5.0 Mustang Head Cam Intake Swap
1. Remove the negative battery cable from the battery.
2. Remove the wire harness from the MAF
sensor. Loosen both intake hoses from
the throttle body and air filter housing.
Remove the two bolts that hold the MAF
sensor bracket to the strut tower. Lift the
entire assembly out of the way. You may
want to remove the entire assembly off
but it is not required.
3. Remove the belt from the vehicle by pulling toward the passenger side of the vehicle on the
pulley part of the tensioner with the appropriate socket enough to slip the belt off.
4. Drain the coolant by releasing the drain plug on bottom passenger side.
5. Remove the upper radiator hose from the
thermostat housing by loosening the hose
clamp and manipulating the hose loose.
6. Remove the two smaller water pump
hoses that connect the water pump to the
heater core pipe. Loosen the end that is
on the water pump and lift them
completely off so that when the intake is
raised, they do not hold up the lift.
7. Remove the upper and lower coolant
hose from radiator.
8. Remove the radiator out of the engine
bay and swing the a/c condenser out of
9. Remove the fan blade/fan shroud and water pump pulley from the water pump. There are 4
bolts that thread into the water pump
10. Remove the alternator/smog pump
bracket after disconnecting all electrical
connections from the backside of the
alternator and smog junk from the pump.
Proceed to use the appropriate socket and
long extensions to get inside the inner
bracket bolts. Store the bolts in a bag and
label them appropriately. There are a
total of 4 bolts. Store bracket clear of
11. Proceed to remove the a/c compressor if equipped before removing the power steering
pump. This will make things much simpler. Swing the a/c compressor onto the drivers’ side
fender with a towel or large rag beneath. Save the bolts/nuts in a bag and label them.
Remove the long power steering pump bolts. The power steering pump can easily be rested
on the sway bar to avoid refilling and the pain it causes. Just be sure that the cap remains in a
position where it will not spill fluid.
12. At this point there should be nothing on the front of the heads. If the smog bar that comes
out of the rear of the heads is still equipped, it must be removed with the appropriate wrench.
13. Disconnect all electrical connections. These include the throttle position sensor(TPS),
engine coolant temperature sensor (ECT), air charger temperature sensor (ACT), EGR valve
position sensor, idle air control valve motor (IAC), Ignition control module harness from the
distributor, temperature gauge push on sensor, and the oil pressure sending unit push on
14. Disconnect the throttle/cruise cable from the underside of the throttle body. A larger flat
screwdriver usually does the trick. Unbolt the throttle cable bracket from the side of the EGR
spacer. Put in a bag and label. Swing to the throttle cable bracket out of the way.
15. If you are swapping cylinder heads only, unclip the distributor cap and push it forward some
so you can remove the lower distributor plastic part with the appropriate socket. This will
provide more room when you remove/install your lower intake. A must on Trickflow
intakes. By doing this you do not need to remove the distributor.
If you are changing camshafts you must also remove the distributor completely from the car.
Turn crankshaft bolt (15/16” socket) until the rotor points to Cylinder #1 sparkplug wire.
You will need to lift the distributor cap to occasionally peak under to see when the rotor is
under the #1 terminal on the cap. Once it does, mark the inside of the lower plastic piece that
is held by two bolts to the distributor with a permanent marker in that spot so that when you
reinstall the distributor, you just point it to that mark and drop it in. To mark the current
timing you have the car set at, use a small chisel to stamp a mark in the block and the
distributor. Remove the ½” hold down bolt and you can now remove the distributor.
