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Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 10:55 a.m.

It seems these cars are starting to get more popular recently so I just wanted to share mine to give other people inspiration or just have something to read at work.  I have a couple years worth of pictures and updates so it's going to take a few posts to get it all up.  Feel free to ask questions.

The car is a 2002 Roush Stage 2, 4.6/5-speed.  I bought it from a friend who had owned the car for around 8 years.

It had a few mods already when I bought it.  Brakes had been upgraded to the Stage 3 14" Alcons, Steeda sway bars, AJE K-member & control arms, Steeda springs, longtube headers, catless H-pipe, CAI, SCT tuner, and a few other things.  That dash is terrible...

This is what it looked like when I brought it home.


Little dent in the fender, apparently from a tree branch.

Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 11:10 a.m.

I drove the car as is for awhile until I had to start changing things.  First thing to go was the terrible Konig wheels and the monstrosity on the dash.

I got a set of Cobra R knock-offs from LMR in 18x9.5 and some 220tw Pirelli P-zero's in 275/35-18


Also installed a Sparco Evo II seat and 4 point harnesses so I could take it to the track.  I didn't want to slide around in the terrible factory leather seats.  This is from a track day at Grandsport Speedway in Texas.


Hydration is important.

Needed more camber, these tires are toast after 3 20 minute sessions.


After that I upgraded tires in the never-ending search for more grip.  Federal 595RS-RR in 275/35-18.  I had run the previous version of these tires in the past on my Nissan Silvia at Mugello Circuit in Italy with pretty good results.  These aren't on the level of Rivals or RE71's but they are great for getting seat time.

Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 11:28 a.m.

I removed A/C in an effort to shed weight.

Brake pad upgrade, stock Roush pads were toast after the track day.  I've been using Hawk HP+ pads for years on multiple cars and other than the crazy dust I've been pretty happy with them.  Once I start running Time Trials and more track events I'll go with something else.

New steering wheel


Homemade rear seat delete

Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 11:39 a.m.

Ford Racing 4.10 gear install to help pep this thing up a little.

Ran a couple SCCA events in Houston Region.


smokeysevin GRM+ Memberand New Reader
12/10/19 11:44 a.m.

Just out of curiosity, have you ever gotten to run the full track at grandsport with the little infield section? I have only ever seen it run like that once, most of the time they run the shortened version like in the video.



Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 11:56 a.m.

I got some new personalized plates.

Time for a suspension upgrade.  I replaced the Steeda springs and whatever shocks were on it with Koni/Maximum Motorsport coilovers. I went with Eibach 425lb front and 325lb rear springs


I wanted more power at this point.  Boost was never really an option for me.  My long term plans were for this to be a track car, I didn't want the heat or extra weight.  I had already been collecting parts to swap in a 4.8 LS engine that I already had but ended up getting an amazing deal on a complete LS3 out of a 2010 Camaro with 8000 miles on it.


Of course I couldn't leave it stock.  Heads came off to be CNC ported.


I weighed the car with the stock 4.6/5speed to get a baseline before the swap.  It had the AJE K-member and front LCAs.  The trunk had been gutted at this point, rear seat removed and the A/C removed. It also had the Sparco driver seat.  3204lbs.


Engine coming out.  I can't find the dyno sheet but I dyno'd the car a couple weeks before pulling it apart.  Made 260hp/320tq to the wheels on a dynojet.  Motor had longtubes, coyote injectors, CAI, and dyno tuned with SCT.

Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 11:57 a.m.
smokeysevin said:

Just out of curiosity, have you ever gotten to run the full track at grandsport with the little infield section? I have only ever seen it run like that once, most of the time they run the shortened version like in the video.



That was the only time I made it out there.  The new edition wasn't done yet when I lived down there.  I think they were in the middle of adding another loop or something at the time.

Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 12:10 p.m.

New headers for the LS from Speed Engineering.  Designed to work with the AJE K-member I already have.  I welded on V-bands and then had them ceramic coated my Accucoat.  They fit PERFECT. 


I went with Corvette accessories partly because I already had an ATI damper in Corvette offset and partly because of how readily available the stuff is.  I got an accessory bracket from eBay and had my valve covers and bracket powder coated by Accucoat in Houston.


New 90mm cable throttle body from Warr performance(veteran owned company, recommend) I could have used the stock drive by wire but I would have needed to use a factory GM ecu or a Holley Dominator, the Holley HP I had planned won't control DBW.  


Katech manual belt tensioner to prevent the high RPM issues that the factory tensioner is known to have. 

I went with the Holley HP to control this whole thing.  I'm also a Holley certified tuner.


Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 12:30 p.m.

Heads back from CNC porting.  Then I sent them to my friend Mike at Axiom Race Engines for a valve job and hand blending.  I highly recommend Mike for a modular, LS, or nissan build, ANY power level.


