Mmfp Yo Ken Readers Letters Lead
Ken Miele
September 1, 2010

Drown Out the Drone

I am a big fan of your magazine and the '03 Mustang. I read all the tech articles and various upgrades, however, I have yet to hear anything regarding the dreaded drone with aftermarket exhaust setups, which usually ruins everyday cruising and driveability. Nothing can ruin a nice Sunday drive more than that buzzing echo in your ear canal.

I've had this drone with various aftermarket exhaust systems and swapped them out immediately, but I've never upgraded a Mustang exhaust. With so many options available for the '03-'04 Cobra, could you chime in on the best combination that will free up backpressure but assure zero drone?

New Jersey

Matt, unfortunately there isn't a magic exhaust that completely removes the dreaded drone. Although the factory does extensive research and testing to remove annoying resonances that can filter into the interior, most aftermarket exhausts are a compromise between noise and performance, with performance being the priority. Noise is a necessary evil for some and a pleasure for others.

However, you have a few choices when it comes to drone-less exhaust. The Dynomax VT muffler is claimed by the manufacturer to be drone-free, along with Corsa dB mufflers. Both of these will reduce drone, but not totally eliminate it.

If you are really concerned with drone, you may want to ask yourself if the 8-12hp gain is worth the increased engine note.

Out of Juice

I have a '97 Ford Mustang GT and last year I did a full PI swap, including cylinder heads and intake. I also put in Patriot Stage One cams and upgraded the valvesprings. I have all of the bolt-ons, including a cold-air kit, underdrive pulleys, a throttle body and upper intake, long-tube headers, no cats, and a Tremec TKO 500 transmission. I also have an SCT tuner, Ford Racing driveshaft, and Steeda springs and control arms.

Can I safely install a supercharger with the right tune? I spray the car now and it goes 12.2 at 115 mph, but the juice runs out eventually. Any answers would be appreciated. I'm sure this would be a good tech article. I can't be the only one with this question.

Vilmar Ramirez
Margate, FL

Vilmar, as long as you keep the boost below 9 psi, supercharging will not be a problem. Swapping to the PI heads increased the compression ratio to 10:1, which is not ideal, but OK for a street supercharged application. If boost is kept to a moderate level, your engine will hold up.

Remember to always use the highest octane available, as this will ensure that your engine does not have any detonation, which will cause engine failure in a very short time.

Shake the S2000

I currently own two different Mustangs and love them to death. I once was the owner and die-hard fan of a rice-burner that was destroyed in a traffic accident due to a drunk driver. Now I own a '99 35th Anniversary Edition V-6 Mustang and a '92 GT. My question is about the V-6 because that's my daily driver and play toy.

What can I do to improve the performance of the car? I already installed a cold-air intake, dual exhaust with an X-style midpipe, Traction-Lok rear end, and an aftermarket clutch. What else would you recommend to make it faster? Besides a nitrous kit or supercharger/turbo kit since I don't have the funds for that right now.

Also, I'm wondering if the new Taurus SHO twin-turbo motor would swap in. I would greatly appreciate any help to so I can finally beat my buddy's Honda S2000.

Schuyler Bortz
El Paso, TX

Schuyler, there are a few more things you can do to improve performance, but without a power adder, your gains will be limited. Going to a 4.10 rear gear will give your V-6 Mustang quicker acceleration, but your engine rpm will increase when cruising the highway. Headers will give a little more horsepower-long-tubes will give you the most gain. Short-tube headers will only give you a minimal gain, as the factory exhaust manifolds flow pretty well for stock engines. After your upgrades, tune to get the most out of them.

Other than the heads and cam, there's not much else you can do to increase performance without adding a power adder. Any swap can be done, but the SHO would be very costly and complicated.

Time to Modify

I have an '03 Mustang GT with 99,000 miles on it. I've put on an X-style midpipe, a Magnaflow exhaust, and a JLT intake, but the rest of the car is stock. It runs great, with no smoke or knocking. I'm looking into superchargers but don't know if my engine will hold up. Do you have any suggestions on this? I'm also looking into replacing the engine, but I'm not sure if it would be better to buy a short-block or get a rotating assembly.

Rogelio Ortiz
McAllen, TX

Rogelio, in most cases, I probably would not recommend a power adder with mileage as high as your '03 GT. If the engine runs well, a supercharger with moderate boost should be fine as long as your future plans include a rebuild.

