Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsHow To Engine
1999 Mustang GT Modifications Upgrade
Don't Break The Bank When Upgrading Your Two-Valve Modular Motor.
Opening up the throttle body and upper plenum wouldn't do us any good if the area in front of those components were choked up. The stock air inlet was ditched in favor of the JLT Ram-Air Intake kit. The larger inlet tube, air filter, and shroud are well built and designed to eliminate any restrictions in feeding air to the throttle body. We re-used the stock MAF sensor housing, which attaches easily to the JLT inlet tube. The kit fits all '96-'04 V-8 Mustangs and retails for $185. The Ram-Air Intake is available in 15 different colors at an additional cost. Since we went with the black TFS plenum, we chose the standard glossy black finish for the JLT tube. TFS also sent us a set of underdrive pulleys to install while we were under the hood. I was personally disappointed that the pulleys do not come in black or silver, just blue. It is a personality trait of mine-I like to have stuff match, and the blue pulleys definitely do not go along with the other new parts. The stock valve covers are black, too, further nailing down our fade-to-black theme.
The fifth and final speed part to be added was a DiabloSport Predator tuner. We discarded the stock Predator tunes and had Craig Radovich of Radical Racing (Atco, New Jersey) custom tune the ECM. Radovich uses DiabloSport Chip Master Revolution software to modify the files. He kept ignition timing the same from the baseline runs to the modified dyno pull. The engine starts at 19 degrees on the low end and increases to 21 degrees towards the top of the run. Radovich also installed the parts at his shop, so we could keep our hands clean and work the camera.
Like all testing, we try to conduct before-and-after runs (be it dyno, strip, or both) for a true A-B comparison. We chose to perform chassis dyno and quarter-mile baselines for this test. The parts we were adding won't show a significant gain when comparing peak output between stock and modified, but the real-world performance is definitely there. The induction parts and tuning provide better average power gains, thus showing better results on the dragstrip than on the chassis dyno.
Miele showed up early to Radical Racing so the car could be cooled down before the dyno runs. Radovich opened up shop promptly at 9 a.m., and we strapped Silver Stealth Stang to the DynoJet chassis dyno. In completely stock trim, the car produced 220 rwhp and 247 rwtq. A few backup runs confirmed our baseline was indeed accurate.
The car was cooled off with a variety of fans and an open hood in preparation for our next baseline test-the dragstrip. Radical Racing is conveniently located one mile down the road from Atco Raceway, so that's where we headed. We want to send a big thanks to the Sway family for letting us pop in during the day to make a couple of runs. Radovich did a big burnout and heated up the Nitto 555 tires (non-drag radial rubber). The automatic GT left the starting line with a little tire spin but nothing that concerned us. It stopped the 60-foot clocks in only 2.11 seconds-not bad for a car with just 3.73 gears and a road race suspension. The scoreboard lit up with a 14.43 at 95 mph. Radovich's driving technique was to leave the shifter in drive, turn off Traction Control and Overdrive, leave off idle, and roll into the throttle.
With that, it was time to go back to the shop and swap the parts.