It’s gotten easier to drop a modern Coyote engine fitted to a vintage Mustang, Fox body Mustang and Restomod project. and there’s no argument that the 5.0L dual overhead cam (DOHC) from the 2011 to 2017 Mustang GT, affectionately known as the “Coyote” modular V-8, is great.
So with Over 435 hp without the use of a supercharger, The Coyote’s cylinder head design, camshafts, and trick electronic valve timing control (each cam independently controlled) meant this new modular not only made good power, but actually had usable torque down low, something the Mustang was missing since its pushrod days.
The Coyote is a wide engine to fit into the engine bay. There are several schools of thought here, including all-new front suspension/crossmember systems that remove the shock towers completely, or strut-based front suspensions that require the very top of the shock tower to be retained, but the rest can be trimmed back for engine clearance. The strut-based systems are a bolt-in, though cutting and welding is required for trimming the shock towers, whereas the complete front suspension conversions usually require a fair amount of welding and chassis prep. If your front framerails are rusted out or you have other structural issues a full front subframe conversion might be an option for you, or a complete perimeter frame conversion.
Once you have your Coyote 5.0L in place and the last few issuesis to actually getting it wired up to run. You’ll need to figure out cooling system routing and plumbing, engine inlet routing, and if you are going to add or adapt to your power steering, power brakes, and A/C, and if so, how to accomplish that.
Lastly, you have the transmission decision. The Coyote can be fitted with numerous manual and automatic transmission options. Most are a direct bolt in with the proper installation kit or adapter from several performance transmission resources, which we’ll go over in the captions. So fear not! A Coyote 5.0L swap is becoming as popular an engine swap as ever and it gets easier by the day as new products aimed at helping the swap become a reality in your driveway hit the market.
First thing’s first, you need the Coyote 5.0L engine.
If you’re looking for a little more go-power, A Supercharged Coyote 5.0L crate engine is available we are a master warehouse of Edelbrock. Go directly to this link for the 700 HP Coyote Street Beast
For transmission you’ll first need to decide if you want to go manual or automatic.
The Tremec TKO-series transmission are available these with carbon-fiber rings to allow the higher rpm shifting the Coyote is capable of. A low-profile top plate conversion also allows easy installation of the TKO without modifying the transmission tunnel. This Coyote kit includes crossmember, bellhousing, clutch, fluid, fasteners, and more. More Details on the 5 Speed Kit Here Shown here is the Tremec Magnum six-speed kit. he late-model GT500 Mustang six-speed in an early Mustang means having to cut the top of transmission tunnel, change out or remove the floor support, and more to obtain the correct driveline angle. Most go with the 5 speed for an easier swap, plus the 6 speed does not often get utilized.
When it comes to automatic transmissions . Yes, the venerable C4 three-speed automatic will bolt up to your Coyote with the proper bolt-on bellhousing but the 4 speed 4R70W is more ideal everything you need to get it behind your Coyote, including Smart Shift electronics, manual lever sensor, block plate, flexplate, converter, and attaching bolts. Fitting the more modern overdrive automatics into a vintage Mustang is nothing new.
The Coyote is a drive-by-wire modular engine, the AOD and its throttle valve (TV) shift control cable (which usually attaches to a mechanical throttle body lever) are not suitable for this application. A constant pressure valvebody, which does not require the TV cable operation, would rectify this issue, but you’re honestly better off stepping up to the 4R70W.
With the 4R70W, Ford really built one tough overdrive automatic. Learning from the AOD’s weaknesses and improving on its strengths, the 4R70W easily handles 700 lb-ft of torque in stock build configuration and features a wide-ratio gear set (the 70 and W in the name respectively). Add an aftermarket controller you can easily adjust shift points, shift feel, converter lockup, and more by simply turning a knob. No more dropping a valvebody a dozen times tweaking springs and hoping you got it right. You can purchase the entire 4R70W conversion kit here Its quickly becoming the “go to” automatic overdrive swap choice even behind traditional pushrod engines.
