Horse Sense: The '10 Mustang really does put out sweet power straight from Ford. As a comparison, our vintage, lightly modified '91 5.0 hatchback that we drove to the GTR dyno tests makes less power at its peak than Noel's stock '10 GT does at 3,800 rpm. If we could only get several hundred pounds off of the new cars, we'd have crazy performance and fuel mileage, too.
Mustangs and bolt-ons are such a natural fit.
Remember when a box full of bolt-ons was worth 45 hp? Not any more. Thanks to excellent-from-Ford cars such as the '10 Mustang GT, we live in the twilight of bolt-on glory, a transitional age when a few select parts struggle for modest gains or high-dollar superchargers blast out triple-digit thunder. In this feast-or-famine world, the current Mustang GT stands as perhaps the last of the bolt-on cars.
Good as it is from Ford-and it is great-a few modestly priced, easy-to-install parts still make it fun to fiddle with a new Mustang. We're taking a few of those bolt-on power makers to the chassis dyno to see what they're worth. Our partner in this test was GTR, the Southern California speed shop, bolt-on center, and mail-order player. Owners Ricardo and Gonzolo Topete are pure Mustang specialists-we counted some 15-odd Mustangs in the shop during our visit-and are right in the thick of the bolt-on (and better) Mustang scene.
Looking sharp in stainless steel, Steeda's muffler kit surprised us with a useful 5hp gain
Ricardo Topete holds court in the GTR service bays, using his above-ground Dynojet to tune and verify Mustangs on a daily basis. He was kind enough to round-up the Steeda mufflers, underdrive pulleys, and C&L cold air kit we're looking at here. He also did all the leg work with '10 Mustang GT owner Noel Donato, who gets special thanks for bringing his car in to GTR for us.
So how much is a box full of bolt-ons worth these days? When Ricardo first strapped Noel's '10 GT to the rollers, it peaked at 279 hp at 5,400 rpm and 299 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. After installation of all three pieces, the new grand total was 298 hp at 6,000 rpm and 309 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. That's 19 hp and 10 lb-ft of torque to the better. Not a 45hp gain, but a solid improvement over stock, and a boost in sonic personality from the mufflers and intake.
At $199, these were the least expensive bolt-on in our examination, and their 8hp gain pro
C&L's molded plastic intake picks up minimal engine heat in the bargain. With the Predator
Muffler installation on the '10 is just like the '09 and earlier S197 cars-easy. The muffl
Like all S197 mufflers, the Steeda parts required juggling and nudging to fit just right.
Accessing the harmonic damper for the pulley change means moving a few things around the r
Remove just a couple of bolts, and the fan electrical connection and the cooling fan lifts
There is a stud-bolt at 1 o'clock on the alternator ear that needs to be changed to a conv
With no bolt holes in its face, the S197 harmonic damper requires a puller that grasps aro
Following Steeda's directions, Ricardo uses antiseize on the harmonic damper's bore to aid
Completely new for 2010, the Mustang GT airbox is similar to the previous designs but diff
Flip the stock '10 airbox lid upside down and Ford's attention to detail is clearly visibl
Similarly, antiseize on the washer under the harmonic-damper bolt avoids galling and reduc
Besides the main airbox, the stock intake system uses a short snorkel. It takes a bit of f
As always, the C&L mass air housing reuses the stock Ford electronics. Swapping the meter
C&L's cold-air intake supports the Induction Sound Tube. Hooking the IST up is a quick scr
Tuning with the Diablo Predator is quick and intuitive. Downloading pre-packaged tunes fro
Shown here on the dyno with a few extra wires hooked up, our bolt-on '10 is looking sharp.
On The Dyno
Dyno testing was done by GTR on its in-house Dynojet chassis dynometer. An SAE correction factor was used, and the weather was 84 degrees and dry.