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2004 Ford Mustang Cobra Methanol Injection Kit - Meth Propulsion Lab
Testing the cooling effects of Snow Performance's mass-air-controlled methanol injection on a super-hot SVT Cobra
Horse Sense: According to Snow Performance, "Methanol is a high-octane fuel that is extremely resistant to detonation with an excellent cost/benefit ratio. Its high latent heat of vaporization also makes it an excellent air-charge cooler, which means a denser mixture and more horsepower. Because of these facts, it is a better anti-detonant than ethanol or isopropanol, although they will work in a pinch. It has, however, only about 60 percent of the energy content of gasoline by volume, so about twice as much is used to make similar power if used as a straight fuel."
In our November '04 issue ("Cool Your Jets!," p. 100), we first introduced you to Matt Snow and his amazing methanol injection system from his company-Snow Performance. The Snow Performance kit showed an amazing ability to stave off detonation even with our high boost, low-fuel-octane application. In the end, we were impressed with the quality and abilities of the methanol injection kit from Snow Performance. At the close of that technical article, we promised you more testing with the Snow Performance setup because, well, we like messing around with parts that really deliver the goods. With hopes of testing the kit on a high-horsepower 5.0 street car falling by the wayside, we turned to the next best car in the Ford arsenal-an '04 SVT Cobra. Before we get into the nitty gritty of the installation, let's take a look at what you get from Snow Performance.
The Snow Performance methanol injection kit is based around a high-flow pump that is mounted in the engine compartment and a distribution nozzle that goes in the intake. This high- pressure, high-volume pump will flow 500 ml/min at the nozzle. The other items in the kit are of high quality while still being affordable to the end user. The Snow Performance kit has grown dramatically in popularity since our initial technical story, and we expect the company to only get stronger.
We enlisted Paul Ricco and the crew at Razor's Edge to give us a hand with the installation. Being based in South Florida (think hot and humid) has certainly given Paul an appreciation of the benefits of methanol injection as a way to keep his customers' cars running cool and fast.
"We install 4-5 Snow Performance kits a week," Paul tells us. "Of all the kits we've done, we haven't had a single failure. Everything about the Snow Performance kit is high quality, especially that pump. It's an over-built kit."
In addition to testing the base kit, we also wanted to take a look at Matt's latest addition to his line of performance parts-the Snow Performance MAF Variable Controller. According to Snow Performance, "This device is designed to increase injection pressure over a user-adjustable range and quickly shut off when airflow drops to prevent misfiring. The Variable Controller is designed to work with the stock mass airflow meter, and the output signal easily connects to the input of the controller. The user then sets two dials that are located under the lid of the controller to determine what voltage the system is activated. The second dial chooses the voltage where maximum injection is required. Once the two dials are set, the controller will linearly increase/decrease the injection pressure over the set range."Razor's Edge typically activates the system at approximately 50 percent max mass-air voltage, or around 3.0 volts, with the max voltage at 4.2 volts. As such, the Snow Performance MAF Variable Controller linearly ramps the voltage through that range. So, the pump sees a seamless increase in voltage to gradually bring on the flow rate to max as the engine demands.
Our test car was a gorgeous, Competition Orange '04 SVT Cobra owned by Bret Stabler. Bret had already installed a Ford Racing Performance Parts Whipple supercharger with a 3.25-inch blower pulley and a full exhaust. In addition, the car was outfitted with IRS bushings, a Steeda differential brace, and subframe connectors. Even with the extremely efficient factory intercooler, with the added boost of the FRPP Whipple, this car was a prime candidate for a Snow Performance methanol kit.
With a lot of experience and a well-equipped shop, Razor's Edge had the Snow Performance kit installed and tuned in less than a day even while Paul tripped over former Technical Editor Mark "Crazy Legs" Houlahan.
Once again, the Snow Performance methanol-injection kit has delivered the goods with big horsepower and torque increases with only a modest cash outlay. Honestly, the only thing that you can add to your Mustang that will reward you with this much power is a blower, nitrous, or an entire engine rebuild. And, those will cost you at least twice or as much as 10 times the cost of what we installed here. Safe, clean, fun-Snow Performance has done it again.
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Willie Figueroa not only knows his way around a laptop, but as the lead tuner at DiabloSport, he comes in handy with this many companies involved in a tech story. Paul handles the tuning while Willie watches. Remember, you will pick up some power by just bolting on the Snow Performance kit, but the real rewards will come from a custom tune-up specifically designed to enhance the air/fuel ratio on your particular application. This will be made easier with Snow Performance and Razor's Edge collaborating on an entire library of tune-ups for cars. Basically, if you buy a Snow Performance kit, Matt will be able to get you a tune for your car with the help of Razor's Edge.
The '04 Cobra baselined at 443 rwhp at 5,500 rpm and 465 lb-ft of torque at 3,700 rpm. After the installation of the Snow Performance kit and a quick tune by Paul, it was back on the Mustang chassis dyno. With the cool charge of the Snow Performance methanol-injection kit (the equivalent of 120 octane in the tank), our peak numbers (taken from the graph with more data points than our 100-rpm charts) jumped to 511 hp at 5,700 rpm and 520 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. That's a real-world jump of 68 hp and 55 lb-ft of torque at the peaks on a conservative dyno. We should also point out that those numbers came at a safe 11.5:1 air/fuel ratio and the peaks are from the dyno graphs, which have more resolution, or data, points, than our charts. If we hadn't run out of spark, there was more power to be had.
In an interesting move, Snow Performance is going to offer future kits with a DiabloSport Predator already tuned for your combination using a library of possible combinations tested and proven by Paul at Razor's Edge. That way, you can get a close tune-up right out of the box. We still like checking everything at your local chassis dyno, but Paul will work with the end user to ensure that your combination will rock right along.