Loading... Please wait...


Blog | Anderson Ford Motorsport

Cooling Upgrades


Cooling may not be the first thing that comes to mind when building a high-performance car, but when you start getting more power out of your Mustang's engine, it doesn't take much to overload the stock cooling system. Here's what you should look for when deciding what changes to make to protect your car from overheating.

How Your Mustang's Cooling System Works

The water pump, mounted on the front of the engine, pushes coolant around through channels inside the block and heads.

Coolant goes through the pipes in the radiator. These pipes have metal fins that draw out heat from the coolant and transfer it to the surrounding air. To ensure there's plenty of cool air to draw off this heat, the front end is designed to funnel air through the radiator when going down the road, while the radiator fan draws in air to maintain flow at low speeds and when idling.

After passing through the radiator, the coolant goes through the lower radiator hose back into the water pump where it's pushed back through the engine.

Water to air intercoolers, like the ones used in the Shelby GT500 from 2007 to 2012, have their own cooling system circuit with an electric pump that circulates coolant from the intake to a small radiator.

Water Pump

When you start working on an old or abused Mustang, one of the first parts that should be replaced is the water pump. While you can pick up a rebuilt pump at any parts store, these pumps won't be able to handle the demands of high performance engines.

A quality replacement will use larger, higher quality bearings than the stock part paired with more finely machined channels for better flow. A basic replacement will have a stamped steel impeller, while high performance options like the PRW high performance pump use a cold rolled impeller to get a better shape for increased pumping and lower parasitic loses.


Like water pumps, hoses should be one of the first things you should look at when inspecting your engine: years of holding hot, high pressure coolant can lead to leaks that can put your engine in danger.
Silicone hoses are a great upgrade from rubber because they can better withstand heat and pressure, helping them handle coolant when you're pushing the engine to the limit on track days. They're also available in different colors to help dress up the engine bay.


Simply put, the more surface area the coolant has contact with, the more heat can be removed. This starts with using a radiator that uses heat-conducting aluminum in place of insulating plastic for the side tanks. Increasing the area of the radiator allows more air to pass through the fins than increasing the thickness of the radiator, but the difference between the two is often overestimated. For most engines, a thicker radiator with better construction can help eliminate most overheating issues while still fitting in the stock location.

Mustangs aren't known for their structural rigidity, and in high power applications, chassis twisting can move the radiator mounts around, separating the end tanks from the core. Mishimoto's stabilizer system addresses this with a floating mount that keeps these forces from torquing the radiator.

For extreme heat, Flex-A-Lite makes a two-row core radiator that has fins to the inside of the tubes. By increasing internal surface area, there's more radiator to coolant contact to get more heat into the external cooling fins to control temperatures.

Want colder air for your supercharged Mustang? AFCO's heat exchanger as all the benefits of a high-quality radiator including more surface area and all aluminum construction.


While metal fans use flat blades and early plastic fans look little different from what you'd find on a box fan, modern designs use finely tuned, high efficiency shapes that can move a lot more air, even in low profile packages that free up engine bay space. Switching to an electric fan from a mechanical fan also decreases parasitic loses, which means more power is left to turn the wheels. Since these fans don't depend on the engine, they can maintain airflow regardless of RPM, helping the motor stay cool when idling and even helping to bring temperatures down when the motor is off. Adding a shroud helps the fan pull air through the entire radiator core, which increases cooling effectiveness.

Get the Parts that Will Protect Your Mustang's

Anderson Ford Motorsport has been helping owners build high performance Mustangs since the dawn of the Fox Body era, so we know what works. We offer everything we need to improve your car's cooling system whether you use it for cruise nights or quarter miles.

Performance Braking Systems

Brake technology has improved tremendously over the years, especially compared to the Fox body braking systems that have their roots in the 1970s. The sub-11 inch discs, single piston calipers and small drum brakes were barely acceptable when the car was in production, and they're wholly inadequate on modern builds that push power well beyond stock levels. SN95 and later [...]

Read More »

Which Transmission is Right for Your Fox Body?

It's not hard to set up an engine that makes significantly more power than your Fox body was built with, and that puts a serious strain on the drivetrain. Fortunately, there are several transmission options that can handle the most radical builds from rebuilt stock units to complete aftermarket gearboxes. T5 This Borg Warner transmission was used [...]

Read More »

What to Look for When Buying a Fox Body

Looking to buy a Fox Body? Here's what you need to know from equipment to body styles as well as common problems to look for on these cars.  Model Year Differences The Fox Body Mustang reached showrooms in 1979 Powered by a 302, a 2.3 liter “Lima” engine with or without turbocharging, or a straight 6. The 5.0, [...]

Read More »

2.3 to 5.0 Swap: Fitting the V8 Your Car Deserves

The Fox body has been a staple of tuners and racers for decades, and that has led to a gradual increase in prices. This puts clean V8 models out of the range of budget builders, but base LX's with their 2.3 liter motors remain affordable. What does it take to get a V8 into one [...]

Read More »

Putting Together an Intake and Top End for the 5.0

Your engine uses air and fuel to make power, so the more air you can get into the engine, the more power you can make. However, using the biggest parts you can find for your top end (throttle body, manifold and cylinder heads) may hurt overall drivability. Here's what you need to consider when putting [...]

Read More »

​Using a 351W in your Fox Body Build

Want more power than your Fox body's 5.0l block can handle? Need to keep your build on a budget? Why not use the tried and true 351 Windsor? This truck motor has been a staple of the Mustang scene for years, making installation easy and inexpensive with the right parts.Why Use a 351W?The 351 Windsor [...]

Read More »

​From 5.0 to 5.0: Fitting a Coyote in your Fox Body Mustang

When the S197 Mustang reached dealers in 2011, there was one question on the minds of owners of older Mustangs: How can I put the new V8 in my car? It's taken a while, but after some trial and error, aftermarket parts companies have brought together the parts needed to fit the Coyote in the [...]

Read More »

​Stylistic Class: Modifying Your Mid-90's Mustang GT

History has cemented the legacy of the Ford Mustang as the world’s top pony car. Hearing the roar of a Stang is one thing, but seeing its handsome façade on the road is another. Its muscular style and undeniable class define its reputation as a pony car. Wherever you go, a Mustang stands out in a row of vehicles. [...]

Read More »

Setting Up an 8.8 Axle

The Ford 9 inch is legendary for its strength, but using this rear end can be expensive and is overkill for most builds. Fortunately, your Fox body probably came with an axle that can handle serious power with the right modifications: the 8.8. Here's what you need to know to get the most out of [...]

Read More »

What's News


Follow us on

Copyright 2017 Anderson Ford Motorsport. All Rights Reserved.