I lean towards a crate short-block over the rotating assembly. The down time and machine work involved in rebuilding one makes the short-block the quicker way to go. Price wise, with the machine work and having it assembled, you're looking at about the same money.

Technologically Illiterate

Your magazine has been very informative and educational. It's simply amazing what is being done these days with technology. Herein lies my problem.

I am 61 years old, have in the past raced and built motors, and had general fun with Fords. Up to this time, I have been in the dwell meter, points, plugs, and cam era. I recently purchased an '07 Mustang GT five-speed with 5,000 miles on it, and I have been quite impressed with the stock version of the automobile.

I would really like to twist up the motor a bit, but Grandma would not agree with the whine of a supercharger or the turbo blowoff valve venting, much less the need for 500-plus horsepower. I am just not sure of the technical requirements for the small but useful add-ons of the larger throttle bodies, larger air intake packages, larger exhausts, or the need for bigger injectors. (What is standard?) If you can believe the advertising for just those items alone, it's possible to bump up the stock 300 hp to 375-400 hp.

If I add the air intake, does the car need to be retuned? What the hell is that to me? I have a feeler gauge! If I add a larger throttle body later, does it again need to be tuned? Will all these items need to be synchronized, or will they work in coordination? The articles in your magazine state tuning is needed after adding the larger air intake. Why not the throttle body?

Questions, questions, questions. All I need is a perfectly good Mustang with $1,000 worth of add-ons that can get out of its own way. Otherwise the boys at the local shuffleboard club will smoke me with their Infinities.

I'm sure you can answer my questions and help me with my dilemma, but I would enjoy an article for the technologically illiterate, or you could point me to someone who can address my concerns and questions. If you write an article, make a note for which month it will be in and I'll race down to Borders and pick it up. Maybe if I listen and learn, I can do a class at the local tech school.

Les Canter
Bluffton, SC

Les, like you, I am an old-school guy who used a dwell meter when I was a teen. Those days are gone, thankfully. It's not as difficult as you may think to tune your '07 GT. The first thing you need to know is that most upgrades on the '05-'10 Mustangs need to be tuned in order to run properly. Your first purchase should be a hand-held tuner, such as those from SCT, Hypertech, or Diablosport. Just adding a tune to your stock '07 GT will increase power, and it can be done in a few minutes in your driveway.

Also, when you start adding bolts-ons, a tune will be required. You can go to your local performance shop that has a chassis dyno and get a custom tune, either by flashing it into your computer or by using your own tuner to upload it. You can also contact your hand-held tuner company and have it send you a tune for the various bolt-ons that you are going to install. I personally like to go to the performance shop to have my car tuned on the dyno. It's well worth the money and it will get the most out of any upgrade. As far as the exhaust is concerned, upgrading mufflers will not require a tune.

It may seem like a lot more work and a lot more money than when we were young, but how much power could we gain when we changed jets, or added dual-points and advanced the timing? It cost very little, but the power gains were also very little. Today you can gain as much as 30 hp with a couple of keystrokes. Try that with a dwell meter.

By the way, if Grandma maintains a light foot on the throttle, she'll never know there is a Whipple or Kenne Bell under the hood; the Vortech SQ supercharger is even quieter.

500 for Life

Thanks for the great technical articles in your magazine. My neighbor is the local Ford dealer and he sold me a '09 GT500 last year. I've added a Ford Racing air intake system, headers and exhaust, and a calibrator. The increase in performance is exhilarating. Now I'm hooked on Mustangs.

I'm considering modifying the supercharger with upper and lower pulleys, a larger throttle body, and an aluminum heat exchanger, as set forth in the Summer '08 issue of Mustang Performance. However, I'm concerned that the increase in boost, to approximately 15 psi, will increase the chance of damaging the engine or render the car less driveable on the street. What's the risk in these modifications?

Also, I've read about aluminum driveshafts, but I don't understand the benefit. What is the advantage of an aluminum driveshaft? Any advice is appreciated.

Dave Stevens
Hailey, ID

Dave, the GT500 5.4L is a stout piece and can handle 15 pounds of boost. As long as you have the correct air/fuel ratio so as not to detonate the engine, I see no long-term issues. When it comes to less drivability, well, that's a personal preference.

