Michael Johnson Associate Editor
June 11, 2003

Here at 5.0 Mustang and Super Fords, we're often asked how we come up with ideas for tech stories. Sometimes we'll see a new trend involving a set of parts. Other times we hear about a hot new component from a manufacturer and we'll install it on a car to see if it accomplishes what it was designed to do. And every once in a while Editor Turner or Tech Editor Houlahan will actually have a bright idea and we'll give it a shot in the magazine, although most good ideas come from yours truly. [This ignition must've zapped Johnson senseless.--Ed.] Then there's the way we came to hear about Ignition Solutions' Plasma Booster. Ignition Solutions sent a Plasma Booster to Idle Wild Racing's [(727) 507-9453; www.idlewildracing.com] Dan Flowers to try out. Dan had such favorable results in testing he called us to report them. Since we also found the Plasma Booster to be interesting, we'll give you the results.

In a nutshell, Ignition Solutions' Plasma Booster provides a hotter spark than is capable with a stock 4.6 Mustang ignition. The company claims the Plasma Booster is an ignition component engineered to enhance the Mustang's existing ignition system. It's almost like installing a complete ignition system without all the wiring and placement issues. Reportedly delivering four times the spark energy over the factory ignition during initial spark discharge, the Plasma Booster also doubles the secon-dary current (spark amperage). The power boost is a result of the Plasma Booster creating a multiple-spark discharge of about 10 sparks within 500 microseconds of the total spark. In short, the Plasma Booster's hotter spark capability burns the fuel faster than the stock ignition. And the faster the engine can burn fuel and emit it, the more horsepower it's capable of making.

Installing the Plasma Booster is a piece of cake, and it's OBD-II compatible as well. When we installed it on our ATI-ProCharger-blown 3g GT, we didn't receive any codes or check-engine lights--just more horsepower. To find out exactly how much more, read on.

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Tale of the Rollers

________Before and After_________
RPM TORQUE POWER TORQUE POWER

2,500 298.67 142.63 299.43 143.08
2,600 300.53 149.11 304.04 151.01
2,700 302.39 155.58 308.64 158.95
2,800 306.66 163.60 314.62 167.95
2,900 313.35 173.17 321.97 178.01
3,000 320.04 182.73 329.31 188.08
3,100 329.23 194.54 338.51 200.06
3,200 338.41 206.36 347.72 212.03
3,300 346.24 217.68 355.14 223.25
3,400 352.70 228.50 360.80 233.71
3,500 359.17 239.33 366.46 244.16
3,600 364.31 249.83 373.30 256.07
3,700 369.45 260.32 380.15 267.98
3,800 373.78 270.45 385.17 278.79
3,900 377.31 280.21 388.36 288.52
4,000 380.83 289.97 391.55 289.24
4,100 381.69 297.94 392.79 306.72
4,200 379.87 305.90 394.02 315.20
4,300 381.95 312.67 393.59 322.31
4,400 379.87 318.24 391.48 328.04
4,500 377.78 323.81 389.37 333.78
4,600 374.85 328.35 385.90 338.05
4,700 371.92 332.88 382.44 342.32
4,800 367.52 335.87 377.33 344.85
4,900 361.64 337.32 370.59 345.64
5,000 355.77 338.77 363.85 346.42
5,100 350.10 339.87 359.76 349.28
5,200 344.43 340.96 355.67 352.13
5,300 339.04 342.09 350.96 354.14
5,400 333.94 343.27 345.63 355.32
5,500 328.84 344.45 340.30 356.49
5,600 320.36 341.43 331.64 352.22
5,700 311.88 338.41 322.97 347.95

To test the Plasma Booster's horsepower worthiness, we made the short trip to Coastal Chassis Dyno in Tampa, Florida. Owner Sam Lippincott had just recently opened the doors when we came looking for dyno time. Sam is also building a Real Street car for NMRA competition. Coastal utilizes an MD-250 Mustang dynamometer with a wide-band O2 setup to monitor air/fuel ratios.

The dyno numbers listed represent those of our 3g GT, which is what we used to test the Plasma Booster. While the engine is stock, it boasts an ATI-ProCharger P-1SC supercharger, a MagnaFlow X-pipe, and a Steeda side-exit exhaust. Sam informed us the car was running a little rich, but we didn't want to push our luck and try to get even more horsepower out of it. We ran two baseline runs and used the second for the "before" numbers. We did the same with the "after" numbers. Our tune-up didn't change between the before and after numbers. We weren't quite sure what to expect out of the Plasma Booster, but we were floored when we realized an increase of a solid 12 hp and 12 lb-ft of torque. There aren't many sub-$300 products on the market that will give a 12 and 12 increase in both horsepower and torque.

Dan Flowers at Idle Wild Racing tested the Plasma Booster on his naturally aspirated '01 GT, which features a cold-air kit, a Bullitt intake, and underdrive pulleys. Dan's GT gained 4 hp at the peak and 6 hp at 5,800 rpm, but the torque stayed the same across the board. Dan also reports an easier start-up and that his car revs cleaner with the Plasma Booster installed. He cites easy installation and great value as benefits of the Plasma Booster.