16. Remove all of the vacuum lines currently running into the intake manifold. These include
• Vacuum tree to PCV Valve (large vacuum hose, remove from PCV valve)
• Fuel pressure regulator to rear upper intake (small vacuum hose, remove from FPR)
• Vacuum tree to upper intake (large vacuum hose, remove from upper intake)
• Valve cover oil fill spout to throttle body (mid-size vacuum hose, remove from throttle
• EGR valve to upper intake (small vacuum hose, remove from EGR valve)
• Miscellaneous vacuum lines running from Smog solenoids by shock tower to upper intake
(remove from upper intake)
• Front of Upper intake to smog pump valve (mid-size vacuum hose, remove from smog pump
• **MAP sensor to upper intake ** only on speed density models Pre 1989 Non-California
17. Remove the center intake manifold bolts
followed by the front and rear intake
manifold bolts. Pay close attention to the
stud on the rear passenger side of the
intake, there is an orange ground wire
that has a ring connector topped off with
a nut. Store bolts and stud nut in a bag
and label. Double check for anything that
may get in the way. Remove upper intake
from the vehicle.
18. Now to remove the lower intake.
Remove fuel line locks by pulling them
up out of the way. With the appropriate colored fuel line / A/C line disconnect tools insert on
the side pressure spring. Push the tool into the spring and with your other hand pull on the
fuel line. Some fuel may squirt out, that is ok. On stubborn fuel lines, it may help to have a
buddy push while you pull.
19. Unplug all injector harness pigtails from each injector and swing the main sensor wire
harness out of the way.
20. Remove the coolant hoses going from
the heater core pipe to the firewall.
Remove from the heater core pipe, DO
NOT remove from firewall.
21. Remove all of the bolts that hold the lower intake into the heads. Pay close attention to the
second stud on the passenger side closest to the firewall. This thread’s into the head then the
heater core pipe goes over the thread and a nut holds it secure. Be sure to keep these in a bag
and label them.
22. Begin to raise the lower intake manifold off the motor. Some coolant will spill out. This is
normal. Try to prevent as much as possible from spilling everywhere.
23. Raise the vehicle and support it with
jack stands. Remove the two nuts per
side that holds the H/X pipe to the
24. Unbolt the rocker arms from the heads
using a 7/16 socket. Store the rocker
arms, pushrods; unbolt the lifter retainer
plate, and lifter retainer dog bones in a
25. Unbolt the heads from the motor. It helps
to place a towel on the fender so you can
get inside the engine bay and lift the
heads onto the towel. Then get out of the
vehicle and remove the heads away from
26. Loosen the harmonic balancer bolt. It is a 15/16” Socket. Use a ½” Breaker bar.
27. Turn the crankshaft bolt clockwise until the harmonic balancer lines up with the timing
pointer reading TOC, which is where the 0 would be between the two 10 readings.
28. Have a friend hold the harmonic balancer while you gently go to remove the harmonic
balancer bolt. An impact-gun method (quick strong bursts) work best. The idea is to loosen
the bolt while maintaining the crankshaft at TOC.
29. Unbolt the water pump from the timing chain cover. There are 8 bolts.
30. Insert the harmonic balancer puller with two bolts. Turn the puller counterclockwise to pull
the balancer off the crankshaft.
31. Unbolt the timing chain cover from
underneath the vehicle. 4 bolts run
through the oil pan. Remove the
bolts/studs that hold the timing cover and
timing pointer. Label these and put them
in a bag.Remove the remaining
bolts/studs that hold it to the engine and
store the bolts, studs, and timing pointer
in a bag.
32. Remove the camshaft sprocket bolt from
the camshaft using the appropriate
33. Slide the timing chain forward by gripping both the large and small sprocket and pulling
34. Remove the two bolts that hold the cam thrust plate and store these in a bag and label them.
35. Insert the camshaft sprocket bolt back into the camshaft to get a handle on the camshaft.
36. Turn the camshaft slowly and carefully inch the camshaft out.
37. Insert the pin into the new camshaft or transfer your old
one into the new camshaft if it not available.
38. Apply white engine grease to the new camshaft lobes. Insert the new camshaft in carefully
and be sure to push the camshaft so it is flush with the block.
39. Reinstall the camshaft thrust plate and
bolt it in.
