's on 5.0s starting with serial #F4AE, are more prone
to detonation that the series #F4ZF which are low altitude. Above your
DOOR TAG you might find another small tag that says CALIBRATION CODE,
with 2 numbers, the lower one is your PCM series number. If you cant
find it there then you can find the EEC at the passenger side kick-panel.
the engine OFF, remove the TIMING PLUG or SPOUT
connector that is found on the passenger side close to the
Air box. The plug is most of the times a GRAY fuse like thing that's
inside a connector on a wiring harness. Now loosen the distributor bolt
so that the distributor can move by hand. The bolt shouldn't be too
loose as to allow the distributor to move alone.
To set the timing you will need a TIMING LIGHT, if you don't have one
then buy, rent, or ask your neighbor for one (even if he has a Ch*vy).
Place the timing light "pick-up" at the #1 plug wire, the
#1 is marked on the distributor cap. Connect the (+) and (-) terminals
to the battery if the timing light is not a battery operated one.
Now locate the crank balancer wheel, it has marks to tell you advance
and retard, if they are not visible try painting them with white paint
from 0 to 15 degrees.
Start the engine, (without the spout connector unplugged) point
the timing light to the wheel and move your dist clockwise to advance
the timing, start at 15 degrees and stop. Stop the engine and put back
Test your car, drive around for awhile. If you hear detonation or pinging
retard 1 degree until it stops. Also try using higher octane Gas (92-93)
to stop the detonation. Make sure you disconnect the battery to clear
all stored memory tables in the EEC.
7. The Throttle
body and Intake can get pretty dirty after a while, the oil and gunk
deposits in them can reduce your pony's performance. Also after lots of
traffic driving your heads and valves might get covered with Carbon deposits
that can cause PRE-IGNITION, which is as bad as detonation.
To clean it all there are a few things you can do, either remove the
intake and heads to clean them OR the EASY WAY. use Carb Cleaner or
BRAKE FLUID to clean them. If you use Carb cleaner just make sure it
is O2 sensor-safe. Brake fluid is.
This procedure is for 5.0 engines only, 4.6 should
not try this.
Now disconnect the hose that runs from the passenger side valve cover
on the OIL FILL TUBE to the Throttle body hose. Disconnect at the valve
Start your engine and either SPRAY the carb cleaner into the hose or
Immerse the hose in the brake fluid bottle. Do this 1 second at a time
and rev the engine a bit if it starts to stall, repeat the procedure
until you are half way on the cleaner or brake fluid.
You will see lots of smoke from the exhaust..this is normal and a sign
that the cleaner is working.Take the car for a ride and repeat the procedure
the next day.
8. Brake fluid replacement and bleeding
is something you should do at least every year. Brake fluid absorbs moisture
from the exterior, that moisture can create rust inside the brake system
making it less efficient. To drain the system you have 2 choices, one
is to get your car to specialized shop that can drain it without leaving
bubbles in the ABS (if so equipped). This is hard to do.
You second choice is do it at home and try to replace most of the fluid
with new one.
Start by getting some decent synthetic fluid, 3 or 4 small bottles
is all you need, we here also recommend Mobil or Motorcraft. The synthetic
fluid absorbs less moisture and can withstand higher temperatures, a
good thing if you race your car.
For this procedure you will need the help of a friend to press the
brake pedal while you open the bleeder valves on the brakes. You will
also need to place a rubber hose on the bleeder at the brake to pour
the old fluid inside a used bottle.
Start with the passenger side REAR caliper, have someone
press the brake (or use a jack against the seat and brake.) and open
the bleeder slowly until fluid stops leaking, then close it.
Ask your buddy to remove his foot from the brake pedal or remove the
jack. Repeat this procedure 5 times. Now check the fluid level and add
NEW FLUID to the reservoir. Go to the drivers side rear wheel, repeat
the process. Do the same at the front, go to the passenger side first
then do the drivers side. Don't forget to fill the brake fluid reservoir
tank before it gets empty!!!.
Take the car for a spin at SLOW SPEED, and test the brakes several
times, increase your speed as you get confident that everything is ok,
hit the brakes harder and harder each time. If they feel very "mushy"
or soft, try bleeding them again, probably a bit of air got into them.
9. A KOEO and KOER test will tell
you a lot about the health of your car. Even if you haven't seen the CHECK
ENGINE light Flash. And it is a procedure that is easy to perform with
just a piece of wire or a digital voltmeter.
The complete EEC test procedure can be found
After performing your tune up and checking your EEC for stored codes
it is a wise idea to reset the EEC stored memory tables. When the tables
get erased the EEC will start to relearn its fuel and air strategies
which will make you car perform better.
To erase the memory all you have to do is disconnect the battery for
After performing this HI-PERF TUNE-UP your car will feel a lot stronger,
your MPG will increase and your stang will be happy !
This complete tune-up should be performed once a year with the exception
of some stuff like lubricants, filters and plugs that should be replaced
every 3,000 miles.
Your wires should also last more than a year..so don't go replace them
every year, but probably every 2-3 years.
Now..get out of here and enjoy your car!