Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsNews & Views
Yo, Ken! Fan Mail
Answering Your Technical Questions
I'm the original owner of an '03 Cobra Mustang, and in less than two years of reading MM&FF, I have had the car upgraded by Sean Hyland Motorsports. A complete exhaust consisting of Hooker long-tube headers, X-style mid-pipe, and Magnaflow mufflers have 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. Will installing a ported M112 Eaton supercharger using a 2.8 Carbonite pulley and a new tune accomplish this? I 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.
Essex, Ontario, Canada
Larry, the M112 Eaton supercharger does respond to porting. I have seen as much as 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 with the right tune, 500-plus rwhp should be a snap.
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?
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'll get your desired look.
My First Mustang
I recently purchased an '01 Mustang convertible with the 190hp 3.8L V-6. It's my first Mustang and I'm 61 years old. It has 92,000 miles on it and the red metallic paint is in good shape. The exhaust needs replacing as the O2 sensor and catalytic converters are not functioning.
Would I gain any performance by installing a larger, single 3-inch-diameter exhaust pipe with a replacement converter and O2 sensors? Or would I see more power and improved sound from installing stainless headers and a stainless dual exhaust, such as the Magnaflow 2.5-inch system?
Also, is an X-style mid-pipe legal in Portland, Oregon, where I have to meet pollution guidelines? And is there a performance chip I could add to the computer? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I love your fine magazine.
David, a stock 3.8L only needs a 2.5-inch single exhaust or a 2-inch dual-exhaust system. Bigger in your case will hurt low-end performance. Headers with either type of exhaust, along with a high-flow cat or cats, will improve performance by about 10 percent.
Most exhaust systems are emissions legal, including the x-style mid-pipe, but you would have to check with the manufacture to be sure.
The DiabloSport Predator and SCT Flash3 are two handle-held tuners that can offer as much as 20 hp. Between the two upgrades you should see a solid 30-plus-horsepower gain.
Losing The Power Struggle
Ken, I have a problem with my '96 3.8L Mustang. So far, I have these upgrades: BBK cold-air intake, BBK underdrive pulleys, a Screamin' Demon coil with Livewires, Flowmaster mufflers, and a B&M shift kit. I also changed the speedometer gear to a 23-tooth gear, as I have a 3.73 gear in the 7.5 rearend.
When I am going around 80-85 mph, the car feels like it's losing power. Someone told me my V-6 was no good, and others told me to change the V-6 to a V-8. I would like to be different and I love the way my Stang looks. I sure hope you can help.
Juncos, Puerto Rico
Miguel, it's always hard to diagnose problems such as yours. I suggest you change the fuel filter and check fuel pressure. If you feel it's an engine problem, a compression test is the best way to find out. When checking cranking compression, look for about 140 to 160 psi, and make sure it's consistent across the board. If one cylinder is down by more than 15 percent from another, you're losing power.
First, I would like to say I really like the articles in your magazine; I find them detailed and informative.
I have a '94 Thunderbird LX with the 4.6L SOHC engine. I would like more power to the wheels. I've read articles about cylinder heads, superchargers, and so on, however, the part numbers never seem to apply to the '94. I've heard that replacement of the front timing cover with a newer Mustang GT cover will allow for cylinder-head swaps. Is this correct or even worth my trouble? My local Ford dealership hasn't been able to provide much information on the topic. Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you and keep up the good work.
Syracuse, New York
Rob, this swap can be done on your '94 4.6L, but it should only be done by someone with experience in engine modifications. There aren't any major issues, just little things you need to do to make the swap work. The timing cover is fine-you only have to enlarge a few holes. The list of modifications is long, however.
I suggest you go to a great website for modifying your T-bird (www.tccoa.com). There is a wealth of info for your car, and it will help you decide if this swap is for you.
I attended the NMRA Spring Break Shootout in Bradenton, Florida, and I just have to say, y'all rock when it comes to making a great event like that even better.
I have a couple of questions about my build. I have a '99 GT with 176,000 miles on the ticker. After reading about project Silver Stealth Stang, I decided it was time to rebuild. I have a 4R70W transmission from an '04 with about 45,000 miles on it that I purchased from MPS Auto Salvage. I also just finished building the engine with Probe flat-top pistons and steel rods.
The engine is balanced and blue-printed, and will sport stock heads and cams. I have long-tube headers, an aftermarket plenum, MAC cold-air intake and 75mm throttle body, and UPR underdrive pulleys and 4.10 gears. Will an Edge torque converter with a 2,600 rpm stall work well for me? Will I need to upgrade the stock injectors and MAF, and will I need a custom tune?