40. Install the new timing chain onto the
camshaft. At this point the crankshaft
keyway should be pointing up on the
41. The two dots on the small sprocket and
large sprocket should be lined up.
42. Cut off the bottom portion of the current oil pan gasket flush with the block as shown.
43. Cut the new oil pan gasket ear that comes with the gasket kit to the length necessary to
match up the bolt holes. I used a dab of high-tack (yellow) silicone to hold it in place.
44. Remove the old seal from your timing chain cover by placing it over something with an
opening (old paint can) and hitting the old seal out with a punch. Once the seal is removed
lightly sand the seal groove clean. Lubricate the groove lightly with grease so the seal can go
45. Place the new seal in position and put
the old seal on top. With a hammer,
slowly but firmly tap the old seal so it
pushes the new seal in without pushing
one edge in too far.
46. Insert the curved oil pan gasket piece
into timing chain cover. I used black
silicone to hold it in place. It has ears that
allow it fit into place.
47. Clean off the block of old gasket material. It is a good idea to put a towel underneath so
none of the debris goes into the oil pan. Put high-tack yellow silicone on the block and place
the new timing chain cover gasket onto the engine. Allow plenty of time for it to adhere.
48. When you are ready to install the timing chain cover, put a good size glob of black silicone
on the end of where the timing chain cover will meet the oil pan as shown. Better to have too
much than too little.
49. Push the timing chain cover on and install the top bolts so that it draws the timing chain
cover flush against the motor as shown. Reinstall the bolts on the bottom that go through the
50. Apply high-tack yellow silicone to the water pump and attach the gasket onto the pump.
Install the metal plate and tighten the two thin headed bolts. Apply high-tack silicone to the
timing chain cover and place the gasket over the bolt holes like shown. Allow plenty of time
51. Bolt the water pump onto the timing
chain cover, but be sure to install the
studs in the correct location to hold the
52. Reinstall the harmonic balancer by
pushing the balancer on crankshaft as far
as possible then tightening the harmonic
balancer bolt to tighten it against the
53. Reinstall the water pump pulley/fan
clutch/ fan shroud.
54. Clean off the cylinder heads to be
installed and install the exhaust manifold
on the heads. Be sure to have the correct
orientation for the accessories. You
definitely do not want to install the heads
with the accessory bolt threads to the
firewall and have to switch the headers
55. Make sure the two dowel pins per side that hold the cylinder head in place are in position
and didn’t stay in old head. Push them into the block and tap them with a hammer to make
sure they are in. Make sure all coolant passages line up and the head gasket reads FRONT.
56. Lower the cylinder heads in and locate them over the dowel pins. Once they are in begin
installing the head bolts. Do NOT reuse your old bolts. You must install new head bolts with
every cylinder head installation. NO EXCEPTIONS.
57. Torque the cylinder heads as your manufacturer specifies. Aluminum heads are known to
need more torque so CHECK FIRST! The stock E7 & GT40 heads use 60 lb/ft torque first then
70 lb/ft torque. Be sure to use red thread locker on all cylinder head bolts.
Torque sequence is shown below.
58. Raise the vehicle and reinstall the H/X pipe. Put the nuts on the header studs one at a time
just to secure the H pipe. Do not attempt to tighten it completely until all nuts have had at
least 2 turns.
59. Lower the vehicle.
60. Reinstall the pushrods through the cylinder head hole and reinstall rocker arms with a few
turns of the bolt. Do not tighten them completely.
61. Turn the crankshaft bolt with a larger ratchet (1/2” ratchet, 15/16” socket) until you can see
both lifters on cylinder #1 at their lowest position. Torque the rocker arms to 18lb/ft torque.
62. Continue until all cylinders have been covered.
63. Install the valve covers and gaskets. It may aid install to use high-tack yellow silicone on
the valve cover and attach the gasket. Allow a few minutes to adhere.
