2012 Boss 302 Vortech Supercharger Install - Monster Synergy
Adding a Vortech to a RoadRunner yields impressive results for Lethal Performance
From the December, 2011 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Steve Turner
Photography by Courtesy Of Lethal Performance
It takes a brave bunch to tear into a new Boss 302. Not only is it a premium model, but it carries a bit of history. As such, there are purists that would prefer a Boss remain stock forever. We, of course, prefer to examine its potential. Obviously, the wild bunch at Lethal Performance agrees.
"...There are many that don't like the fact that we took the car down the dragstrip. There are also those that don't understand why we modified it. They believe the Boss should be kept just how it came from the factory and that it's only meant for the twisties," explained Jared Rosen of Lethal Performance. "Our view is slightly different. Even though it's a Boss and has a little more history to it than a regular 5.0 GT, to us, it's a great Mustang platform that begs to be pushed to its limits in all aspects."
Regular readers know the Lethal Boss was already modified on these pages ("Boss Flog," Nov. '11, p. 98). When we last left this Boss, it had rocked the rollers to the tune of nearly 600 hp thanks to a host of bolt-ons and a generous dose of Zex nitrous oxide. With this combination of parts, the '12 Boss 302 covered the quarter-mile in 10.64 seconds, putting this white Boss in the record books as the first one in the 10-second zone.
Of course, when it comes to a Lethal Mustang, the story isn't going to end there. Busting into the 10s was just a start.
Besides garnering attention and logging in some quick times, the premise of any good shop project is to see how various products will impact the performance of a Mustang. While the Boss is certainly a special ride, it is but a more robust version of the more attainable Mustang GT. As such, testing various products gives the Lethal crew up-close-and-personal experience on how to best modify a modern Mustang. After starting with a handful of easy mods, it was time to make a major move.
While Lethal is perhaps best known for building positive-displacement-blown 'Stangs, it seemed a bit like sacrilege to remove the signature Boss intake manifold just to add power. Moreover, the whole make-up of the Boss engineùstrong internals and high rpmùseems tailor-made for a centrifugal supercharger.
"Before we purchased the car, we were thinking of what we could do with it. Our initial thoughts were to keep the Boss manifold in place and do a custom twin-turbo setup," Jared added. "The problem is that it's difficult to offer a system like that in numbers we'd need where everything fits right, so we went with the next best option, which was a large centrifugal."
It seemed like the right time to call one of the oldest names in the centrifugal gameùVortech Superchargers. Of course, at the time, Vortech didn't make a kit for the Boss. Moreover, Lethal didn't want to just install a base kit on its Boss. As such, Lethal dialed up an '11 Mustang supercharger kit with a few notable options. Most importantly, they opted for the biggest supercharger that will fit in the bracketùa Vortech JT-Trim. Additionally, they added the Competition Air Inlet Upgrade and the MaxVolt fuel pump booster.
As you'll read, the combination of the Vortech and the Boss proved formidable. Name a car that you can basically double its horsepower output by adding a supercharger and have it live. Well, the answer is a Boss 302. Of course, the basic Vortech kit is set up to spin via a six-rib belt, which has limited how much boost Lethal can throw at the Boss. Vortech is developing an eight-rib system, so this story isn't over yet...
"It was a great feeling to be the first to step into the 10s," Jared said. "Any time you take a new car like this and are the first to run a good time, it not only draws attention to us, it also shows the community how versatile and powerful the car can be. Take it to the road course, take it to the strip, or just on the street, but take it out and do some workùthe Boss is meant to be flogged!"
"We'd first like to see the car go 9s with the blower and stock suspension," Jared added. "After that, we'll replace the tires that Vaughn Gittin Jr. tore up and get the car ready for the road course. After that, who knows? Someone at Ford did mention something about the '13 GT500 being worth a look..."
For now, check out the captions to see how the install and dyno test went down at Power by the Hour in Boynton Beach, Florida.
Horse Sense: The Lethal Boss made its boosted quarter-mile debut at Darlington Dragway during Mustang Week, and with hot shoe Jeremy Martorella of UPR Products banging the gears, it clicked off a 10.31 at 132.41 mph. "The Boss feels like a purpose-built carùthe suede-grip steering wheel and the tightly wrapped seats gave me the impression that Ford was serious about the Boss. I had heard the engine had stronger internals and beefier valvesprings. Given these advances, Jared told me to rev it up," Jeremy said. "Where the GT falls off, the Boss keeps charging. With the intake and valvespring change, the Boss had no problem revving to 8,000 rpm."
With the blower installation...
With the blower installation complete, it was time to hit the rollers on the Revan/Lund Dynojet, which lives next to Power by the Hour. The bumper cover isn’t on yet, in order to test the car and make sure everything was in order before buttoning it up.
