So I figure I would start a thread to provide some GOOD/USEFUL information about the 98-04 3.8L engine and what can be done.
First off, any mods that look too good to be true, usually are...this includes the turbonator, those phony 50hp chips, and electric superchargers. anyway here is a good list of potential mods to help you in your path to more power.
(I wrote this a few years ago I'll revise it soon)
Basic bolt ons
Cold Air intake
- Short Ram
- Fender well
- "ram air" types
- Homemade fender well
Thoughts: The basic "bomz" eBay cold air intake will work fine. If your car is a show car, or you just like to have
a brand name then you have several options. Their are also the mach 1 "ram air" style intakes. The fender well is
what I would reccomend. The short ram seems to draw hotter air from the engine bay unless its 100% sealed off and
the ram air types are normally expensive and provide the same gains. The homemade fender well intakes are fairly easy to build also if you want an alternative to buying one.
- BBK Shorties
- Mac Long Tubes
Thoughts: The BBK shorties will do almost nothing for you as the stock mainfolds flow very well. If your going
for headers the Mac Long Tubes seem to be the best thing as of now. Currently MAC is the only producer of
94-04 Long tube headers, however Pacesetter has a set of long tube headers for the 94-04 v6 mustang
. when choosing a full exhaust setup be sure to look into the future plans for the car too. if you are running a turbo setup its going to be very difficult to run longtubes. things like that need to be considered in the planning of the cars modifications.
- Mid Pipe (divorced duals, H pipe, Xpipe)
- Catalytic Converters (regular and high flow)
Thoughts: Great beginner modification. A mid pipe is not needed for an even fire v6 mustang divorced duals may be
ran if you desire. Divorced Duals (two separated pipes), tend to have a louder sound. Xpipe, tends to be more raspy. H pipe tends to be
deeper. This can vary depending on muffler choice. You can also have an exhaust shop custom fabricate a catback,
the only difference is you won't get mandrel bends. If your just looking for a small bit more sound a Y pipe catback is
ok, however this is not the best for performance and sound. with exhaust you also do not want to get piping that is too big. this will cause a loss in backpressure with will cause you to lose low end power.
Catalytic converters are necessary to reduce emissions but create back pressure due to the exhaust gases being forced through a catalyst, and therefore decrease high end engine power. Many modern catalytic converters only produce 1-3 psi of back pressure. Hi-flow catalytic converters can replace the standard units in order to provide lower backpressure. Installing aftermarket catalytic converters is restricted by law in some countries (wikipedia).
Under Drive Pulleys (UDP)
Thoughts: Another great mod. These help buy "under driving" your accessories, less rotational mass frees up more power.
If you have a big audio system make sure you get an Over Drive pulley for the alternator. If your Audio system is huge
then you might want to look past this mod.
Thoughts: I only included 3.73 and 4.10s but their are other options. 3.73 and 4.10 seem to be the most popular. (3.73 for manual tranny and 4.10 for the autos) Gears will help your car accelerate faster, you won't gain any power but your car will move faster. Steeper gears (higher number) will get you the fastest acceleration. Their are exceptions to this, when your car is turbocharged
or supercharged you have to consider the best gear for your powerband, which could be a lower gear such as the 3.55 or the 3.73 because with boost you need the time through the rpm range for the boost to do its job, so 4.10s can be too steep for boosted applications (please do not attempt this unless you are absolutely sure you know what your doing)
- Ford Racing
- Detroit TruTrac
Thoughts: A tlok will increase your traction buy providing power to both wheels. the 94-04 Mustangs came with an open
differential (you spin your rear passenger side tire ony). The Ford Racing Tlok seems to hold up to about 300rwhp however
they have been broken with stock power. If you want something better look into the TrueTrac, Aburn, or an 8.8 rear.
(please do not attempt this unless you absolutely know what your doing)
Upper Intake Spacer
Where to find: VAP Auto - Intake Spacers, J-Mod Kits & more!
Thoughts: The VAP Intake Spacer will increase the length the air has to travel thus creating more low end torque
and hp. It has been dyno tested to give about 5hp and 7tq. Don't be scared to do this mod yourself the upper intake
manifold may look tough but its fairly easy.
Aluminum Drive Shaft
Thoughts: An Aluminum drive shaft is lighter than stock and will decrease rotational mass and free up horsepower.
- 96 through 98
Places to find: VAP Auto - Intake Spacers, J-Mod Kits & more!
Thoughts: The Windstar intake is a composite intake manifold with longer runners. It is also lighter than the stock
manifold it has been dyno tested to around 7hp and 15tq.
