Frank H. Cicerale
October 1, 2007
We decided to give our '06 Mustang GT project car, MILF, the diamond treatment with a jewelry upgrade in the form of Ford Racing Performance Parts' Big-Boost kit. She loved the present, to say the least.

Diamonds Are forever-at least that's what the advertisements tell you. Ask any woman to name her favorite gemstone and the answer will likely be: one that's large and shiny-meaning it glistens in the sun.

If our '06 Mustang GT, Project MILF, could talk, it might request some glistening parts for its outside, like fancy wheels or a body kit, but instead we graced the car's intake valley with an intercooler and accompanying parts from Ford Racing Performance Parts' Big-Boost kit.

Before we get to this month's marital expenditure, let's throw in the wedding DVD and look over this relationship from its infancy. We started things off a few months ago by installing FRPP's Handling Pack before boosting the Legend Lime Mustang's modular Three-Valve with the company's Super Pack. Now topped with a Whipple supercharger, we complemented the intake improvement with a set of long-tube headers and an exhaust system from Stainless Works. Project MILF then had work done on her gluteus maximus with a gear change from the factory cogs to a set of 4.10s. Add in a custom tune from JDM Engineering, and this Pony knocked down 385 rwhp and 12.20-second elapsed times at the track.

The thing is, we were so close to getting Project MILF into the 11-second zone, we could taste it. The summer was in full swing, however, and the hot weather destroyed our power. With our requirement of keeping the car driveable enough to go to and from the grocery store, we needed to make a move that would get it into the 11s, yet not kill its street manners. Enter FRPP's Big-Boost kit.

To The naked eye, the impending intercooler installation would not be recognized, except for the factory-looking intercooler reservoir to be mounted underhood. We tabbed JDM Engineering to get the job done.

The Big-Boost kit comes straight from FRPP with a Whipple-supplied air-to-water intercooler, a heat exchanger, an intercooler pump and reservoir, a new blower pulley, and an accompanying fuel-system upgrade. With all of the hardware being shipped with the kit, FRPP advertises it as being able to pump the power level up to 500 hp.

It's common knowledge that running an intercooler lowers air-inlet temperatures and potentially makes more power. The cooler the air charge, the denser and more packed it is with power-producing oxygen. The denser air charge also allows you to run more fuel and more timing, which brings about even more power. "The benefits of intercooling are well known for any forced induction motor, and we obviously recognize that," says FRPP's Jesse Kershaw. "I think the bigger question is how to avoid an expensive intercooler if you really don't need it. At 400 hp, the twin-screw Whipple blower is efficient enough to not require one. It's simply added weight and cost at that power level in a Three-Valve Mustang with the thermal efficiency of a twin-screw blower. At 500 hp, though, the intercooler is really necessary to keep the charge temperatures down and maximize the torque curve of the engine."

We kicked things off by undoing all of the connections and hoses. Once done, we undid the air-inlet system for the Whipple supercharger and took it off, as well as removing the blower belt.

Even so, we knew that if we installed an intercooler, we'd be able to step up the boost level and play with the tune to wring out a bunch more ponies. With that in mind, we had FRPP ship out one of its Big-Boost kits, and we took it and Project MILF back to JDM Engineering in Freehold, New Jersey, to see what kind of power we could pick up.

In addition to offering an intercooler, the kit also comes with an upgraded fuel system similar to the one available in the Shelby GT500. The fuel-system upgrade includes a harness, dual fuel pumps, and a drop-in housing and fuel driver module right from the GT500. "Making up to 450 hp could be done without an intercooler, but the factory fuel pump begins running out of steam above 400 hp or so," Kershaw explains as to why the upgraded fuel system is included with the Big-Boost kit. "That made it a logical step for us to package our 500hp kit with a dual fuel pump and an intercooler. By keeping the 400hp kit more basic (sans intercooler), we were able to save the customer money and make it a far easier installation."