On The Dyno
With a new Vortech on board and a fresh tune from Jon Lund (www.lundracing.com
) in the SCT Xcal 3, it was time to spin the rollers. Obviously we had high hopes for the combination of the JT-Trim and the high-winding RoadRunner. However, even we jaded magazine types were impressed by nearly doubling the 302ci engine's output. It starts coming on in the midrange, but as the tach starts pointing to the shifter, this combo is a monster.
"The horsepower numbers left me speechless with the Vortech install," hot shoe Jeremy Martorella said. "Jared made me take a guess at what it made, I shot high and said 750. I couldn't believe over 800 with a factory engine! The first test session in Darlington, 110 degrees in the shade would prove to be a big damper on the much awaited track times."
Here’s an illustration of...
Here’s an illustration of how much the Vortech added to our previous, naturally aspirated best with a tune, Lethal H-pipe, and JLT cold-air intake. Of course we made nearly 600 rwhp with that combo and 175hp worth of Zex nitrous, but we wanted to compare the gains of supercharging versus and maxed out NA combo. The gains are impressive to say the least.
Power by the Hour tried several different pulley combinations to find the right mix of grip and boost. Moreover, the team at PBTH added a belt idler to the mix and modified the belt tensioner for greater adjustment. These mods allowed the six-rib belt to kick out the jams on the dyno. On the racetrack, however, the belt slips a bit on the top end. At this writing, Vortech is developing an eight-rib conversion kit and Lethal is sourcing an overdrive crank dampener from ATI, so there will be more boost, more power, and quicker e.t.'s in store from this combo.
"To make over 830 rwhp on the stock motor with just the addition of a supercharger kit, some tuning, and an off-road mid-pipe is impressive," Jared raved. "It just shows what a good job Ford did with this car and how easy it is to mod. Once we're done at the dragstrip, we'll be taking it out on the road course for some fun."
|NA Bolt-Ons||Vortech JT-Trim||NA vs. Vortech|
Installing a supercharger...
Installing a supercharger on a new Mustang is not for the faint of heart. Unless you are an experienced wrench with a well-equipped shop, it’s best left to professionals. For this install, Lethal turned to the experienced wrenches—Jesse Guajardo and Harvey Hecko—at Power by the Hour.
To say the Vortech kit is...
To say the Vortech kit is complete is an understatement. The parts list is two full pages, and the instructions are comprehensive. Just take your time and follow the steps, and it will all come together. Don’t try to forge ahead on your own or you might have to re-do some steps.
In addition to removing the...
In addition to removing the front bumper cover, front bumper cushion, cooling fan, and induction, you’ll need to drain the coolant, and remove the coolant reservoir and upper radiator hoses. This not only gives you room to work, but allows you to revamp the routing of the coolant hoses.
You’ll need to lengthen and...
You’ll need to lengthen and reroute the stock coolant reservoir hoses using the hardware supplied in the Vortech kit. With the hoses modified, you can attach them to this new, relocated coolant reservoir tank. GTs don’t feature a factory strut brace, so this tank required a little customization to clear the Boss strut brace.
In order for the fan to clear...
In order for the fan to clear the tubing running from the Vortech to the intercooler and from the intercooler to the throttle body, its shroud must be modified. Both lower corners are trimmed and replaced with metal air dams from Vortech. You’ll also need to relocate the factory fan module on the shroud using the bracket supplied by Vortech.
Some of the Vortech bracket...
Some of the Vortech bracket is pre-assembled, but there is a lot going on with it. Fortunately, there’s a detailed diagram layout for the location of all the bolts, spacers, plates, and belt routing. Here, Harvey test-fits everything before bolting it to the engine.
After relocating some of the...
After relocating some of the factory wiring harnesses and removing three bolts from the timing cover, Harvey bolted the mounting plate to the engine, and set up the bolts and spacer so he could secure them one at a time. You’ll also want to route the belt before you bolt the front plate in place, as installing the belt is a chore with the bracket in place.
After breaking off a wiring...
After breaking off a wiring harness bracket near the PCM for clearance, Harvey fits the Vortech JT-Trim into the bracket. Most Vortech buyers will opt for the street-friendly Si-Trim, but Lethal has big plans for its Boss. For comparison sake, the base kit’s V3 Si-Trim is good for 22 psi and 775 hp at the flywheel, while the V7 JT-Trim will crank out 27 psi and up to 1,000 hp. When it comes to supercharging the Boss, it’s go big or go home.
Shhh, don’t tell anybody,...
Shhh, don’t tell anybody, but Jared Rosen of Lethal Performance occasionally installs some of the parts he sells. Here he chips in by bolting the Vortech Charge Air Cooler (read intercooler) to the Boss’ bumper. It attaches by replacing the four inner bumper support bolts with longer bolts and spacers. The massive 24x13x3.5-inch core is about as big a core as you can fit in the Mustang, and should provide plenty of cooling.
