It’s a two person job to swap the hood, so be sure you have some help.
There are a lot of things that you can do to really spice up that front end to any year Ford Mustang. If looking to make a much meaner front end, a simple cowl hood can add the perfect menacing touch. For our Fox body, we ordered AM’s Kaenen 3-inch cowl hood and installed Redline Tuning QuickLIFT Elite Hood Struts from AmericanMuscle.com to complete the look and functionality of our Fox-body’s front end. This AM cowl hood fits 1987-1993 Fox-body Mustangs.
“Factory hoods on the Fox body Mustangs were very plain and simple. If you’re looking to give your Mustang that aggressive classic styling look no further than a 3-inch Cowl Hood,” says Dan Bailer, Social Marketing Manager for AmericanMuscle.com.
This cowl hood doesn’t just have to be for looks, it can also provide much needed space for aftermarket modifications such as a supercharger kit. No trimming or shaping needed, this 3-inch cowl was built with wave-free fiberglass construction and perfect fitment saving you time and money at the body shop. The added functionality doesn’t come with a weight cost since the lightweight fiberglass provides weight savings over the heavier OEM hood. We chose AM’s three-inch cowl hood, part number 94000.
“The factory hood prop is not the prettiest thing under the hood of your Mustang. If you take your car to shows and/or have your hood open often a set of hood struts is a must have,” Bailer tells us.
For every stock Mustang that ancient hood prop rod is an eyesore. Technology has allowed us to get rid of that old thing and replace it with something much better — hood struts. QuickLIFT Elite gas-filled hood struts, part number 61001, help raise and support the hood while it is opened, improving functionality and giving the engine bay a much cleaner and open appearance. These QuickLIFT Elite Hood Struts are progressive, slow-releasing struts made from polished stainless steel and come with black powder-coated hardware. Because the 3-inch cowl hood comes with a finished underside, pairing the hood with the hood struts will make you proud to show off your engine bay.
When browsing Mustangs at the drag strip or car show, one of the common mods is an aftermarket cowl hood. One of the biggest advantages of having a Fox is adding engine modifications. When you need more room under the hood, the cowl is a perfect choice for appearance and clearance.
These Redline Tuning Quicklift Elite Hood Struts are created to fit 1979 to 1998 Foxbody and SN95 Ford Mustangs including the V6, LX, GT, and SVT Cobra.
Parts and Tools
AmericanMuscle offers a wide array of hood choices. When selecting the right one for your Fox body, consider what the purpose and needs of the car are. Proper hood clearance may require a taller cowl. Taller cowls however, tend to block more visibility through the windshield, it might be wise -for the sake of driving enjoyment, to consider a shorter hood if your clearance allows. Steel verses fiberglass is also a consideration. Steel tends to be more durable, but won’t save you any weight.
The QuickLIFT kit contains the following:
(2) Gas-Charged Springs (RT-QL-200-5A)
(4) 3/16″ multi-grip rivets - (used on outer holes of hood brackets)
(2) 3/16″ Aluminum high adhesion rivets (used on center hole of hood brackets)
(4) 5/16″ head sheet metal screws
(2) Fender Steel brackets (larger brackets)
(2) Hood Steel brackets (smaller brackets)
If looking to install the hood struts yourself, here are the tools you need for installation straight from the manufacturer guide:
*We do recommend a test fit before drilling or painting.
5/32″, 3/16″ & #11 drill bits (3/16″ can be substituted for #11 index bit).
5/16″ socket & socket wrench
Fine permanent marker or felt tip pen
Masking tape & Tape Measure
Hammer & center punch
Rivet gun, capable of 3/16″ rivets (most brands can handle this size)
Stock Fox-body Mustang hoods use a 21-5/8″ measurement to install your mounting bracket. For any aftermarket hood such as our cowl hood here, the measurement will be 23-1/2″ to prevent interference when opening the hood.
Left: When aligning the hood bracket to mark the first hole, we advise you to tap your mark and leave a small indentation which prevents the drill bit from wandering. Tucked up under the hood frame, the ball stud on the hood bracket should be facing toward the engine bay. Center: With the bracket aligned to your holes, place the rivet through with the long stem forward. Make sure the 3/16-inch rivet head is installed on the rivet gun before applying force to the bracket. When the joint is tight, then squeeze the rivet handle until the gun snaps off stem. Install the gas-springs with the cylinder at the top (large end connected to hood ball stud). The gas spring sockets will snap securely onto ball studs. Easier if upper ends are snapped onto the ball-studs first and then attach the lower ends one at a time. Right: The cowl hood paired with the hood struts make for a great investment, especially if wanting to show off that engine bay in style. Importantly, anyone dropping cash on engine appearance mods would benefit from these two products. So, join the 21st century and ditch that ugly old prop rod.
The installation is pretty simple, and we’ve outlined most of it in photos for you. However, we’ve also rounded up a few tips.
Make sure to use a #11 indexed bit hole, or 3/16-inch hole (if #11 not available). If using the smaller 3/16-inch bit, you should test fit the rivet and drill until the rivet fits tightly through both bracket and hole. Keep in mind that any other bit sizes is not recommended and can mess up your installation.
Our project Fox body before the install.
Place a piece of tape around the drill bit at 1/4-inch past tip. This helps prevent drilling deeper than a quarter-inch. Drilling deeper than this depth can damage the hood.
Make sure the bracket is aligned and positioned correctly up against the hood lip, with it lined up and flush against the hood frame.
When drilling center hole, be cautious not to drill through the hood.
Get a friend to help you put the new hood on, and have them stick around to help you get the hood struts in place so someone can help you move the hood around and hold it in place as needed.
After installation, we have a much more aggressive look for this car.
Rivet the aluminum rivet into the hole (longer rivet, two included in kit), which will ikeep the bracket stable. However, it will NOT fit all the way into the hole, so just maintain pressure on riveter and start riveting. When doing so, the base will sit.
With the cowl hood in place on our Mustang coupe, the final product is a more aggressive appearance than the stocker, as well as less weight, and more clearance under the hood. The new hood lift struts will also clean up the under hood appearance and make it easier to work on the car without the hood prop in the way.