5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
BBK Full-Length Headers Install - Tube Amplification
Turning up the power on a blown 5.0 with the addition of long-tube headers
Horse Sense: Obviously tuning is the central offering from an outfit named VMP Tuning, but main man Justin Starkey has become closely associated with getting the most out of Fords with the 2.3-liter TVS supercharger. This is more true now than ever, as VMP offers its own TVS supercharger with a small pulley and high-flow inlet pre-installed.
Last we left VMP Tuning’s ’11 Mustang GT, Justin Starkey had transformed his wife’s bolt-on car into a legitimate 10-second street car. This was accomplished with the mere addition of a Roushcharger supercharger and a flash of Justin’s tuning mastery. With Rebecca behind the wheel, the car nudged into the 10-second zone with a 10.98 at 127 mph.
“What we did with an out-of-the-box Roush 5.0-liter supercharger kit will not be too hard for the average Joe to duplicate, but it was a new application and there were a few hurdles to get past. Once I started to dial in the engine and did some auto trans tuning, and Rebecca got more track experience with the blower, the combo all came together,” Justin explained. “The result was a 10.98 pass a week after we put the Roush kit on. At the time the car only had drag radials on factory 18s, J&M lower control arms, a PST driveshaft, VMP custom tuning, and an out-of-the-box Roush 2.3-liter TVS kit. The kind of power we are making with these 5.0s is Terminator and GT500 territory.”
For a car running through a cat-less stock exhaust, this was an impressive feat. However, once a mountain is conquered, there is always another mountain. Since that time, Justin has tirelessly tweaked the car’s combination for more performance. Working with SCT software and hardware and moving to an 85mm pulley (down from 90mm) were the next moves. With some favorable weather at the NMRA finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and an FRPP Cobra Jet throttle body installed, Rebecca ran a 10.61 at 130.6 mph. That was still rocking the stock wheels and suspension.
“When we went to the Bowling Green NMRA race and Rebecca pulled off the first 10.6s. The big change was a 85mm supercharger pulley and accompanying fine tuning,” Justin added. “We are still running the restrictive enclosed airbox so most of the gain was in low-end torque, around 30 lb-ft, and a little top end horsepower. This improved the 60-foot a bit while still on 18-inch 275 Mickey Thompson drag radials.”
Next up were a move to lighter Weld Racing wheels and relocated lower control arms to improve traction and weight transfer. Under the hood, Justin finally settled on the 72mm pulley, putting boost plateau maximum at around 11 psi as muted by the restriction of the sealed airbox. Justin decided to stop there to keep the boost in a range that the nearly maxed-out factory fuel system could handle.
About this time, we came along with the idea to throw some BBK long-tube headers into the mix to see what uncorking the exhaust side of the equation would accomplish. Justin had already removed the cats for racing, but Rebecca’s ebony Pony still sported an otherwise stock exhaust system. After getting the car up and running with the headers, we thought we’d hit a wall until Justin discovered some tuning necessities when adding long-tube headers.