The Ford 6R80 six-speed automatic found behind the Coyote in the 2011-2017 Mustang is an option, albeit one that will require some floorpan surgery and a way to control it. The floorpan modification is nothing a good fabricator can’t make once the driveline angle is set, but know that the taller/wider transmission tunnel might make fitting a stock console or even stock carpeting/seats an issue. The biggest problem with the 6R80 is controlling it. there is currently a plug-and-play standalone controller for the 20011-2014 coyote.
As mentioned earlier, wiring the Coyote is a breeze if you use the Control Pack kit. It includes the body harness, PCM with special calibration, inlet ducting and air box, drive-by-wire throttle pedal, oxygen sensors, and fuse box. Once connecting the harness to the crate engine and the pedal you literally have about six wire leads to connect to power the engine.
If you look back at our lead image to our story you’ll see the Ford Performance Coyote crate engine does not come packaged with any drive accessories. Ford offers an alternator kit with drive belt for the Coyote which includes the Boss 302 alternator, high-tension belt tensioner, and serpentine drive belt.
If you’re running manual steering and no A/C, the alternator kit is all you need, but if you’re looking to go all out with full accessories then you’ll need to investigate an aftermarket arrangement. One such setup is this Front Runner system. The kit uses the industry standard Sanden A/C compressor and GM Type II power steering pump along with custom brackets and spring-loaded belt tensioner to offer a very compact setup on the passenger side of the engine.
Getting the Coyote down on the mounts for many of the IFS setups means swapping out the production rear sump oil pan for a front sump pan. Canton Racing has the perfect answer with its new Coyote swap pan for vintage applications. Check with your suspension provider first though to see if they have a preferred pan that fits their suspension, or if the stock pan will work with their crossmember.
Some builders use the stock iron manifolds for the beginning of their exhaust fabrication with an engine swap. The stock manifolds on the Coyote, however, are a sort-of Tri-Y setup and interfere with the chassis and steering. The best solution right now is a set of swap headers, with the Coyote swap headers for 1965-1973 Mustangs from Doug’s Headers . and are designed to fit the TCI and Heidts Pro-G IFS systems, though they may work with other suspensions.
To feed that Coyote 5.0L’s EFI you’re going to need to completely revamp your vintage Mustang’s fuel system. The stock single feed line is not EFI capable, not to mention you’ll need a return line to the tank, a high-pressure EFI pump, and more. You have a few options here, one being the Aeromotive Phantom fuel system. In a nutshell, it is a pump, mounting bracket, and sump in one unit. Simply cut a hole in your tank and drop it in. Aeromotive offers the Phantom by itself and as a kit with EFI regulator, fittings, filter, and more. Simply add the length of -6 AN hose you need and an adapter fitting for the fuel rail and you’re all set.
This is the Aeromotive fuel rail adapter for the modular engine like the Coyote. Simply slip the adapter into the open fuel rail on your crate engine until it locks in place. The opposite end is machined with a male -6 AN fitting for a standard AN hose connection. The Coyote, being returnless fuel from the factory, only has one fuel rail connection, so the fuel line routing needs to be set up so that the fuel return line comes off of the fuel pressure regulator with just one pressure line connecting to the engine.
Cooling the Coyote 5.0L in your swap isn’t terribly difficult, you just need to understand the unique cooling hose routing of the Coyote and ensure you either use a degas tank or have your radiator fill point be the highest part of the cooling system. Since the Coyote, and all modular engines for that matter, were designed to use an electric fan that’s what you’ll have to do as well—buying a radiator and fan combo is your best bet here. C&R Racing offers a Coyote swap radiator (shown here with optional transmission and power steering coolers). The C&R-based unit bolts to existing core support holes and only requires two small holes to be drilled in the bottom of the support. We’ve also used custom-built units from Flex-a-lite for modular/Coyote builds as well with great results.
So you’ve figured out your engine and transmission choices and now you’re ready to go, tools in hand. If you haven’t noticed by now, actually fitting the Coyote into your Mustang is going to require some reconfiguring of the engine bay. A popular route is a new independent front suspension (IFS) that relocates the spring to the lower arm and eliminates the shock/spring towers, There are a number of companies that offer solutions Total Cost Involved (TCI) Engineering. The TCI Engineering system welds into the front framerails and then the suspension pieces bolt to the new subframe, providing ample clearance. The Roadster Shop offers its own IFS that utilizes modern Corvette spindles, a splined antisway bar, and other high-end goodies for a suspension that not only allows Coyote fitment, but can easily tackle the road course as well.
