January 1, 2013

For some humans, the basics won't do -- not ever. Ambitious gearheads, or racers, often crave power -- big power -- and they'll go to great lengths to get it. They'll even add boost to a brand-new car -- in this case, one with just over 200 miles on the clock. It's what we do -- at least, those of us who crave Earth-rotating power.

Amazingly, the Boss 302 guts out 444hp naturally aspirated ponies -- but is that enough? No, not likely. If it was, Ford wouldn't tout its ZL1-killing Shelby GT500. Fact: If you want to lead the pack in 2012 (and you don't have a '13 Shelby), you will likely need boost (or copious amounts of juice). And if you own an '11-present GT or Boss 302, we have your boost solution.

Supercharging and turbocharging have been key factors in Mustang performance, and whether you choose a blower or turbo, it's hard to go wrong. Each has pros and cons that revolve around complexity and cost. For this exercise we opted for a set of twins, in the form of the Hellion Power Systems Eliminator turbo kit.

Few can argue with the manliness of two gleaming turbochargers staring you down.

"We basically design a single-turbo system first, and as customers desire larger power, we then design a twin system," said John Urist, seven-time champion NMRA racer and president of Hellion. "It is more challenging to design [a twin kit] and it takes longer. This time we decided to do a max-effort system in every aspect of design from headers, to the turbos, to intercooler selection. This increases efficiency at low boost and allows higher peak horsepower capabilities. We've dyno'd ths kit as high as 1,250 hp with a built [Coyote] engine and it should go to 1,400, but the limitation is the block. Even in bolt-on form it will safely do 550-plus," he added.

"Featuring the latest and greatest in compressor and turbine wheel technology from Precision, the PT6266 CEA turbocharger offers a unique combination of Competition Engineered Aerodynamics (CEA) on both the hot and cold sides," said Joe Krivickas of Precision Turbo. "PTE's exclusive CEA compressor wheels are machined from 2618-aluminum forgings for higher efficiency and faster transient response, resulting in maximum power and performance. Combined with the CEA turbine wheel that offers a 30-45 horsepower increase over similarly sized turbos, the PT6266 CEA is the perfect choice for those wanting to make more power without changing their current system."

To measure the kit's worth, we contacted enthusiast Mike Szabo, who wanted more appeal (read: power) for his Boss 302. He craved Camaro-gulping grunt from the 444hp 5.0, so he turned to Hellion (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and Blow-By Racing in Boca Raton, Florida, to add boost.

Few can argue with the manliness of two gleaming turbochargers staring you down. Whatever you call it- - eye-candy multiplied by 10, man jewelry, or whatever -- the horsepower is real once installed. To see what it takes, we spent a few days in South Florida at Blow-By with Chris Jones, technician Rob Vargo, and the crew.

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The installation is not for the faint of heart. It requires removing the headers (not an easy task on the new Coyote) and front fascia, bend A/C lines, and punch (and tap) two holes in the oil pan for your oil to return after it's protected the turbos. It's actually not overly technical, just tedious, and there is a level of caution anyone should apply when working on a brand-new car.

With the hard stuff out of the way, the fun begins -- bolting up the Precision billet 62/66mm ball-bearing turbochargers, the intercooler and the associated tubing. The Eliminator Kit also includes two TurboSmart 40mm wastegates with V-band connections, two TurboSmart Vee-Port bypass valves, stanless 4-into-1 tubular headers, a large vertical-flow dual-inlet intercooler, and dual 3-inch downpipes that can connect to the factory exhaust (if desired).

"The intercooler is an American-made bar-and-plate style high-efficiency unit," said Urist. "In testing, we saw a scant 20-degree increase in inlet temp on a 1,200 application." He added: "I like the range of flexability of the kit. You can run it at 5 psi or 30, and you don't need any extra parts or pieces. Wastgates are 40mm units from TurboSmart and feature the latest technology."

Wastegates are necessary to control how much boost the engine sees by bleeding off exhaust pressure to allow the control of boost with the turn of a screw or digital controller. Blow-off valves, on the other hand, vent boost when you release the throttle. This is necessary because the turbos are still producing boost at that point. Without a blow-off valve, there would be reversion, which is hard on the compressor wheel(s). Both valves are adjustable.

Urist also made special mention of the V-band clamps. "Both our turbo and wastegates utilize V-band clamp technology for better sealing, ease of install and maximizing flow." With this system, the pipes can be the same size for less interruption in airflow.

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Another benefit of the Eliminator kit is the high-quality headers as opposed to using log manifolds. "It took many hours of engineering to fit a full four-into-one header in there due to limited underhood space. It was our biggest obstacle," stated Urist. "To create a race-style header was a high challenge, but we made it work, and it will still mount to the stock exhaust with the cats in the stock location."

Cost for the kit is $7,495 (retail) for the base tuner kit. Szabo added the optional equipment (80-lb/hr injectors and SCT tuner with Blow-By tune) for $1,000 more. In addition, we also tested the kit with a Retro Chambered 3-inch, off-road-style exhaust from Stainless Works.

In all, the Eliminator kit is comprehensive, but worth the money if you desire big power and major-league appeal. Jones and his team finished the job in a few days, and they also upgraded the Boss with colder NGK (PN 6510) plugs gapped to 0.028-inch, a Kenne Bell Boost-A-Pump, the Hellion optional 80-lb/hr injectors, and a Blow-By Racing SCT tune and hardware.

"The install is straight-forward, just time consuming, but everything went on fine -- there was no cutting or fabrication needed," said Chris Jones. "And it made big power, even with the mail-order tune.

"It would make even more power with a custom tune," he added. "I would say it would take two days and cost $1,500 in labor, and that would include a before-and-after dyno tune, and custom tuning is available based on the customer needs. I was shocked in the power difference."

The install is straight-forward, just time-consuming, but everything went on fine -- there was no cutting or fabrication needed.

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Sources

Blow-By Racing
561/417-5555
www.blowbyracing.com

Hellion Turbo Systems
505/873-4670
www.hellionpowersystems.com

Stainless Works
800/878-3635
www.stainlessworks.net