64. If you installed a camshaft, pour some motor oil in the lifter valley over each lifter.
65. Install the lower intake gaskets with high-tack yellow silicone to the cylinder heads. Place
the bottom portion of the intake gasket around the head gasket.
66. There is much debate on whether or not to use the provided cork gaskets or simply load up
on black silicone on the front and rear lower intake gasket. I choose to use the cork gaskets. I
use yellow high-tack silicone to hold the cork gasket down and at the end where it meets the
head and engine block; I put a good size glob of black silicone. Do not black silicone dry.
Immediately install the lower intake afterwards.
67. Lower the intake down and around the distributor. Install the bolts as much as possible by
hand to make sure the intake is positioned so the intake is seated properly.
68. Be sure to install the stud for the heater core pipe on the passenger side second to last bolt,
#3 in the torque sequence.
69. Begin the torque sequence and torque to 22 lb/ft torque. This torque sequence can take
several times to achieve this torque from all bolts. Be patient.
Torque Sequence is shown below.
70. Install the nut that holds the heater core pipe to stud to torque sequence bolt #3.
71. Reinstall the alternator and power steering pump bracket, followed by the A/C compressor
72. Reinstall the water pump to heater core pipe coolant hose, water pump to thermostat
housing coolant hose, and radiator to thermostat housing coolant hose.
73. Push both fuel lines back into the fuel rail until you hear the click of it locking into place.
Try to pull the line from the fuel rail to ensure it is pushed in completely. Reinstall the fuel
line push-on locks.
74. Plug in all injector and sensor harnesses. Push on the coolant temperature sending unit and
oil pressure sending unit connectors.
75. Install the upper intake being sure no electrical wires get in-between the upper and lower
intake. Torque to 20 lb/ft torque. Install the stud for the orange ground wire on the back
passenger side of the lower intake. Be sure to install the orange ground wire and securing
76. Reinstall all vacuum lines.
77. Plug in the Idle Air Control Valve (IAC) harness which is bolted onto the throttle body.
Plug in the Throttle position sensor (TPS) harness into TPS. Plug the EGR valve sensor
harness into the EGR valve sensor.
78. Reinstall both bolts that hold the accelerator cable to the EGR spacer bracket. Push the
accelerator cable onto the bottom of the throttle body. Check throttle movement for binds
and move as necessary.
79. Reinstall the upper and lower distributor cap. If you are swapping camshafts, point the rotor
to the mark you scribed earlier and lower the distributor in. Because the camshaft meshes
with the camshaft, there is a tendency for the distributor to mesh a little to the left or right.
This is where people describe “being a tooth off” As long as your rotor matches where you
marked before, you are good to go. If it looks off try lifting the distributor back out and
turning the rotor slightly to the left or right to get the right position.
Line up your previously chiseled mark on block with the mark on the distributor. Tighten the
½” distributor hold down bolt.
80. Reinstall spark plugs and gap to 0.055 gap. Use copper plugs, not platinum.
81. Reinstall spark plug wires in the order they were previously numbered.
82. Reinstall the intake hose between the throttle body and MAF meter housing.
83. Reinstall the engine drive belt. Tensioner uses an 18mm or ¾” socket.
84. Add coolant to the radiator until full. Be sure to add more after the engine has warmed up.
85. Verify that all electrical and vacuum connections are secure and accounted for.
86. Reinstall the negative battery cable
87. Let the car idle for a few minutes and check for any coolant or oil leaks.
88. If you installed a new camshaft you should raise your idle approximately 150 rpm, possibly
200 to keep the computer hunting for idle / stalling.
If you have any questions please visit the All Ford Mustangs 5.0 Tech Section.
All Ford Mustangs 5.0L Tech
This article was written by Freddy Lozano for All Ford Mustangs and this document can be
updated at any time. If you feel one area was not sufficiently detailed please email me
(GhostDog 5.0) email@example.com and I will update the article.
Thanks for reading!