Project EcoBoost:</br> More Power & More Noise
Before The New Car Smell Wears Off

Despite the fact that I’ve made a career of immersing myself in the culture that surrounds heavily modified vehicles, I have to admit I’m still a bit apprehensive about the concept of taking a brand new car and immediately hopping on the modification train. I can’t be the only one who thinks this way, right? Don’t people buy new cars so they don’t have to replace parts? Yes. A normal, sensible person thinks that way. But we are gearheads and we operate a bit differently.

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Whether it’s an antique machine or something that just rolled off the showroom floor, we think about what we want to do to our cars as much as the cars themselves. It’s what makes us more than just simple consumers – and it was actually future aftermarket potential which in many ways attracted me to the EcoBoost Mustang in the first place.

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Not only was I excited to see how the aftermarket would embrace the new 2015 Mustang platform and its turbo engine, I was also excited at the idea of sharing my findings with you guys. It’s been a little over a month since I acquired the car, and I’m happy to say that the upgrades have been coming even quicker than I originally imagined. There’s a lot to share in this update, so let’s backtrack a few weeks and start from the beginning.

Ecoboost-Project-01

When I was younger, I remember thinking ‘tunes’ or ‘chips’ on otherwise stock cars were kind of bogus. It was the kind of thing people would sell on Ebay claiming that you could instantly pick up 20 horsepower and a ton of fuel economy that was somehow hidden in your Civic’s SOHC motor. It was like snake oil for car guys, but things are different now. Today’s engines – particularly turbocharged ones – actually leave quite a bit on the table in order to be accessible, hit fuel economy and emissions targets, and to play nice with low octane fuel. It’s amazing what can be done with a simple re-map, and that’s why the first upgrade I planned for the Mustang was a COBB Accessport V3 tuner.

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COBB has made quite a name for itself with its applications for turbo cars like the WRX, Evo and GT-R. Ford’s line of EcoBoost vehicles was a natural place for the brand to go next. Not only would adding one of Cobb’s off-the-shelf 91-octane (damn you California) tunes make for a nice initial bump in power and torque, the Accessport will be a crucial part in optimizing the car for any future upgrades that may be done.

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Installation was easy. You plug it into your computer to make sure everything is updated, then you plug it into your car’s OBD port and wait for it to install the map. Simple as that. It took around 10 or 15 minutes in total, and with just the basic 91-octane tune, the increase in torque was immediately noticeable, and the car overall had a much more lively feeling. You can even change maps on the fly should you want to switch to fuel economy mode or another one of the preloaded configurations. It’s quite impressive.

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But there wasn’t a whole lot of time to enjoy the new tune, because another box had just shown up. This one was much larger and contained a complete cat-back exhaust system from the folks at Ford Racing Performance Parts. I couldn’t wait to get it on the car.

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The Touring model exhaust is actually made for Ford Racing by Borla, and while I wasn’t expecting a massive power bump from simple street-oriented cat-back, I was very excited to hear how it would sound. With simple jackstands it took my dad and I just over an hour to remove the factory system and fit the replacement.

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Compared to the stock exhaust system (pictured above) the Ford Racing exhaust deletes the resonator box behind the down pipe and replaces the large factory mufflers with high-flow units finished with larger tips.

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Aside from any horsepower increases and the change in exhaust note, the exhaust also sheds about 20lbs of weight when compared the factory system. Shaving pounds is never a bad thing.

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Exhaust note has been one of the primary points of discussion when it comes to the EcoBoost Mustang, and my feeling is that the Ford Racing cat-back did a fine job of adding some life to the car. The sound is noticeable, but it’s not at all obtrusive under normal cruising – perfect for a daily driver in other words. While the noise this car makes will never be the same as a V8, the new note is much deeper and more refined than what you might imagine from a four cylinder. I’ve got some video clips so you can draw your own opinions, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

The Dyno Is My Friend
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A few days after fitting the exhaust system, I found myself taking a road trip. My destination was FFTec Motorsports in the San Francisco Bay Area – a shop which has become known for building some of the fastest turbocharged street and race cars in Northern California. I was greeted by Anthony, Sean and the rest of the team who quickly got to work doing their thing.