Detroit Speed’s Aluma-Frame IFS is another, very capable IFS that can be considered as well and comes ready to fit the Coyote engine. The aluminum subframe structure bolts to the stock frame rails and sandwiches it after welding in the mounting plates. Detroit Speed’s instructions offer several part numbers for Coyote fitment, including headers, oil pan, and more. Rod & Custom Motorsports was one of the first IFS manufacturers to offer a Coyote-specific IFS package and they now offer a righthand-drive configuration for those countries that require it.
While the dual A-arm IFS setups are a popular route, many Coyote swappers prefer a strut-based front suspension. With a strut IFS you do have to maintain the very top of the shock tower, as it is the mounting point for the top of the strut, but the remaining shock tower can be cut back/trimmed for engine fitment. As installed you can see the Coyote clears fine with the shock tower simply trimmed back.
Fatman Fabrications has an interesting offering for strut IFS builds. Its modular system uses a series of bolt on tubular supports and stamped metal panels to completely reform the engine bay and offer the maximum clearance for the wide Coyote. Bolt on engine mount adapters and firewall/core support bracing are included.
If you’re considering all-new suspension front and rear for your Coyote build then you might want to forego the typical suspension kits and upgrade to a full perimeter frame offering like those from the Roadster Shop and Schwartz Performance. Simply trim away your stock front shock towers and framerails, weld a few mounting tabs to your Mustang’s unibody, and bolt it down on this performance frame package.
The Control Pack drive-by-wire pedal will need to be mounted via a custom-fabricated mount. This is an earlier pedal shown installed here, but it gives you an idea of what needs to be done. This bracket was fabbed from steel sheet and bolts welded to it as mounting studs at the top and a nut for a bolt at the bottom.
One part of the Control Pack that you won’t use in a vintage Mustang conversion will be the airbox and possibly the inlet ducting. Depending upon accessory mounting and your engine bay you might be able to get an aftermarket cold air kit to work, like this JLT (www.jlttruecoldair.com) system shown here on a 2013 Coyote Mustang GT with a minimum of fuss. Alternatively you can fab your own inlet tubing and add a mass air sensor mount and a filter to the end, as in the case of this Coyote install in a 1967 fastback. Several companies offer universal tubing, mass air sensor mounts, and filters. Gateway Classic Mustang offers a Coyote in a vintage Mustang cold air kit too, ready to go.
One area that can be a bit of an issue is the brake master cylinder. Due to the massive width of the Coyote 5.0L even using a manual brake master cylinder mounted directly to the firewall can be an issue, especially in 1965-1966 applications. This is due to the near flat mounting surface of the 1965-1966 firewall versus the recessed mounting area found on the 1967-1970 firewall. The answer is to move the master cylinder over roughly 1 3/4 inches. This will require widening the pedal support, adding length to the brake pedal arm pin, and moving the clutch pedal over as well, if it’s a manual trans car. You can see in these photos,, how they moved the master cylinder over and modified the brake pedal and support accordingly. For the 1967-1970 firewall the master cylinder will bolt directly to the OE holes and should clear the cam cover. Ensure you use a master cylinder with outlets facing the inner fender and not toward the engine. Stang-Aholics uses this dual reservoir unit from ABS Power Brake in their swaps.
Speaking of power brakes, as you can imagine, there is no way you’re getting a traditional vacuum diaphragm booster in such a tight spot. We’ve used hydraulic assist units in previous builds, aka hydroboost, but they require power steering and some additional line plumbing, though they work great! A new, more compact option is a remote hydro-electric setup. Stang-Aholics uses this setup from ABS Power Brake that utilizes a small reservoir (you can see it on the inner fender in our lead photo), an electric pump, and a high-pressure accumulator to provide a true power brake pedal feel.
Most of the coolant hoses come with the harness kit.