Dale Amy
January 1, 2004
We'll bet the $4,795 Innovative Turbo Solutions 4.6 Two-Valve Stage II turbo kit comes in a big box, what with the included tubular front suspension components and substantial intercooler. A Stage I kit is also offered-minus the intercooler, blow-off valve, and T-bolt clamps-for $3,995. For those who already have a suitable K-member, you can subtract $500 from those amounts.

Horse Sense: Blow-through turbo setups such as this one place the mass air meter downstream of both the turbo and the blow-off/bypass valve, ensuring the meter reads only the air actually entering the intake.

We shouldn't have to tell you that turbochargers have been phenomenally successful on the dragstrip and are likely to turn up anywhere Mustangs compete for quarter-mile dominance. Until recently, however, this "they're everywhere" observation could not be made on the streets, where superchargers have undoubtedly had the upper hand in terms of sales success. But things have been heating up-so to speak-when it comes to Mustang street turbo kits, with at least a couple players stepping forward with kits for both pushrod and modular applications.

One of those new arrivals on the turbo kit-building scene is Innovative Turbo Solutions (ITS) out of Dayton, Ohio (not to be confused with California's Innovative Turbo Systems, a manufacturer of turbochargers and associated hardware). ITS does not build turbo-chargers-the guys there simply design and engineer the stuff necessary to house and feed one in the confined spaces of a Mustang's engine bay. Forgive that use of the word "simply," because the development of a good turbo kit is a complicated task.

The turbo ITS chose to be the center-piece of this kit is a Turbonetics 62-1, combining a T4 turbine section and a high-flow, high-efficiency, polished compressor section. Inlet size is 4.00 inches, and the compressor wheel major diameter is 3.00 inches with a 2.441-inch inducer diameter. The turbo's turbine housing (the hot side) is ceramic coated to retain heat inside where it can do the most good. The bearing housing in between the compressor and turbine sections is "dry" in that it doesn't require plumbing to engine coolant, but it does rely on engine-oil lubrication. The kit's external wastegate (on the right) will be factory set for about 6 psi, but it will come with a selection of spring weights for those brave souls who want to risk messing with boost levels. Production Stage II kits will also include a Turbonetics Raptor bypass/blow-off valve in place of the unit shown here.

By itself, a street-size turbo is a fairly compact lump-certainly no larger than the average centrifugal supercharger. But since it's spun by exhaust gases, routing the serpentine array of pipes from a pair of cylinder heads-without roasting anything in the process-has always been one of the bigger challenges for street turbo-kit developers. This space problem is compounded when exhaling through an intercooler. Despite this limited underhood acreage, ITS has so far been able to develop kits for pushrod, SOHC, and even DOHC Mustangs. This time, we'll take a look at a preproduction version of ITS' 4.6 Two-Valve Stage II (intercooled) package, which retails for $4,795 and includes a tubular K-member and A-arms, as well as coilovers, to provide the necessary elbowroom for all the turbo and 'cooler plumbing.

By now you may be wondering what Pro-M Racing has to do with all this. Skilled though they are as fabricators, and brimming with confidence on how to develop comprehensive Mustang packages, the guys at ITS freely admit to knowing precisely nothing about how to tune for a turbo's specific air/fuel and spark requirements. So, rather than leave all the tuning issues in the lap of their customers, they wisely turned to the experts at Pro-M Racing to provide that all-important side of the equation. Parent company Pro-M is, of course, famous for its high-flowing mass-air meters, and of late it has been working on a full range of tuning issues through its Pro-M Racing subsidiary, culminating in some amazingly potent calibration software that we'll tell you more about in upcoming issues. To accompany the turbo on our subject '01 GT, Pro-M offers a "tuner kit" for $1,600, consisting of a 3-inch Univer mass air meter, 42-lb/hr injectors, a chip calibrated with its new leading-edge proprietary software, and, because of the peculiarities and limitations of the late-model GT's returnless fuel system, an '03 Cobra fuel tank with its dual fuel pumps.

The following is a brief look at what's involved in installation of the turbo and tuner kits, accomplished before our camera's prying eyes at Pro-M Racing's Oak Park, Michigan, facilities. This locale provided handy access to Pro-M's brand-new Mustang MD-1750 loadable chassis dyno, where the impressive results were thoroughly documented. Past efforts at Mustang street turbo kits have often been characterized by complicated installations, occasionally involving such unnerving steps as having to relocate/extend brake lines or cut metal out of subframe rails. But from what we observed, if you're not intimidated by the thought of swapping K-members, installing the ITS kit should be a straightforward-if somewhat lengthy-proposition, doable at home but no doubt best accomplished on a hoist. Figure on a good couple days' work, but if this one is any example, the reward will be a modular that feels a couple hundred cubic inches larger.