A few ?'s from a noob re: worthwhile mods...

BudgetPlan1

New Member
Apr 28, 2008
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NE Ohio
Ok, more than a few...I'm just trying to avoid my general proclivity to doing the wrong thing first; usually the *expensive* wrong thing. :(

Just picked up a new 2008 Mustang GT 5-speed and after surfing around for a bit, like I need some insight to avoid past mistakes.

As far as background, my current experience w/ computer controlled cars is with our 2004 Corvette. We’ve done the long tube headers, cold air intake thing and when it came time for PCM recalibration, we went with a full dyno tune on a load bearing Mustang dyno. This was done w/ HP Tuners and involved re-mapping fuel and timing tables, torque management reductions, cooling fan adjustments, etc., the ‘full deal.’ I don’t pretend to know the intricacies of this process but I mention it here as, from what I’ve read, tuning the 05+ Mustang platforms seems mostly done by handheld tuners (SCT, Diablo, etc.) which, in the Corvette world, are viewed as less than optimal when compared with custom dyno tuning.

With that in mind, I’m probably gonna limit the Mustang mods (yeah, I know…I say this now) to:

Definitely (also known as “immediately”):
1. C & L Intake w/ some kinda tune
2. Bassani aft-cat exhaust (#46075, already installed; stock exhaust lasted a whole 300 miles)

Possibly (also known as “don’t know if it’s worth it”):
1. Under drive pulleys
2. Bassani Power-X Crossover w/ hi-flo cats

Very remote possibility (also known as “don’t know if it’s worth it ‘cuz this stuff is getting expensive”):
1. American Racing LT headers w/ hi-flo cats.

I have some questions re: the above items I was hoping you could provide some insight on.

1. C & L Intake w/ some kinda tune
* Are people shipping the SCT X-Cal 3 w/ CAI packages? It seems to have some good added features over the previous version, most important to me is enhanced logging and more memory. We use EFI Live to do data logging on the Vette and I really find that ability useful.

* Is a ‘handheld’ tune sufficient for these limited mods, even if I end up doing the pulleys and Power-X crossover sooner rather than later? Or, would it be worthwhile to actually go to a shop and have a true dyno tune done? Is there even software to tune this platform to the extent that they can in the HP Tuners/EFI-Live type environments for other platforms (i.e. LS-series GM platforms? I would, however, enjoy the ability the handheld would provide to re-load stock tune, do data logging

2. Under drive pulleys
* Are pulleys worth doing, do they really add enough power/throttle response to justify expense (albeit they are not that pricey)? Or are they just one of those generally accepted ‘things’ done to this platform that are dubious w/ regard to actual results (trust me, they are enough of these types of things filling Corvette catalogs that one must remain suspicious).

* Additionally, are there any disadvantages/downsides to changing the rate at which the accessories are driven (longevity, reliability, etc.)

3. Bassani Power-X Crossover w/ hi-flo cats:
* Obviously the cats will flow better, but I’m guessing it doesn’t free up that much power. Is this a worthwhile addition for anything other than sound considerations?

4. American Racing LT headers w/ hi-flo cats:
* Are LT headers a worthwhile addition on this platform. The 32” primary headers w/ merge collectors (LG Motorsports Pros) really woke up the Vette, not so much in peak HP but rather in the more usable and entertaining torque characteristics ‘under the curve’. I’ve read varying opinions on whether or not LT headers are a decent cost vs. performance proposition on the 4.6 3V.

Sorry for the long, rambling message; just trying to avoid some of the expensive mistakes I made w/ the Corvette (i.e. it took me 3 filters/CAI strategies to get the right one and if I had to do it again I’d go with American Racing headers as opposed to the LG Pro’s).

In the end, I’m just looking for a fun, responsive Mustang GT that I’ll take down the 1/4 mile every once in a while, durable and reliable without risking too much w/ regards to killing the warranty. I’m guessing the whole 1/4 performance issue will end up being a question of traction anyway so "ultimate" power isn’t my primary goal, daily entertainment is.

Lemme know what you think…thanks.
 
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highvolts

Member
Sep 1, 2003
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1. C & L Intake w/ some kinda tune
* Are people shipping the SCT X-Cal 3 w/ CAI packages? It seems to have some good added features over the previous version, most important to me is enhanced logging and more memory. We use EFI Live to do data logging on the Vette and I really find that ability useful.

Yes, I just received the X-CAL 3 with my C&L Street system from Brenspeed. Its not on his site yet. However, when I started talking to him about purchasing a tune, one of my questsions was X-Cal 3 vs X-Cal 2 and he came back with they are basically the same but the X-Cal3 has some nice data logging features and the within two weeks (this as about a week ago) the X-Cal 3 would be all he would carry.

Just my thoughts.

