Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
March 15, 2007

In a previous issue of MM&FF, we experienced exceptional results with the Snow Performance Boost Cooler on a hopped-up 5.0 Mustang ("Chemically Cool Your Colt," July '04). So when Snow Performance contacted us about its new kit for '03-'04 Cobras, we said "ship it out and let's git-'er-done."

As none of us magazine types can afford an '03-'04 Cobra (maybe a '77 Cobra II if it needs work), we needed a test subject, so we put in a call to JDM Engineering, which hooked us up with Paul Merces, owner of a Mineral Gray '03 SVT Cobra. The Pony was equipped with a Whipple supercharger upgrade, an off-road H-pipe, a Borla Cat-Back, a solid 8.8 axle, a JDM cold-air kit, and a hot JDM SCT computer tune-up maximized for 94-octane gas. In this form, the Cobra knocked down 577 hp and 507 lb-ft of torque at the wheels at 15 psi of boost.

At this point, the car was running out of fuel system and would need $1,000 worth of injectors and fuel pumps to provide adequate fuel for further horsepower levels. However, we found an inexpensive way to make more power without the fuel mods.

JDM tech Shaun Lacko removed the front wheel and wheelwell liner to gain access to the windshield washer fluid reservoir, which we intend to use as our supply tank.

The Snow Performance kit for '03-'04 Cobras retails for a mere $399 and includes a pump, a reservoir, fluid line, hardware, and the Mass Airflow Variable Controller. Whereas our previous test used a boost-indexed controller, the MAF kit reads the Mass Air voltage and adjusts water/methanol output accordingly. This results in better driveability and a more efficient use of the water/methanol supply.

"The MAF Digital Variable Controller is preferred with positive displacement superchargers and small, fast-spooling turbos with their inherent instant off-idle full boost," says Matt Snow, owner of Snow Performance. "In these applications, using a boost-actuated system results in com-promised low-/mid-rpm power because too much is injected too soon. The MAF system solves this."

In the last test, we were able to get a gallon of methanol from our local track for a mere $1.50-a real bargain compared to using race gas at $6.00 a gallon. But it is a little more difficult to obtain during the winter as the track empties its reserves. Thinking fast, we parlayed $7.00 for a few bottles of HEET, which provided our methanol for the 50/50 water/meth mix we intended to use.

The combination gave us a little more than a gallon, which we barely touched despite half a dozen dyno pulls. "A 50/50 water/methanol mix acts like 120-octane fuel, in terms of detonation control," Snow says. "In boosted applications, this means that combustion doesn't have to be cooled with rich, power-robbing air/fuel ratios."

Step By Step

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Mmfp_0506_09_z Snow_performance_methanol_injection Modified_reservoir_tank
The modified reservoir tank is installed and the supply line is hooked up. Now we need to run the line up to the intake tract.
Mmfp_0506_10_z Snow_performance_methanol_injection Intake_tube
First, remove the intake tube. This will be modified to accept the spray nozzle.
Mmfp_0506_11_z Snow_performance_methanol_injection Spray_nozzle
The spray nozzle is a two-piece unit that uses a changeable jet to allow further tuning for different horsepower levels.
Mmfp_0506_12_z Snow_performance_methanol_injection Thread_tap
The factory Cobra intake tube has a fresh-air port, but this is unused in the Whipple application, and its permanent mount in the tube offered a sturdy place to mount our spray nozzle.

Windshield washer fluid that is good to -20 F is generally 33 percent methanol, and you can usually pick that up for around a buck and change.

For the installation, Shaun Lacko of JDM Engineering mounted all the components in what turned out to be quite a stealthy installation. At a quick glance, you'd never know the kit was there. We spent the better part of five hours mounting and routing everything, but the result was top-notch. We spent about four hours installing the last kit, but there wasn't any wiring to run, other than the LED.

Tuning the car was essential, as the water/methanol mixture allows the use of more ignition timing, so Jim D'Amore spent a few hours behind the desktop, where he first removed some fuel and then added timing.

Once tuning was complete, D'Amore had added 3 extra degrees of timing (24 total) and trimmed the fuel, and we were rewarded with a peak gain of 37 hp and 42 lb-ft of torque. More importantly, the air/fuel ratio was much safer than it had been previously, and we saw a slight increase in boost pressure from 15 to 16 psi. This was amazingly achieved with a stock lower and 3.5-inch upper pulley. With the safer water/methanol tune-up, D'Amore was also able to raise the rev limit from 6,400 to 7,000, which was not possible before.

At the track, the Cobra moved from 11.6s with the IRS and no water/methanol to 10.8 at 128 mph with the solid axle and Snow Performance kit. On the street, owner Paul Merces noticed a definite seat-of-the-pants improvement and says he is quite happy with the performance gained.

While we were not able to repeat the same performance gain from our 5.0 test, 30 hp at the wheels for just $400 is definitely a worthwhile investment, and our test vehicle is no longer on the ragged edge of the air/fuel ratio. Snow Performance also informed us that it has seen gains as high as 60 hp with more timing and using a 93-octane baseline.

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