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Boss 302 Intake Manifold Tests- Like A Boss
We install Ford’s Boss intake manifold on three different combinations with awesome results across the board
Mustang enthusiasts have had a great deal to be thankful for in recent years. Ford has focused its resources on building the greatest Mustang in the Pony’s nearly 47-year existence, and we, the enthusiasts, are reaping the benefits. The Mustang is stylish, aggressive, super-comfortable, a breeze to drive, and incredibly powerful.
When the Ti-VCT 5.0-liter engine was released, Pony owners really had reason to celebrate. Better yet, when Ford announced the rebirth of the Boss 302, we all knew it would be special. Though not all of us will be able to get behind the wheel of a Boss, Ford has started releasing a few of the parts that make the Boss unique.
When the phone rang and a familiar voice said, Guess what I have, countless options ran through my head, especially considering this individual is responsible for some crazy, yet awesome builds. Judging by the excitement in his voice, I knew it was something special, but the new Boss intake manifold would not have been one of my guesses.
The Boss 302 intake manifold is very different from the factory ’11 GT manifold. Aside from its aggressive looks, it features shortened runners (from 16 inches on the stock intake to 9 inches on the Boss unit) and the runners are dead straight, a la tunnel-ram or velocity-stack style. The throttle body remains front and center, but the plenum has been moved from under the runners to on top of the runners with a runners-in-the-box configuration. This combination greatly extends the rpm range of the Four-Valve 5.0-liter engine, but amazingly, also improves throttle response. The lightweight composite design weighs in at a mere 15 pounds when shipped.
Since this was the first intake we’ve seen or heard of outside of Ford walls, we made a quick trip to Blow-By Racing in South Florida for testing. When Bret Stabler got his hands on the manifold, he turned to Chris Jones and the crew at BBR to handle the installation and tuning of his 2011 California Special.
Once the intake was swapped, Jones spent the better part of a week adjusting ignition, fuel, and variable cam timing to optimize the 5.0-liter’s performance. When Stabler’s GT/CS spun the rollers on BBR’s DynoJet for the first time (sans Boss intake), the 5.0-liter laid down 376 rwhp and 368 lb-ft of torque through the six-speed automatic. With the Copperhead ECU retuned for the new intake, Stabler’s Pony galloped to 400 rwhp and 364 lb-ft of torque.
Although there was a small loss of torque at the peak, the dyno graph shows significant torque gains below 3,500 rpm and above 5,200 rpm. Horsepower remains fairly consistent though the first half of the curve; then from 5,200 rpm to redline, horsepower increased by as much as 25 rwhp.
With the naturally aspirated testing complete, Jones shifted his attention to testing the Boss intake with a little boost. BBR’s own ’11 GT is equipped with a P1-SC centrifugal supercharger from ProCharger, amongst other mods. After some serious testing, the Coyote pumped out as much as 672 rwhp before it ran out of fuel system.
With the fuel system upgraded, Jones put in a safe tune designed for daily operation. On the company’s DynoJet, the boost-fed GT laid down 596 rwhp and 476 lb-ft of torque. After a quick intake swap, Jones tested to see what difference the Boss intake would make. We were pleased to see it lay down 634 rwhp and 473 lb-ft of torque for a gain of 38 rwhp.
For the third part of our Boss intake test, we headed north to JPC Racing in Millersville, Maryland, where Justin Burcham was preparing to install a Boss intake manifold on Joe Marini’s naturally aspirated ’11 GT. Marini’s GT offered us a different angle to the test, as JPC had recently installed a set of its ported cylinder heads and camshafts. The car was also equipped with a JLT cold-air intake, JPC long-tube headers and off-road X-style midpipe, and a Bassani exhaust.
Prior to installing the Boss intake, Marini’s Pony laid down 480 rwhp and 419 lb-ft of torque on JPC’s Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno. After the JPC crew swapped intakes and retuned the ECU, Marini’s 5.0-liter blasted out 507 rwhp and 409 lb-ft of torque for a gain of 27 rwhp.
After testing three different combinations--from stock to heads/cams to boost--it’s safe to say the Boss intake is just thatthe Boss. As the aftermarket companies and racers dig further into Ford’s new 5.0-liter powerplant, who knows who much power we’ll see in the future, or just how much can be made from a little ol’ 302.