That canine on your shoulder keeps whispering in your ear. “Do it. All the cool kids are howling at the moon. Join the party. You know you want to…” Face it – the more Coyote-swap ’Stangs you see on social media, the more you want to get to work on this project. Of course, the first step to going down the path to modern performance is selecting an engine.
Sounds simple, right? Just pick up an engine and a harness and get to work. There is, of course, a bit more to it than that, especially when it comes to the supporting equipment. However, selecting the proper powerplant has its own nuances.
Obviously the Coyote debuted in the Mustang in 2011 and has continued as the engine of choice for the Mustang GT to the present day. With the advent of the 2015 Mustang, however, a second-generation version of the engine, which learned some lessons from the Boss 302’s RoadRunner engine, took over under the hood. Parallel to its run in the Mustang, the Coyote is also an optional powerplant in the sales-leading F-150.
Clearly, the most cost-effective option to put a Coyote under the hood of your car is a used engine. We did a quick internet search on Car-part.com and found Mustang engines of various years ranging from $5,000-$9,000 for Mustang-spec Coyotes. Meanwhile F-150 Coyotes were considerably more affordable at $2,800-$5,000, depending on model year and mileage.
With that in mind, you might immediately make a move for an F-150 Coyote. Be warned, however, there are some differences between the engines. Ford tailored the F-150 Coyote for the kind of grunt it would need in a truck application, so there are obvious external differences, including a truck-specific intake manifold, cast-iron exhaust manifolds and a front-mounted engine oil cooler.
What you can’t tell from a glance is that the F-150 engine features a half point less compression at 10.5:1, its camshaft profiles are a bit milder, the oil pump gears are a bit less robust, and the oil pan lacks an integral windage tray. Even the timing covers are a bit different, with the F-150 unit featuring less ribbing and locating the alternator a bit more outward.
“I think it all depends on what kind of swap you want to do, I wouldn’t say either route is better than the other,” Calvin Atwell, who’s swapped ’Stang appeared in our Top 10 Coyote Swaps story, explained. “I think it all comes down to budget and the goals you have for your swap.”
In stock form they are awesome motors. — Calvin Atwell, Coyote-Swap Veteran
“In stock form they are awesome motors,” Calvin said. “If going forced induction, I would do a set of billet oil pump gears. If you’re doing an F-150 swap, I would look at changing the cams out to either Mustang or aftermarket cams.”
If you want to start out with a more performance-oriented engine and are willing to pay a bit more, you can opt between the 412-horsepower 2011-2014 engine or the 435-horsepower second-gen engine from the 2015+ Mustang. The newer engine features bigger valves, upgraded cams, stiffer valvesprings, and new cylinder heads with improved ports and combustion chambers. Likewise, this engine is filled with new pistons with valve reliefs compatible with the larger valves and a forged crank better suited for higher RPM.
Odds are if you are perusing this page that you want more performance than a stock engine has to offer. Sure putting a powerful Coyote in a lighter chassis is going to feel fun, but we’re guessing you’ll soon be jaded and seeking more power. As such, you might consider doing some upgrades while you are at it — like billet oil pump gears, a better flowing intake, etc. — especially if your engine has some miles on it or it came out of a truck.
There is another option if you have the funds, and that is a new engine. Whether that is a fresh crate engine from Ford Racing Performance Parts or a built motor from an aftermarket supplier, there are plenty of robust Coyote variants available these days; from robust short-blocks to fully built and blown engines, there is a powerplant for your project.
“There are a lot of options on Coyote swaps and a lot of the decisions will be based on budget,” Brenspeed owner Brent White said.
We have our 5.0-liter Webster short-blocks that are a solid foundation for a boosted build. — Brent White, Brenspeed
“When a power-adder application is the mindset, we have our 5.0-liter Webster short-blocks that are a solid foundation for a boosted build,” he explained. “We have the option of an all-new 5.0-liter Webster short-block that can be built to our client’s long-block specs with stock or Boss heads. If a core engine is already something they have we can convert that into our 5.0-liter Webster as well.”
The Brenspeed 5.0-liter Webster ’11-’14 Mustang custom short-blocks (PN 5LW_NO_CORE; $5,995.66) are based on a new Coyote aluminum block and filled with forged-steel cranks; Brenspeed-spec Manley 4340 H-beam rods (stress relieved and shot-peened); Brenspeed-spec 10:1 Manley Pistons with moly coated skirts; ARP fasteners; and billet oil pump gears.
“These engines have fully upgraded internal rotating components and hardware. They are ready to handle 800-plus horsepower,” Brent added. “We do have some clients that are building well over 1,000-horsepower hot rods and when that is the case we have custom options that are more tailored to that power level. These start with an upgraded block and internal components rated for those power levels that they are trying to achieve.”
