OK, we admit the sound of a 4.6 or 5.0 Ford engine running at high rpm turns our heads faster than a girl wearing short-shorts and a tank top (well, maybe not, but you get the point). But let's face it. With gas prices skyrocketing each day, having the cash available two or three times a week to tank up your Mustang with the romper engine is becoming harder to do. Heck, it costs about $60-$70 to fill up our Lightning with premium. So, while most of us cringe at ditching the powerful V-8 for something a little less powerful, yet more economical, there is hope-the V-6 powerplant.
The GT models have been the ticket toquick times and fast speeds, but V-6-equipped Mustangs are just a bit better in terms of sales numbers, especially in the case of the new S197 cars. The 3.8 and 4.0 V-6s are mighty little motors that can be tuned up just like their big brothers, the 4.6 or 5.0. Imagine having a Mustang that makes great power, knocks down well over 20 mpg, and costs less to insure? Less can mean more in the case of the V-6. With that in mind, we did a little digging to uncover some of the hottest parts for those with the buzzin' half-dozen.
Bamachips Offers Mustang enthusiasts with all powerplants ways to tweak the factory ECM for more power and economy. For a small amount of coin, you can call BamaChips and have them come up with a custom tune for your car that they will e-mail or ship to you.
Of interest to us, however, are the multiprogram chip and the De Molet air intake kit with X-2 tuner. The multiprogram chip is a Superchips product sold by BamaChips. It features three individual tunes for your Mustang. The tunes recommended with the multiprogram chips are the 87-octane performance tune, the 91-93 octane performance tune, and the 91-93 octane torque tune. The multprogram chips can hold up to four tunes, and retail for $289.
The De Molet air intake kit is a complete cold-air intake kit that will bolt right up to your V-6 powerplant. Included with the kit is an X-2 tuner with a tune that will get the most out of the cold-air kit. The kit looks great with a carbon-fiber finish, but you can have the kit finished in other colors as well. Black is free, but matching the kit to your Mustang's paint will cost an extra 40 beans on top of the $599 retail cost.
Known mostly for its newer '05-and-up Mustang parts, Blow-By has a host of items for the V-6 crowd. First on the list are its Spec clutch kits and flywheels for the '99-'04 Mustangs. The clutch kits range from Spec's Stage 1 all the way to the Stage 5. In addition, the company offers both Spec's aluminum and steel flywheels. Check out the Web site or call for pricing.
To help evacuate the exhaust gasses, Blow-By offers MAC headers and a JBA dual-exhaust kit for '05-and-up cars. Priced at $299, the MAC headers are a direct replacement, ceramic coated for looks, and sized at 151/48 inches for power. The JBA exhaust is a true dual-exhaust system complete with mufflers and a Y-pipe to improve not only power, but sound and looks as well. It prices out at $629.50.
C&L offers a sweet cold-air intake kit for '05-and-newer Mustangs. The Trueflow Air Intake system comes complete with a cone air filter, a slick-looking inlet tube, and all of the necessary equipment to hook it up. With one of its cold-air kits installed, C&L expects you to pick up around 16 hp. Of note is how the kit is sold. You can either purchase it alone for $299 or with a Predator tuner for $649.
The same Predator tuner offered in the C&L Trueflow Air Intake system can also be purchased separately from DiabloSport. It comes with a program ready to be flashed onto the ECM of your Mustang. The provided tune optimizes spark timing, air/fuel ratio curves, and automatic transmission shift points and firmness. It is available for V-6 cars of all years. Call DiabloSport for pricing.
Going fast is awesome, but being able to haul down the ponies afterwards is just as cool. Thanks to Hawk Performance, the stopping part is a bit easier with its ceramic-coated front brake pads. The pads fit '99-'04 Mustangs, and are at home on both the street and on the track. Even though those in the Mustang community go after the GM guys all the time, it can't hurt to tell you these are the same pads used in the C5 Corvettes. Retailing for $79.99, the pads are a simple and cheap way to improve the stopping power of your boulevard bruiser.
JLT Performance offers a cold-air induction system for the '05-and-up V-6-equipped Mustang. Based off the company's GT system, the induction kit consists of a CNC'd billet MAF housing and an SCT tune that will improve the power output of the 4.0 six-banger by 10-14 hp. Looks are not forgotten, as the kit can be color-matched to your Stang's exterior. The standard kit costs $555, with the color-matched kit coming in at $570.
Mustang Tuning has a ton of speed parts for the V-6 cars, but there were two items that caught our attention. First is its cold-air kit, which includes a high-flow air filter, a MAF adapter, and all the accessories needed to install it on your Mustang in no time flat. The kit fits all '99-'03 3.8L Stangs, and will set you back $74.99. Next up is the Superchips XCalibrator 2 Tuner. This is the advanced version of the SCT XCalibrator, and has more tools than the original. The tuner can be programmed to work with an OBD-II Mustang from 1996 to 2005-and-up, and allows you to play with the tune of your car for maximum performance. The tuner retails for $379.99.
Mustang Racing Technologies
Mustang Racing Technologies (MRT) showcased the possibilities of V-6 performance with its blown, V-6-equipped '05 drop-top Mustang. Since then, MRT has developed many different types of go-fast goodies for the six-cylinder group. Its cold-air kit is a direct bolt-in and features a redesigned air intake tube for better flow and less turbulence. The kit also features a new mass airflow sensor housing, a high-flow K&N filter, and a plenum dressed in carbon fiber. It retails for $318.95, but tack on an extra $38 for the K&N filter. Getting air in to make power is important, but getting it out quickly is also key. To that end, MRT has the V-6 cars covered with the AeroTurbine axle-back exhaust system. The system is made of lightweight stainless steel and comes with 311/42-inch chrome exhaust tips welded on. It will make your little six-banger sound mean while freeing up some ponies. The exhaust system is priced at $225.
