KJ Jones
Brand Manager, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
August 1, 2009
Photos By: KJ Jones
Fastlane's Dustin Rizzo drops three Walbro 255-gph fuel pumps into the stock fuel tank of Jaimie Cisneros' '04 Cobra. Three pumps are possible thanks to Fore Precision Works' triple-pump hat fuel-pump bracket, a badass CNC'd, billet work of art that allows in-tank fitment for as many as three stock-style fuel pumps, dependent on an application's fuel requirements, in '99-'04 Mustangs.

As late-model Mustangs go, we believe it's probably difficult for any enthusiast worth his salt as a 'Stangbanger to not love the '03-'04 Cobras. Prior to the '07 debut of Shelby GT500s, Ford's supercharged Pony, better known as Terminator, sat at the top of the Mustang's hierarchy, with it's 390 hp and huge potential to make much bigger steam with the addition of just a few bolt-on parts.

Power adders are by far the most-popular bolt-ons for making a Snake's back-tire venom more potent. However, as we've learned over the years-actually, since 1999, when the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board dropped their collective hammers on evaporative emissions control for all automobiles-adding aftermarket components that will further enhance a Mustang's already impressive power mandates improved fuel delivery, especially on a factory-blown Terminator.

A New Edge Cobra's stock, non-return-style fuel system uses two in-tank pumps to feed fuel to the stock 39-lb/hr injectors. With a non-return-style system, gasoline flows only one way from the tank and is regulated on an as-needed basis based on engine load, manifold vacuum, or boost, by a fuel-pressure sensor in the fuel rail and by the PCM.

The dual-pump setup works fine for hopped-up Snakes that put as much as 550 hp on the ground, but the big steam we all crave really isn't attainable with the stock fuel system, mainly due to the fact that big-time horsepower requires fuel volume. Even if the two stock pumps are swapped with bigger units, without a bypass of some sort in the fuel-line schema, there still is no way to bleed off unused fuel. The subsequent pressure backup can eventually lead to an overheating condition and severe pump cavitation, which can certainly put a modified Terminator's engine in dire straits when the boost starts climbing.

Our test ride features the basic bolt-on pieces-cold-air induction, throttle body, 2.75-inch supercharger pulley, upgraded heat exchanger and exhaust-that are found on most daily driven Cobras before they're taken to the next level, usually with the installation of a bigger blower, twin turbochargers, and more.

Return-style fuel systems are far from new. Fuel is pumped at high-speed directly to the fuel rails, and after the engine has used a portion of the gasoline, the residual fuel then passes through a bypass regulator and is returned back to the tank. As we stated earlier in this report, the return-style method was the norm for pre-'99 Ponies. Many times, the stock systems could easily be enhanced with second pumps, bigger lines and rails, and so on, to support power increases that were brought about with the addition of power adders.

While the return-style concept and principles haven't changed, some of the components that are used in aftermarket setups definitely have evolved. Fore Precision Works' triple-pump hat is one such component,. It was brought to our attention during a phone conversation with Anthony Hoekstra of Fastlane, who tells us that the trick, billet fuel-pump holder from Fore Precision is the cornerstone of the Houston-based 'Stang emporium's new turnkey, return-style fuel-system package for '03-'04 Cobras.

In our never-ending mission to seek and find the latest in Mustang newness, your tech editor added H-Town as a stop during his travels in the Lone Star State to see what Fastlane's fuel setup is really all about. Continue on through the photos and captions as Dustin Rizzo and Jeremy Zimmerman take you through an installation of Fastlane's Terminator Fuel System on Jaimie Cisneros' '04 Cobra. It's a perfect candidate for the upgrade, as the stock fuel pumps were barely hanging on when we began the project, and Jaimie has plans of someday bolting a big Whipple supercharger on his Snake's engine.