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Old 04-23-2010, 06:36 PM   #1
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Back in L.A. with a new (to me) 2002 V6

My first post (trumpets sounding!).

I moved to Los Angeles back in August 2009 from San Diego. I brought my 98 Mustang V6 with me, but got in an accident on Halloween night. Damage wasn't bad, but enough to deem it a total loss, so I said goodbye to my car and began the search for a new one. Last week I bought a used 2002 Mustang. Not too much difference from my 98, except for maybe a bit more power, especially when accelerating.

I haven't made any modifications to it yet, but I would like to. I added stuff to my 98 that helped a bit (cold air intake, underdrive pulley, new wires). It wasn't much but I did notice an improvement in gas mileage. I also started using Ethos FR when filling up, which improved gas mileage even more. I have numbers to prove the stuff really does work. My 98 never had a single problem, aside from a simple sensor replacement required to pass a smog test. I hope my 2002 will be just as reliable.

As for my plans for the new car, I figured I would make the same modifications I made to my 98, and possibly take it up a notch and modify the exhaust (headers, custom pipes, etc). I don't like the loud exhaust noise though, so if anyone has some suggestions for suppressing the noise levels, that would be most helpful. The quieter the better, if possible.

If any has any suggestions for some simple upgrades I would appreciate it. My goal is to get a slight hp increase, and increase in gas mileage. Definitely won't be racing it.

Thanks.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:56 PM   #2
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Re: Back in L.A. with a new (to me) 2002 V6

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Originally Posted by Suprwest View Post
My first post (trumpets sounding!).

I moved to Los Angeles back in August 2009 from San Diego. I brought my 98 Mustang V6 with me, but got in an accident on Halloween night. Damage wasn't bad, but enough to deem it a total loss, so I said goodbye to my car and began the search for a new one. Last week I bought a used 2002 Mustang. Not too much difference from my 98, except for maybe a bit more power, especially when accelerating.

I haven't made any modifications to it yet, but I would like to. I added stuff to my 98 that helped a bit (cold air intake, underdrive pulley, new wires). It wasn't much but I did notice an improvement in gas mileage. I also started using Ethos FR when filling up, which improved gas mileage even more. I have numbers to prove the stuff really does work. My 98 never had a single problem, aside from a simple sensor replacement required to pass a smog test. I hope my 2002 will be just as reliable.

As for my plans for the new car, I figured I would make the same modifications I made to my 98, and possibly take it up a notch and modify the exhaust (headers, custom pipes, etc). I don't like the loud exhaust noise though, so if anyone has some suggestions for suppressing the noise levels, that would be most helpful. The quieter the better, if possible.

If any has any suggestions for some simple upgrades I would appreciate it. My goal is to get a slight hp increase, and increase in gas mileage. Definitely won't be racing it.

Thanks.
first of all, welcome to the site. you can check out the sticky in the v6 section for a complete mod list. if you arent looking for a loud exhaust, then just do a basic catback system and skip the headers and midpipe. cats on the mid-pipe will suppress the sound greatly. id suggest a pulley and a tune for your first mods. thats a proven 12-15rwhp or so and a good place to start. i have long tubes, o/r h, and flow 40's. it really isnt that loud, but has a nice gt grumble down low. its the best option for our cars. honestly, exhaust is just for sound on our cars unless you are blown and it becomes a restriction at that point. any other questions feel free to ask. id also say some gears but that would hurt gas mileage although its the single biggest bang for the buck
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:15 PM   #3
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Re: Back in L.A. with a new (to me) 2002 V6

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do a basic catback system and skip the headers and midpipe. cats on the mid-pipe will suppress the sound greatly. id suggest a pulley and a tune for your first mods. thats a proven 12-15rwhp or so and a good place to start. i have long tubes, o/r h, and flow 40's.
Thanks for the reply. I'm not hip to the Mustang lingo and abbreviations just yet, so bare with me. So what are the pros and cons of a catback system? Will have any kind of performance effect if installed with the stock headers? What exactly is involved in a "tune?" Do I have to go somewhere special for something like that? I agree about the pulley; I remember getting a little more kick on my 98 when I had that installed. Plus, I never use the A/C so it seemed to make sense from a power consumption standpoint.

Lastly, what is "o/r h?"
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:26 PM   #4
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Re: Back in L.A. with a new (to me) 2002 V6

welcome

Congrats on your 2002 v6. Many people dislike the v6 mustangs, but they really are nice cars and can be very fun to drive with some modifications.

A catback system is a good option if you only want to replace mufflers and exhaust tips. As you said, you want quieter exhaust, so a catback would be perfect. You could purchase a y-pipe adapter kit, which attaches to the stock y-pipe right after the cats. Or you could have an exhaust shop custom fab some piping with your choice of mufflers right after the cats. Either way will retain your cats keeping your exhaust quiet.

Honestly, a quieter v6 with a crisp tone is better than a loud v6. They are an even firing engine, so they'll never have that v8 sound, so it's better to make them deeper and crisp, not loud and obnoxious. You can get a nice deep rumble at idle and in the low rpms, but above 2500 rpms it's going to get high pitched, no way around that.

