Like you, we've been eagerly awaiting hot rod parts for the exciting new Coyote 5.0-liter V-8 in the '11 Mustang GT. Just about every speed-parts manufacturer we know is busting long hours over the fenders of a new GT, but one of the first to show us the results are the bolt-on specialists at BBK.
That was expected, as BBK carries a big torch for traditional bolt-'em-on-and-go bits. Electronic tinkering is all good fun, but mainly BBK supports those of us with real-world budgets and a hankering to turn a few wrenches on Saturday. That means BBK concentrates on the hardware and leaves the tuning to specialists, which in turn means the company gets its products to the market a little bit quicker.
For its first set of 5.0 Coyote bolt-ons, BBK has developed short- and long-tube headers, X-shape crossover pipes to match both headers, and a cold-air intake. There are more parts coming, especially a larger throttle body, but they're a little further down the development road, so we'll cover them later.
Frankly, we and BBK didn't expect huge increases from the short-tube headers because the Ford headers are so well designed and constructed, but the long-tubes-those had our horsepower appetites whetted. As for the cold-air kit, we thought there might be a bit there, but we were willing to let the dyno tell us how much.
BBK reports the development of its headers and X-pipes was straightforward. Fitment room in the new 5.0s is about the same or a little better than with the 4.6 and especially the 5.4 Mustangs. Installation follows typical modular practice. The cold-air intake is simple screwdriver (and Allen wrench) work; just remove the stock airbox, swap the mass air meter electronic module to the BBK inlet pipe, and install the BBK parts.
Without having to worry about...
Without having to worry about covering up the spark plugs, BBK's short-tube headers (PN 1632 chrome, $349.99; PN 16320 polished ceramic, $449.99; PN16325 stainless, $499.99) are free to roam along side the Coyote V-8. Like all the exhaust parts tested for this article, these near-production prototypes wear a polished ceramic coating. We expect to BBK to offer these headers chromed as well.
Ford's Coyote headers are...
Ford's Coyote headers are beautifully designed, well-built stainless-steel units. Craftily designed as short-tube Tri-Y designs, the Ford headers follow a different power philosophy than BBK's shortened four-into-one design. There's no way Ford could use the four-into-one layout-if for no other reason, access to the flange hardware would be impossible with bulky production-line tools.
All BBK header flanges are...
All BBK header flanges are stout, 3/8-inch mild steel, plasma cut from sheet. The end bolt hole is slotted on this short-tube unit; it's one of several slotted holes found on all of the headers to aid installation. These beefy flanges should have no trouble lasting the life of the car.
BBK planned for the Coyote headers and X-pipes to go on-sale at the beginning of October, with the cold-air intake following a month later. Pricing was not immediately available, but because construction of these parts follows conventional BBK practice, we expect they'll mimic other BBK header pricing.
The question comes down to which header-short- or long-tube-is the one to get. Obviously the short-tubes have the over-riding benefit of emissions legality. (BBK was working on a CARB Exemption Order at our deadline). Just as obviously the long tubes don't stand a chance of emission compliance because they move the catalytic converters, so they are an off-road part only. Either way, you'll gain power, and the cold-air inlet helps a little more. We'd throw in some custom electronic tuning to get the most from these hardware improvements.
On The Dyno
A ll of the BBK parts made more power, especially the long-tube headers, and as we all know, the stock 5.0 makes a ton of power with no mods whatsoever. To be more specific, the stone-stock 5.0 put out 362 rwhp. That's nominally 150 hp more than the Coyote's pushrod namesake, and more than 100 additional horsepower compared to the previous Three-Valve 4.6 engine.
But before we get any further into the hard numbers from the BBK test, let's recall that as with most chassis dyno testing where the engine management computer is still in complete control, important variables such as ignition timing are changing, mainly in response to rising engine temperatures. Thus, these are relatively casual dyno tests, so look for the general trends and try not to get hung up on a couple of horsepower here and there.
The best way to view BBK's...
The best way to view BBK's short-tube header X-shape crossover (PN 1460, $169.99) is installed on the car, where it's more obvious that the catalytic converters are undisturbed in their stock locations. Like the rest of the stock Ford exhaust, this BBK crossover pipe uses 23/4-inch-diameter tubing along with the stock clamps. It's great-Ford just happened to section the exhaust system into the right segments. Fitting the aftermarket parts is a cinch.
The first of many, the prototype...
The first of many, the prototype long-tube headers (PN 1633 chrome, $549.99; PN16330 polished ceramic, $649.99; PN 16335 stainless, $799.99) BBK made for the 5.0 were built from 0.065-inch wall thickness, 15/8-inch mild steel tubing. Like most off-the-shelf aftermarket headers, they make no real attempt at equal length, but simply isolating the exhaust pulses with suitably long tubes pays handsome tuning dividends.
Because the long-tube headers...
Because the long-tube headers displace the stock catalytic converters, BBK's long-tube X-pipe (PN 1655, $249.99) mounts a pair of high-flow cats as close as possible to the header ball joint. Furthermore, the long-tube X-pipe employs 3-inch-diameter tubing instead of the short-tube version's 23/4-inch pipe.
Furthermore, you must not compare our short-tube header figures directly to the long-tube results because the two were tested differently (see the sidebar Fourth vs. Fifth Gear). The short-tube results were taken from tests run in Fourth gear and thus are lower than the long-tube tests that were run in Fifth gear.