Blowers aRE cool, no doubt about it. With the debut of the new S197 and now the new Shelby GT500, Paxton has developed a blower system in conjunction with Shelby Automobiles for the '06 V-6 Mustang. The kit features a Paxton NOVI-1200 centrifugal huffer and air/water intercooler that will pump up the Shelby-modified six-banger's horsepower to 350. Call for details and pricing.
Performance Distributors' new Screamin' Demon ignition coil will put some spark into your six-cylinder's life. The coil is a high-performance piece for '94-'00 Mustangs with the 3.8L, and has shown a drop in elapsed time around three tenths of a second. The coil is an easy install, vibration resistant, and a cheap ugrade as it will empty your wallet to the tune of only $89.
Owners of '94-'03 and '05-and-up Mustangs have the ability to bolt on horsepower quite easily with a blower kit from ProCharger. The systems are intercooled for maximum efficiency and horsepower gains, and with its SC design, there's no need to tap the oil pan and run lines for lubricant to make its way to the blower. While the '05-and-newer kit comes with a two-core intercooler, the '94-'03 crowd has a choice between a two- or three-core unit. The kits are also available with a tuner. Call ProCharger for pricing.
Since we're on the subject of ignition components, don't forget to get hold of Racer Walsh and have a set of its '99-'00 3.8L MSD Super Conductor wires shipped to your door. The MSD wires sold by Racer Walsh have a 40- to 50-ohm resistance, which means more spark is carried to the plugs and not wasted. At a price of $69, the wires come in a few colors, so specify the one you want and whether you want the universal or custom fit set. For safety purposes, you might want to grab Racer Walsh's driveshaft safety loop. The loop is designed to fit 311/42-inch-diameter driveshafts, and will be one less item the tech inspector at the local dragstrip might hassle you over. It costs $39.
Real Speed Automotive
Real Speed Automotive offers many different items for the V-6 Mustang, including engine parts and driveline pieces. To make shifting your manual-transmission six-cylinder easier, you can order the Tri-Ax shifter made by Steeda from Real Speed. Priced at $169.95, the shifter eases high-rpm powershifts in '94-'04 Stangs by making the throws shorter and more fluid. After you get done ordering your new stick, you can also pick up the BBK x pipe system for your '96-'04 Pony. Made from mandrel-bent aluminum, the system has realized gains of 12-20 hp on the chassis dyno, plus it gives your car a muscular tone. Make sure when you spend the $174.95 for the x pipe system, you specify that you are ordering the street version, as the race version comes minus the high-flow catalytic converters.
Making sure you use all of the power your V-6 creates is the difference between low e.t. and just sitting at the starting line smoking the rear hides into oblivion. Thanks to Steeda, making that power usable couldn't be easier. For $239.95, you can stiffen up your S197's chassis by ordering the company's three-point framerail and torque box brace. Made from 4130 chromoly, the brace ties together the inner and outer framerails, along with the lower control arms, to tighten up the '05-and-newer Mustang's chassis. After tightening up the chassis of your SN-95 car with the appropriate pieces, you need to transfer the weight to the proper spot, so pick up a set of Steeda's Super-Lite Sport springs. The springs will lower your '99-'04 anywhere from 111/48 to 131/48 inches. For $249.95, the springs offer a lower center of gravity, which in turn will give you improved balance and control without a harsh ride. Finally, upgrade the brakes on your '05-and-newer V-6 car with Steeda's front brake kit. The kit features 14-inch, two-piece rotors with floating aluminum hats, mounting brackets, brake pads, and all necessary hardware. It's even compatible with the factory ABS. The kit will set you back $2,395.
Super Six Motorsports
Super Six Motorsports' new 4.0 V-6 cylinder heads are ported, feature larger stainless steel valves and higher-lift valvesprings, and are available in Stage 2, Stage 2+, or Stage 3 versions. They work great with Super Six's reduced base circle cams, forged pistons, billet-aluminum rods, head studs, or a complete short-block. Call Super Six for pricing.
V6 Mustang Stuff
V6 Mustang Stuff offers, obviously, V-6 parts for Mustangs of all years. After taking a trip through its Web site, we found some cool items. First up is the UPR Pro Series adjustable street lower control arms for '79-'04 Mustangs. The control arms allow you to fine-tune your front suspension for the best possible handling characteristics and are a great upgrade for the $176.99 it costs for the pair. For a bit of underhood flare, check out the UPR black fuse cover. Emblazoned with the "V6" logo, the cover looks awesome and lets everyone know you went with something a bit different in the engine department. Finally, V6 Mustang Stuff offers the ASP underdrive pulley for the new S197 4.0 V-6. The pulley will free up to 12 hp and 16 lb-ft of torque for $279.99. Of note, however, is that the pulley requires you to run a Gates K060860 or equivalent belt.
When you hear the name Vortech, you immediately conjure up an image of a whistling centrifugal blower that, hooked up to your V-6, will fry your rear tires at the touch of the throttle. Vortech has a blower kit for almost every application, including the '94-'98 3.8 V-6. The kit will add up to 65 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque while adding that ever-cool whistle. The company has also just released a high-output blower kit for the 4.0 V-6 found in the '05-and-newer Mustangs that will jack up the horsepower rating from the factory 210 to a whopping 330. That's pushing V-8 power territory! Featuring the V-2 SQ S-Trim blower, the kit includes everything needed for installation, and in the case of the '94-'98 kit, retails for $3,406.95.