"o/r h" is an offroad h-pipe...basically one of the 2 styles of midpipes, with the other being an x-pipe. I wouldn't recommend an x-pipe, it will only make the exhaust tone high pitched. You really don't need a certain midpipe for the v6's since the exhaust pressure doesn't have to be equalized, but an o/r h will give off a deeper tone.

The stock headers will be fine. I wouldn't worry about replacing the stock ones unless they are damaged or cracked. Aftermarket shorties are basically shiny stock headers. Longtubes will give off a deeper tone and a slight hp gain, but not enough gain to justify cost on a stock or lightly modded engine. So you're basically buying them for sound, but it noticeable...and when combined with an h-pipe, the sound is way deeper than stock.

A tune will alter stock settings on the engine's ECU. If your 02 is an auto, a tuner will really help it. You can alter the shift points and firmness of your transmission, which will really wake the car up. The auto v6 mustang is geared pretty badly from the factory, so a tune will definitely help. In addition to the transmission, you can raise rev limiters, speed governors, a/f ratios, adjust for gear/tire changes and even gain some hp and tq depending on the aggressiveness of your tune, and the octane you're using. A more conservative 87 octane tune could be used to get better gas mileage, while a more wild 93 octane tune will net you more hp and tq, but may not be the best if you drive the car 30 miles to work everyday...the nice thing about handheld tuners is that you can keep more than one tune and can easily swap tunes by plugging the tuner into your port in the car.

I say a handheld tuner with custom tunes is better for a stock or near stock car. I emphasized custom tunes because those will get you the best results. Pre loaded, or "canned" tunes aren't any good, they aren't made specifically for your car, so I'd stay away from them.

You could get the car dyno tuned, but it's really not worth the cost unless you're really adjusting the a/f ratios, which generally doesn't occur until you either build the engine or go FI (forced induction ~ supercharger, turbo, nitrous).

I know this is a lot of info to take in, so if you have any questions about it, don't hesitate to ask.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:42 PM   #5
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Re: Back in L.A. with a new (to me) 2002 V6

Thanks for the info, sonicpony03.

I definitely don't like the loud exhaust. I think only older cars should have those. I had a 71 Jag with a conversion engine (Camaro Z28 SB), and the Jaguar exhaust system consisted of two sets of mufflers and a set of resonators right before the tips. I had one set of mufflers removed and it was still silent. I like that. I don't like to draw attention to myself.

The tune option sounds intriguing. I have a manual transmission. Is this something a Ford dealership can do, or is it more of a specialized job? It sounds like I'm going to need to provide input to the technician on how I'd want it to be tuned. This is where I'd shrug my shoulders. If I go that route I will definitely do my homework first.

Are there any other little things I can do to help the engine? Filters, plugs, etc?
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:17 PM   #6
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Re: Back in L.A. with a new (to me) 2002 V6

Tuning used to be more of a hassle since you had to rely on a professional shop and if you wanted to personalize it, you had to use those dated chips that really weren't worth anything.

You can go to a site such as American Muscle (site sponsor) or VMP Tuning and request custom tunes. You specify what mods you currently have, and what type of tune you want...economical, aggressive, etc. They will set these tunes up, and send them to you along with your handheld tuner. There are a couple different tuners available, SCT and DiabloSport are the 2 popular brands. The favorite tuner here seems to be SCT. Most of the vendors we use offer services with SCT and some like American Muscle offer free tunes for life. They will e-mail you tunes if you need them...say you add a udp and some gears, you'll want to update your tune to adjust for those changes. You simply download the tune to your tuner through your computer, then plug the tuner into the car and update the ECU in the car.

Some people have done "upgraded" filters, plugs, coils and wires, but I don't think they really do that much. An aftermarket coil pack costs $100, and I'm pretty sure you don't gain 5-10hp. The filter that comes with the aftermarket CAI is good enough and spark plugs are only needed when it's time to replace them. These days, gears and a tune are the most effective bolt on mods for the v6.
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:39 PM   #7
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Re: Back in L.A. with a new (to me) 2002 V6

I went to the American Muscle site and it seems like a pretty simple process. I imagine the people there are knowledgeable and would know exactly how to help me. I will definitely bookmark that site.

When you say gears, what exactly is involved in the modification?

(Sorry if I sound like a newb)
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:56 PM   #8
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Re: Back in L.A. with a new (to me) 2002 V6

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I went to the American Muscle site and it seems like a pretty simple process. I imagine the people there are knowledgeable and would know exactly how to help me. I will definitely bookmark that site.

When you say gears, what exactly is involved in the modification?

(Sorry if I sound like a newb)
you will need a set of gears, an install kit, and you should also toss in a posi to get both tires to spin. they go in the rear end chunk of the car and are definately recommended for a shop install which can cost between $250-$500. they need to be setup perfectly or can go to whining and all other kinds of problems.

and yes, americanmuscle is in my opinion, the best mustang site out there. i bought my livewire from them and had them do my first tune. eventually once you get several more mods, you might wanna do a dyno tune, but there tune will be fine for just a few bolt-ons.
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Old 04-24-2010, 02:33 PM   #9
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Re: Back in L.A. with a new (to me) 2002 V6

Yah and now American Muscle has teamed up with Bamachips to do tuning. Bamachips is a very well known tuner that does amazing work. I'm not sure how much v6 stuff they do, but their v8 stuff is good.
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