Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
October 1, 2009
If you've never had your car on the dyno then you probably haven't been reading this magazine long enough. That said, if you still haven't hit the dyno, I can't recommend it highly enough. Not only will you get the magic number that all your car friends ask about, but it gives you a chance to see and feel your car in action at wide-open throttle from somewhere other than the driver's seat. Sure it sounds cool there too, but in an enclosed dyno room a blown Mustang really let's you know what's up. Seeing PVT spin those 20-inch Nitto drag radials at full song is something else.

Ah, the slippery slope. It happens with every project Mustang we've ever owned. You start with a few mild bolt-ons, and before you know it you are piling on the parts to the point that your formerly street worthy 'Stang is a bleeding-edge monster that's more at home on the track than on the street. With Project Vapor Trail I never made the mistake of saying I wouldn't modify the car, but I did promise myself that I wouldn't push it over the edge.

Fortunately, today's modern Mustangs are suited to respond to just the right package of bolt-ons to bolster their power, while preserving their driveability. I've always loved the challenge of packing big power into a streetable package, and these days it seems easier than ever. This perfectly demonstrated by the expandability offered by Shelby GT500s like PVT. Picking up where the Terminator left off, these cars easily gain horsepower with just a few bolt-ons.

The last time we visited PVT's engine compartment for gain ("The Invisible," Nov. '08 p. 98), we demonstrated that with a 66hp and 74-lb-ft addition thanks to VMP Tuning's stock-look 2.65-inch blower pulley and some of VMP main man Justin Starkey's tuning artistry. This time around, we head back to VMP to add some boost, supplement the fuel flow, and open up the exhaust to pump out more power-without taking away from the car's fun factor.

If you haven't kept up with the PVT saga, the car's engine compartment probably looks a bit different than you recall. She's been dolled up with the parts covered in this story, as well as a Vapor-sprayed FRPP strut brace like the one used on the GT500 KR. In all, it looks too pretty to be crankin' well over 600 to the tire.

On the upgrade roster this time is a selection of gear from the new FR500CJ drag car, including the 10-percent overdriven crank damper from Innovators West, the 123mm mass air housing, and the 80-lb/hr fuel injectors. Sadly the throttle body wasn't quite ready in time for our test, so we opted for VMP Tuning's even bigger twin 67mm throttle body. A set of E85-friendly Fore Precision fuel rails from our friends at Lethal Performance and a complete manifolds-back, 3-inch exhaust from Bassani rounded out the mods. Of course, Justin Starkey worked his custom-tuning magic using our SCT XCal 3 tuner to make our mix of parts work in unison.

You'll have to check out the captions and the sidebars for the explicit details, but the ultimate result left PVT with both more bark and more bite, but maintained a level of driveability suitable for my advancing years.

Every time I make a trip to VMP, I'm astounded not only by Justin Starkey's obvious tuning ability, but also his ability to mulitask on a quantum level. Like a maestro on his touchscreen laptop, Justin switches freely between Dynojet and SCT software, online resources, and email. In the end, he dials in a tune that is safe, powerful, and easy to drive!

On The Dyno
With a few choice bolt-ons and the tuning expertise of Justin Starkey, we were able to boost the output of Project Vapor Trail by as much as 51.37 hp at 4,500 rpm and 71.03 lb-ft of torque at 3,300 rpm. More importantly, this increase in performance hasn't degraded the driveability of the car, and thanks to the improved fuel flow, the car's tune isn't anywhere near the edge.

It truly is amazing the level of performance you can achieve with a modern muscle monster like the GT500 when you upgrade with just the right parts.

Furthermore, this crazy power level was achieved with external bolt-ons. Internally, PVT's 5.4-liter engine is as stock as the day the master builders on the Romeo Niche Line built the engine.

Sure, it's got an oil pan full of Roush 5W-50 oil and a little over 4,000 miles on the clock, but other than that, it's stock as a rock. There aren't too many cars that can easily stretch from 430 rwhp all the way up to 650-plus with a totally stock long-block.