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Up until this point, FFTec has focused primary on imported cars like Porsches, BMWs, Evos and GT-Rs, and I’ll have more on the shop and its projects later. For now, I want to focus on FFTec’s recent venture into the EcoBoost world. Last fall they picked up a ’15 Mustang knowing they could use their experience with high horsepower turbo cars to start developing a line of upgrades for the EcoBoost. The plan for the day was to fit my car with one of their recently-released EcoPro intercooler kits, as well one of their cold air intake systems. Just as importantly, we’d strap the car onto their dyno for a custom tune to make the most of all the upgrades made so far.

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First off we put my car on the dyno to see exactly what kind of numbers it was making in its current form. If you go back to my last project update, you’ll remember that I took the car to a local Mustang dyno when it was bone stock and it put down 263 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels.

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Now keep in mind that this is a different dyno on a different day, but with just the COBB Stage 1 tune and cat-back, the car threw down 267 horsepower – and more importantly 337 pound-feet of torque – at its peak. That’s a serious jump in torque with just an ECU flash and exhaust, and our day was just beginning.

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Next up the, factory airbox was removed so that FFTec’s new intake could go in its place. Like the exhaust, this upgrade had another benefit besides improved power and sound – it deletes the large, heavy factory airbox assembly saving a few pounds and freeing up even more space under the hood.

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The FFTec intake has a straightforward design that uses a K&N cone filter which grabs air from just beneath the driver side headlight. It’s also finished in stealthy black, which I quite like.

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Going from a stock airbox to an aftermarket intake can also make a massive difference in sound on a turbocharged car, and that’s very much the case here – but I’ll get to that shortly.

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The next step was to fit the intercooler and that meant to pulling the Mustang into one of the service bays beside some of the highly modified GT-Rs hanging around the shop.

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If anything it was a little intimidating having my little four cylinder Mustang surrounded by such high horsepower machinery, but the atmosphere just goes to show that FFTec certainly knows a thing or two about handling fast turbocharged cars.

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In fact, at one point when the guys were busy working on my car, I slipped away for a moment so I could take the shop’s EcoBoost Mustang development mule for a quick test drive.

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It’s safe to say this car is one of the most heavily modified EcoBoost Mustangs in the US right now. It already has a prototype turbo upgrade, strengthened internals and is putting down 400 horsepower to the rear wheels. If you were looking for an EcoBoost car that has the capability to embarass V8s, this is it. It’s slam-you-in-the-seat fast while still being plenty docile on the street, and it took just one mash of the throttle to tell me that the EcoBoost Mustang has a bright and fast future indeed.

Higher Numbers, Better Music
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Anyway, back to my car. Once the front bumper was removed, the factory front mount intercooler was removed and we put it next to the EcoPro to gauge the difference in size between the two. Pretty big change, eh?

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Of course, the primary reason for an intercooler upgrade on these cars isn’t so much for increased power, it’s for more consistent power. Dyno tests have found that heat soak sets in quite quickly on the EcoBoost Mustang, and an intercooler upgrades will do a lot to combat that. It uses a Garrett core and is TIG-welded in house with aluminum end tanks.

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Here’s another view of the new intercooler fully installed before the front bumper was reattached. I expect this to become a required upgrade for anyone looking to get more out of their turbo ‘Stang.

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With everything installed, it was back to the dyno. This wasn’t just to see what kind of power the car was making with the intake and intercooler, it was so Sean could get to work on a custom tune so the car could maximize the benefits from all of the new upgrades.

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On a car like this, even bolt-on parts aren’t going to provide their best results unless they are accompanied by a new flash to fully take advantage of them.

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We must have done six or seven pulls, with Sean making adjustments via the COBB Protuner software after each one. He pretty much has tuning down to an art form.

