Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsProject Vehicles
1999 Ford F150 Lightning Whipple Supercharged - Whip it, Whip It Good - The Fridge Project Truck
When 10.90s aren't enough from your 4,500-pound F-150, add a Whipple-and hold on!
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The Fridge, our resident '99 Ford F-150 Lightning, has been one of the best project vehicles a magazine staffer could ever wish for. Fashioned in Oxford White, our truck blends into society with sleek styling and the utilitarian appeal only a pickup truck can provide. It hauls all things necessary for magazine work, such as slicks, cameras, ladders, tools, humans, and, of course, parts. Its bed has provided a nice spot to eat pizza during track rental days, too. Since that exciting day when we picked up the SVT beast in Dearborn, it has served us well.
Over time, we've thrown cutting-edge performance parts its way, and most of them performed amazingly well. Who could complain about having 579 hp under your right foot for the daily commute? And 10.90s on slicks aren't bad, either.The Fridge has been in hibernation lately, though. It's not that we don't use it; it just hasn't graced these pages in a while. But the Lightning community is hungry for tech, and we want to keep up with the Joneses, so it's time to shake the cobwebs off our workhorse.
Bigger Is Better
When it comes to building horsepower with the latest Ford powerplants, nothing beats forced induction. These 4.6 and 5.4 engines are relatively small (in displacement) when compared to the competition from GM and Dodge, which sell 6.0L and 6.1L V-8 engines in their performance cars and trucks. Ford's 5.4 equals only 330 cubes, where those guys have small-blocks with up to 427. Compounding the problem for truck owners is the poor aerodynamics and heavy load we must carry, with most street Lightnings weighing 4,600 pounds or more. That's why we traded the stock Eaton huffer for a Magnum Powers unit a couple of years back-but now we want more power and that means more boost.
For this exercise, we looked to Whipple Superchargers, which sells the Whipple/Ford Racing Performance Parts '99-'04 Lightning Supercharger Upgrade kit.
The major improvement comes from the stout 2.3L W140ax (140ci capacity) twin-screw, axial entry (meaning the air inlet is located on the axis of the screws, not on the top or bottom) com-pressor. Whipple says the blower can produce from 8 to 25 psi, which is enough to make over 700 at the wheels on a modified Lightning with a built engine. The screw design is incredibly efficient, which means the unit can make boost without a tremendous rise in inlet air temperature. It's also quieter and features a double-angular front bearing and sealed rear roller bearing for improved reliability.