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High Potency
Ford Performance highlights its new 5.2-liter engine in an S550 automatic
By Steve Turner
Photos by Bill Cook and courtesy of Ford Performance

At the PRI Show late last year, Ford Performance Parts teased us with the possibility of a new engine offering based on the 5.2-liter block and heads used in the rev-happy 5.2-liter engine that powers the current Shelby GT350. It appears that engine is getting closer to joining the FPP crate engine lineup, as the Blue Oval hot-rodding division showed off a new Mustang powered by the new 5.2-liter Aluminator XS engine as part of the Mustang Alley display at the Woodward Dream Cruise.

“There’s been significant buzz about the engine since we showed it last year and with a new project car in our stable we thought the time was right to showcase as much new product as possible including the 5.2-liter Aluminator,” Jesse Kershaw, Drag Racing Parts and Competition Manager at Ford Performance, said. “Woodward is a big deal for the performance divisions of the OEMs and the interest in the 5.2-liter has been high. The interest in how we notched the hood for manifold clearance has been so significant we’re looking at how we can kit it to help 2015-present Mustang owners put the Cobra Jet manifold on.”

The engine in this car differs from the Voodoo 5.2 in the GT350 by employing a traditional cross-plane crankshaft and turning the wick up on its performance with a Cobra Jet intake manifold and Kooks 1 7/8-inch long-tube headers. Inside the 94mm bores of the 5.2-liter aluminum block are rugged, Manley H-beam forged connecting rods and 12:1 compression forged pistons. The high-flowing Voodoo heads work with the traditional 5.0 firing order thanks to the installation of FPP’s quartet of camshafts, offering 14mm of lift and 270 degrees of duration.

“Even for aftermarket crate engines Ford Performance has a stringent test process and criteria for product development and sign-off,” Jesse said. “We usually run an abbreviated version of a production validation test that best represents our customers use. At the minimum this involves significant time on dyno with teardown and inspection but often, as is the case here, we put actual miles on the engine in a car before releasing it.”

Part of that development process means creating an engine well matched for its intended environment. While midrange performance on the road course (and a cool exhaust note) was a factor for the use of a flat-plane crankshaft in the GT350, this engine puts many of the GT350 parts to good use without taking any cachet from the top-of-the-line production Mustang.

For more on this engine, check out this video with Ford Performance Parts Product Manager, Matt Monroe...

[video=youtube;knES-NqSweg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knES-NqSweg[/video]

“The flat-plane crank is something special for GT350 owners and we wanted to keep that exclusively for them,” Jesse explained. “While the flat-plane crank is a big part of that engine’s identity we couldn’t let the heads and block go unused for an aftermarket engine. By staying with the cross-plane crankshaft existing engine controllers including our Control Packs will be able to run it without too much difficulty.”

Supporting the robust 5.2-liter engine are factory GT350 parts like the composite oil pan, high-flow oil pump and, in this application, the airbox, which is mated to the throttle body by a prototype cold-air tube that feeds a twin 65mm oval throttle body bolted to the aforementioned CJ intake (PN M-9424-M50CJ).

You might be wondering why Ford Performance engineers chose the drag-oriented Cobra Jet intake manifold for this application. Well, in our experience, it is superior to the well-rounded GT350 intake manifold at higher rpm.

“Both manifolds were designed using the same Ford proprietary software to create the best airflow path for a given package. So they have the same roots and similar high-rpm targets,” Ford Performance Parts engineer, Dave Born explained in our GT350 intake story. “The GT350 manifold was designed for the new vehicle platform which has a much lower hood line and necessitated the scroll style design to stay under the hood with the proper clearances maintained. And, it uses a single-bore throttle body which is much easier to tune for low-rpm operation with fuel economy and emissions in mind.”

“The Cobra Jet manifold is designed for the larger dual-bore or oval throttle body, which provides more airflow to the manifold than the GT350 throttle body. The Cobra Jet intake runners are straighter and therefore have less flow losses,” Dave added. “While the GT350 manifold is a great part, the CJ manifold will give a bit more power—and we were looking for the highest output we could get on our top-of-the-line Coyote based crate engine.”

It’s hard to argue with the results of this engine combination. The engine still revs to 8,000 rpm thanks to all its free-breathing induction and Ford Performance Parts rates it at over 580 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. This Aluminator 5.2 should be a blast in any Mustang, but Ford Performance describes the test bed you see here as “The Most Potent Automatic V8 Coyote,” which sounds like a good time to us.

