KJ Jones
Brand Manager, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
November 1, 2009
Photos By: KJ Jones

Yes, the subject matter is territory that we've visited many times before with 5.0 Mustangs and their younger, modular-powered siblings. This exercise in installing and testing S197 bolt-ons covers the simple air-efficiency upgrades (cold-air intake, larger throttle-body, free-flow mufflers, and tuning) that we believe are excellent first-step performance modifications for '05-'10 'Stangs. However, in each instance we like to experiment with components that are made by different manufacturers, to see exactly how well certain parts work on a stock Pony, both individually and when combined with each other for evaluation as affordable, bolt-on performance packages for Three-Valve-powered, '05-present Mustang GTs.

We've doled out plenty of criticism about the poorly designed, super-restrictive, OEM air-intake systems that are trademarks on the modern-era (from 1986 to present) stock Mustangs that we've worked with, and explained how fresh outside airflow into a 'Stang's engine, or, more specifically, the lack thereof, hinders performance.

Inefficiency doesn't stop at the engine. Exhaust gases that exit through factory mufflers are equally as detrimental to a Mustang's chassis-dyno (and more importantly, seat-of-the-pants) performance, as the aforementioned air-inlet passages are. Time has shown that installing bigger (larger diameter), non-restrictive pieces in both of these areas, is the best way to bring out more of a 'Stang's inherent rear-wheel horsepower. Also, through years of testing Mustangs, we've learned performance gains that result from bolting on the basics, can further be improved by using the chassis dyno and tuning software to recalibrate the PCM for an optimum air/fuel ratio.

The super-sized S197 parts for this test come to us courtesy of R2C Performance (cold-air system), Metco Performance (Shelby GT500 throttle body and spacer), Ford Racing Performance Parts (FR500CJ throttle body) and Kooks Custom Headers (axle-back exhaust). Realspeed Automotive's owner, Dan Carlson, and technicians Rob DeMartinis and Rodney Yu (the irony in the sight of Rodney, a Mustang tech, arriving at the shop in a full-on, tuner-style import ride was hilarious) spent a day installing and dyno-testing our upgrade package on a brand-new, '09 Mustang GT that was graciously provided by Jack Frost of Sayville Ford.

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