Fresh off CNC, these pictures are before the valve job/blending


Putting the short block together.  I changed the cam to a 3 bolt design from Texas Speed.  232/240 @ .050 with .615 lift.  This is ALMOST as big as you can go on the stock LS3 bottom end because of the flat top pistons.  I also got rid of the chain tensioner and upgraded oil pumps at the same time.

I used a 25% underdrive ATI damper.  This worked out perfect for the hydroboost system.  The Chevy pump runs at 1300psi, the Ford rack runs at 950psi.  This slowed down the pump so that the factory hydroboost system works great.




Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 12:38 p.m.

Started stripping down the interior to cut weight.  Pulled/gutted the dash, removed all the sound deadening, speakers, amps, HVAC, seatbelts, etc.


Started out with the McCloud Hydraulic clutch conversion, this didn't end up lasting very long.



golfduke HalfDork
12/10/19 12:39 p.m.

So much yes...  I have this sordid romance with that gen mustang.  I never plan to own one, but damnit do I want to do dirty dirty things with them.

Side Note-  A good buddy of mine TT's an LS6 swapped convertible.  That car goes along really nice.  


Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 12:52 p.m.

Mounted the Holley in the kick panel in the stock location.


1st transmission(more on that later)  Tremec TR-6060 from 2010 Camaro SS


Started stripping and cutting out all the unused wiring from the engine bay.  Mostly ABS wiring.


Loomed and cleaned up the remaining wiring and repurposed the factory fusebox

Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 1:02 p.m.

Picked up a couple trans coolers, one for oil, one for transmission (the TR6060 has an internal pump).  And a couple Spal fans

I made this contraption to mount the oil and trans cooler and serve as a mounting point for a splitter in the future.

Upgraded Fuel pumps to a Walbro 255lph and converted the fuel system to a return style using a factory Corvette fuel filter.  Using all Russel -6 line for the fuel system.  Just drilled a hole in the fuel tank and used a bulkhead for the return line.


Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 1:24 p.m.

Relocated the battery to the trunk with a billet mount

Got the clutch installed.  ACT lightweight flywheel and HD unsprung 6-puck (I ended up HATING this clutch and changed it later)


Ended up dropping the engine in without the heads (because I didn't have the heads back yet.)

So much room for activities!


Started out with an AJE universal trans mount that I had to modify


I used the widest LS swap radiator from Speedway that would fit. I didn't end up using the surge tank.


Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 1:38 p.m.

Stock LS3 oil pan would not clear the K-member, went with a Holley 302-2 oil pan (sorry no picture)


Started mocking up the Racepak IQ3s.  Keeping the factory gauge cluster would have been tricky.  The 99-up cars used a canbus network that needed the factory ecu to work.  I could have used an older gauge cluster and ran double sensors in the motor(one for the Holley, one for the cluster).  Plus, I just think the Racepak looks badass and it's plug and play with the Holley.

I used the template and made a new surround out of textured ABS plastic.


Subframe connectors and torque arm came in from Maximum Motorsports.

Patientzero Reader
12/10/19 1:47 p.m.

FINALLY got the bumper painted


First generation trans mount.  The AJE mount had rubber bushings so I wasn't concerned about mounting it solid here. In hindsight this probably wasn't a great idea.


I used a MGW shifter with brackets made by Hawk's Third Gen.

I had to clearance the shifter hole for the MGW mid-mount shifter.  It was surprisingly close to the stock shifter location.


Next on the agenda was to get the Maximum Motorsports panhard bar installed along with the coilovers.


That's all the pictures I can upload for now, I gotta head to work.  There is MUCH more to come.

Patientzero Reader
12/11/19 9:14 a.m.


Got the heads back from my friend Mike at Axiom Race Engines with a fresh valve job and he had hand blended all the bowls.

Lapping the valves was probably not neccessary but it makes me feel better.

Assembled with some new PAC springs from Brian Tooley.

Now the heads could go on the car.  Starting to look like something now.

Patientzero Reader
12/11/19 9:30 a.m.

Upgraded from the Steeda caster/camber plates to Maximum Motorsports. The Steeda plates only mount using the 3 factory holes.  There's nothing wrong with that if you have factory springs and struts but since I'm swapping to coilovers the weight of the vehicle will now be supported by the camber plate.  The Maximum Motorsports plates add a 4th hole to prevent them from deflecting.


Now I could install the front coilovers.  These are Koni single adjustables with a 

Started building the exhaust, 3" mandrel bent stainless steel with a x-pipe that I made and Borla ProXS mufflers.  I like to use pre-made bends and cut them up and weld them together.  Eventually I'd like to extend it all the way out the back and may have to to be legal for SCCA Time Trials but this worked at the time.

