Ford 5.0 Coyote Tuning

"All you need to know about performance tuning the Ford 5.0 Coyote engine!"

We shall review and look at 5.0 Coyote tuning and outline the premier modifications. The Coyote is a Ford Motor 5.0 litre NASP V8 engine that powers sports vehicles such as the Ford Mustang Falcon, Mustang GT & Boss editions and pickup trucks such as the Ford F-150. A fuel small block engine family with overhead camshaft V8 and V10 engines.

It has lots of potential for power gains with the right mods and upgrades, and we will look at the best options for your Coyote 5.0 tuning project in this article.

Ford 5.0 Coyote's makes awesome project engines and with carefully chosen motorsport parts like remapping, turbo upgrades, and camshafts you will greatly maximize your driving enjoyment.

Ford Motor Company dubbed the Modular engine family after the new "modular approach" to the arrangement of tooling and casting stations, rather than the engine design itself.

The Coyote's V8 has been part of the Ford Modular family since 2011. Since then, the engine has undergone some changes, the most recent of which occurred in 2018.

See our video which provides a complete introduction to Ford Tuning, it contains some tips on performance and handling modifications.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

The Coyote is Ford's first V8 engine to use its cam-torque-actuated (CTA) Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT), which allows the powertrain control module (PCM) to independently advance and retard intake and exhaust cam timing, resulting in enhanced power, fuel economy, and emissions.

Ford Mustang GT

  • 412 hp 307 kW @6500 rpm 390lbft 529 Nm @4250 rpm
  • 420 hp 313 kW @6500 rpm 390lbft 529 Nm @4250 rpm
  • 435 hp 324 kW @6500 rpm 400lbft 542 Nm @4250 rpm
  • 460 hp 343 kW @7,000 rpm 420lbft 570 Nm @4,600 rpm

Ford Mustang Boss 302

The basic 2011 Ford Mustang GT's 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine has been upgraded for this special edition and has been dubbed the 'Road Runner' engine by Ford's development staff. and has modifications such as a forged rotating assembly, CNC ported heads, updated camshafts, and a high flow "runs in the box" intake from the 302R racer.

  • 444 hp 331 kW @7500 rpm 380lbft 515 Nm @4500 rpm

Ford Mustang BULLITT

  • 480 hp 358 kW @7,000 rpm 570 Nm 420lbft @4,600 rpm

Ford Mustang Mach 1

  • 480 hp 358 kW @7,000 rpm 570 Nm 420lbft @4,600 rpm

Ford F-150

  • 360 hp 268 kW @5500 rpm 380lbft 515 Nm @4250 rpm
  • 385 hp 287 kW @5750 rpm 387lbft 525 Nm @3850 rpm
  • 395 hp 295 kW @5750 rpm 400lbft 542 Nm @4500 rpm

Ford Falcon GT

  • 449 hp 335 kW @5750 rpm 420lbft 570 Nm @2200-5500 rpm

Ford Falcon XR8

  • 449 hp 335 kW @5750 rpm 480lbft 570 Nm @2200-5500 rpm

FPV Ford Falcon GT-F

  • 471 hp 351 kW @5750 rpm 420lbft 570 Nm @2200-5500 rpm
  • 542 hp 404 kW with overboost 420lbft 650 Nm @2200-5500 rpm

TVR Griffith

  • 500 hp (373 kW)

Tuning the Ford 5.0 Coyote and best 5.0 Coyote performance parts.

Best 5.0 Coyote modifications

Just because particular mods are popular with 5.0 Coyote owners it doesn't mean its worth having, instead, we will recommend only what we regard are the best mods that will give your 5.0 Coyote the biggest power gain return for your cash.

We've seen people putting large throttle bodies and huge intakes expecting an increase in performance only to find the engine has flat spots and a random idle speed with odd peaks.