A piece of underhood jewelry if I've ever seen one, FRPP's 123mm mass air meter housing (PN M-9600-CJ; $665.95) is a brilliantly polished, billet aluminum unit that indeed measures 10mm larger than the diameter of FRPP's already ample 113mm housing. You simple swap the factory mass air electronics into the FRPP housing, and you are ready to go. While we didn't see a gain in our application, the mass air voltage was far from maxing out when the car was at full song, as it peaked at around 4.7 volts. That's well under the 5V limit, which it had nearly pegged with our combination at 4.91 volts, and that was before the bigger damper. The larger housing allows you to stay under that limit and alleviates the need for an electronic trickery. At higher boost and rpm levels, it could certainly be worth some power.
Baseline
RPMPowerTorqueBoostTB VACEBP*Air/Fuel
2,000196.70516.5810.37-0.435.2411.59
2,{{{100}}}211.99530.2110.85-0.371.7511.{{{57}}}
2,{{{200}}}226.{{{90}}}541.7111.37-0.181.4311.56
2,{{{300}}}241.41551.2811.77-0.210.9011.54
2,400255.77559.7612.16-0.271.7511.53
2,500271.50570.4112.61-0.175.9111.53
2,{{{600}}}286.51578.7912.88-0.291.6711.49
2,700302.21587.8913.06-0.254.5611.61
2,800317.19595.0113.29-0.306.0511.63
2,{{{900}}}332.95603.0313.59-0.403.2111.57
3,000348.27609.7413.63-0.105.6311.55
3,100358.68607.7213.85-0.045.1011.61
3,200373.92613.7414.11-0.153.8311.61
3,300383.05609.6814.27-0.356.2011.48
3,400398.04614.9014.42-0.318.1911.46
3,500410.71616.3614.58-0.307.7111.47
3,600425.30620.5114.77-0.382.8711.53
3,700433.44615.3114.65-0.344.0011.76
3,800446.54617.2314.60-0.214.1311.65
3,900458.16617.0514.66-0.073.0111.54
4,000468.57615.2914.59-0.274.7411.87
4,100481.05616.2814.54-0.387.1111.71
4,200488.10610.4214.46-0.519.1511.56
4,300498.32608.7114.30-0.719.4411.56
4,400517.20617.4214.52-0.696.2811.58
4,500523.15610.6414.66-0.476.5111.52
4,600535.81611.8214.58-0.2510.1811.42
4,700544.30608.3014.25-0.519.1611.37
4,800555.29607.6614.30-0.517.0711.43
4,900561.35601.7414.46-0.464.8211.56
5,000574.05603.0614.24-0.542.7511.72
5,100578.01595.3114.15-0.547.7011.72
5,200591.24597.2314.20-0.499.1011.68
5,300586.89581.6614.39-0.568.8911.66
5,400589.52573.4514.60-0.8812.0011.63
5,500593.74567.0514.37-0.9313.5411.43
5,600599.29562.1314.09-0.439.4211.48
5,700603.42556.0814.230.188.0511.58
5,800606.28549.0914.500.1910.7811.57
5,900610.67543.6914.28-0.9412.5211.47
6,000607.52531.8714.96-0.9914.3711.61
6,100610.24525.5115.20-0.9915.0211.36
6,200610.36517.1315.31-1.2612.7711.24
VMP Throttle Body
RPMPowerTorqueBoostTB VACEBP*Air/Fuel
2,000198.18520.4910.45-0.092.3811.57
2,100212.36531.1910.{{{80}}}-0.323.8811.64
2,200226.56540.9511.34-0.281.7211.70
2,300242.32553.4211.69-0.130.4011.66
2,400255.43559.0512.10-0.181.3811.65
2,500270.96569.3312.47-0.214.2711.80
2,600287.58581.0112.79-0.226.9711.92
2,700299.40582.4913.12-0.266.4511.92
2,800317.72596.0613.320.003.1711.92
2,900333.43603.9613.55-0.052.2611.87
3,000345.07604.2113.81-0.312.9511.80
3,100357.96606.5714.10-0.281.5111.75