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And the final result? Well it came out looking like this. 284 horsepower and an eye-opening 387 foot pounds of torque to the wheels. That’s nearly 20 additional horsepower and 40 more foot pounds than what the car had when it rolled in. When compared to stock, I think these are very solid numbers for three basic bolt-on upgrades and a custom tune.

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But of course, numbers just tell part of the story. In stock form the car had the feeling of ‘wow, this is pretty quick for a four cylinder’. With the upgrades I’d say it’s now crossed into the realm of being a genuinely quick – with a strong burst of midrange grunt and a healthier top-end feeling. It might not be quite at 5.0 level yet, but it feels a helluva lot closer! The fun factor has also been upped significantly and it’s still getting over 30 miles to the gallon on the highway. For a daily driver, it’s hard to imagine wanting a whole lot more than this. But who knows?

And if I’m honest, what’s excited me just as much as the additional power and torque is the change in sound. In stock form this car is very muted, but opening up the intake and exhaust have given it an entirely different personality. You can hear the turbo spooling, the blow-off when you take your foot off the throttle, and the much more aggressive exhaust tone out the back. The other day I recorded some quick video clips to give you an idea of what it sounds like. While it might not make muscle car noise, it certainly sounds like a proper turbocharged performance car now – and I like that a whole lot. Have a listen for yourself and let me know what you think.

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So there you have it – a very successful opening around of upgrades for Project EcoBoost. Of course, there will be a whole lot more to this project besides just increased horsepower and cooler noises. In fact, here’s a quick teaser of the latest parts to arrive.

Things are about to get even more interesting, so stay tuned.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike
mike@speedhunters.com

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160 comments
inblack99
inblack99

There is only one mod needed for the street - Cobb Access Port Tuner.

- Cold Air intake, repeatedly proven to make no improvement and often some loss.

 - Exhaust, almost never makes a difference on a turbo (buy it for sound if you must, but sorry no HP)

 - Intercooler, not necessary on the street (no heat soaking) - buy it for the track.


You can use the Stage 2 tune with a stock engine and get all the benefits for $500 vs $3200.

ZTBIRD
ZTBIRD

@inblack99 A downpipe that is larger will make a difference in Turbo lag. Thus giving you quicker response. a free flowing exhaust also reduces spool time, thus reducing turbo lag. I agree a cold air intake does not really give you Horse power, but depending on the filter element, make make it easier for your engine to breathe.

DeeGee4IsGay
DeeGee4IsGay

DeeGee4. Are you stupid? this is a performance package 4 cylinder mustang that costs $29k and a 5.0 is another $4k on top of that. I dont think this guy spent $4k on 3 mods and a tune. Not to mention the monthly insurance for a brand new 5.0 you might as well just be lighting money on fire. Throw some more money in that fire when you get to the gas pump, and then throw some more in when you decide to mod the 5.0 because you are on speedhunters.com

DeeGee4
DeeGee4

Although well written and entertaining... This was stupid as shit to do. You could have spent the same amount (or less) just buying the 5.0 and I would be faster, look better, and sound better right off the lot. The "3 basic bolt ons" you mention, plus the flash tune port and the cost of a custom tune 7 DYNO PULLS is fucking expensive dude!! Cool that YOU did it but I would much rather just start with what I want.

khrome13
khrome13

@DeeGee4 That's not what everyone wants.  I have a Fox Body with a 302 and intake and aluminum heads ands roller rockers and and and....  So now I also have a new Ecoboost and I wanted it for a daily driver but I will also mod it to get the most out of it I can... So don't ASSume that just because someone buys an ecoboost that they would rather have a GT ... My Fox Body gets maybe 10mpg ... Again not what I want to drive every day...

DeeGee4
DeeGee4

Good for you man. I'm happy you. You seem to have a abundance of money to waste .... I have a CTS V and it looks drives and sounds excellent without having to do anything extra to it... Any time you wanna line up, let me know!

