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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As we unpacked the products, Dan expressed skepticism about its overall power-making potential. We've all done it. Dan may have been passing his uncertain judgment because of the unconventional, square-shaped inlet tube that highlights R2C's CAI. Of course, you've probably been told more than a few times that it's not good to base opinions on appearance-no matter how abnormal something looks-especially when it comes to high performance. In the wild world of bolt-ons for late-model Mustangs, many times it's the out-of-the-ordinary products that prove to be far-more superior than their more-mainstream counterparts.

Read on through the photos, captions and the critical data recorded by Realspeed's Mustang dyno (once baseline dyno pulls were made, all subsequent dyno runs were done immediately after each part was installed) and see what we learned about this latest collection of intake- and exhaust-air hop-up pieces for '05-'10 Mustangs. We're pretty sure that you will be surprised by our findings, just as Dan was, when the dyno's roller stopped spinning after the final test.

On The Dyno
Our hopped-up stock S197 with its new big-air components from R2C, Metco, and Kooks, performed admirably on Real-speed's Mustang chassis dyno, as individual additions and definitely as a collective package.

Increased torque appears to be the big benefit in adding this collection to a stock 'Stang. For the money, we think the gains are excellent, when you consider the fact that rear-wheel torque, not horsepower, is the sensation that a driver or passenger experiences when the throttle is nailed. This package definitely will take you for a fun ride.

And, speaking of throttle, we have to say, there was no problem, glitch or issue with Shelby GT500 throttle body that we installed on our test Pony. Some throttle bodies can result in grumpy driveability without tuning compensation, but the Metco unit (a factory Ford part) performed without a hitch.

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BaselineExhaustR2C 
RPMPowerTorquePowerTorquePowerTorqueA/F
2,500116242125261125261 14.80
2,600124253128261129262 14.60
2,700133259134261135264 14.50
2,800137259139262141265 13.90
2,900142258145263146265 13.30
3,000147258151263151266 13.10
3,100151257154263155263 13.00
3,200156257159262159262 12.80
3,300162259165263167266 12.70
3,400170264174270173268 12.60
3,500178268181272182273 12.60
3,600186272186273191279 12.70
3,700191272195278196279 12.60
3,800199276202281206285 12.40
3,900208281206279212286 12.30
4,000214282214282218288 12.30
4,100222285223286228294 12.40
4,200227284231290238299 12.60
4,300232284238292242297 12.60
4,400236283242289248297 12.60
4,500241282247289253296 12.70
4,600245280252288258296 12.70
4,700249280258288262294 12.70
4,800254278262287267293 12.80
4,900258277265285271291 12.80
5,000262276269284275289 12.80
5,100265274272281277286 12.80
5,200266270273277279282 12.90
5,300267266273271280278 13.00
5,400266259273266280273 13.00
5,500267255272260280268 13.00
5,600267250273256280263 13.00
5,700269248274252282260 12.90
5,800270245272247281255 12.70
5,900270241275246282251 12.80
6,000268235273239282247 12.70

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Increased torque appears to be the big benefit in adding this collection to a stock 'Stang

MetcoTuningBaseline vs. Tuning
RPMPowerTorqueA/FPowerTorqueA/FPowerTorqueA/F
2,50011524115.5012426012.30818-2.50
2,60012525315.2012826012.1047-2.50
2,70013426214.7013326112.3002-2.20
2,80014126614.5014326912.40610-1.50
2,90014726813.8014927112.30713-1.00
3,00015226713.1015427212.40714-0.70
3,10015826812.8015927112.40814-0.60
3,20016226712.6016527112.30914-0.50
3,30016626612.5017127412.40915-0.30
3,40017727412.3018027912.501015-0.10
3,50018427712.4018728212.50914-0.10
3,60019127912.5019728712.601115-0.10
3,70019928312.3020328912.401217-0.20
3,80020328212.2021029112.201115-0.20
3,90021028412.1021929612.201115-0.10
4,00021828712.0022629812.201216-0.10
4,10022529012.1023430112.4012160.00
4,20023529512.2024230412.401520-0.20
4,30024429912.2024830412.301620-0.30
4,40024829612.3025530512.201922-0.40
4,50025329712.4025930312.201821-0.50
4,60025829412.4026230012.201720-0.50
4,70026229412.4026730012.101820-0.60
4,80026729412.4027129712.201719-0.60
4,90027229112.5027529512.201718-0.60
5,00027628912.6027829312.201617-0.60
5,10027828712.6028329112.401817-0.40
5,20027928312.6028428812.401818-0.50
5,30028027812.8028528312.501817-0.50
5,40028027312.8028527812.501919-0.50
5,50028026812.8028627412.501919-0.50
5,60028126412.8028727012.502020-0.50
5,70028025812.7028926612.402018-0.50
5,80028225612.5028726012.401715-0.30
5,90028225112.5028625512.401614-0.40
6,00028224712.5028725212.401917-0.30