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Old 04-13-2007, 07:27 PM   #1
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Little help...

I am picking up my first Mustang tomorrow. '03 GT convertible 5-spd 21000 miles. Trading my '04 F-150 for it. It is completely bone stock, and I am a friggin Mustang noob. I want to start modding right away and would like a little advice on where to start. I read through the forums, but it seems a bit overwhelming.

Thanks
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Old 04-13-2007, 07:38 PM   #2
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Re: Little help...

sweet man, and welcome!! first off, the first thing you need to do, is post some pix. Second, is probably do a full exhaust over haul. Get some type of new headers, a different x/h pipe. Depending on what state you live in, will depend on if you want o/r or not. And then, add a cat-back. That way you will get the mean/rumbly sound all mustangs should have. Next would probably be a cai of sorts and gears. There have been many arguments on whether people should use u/d pullies or not, but alot of ppl put them on as well. And I think for the most part, that should cover the basic bolt-ons. ill let some of the more experienced guys give ya the run-down on what should be after these mods.
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Old 04-13-2007, 07:51 PM   #3
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Re: Little help...

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Depending on what state you live in, will depend on if you want o/r or not.
Thanks Max.

Please explain what o/r is. Heh, told you I was a noob.
My cousins own a meineke shop. They should probably know what goodies to get for the exhaust overhaul.
I was thinking 3.73 gears. Not sure prices for them yet, but from what I have read, that seems to be the best pick.
CAI. Any special brand, or are they all pretty much the same?
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Old 04-14-2007, 12:08 AM   #4
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Re: Little help...

o/r=off road mid-pipe. meaning it doesnt have cats. make sure your cousins do work on mustangs and the like and not just ricers. bcuz they might wanna put on a sh!itty exhaust setup if they dont know what they are doing with it. not saying your cousins dont know what they are doing, but around here, all the ricers go to the meineke and the like shops. but, i would say to go with 4.10 gears, they will definitly be a big jump for you. unless you are planning on going with a turbo/sc setup down the road, then you might want to stick with 3.73. i dont know much about the cai world. but a ton of ppl on here are using one of the many cai setups from JLT. so most will recommend that brand. they do some pretty sweet paint jobs on their cai kits as well. but if you like shinny stuff, go with a BBK cai. looks really sick in the engine bay. oh, and after u do most of the bolt-ons, you should get a tune to get the most out of the new additions.
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Old 04-16-2007, 02:38 AM   #5
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Re: Little help...

1) Pics

2) Gears (3.90's if you dont know what your long term plans are) - hey run around 140 for the gears and another 60-80 for a master rebuild kit. install from a shop is anywhere from 150 from a mustang shop to 300 from a mom-and-pop shop. gonna have to do some research in this one, try to find where other local stangers and rwd maniacs are getting their gears installed.

3) Diablo Predator / SCT Xcal2 to compensate for the gear change (as well as other things down the road, such as rear 02 delete options if you go catless exhaust)

4) Since you said Meineke, im gonna tell you to just buy a catback. Unless they are willing to custom fab 2.5" flanges and not use the stock ones and just weld 2.5" pipe to them. Plus, its likely they are going to use pressbends instead of mandrel bent tubing. Id go with a aftermarket Catback, a H-Pipe will give you more low end rumble, and a X-Pipe will give you a more defined exotic sound. Go to mustangexhaust.com and sign up to hear a crapload of setups. Id go catless as well if youre in a state that doesnt mind. plus if you have a diablo or sct tuner, you press a few buttons and you never have to worry about that pesky CEL when you ****can your catalytics (removing your catalytic converters trigger a CEL from the downstream o2 Sensor realizing the catalytics are no longer doing their job), or you can get a set of o2 Eliminators (basically plugs that you connect to the o2 sensor to fool the ecu into thinking the cats are still there, but thats hit and miss, and didnt work for me.

5) Intake - You can spend quite a bit here for minimal gains, look for used if at all possible. Get a CAI (Cold Air Intake) by the likes of Demolet/Densecharger or JLT. you can also get a Throttle Body / Plenum combo, but be weary, quality is the key here. i got a MAC combo and it sucked ***, gave me a sticky pedal. the biggest thing you will notice is better throttle response and a enhanced exhaust tone.

6) UnderDrive Pulleys (UDP's) - a PITA to install, and youll likely not feel any gains, especially with a piggyback style (a kit like March that reuses the crank pulley for its harmonic dampening abilities, compared to a kit that gives you a new underdriven balanced crank pulley). plus you also run the risk of under-running your accessories (AC/Alt/PowerSteering and water pump), though i have yet to have any issues with my March UDP's.

7) C-Springs - they get rid of the 4x4 look, its about a 1" drop and a set of 4 runs you ~130$ from americanmuscle.com. why the **** not? or you can spend a little more and get better springs/lower drop, but anything over 1.5" you will need Caster/Camber (C/C) Plates and a different set of shocks/struts that can compensate for the drop.

