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

Modular Might

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.

Larry Lebert
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.

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'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 Vohs
Portland, Oregon

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.

Miguel Rosario
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.

Thunderbird Muscle

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 ( There is a wealth of info for your car, and it will help you decide if this swap is for you.