Posted on November 02, 2016
The Mustang is a great platform for straight line performance, but how exactly do you get that performance? Let's look at the basics, from getting more out of the engine to making sure that power can reach the pavement. These Ford Mustang performance parts can really take your car to the next level.
Air and Oxygen
Your Mustang's engine detonates a mix of fuel and oxygen to create power, so it follows that getting more of those two things inside the engine will mean more power.
A cold air intake draws air from outside the engine compartment. That means it's denser, so more air gets into the engine. It also lets you use a much larger filter than a stock intake. Less pumping losses in a stock engine and less restriction in a built engine.
From there, the air has to pass through the throttle body and intake plenums. The bigger these are, the more air they'll move. However, bigger isn't always better: the air needs to maintain velocity, so a more restrictive intake can actually boost power at low RPM.
Once it reaches the motor, the air goes into the combustion chamber through the head. Switching to a high flow head can greatly improve air volume, while more aggressive cams can keep the valve open longer and wider to give the air more time and space to enter the cylinders. Getting the burnt fuel and air back out more easily with a better flowing exhaust reduces pumping loss and can aid scavenging, drawing even more air into the cylinder.
Air can be pushed into the engine with a supercharger or turbocharger. A supercharger is a large belt-driven pump which delivers power instantly, but requires some power to run. A turbocharger is a pump driven by exiting exhaust gases, eliminating the parasitic loss of a supercharger, but it takes a while to spool up, causing lag and reduced throttle response.
There's also the direct route to adding oxygen: nitrous oxide. A nitrous kit will spray NOx and fuel into the intake for increased power. It can be used as needed, letting the car run normally when not hammering the throttle. However, that also means that power isn't available all the time like a turbo or supercharger.
If you increase the oxygen going to the engine, you need to increase the amount of fuel in proportion. Mild builds can get the right balance by adding an EFI controller. This device either reconfigures the ECU into adding more fuel, or replaces the ECU entirely. Even more fuel means bigger injectors and an in-line fuel pump or bigger in-tank pump to ensure those injectors are supplied. Switching to a fuel tank with increased baffling ensures the pump is always submerged to deliver a steady supply of fuel to the engine.
Changing the gearing of the final drive can increase the mechanical advantage the motor has at the expense of higher engine speeds when cruising the highway. Drag racers may go as high as a 4.10 ratio, but a 3.73 is a good compromise for street cars. A limited slip differential engages both rear wheels at the same time for increased traction and better launches.
The stock transmissions are fine for a stock engine, but when power starts going up, most owners switch to later model gearboxes to handle the extra twist. A stronger clutch can help put the power down, and is all but required on high RPM builds where a stock clutch can stick to the flywheel when the engine is near redline.
Fox bodies have a unibody chassis with subframes coming out of the front and rear of the floorpan. Adding a set of subframe connectors to make a solid frame from front to back can take a lot of the flex out of the car for increased stability.
Upgrading the suspension is useful for all cars, whether they'll be used for drag racing, road racing or just driving on the street. Stronger sway bars and a stiffer rear suspension can keep the axle from twisting under load during launches. Lowering the car moves the center of gravity, keeping the car planted in turns, and harder bushings keep the suspension in position so it works correctly, even under extreme conditions. Even wheels can help, letting you fit lower profile tires that will flex less when making turns.
Putting it All Together
Where do you start? Right here at Anderson Ford Motorsport. We've been building Mustangs since the late '80s, and we offer all the Ford Mustang performance parts you need from suspension components to superchargers. We even design some parts ourselves, like our cams and cold air intakes. We've taken the guesswork out of building and put together parts and kits we know will deliver the performance you want at a price that can't be beat.
All prices are in USD