Welcome to the third installment of Ford Muscle’s Coyote Swap Guide. At this point, you might be considering purchasing the modern 5.0-liter crate engine from Ford Performance instead of scouring junkyards. However, before making the purchase, let’s discuss what you need to make the swap bolt into your vehicle. After all, the Coyote engine was not exactly designed as a direct-fit application for an F-100 or Fox Body Mustang engine bay.
In the previous segments, we explored the history of the Coyote engine and dissected each generation to help you make an informed decision about which platform suits your needs. Now, it’s time to discuss engine mounts, custom front ends, and crossmembers. Unlike previous Ford engines, the Coyote requires more than an engine mount adapter in most chassis. No one knows this more than Gumby Sanders of Texas Speed Lab Performance. We sat down with Gumby to discuss the intricacies of installing the Coyote swap.
The First Step To Mounting The Coyote
“The Coyote engine can be dropped into almost any vehicle, but certain parts of the swap are chassis-dependent. You’ll first need to determine how you plan on mounting your engine,” Gumby explains. Since not all chassis and builds are the same in budget or motorsport application, the options for choosing an engine mount or engine crossmember have increased. Knowing what your vehicle needs can alleviate downtime or money spent on fabrication.
Coyote Swap Using Engine Mounts
“Owners of the 1967-’79 F-100 can use the Fat Fender Garage universal engine mount kit. The kit includes perches, engine mounts, and a transmission crossmember,” Gumby says. “While the kit may require drilling into your frame, it does eliminate the need to redo the complete front suspension. Fat Fender Garage also has accompanying headers that are specific to its engine mount kit and your chassis.” This kit will require you to relocate your factory air conditioning compressor and oil filter, but even with this being a bit more than engine mounts only, it is still a simplistic endeavor.
“The 1981-’96 F-150 only requires the installation of 4.6-liter Modular engine mounts from the 1996-04 V8 Mustang,” Gumby says. “While there are kits for these trucks, it’s easier just to use the Mustang motor mounts and trim the crossmember to fit the air conditioning compressor. That is, if you plan on retaining cool air in the cabin. This will also clear the alternator and power steering pump.”
While the classic Bullnose, Bricknose, and Old Body Style Ford F-150s all share the simplicity of just installing motor mounts, the 1997-’04 F-150 and second-generation Lightnings are not too far off either. “The ‘Jelly Bean’ F-150s can reuse its existing 4.6- or 5.4-liter engine mounts, but will require a high clearance oil pan like the one KMF sells,” Gumby explains. “Simply bolt the new oil pan to your Coyote engine and drop it back in. If you use the Power By The Hour accessory drive brackets you won’t even have to unbolt the air conditioning compressor or power steering pump.
Mustang K-Members For The Coyote Swap
Unfortunately, back in 1964, Ford didn’t consider the width of future engines. For a lot of classic chassis, the Coyote swap is far from a few engine mounts away from being installed. “In the first-generation Mustang, It’s almost a necessity to get a complete front suspension kit and cut the shock towers out because of how wide the Coyote engine is,” Gumby states. “While there are plenty of manufacturers for this, Mustangs To Fear has a kit that includes headers, transmission crossmembers, notch plates for alternator, and radiator supports.”
The entire 1979-’04 Fox platform line up, not just the Mustang, didn’t fare much better and will require a tubular k-member to make the swap work. Although, there are some exceptions to the rules. “In the 1996-’04 Mustang, you can technically use the 4.6-liter factory K-member and motor mounts, but you’re going to have to unbolt the header and lift the engine just to get to the starter,” Gumby explains.
The good thing about the Fox platform is the amount of aftermarket support that is offered. AJE, BMR Suspension, Maximum Motorsports, UPR Products, and QA1 all offer tubular Fox Body K-members for the Coyote swap. Aside from each one offering different stiffness and weight aimed for specific applications, they also all have their own header fitment. So, you’ll want to make sure you buy headers meant for your chassis and the K-member you purchased.
Crown Vic And Mustang II Front Ends
An aftermarket front end is not the only option for installing a Coyote engine, though. Much like the Mustang II front end that was commonly used in hot rods throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, the Crown Victoria has emerged as a leading OE front end swap for classic Fords. “The Crown Vic is the most popular choice due to its affordability and extensive aftermarket support, not just for the Coyote swap,” Gumby explains. “The Crown Vic front end now has big brake kits, rack and pinion options, coilovers from RideTech and QA1, a range of factory spring rates found in Lincoln and Interceptor packages, and even air ride setups.”
Aside from the aftermarket support the Crown Vic front end has, it is also extremely versatile for swapping in a Coyote engine. “You can use the factory Modular motor mounts, or you can buy Outcast Autoworks engine mounts that come with an offset bracket, allowing you to slide the motor forward or backward,” Gumby explains. “Considering that a 1953 and a 1979 F-100 have firewalls in different places and the Coyote engine has the intake manifold runner control (IMRC) and actuator on the back of the intake, you can slide it forward to prevent interference.”
Although not as popular as the Crown Vic for a Coyote swap, the Mustang II front end is starting to receive some love, as well. “Welders Series, a Canadian company, makes mounts for the Coyote to the Mustang II front end,” Gumby says. “These will require you to have some fabrication skills, as the kits are not a direct bolt-in.”
Bolt-In Front End And Full Chassis Builds
While the Crown Vic remains a popular swap with plenty of aftermarket support, there are bolt-in kits available from both QA1 and RideTech that provide quick and easy installation without requiring major modifications to your frame. These kits are specifically engineered for the vehicle they are going into, eliminating the drawbacks of the Crown Vic’s width and geometry. “The bolt-in kits fall in between the Crown Vic front end and a full chassis build,” Gumby states.
If money is no object, a full chassis build might be in your future. These specially designed frames replace the factory ones with an all-new boxed frame design that offers maximum performance. Fat Fender Garage, Soulless Innovations, The Roadster Shop, and Total Cost Involved all offer a complete chassis that can incorporate the Coyote engine with ease.
More Than One Way To Skin A Coyote Swap
As with most swaps, there are often cheaper alternatives or workarounds that may or may not require a specific skillset or tools. However, for the majority of DIY mechanics, this list compiles various ways to mount a Coyote engine in the chassis of your choice. After all, there is nothing worse than the frustration of waiting for products with an engine on the cherry picker. Now, we’re one step closer to getting everything lined up for your Coyote swap. Stick around, as next time we’ll be discussing the accessory drive unit.