California Pony Cars' Line Of Dress-Up Bits Really Wakes Up The Visual Flavor On S197 Mustang GT Engines
By Miles Cook
Photography by Miles Cook
When the entire line of California Pony Cars underhood dress-up goodies are installed, the drab Three-Valve 4.6L engine bay looks noticeably better. Included are a finned fuse-box cover, shock tower covers, battery and master cylinder covers, a pair of radiator-cover extensions, a pair of fuel-rail covers, and a plenum cover made by Ford Racing. There's also a CPC throttle-body cover that is actually an extension of the Ford Racing plenum cover.
In our Aug. '08 issue, we showed a hood-lift kit being installed on an S197 Mustang. Made by California Pony Cars, the kit eliminates the hood-prop rod and makes opening the car's hood considerably easier.
We're returning to Cal Pony Cars' product line once again for this How-To, but now we're focusing on the company's line of underhood dress-up parts for '05-'09 Mustang GTs. We mention the hood-lift kit because one of the items we show being installed here can't be used unless the hood-lift kit is in place.
Though the radiator-cover extensions require that the hood-prop rod be removed, you could still install the driver side and save the passenger-side extension for when the hood-lift kit is installed at a later time.
Whichever way you decide to go as far as the radiator-cover extensions and hood-lift kit are concerned, all the parts are top-quality and look great, too. They're also relatively easy to install as we had everything in place on our '06 GT subject car in about two to three hours.
This is the plenum cover (center) and fuel rail covers. On the outside are the metal mounting brackets for the fuel rail covers. In front is the CPC-made throttle-body cover.
Shown here are the battery and master-cylinder covers (top), the shock-tower covers (middle), the radiator-cover extensions (bottom), and the fuse-box cover (left).
We began with the shock-tower covers, which are identified by "D" and "P" for driver and passenger side. Note the concave contoured area. These must face the fender for proper hood frame clearance. The flange around the bottom is stepped to fit around the structural support panels. It's recommended that you apply assembly grease to the retention tabs. While grasping the outer part of the cover, rotate it back and forth while pressing down at the center with the palm of your hand until you feel the cover pop into place.
We next installed the finned fuse-box cover, which basically installs on top of the factory cover. Shown here with the tape applied at each corner, the factory cover (removed from the car) was dropped into the finned cover.
The two covers joined together are then reinstalled on the car as a single part.
Moving to the battery and master-cylinder covers, start by gently bending the sheet-metal brackets down slightly so the loom clip is below the level of the cowl. That will keep them out of the way of the covers.
The covers fit right into place. This is the master-cylinder cover for the driver side.
Next, remove the pair of factory trim fasteners. After the screw is removed, the clip is then lifted out. There are two screws and clips on each side of the car.
Complete the installation of the covers by reinstalling the trim fasteners. They press into place and are then gently tightened with a screwdriver. Be careful not to strip the plastic threads.
The most involved installation work comes with the fuel-rail covers, but it's still fairly straightforward. First, remove the oil dipstick, then pull the wiring-harness retaining clips off the studs on the valve covers.
Identify the marked driver- and passenger-side stainless-steel brackets, position them in place over the valve covers (driver side shown here), and push them evenly in place over the bare studs on the valve covers. The brackets must bottom out on the studs for proper alignment of the plastic rail covers. Push the harness jam clips back onto the studs, making sure the large wiring harness is on the inside of the bracket.
Another smaller harness needs to be temporarily lifted off to allow fitment of the covers. Do this on either side of the intake plenum.
The passenger-side cover is now placed into position over the mounting bracket.
Align the holes in the cover and the mounting bracket to allow installation of the Allen-head screws. Be careful not to drop the screws while trying to get them started. Securely tighten them with the correctly sized Allen wrench (shown here).
Install the two provided longer studs to accept the rear mounting ears of the intake-plenum cover. Remove the shorter studs and install the longer ones, being very careful not to drop them through the slots between the runners in the intake manifold.
To install the driver-side cover, the air-intake box needs to be removed. Do this by removing the bolt that holds it in place on the inner fender. The plug for the mass-air sensor and the tube going between the air-intake plenum and driver-side valve cover also need to be removed.
For added clearance to install the cover, the tube between the valve cover and the intake-manifold plenum needs to come off. It reinstalls over the cover once the cover is in place.
With everything unplugged, the air-intake tube is then removed.
With everything out of the way, the driver-side cover is placed into position and bolted to the bracket in the same way as the passenger-side cover.
With the fuel-rail covers in place, we started on the intake-plenum cover and extension by removing the throttle-body bolts.
The plenum cover is set into place and partially installed by pushing the rear-side brackets with grommets over the mounting studs.
Install and carefully tighten the supplied nuts onto the rear studs that hold the back of the cover in place.
Next, reinstall the throttle-body bolts through the holes and grommets in the plenum cover. Don't tighten all the way as the throttle-body cover fits over the partially tightened bolts.
Place the cover in position and tighten the bolts by accessing them through the cover with a -inch-drive ratchet, socket, and extension as shown. Be careful not to over-tighten the bolts, which could break the tabs on the inside of the throttle-body cover. Complete the installation of the rail and plenum covers by reinstalling the air-intake tube and other ancillary parts.
The radiator cover extensions are a snap to install. The included bolts, which replace the stock ones, are painted black to match. Simply remove the two bolts on the driver side, drop the cover in place, and install the new bolts.
With the bolts and prop rod removed, the passenger-side cover drops into place. It could also be installed at a later time when installing a hood-lift kit, or the hood-lift kit could be installed first.