According to Jim D'Amore of JDM Engineer-ing, the fuel system is a needed quantity with the intercooler installation. In addition to upgrading the fuel system, D'Amore also swapped out the 32-pound injectors that came with the FRPP Super Pack for a set of short-style 48-pounders that are also found on the GT500. "We definitely needed to change the injectors," he says. "The ones that come with the 400hp kit are 32-pound injectors. Before we put in the fuel system that came with the kit, I had the fuel pressure set at 60 psi, almost double the stock setting, which is 39 psi. I had to raise the fuel pressure up that high because the injectors were too small. The 32s are good for around 360-370 rwhp, and we were making 380 rwhp before the intercooler."

We removed the 400hp kit's 3.875-inch blower pulley and the fuel rails from both sides of the engine. Make sure you have rags down to sop up any fuel that may come out of the fuel rails.

Knowing that the intercooler would allow him to maximize the timing and fuel curves of the engine due to a lessened chance of the powerplant running into detonation, D'Amore changed the injectors and the tune before the car hit the dyno. "We changed the injectors to the 48s that are found on the GT500 because they are good for around 500-550 rwhp," he says. "The new injectors, coupled with the FRPP fuel system, allowed me to keep control over the fuel system. The FRPP fuel system is a good one, for up to 700 rwhp if used correctly."

In addition to upgrading the fuel system, D'Amore also reworked the tune to take advantage of the added benefits offered by the intercooler. "The tune for the car is completely different than what it was before, especially in regards to the transmission," he says. "I changed the timing, fuel curves, and the cold-start function because of the intercooler. The car now has 18 degrees of timing and shows an air/fuel ratio of 11.8:1 at 6,000 rpm. Also, boost is now up to a peak of 12.5 pounds." The intercooler lowered the air charge, allowing D'Amore to run more timing without fear of running into detonation. Also, the boost level, which registered at 7 pounds without the intercooler, was safely raised to 12.5 pounds, thanks to the smaller 3.375-inch pulley (originally a 3.875-inch pulley).

Here, the size difference between the 400hp kit's 3.875-inch blower pulley (left) and the Big-Boost kit's 3.375-inch pulley (right) can be seen. The smaller pulley allows the blower belt to drive the supercharger faster, resulting in more boost and, ultimately, more horsepower.

With the kit easing the ability to make more power, getting the tune right is the key to making that power while keeping the powerplant from burning up. Also offered with the hardware for the upgrade kit is a voucher to get a calibrator with an FRPP-created tune. "When compared to the 400hp tune, the 500hp tuner is a totally new calibration," Kershaw says. "The biggest difference is the strategy for the electronic throttle control. We're able to open it up more and fully utilize the blower's potential without having to worry about charge temp or fuel delivery."

Of note, though, is that this kit is recom-mended for S197 cars that have a manual gearbox slung in the trans tunnel. "The intercooler itself isn't the problem with the automatic cars; it's actually that we do not feel confident that the automatic will hold up at the 500hp level," Kershaw says. "At 400 hp, we feel confident that the trans will hold up. We worked with the transmission calibrators at Livonia transmission, which did long-term testing at the 400, 450, and 500hp levels with the 5R55S transmission. Our findings were that at 400 hp, which does not require an intercooler, the trans held up with our revised calibration. At 450 and 500 hp, it wasn't instantaneous failure by any means, but we didn't feel confident offering the kit knowing it will fail beyond the warranty period. We only sell the kit currently with a calibration for the manual trans. We may offer it for the automatic in the near future, but we will require the customer to agree to terms that they are aware that the life of their transmission will be severely limited."

After the intercooler was tightened, we flipped the blower back onto its base and installed both the inlet and outlet connectors to the midplate of the blower. Coolant from the reservoir will come in from the right side of the blower, run through the intercooler, then exit out the left side.

While the calibrator would work great for a car with a manual transmission and 3.55 gears in the rearend housing, Project MILF presented us with two distinct problems-it's an automatic transmission-equipped car, and the 8.8-inch rear is now stocked with a set of 4.10 cogs. We lucked out in the sense that D'Amore had to create a custom tune for Project MILF to take into account the new gears. Instead of ordering and loading the FRPP tune, he revamped it, especially in the transmission department. "Tuning is critical in every car, but more so with an automatic," he says. "A majority of what I did with the tune of the car was not maximizing power but protecting the transmission from the increase of around 200 lb-ft of torque."