Into the Engine
*For the pre-99s only*
Split Port Swap
heres the full list (from plove71387):
-99+ mustang v6 heads (including valves/springs)
-99+ mustang v6 upper intake **
-99+ mustang v6 lower intake
-99+ mustang EGR tube and valve
-99+ Throttle Body
-TPS sensor for TB (1-CX-1488 from Ford) if not already on TB
-Throttle cable from 99+ mustang v6
-Modified fuel rail that has a universal fuel pressure regulator, and a return line.
-Accelerator Bracket (F4SZ-9728-B) if not already included on upper intake
-99+ mustang v6 coil pack and wires (your stock coil pack will work too)
-99+ mustang intake tube, or any 99+ mustang CAI kit
-99+ mustang cooling hoses (including the ones going to the heater core) and pipes. You can also make your own lines, by using plumbing elbows,hoses and clamps, and fab it up yourself. (Definately get these if you can.)
-16 a.w.g automotive electrical wire
-teflon tape, pipe sealant, RTV
-99+ head bolts/studs
-head gaskets (I recommend 99+ mustang gaskets)
-99+ upper and lower intake manifold gaskets.
All 3rd Tier Mods can be found at the following:
* Super Six Motorsports
* Delk Performance
* Redlined Performance Mustangs
Thoughts: Ported intakes are great modifications. Smoothing casting imperfections, increasing the port entry size,
all allow air to flow into the engine faster. When you can add more air you can add more fuel and get more power.
Thoughts: Ported heads follow the same rules as the intakes to make power. Smoothing the intake side, valve
guides, exhaust side, and bowl work. Here you can also add bigger valves, different rockers, etc.
Thoughts: to make this simple and not confuse anybody a the lobes (egg shapes) on a camshaft make your valves open
and close. A performance camshaft is usually spec'd for your setup and where you want your powerband to be.
Everything You Need to Know About Boost
- Procharger: ProCharger Self-contained Superchargers and Intercooled Supercharging Systems
- Vortech Vortech Engineering: Centrifugal Supercharger Manufacturer, Superchargers, Supercharging Systems
- m90 *94-98 only
Thoughts: Superchargers are a great way to add 80-100+rwhp. The two types available to us are the centrifugal
(vortech/procharger) and the positive displacement m112 thanks to a few creative minds(mysteed/lilroush) and SSMS.
The installs are pretty straight forward. Superchargers are driven buy the accessory belt (or sometimes a secondary
belt) and because of this are less efficient. The centrifugal units will provide boost at around 2.8-3000 rpms. The
Positive displacement unit will provide power from as low as 1.5k rpms. For the 94-98 guys the eaton m90 or thunderbird
s/c swap is an option for you, the m90 has the same characteristics of the positive displacement blower and will give and
instant boost, it's the m112's little brother. You can find detailed information about the m90 swap here: Have questions about the M90 SC? Come here first. - 3.8 Mustang Message Board
Currently to get the M112 "kit" You would need to speak with either LilRoush or Mysteed. They both can be found on
. Mysteed is now selling the entire kit for 2800$, which requires modified hood, fuel mods, tune, and boost gauge.
- TMA TURBO
Thoughts: Turbochargers are driven buy exhaust gases and are another way to bolt on 100+ horsepower. Unlike the
supercharger you can control boost from a waste gate or even an electronic waste gate and set it on the fly. Turbo
installs are normally more complex than superchargers because of more parts. Andy at TMA TURBO has produced
kits that have made 500+ rwhp and taken cars down to low 12 second quarter miles on a stock motor
For the most part any car can be tuned with any software. Most of the guys seem to lean toward the sct software. However if the dyno tuner in your area(s) use more of one type than the other It is suggested you get that brand tuner. either way, whatever tuner you decide to buy just know that they all do basically the same thing.
Snipers program called Special Forces comes with the ability to let you "self" tune your car with drop down menus and allows you to tune 2 vehicles. This is the basic program used to tune your car.
here is the sniper site where u can see the different programs and products with their descriptions:
Electronic Ford Tuning :: Sniper Tuning
SCT is more of a canned tune handheld tuner. many people on this site use them and swear by them. with the sct you will not need a laptop because it comes in a handheld form with a screen. there are also other products from sct that will help with your tuning if you decide so. the site for the SCT tuner is:
SCT Automotive Performance Products
Diablo is like the sct handheld tuner. its more for canned tuning and there have people that have used them and liked them, but also have been people who use them and dislike them. the site for the diablo tuner is:
DiabloSport :: Gas and Diesel Tuning Systems
:WARNING: If you get a device and have no clue what you are doing DO NOT mess with the settings, you could cause catastrophic failure.