As you know, your GT500 is very powerful, and adding more power to such a vehicle is not for a novice to drive at its limits. Driveability will not be an issue while cruising or driving at part throttle, but when you want to get aggressive, you must know your limits and capabilities.

The benefit of an aluminum driveshaft is in the weight reduction. An aluminum driveshaft requires less horsepower to turn. In your application, the gain you will be minimal and may not be worth the expense.

Cool or cooler

I love the magazine! I've been a subscriber since 2005 and I love every issue. I own an '02 Mustang GT with 68,000 miles. It has the basic bolt-ons, such as JLT's cold-air intake, BBK intake plenum and throttle body, a short-throw shifter, BBK long-tube headers, Pypes catted H-pipe, and a Flowmaster American Thunder after-cat. My car is a weekend warrior and usually only sees 6,000-8,000 miles a year.

I'm considering investing in a supercharger this spring and I wonder if you can give me a ballpark estimate of how long my engine with stock internals will last. My engine runs very well, uses no oil, gets great mileage, and I drive with a fair amount of restraint. The car will see limited track-time. So far, I'm considering Vortech.

What difference will be made in longevity if I go with a 400hp kit over a 360hp kit? The difference in price between these two kits is substantial. Is there any way to get the higher power without spending upwards of $5,000 for what seems like an over-priced intercooler? Would I be better off to buy the cheaper priced kit and invest in suspension and driveline upgrades to hook up better?

Paul Gentz
Via email

Paul, the longevity of your GT will not be affected if the tune is correct. I see no problems with an occasional trip to the track.

As for the expense between the two kits, it's not just an overpriced intercooler. Many hours of research and development go into the design of supercharging systems to get the most performance without damaging your engine. So what seems like an overpriced intercooler to you is really a well thought-out package that would take the average enthusiast years to develop.

In either case, I suggest upgrading the suspension components. Adding a supercharger will push your stock suspension system past the limits for which it was designed.

Supercharger Swap

I own an '09 Mustang GT and have been searching for an adjustable strut tower brace for it. So far I've found several fixed ones, but none that are adjustable. Can you help?

Bob Howey
San Antonio, TX

Bob, unfortunately there are no adjustable strut tower braces on the market today. If you're looking for more clearance, try contacting the various manufactures to see what will work with your combo.

Modular Might

I am the original owner of an '03 Cobra Mustang, and in less than two years of reading Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords magazine, I have had the car upgraded by Sean Hyland Motorsports. A complete exhaust consisting of Hooker long-tube headers, X-style midpipe, and Magnaflow mufflers has been installed, as well as a Steeda cold-air kit. Also, a 6/8-pound crank pulley was added, tuned with an SHM Afterburner on a Dynojet to produce 456.8 rwhp and 464.7 lb-ft of torque.

I'm looking for 500 rwhp. Can this be done by installing a ported M112 Eaton supercharger using a 2.8 Carbonite pulley and a new tune? I do have plans to install a Steeda belt tensioner. Will there be any overheating issues with the new setup, and will the factory fuel system support 500 rwhp? I realize a Kenne bell twin-screw will get me there, however, I would like to keep the motor as stock-looking as possible. I love your magazine, especially the feature articles.

Larry Lebert
Essex, Ontario, Canada

Larry, the M112 Eaton supercharger does respond well when ported. I have seen as much 40 hp with just a ported blower. I have also seen as much as a 65-plus horsepower increase when the plenum and throttle body are also ported. I see no reason why you shouldn't reach your goal of 500 rwhp. With the 2.8 pulley, you should see about 15 psi and; the right tune, 500-plus rear-wheel horsepower should be a snap.

Steamroller Shoes

Let me first say, your magazine is awesome! Every month, I can't wait to see what's new.

My question is about '94-'98 Mustangs. Why does the rear end look so narrow? The wheels sit way in and it looks gross. I'm getting ready to buy a '96 GT convertible with the stock 17-inch wheels. If I buy it, I want 18- or 20-inch Saleen replicas. What do I need to do to make these wheels flush with the quarter-panels?

Bryan Allen
Hatchet Lake, MI

Bryan, the SN-95 ('94-'04) has more room than the Fox-body ('79-'93) in the rear part of the chassis, giving the illusion of a narrow rear axle. A 10- or 10.5-inch rim with 285 or 295mm tires will fill the rear wheels very nicely and give you an aggressive look. I suggest going with 18s instead of the 20s. In either case, you will get your desired look.