We felt comfortable that D'Amore could get the transmission to live behind our juiced-up Three-Valve, namely because his '06 GT routinely runs in the low-10-second zone while still transferring power to the rear wheels via a stock 5R55S that has had its tune worked over. To do so, he fiddles with how the transmission shifts, mostly within its assigned slippage and converter lockup points. "The problem portion of the transmission lies in the 2-3 upshift," he explains. "There's a lot going on during that shift, as you have one clutch pack disengaging at the same time another clutch pack and band are engaging. The timing between all three of those actions on that particular shift needs to be perfect. If it isn't, the clutches will slip more than they should and will burn up. To keep that from happening, I changed the clutches' slip reduction so they do not slip as much between shifts. This ultimately leads to firmer shifts, and obviously keeps the clutches from burning up. I also have the converter locking up sooner in Fourth and Fifth gears, further reducing slippage in the trans-missions internals. To maximize power, I raised the shift points to 6,400 rpm. It took me a long time to come up with the perfect tune for the transmission, but this setup should allow the transmission to live at this power level."

This is how the blower will look with the intercooler on. The intercooler will sit in the intake galley, which means the height of the blower will not change.

Project MILF turned the dyno rollers to almost 440 rwhp and a little more than 422 rwtq. If you look back to last month's power figures, you will see that the Big-Boost kit raised our sweetheart's peak power numbers by 55 ponies and 48 lb-ft of torque. As for the track times, we kept our drag radials on and made four passes down the Raceway Park quarter-mile.

With our sizeable increase in power, we knew that getting into the 11s should be easy as pie, and we were not disappointed. We shaved a whopping 0.650 second off our elapsed time with a best e.t. of an 11.54. Trap speed rose by 5.5 mph to a blistering 120.57. Best of all, the car is tractable and docile for the power level.

Now that we bought the wife some diamonds, we'll have to outdo ourselves pretty mightily. Think she'd be insulted with us suggesting she needs some visual enhancements? There's only one way to find out!

MONEY MONEY MONEY!
We're keeping tabs on how much money we put into Project MILF. After all, we can't blow our whole paycheck on car parts. Keep in mind that this tally includes prices for parts only. The original cost of the car and labor rates are not included as there are variables to both figures.

PART ,strong>MANUFACTURER PART NO. PRICE
Handling Pack FRPP {{{M}}}-2005-FR3 $1,299.00
Super Pack FRPP M-6066-M463V $4,899.00
Billet Oil Fill Cap FRPP M-6766-MP46 $44.00
Valve Covers FRPP M-6582-3VBLK $269.00
131/44-in Long-Tube
Headers Stainless Works M05H175 $1,542.40
3-in After-Cat
Exhaust System Stainless Works M05CB3 $880.{{{90}}}
4.10 Gearset FRPP M-4209-G410 $225.00
Rearend Girdle FRPP M-4033-G2 $199.00
75W90 Rearend Fluid Royal Purple RPO-RP01300* $21.90
XCalibrator2
Programmer SCT 946-9415A* $379.99
48-lb Injectors FRPP M-9593-G302 $499.00
Big-Boost Kit FRPP M-9066-M11 $2,099.99
1-gal Motorcraft
Engine Coolant Downs {{{Ford}}} VC-7 $14.50
    Total: $12,373.69  
*Priced though {{{Summit}}} Racing Equipment (www.summitracing.com)

Clocking In
After our last foray to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, we were able to discern how much gears and a tune woke up Project MILF. This time around, we wanted to see what FRPP's Big-Boost kit would do for our beloved project car. In the following chart, the first number is the difference from the previous modification, while the second number is the difference from the baseline. Mission accomplished!

Baseline Run 13.529/{{{100}}}.11    
MODIFICATION BEST ET/MPH ET DIFFERENCE MPH DIFFERENCE
FRPP Super Pack 12.661/107.73 -0.868/NA +7.{{{62}}}/NA
Stainless Works 12.476/110.00 -0.185/-1.053 +2.27/+9.89
Long-Tube Headers      
and After-cat Exhaust      
4.10 Gears, 12.{{{200}}}/114.97 -0.276/-1.346 +4.97/+14.86
Custom Tune      
FRPP Big-Boost Kit 11.549/120.{{{57}}} -0.651/-1.980 +5.60/+20.46