3,200372.71611.8214.26-0.320.6111.97
3,300387.61617.0014.34-0.331.7212.11
3,400400.33618.5214.31-0.206.8512.01
3,500414.95622.8014.52-0.227.6711.78
3,600424.29619.1314.68-0.276.8511.75
3,700440.45625.3314.57-0.266.9711.95
3,800454.31628.0514.77-0.174.6111.87
3,900451.43608.0814.90-0.103.6711.93
4,000470.78618.2814.75-0.126.7412.13
4,100480.34615.4614.57-0.248.8311.85
4,200497.10621.7714.60-0.367.9311.75
4,300512.30625.8814.86-0.413.6611.76
4,400516.37616.5314.64-0.350.9811.77
4,500531.05619.9714.53-0.263.1111.87
4,600543.89621.1614.56-0.167.4911.95
4,700546.94611.3614.57-0.155.9611.78
4,800555.44607.9414.52-0.428.7011.60
4,900566.00606.8614.48-0.6312.6611.60
5,000580.06609.4914.60-0.367.3011.83
5,100589.34607.1214.{{{62}}}-0.6310.0911.74
5,200592.37598.5014.66-0.7311.6811.67
5,300601.34596.1114.76-0.517.5311.68
5,400601.54585.2815.15-0.197.4611.75
5,500608.56581.3615.010.217.3211.81
5,600603.82566.5414.800.019.3111.79
5,700611.45563.6414.98-0.6514.2011.70
5,800620.86562.4515.250.0713.8211.64
5,900621.51553.5114.99-0.2510.7211.64
6,000{{{626}}}.25548.4415.34-0.859.7811.60
6,100626.53539.7015.87-0.9612.2511.60
6,200624.59529.3715.83-0.4415.8811.61
You'll need one of these three-jaw pullers to remove the '08-and-up GT500 damper. Depending on the puller you use, it might also require a bit of gentle clearancing to function properly.
Mass Air, Damper, & Injectors
RPMPowerTorqueBoostEBP*Air/Fuel
2,000204.44536.9913.685.9611.37
2,{{{100}}}220.38551.3114.356.2911.35
2,{{{200}}}237.69567.5914.786.3411.38
2,{{{300}}}251.77575.0815.327.7711.44
2,400266.96584.3615.885.2211.50
2,500282.34593.3216.450.5311.55
2,{{{600}}}300.97608.1316.834.3311.{{{62}}}
2,700318.55619.8217.074.6711.64
2,800328.94617.1917.314.1711.65
2,{{{900}}}348.{{{90}}}632.0717.645.0011.71
3,000365.45640.0017.892.9811.82
3,100376.53638.1318.101.3911.88
3,200393.38645.8518.282.1811.85
3,300413.83658.8518.212.7511.95
3,400425.08656.8618.083.2712.05
3,500444.30666.9518.293.6512.05
3,600453.25661.5018.{{{57}}}2.6411.93
3,700461.44655.2618.921.1811.76
3,800484.76670.2618.713.1611.64
3,900491.21661.7718.515.7411.58
4,000502.02659.4518.369.2811.56
4,100513.79658.4618.459.7511.57
4,200529.27662.1518.539.3811.55
4,300537.73657.1118.468.6911.46
4,400542.74648.1618.4211.3811.48
4,500560.{{{80}}}654.8618.4014.1611.50
4,600560.12639.8718.4314.3711.37
4,700576.84644.9518.2815.0811.39
4,800577.40632.1518.0714.5011.46
4,900588.91631.6018.248.0411.46
5,000598.53629.0918.069.9911.36
5,100600.48618.7817.6915.5311.28
5,200608.35614.8617.6215.2011.31
5,300608.08603.0017.4515.7211.26
5,400620.09603.5317.4715.6511.23
5,500614.07586.8318.1513.2511.27
5,600633.81594.8918.0814.8811.31
5,700634.94585.5218.1516.5511.30
5,800632.91573.6018.4018.3211.23
5,900628.95560.3718.4420.2311.13
6,000628.96551.0718.4818.3811.17
6,100639.21550.8818.6718.7011.08
6,200628.47532.9218.9418.2211.05
Bassani Xhaust
RPMPowerTorqueBoostEBP*Air/Fuel
2,000209.15549.3613.941.8110.30
2,100225.02562.9014.336.1110.30
2,200242.21578.3615.056.8510.30
