Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
November 1, 2009

With the current state of the economy, it's tough out there for a lot of Mustang enthusiasts. Finding spare cash to buy car parts can be difficult, but we think we've found some simple, yet effective bolt-on parts for your S197 Mustang that you can afford on a monthly basis. Together, they can turn your Mustang into one peppy thoroughbred.

Summit Racing Equipment is always a great place to score deals on performance parts, and the company's catalog even has a special section dedicated to the late-model Mustang. While talking to Summit staff regarding a recent tech article that we had worked with it on, a plan was devised to show MM&FF readers just what could be accomplished with a weekly paycheck, or maybe a pocketful of cash. Considering that a lot of S197 owners are still making payments on their steeds, this seemed like a good idea. But the question is, are these small bolt-ons worth it and what can you expect from them?

Our subject '06 Mustang GT, equipped with the 5R55S automatic transmission, produced 249 hp and 254 lb-ft of torque.

Summit Racing set the spending limit at $350 per part. We think that's pretty reasonable these days, especially when considering that your average Corvette guy has to spend twice that for one muffler-not even the whole exhaust!

To test our bevy of bolt-on power parts, we called the folks at Hurricane Performance in Orange Park, Florida, to acquire a test subject. The Hurricane Performance staff handled our performance parts installations, while Tony Gonyon of TunersInc would take care of the chassis dyno testing. Our suitable test subject showed up in the form of an '06 Mustang GT equipped with the 5R55S automatic transmission. Aside from some cosmetic upgrades and a quartet of 20-inch chrome wheels, Nynce (pronounced Nancy) Tarleton's Mustang was just begging for some power upgrades, and a very recent outing to her local dragstrip had her hooked on exercising her Pony on the quarter-mile.

One of the first modifications anyone makes is performed on the exhaust system. Making your Stang sound loud and proud is as common as apple pie, so we started there with our budget bolt-ons. Seeing as how installing the mufflers necessitated raising the car off the ground, we took the opportunity to install our second mod at the same time. True, we won't get an idea of how these components perform on their own, but it seems like the mainstream readers tend to make these two mods together anyway, and we were looking to save a bit of time as well.

Exhausting Work
Enhancing the exhaust note of this '06 Mustang GT is a pair of JBA stainless steel 2.5-inch high-performance mufflers (PN JBA-40-2627), which retail for $288.95 through Summit Racing Equipment. JBA Exhaust Systems has always been known for its high-quality and well-performing exhaust components. The Stainless Steel mufflers terminate in a chrome-plated stainless steel tip that resists discoloring, and the kit includes high-quality hardware and thorough instructions for a simple bolt-on installation.

In addition to the JBA mufflers, we also installed a Magnaflow True-X Stainless Steel crossover pipe (PN 15485), which retails for $299.95. The best part of the Magnaflow Tru-X crossover pipe is that you cut the factory H-pipe crossover out and bolt the Magnaflow piece up to it, which keeps your catalytic converters intact, while reaping the benefits of the X-style design. Magnaflow says the more gentle radius of the X design allows for better exhaust gas scavenging, noise cancellation, and better balance between cylinder banks, with the result being a significant increase in power and torque but a reduction in decibel sound levels. Our subject Stallion definitely sounded more aggressive, but it wasn't overly loud either.

Strapped to the TunersInc dynamometer, the '06 GT laid down baseline peak power figures of 248.83 hp and 253.97 lb-ft of torque. The Magnaflow Tru-X and JBA mufflers bumped peak output to 254.88 hp and 260.84 lb-ft of torque-gains of 6 hp and almost 7 lb-ft of torque respectively.