Transforming a 5-liter powered pony into a stallion

Back in the day, 5.0 Mustangs ruled the streets. Eventually, Ford ditched the 5.0L pushrod motor in favor of the 4.6L motor, which carried on Mustang’s proud heritage admirably. Ford tweaked the 4.6L to near perfection over 14 years of faithful service in the Mustang, but ultimately came to the conclusion that bigger was better.

2011 marks the return of the 5.0L engine for the Mustang. Instead of old-school power, the new 5.0 relies on modern technology to produce an outstanding 412 horsepower at the crankshaft. (For comparison, the storied 5.0 of yesteryear only pushed out 225 horsepower at the crank.) So with such a gem of a motor, how can we improve it? Simple: add more power … lots of power!

We have learned that Mustangs and superchargers go together like peanut butter and jelly; a perfect match. The new 2011 Mustang would be no different. We gathered key players in the Mustang world to join forces to see how the 2011 5.0 Mustang would react when outfitted with a supercharger. The results absolutely amazed us. By now, most of you have already jumped ahead to the dyno graph. Those readers that haven’t, thanks for reading!

We got word that OutPerformance Shop (Grand Prairie, Texas) had shipped their 2011 Mustang to GTR High Performance (Rancho Cucamonga, California) to install a Procharger intercooled supercharger system. GTR, being an authorized Procharger distributor and installation center, was the clear choice as they are well-versed in Mustangs. Step one was to baseline the ’Stang on GTR’s Dynojet, which revealed 375 rear wheel horsepower and 363 lbs-ft of rear wheel torque. Impressive, considering that the ’90’s iconic 5.0 Mustangs would put down a paltry (in comparison) 185 rwhp. That’s more than twice the output from the same displacement!

For the uninitiated, a supercharger is essentially an air compressor. The supercharger draws in air, compresses it and forces it into the motor to artificially increase atmospheric conditions. Put simply, it crams air down the engine’s throat. Adding more air means you can add more fuel as well. The additional amounts of air and fuel consumed by the engine will produce gains in power and torque. Unfortunately there is a side effect of compressing air – heat. Basic physics tells us that when air is compressed, heat is created, which reduces power output in an engine, hence, the need for an intercooler. Procharger has addressed these concerns by creating a well-engineered and highly-effective intercooled supercharger system for the 2011 Mustang.

Procharger’s system (part number 1FR214-SCI) centers on the proven P-1SC supercharger. Delivering a moderate 7 psi boost while coupled to a massive three-core intercooler ensures the lowest air temperatures to provide maximum power and safety. Procharger includes everything necessary for installation: larger capacity fuel injectors, SCT computer tuner, brackets, pulleys, belt, bypass valve, air filter, etc. The price of admission for this system is around $5,600, not chump-change by any means, but as the saying goes, “you have to pay to play”.

Procharger’s system is intended for the advanced do-it-yourselfer and requires an assortment of tools and some patience. The skilled crew at GTR handled the wrench-turning, but warns to be realistic about your mechanical abilities before attempting this job. An experienced professional can cover this in a day and a half, while the backyard mechanic should allow several days. When the wrenches stopped spinning, GTR strapped the Mustang back onto the dyno.

Procharger advertises a 165hp gain, which seemed a bit optimistic. To our astonishment, our tester gained more horsepower than expected! Our new max output was a staggering 553 rwhp and 450 rwtq with a follow-up run yielding 537 rwhp and 436 rwtq (down a bit due to some heat soak). Peak gains of 178 rwhp and 87 rwtq were achieved. A closer inspection of the dyno data reveals that the overall largest gain was 186 rwhp and 144 rwtq respectively at 6,800 rpm. In stock form, the peak horsepower came in at 6,400 rpm and peak torque was achieved at 4,300 rpm. Our Procharger-equipped, peak horsepower was now at 6,800 rpm, while peak torque was a lofty 5,200 rpm. Further scrutiny shows no loss of power or torque anywhere in the entire rpm range with the Procharger system. From the instant the hammer is dropped, to the moment mercy is shown at the SCT-tuner dictated 6,800 rpm rev limiter, more power and torque is available.

How does it drive? As expected, the Mustang pulled like a freight train with no perceptible drop-off in power due to heat-soak even after repeated runs on the street. Perhaps more impressive than the ’Stang’s grunt was its civilized street manners; silky-smooth idle under normal driving conditions, but an angry beast when called upon. The 5.0 Mustang is back and badder than ever! Kudos to Procharger, GTR and OutPerformance for building one of the meanest, yet friendliest Mustangs we have driven in a long time.