-Jason
 

DarkFireGT

Playing with my wife's really makes me want one.
10 Year Member
May 23, 2004
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Davenport, IA
With that in mind, I’m probably gonna limit the Mustang mods (yeah, I know…I say this now) to:

Definitely (also known as “immediately”):
1. C & L Intake w/ some kinda tune
2. Bassani aft-cat exhaust (#46075, already installed; stock exhaust lasted a whole 300 miles)

Possibly (also known as “don’t know if it’s worth it”):
1. Under drive pulleys
2. Bassani Power-X Crossover w/ hi-flo cats

Very remote possibility (also known as “don’t know if it’s worth it ‘cuz this stuff is getting expensive”):
1. American Racing LT headers w/ hi-flo cats.

I have some questions re: the above items I was hoping you could provide some insight on.

1. C & L Intake w/ some kinda tune
* Are people shipping the SCT X-Cal 3 w/ CAI packages? It seems to have some good added features over the previous version, most important to me is enhanced logging and more memory. We use EFI Live to do data logging on the Vette and I really find that ability useful.
With tuners for these cars, there are 2 undisputed champions of tuning. There are others out there that are good, also. But most people go with Brenspeed or Bamachips. Brenspeed is still getting rid of their stock of the XCal2. Bamachips is shipping the XCal3. If you're wanting an X3, then go with Bamachips. He's a little slower at answering emails and such, since he's a one man show, but he's good.

* Is a ‘handheld’ tune sufficient for these limited mods, even if I end up doing the pulleys and Power-X crossover sooner rather than later? Or, would it be worthwhile to actually go to a shop and have a true dyno tune done? Is there even software to tune this platform to the extent that they can in the HP Tuners/EFI-Live type environments for other platforms (i.e. LS-series GM platforms? I would, however, enjoy the ability the handheld would provide to re-load stock tune, do data logging
Pretty much everyone tunes these with a hand-held tuner. Whether you just have bolt-ons, or you're fully blown. Again, Brenspeed and Bamachips' tunes are great. They're all based off dynoing, so the tunes are spot-on. Most of the time, you'll gain little, if anything, off a dyno tune over theirs. Because of how good they are, the only time you need a dyno tune is for a blower/turbo/100+shot.

2. Under drive pulleys
* Are pulleys worth doing, do they really add enough power/throttle response to justify expense (albeit they are not that pricey)? Or are they just one of those generally accepted ‘things’ done to this platform that are dubious w/ regard to actual results (trust me, they are enough of these types of things filling Corvette catalogs that one must remain suspicious).
Almost everyone who has installed UDP's feels the difference. The Steeda pullies are generally revered as the best around. Brenspeed sells them for $199. They do give results.


* Additionally, are there any disadvantages/downsides to changing the rate at which the accessories are driven (longevity, reliability, etc.)
Nope. I haven't heard of anyone having trouble with the UDP's on these cars.

3. Bassani Power-X Crossover w/ hi-flo cats:
* Obviously the cats will flow better, but I’m guessing it doesn’t free up that much power. Is this a worthwhile addition for anything other than sound considerations?
Mostly sound. Unlike previous generations, the S197 only has 2 cats, and they flow pretty well. By going with high-flow cats, you will increase the sound, and the X pipe will change the tone. But you won't see much of an increase in performance. The increase that you will see will come from the X pipe, not the upgraded cats. X's flow a bit better, but H's are deeper.

4. American Racing LT headers w/ hi-flo cats:
* Are LT headers a worthwhile addition on this platform. The 32” primary headers w/ merge collectors (LG Motorsports Pros) really woke up the Vette, not so much in peak HP but rather in the more usable and entertaining torque characteristics ‘under the curve’. I’ve read varying opinions on whether or not LT headers are a decent cost vs. performance proposition on the 4.6 3V.
Most LT's are still quite expensive for these cars. They sound fantastic, and there is 15-30HP in them, depending one which ones you choose. There is definitely an increase in torque, as well.

Sorry for the long, rambling message; just trying to avoid some of the expensive mistakes I made w/ the Corvette (i.e. it took me 3 filters/CAI strategies to get the right one and if I had to do it again I’d go with American Racing headers as opposed to the LG Pro’s).

In the end, I’m just looking for a fun, responsive Mustang GT that I’ll take down the 1/4 mile every once in a while, durable and reliable without risking too much w/ regards to killing the warranty. I’m guessing the whole 1/4 performance issue will end up being a question of traction anyway so "ultimate" power isn’t my primary goal, daily entertainment is.

Lemme know what you think…thanks.
 

gashog

Member
Dec 26, 2006
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Fresno, CA
Your list looks good, I am staying away from the pulleys though because i've heard mixed reviews. I'm sure they are good for a few, but not enough for me.

One thing I see missing is gears. I'm planning on doing my suspension (LCAs, UCA, PHB, Springs/dampeners) first, then i'll probably throw some 4.10s under there and call it good.
 

BudgetPlan1

New Member
Apr 28, 2008
38
0
0
NE Ohio
Thanks for the responses, I kinda got the impression it was bamachips and brenspeed for the top tuners around.

I'm staying away from gears for now, only 'bolt ons', not 'bolt-ins'