“The engine is a beast and I really like it with the automatic transmission. We decided to go with an automatic because we have traditionally done manual-transmission project cars, but about half of our customers have automatic transmissions so it makes sense to test and showcase our parts in the way the customer will be using it,” Jesse said. “The new automatic is a proven performer and there is buzz around it with some of our other products. The interest and desire for our new automatic Control Pack (PN M-6017-M50A) has been immense and we’re even investigating lopey idle for future automatic Mustang calibrations which would be a first for us as historically that was exclusive to manual transmission-equipped cars with our TracKey and Track Cal calibrations.”

Of course, while projects like this are fun to create, Ford Performance takes its engine development seriously. Proving out an engine in a dyno cell is important, but ensuring it is ready for the real world of performance enthusiasts is crucial.

“Parts validation is huge for us because the customer holds a product that bears the Ford oval to a higher standard and we want to meet that expectation. There’s a lot of hard work and pride that goes into our products and we want them to be ‘right’ when they are released so taking time to ensure that is critical,” Jessed added. “Project cars represent an opportunity to showcase what we’ve got and get real-world feedback…”

Expect to see 5.2-liter Aluminator XS engine availability early next year. Ford Performance Parts should release more details, like pricing, later this year around trade show season.

We can’t wait to see what types of cars people will put it in…

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At first glance you might believe this was an unassuming Mustang GT with the Performance Pack. However, was in the Ford Performance display on Mustang Alley at the Woodward Dream Cruise for a reason. It is described as Ford Performance’s "Most Potent Automatic V8 Coyote" thanks to the addition of the new 5.2-liter Aluminator XS crate engine and a host of other upgrades.

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To facilitate the use of a Cobra Jet intake and twin 65mm throttle body, Ford Performance Parts engineers developed this prototype inlet tube to join a Shelby GT350 airbox to the bigger throttle body.

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Last December at the PRI Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, Ford Performance teased this engine combination and its 542 horsepower/442 lb-ft performance. Now it is getting closer to reality as the 5.2-liter Aluminator XS.

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The foundation of the 5.2-liter Aluminator XS engine (PN M-6010-M52; $3,000) is the same block used in the Shelby GT350’s FPC Voodoo engine. It features 94mm cylinder bores with Plasma Transfer Wire Arc cylinder liners that allow larger bores and offer improved cooling at the cylinder head mating surface.

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For this application Ford Performance offers a forged-steel crankshaft (PN M-6303-M52; $1,250) with a 93mm stroke.

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Topping the 5.2-liter Aluminator XS short-block are a pair of GT350 cylinder heads (RH PN M-6049-M52; $2,495 and LH PN M-6050-M52; $2,495) that outflow their Coyote-based cousins thanks to full CNC porting on the intake ports, exhaust ports and combustion chambers. They are fit with 38.3mm intake valves and 32.5mm exhaust valves.

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Because Coyote and Voodoo engines have different firing orders, Ford Performance equips the 5.2 Aluminator XS with these camshafts (PN M-6550-M52; $1,800) that work with the 5.2 heads and the 5.0 firing order. They deliver 14mm of lift and 270 degrees of duration.

The Mod List
Engine
• 5.2-liter Aluminator XS Engine Assembly (PN M-6007-A52XS)
• 5.0 Coyote Oil-Air Separator (PN M-6766-A50)
• 2015-2017 Mustang GT 5.0 Performance GT350 Radiator (PN M-8005-M8)
• 2015-2017 Mustang hood lift kit w/ laser engraved Ford Performance logo (PN M-16826-MA)
• Mustang 5.0 Coyote blue coil covers (PN M-6P067-M50B)
• 2015-2017 Mustang GT 5.0 side-exit exhaust system (PN M-5220-M8)
• Prototype Mustang GT cat-back active exhaust system w/ Shelby GT350 rear valance

Drivetrain
• 2015-2017 Mustang IRS Loaded Differential Housing 3.73 Torsen (PN M-4001-88373T)
• 2015-2017 Mustang halfshaft upgrade kit (PN M-4130-M)
• 2015-2017 Mustang rear differential-to-subframe bushing kit (PN M-4425-M)