While the bypass valve is...
While the bypass valve is mounted right at the blower discharge, the stock mass air sensor is relocated into a 98mm mass air housing that is placed in-line between the intercooler and throttle body. Just prior to the mass air sensor, the Vortech kit utilizes a honeycomb-patterned flow straightener to tame the air before it is measured by the Copperhead PCM.
Since it was bred to run on...
Since it was bred to run on the road course, the Boss 302 features an oil-to-water oil cooler to keep temps in check during prolonged track sessions. As you can see, the cooler taps into the cooling system right in the path of the Vortech’s discharge tubing. Naturally, this is not even accounted for in the instructions for the Mustang GT.
Fortunately, Jesse at Power...
Fortunately, Jesse at Power by the Hour was able to modify the oil cooler hoses and reverse the integral oil cooler fitting to gain the necessary clearance to retain the cooler. That’s great news because Lethal plans to eventually take the Boss on the road course as well.
Speaking of coolant hoses,...
Speaking of coolant hoses, it’s also necessary to re-route the upper radiator hoses using cuts, clamps, and stainless steel hose unions. This runs the hose under and around where the supercharger is mounted.
With the coolant hoses modified...
With the coolant hoses modified and the supercharger in place, it’s time to start re-assembling things on the top side. Here Jesse reinstalls the factory fan sporting its Vortech clearancing mods.
Here’s an old-school move....
Here’s an old-school move. While Vortech does offer some self-contained head units these days, the big, racy JT-Trim is an oil-fed unit. That means you must tap into the engine’s oil system and into the pan to return the oil to the engine. That means punching a hole in your Boss oil pan and tapping it for an oil-return fitting. Be sure to grease the tap to collect those metal shavings. You’ll also want to change your oil after the procedure to ensure there are no free radicals in your engine.
Whether it’s a Boss or a GT,...
Whether it’s a Boss or a GT, you’ll have to trim the inside of the bumper cover to clear the massive Vortech intercooler core.
Likewise, you have to do a...
Likewise, you have to do a bit of trimming on the belly pan to clear the intercooler inlet and outlet tubing. After marking and trimming the piece, Harvey reinstalls it.
To keep boost out of the PCV...
To keep boost out of the PCV system, it’s necessary to install a one-way check valve in the passenger-side PCV hose. Vortech supplies all the necessary hoses, clamps, and the valve to get the job done.
Making big power moves means...
Making big power moves means you have to have fuel. Currently, fuel system upgrades for ’11-’12 Mustangs are scarce. As such, it is necessary to maximize the stock system with Vortech’s optional MaxVolt Fuel Pump Booster (PN 5A102-029; $329). This programmable, boost-referenced unit can increase fuel pump output by up to 50 percent. Harvey mounted the MaxVolt in the spare tirewell, making it easy to tap into the factory Fuel Pump Driver Module wiring.
The other side of the fuel...
The other side of the fuel equation requires stepping up to larger fuel injectors. Lethal opted for 75-lb/hr high-impedance injectors (PN LP-SD75EV6; $699.95), as they offer the best combination of flow and driveability.
When you are trying to make...
When you are trying to make big steam, as KJ would say, you don’t cut any corners. The Lethal Boss’ JT-Trim wasn’t going to draw air through the stock airbox. To feed the beast, Harvey installed the optional Vortech Competition Air Inlet Upgrade (PN 4FQ112-060; $290.95), which includes a new airbox and a larger conical filter. Vortech says it should be good for up to a pound of boost from the reduced restriction.
Shortly after Power by the...
Shortly after Power by the Hour completed the install on Lethal’s Boss Vortech released the Boss 302 Intake Manifold Adapter Kit (PN 4FQ117-051; $62.95), which accounts for the slightly different angle of the Boss manifold’s throttle body location. The kit includes a throttle body spacer, an ETC extension harness, a new PCV hose end, and the needed hardware. However, at the time of our install, Lethal was hot to hit the track, so Harvey simply modified the hood and hood blanket for the needed clearance.
Here’s the completed Vortech...
Here’s the completed Vortech installation. With the Boss’ 8,000-rpm capability and the straight-cut gears in the JT-Trim the Lethal Boss sounds like a jet engine at WOT. It runs that way too.
Not directly related to the...
Not directly related to the blower install, Lethal also opted to install a new driveshaft from The Driveshaft Shop. This unit is designed for ’11-’12 V-8 Mustangs (PN FDSH23-A-CV1; $749.99) features a one-piece, aluminum constant-velocity joint, and is rated for up to 900 hp. Given the track-testing the Lethal Boss is destined for, this driveshaft was a wise preventative measure.
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We’ve been on quite a run following the antics of Lethal Performance as they’ve torn into brand-new Mustang GTs and Shelby GT500s. It’s been great watching them fearlessly go where few dare to tread, and the results have been nothing short of staggering.