Best Engine Mods for the 5.0 Coyote

  1. Engine Tunes - makes the biggest gain to cost-benefit, OBDII flash units, aftermarket ECUs, and engine tuning/remapping are all options
  2. Fast road cams - one of the single most significant mechanical mods, but requires you to know what you're doing
  3. Intake & exhaust - Won't add much on their own but can help improve the power by removing a restriction
  4. Turbo/Supercharger upgrades - forced induction is the most efficient way to increase the air supply allowing you to burn more fuel
  5. Porting and Flowing the head - getting the air flowing into the engine and removing restrictions and turbulence are your aims here.

Let's break down these mods and look at each one in detail and discuss the merits and pros and cons of each one.

Tuning first steps.

Make sure your engine is in good condition, a carbon clean, a fresh set of spark plugs and new air filter and oil are a good base to begin with.

Tuning will always show up problems and weak spots in your engine that need attention, whereas you'd have gotten away with it on the stock factory setup.

You need to avoid error codes and limp home modes, or the engine trying to protect itself.

This is usually down to the airflow meter misreading the air flow and the ECU is getting rich/lean signals and is trying to trim to adjust.

It's important to match the airflow into the engine with the air flow meter capabilities, and note that a wider pipe or throttle body will usually mean slower air flow and air flow meters are setup assuming a set volume will pass over them.

So match the intake with the air flow meter and the engines need for air, unless you increase the induction and fuelling you are wasting your time here on the Coyote engine.

Altering your 5.0 Coyote camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the bhp accordingly.

Fast road cams usually push up the bhp and torque through the rev range, you could sacrifice a little low down torque but the higher rpm power will be higher.

Motorsport and race cams, push up the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

On a typical daily driver you need to optimize your power band to your cars usage.

I'd be surprised if you find a 5.0 Coyote Motorsport camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic. The low end idle will be very lumpy and irregular, so something you would notice on a track when you drive in the upper third of the rpm band, but on roads this is a serious issue and we've heard from lots of drivers lamenting their decision to add an extreme competition cam profile to their engine.

Different 5.0 Coyote engines respond better to mild camshaft durations so view each engine as unique.

The ECU mapping and fuelling also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll make.

Longer valve durations can alter the bhp band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your Coyote 5.0

  1. Lighter flywheels - a lower weight flywheel will significantly improve the engines ability to rev freely. But not always not a great upgrade for all Coyote engines.
  2. Air Induction and Exhaust Upgrades - Please be warned on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most applications, but they will enable you to lift power after other modifications by minimizing the restriction.
  3. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  4. ECU Tunes - A tune/remap gives the most advantage in terms of your investment, aftermarket ECUs, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  5. Fast road Camshafts are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone qualified to set them up properly and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock cam for you.
  6. Forced induction upgrades - Adding a turbocharger is the most significant way to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make power gains. Typically one of the most technically difficult modifications it does provide the largest gains.

Coyote Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include:
Remaps/piggy back ECU, drilled & smoothed airbox, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Panel air filters, Fast road camshaft, Intake manifolds.

Typical stage 2 mods often include:
Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, induction kit, fuel pump upgrades, high flow fuel injectors, Fast road cam, Ported and polished head.

Typical stage 3 mods often include:
Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Twin charging conversions, Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Competition cam.

The 5.0 Coyote power trains are great to work on and we're finding that there are plenty of parts and tuning parts around.

A remap allows a tuner to release the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your 5.0 Coyote.

(In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but the end result may depend much on the upgrades you've applied and the condition of your engine.

It is the main goal to any car tuning job to pull fuel and air into your 5.0 Coyote

Air Intake manifolds carry the air from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The bore size, shape and flow characteristics of the Plenum can make a substantial effect on to fuel atomization on the 5.0 Coyote.

Many mass produced engine manifolds are improved through aftermarket parts, although a few makers provide fairly well optimized headers.

Fitting big valve kits, carrying out port work and head flowing will also lift power, & more importantly will give you increasing the power increase on other tuning mods.

Unless there is a step that obstructs the airflow into the engine, opening up the air intake port to match the intake manifold would not benefit much.

As a result, the majority of DIY port matching work is best done on the exhaust ports. It is worth mentioning that extending the port size is not always advantageous and is only required in highly tuned engines when the port size has become a bottleneck.