Chassis & Suspension
• 2015-2017 Mustang Performance Pack six-piston front brake kit (PN M-2300-V)
• 2015-2017 Mustang Performance Pack front control arm kit (PN M-3075-F)
• 2015-2017 Mustang rear subframe-to-body bushing kit (PN M-5872-M)
• 2015-2017 Mustang automatic IRS flange (PN M-4851-M8A)
• 2015-2017 Mustang Track Handling Pack (PN M-FR3A-M8)
• 2015-2017 Mustang GT Performance Pack Matte Black wheel set, 19x9-inch (front) and 19x9.5-inch (rear) w/ TPMS Kit (PN M-1007k-M19XB)

Exterior
• Stainless steel Ford Performance license plate frame (PN M-1828-Ss304C)
• 2015-2017 Mustang red starter button installation kit (PN M-10b776-MR)

Interior
• 2015-2017 Mustang GT350R steering wheel kit (PN M-3600-M350R)
 

biminiLX

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Great timing, Steve!
I was drooling on this engine at PRI and Woodward, and I'm really hoping to lean on a few contacts to see how I can get an early example of this exact crate engine.
I'd love to see it responds to boost, E85 and a light Fox drag chassis.
I wonder what gear they're running?
-J
:beer:
 

biminiLX

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I'd definitely let you know, I see the Coyote/Voodoo as the future and I'm ready to resurrect my LX to return to racing; everything is there to pull the engine/trans with the motor plates and swap to this 5.2 Aluminator/auto (SFI case either PG or T400). Will adapt the hot side of the turbo kit and let it eat on E85.
Basically a Coyote modified car for True Street :burnout:
-J
 

railroad

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Just starting to shop for an engine. ...am in the process of buying a Factory Five Roadster. I told them to set it up for the Coyote engine, still undecided on the trans, auto or manual.
The price may drive me back to a stock GT engine. Hoping I can get a deal though a friend dealer.
 

twistedneck

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Great timing, Steve!
I was drooling on this engine at PRI and Woodward, and I'm really hoping to lean on a few contacts to see how I can get an early example of this exact crate engine.
I'd love to see it responds to boost, E85 and a light Fox drag chassis.
I wonder what gear they're running?
-J
:beer:

biminiLX, this eninge is amost identical to the original Aluminator sans the heads. I happen to have a built 5.0 Coyote running 11:1 w E85 and everything the crate motor has except the wicked GT350 heads. it all comes down to the heads..

I'm about to pull the trigger and re-build my own 5.0 Coyote via Holbrook with some 13:1 pistons and very radical cams - something the new Aluminiator 5.2 cannot do - its got normal big cams and is designed for durability and drivability. The only wild card is how much more power can you make with the larger valved slighter larger ports of the GT350? I'm sure the guys at Holbrook know that answer and will determine if I sell my great boss heads!

Just like this old coyote engine loves boost and E85 it loves compression and E85 don't be afraid of 13.5:1 / Darton sleevs / 94mm bore if you can find a good piston -the Mahle ones only go to 12.3:1 so they wont cut it.

What am I trying to say? Save you cash and get Holbrook to re-build your engine for the same price it will make more power and be more unique and if you have E85 in the area - even better. if you don't have an engine to start with? go with the 5.2XS all day long.. great offering !!
 

biminiLX

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Thanks for the post!
I do not have a Coyote engine, so the 5.2XS crate is very attractive.
It's hard to imagine 13:1 plus and boost, but thankfully we have dependably strong E85 all around.
At first event 12:1 gave me concern, but a close friends 11:1 E85 boosted Coyote shows now ill effects.
As I'm not chasing class competition and restrictive rules in True Street, I think I'll take the larger tuning window and keep 12:1 and go up on boost if needed.
PM sent.
-J
:beer:
 

twistedneck

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Thanks for the post!
I do not have a Coyote engine, so the 5.2XS crate is very attractive.
It's hard to imagine 13:1 plus and boost, but thankfully we have dependably strong E85 all around.
At first event 12:1 gave me concern, but a close friends 11:1 E85 boosted Coyote shows now ill effects.
As I'm not chasing class competition and restrictive rules in True Street, I think I'll take the larger tuning window and keep 12:1 and go up on boost if needed.
PM sent.
-J
:beer:

Be careful w anything over 11:1 .. my bad I didn't fully communicate that. Example, the twin turbo Indy engines both gm and Honda run 12.5:1, e85 and they have a boost durability limit of 23 lbs! 26 lbs on the more forgiving road course.. that is with extreme waste gate authority and very well engineered boost controllers and blow off valves. Can't allow any over boost.
 
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