5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
No-Tune S197 Cold-Air Intake
We test out Big Daddy Performance's no-tune S197 cold-air intake on a 2008 Ford Mustang GT
At the risk of sounding like a corrupted MP3 (it's 2008, fellas-broken records are a thing of the past), we've been nothing but impressed by the amount of love Mustang enthusiasts and aftermarket companies have given '05-to-present S197s during the last three years. New 'Stangs are still selling like hotcakes, and the river of bolt-on performance parts for Three-Valve GTs and Shelby GT 500s continues its steady flow.
Unlike owning a new Mustang, which we know is a sure bet, introducing new parts for S197s is a big gamble-especially for small businesses, and especially if the part is something the '05-and-up-'Stang market has been crowded with since day one. While a lot of new parts are similar in composition and purpose, we like to see something different in a breakthrough bolt-on. Different includes any quality that sets a component, kit, or system apart from others in its category.
Dwayne "Big Daddy" Gutridge has found that something different we're talking about and incorporated it into his new cold-air induction system for '05-'08 Mustang GTs.
As we've demonstrated in previous tech reports that include CAI for new Mustangs, while their improved airflow is a power enhancer, many systems require recalibrating the PCM to reestablish the proper air/fuel ratio to achieve optimum performance.
What's the difference between the Big Daddy Performance No-Tune Power Induction cold-air system ($599) and most of the others that are out there, you ask? Similar to cold-air kits for Fox and SN-95 'Stangs, "install and go" is the endearing quality of Big Daddy's CAI setup for new Mustang GTs. "Back then, all you had to do was add the bigger tube and a bigger meter that was properly calibrated," Big Daddy says. "In 15 minutes, you could bolt on more power. With the S197s, trying to do the same thing with most of the available cold-air kits results in an engine that won't start, a wrench light glowing in your face, or fuel trims that are completely maxed out."
By using basic carburetor-induction theory (intake, carb, and matching jets, for example), Big Daddy has created a cold-air kit that's ready to use immediately upon installation and doesn't require a plug-in or dyno tuning, thanks to the specially calibrated mass air meter he developed.
"I sent the entire stock airbox assembly to an engineer and had it flowed," says Big Daddy. "We got the flow numbers, and since we know that engines in S197s use 23-lb/hr injectors, we figured out that the stock piece moves x amount of air overall. Although we increased the size of the mass air tube to 95 mm with our cold-air system, we were able to use the PCM's provision for small corrections, enabling us to maintain the stock fuel transfer functions. That eliminates a need for tuning regardless of elevation changes, among other things. With our cold-air system, the engine idles, cruises, and performs under the factory's fuel calibrations, yet we're able to produce more horsepower."
We dropped in on Big Daddy's new Lakewood, New Jersey, installation and dyno facility during our late-summer visit to the East Coast to check out the latest breakthrough in S197 cold-air technology. Our testing was done on a five-speed '08 'Stang that was fresh from the dealership and loaded with 87-octane pump fuel.
Read on and take a look at the graph at the end of this report. While the gains are modest, they're gains nonetheless. The neat thing about this performance bump is that it's achieved at minimal cost and doesn't require manipulating a 'Stang's PCM in order to see and feel a difference. Check it out.