Patientzero Reader
12/11/19 9:47 a.m.

Starting to get all the little things checked off the list so I can start this up. Lokar throttle cable hooked up, radiator mounted, coolant hoses installed, and coolant filled.

To mount the radiator I just bent up a piece of 14ga steel to clamp the top of the radiator to the core support.  There is basically a mirror image of this on the bottom side that the radiator is sitting in and bolted through the factory mounts.


4" intake made out of stainless because that's what we had laying around.  The filter is mounted inside the fender to keep it away from the heat.


Making a startup tune.


After getting it started and smoothing out the idle a little bit.


Patientzero Reader
12/11/19 10:00 a.m.

Roll bar construction out of 1.75" .120 DOM


New driveshaft from PST so this thing can move under it's own power.


Getting an alignment with all the new suspension parts.


Patientzero Reader
12/11/19 10:09 a.m.


Made 482whp/443tq on 93 pump gas.  I believe with E85 and a different cam it would make 500whp.  My cam was originally spec'd for a 4.8 build before I got the LS3, I used it because I already had it.



This was the day before the CAM Challenge in Mineral Wells.  Later that night after the dyno my RAM slave cylinder exploded. :(

The McCloud conversion was also leaking internally.  I still don't know exactly why but it left me stranded with no clutch. I ended up getting the car started in gear and blew through several lights and stop signs on the way home. I ditched the whole setup and went with a Wilwood master cylinder and factory GM slave cylinder.

This is the linkage I made to make this work. I went through a couple versions of this to get the geometry worked out.

This is the version I'm currently using.


Patientzero Reader
12/11/19 10:22 a.m.

Finally got to start driving this beast.  This is my first autocross with the LS3.  With more tire this is going to be a really fast car.


Some pictures of it cleaned up.  A hobby of mine is photography.  I'm a Nikon guy.

Patientzero Reader
12/11/19 10:29 a.m.

One beautiful Saturday morning after Cars & Coffee I was out cruising around when all of a sudden a '03 Cobra pulled next to me a stoplight.  We both gave an understood nod and when it turned green we were both off.  I didn't have the greatest start but once I hit third gear the Cobra rapidly disappeared from my mirror until E36 M3 went south.  Parts of my transmission started scattering all over the road and smoke filled the car.  Ooops.

Cobra owner was super cool.  He had a front row seat to the show so he pulled over and stayed with me until the tow truck showed up.  Said his car was FBO with a ported blower.

Once I got the car home I started to get an idea on the extent of the damage.

Pulled the trans out to find even more damage than I thought.

From talking to a few people the best guess is the solid mount didn't allow as much flex as the motor mounts and caused it to twist and break.  Time to design a new trans mount too.

Patientzero Reader
12/11/19 10:53 a.m.

While saving for a new transmission I addressed the rear brakes.  The rotors for the Roush rear brakes were no longer available so I bought some new Cobra calipers along with some Baer Eradispeed 13" rotors and my old faithful, Hawk HP+ pads.


New (used) transmission from LKQ $1800 later...


I don't know if you've ever put in a 130 lb transmission before while laying on your back on the ground with no transmission jack but let me warn you it isn't fun.  I made a makeshift trans jack to help no crush my face.

During assembly I noticed that the weld on the driveshaft was cracked.  I sent this back to PST to be fixed and rebalanced under warranty.  This driveshaft was rated at 1000hp and I'm making half that.  They fixed it, no questions asked.


Version 2.0 of my transmission mount.  This time a used a factory rubber mount for the TR-6060.

Driveshaft back from PST

The car shook so violently when the trans came apart that it caused this.  Also loosened all the bolts on the front of the motor. 

I got offered a job back in Missouri closer to family.  Drove the car from Houston to Kansas City (750 miles) with no issues.


Look at that intake air temp!  It was about 18 degrees outside and I didn't have a heater, lol.  It honestly wasn't bad in the car.  Enough heat comes through the firewall to keep it comfortable.


Patientzero Reader
12/11/19 11:06 a.m.

A picture with my brother's '01 Cobra

I could not stand the squealing and lack of drivability of the ACT clutch anymore so for my power level decided a stock LS3/LS7 clutch would be just fine.

Also took this opportunity to fab up a new trans mount that ties into the subframe connectors.  The shop I was working at had a CNC plasma table so I was able to make a pretty nice one that somewhat mimicked the torque arm mount.  I forgot to take a picture at the time but this is the mount with the next transmission I use.  We're not to that part of the story yet.


I had the chance to weigh the car again.  First time since the motor/trans swap.  Also added the torque arm and roll bar.


Installed a passenger seat out of a 2013 GT.  When I have $1000 bucks to blow I'll get another Sparco.  The matching drivier seat to this is on my sim rig.


Getting ready for first autocross in Missouri.


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