Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
April 1, 2003
Photos By: Steve Turner

Horse Sense: Super Six Motorsports' Super Heads are '94-'98 V-6 heads that are fully ported and feature 1.85-inch intake and 1.55-inch exhaust valves, and a three-angle valve job. Super Six reports these heads even outflow fully ported '99-up split-port V-6 heads.

Chances are, if you're reading this magazine you have a fascination with speed. Whether it's down the quarter-mile or the twisty stuff, nothing satisfies or unwinds you like the thrill of going fast. Mustangs are good at helping quench that thirst even in factory trim, although some are more suited to it than others. Obviously dwelling at the bottom of the Mustang food chain are the '94-'98 V-6 Mustangs. From the factory, the initial 3.8 V-6 possessed 145 hp, with later SN-95 V-6s boasting a floorpan-ripping 150 hp. But that didn't stop Abingdon, Maryland's Dan Haga from pursuing his quest for speed from behind the wheel of this '98 Mustang V-6.

"When I purchased it more than three years ago, it was fast compared to my previous car (a Chrysler Lebaron)," Dan says. Thank goodness for that, but once GTs and Z28s starting kicking his tail, Dan just couldn't ignore the fact-he had to make his V-6 go too.

He began with the small stuff, such as a Borla Cat-Back and a K&N filter. Saleen graphics followed suit, along with AFS Wheels Cobra R wheels (to at least make people wonder what they were dealing with), but the power department still needed a few key components. At this time Dan installed a MAC cold-air kit, followed by a Super Six Motorsport-ported and -polished stock intake. With the addition of Eibach springs, he was happy with the way the car looked, but he still wanted more power.

The interior of Dan's V-6 is dominated by a pair of Corbeau Forza seats and a slew of Auto Meter gauges. However, when the factory Mach 460 stereo system sprouted a crackled speaker, Dan pulled out the whole thing and installed a Pioneer head unit, Kenwood speakers in Q-logic enclosures up front, Infinity Kappa speakers within a custom rear-seat-delete kit, a Lightning Audio 200-watt amp, and a Cerwin Vega 12-inch subwoofer in the trunk. "After fixing a license plate rattle, I was happy with the stereo setup," Dan says. With those components we should think so.

That desire for more prompted Dan to add 3.73 gears and a Traction-Lok differential to the car's 7.5 rear. "I was getting tired of those embarrassing one-wheel burnouts," Dan says. "The gears greatly improved acceleration, and the new differential let me leave two rubber tracks down the road rather than one." He also added a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter and MSD plug wires.

But power-making capabilities went off the chart when Dan added an NOS 5115 dry-nitrous kit to the equation. The kit is adjustable from 25 to 75 hp, and Dan fitted it with a remote bottle opener, an upgraded safety fitting, and a safety blow-down tube. Extra lights and switches were also added to keep everything on the cautious side. "To make sure the engine was getting all the fuel it needed," Dan says, "I put in a Cobra fuel pump-which cost a fortune, but it was my only option at the time. I was very impressed with the power the nitrous added, and I left the car alone for a while, adding only a few things such as a pair of GT foglights, clear corner lights, blue headlight bulbs, and a pair of headlight blackouts."

With the weekly nitrous refills, Dan quickly surmised that he could probably get more performance value from a supercharger. To that end, he added a Vortech S-Trim from Super Six Motorsports. Though the blower didn't give him the kick equal to that of the nitrous, the power was always there when he needed it. Again erring on the side of caution, Dan added the appropriate boost and air/fuel gauges within an Auto Meter A-pillar gauge pod.

After adding a complete stereo system to replace the factory Mach 460, he decided to get back into increasing the car's power. This round of mods included a MAC off-road H-pipe, a Pro-M 75mm mass air meter, 30-lb/hr injectors, and a custom Johnson Motorsports computer chip. "With better tuning and more fuel," Dan says, "I was able to install a smaller blower pulley, which increased my boost levels from about 8 pounds to 12. At this point I was pretty happy with the car and began taking it to shows and racing it at the local quarter-mile dragstrip, turning times in the low 14s." To improve traction, Dan also added BBK upper and lower control arms and Nitto Extreme drag radials.

With the nitrous still on the car, Dan had avoided using it and the supercharger in concert-until he finally gave in to temptation and gave it a shot. "I didn't really feel any gains from the 25 shot," he says, "but the 50 shot was fun to use with the supercharger. On a cold night at the track, I gave the 75 shot a try and blew the engine at 101 mph going through the traps." Needless to say, Dan and his V-6er got a lift home that night.

Dan tallied up the damage, which included one melted piston, one shattered piston, lots of bad piston rings, and several damaged cylinder walls. Sadly, he had to part with the nitrous kit in order to pay for getting the car back on the road. He had the block bored 0.020 over and added Wiseco pistons, shot-peened Super Coupe rods, a Crower cam, and a pair of Super Six Motorsports-ported and -polished heads with Ford Racing Performance Parts roller rockers. A Ram clutch was squeezed into the mix as well. To help recoup some of the power loss from selling the nitrous kit, Dan fabricated an air-to-air intercooler to cool the intake air charge going into the engine. A second boost gauge was installed, along with an electric fuel-pressure gauge in an Auto Meter dash-gauge pod.