DeeGee4
DeeGee4

Haha, why am I ignorant? Because I don't think wasting money is a good idea? You know what, I actually like this generation of Ford Mustang but I would never buy one and risk being lumped in with you fucking idiots.

savagepony86
savagepony86

@DeeGee4Cadillac cant even keep the doors open without government assistance, so thanks for supporting dying companies that have robbed the American ppl of their hard earned money and stuffed it right intothe pockets of GM EXECS. Youre ignorant, your shit is probably leased you broke ass loser. Maybe check out a ctsv forum.


ZTBIRD
ZTBIRD

@DeeGee4 Mine is bigger than yours! LOL children please!

turbo_child
turbo_child

Inspiring! On the lookout for a new ride now - the EcoBoost Mustang is a real contender. Reading this, and seeing the car on TE37's sort of made me fall for this badboy, even though I never thought I'd ever be looking at a Mustang as my first proper car.

Drew1717
Drew1717

I have recently purchased the 2016 Ecoboost and I was wondering if I could do the same modifications and get the same results even though my car is an automatic 

salvatore
salvatore

Sal 2015 EcoBoost and I have done everything that you guys have done in ino 343 pounds of torque it ran at the track 13.47 101 miles per hour I'd like to get into the twelves what else can I do to my turbo

Eulsam
Eulsam

You could always go for a stage 2 COBB tune, but you'd be looking at dropping some big bucks. And you have the option of throwing an AEM wastegate and Blow Off Valve. CJ Pony Parts has a video on them!

BrendanBowen
BrendanBowen

I have never liked mustangs because my dad owned nothing but fords and mustangs. So when i could drive i wanted something different and my first car was a 96 GSX eclipse. Ever since then i been addicted to turbos and anyone that has driven a car with a upgraded turbo knows why boost is addicting as any drug. But the fact ford made a good quality turbo 4cyl and didnt dumb down the look of the mustang like they did to all the other non v8 versions makes me even more impressed.Doesnt hurt its one of the best looking mustangs in the modern era. Id still probably go with the new Focus RS since i have been driving awd turbo cars for most of my 13 years of driving between the GSX and a few WRX's and wrx powered legacys. I can say i dont hate the mustangs much anymore that is for sure.

NeezyNieves
NeezyNieves

@BrendanBowen DSM huh? Then you already know you can't downgrade to a slower car. Go with the Focus RS. :)

marchenko
marchenko

@BrendanBowen I'm going to be real pissed when I get my ass kicked by a Focus. I still think the Mustang is way better looking, but that Focus RS is seriously bad ass. I love this new era of power!

DutchMax
DutchMax

I have a question, I just bought a 2015 ecoboost Mustang. It's my first time trying to tune/modify a car so I know very little about it. I want to put the Roush cold air intake on my car, but I was wondering if I will still be able to get the Ford Racing tune when it gets out. Does anyone know if putting a tune on your car is still possible after putting a cold air intake on it? 

thanks a lot!


Max. 

DutchMax
DutchMax

Thanks for replying!

I don't want to risk losing my warranty, is it possible to uninstall tunes when I get a problem that could be covered by warranty? Without Ford noticing it of course.

AlanRosas1
AlanRosas1

I have a mustang ecoboost 2015 around how much would I spend for intercooler exhaust and tune? I already have the aftermarket cold air intake

BubbaDubya
BubbaDubya

@AlanRosas1 It depends on the type of exhaust and intercooler you want.  You should call FFTEC and talk to them, they have several different options. 

DanielleKoran
DanielleKoran

@DutchMax Roush would be aftermarket, Ford Racing tune would also have Ford racing intake and other parts and it would just be calibrated for the parts included.

If you want Roush or anybody else you're going to want to go through somebody else that tunes these cars.

Also to note, Ford's tune/kit will be very conservative, and not extract much power.  These cars have a LOT left off the table that a proper aftermarket tuner will be able to do.  I'd imagine with intake, exhaust, intercooler and tune, they will be going toe to toe with a GT Mustang.  This is my guess from my results in modifying my Focus ST which has the smaller 2.0 and it's picked up nearly 80 hp with the above mods.

Sparks
Sparks

Oh, last thing Mike. The car does not have a blow off, it's a recirc valve. Your hearing air going through the K&N filter on your kit, vent a little. That is unless you put a blow off valve on.

