Fox Body Mustang Restoration: Ignition System Guide

Posted 2/18/2014 by Jeff Jimenez

Get TONS of installation videos & tech articles to help upgrade your Fox Body Mustang's ignition system. This includes distributor install, ignition coil replacement and plenty more!

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If you are looking to throw some performance parts at your Fox Body Mustang, one of the most important things you can do is make sure your supporting mods are in place. By “supporting mods” I mean a healthy fuel and ignition system. If you need help with your fuel system be sure to check tech guide here: Fox Body Mustang Fuel System Guide.

When it comes to ensuring you have a good solid ignition system in your Fox Body Mustang, you need to remember there are 4 major components:

  • Distributor
  • Ignition Coil
  • Spark Plug Wires
  • Spark Plugs

Depending on what your future performance modification will be or the current state of any of these ignition components will dictate how you should approach your project Fox Body. Regardless of what you need to do to your Fox Body Mustang, you will find full step-by-step installation videos and tech articles below to help you install any of these components.

A good rule of thumb for any Fox Body Mustang project is if you are looking at adding some performance parts (cold air intake, exhaust, cam, ect) to your Stang and your ignition system is still the factory components, it is time for an upgrade. If you are looking at simple bolt-on performance parts you will be fine with upgrading the ignition coil, plug wires and spark plugs. Unless your distributor is giving you issues, you shouldn’t need to replace it for a bolt-on build Fox Body Mustang.

You can shop our full selection of ignition components below:

Fox Body Mustang Ignition Parts

Fox Body Mustang Restoration: Ignition System Guide - fox body mustang restoration ignition


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About the Video

Project Blue Collar: Complete 5.0L Mustang Ignition Upgrade

Check out our YouTube channel for even more tech tips, installation videos, how-tos, and more. The best place to go for anything Mustang related!

Published on 2014-01-23
Project Blue Collar, our latest project Fox Body Mustang, was in grave need of a new upgraded ignition system. After completing the fuel system upgrades and restoration, we found that Blue Collar had a TFI module issue.

This gave us the perfect opportunity to upgrade to our Fox Body High Performance Ignition Kit. This kit features a whole host of performance ignition parts from PDI. These inlude:

PDI 5.0L Mustang Hot Forged Distributor
PDI 5.0L Livewire Spark Plug Wires
PDI 5.0L Screamin' Demon Ignition Coil
Taylor Spark Plug Wire Separators

This kit is the perfect replacement for any Fox Body Mustang experiencing ignition problems or has a worn out ignition system. It is the perfect foundation for a future performance modifications. You can expect smoother idles, improved throttle response and improved spark performance. It fits 86-95 Ford Mustangs with 5.0L/5.8L V8.

Ford Mustang - 1986 (86) - 1987 (87) - 1988 (88) - 1989 (89) - 1990 (90) - 1991 (91) - 1992 (92) - 1993 (93)
Transcript
Project Blue Collar is up and running now, thanks to that fuel system redo. Unfortunately, once we got up to operating temperature, we found out that it has either a TFI module, or a pickup module problem, with the distributor. Now to solve every ignition problem we have with this car, we're going to go ahead and use our PDI ignition kit.

What this ignition kit's going to do for us is increase horsepower, improve idle quality, and improve fuel economy. Let's talk a little bit about the components of this kit.

The performance distributor's hot forge distributor features a hot-forged aluminum housing that's CNC machined, versus a billet aluminum housing, that allows for a lower cost unit with higher strength. It's loaded with an oil impregnated bronze bushing that the shaft rides on for a long service life.

The shaft also is fitted with a steel distributor gear, for use with roller camshafts. The cap has brass terminals, which are better conducting than the aluminum terminals found on the stock distributor cap. The Dyna Mod ignition module, also called the TFI module, gives you a longer coil saturation time. Which allows for a longer spark duration that helps give you the better idle, fuel economy, and higher horsepower.

The performance distributor's Screamin' Demon ignition coil has a tighter winding, and a more concentrated winding, for increased spark energy. This increased spark energy allows you to open up your spark plug gap to about 65 thousandths on a naturally aspirated car. It also features a brass terminal for better conductivity, and increased corrosion resistance.

The performance distributors live wires are an excellent addition to the hot-forged distributor, and the Screamin' Demon cool, because they'll get all that extra spark energy to the spark plug. They feature a very low resistance, about 300 to 350 ohms per foot. They're spiral wound, so you don't end up with any radio interference.

They have heat shrinked ends, to keep the moisture out of the boots. A heat braid, that is good up to about 1,400 degrees. And they're also cut to length, and numbered for each cylinder, making them the best plug wire for your mustang.

To remove the distributor from your five liter Mustang, you want to go ahead and remove the distributor cap. And then make a note of where the rotor is pointing, and where your TFI module is pointing. Because you want to line up the new distributor in the same location.

Unplug the TFI module. Then grab you a half inch socket with a ratchet, and completely remove the hold down bolt and hold down bracket for the distributor. Then lift the distributor up and out of the engine.

Every hot-forged distributor includes a package of camshaft lubrication. This packet is to be used. Drizzle some down onto the camshaft, and put some on the steel gear, on the end of the distributor. And then you can go ahead and install it into place.

Slide the distributor down into the block, lining up the rotor with the oil pump shaft and the camshaft. And rotate it around to where it's pointing back in the same direction as the old distributor. And then line up the TFI module, to where it's pointing the same direction as on the old distributor.

Reinstall the hold down clamp and bolt. Plug-in your TFI module.

Replacing your spark plug wires is very simple, and it doesn't require a whole lot of thought. However I do want to point out a couple of things that you want to keep in mind. Namely, the firing order, and then how to remove the spark plug wires from the spark plugs.

Now, starting on the passenger side, at the front, you have cylinder number one. Then two, three, and at the back is number four. Then moving over to the driver side, you've got cylinder number five at the front, and six, seven, and number eight is at the very back, next to the firewall.

Now on top of the cap, the firing order is one, three, seven, two, six, five, four, and eight. The coil is in the center. Now to remove your spark plug wire, it would be easier to give the boot a twist, and then pull it away. That way you break the boot loose from the plug, makes it easier to pull off.

Replacing the coil on your '86 to '93 5.0 Mustang is extremely simple. First thing you're going to want to do is remove your coil wire. Then unplug the electrical connector. Grab you a nut driver, with a swivel and a 730 second socket, and remove the four 730 seconds bolts that retain the coil to the bracket.

Remove the stop coil. Put your new coil into place. Reattach the four bolts. Plug-in your electrical connector. And reattach the coil wire.

Now our performance distributor's ignition kit also includes spark plug wire looms. You can put those wherever you need to on your car. Here's where we installed them on ours.

Now, installation will take you about a couple hours. And like we said before, the addition of that Screamin' Demon coil, allows you to open up your spark plug gap up to 65,000. So when we swapped everything out, went ahead and put in a new set of motor craft plugs, with that larger gap. Now for more ignition parts for your Mustang, check out latemodelrestoration.com.

Fox Body Mustang Restoration: Ignition System Guide Tech Info

This Fox Body Mustang ignition tech is designed to help with the following year model Mustang GT LX V6 & SVT Cobra: 1979 (79) - 1980 (80) - 1981 (81) - 1982 (82) - 1983 (83) - 1984 (84) - 1985 (85) - 1986 (86) - 1987 (87) - 1988 (88) - 1989 (89) - 1990 (90) - 1991 (91) - 1992 (92) - 1993 (93)