The Edelbrock E-Force Supercharged Coyote engine is a great solution for any Ford enthusiast.” — Eric S. Blakely, Edelbrock
“The Edelbrock E-Force Supercharged Coyote engine is a great solution for any Ford enthusiast looking for big track power in a street friendly package,” Eric Blakely, Director of Advertising at Edelbrock, said. “It outputs 785 horsepower on low boost, while maintaining great drivability for everyday driving. Plus, it’s also backed by our two-year/Unlimited mileage warranty and includes most of the components needed to get it installed.”
To deliver on that performance promise, Edelbrock builds a 9.5:1 Coyote with Mahle forged pistons and Manley forged rods. The heads are factory Coyote parts, but the aforementioned supercharger sits atop them. This is more than just a built engine with a blower, however. It is a complete package, as it includes a complete front-end accessory drive, as well as an electric intercooler water pump, intercooler recovery tank, fuel rails, 50 lb/hr fuel injectors, coils, mass air flow sensor housing and a re-usable air filter.
Medium- to hardcore enthusiasts will see a lot of value in the packaging of this engine. — Mike Robins, Ford Performance
The offering is the new 5.0L Coyote Long-Block, Gen 1 (PN M-6006-M50A1; $7,875), which offers many of the performance and durability upgrades Ford baked into the second-gen Coyote, but it is compatible with the 2011-2014 electronics (yes, there is a difference), including the earlier version of the Control Pack.
“Medium- to hardcore enthusiasts will see a lot of value in the packaging of this engine. This long-block offers the benefits of a Gen 2 Coyote, but in Gen 1 packaging,” Mike Robins, Ford Performance Product Manager, explained. “This long-block is intended to be used in production 2011-2014 Mustang GTs for those owners seeking a replacement or upgraded engine, or as the basis for almost any custom, hot rod or street rod combination.”
Of course, this is a long-block, so it doesn’t include an intake manifold, throttle body, fuel rails, fuel injectors, water pump pulley, ignition coils or exhaust manifolds, but that allows you to add the performance-oriented equipment that you really wanted.
If you want a robust foundation that you can build up to suit your performance needs, Livernois Motorsports recommends its Pro Series short-blocks (PN LPP750103; $5,499.99).
“We offer many lines of engines that can suit a variety of needs for the street rod and engine swap community,” Andy Ricketts, General Manager at Livernois, explained. “Our Pro Series lineup is a great match for those looking to increase durability over stock, while maximizing the cost vs. benefit ratio of the project. These upgrades would greatly enhance the engine’s power handling ability, offering a worry free platform if they were to leave it NA, or add any form of power adder while targeting around 1,000-1,100 horsepower as their upper limit.”
Obviously, you’ll have to add heads, induction and exhaust to round out this combination, but when you do it, will result in a robust combo. Of course, you can work with Livernois to dial in just the performance level you need.
If you are going to perform a Coyote swap, you will need a lot more than just an engine to get the job done. Depending on the vehicle you are swapping the engine into, you will need a compatible crossmember, exhaust, induction and other hard parts. You will also need a supporting, return-style fuel system, as well as an engine management computer and harness. The swaps are pretty scienced out at this point, but every vehicle has its quirks.
What’s interesting is that Livernois prides itself on the work put into these engines, which is said to really make them ideal for project cars that might not hit the road every day.
“The Pro Series line is our most common chosen engine offering for these projects; not only because of the upgraded components themselves, but also due to the enhancements in fastener components, machining tolerances, and due to their selection of coated bearings and pistons that aid in ‘dry-start’ durability,” Andy said. “This is an area we feel is often overlooked in many of these project cars, as so many of them sit for multiple weeks, or months at a time; and these extra steps and premium components ensure that durability extends beyond just power handling.”
That’s definitely interesting stuff to consider if your car is only coming out of the garage for the occasional show or event.
Modular Motorsports Racing
If a long-block is where you are looking to start, MMR offers what it describes as an “The Aluminator Killer.” Also known as the 2011-2016 Mustang GT 5.0/F-150 MMR 1000 Long-Block Engine (PN 451000; $8,499.99), which as you could gather is built to support up to 1,000 horsepower.
The 1000 is a great choice for most street builds making less than 1,000 rear-wheel horsepower. — Mark Luton, MMR
These built short-blocks feature forged internals, Ford Performance small parts and they are available with your choice of Boss 302 heads, 2015 Mustang GT heads or Shelby GT350 heads, depending on your horsepower goals.
Of course, these are just a few of the myriad Coyote engine choices available for your swap project, but this primer gives you an idea of what possibilities to consider. It is most important to choose an engine that fits within your budget and offers the durability and flexibility to fit within your performance plans.