8) Tires - I cannot stress how much of a difference a good set of tires gives you.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:18 AM   #6
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Re: Little help...

I can tell you from experience do things RIGHT the first time. I know with a new car you want to jump right in and do everything you can, but hold off until you research the market and what products are out there so you make a good informed decision. There are many products that sound great but are worthless or just suck.

I would start off by researching a good exhaust system (catback) and then if thats not enough you can get an H/X pipe or LTs etc etc just look into it and see what you like. Also, realize right now that most bolt ons dont do much of anything~ they help but not very much. Some claims given by products are extremly to high. Finally, post up what you are thinking about so we can help you find the best price or make sure your not wasting your money.

I would also get a shifter, I have had the top brands and MGW is the best shifter I have used so definatly check them out.
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Old 04-16-2007, 06:44 PM   #7
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Re: Little help...

Spray it .
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:23 PM   #8
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Re: Little help...

Wow guys, thanks for the input. It's nice to see the support.

I just picked it up today. We've been hammered with a Nor'easter all day, and when I finally had everything done and was ready to pick up the car, the sky broke and the sun was shining. I put the top down and left the dealership sideways.

I will get pic's posted tomorrow.

K. Ideas.

I wanted to list what my planned mods will be in order.
1. CAI.

2. Gears. I decided 4.10 I don't plan on many long trips with the car, just around town playing, so I figured run the 4.10

3. XCAL-2 programmer.

4. Exhaust. O/R H-pipe back. I was thinking Flowmaster or MAC.

4. Are headers worth it? I had a friend tell me no, unless I wanted leaks all the time.

5. 75mm throttle body with plenum.

Thats about it for now. The BIG changes will have to wait.
Can you guys think of anything else that you would feel "mandatory"?
Oh, and will I need to have new programs written for the XCAL after all the stuff is done?

Again, thanks for your time and responses.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:02 PM   #9
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Re: Little help...

4.10s are good, you should look into the CDC shaker kit for it, thatd be awesome :yup:

I like magnaflows on those 4.6's... I dont think chambered mufflers (mac/flows) sound very good on the modular motors personally.

Definitely lower the car. A good set of eibachs or H&R's will do wonders for the appearance of the car and the handling.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:36 PM   #10
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Re: Little help...

Hey Firestang!
Congrats on the new car. Doing first things first and getting the most bang for the buck is the way to go. Everyone has given you good advice. Here's something else to think about...

A really great article on first modifications, what's worth the money and what's not can be found at

Modular Two-Valve Techniques - 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords Magazine

if you read it, I think you'll like it.
Good luck on your mods,
Jim
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:56 PM   #11
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Re: Little help...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwyche View Post
Hey Firestang!
Congrats on the new car. Doing first things first and getting the most bang for the buck is the way to go. Everyone has given you good advice. Here's something else to think about...

A really great article on first modifications, what's worth the money and what's not can be found at

Modular Two-Valve Techniques - 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords Magazine

if you read it, I think you'll like it.
Good luck on your mods,
Jim

Thanks. I'll definately read it.
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Old 04-17-2007, 06:50 PM   #12
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Re: Little help...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firestang View Post
4. Are headers worth it? I had a friend tell me no, unless I wanted leaks all the time.
Your friend isn't the brightest crayon in the box. Just by a good quality header and torque to spec, you shouldn't have any problems.
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Old 04-17-2007, 10:11 PM   #13
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Re: Little help...

If you go with a an off road pipe there would be no need for an cat-back system. You are free to go with some tubes and some 2 or 1 chamber flows!!!
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Old 04-18-2007, 08:28 AM   #14
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Re: Little help...

exhaust/shifter should be number 1/2 unless it already has it.
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Old 04-19-2007, 08:19 AM   #15
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Re: Little help...

MGW shifter ordered. Exhaust will be next. Then the gears.

I decided to stay away from intakes and throttle bodies. I am starting to put money away right now for a Kenne Bell, so the rest would be a waste I assume. My question is, will stock internals handle a S/C.

I hate having to ask stupid questions, but I am slowly learning. I hope to someday be the guy giving advice on here.

Oh, pics will be posted today. It's been raining non stop for almost 3 days.
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:58 PM   #16
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Re: Little help...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris View Post
If you go with a an off road pipe there would be no need for an cat-back system. You are free to go with some tubes and some 2 or 1 chamber flows!!!
Could you explain what you mean please? I'm looking at putting magnaflow tru X xpipes on....would there be no need for the magnapack exhaust as well? or are you meaning run straight pipes with muffler tips on it? New here and still trying to get my shopping list done as well!! Thanks!
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:01 PM   #17
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Re: Little help...

Please check the date of last post, thanks!
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