Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
January 1, 2009
Photos By: Steve Duncan, Jason Combs
Our commando commuter is now boosted. We're debating painting the entire intercooler and tubing black to conceal our intentions. What do you think?

It seems as though power-adder pricing has gone through the roof. Still, there is nothing like boost, so if you're into affordable horsepower, like we are, then you'll want to check out the $2,750 turbo kit that we installed on our budget notchback project. First, let's give you a little background on the manufacturer of this budget-minded product-B&G Custom Turbo.

B&G's Brian Horne has been fabricating turbo kits for several years now, and his exploits are easily found on Internet sites such as www.theturboforums.com and www.turbomustangs.com. He has a very good reputation for customer service and consistently delivers his turbo systems in a reasonable amount of time. Brian credits a great staff with chief fabricator Gabe Curran and office manager Teasha Horne ensuring a quality product that's delivered as promised. As the "custom" in the title implies, B&G can build any type of turbo kit you may need, but it primarily specializes in single and twin-turbo systems for late-model 5.0L Mustangs. The company recently started production on systems for the '96-'04 Mustangs. We came across B&G on the web and, intrigued by the proposition of a $2,750 single-turbo system, gave them a call.

The aftermarket exhaust header we were using is very similar to the turbo header until you get down by the collector. Primary tubing diameter is 1 5/8 inches.

The Stage One 5.0L turbo system has been consistently refined over the years, and the kit B&G sent us seemed very well sorted out with regard to the turbo system layout and design. For under $3,000, you get a single-turbo system that uses a Master Power T-70 turbocharger, a VS Racing cross-flow air-to-air intercooler, a 38mm B&G wastegate, a 50mm B&G blow-off valve from Turbo Concepts, a K&N filter, and oil supply and drain lines.

The kit comes with all of the hot and cold-side tubing as well as the clamps and silicone couplers needed to put it together.

You will need to supply any fuel system mods, such as larger fuel injectors or fuel pumps, a blow-through mass air meter-if you're not using a stand-alone computer-and probably some custom computer tuning. B&G told us it has had customers run the system with the mass air meter in a draw-through configuration, but noted that custom tuning and the blow-through meter is the best way to accomplish metering of the incoming air charge.

Once you've ordered your B&G turbo system, you'll get a big box full of well-packaged parts. Installation looks intimidating at this point, but it's not that bad once you get started.

The hot side, that is the headers and exhaust pipe leading to the turbocharger, is constructed from 16-gauge, mandrel-bent steel tubing, and the headers feature 1/2-inch thick flanges and 1 5/8-inch primaries, which B&G says is good up to about 1,000 hp. The downpipe is a fat 3 1/2 inches, and all of the hot side tubes feature a high-temperature coating to keep them looking nice. We opted for black, though silver and blue are available.

Cold-side tubing, which are the pipes coming off the turbocharger compressor and going to the intercooler and eventually the throttle body, is either 21/2 inches or 3 inches, depending on location, and all of the pipes are coated as well.

In researching this turbo system, we read quite a few comments on the Internet-however accurate that data may be-regarding the Master Power turbochargers failing after a while. B&G noted that there were some warranty issues in the past but that Master Power recently made some improvements and hasn't had any problems since the upgrades over a year ago.

Given the mileage that we'll rack up on our Recession Special project, we'll find out for sure. B&G does offer turbocharger upgrades at additional costs. The Stage One system with the MPT-70 turbocharger is rated at 650-700 rwhp, and while we don't have any plans to make that kind of power, the single kit made quite a bit of power over our normally aspirated combination with relative ease.

The Master Power T-70 turbo is next. A light coat of the copper gasket sealer is all you need along with the provided hardware. Before you mount it permanently, measure and drill a hole through the framerail for the oil drain line. Then connect the drain line to the turbo and bolt the unit to the header. B&G says that the T-70 is good for 650-700 rwhp. We'd like to find out, but it won't be with our Recession Special's stock block.

Our subject vehicle for this test is a '90 5.0L coupe that was recently fitted with a freshened-up 302 short-block, stuffed with a mild Crane 2030 Compucam camshaft and topped off with a pair of Thumper Performance ported E7TE cylinder heads and a Cobra intake manifold from Ford Racing Performance Parts. The exhaust system consisted of Brothers Performance shorty headers, a 2 1/2-inch Dynomax X-style middle pipe, and 2 1/4-inch Borla mufflers welded into the stock exhaust system. This relatively mild combination produced 253 rwhp and 298 lb-ft of torque.

What we found out during the dyno test was that our stock 19 lb/hr fuel injectors were just about running wide open at max rpm, and our stock mass air meter was tapping out at 4.5 volts as well. If we were to make any more power, boosted or otherwise, we needed to upgrade. To that end, we called Granatelli Motorsports in Oxnard, California, and ordered one of its BA-2400 90mm mass air meters ($245). Another call to Brothers Performance in Corona, California, netted a 255-lph in-tank fuel pump (BPWFP255, $99) and a BBK inline fuel pump kit (BBK1602, $269.99). Our contact at Ford Racing Performance Parts set us up with an octet of 42 lb/hr fuel injectors.