Sparks
Sparks

I've been in hot rodding and tuning for over 28 yrs. and owned a exhaust business. There's also no such thing as a high flow cat. Sure people sell them, but they are no good. You either have cats or you don't. I would not waste the $. We have secretly gone to emissions stations without our cats and passed with cleaner scores than with our cats, so I'd rather pull the cat than keep it on. Besides, they run very hot and get clogged full of junk, under high hp, high rpm driving. On 95% of vehicles, a aftermarket CAI and cat back exhaust just add sound, maybe 5-6 hp total, but to me, it's not worth it. Just pull the muffs or replace with a muff of choice and play with different resonators, or get rid of that too.

Sparks
Sparks

Well, Mikey, first off try to sound like you know what your talking about. When measuring power, it's call lb-ft (pound-feet), not ft-lbs-(foot-pounds)... It's a measurement and you can put one into the other but not a 180 from that. One can put a lot of pounds into a sq foot, but there is no room or space in a pound because it's a mass. Duh, so please, at least sound like you know what your talking about, you'll look better to gear heads. Next, I'm surprised you got suckered into the aftermarket CAI upgrade world. Those things have been Myth-busted the world over. They might add 1-2 hp, but that's it. Only on a upgraded turbo, will a aftermarket CAI truly work as intended. With the cat back exhaust, you probably picked up 5-6 hp max. The tune is no longer a power adder once other parts are on the car that need adjustment, it's just there to make things all work together. FYI: no tune is needed for exhaust or intercooler upgrades, unless a down pipe and header are added.

Now, as for the power, it's not to bad, but honestly, these turbo cars need more mid range. I see the ecostang still falls on its face above 5k rpm.

Lastly, more power requires: More fuel, more air and more timing. Anytime those things are increased, mpg's will suffer and drop. Not get better as sooooo many people think. And, as for mileage, a focus SE that is rated at 36 hwy, only averaged 28 on the hwy from SF to LA running at 70, on the posted limit, I really doubt any ecoboost, let alone modded one, is going to average over 30 mpg on the same hwys. I had a Focus ST rated at 25 city/34 hwy, but it never did better than 19 city in 5th gear, short shifting at 1700 rpm or 29 hwy at the limit. CA has to many hills for decent mpg. Plus I heard from a relative retired from Chevron Fuels in SF that our crappy CA fuel has chemicals that come from China, making it dirtier, not cleaner. Those same additives make our cars run worse, which in turn hurts mpg and makes the air bad. He also stated that the Catalyitic converters actually cause part of the pollution, not the other way around. And that most of SoCa's air pollution comes from, yup, China. He was at a big meeting with top brass (of which he was one) in Dec 2013 and they showed meteorological satellite photos of this massive thin layer of what looked like ozone drifting east from China. Well, it was tested by aircraft and guess what, it was pollution, not ozone. So CARB is just a revenue generator for the greedy politicians spending habits and nothing more. So, no wonder my cars ran better in AZ, NV and WA on their fuels. No crappy excessive chems from China.

Calorus
Calorus

@Sparks lb-ft and ft-lb are directly equivalent.


Torque is a force applied at a radius.

To increase it, you either increase the force or the increase radius.

Hence longer spanners.


2 * 10 = 20

10 * 2 = 20


He should, perhaps, have said Newton Metres, but that's a very different conversation.

Otterrock
Otterrock

I got a 2016 ecostang, just did the tune and a cai last week. Didn't hit the dyno yet but response times are quicker with shifts and it definitely has more pull and the midrange isn't falling off. If anything it falls flat around 6500 but assume a new intercooler will fix that. OH and before these mods I was getting 26/28 mpg depending on the weather highway. Getting a solid 36 now. I am more than willing to post videos/pics to prove my numbers.