2,300260.31594.5615.676.2310.30
2,400275.28602.5416.274.4210.30
2,500293.45616.6316.532.5710.30
2,600305.03616.3216.801.0210.30
2,700327.30636.8217.100.4610.30
2,800342.58642.7517.500.7710.30
2,900366.18663.3417.811.3510.30
3,000377.11660.3717.611.5910.30
3,100396.99672.7617.492.0810.30
3,200414.95681.2217.853.5210.30
3,300427.59680.7117.973.7710.30
3,400439.41678.9717.792.6810.30
3,500452.58679.3517.973.8910.30
3,600467.77682.6518.255.9810.30
3,700474.78674.1518.437.9310.30
3,800490.49678.1518.458.1010.30
3,900504.07679.0618.003.4710.30
4,000518.03680.4217.822.9910.30
4,100529.28678.2418.058.7110.30
4,200534.06668.0918.326.5310.30
4,300548.23669.8818.541.1910.30
4,400567.47677.6418.500.0010.30
4,500574.52670.8318.320.7510.30
4,600584.11667.2017.964.3610.30
4,700585.20654.2417.765.4410.30
4,800597.54654.1317.724.7110.30
4,900597.40640.6417.666.5310.30
5,000609.69640.7517.548.1310.30
5,100619.86638.6817.358.1610.30
5,200622.42629.0017.434.7510.30
5,300634.18628.8017.631.8510.30
5,400638.77621.6417.786.8510.30
5,500639.82611.3517.835.8210.30
5,600645.36605.6517.812.0610.30
5,700642.57592.4717.686.7610.30
5,800652.96591.6917.6711.4510.30
5,900650.37579.3717.8613.7510.30
6,000656.30574.9218.2712.1910.30
6,100653.63563.2218.396.5110.30
6,200647.47548.93n/an/a10.30
The stock battery hold-down strap just wasn't cutting it under PVT's hood, so it was time for a bit of bling to keep its Optima battery in place. The answer was UPR Products' polished '05-'09 Mustang GT Billet Battery Hold Down Kit (PN 9007-2; $69.99). This billet beauty works in concert with the factory strap to retain the battery, while really dressing things up.
Baseline vs. New Mods
RPMPowerTorqueBoost
2,00012.4532.783.{{{57}}}
2,{{{100}}}13.0332.693.48
2,{{{200}}}15.3136.653.68
2,{{{300}}}18.{{{90}}}43.283.90
2,40019.5142.784.11
2,50021.9546.223.92
2,{{{600}}}18.5237.533.92
2,70025.0948.934.04
2,80025.3947.744.21
2,{{{900}}}33.2360.314.22
3,00028.8450.633.98
3,10038.3165.043.64
3,20041.0367.483.74
3,30044.5471.033.70
3,40041.3764.073.37
3,50041.87{{{62}}}.993.39
3,60042.4762.143.48
3,70041.3458.843.78
3,80043.9560.923.85
3,90045.9162.013.34
4,00049.4665.133.23
4,10048.2361.963.51
4,20045.9657.673.86
4,30049.9161.174.24
4,40050.2760.223.98
4,50051.3760.193.66
4,60048.3055.383.38
4,70040.9045.943.51
4,80042.2546.473.42
4,90036.0538.903.20
5,00035.6437.693.30
5,10041.8543.373.20
5,20031.1831.773.23
5,30047.2947.143.24
5,40049.2548.193.18
5,50046.0844.303.46
5,60046.0743.523.72
5,70039.1536.393.45
5,80046.6842.603.17
5,90039.7035.683.58
6,00048.7843.053.31
6,10043.3937.713.19
6,20037.1131.{{{80}}}n/a

Never-Ending Story
Since we last checked in on PVT, I haven't been able to control myself. The burgeoning S197 aftermarket is spawning new gear on a daily basis, and the GT500-specific gear is not too far behind. As such, I couldn't help but add a few new pieces between trips to the dyno. So here's a look at a few bits of gear that I just couldn't resist adding.



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