Evan J. Smith
September 16, 2006

Step By Step

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Mmfp_0609_01z 1999_ford_f150_lightning DragstripMmfp_0609_02z 1999_ford_f150_lightning Whipple_supercharger
Big boost will come by way of Whipple Superchargers' W140ax twin-screw compressor. The unit can provide 25 psi of boost pressure, and that can mean over 750 flywheel horsepower and over 840 lb-ft of torque at the crank.
Mmfp_0609_03z 1999_ford_f150_lightning Engine_bay
We've been pleased with the performance from the Magnum Powers supercharger that we ran for over two years. It made 579 hp and got us in the 10s, but now we're looking for more power. It's rare when we take off a performance part in perfectly good working order.
Mmfp_0609_04z 1999_ford_f150_lightning Intake
Shaun Lacko of JDM Engineering got to work by disconnecting the negative side of the battery and then removing the air inlet tube.

The Fridge, our resident '99 Ford F-150 Lightning, has been one of the best project vehicles a magazine staffer could ever wish for. Fashioned in Oxford White, our truck blends into society with sleek styling and the utilitarian appeal only a pickup truck can provide. It hauls all things necessary for magazine work, such as slicks, cameras, ladders, tools, humans, and, of course, parts. Its bed has provided a nice spot to eat pizza during track rental days, too. Since that exciting day when we picked up the SVT beast in Dearborn, it has served us well.

Over time, we've thrown cutting-edge performance parts its way, and most of them performed amazingly well. Who could complain about having 579 hp under your right foot for the daily commute? And 10.90s on slicks aren't bad, either.The Fridge has been in hibernation lately, though. It's not that we don't use it; it just hasn't graced these pages in a while. But the Lightning community is hungry for tech, and we want to keep up with the Joneses, so it's time to shake the cobwebs off our workhorse.

Bigger Is Better
When it comes to building horsepower with the latest Ford powerplants, nothing beats forced induction. These 4.6 and 5.4 engines are relatively small (in displacement) when compared to the competition from GM and Dodge, which sell 6.0L and 6.1L V-8 engines in their performance cars and trucks. Ford's 5.4 equals only 330 cubes, where those guys have small-blocks with up to 427. Compounding the problem for truck owners is the poor aerodynamics and heavy load we must carry, with most street Lightnings weighing 4,600 pounds or more. That's why we traded the stock Eaton huffer for a Magnum Powers unit a couple of years back-but now we want more power and that means more boost.

For this exercise, we looked to Whipple Superchargers, which sells the Whipple/Ford Racing Performance Parts '99-'04 Lightning Supercharger Upgrade kit.

The major improvement comes from the stout 2.3L W140ax (140ci capacity) twin-screw, axial entry (meaning the air inlet is located on the axis of the screws, not on the top or bottom) com-pressor. Whipple says the blower can produce from 8 to 25 psi, which is enough to make over 700 at the wheels on a modified Lightning with a built engine. The screw design is incredibly efficient, which means the unit can make boost without a tremendous rise in inlet air temperature. It's also quieter and features a double-angular front bearing and sealed rear roller bearing for improved reliability.