This car is fun even if it isn't very Mustang like. Can't wait to get that downpipe

LaurenAdams
LaurenAdams

I'm thinking about buying a new car. Are there any of them that come with these kind of parts? Otherwise, it looks like I will have to install them myself. Maybe I should do some research as to where to go to find the right stuff for my engine to keep my car running for a long time. http://www.autodream.ca/ 

BubbaDubya
BubbaDubya

@LaurenAdams Just contact FFTEC Motorsports. They can put together a package to suit your needs. They can handle installation, and if you're not local they can arrange transportation too. 

Destabilizator
Destabilizator

What I love on all the articles here, is that at least somebody finally realizes that making a video of basically any car with music in the background sucks for us, swan song lovers.

Engine sounds ftw!

retiredracer
retiredracer

The car sounds like a giant bumble bee on a drunk being beat into submission. I think the turbo sounds good. I am also not being a but H, I am just stating a opinion, and everyone has one. I would try to get a better flowing exhaust, with a still quiet, sleeper sound(because you cannot make a loud 4cyl mustang , sound like a mustang) and Practice to be quick on a stick, or get a auto, if I could not be quick and smooth. Thanks for sharing your info! 

ZacheryJewell
ZacheryJewell

Cobb is definitely the better option. I used Cobb on my previous cars, and on the new ecoboost mustang it offers way more options and tricks than any other device, even more so than on other Cobb tuning platforms. And I have also used SCT and Diablo. The Cobb give you much more parameters to control, launch control, ffs.... on the fly map, launch, and fuel changes, burnout mode, anti-lag. Anyways, I never use the Cobb for its OTS maps, only custom tuning so the more the handheld has to offer the better. Cobb definitely wins in that department.

Pooft Lee
Pooft Lee

I want to see someone slap 2 of these ecoboost turbos on a coyote. I'm sure there will be plenty of low miles stock units for sale when more people start playing with the ecoboost cars. Quick spool v8 twin turbo? Hell yee

SW1
SW1

This is why I love SpeedHunters! I don't get to read magazines like "5.0 and Fast Fords" often so this keeps me somewhat up to date. Thank you for taking the time to document the mods with dyno tuning, it is invaluable! 

Re: the sound, I too at first was a little weirded out especially with the rear view but then I thought "Hey it's a Silvia!"  


What are your thoughts on this EcoBoost 'Stang vs the 2015 Nissan 370/NismoZ?


Finally, I'm super stoked on your results just from bolt-ons...we dyno'd a stock 2012 Mustang GT and got 376hp/364tq to the wheels.


AndrewCinch
AndrewCinch

Ford's doing a great job of making me hate Ford less with all these smaller displacement, turbocharged engines.

mrkollos
mrkollos

Nice round of mods @Mike Garrett! What led you to the Cobb and FFtec intake/Ford catback? I've been shopping around myself and reading up on the Mustan6G forums and like what I'm seeing from the MAPerformance team with their project Ecoboost. So far they're making decent power on the stock turbo and prices seem a little more reasonable. Just wondering what helped you decided on your parts?


For those interested - MAP's Ecoboost site: maperformance.com/mustang-ecoboost-performance-parts/

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

@mrkollos @Mike Garrett A big part of the reason I went with FFtec is because they are located here in California. It's nice being able to actually go to the shop and see what they are doing, although I've also been in touch with MAPerformance and they do indeed have some cool stuff going on.

MattM Power
MattM Power

Is a good look @Mike Garrett , looking foward to this ecoboost project , much respect from Jamaica :)

PolyMEDrummer
PolyMEDrummer

And since you're in California, have fun taking all those parts off for your smog check.

Pooft Lee
Pooft Lee

Is it 4 or 6 years on a new car? And honestly swapping out an intake and switching back to the factory tune isn't much work at all for a smog check. Some people swap out entire engines. The intercooler COULD fail your visual but I don't know if smog techs would bother to look inside the front bumper, other than to see that an intercooler is in the right place

Truth
Truth

From MSRPs:

Cobb Access Port: $500

Catback Exhaust: $1,549

EcoPro Intercooler: $899

FFTEC Intake: $194

TOTAL: $3,142


Not including dyno&tune costs, installation, or discounts.

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