With the new additions, the car needed to have its tune-up tweaked once again. Dan drove it to Super Six Motorsports in Georgia, and then on to Johnson Motorsports in Alabama for another dyno-tuning session. With the new tune, the car ran consistent high 13s. Dan then added a 60mm throttle body, a Jacobs ignition, and a BBK adjustable fuel-pressure regulator. He also replaced the Cobra fuel pump with a 255-lph unit.

If you think Dan's Mustang looks way different with this Erebuni front bumper cover, then he's accomplished his goal. As a bonus, the opening at the front feeds plenty of air for the two-core intercooler mounted just behind the bumper cover. Apart from the front cover, this V-6 features such staples as a Cervini's Cobra R hood, AFS Wheels Cobra R wheels, and a DynoMax side-exhaust kit. Even though the sticker theme is played out on the import scene more than J-Lo's latest CD on hip-hop radio stations, the same treatment down the side of the doors doesn't detract from the car's looks. Besides, those manufacturers listed have sponsored many components to help Dan make the car what it is today.

After a year with the new setup, it was time for more power. Dan installed a mandrel-bent inlet pipe and changed the location of the intercooler. "I moved it just behind the front bumper and made a dual-bypass-valve setup to keep blower surge to a minimum," he says. "From there, I put on a custom 2.5-inch blower pulley, which kicked boost levels up to 18-plus pounds of boost." The car improved greatly by running a best of 13.1 at 112 mph.

In 2001, the only things Dan changed included swapping out the Borla Cat-Back for a DynoMax side-exhaust kit and adding an Auto Meter tach on the dash so he could concentrate on the road and not the dash. However, for 2002 he added a more aggressive cam, a pair of Super Heads from Super Six Motorsports, adjustable roller rockers, a Fluidyne radiator, a relocated battery, and Corbeau Forza seats. He also removed the A/C system to lose some weight.

As with most of us, Dan began his first mods on the exhaust and intake side with the addition of a Borla Cat-Back and a K&N filter. Then came a MAC cold-air kit and a Super Six Motorsports-ported and -polished upper and lower intake. Horsepower took a giant leap forward with the addition of an NOS 5115 adjustable dry-nitrous kit. With regular nitrous use, refilling the bottle became rather expensive, so Dan purchased a Vortech S-Trim supercharger from Super Six. "The 8 pounds of boost didn't give me the same hard kick that the nitrous did, but the added power was always there, and I liked it," he says. On one trip to the track, Dan experimented by adding the 75hp nitrous jets along with the blower. That Eminem/Elton John-like duo resulted in one melted piston, one shattered piston, several bad piston rings, and a few torn-up cylinder walls. The current setup is a result of that experiment gone bad.

Unfortunately, a quest for 12s ended with Dan getting another tow home when the 7.5 rear decided to give it up. He quickly replaced the busted 7.5 rear with an 8.8 from a '95 Cobra, an FRPP 31-spline Traction-Lok, Moser 31-spline axles, FRPP 3.73 gears, and a MAC rear support cover, all courtesy of Muscle Motors, one of Dan's many sponsors.

The final stage for the exterior came with Dan adding an Erebuni front bumper cover and having stickers made for the side of the car with the names of his sponsors. Both styling tips may hint toward the import side, but Dan was looking for something different, and he accomplished that feat without offending most Mustang fanatics.

Besides, with quarter-mile times bordering on the 12-second zone, most competitors won't have too much of a chance to see the front of the car anyway. And remember, this is a V-6.

5.0 TECH SPECS
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
Block Stock
Bore 3.82
Stroke Stock
Displacement 234 ci
Crank Stock
Rods T-bird Super {{{Coupe}}}, shot-peened
Pistons Wiseco forged
Cam Crower
Heads Super Six Motorsports Super Head, ported and polished, three-angle valve job, 1.86/1.56 valves, FRPP roller rockers, Comp Cams valvesprings
Intake Stock, Super Six Motorsports- ported and -polished, shortened runners, larger throttle-body inlet
Throttle Body Stock 5.0
Mass Air Pro-{{{M}}} 75mm
Fuel System Weldon fuel pump, stock fuel rails, FRPP 30-lb/hr injectors, BBK adjustable fuel-pressure regulator, Vortech FMU
Headers MAC long-tube
Exhaust MAC Pro-Chamber H-pipe w/ cats, DynoMax side-exit exhaust
Power Adder Vortech S-Trim, two-core intercooler
Transmission Stock T5, Ram clutch and pressure plate, Steeda Tri-Ax shifter
Rearend 8.8, FRPP 31-spline differential, Moser axles, 3.73 gears
ELECTRONICS
Engine Management Stock computer
w/Johnson Motorsports chip
Ignition Jacobs, MSD 8.5mm plug wires
Gauges Auto Meter Ultralite
SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
FRONT SUSPENSION
K-Member Stock
Control Arms Stock
Springs Eibach
Struts Bilstein
Brakes Stock, cross-drilled and slotted rotors, performance brake pads
Wheels Chrome Cobra R
Tires BFGoodrich Comp T/A
REAR SUSPENSION
Springs Eibach
Shocks Bilstein
Traction Devices BBK upper and lower control arms
Brakes Stock, performance brake pads
Wheels Chrome Cobra R
Tires Nitto Extreme Drag