Flow rates are often higher when channels are slightly smaller and have fewer bends or angles. This will reduce power; the goal here should be to have the two port openings be nearly the same size in order to avoid turbulence on the exhaust side.

This illustration depicts the goal of achieving a clean join between the manifold (x) and the engine port (y) in a highly tuned rally car engine.

The fuel injector (f) shows the maximum amount of polishing that can be done on the intake manifold.

5.0 Coyote air filter mods

All cars contain air filters, which are normally housed in an airbox in the engine compartment.

They are often made of paper, which filters particles from the air and prevents them from entering the engine.

Because people would prefer quieter engines, the filter housing or airbox is designed to reduce engine noise but to most Torque Cars readers the intake noise is something desired and makes the car sound more sporty.

The airbox will have various vanes and angles cut to enhance noise reduction by introducing sound canceling turbulence.

Because the air is not moving freely, it will be slower, potentially resulting in a loss of power as a result of all that sound deadening. To compensate for this loss of power, the air filter surface area is larger than that of the intake tubes, therefore manufacturers have essentially filled the gap between noise reduction and performance by slowing the air but allowing it to pass through a larger area.

This is why there are very little gains to be had from fitting an indcution kit in isolation on the Coyote engines.

You can smooth out the Coyote airbox and improve the airflow, and you can add a better flowing air filters, but we would recommend a cotton gauze material panel filter rather than an induction kit.

Turbo upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your 5.0 Coyote

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes massive power gains.

If your car has a turbo already fitted tuning parts are going to make more power and you will discover turbocharged engines are built with harder and stronger components.

However you will find an engines have limits, thankfully much work has been done on adding forced induction to the Coyote block and a wide range of supercharger and turbo kits are available from Roush, Edelbrock and Vortech among others.

See where you'll find these restrictions and upgrade to stronger pistons, crank and engine components to handle the power. Most kits provide a low boost within the tolerances of your engine, but for large power gains you should look to uprate the internals.

It's not unheard of car owners spending a a stack of money on turbo charger upgrades on the 5.0 Coyote only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the 5.0 Coyote literally blow up on it's first outing after it's finished.

Larger upgraded turbos tend to experience no power at low rpm, and smaller turbos spool up much more quickly but won't have the peak rpm torque gains.

We are pleased that the world of turbo units is always moving on and we commonly find variable vane turbo units, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the 5.0 Coyote when considerably more air is being drawn into the engine.

We note 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting power at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large performance gains, although more difficult to configure. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.


You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so should look at the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a bhp increase.It is important to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

As a rule of thumb add another 20% when buying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and gives you some spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

A twin 65mm throttle body seems to work well in most tuning projects.

Performance exhausts

You should look to uprate your exhaust if the current exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.  This component influences the Blow phase of combustion - getting rid of exhaust fumes is vital, and the lower the pressure in the exhaust system, the higher the BHP produced. However, the rate of flow or velocity of the exhaust gases must also be considered.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the exhaust flow rate is still fine even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts generally help improve air flow out of the engine but do not go too wide or you might just stuff your flow rate and make things worse. So generally speaking, keep to a size of 1.5 to around 2.5 inches to maximise flow rates, and this should take into account the amount of air your engine is moving.

Usual exhaust restrictions come around the catalyst installed, so adding a faster flowing high performance aftermarket one will improve air flow, and rather than doing an illegal decat, will keep the car road legal.

How do performance exhausts affect the engine, and do all exhausts boost power?  The flow is slowed by large exhausts, whereas it is increased by small exhausts.

To achieve the best flow rate without producing back pressure, you must balance the exhaust with the intake and engine capacity (a delay of exhaust gases unable to escape quickly.)

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the 5.0 Coyote

The 5.0 Coyote engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

Regular oil changes are vital on the 5.0 Coyote, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your 5.0 Coyote engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our 5.0 Coyote owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which parts work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these 5.0 Coyote tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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