From what we've read on the web, the majority of people are installing the B&G kits at home in their garage. We had planned to do the same, but we happened to be at HP Performance in Orange Park, Florida, to baseline our project car on the shop's Dynojet dynamometer, and afterward the crew ended up performing the installation, and even taking a bunch of photos for us while we were back at the office meeting other deadlines.

B&G can provide a bung to weld to your oil pan for the drain line. You can also punch and tap the pan for the appropriate fitting.

That being said, HP's Steve Duncan, who has a B&G kit on his personal Mustang, jumped in to knock out the installation. "Hollywood" Jason Combs also turned a good number of the wrenches during this install, and once it was all up and running, we turned to HP proprietor Tony Gonyon to handle the dyno testing, along with tuning duties via SCT software.

B&G is very forthcoming in the various mods you'll need to make in order to install the kit. We had been warned that LX front bumper covers need to be trimmed quite a bit for the front mount intercooler, and true to their word, it did. We may look into some custom modifications to hide the unit a little better down the road. Aside from the front bumper cover, we needed to grind on the driver-side sway bar mount a bit, and we also clearanced the passenger-side floorboard to get the downpipe to fit down the backside of the engine. Other than that, everything fit very well. We didn't need to hack up the inner fender aprons or anything, which makes for a clean installation underhood.

With the twist of the key, the turbocharged 5.0 burbled to life, and a few quick taps of the throttle had the turbocharger whistling-music to our ears for sure.

When we were putting together this story, we contacted Turbosmart about using one of its eBoost2 electronic boost controllers on our subject vehicle. The eBoost2 is available in 60 and 66mm units and can be housed in any common gauge pod. While offering boost control, it also has numerous other options that we'll explore in an upcoming issue. Unfortunately, we were unable to install it for this story, and to be honest, it really is a luxury given the frugal nature of this buildup. For our dyno testing, we relied on the wastegate spring, which provided a solid 10.5 psi of boost.

Here you can see how the inside of the bumper cover opening was widened to fit the tubing. The HP guys also fabricated some supports under the intercooler to keep the lower lip from sagging over time and at speed.

After a few short pulls on the dyno to check the air/fuel, Gonyon let it rip. The turbo spooled up and whistled sweetly, then the wastegate opened and let us know we were at full boost. When the dyno run was over, the mule turned out 398 hp and 458 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. The air/fuel ratio looked a little on the lean side, so Gonyon added some fuel at the top end and power picked up to 421 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. Total timing checked in at a rather safe 19 degrees, and all runs were made while sucking down 93-octane gasoline from the local BP station.

During our two pulls, we noticed that there was a slight misfire at the top of the rpm range, as you can see the in the dyno graph (pg. 104). We think this is a coil and/or distributor problem, and will have to look into it before we do any more performance improvement upgrades.

Since our stock mass airflow meter was both maxed out and non-compatible with the blow-through design of the system, we upgraded to this Granatelli Motorsports 90mm unit and called Race Part Solutions for some of their killer silicone couplings and T-bolt clamps. Make sure you leave a good amount of straight tubing before the meter so that it gets a good air signal. Air is rather turbulent before or after tight curves and doesn't provide a steady flow over the sensor element. Also consider how far your wiring harness for the meter extends forward. It's not the end of the world if you have to lengthen the harness, but we were able to position the meter in a good location that didn't require altering the harness.

Worse than that is the fact that we have a head gasket issue with the engine again. During the engine buildup that we did last month, we ran into head gasket issues while performing dyno pulls on the normally aspirated combination. Just like then, we seem to be venting combustion into the coolant passage, which pressurizes the coolant. The problem is likely a warped deck, but we'll let you know.

After talking it over with various figures in the industry, our best option is to pull the engine and tear down the block to have the deck surface milled flat, and to have the heads checked for straightness just to be safe. We've encountered this problem when the engine was still in its original Mustang GT, and twice now that it has been between the fenders of our Recession Special notchback. Pulling the motor back down is a lot of work, but we'll save some coin by doing the majority of the labor ourselves.

We were so stoked to finally have this turbo project together, and driving it out on the street is really sweet. The car runs smooth as can be, pulls hard until it smokes the hides, and is only loud when you stand on it and the wastegate opens up. We may reroute that back to the downpipe upon reassembly just to keep the stealth factor. You can even lug the engine comfortably at 1,300 rpm with its 2.73:1 gears, and it's great to drive. Hopefully, we can get it back up and running soon.

The Cost Of Tire-Smoking Fun
B&G Stage One Turbo System$2,750 plus shipping
Brothers Performance Fuel upgrades$369 plus tax
Granatelli Motorsports MAF$245
{{{Ford}}} Racing Parts Injectors$415
HP Performance Tuning and Chip$650
Total$4,429
Extras
Turbosmart eBoost2 Boost Controller$470
Gauge Pod from {{{Summit}}} Racing$25
Total$4,{{{924}}}

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