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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all!

I'm new to the forum and to Cougars in general, but I'm happy to be here. I just picked up a 2001 Cougar 2.5 with a manual with the specific purpose of building an amateur Rallycross car. It's my first time doing anything like this but it's a long time dream.

All I've done so far is pull the engine since it may or may not be blown (picked up the car for $500, engine state unknown). I'll post progress here along with photos as I go. And if anyone has any advice please share!

Things in planning on doing so far:
  • Rebuilding the engine, while adding SVT induction.
  • Porting and polishing the heads.
  • Figuring out something with the exhaust. It's highly restrictive just by looking at it, I'm sure there is some hp to be gained, might end up making my own headers.
  • Stripping out as much as possible to save weight, including the a/c system, HVAC controls/plumbing, interior bits and whatever else I can.
  • Upgrading the brakes.
  • Lifting the car an inch, taller springs/struts/more travel.
  • Having it tuned and dynoed.
  • Gut the pre-cats
  • Whatever else I need to do to prepare for SCCA rules.
The part I'm not 100% on is if I want to keep it street legal, or just for track use, I may end up keeping the HVAC system if I street it.
 

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Not bad. Like the truck too.
 

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Welcome. I remember seeing that car for sale.
Its going to be tough finding taller struts and springs that fit, the easiest solution to a little lift is probably going to be spring spacers. I think it would be possible to install spacers on the subframe and motor mounts as well in order to lift the body off the drivetrain a bit, but that would all be custom fabrication work.
The standard response to anyone planning on rebuilding a motor is usually to just buy a minimal mileage 3.0 and do a swap instead. Everything you ever want to know about 3.0 swaps can be found in the 3.0 performance section.
If I were building a Cougar Rallycross car, I would be looking for ways to move weight out of the front end. We are very nose heavy. Battery relocation is a pretty settled science but I think if youre creative enough, there are other engine bay components that dont necessarily need to be there or could be lightened.
For exhaust, the first step that's free or nearly free is gutting the precats. Theres a detailed procedure in the how-to section.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks @mmc757 for the advice. I'll do some research on the 3.0 swap, I just committed to buying an SVT induction kit so I hope I didn't just waste money.
 

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easiest way to raise the cougar is with the side wall of the tires. I had some 60 series tires back in day and it raised it up a bit. If youre trying to do it on the cheap, but the cats while its out if you dont want to buy headers.
 

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Your SVT parts can be used on a 3.0 if you follow the "Port-matched 3.0" procedure. This is one of the easiest 3.0 build types anyway so its probably a good choice.
Another solid option since you have a 2001 would be to build a hybrid with a 3.0 block and your 2.5l heads. This would also be a relatively simple build and you may prefer it if grinding on your 3.0 heads isn't appealing to you, although the port-matched build can be done without ever removing heads at all which saves you quite a bit of headache on the timing chains.
 

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Hybrid 3.0 is the answer. Just replace your 2.5 short block with a 3.0, and use everything else from the 2.5. 35% power and torque increase instantly, and all of your 2.5 mods bolt right up.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@B3NN3TT is it worth it to have 3.0 valves swapped out in the 2.5 heads? if the performance gain is negligible than I'm not going to worry about it.
 

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It would probably be a worthwhile upgrade. I didn't do it personally because I was shooting for a super low-buck build, and besides that, didn't want to deal with the hassle. So I ran the 2002 Cougar heads completely as-is on the 3.0 short-block and still made 200 to the wheels.
 

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I dont think I've ever seen someone do a scientific analysis of the valve swap idea.
By that I mean Dyno test before and after changing the valves with no other mods.
So I dont think we have the answer to that question.

It might help to have less flow restriction, or it might hurt to reduce the flow velocity in the mixing chamber. We just don't know.

My gut says the intake manifold is more restrictive than the valves anyway, so I suspect there's little or no value, especially when you consider the cost of the head machining on top of the cost of 24 new valves.
 

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I just remembered something you might be interested in. Installing the 99/00 rear strut mounts onto your 01 springs and spacers results in a very simple rear end lift.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So, this car was running (barely) when I yanked the engine, turns out there was a head gasket failure between cylinders 2&4 (I think that's the right number?) and coolant was sucked into the combustion chamber. The result is the pistons disintegrated (as you can clearly see), however, the block looks to be in decent condition, I think a slight bore and deck and it might be useable. What do you all think?

80637
80638
80639
80640
 

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2 and 4 are on separate heads, but yeah, you got a dead one.

3.0 short block, since you're that deep into it now. Buy yourself a 2004 or 2005 Taurus/Sable/Escape/MPV/Tribute short block and build as normal. Probably the same cost (or less) than all those parts and machining to get that little 2.5 back into service.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
ok, just made an offer for 275$ on a 2005 sable engine with 120k on it, we'll see if it's accepted :)
 

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And I'm late to the party as usual... Welcome!

Sucks about the engine, but my motto is anything that fails is just another excuse to upgrade. I have a feeling I will be watching this one with interest!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
yeah, I'm a bit stalled right now, I need to find a decent engine at a decent price, and I need to get the heads redone, other than that, this weekend I think I'll start on other parts of the car that need attention, I know a few guys who know a few guys who are looking for an engine for me so 🤞
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So I'm making a list of parts I need to buy, I'm working on the cooling system right now, and for the most part, I want to use bulk hoses with standard bends and metal T-connectors. The reasoning is that I can document the process and have cheap spares when needed. One thing I'm thinking of building myself instead of buying is the coolant crossover tube (F6DZ-8548-BA - Genuine Ford Base No. #8548 Tube Assembly) it's plastic and seems prone to cracking and I'd rather have something a bit more substantial especially if I'm going to be using the car for Rallycross. Has anyone else on here built one of these themselves? If not, I guess I'll be the pioneer :p
 

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That piece on the 2.5 that came in my car was aluminum
 
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