Again, thanks for everything. Without you guys, the Mustang world would be a sad place.
St. Cloud, Florida
Ralph, thanks for the kudos. The NMRA puts on a great show.
Your converter choice is excellent. The 4.6L works great with a 4.10 gear and a converter change. For your combination, the stock injectors should work fine, along with the MAF.
I always recommend a custom tune, as you can gain as much as a 20-percent increase in power over a stock tune. Also driveability is enhanced greatly with the right tune, especially with an automatic.
Exploring the 5.0L
I have an '86 5.0L Mustang and was given a complete '99 5.0L Explorer motor from a friend who owns a shop. I was told the Explorer motor has valve issues.
The motor in my Mustang is a factory multi-port EFI 5.0L, with lots of external modifications and no internal motor modifications at this time. The mods consist of an MSD 6AL, underdrive pulleys, cold-air intake, electric fan, Dynomax 2.5-inch exhaust, and an adjustable fuel-pressure regulator, just to mention a few.
Is it worth my time and money to put the upper and lower intake manifold from the Explorer motor on my '86 motor, and what would be the benefits? (I'm currently using the stock upper and lower intake manifolds from my '86 motor.)
Also, is it worth it to rebuild the heads from the Explorer motor and put them on my '86 motor? What would be the benefits there? Thanks for any information you can give on this subject.
Eric, the upper and lower intake is a good swap, and you will see a performance gain. The head swap will also increase performance, but there isn't enough valve clearance when combining these heads with the '86 5.0L short-block. The factory pistons will need to be cut or replaced. Either way, it requires taking apart the engine.
The performance gains are good, but if you have to go through the trouble of notching your pistons or replacing them, I would go with aftermarket heads instead. The power gains from most aftermarket heads are substantially better.
Compression Ratio Quandary
I'm currently serving our country in Iraq. I've been into your magazine since 2000. I have a '90 GT with a lot of mods; it has made 305 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. It's also gone 12.8 in the quarter-mile with street tires and a TKO 500 transmission.
I want to build a 351-based 408ci engine with Scat or Eagle internals, Pro Comp heads with 64cc combustion chambers, and possibly an XE264 cam from Comp Cams.
What cc pistons should I use to keep the compression ratio down to use an ATI ProCharger? Is my cam the best choice? Also, am I going to have issues with the ATI with a 351-based engine, or would it be better just to go with nitrous oxide?
Sgt. Sean Fournier
Sean, I suggest you go with a 28cc piston and the 64cc Pro Comp Heads. This should put you at 8.5:1 compression.
I always like to stay on the safe side with power adders. The XE 264 is a good cam choice, but it's fairly mild. I would probably choose the 270HR or XE274HR to get the most out of your combination.
I do not see any issues with super-charging a 408. At mild boost levels, 600 rwhp should be easily obtained.
I'm currently in Iraq and have been making a parts list for my '03 GT. I am wondering if I need to add anything such as support mods. I have around 70,000 miles on it now, and for the most part, it is bone-stock.
My wish list includes: Comp Cams XE278A cams, Pacesetter long-tube headers, SLP catted X-style midpipe, SLP LM2, Professional Products throttle body and intake manifold, AFE cold-air intake, lash adjusters, rocker arms, Ford Racing 3.73:1 gears, and Patriot Stage 2 cylinder heads.
That is about it. Will an SCT tuner be OK for the car, or will I need to take it into a shop to get a custom tune?
Elijah, I suggest you go with a torque converter with a higher stall speed, say 2,400-2,800 rpm. It will help get the engine into the power band faster and greatly improve acceleration. I would also upgrade the fuel pump with a 190-lph pump at minimum.
The SCT tuner works well, but anytime you make a cam change, I suggest going with a custom tune. The SCT piece is very popular and many tuners use them for custom tunes.
Valve Cover Caper
I have a '94 Cobra and I have installed new AFR 1422 heads that are stud-mount style, and a set of 1.72:1 roller rockers. My stock intake won't fit over the tall valve covers. What intake I should use, and what do I have to change to make the other intake work? Can I possibly get away with just getting a '93 Cobra upper?
Rich, you can sometimes get away with using stock cast-aluminum 5.0L valve covers if you remove the oil baffle.
Those will clear the intake, but another option is a plenum spacer that fits between the upper and lower intake manifolds. BBK Performance (www.bbkperformance.com) offers such spacers for your Cobra intake, but you'll have to watch the intake-to-hood clearance. The spacers are available in a number of sizes.