A cold air intake system is typically one of the first modifications many of us perform early early on. From pushrod 5.0’s to the new Coyote, this upgrade is typically one of the best bangs for the buck. By opening up the airway to the engine and allowing a larger volume of cooler, more dense air into the combustion chamber you can increase not only your peak horsepower output, but power throughout the RPM range as well.
JLT is no stranger to the Mustang realm and has been building quality air intakes for a number of years. We recently got our hands on one of their systems for the 2011-13 5.0’s and bolted it to a stone stock new 2013 GT. We not only wanted to see what kind of a project we were in for with the ’13 GT, but also it’s capable of when you start modding it. Along with the intake, we are going to flash the PCM with a Brenspeed custom tune, delivered by an SCT iTSX.
This is our first intake kit with the MAF housing incorporated into the tube. – Jay Tucker
For those of you unaware the MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor is perhaps the most important sensor on a Mustang. This sensor sends critical data about the volume of incoming air to the engine. This data in turn tells the engine how much spark advance and fuel to introduce into the combustion chamber. Turbulent airflow at the MAF can translate into false or inaccurate readings, which can cause drivability problems. It will also in many cases trigger a check engine light, and can even put some vehicles into a “limp” or failsafe mode drastically reducing engine power and performance.
In developing the intake for the ‘11-‘13 Coyote, JLT entered into some new territory. JLT’s Jay Tucker told us, “This is our first intake kit with the MAF housing incorporated into the tube. This design allows for a smoother area inside the tube which results in less air turbulence, as well as a smoother exterior shape giving the exterior a more aesthetically appealing appearance. Less turbulence translates into smoother airflow into the engine, smoother air flow can also translate into more accurate readings at the MAF sensor as well as more horsepower.”
The MAF tube is also 107mm in diameter vs the stock Ford diameter of 86mm. This is a huge increase for potential air flow throughout the tube. JLT tapped S&B filters for the air filter on this kit. Tucker says, “With a huge 4.5” opening at the end of the tube we needed a huge filter.” S&B delivered and JLT includes one of S&B’s Powerstack filters with the monstrous dimensions of 4.5”x9”. But keep in mind when you are opening the MAF housing diameter larger than stock
Also included in the kit are silicone couplers, stainless steel clamps, and the requisite air shield to help block hot engine air during idle, or low speed situations. JLT also gives their customers the option of incorporating the sound tube in their system. The tube can continue to be used with the new intake or you can use the provided cap to block off the sound tube port on the tube.
The intake tube comes standard in molded and textured ABS plastic, black in color for an OEM style appearance. If a customer elects to do so JLT offers several custom paint options including matching the car’s factory paint color. To do this all painted tubes are treated to a proprietary smoothing process prior to painting to prep the exterior.
The JLT intake can be installed by just about any Mustang enthusiast, with basic hand tools, in under one hour. With the exception of one vacuum line for automatic equipped cars, the install is virtually identical to the manual counterpart. JLT provides customers with automatic transmissions a billet fitting, and instructions on where to drill the necessary half inch hole in their new intake tube to accommodate the additional vacuum tube.
Prior to installation determine whether or not you want to retain the sound tube. If not using it you will need to cap the port on the intake tube using JLT’s provided cap. JLT has also relocated the sound tube connection on the intake, so if you do choose to cap it off it’s less noticeable when viewed from the front of the car.
Tuning the 2013 Mustang with Brenspeed and SCT
The 2013 verses 2011-2012 is not drastically different, but there are differences. – Brent White
Just like on the 2011 and 2012 5.0′s, you will need a programmer for your 2013 Mustang when you use a JLT intake. “When you take the stock sensor out of an 86mm housing that it’s calibrated for, you must tune the car to let it know it’s in a larger hole. Otherwise it will run lean and go into a failsafe mode.” says Tucker.
We hooked up with the guys at Brenspeed for our tune. Utilizing SCT’s new iTSX software and Bluetooth diagnostic port interface, we’ll be able to make changes as well as use a host of other features all from a smartphone, iPod, iPhone, or iPad.
We talked with Brent White of Brenspeed about what’s different for the 2013 tune, as well as some of the things they incorporate into this package. He told us “The 2013 verses 2011-2012 is not drastically different, but there are differences. As an example, Ford changed a few things on the automatic transmission, so what we had developed for the 2011-2012 cars was not a 100% fit for 2013. “
Developing a tune is about a lot more than making peak horsepower numbers. Factors such as drivability at part throttle as well as wide open must be considered. Other considerations can include what the toll on internal parts will be, or the potential to shorten the life of major components such as the transmission. Brenspeed has several in house Mustangs that they use solely for the development of calibrations. White also shared with us this about their tuning development “There is so much more that goes into making the car drive better and even pickup MPG [miles per gallon]. The throttle response is drastically improved over the factory, power throughout the curve is increased, the transmission shifts more like you would expect from a performance car, the list goes on and on.”
Loading the Tune
Tuning with the iTSX is similar to a handheld tuner, with the exception that the iTSX can use a bluetooth link to download the tune to your vehicle via the diagnostic port. The touchscreen interface, and menus on a device like your iPhone is probably a lot more intuitive to many users, compared to the screens, arrows, and buttons found on most handheld tuners.
We loaded the Brenspeed tune for 91 Octane fuel (the highest available for sale here in sunny California), established our Bluetooth connection, and downloaded it to our test automatic equipped 2013 GT’s PCM. We had previously established a baseline of 337.9 rwhp and 335.9 lb/ft of torque with the car stone stock, so we hit the dyno again with our mods, and tune in place to see what kind of power improvement we could make.
We were pleasantly surprised to see a peak gain of 24.1 rwhp and 27.7 lb/ft of torque to the rear tires, turning the rollers to the tune of 362.0 rwhp and 363.6 lb/ft of torque. What is far more impressive is something you’ve probably heard us mention before if you’re familiar with tech here at StangTV, that’s power under the curve. While a peak gain of 24 rwhp is great, the real story is the power seen elsewhere in the dyno results.
Peak numbers give you the bragging rights when you’re bench racing with your buddies. Since we don’t spend all our time driving with our engines wound up to extreme RPMs, peak numbers, no matter how grandiose, can be deceiving. Power developing under the curve (before the peak) is where you’ll feel and use it because this is where the engine spends most of it’s time, whether on the street or at the track.
Take one look at our second dyno chart to see exactly what we’re talking about. Notice that at 4300 rpm there is a much larger gain than at peak, meaning we were already outrunning the stock parts by a significant margin. Close inspection of the dyno sheet shows this gain is pretty constant throughout the engine’s operating range, this is power you can use and feel. Look at the torque at the same RPM as well. At 4300 rpm torque difference was strong with over an additional 35.4 rwhp and 29.0 lb/ft of torque when compared to the same RPM stock.
Considering that Brenspeed packages this intake with one of their custom tunes, and everything you need starting at $610, that’s a relatively solid bang for the buck. The math works out to just a tick over $20 per horsepower at the wheels, on something you can install on your lunch break.
We also made a trip before and after to Irwindale Speedway for a some before and after track proof. What we found is that the car improved .23 seconds in the eighth mile. The initial runs stock showed a best ET of 8.44 at 84.7 mph. With the intake and tune the car ran a best of 8.21 at 88.02 mph. Corrected for 1/4 mile, that’s a stock ET of 13.089 and a modified ET of 12.73! This not only seems to backup our dyno numbers but also shows how that power under the curve is working all the way down the track. A horsepower improvement of nearly 30, ET’s into the 12′s, for less than an hour of work, and just over $600. Not a bad investment for first modifications to a new car.