Michael Johnson Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
August 12, 2014
Photos By: The Manufacturers

Remember the grumpy cat meme saying, "I rode in a naturally aspirated car once … it was awful!" Well, a well-built naturally aspirated Mustang is a blast to drive, but boost makes everything more fun.

Even the most seasoned naturally aspirated fans feel that way because they just simply want to beat a boosted car. So in a way, it's a jealousy thing. They know it would be faster with boost, but they choose their own route, anyway. However, anyone who is fortunate enough to ever experience boost is instantly hooked whether they want to acknowledge that fact or not.

What is it about boost that makes us all want a blower or turbo under the hood? It's the menacing sound of a supercharger, the sound of a turbo car when it comes off boost, and the retina-detaching power and torque—that's what! That's why blower kits and turbo systems dominate the dreams of Mustang enthusiasts worldwide. The power available from a well-engineered power-adder combination will put a mile-wide smile on your face.

Hellion Power Systems knows a thing or two about boost. This is the company’s ’11 GT featuring one of its twin-turbocharger systems with Precision 62mm units and 26 pounds of boost. This car makes over 1,000 hp at the tires. As such, it has been bolstered in order to support that power level with a built engine, fuel system modifications, a beefed Freddy Brown 4R70W transmission, and a fortified 8.8 rear.
When Roush Performance outfits one of its Stage 3—or in this case, Phase 3 Mustangs—with one of its R2300 superchargers featuring Eaton’s TVS technology, it also outfits the car with a Ford Racing Aluminator long-block to handle the boost, along with fuel system upgrades. In some cases, Roush even adds a Tremec T-56 Magnum transmission to handle the extra power. You can already see a theme developing here.

Just think, if you're making 400 rwhp in a naturally aspirated combination, imagine how much fun 550 to 600 rwhp would be? But there are things you need to know before making the step to boost. Having boost does make everything more fun, but it also makes everything happen much faster, which can include damaging a poorly tuned engine. When introducing boost pressure into an engine's combustion chambers, there's little room for error.

Simply stated, the purpose of a supercharger or turbocharger is to force more air into an engine. That's why it's often referred to as forced induction. Thinking of an engine as an air pump—the more air you can get into and out of an engine, the more power it's going to make. But before you go throwing a supercharger or turbocharger on your Mustang or Ford, there are things you need to know so you don't blow your engine apart.

When you introduce more air into an engine, you need more fuel as well. Therefore, you need to bolster your Mustang's fuel system. Your Mustang's ignition system needs to be capable of keeping the fire lit, as well. Basically, when introducing your Mustang to boost, you need to have your bases covered to make sure you don't regret making the decision in the first place.

Therefore, we're here to help you navigate through the hurdles of installing a power adder, but more importantly, how to keep that smile on your face after that first mash of the gas.

Pro Charger

Erik Radzins, calibrations technician and social media representative, put this list together in jest, but in looking at it, Radzins hits the mark. Since he has a tuning/calibrations background, Radzins places a big emphasis on having the right tune in the car and being smart about what you do with the boost. People forget that the simple, proven combinations make power and tend to be more reliable, as well. Don't get greedy with the boost—stick with a reliable tune and let it ride. If it's more power you want from an existing power adder combination, get the components needed to do it right and go from there.

Erik's list reminds us that if you are smart and do your homework when you put together a power adder combination, it'll live. No one wants to have a broken down Mustang in the garage, so take the truth in Radzins' comical list, and you'll have plenty of good times at the wheel of your boosted Mustang.

1. Don't be an idiot.
2. Vacuum lines—check them (this includes wastegates, BOVs, MAP sensors, and so on)
3. See #1.
4. You will go really fast, so hold on tight.
5. If your car is tuned for 10 psi and is running good, leave it alone!
6. A boost controller is for holding boost, not so you can turn it up a few psi to beat your buddy.
7. Just because your friend bought EFI Live/HPT/SCT does NOT make him a tuner.
8. See #1 again.
9. Check your belt tension—make sure your belt is in good shape (old and hard won't cut it here) and that there is no slip.
10. If you think boost is fun, put a 100 shot on top of it.

Hellion Power Systems

Hellion Power Systems' John Urist knows everything there is to know about turbochargers and superchargers. He has utilized both in competition on his NMRA championship-winning Street Outlaw program. He uses that knowledge to make some of the most popular turbocharger systems available for Mustangs. Hellion has turbocharger systems available for every Mustang since the '87-'93 Fox models, and in some cases, in both single- and twin-turbocharger form.

John says a turbocharger package doesn't need some of the same bottom end components as a supercharger. The crankshaft isn't under the same loads with a turbocharger as it is with a supercharger, since a blower is driven by the crankshaft. However, John also cautions against doing a power adder that exceeds what your engine is capable of supporting.

"If your engine has a steel crank, it's good, but many engines will need a piston and rod upgrade," John adds.

In talking to John about Hellion Power Systems specifically, he says "Every system we build is around a factory engine, but the kit can make more power, obviously." So, you don't need to have a built engine in order the have a Hellion system.

John says Hellion's most popular kit is The Eliminator, the company's twin-turbocharger system for '11-'14 Mustang GTs and Boss 302s. The base kit is designed for 5 pounds of boost and roughly 550- 600 rwhp, but with the appropriate supporting hardware this system is capable of making 1,250 rwhp. Supporting hardware in this case includes a built bottom end, and the necessary fuel system upgrades.

"If you want to make over 750 hp with an '11-'14 GT, the engine is going to need rods and pistons," John says. "With a Boss 302, we've made 850 rwhp on race gas." But as you know, the Boss features good internals from the factory, so the power ceiling is higher out of the gate with the Boss' Roadrunner engine.

"The biggest thing with our kit is that a person will never have to make a hardware change," John says. In other words, Hellion's turbo kits are designed to grow with your Mustang's combination. Hellion's kits are such that you can tailor your Mustang's power level according to what it's capable of making, and then go from there without having to change anything with the kit, including the turbochargers themselves.