1. If your stang is not brand new the number one "mod"
is TUNING, yes, you fist need to make your stang perform as expected
or better than when it was brand new. We have a complete article about
2. The stock mustang intake is pretty restrictive,
to reduce its limitations install a K&N filter. For about $35 you
can replace the ORIGINAL filter with a OEM fit K&N. If you can afford
to spend a little more then get a COLD AIR SETUP, this you can buy or
fabricate by following the steps in our ColdAir tech article.
3. This is where it gets interesting, most people
will say get headers, others to get mufflers, X pipes or H pipes, etc.
The main thing at this point is to improve exhaust without hurting performance
which can happen if you select to big and exhaust system for your almost
STOCK car. Our advice here is simple, get a set of free flowing mufflers,
this is one of the most restrictive parts on the exhaust system and
will free some hidden horsepower. Bigger headers, Xpipes or catbacks
will cost you several hundreds and will not give the results you expect.
4. HEADS....are we nuts? you bet, we are nuts about
power, heads are the BIGGEST restriction on the 5.0 HO. Changing to
better flowing heads will net you gains close to 40horsepower. No other
collection of "bolt-on's" can do this for the same amount
of money. Just check this numbers:
common BOLT ONs
||Alum GT40 Y
||Alum GT40 X
|H pipe (off road)
||1 HP Cost
||1 HP cost
As you can see in the table the price performance ratio of the
heads is way better than that of the most popular bolt ons, the HP figures
of the heads are an AVERAGE of several numbers found on some magazines
and manufacturers web sites, and we think they are pretty close to the
real thing. Even a 40HP increase from heads alone is enough to justify
Not considered in the table above is INSTALL PRICE, which will be almost
the same for installing heads compared to all the bolt ons.
5. Next in our list is EXHAUST, after the heads are
done the most restrictive exhaust part is the stock headers. In the
OEM units the pipes are severely compressed where they are soldered
to the flanges. This severely restricts exhaust flow (back pressure).
The rest of the exhaust system is still OK for the amount of HP you
have right now, probably a bit above 260 HP at the crank if your car
is a 5 speed and about 250 if its an automatic.
6. Now we have to take care of the most restrictive
part of the intake, the UPPER and LOWER manifolds. Here you will find
lots of choices such as Long and Short runner manifolds of different
brands such as FMS, Edelbrock, TFS, Saleen, Holley to name the most
Our #1 Choice is the FMS Cobra intake, it has a good price/performance
ratio and is the least expensive of all. But most of the other brands
are pretty good and some offer more potential than the Cobra intake.
If i were to choose another one i will surely consider the TFS and Holley
units. The Edelbrock is also a nice intake, but in my opinion its damn
7. Now that you took care of the U/L intake its time
to get rid of the restrictive Throttle body. A larger TB will increase
performance as much as 15 HP with all the mods installed.
8. At this point your stock 19 pound INJECTORS are
in their HP limit, a good choice is getting 30 pounders and a new fuel
pump and MAF OR CUSTOM CHIP. These additions will help
you calibrate your new combo to the new injectors. We recommend getting
a chip tuned to your current setup instead of the new MAF. A good chip
manufacturer will put your car on a Dyno to calibrate the new computer
to get the most out of your combination of parts.
9. The Ignition system is now one of the weak links
in the equation, with the added HP and fuel, a better coil will help
you to make a bigger spark to burn the added fuel.
10. Last in our beginners guide is to replace the
rest of the exhaust system, an H or X
pipe here will free a few more horses and will get you ready for the
next mods...probably a supercharger? turbo?
Here the choice is yours, the X will increase power about 5-8 HP more
than and H pipe but it is also more expensive. X and H pipes can be
bought for OFF ROAD use which means they don't have cat converters or
street legal versions with high flow cats. The later are about twice
as expensive but might be required in some states.
At this point, you 5.0 HO Mustang is close to 300 rear wheel horsepower,
and of course it is more fun to step on the pedal but there are still
things to consider. The suspension will need modifications, the same as
the brakes to keep those horses under control.
Also, don't take this guide as your bible but consult others about their
experiences, this guide is just a collection of steps WE think you could
follow. But in reality you might want to skip some of the mods or NEED
to skip because of money restrictions.
Buying used parts is good if you are on a budget, but buy only if you
are 100% sure the part for sale comes from a reliable source. Headers,
intakes, exhaust components are good used buys, you can easily tell if
they are damaged. Heads are a bit harder to buy used cause some damage
might not be apparent to the untrained eye.
Also remember that the SUM of HP gains for each part will not
give you your total HP GAINS. Each part works in conjunction with the
others. Think of the engine as a SYSTEM in which every part you install
increases efficiency in relation to the other parts.
And last, have fun and by all means ASK ASK ASK others about their experiences.