This page documents our findings and test results as we developed bolt-on parts for this platform. We hope you enjoy it and find it useful as a guide to modifying your EcoBoost Mustang!
Initial Testing - 87 vs. 92 Octane
Our 2016 EcoBoost Mustang is a base 6AT model with a 3.15 rear gear. To start off our testing, we wanted to see the power difference on the as-delivered from the dealer 87 vs. 92 octane pump gas. Due to the factory 120mph speed limiter interrupting 4th gear pulls, these runs were done in 3rd gear.
When switching fuel octane, it takes some time for the PCM to adjust ignition timing to take advantage of the higher octane. This value is known as OAR - Octane Adjust Ratio and is a multiplier. It starts at 0 and learns from there based on knock feedback towards +1 for less than optimal fuel and towards -1 for high quality fuel. Our car was driven for 2 weeks after the change from 87 to 92 octane to ensure it was at -1 OAR and then the comparison pulls were made.
NOTE: The majority of EcoBoost Dynojet charts we’ve found online are in STD correction factor, so we will be posting our charts in STD for ease of comparison.
We saw large gains above 4,500rpm as a result of added timing with the better quality fuel, with peak to peak increases of +22whp/+4wtq. The sharp drop in power that occurs at high rpm (5500-6000rpm) is largely the result of extremely rich AFR's (air-fuel ratio) as the catalyst protection strategy comes into play and the factory PCM mapping starts commanding additional fuel to keep things cool.
Intake Testing & Tune
We initially started intake testing on the stock PCM. We soon found that it was closing the throttle massively (down to only 30% open) in order to maintain torque targets. It produced the same power regardless of improvements in the intake system - runs which showed gains were the result of other variables coming into play, as the PCM was controlling power output.
The decision was made to perform our intake testing on the Cobb Stg1 Off-The-Shelf (OTS) map which most people will start out with. This calibration delivers nice gains, eliminates the throttle closures, removes the speed limiter, and delivers consistent performance to allow proper testing in 4th gear.
We tested many different combinations of: stock intake, stock without filter, stock inlet tube with adaptor to 4” tubing with a conical oiled cotton-gauze type filter, different tubing lengths & several different air filter designs, and a 3.0”-3.5” cold air design. The final 3.0” cold air intake design with a Vibrant Performance filter which features a built in velocity stack type design was the winner in our testing.
After finalizing the intake design we then downloaded the stock PCM calibration and removed the factory 120mph speed limiter so that we could get a proper stock 4th gear baseline pull to be used for future comparisons. See the graph above, blue line.
To clarify, the stock baseline comparison used from this point forward is a 4th gear pull, Stock PCM calibration at -1 OAR with SpeedFactory 3" Cold Air Intake and speed limiter removed.
At this point we started development work on our own tunes. See below for tuning results with our cold air intake system.
Over 300whp/400tq with just an intake and custom tune, what's not to like about that?!?
Intercooler & Charge Piping
The stock intercooler on these cars is a massive bottleneck suffering from both insufficient flow across the core and insufficient thermal capacity, and the charge piping can be improved upon as well. Even a single dyno pull on a stone cold stock intercooler results in extremely high charge air temperatures over 150*F. In real world use the stock intercooler can easily allow charge air temperatures well over 200*F. An upgraded intercooler is by far the most important and beneficial modification to this car!
We set out to design an intercooler that is compatible with the factory charge piping and strikes an ideal balance of cooling capability, internal volume, fitment, and high flowing & aesthetically pleasing end tank design. A high quality 600hp rated bar and plate core serves as the basis for our intercooler, it is ideal for this application and offers great fitment while allowing room to grow for those who plan on upgrading the turbocharger.
With the stock intercooler, during a 4th gear pull we logged peak charge air temps of 153*F. With our intercooler peak charge air temps dropped to an amazing 76*F peak! That's a massive -77*F cooler, 50% lower than the stock intercooler.
The increased thermal capacity also nets consistent power output without the need for extended cool down periods between runs. Heat soak was a major issue with the factory intercooler and required 10-15 minutes of cooldown between runs for consistent power output, otherwise timing compensations would result in large drops in power output. With our intercooler we can do pulls with only 4-5 minutes of cooldown.
A 1st-4th gear torture test on a stone cold stock intercooler showed peak charge air temps of 164*F at the top of 4th gear. The same test with our SpeedFactory Intercooler netted a peak charge air temp of only 79*F!
We then gave it a short 3-4 minute cooldown and repeated the test. Despite starting charge air temps being 10*F higher than the previous pull, we logged a peak of only 83*F at the top of 4th gear on this 1st-4th pull. This intercooler works absolutely fantastic and we couldn't be more pleased with the test results.
Next up was more tuning to take advantage of all that newfound cool, dense charge air!
The results at this point are amazing. With nothing more than our intake system, intercooler, and custom tune we've gained 50-60whp and 80-100wtq through most of the powerband with an incredible +123whp/+99wtq near redline! This thing drives like a whole new car at this point and is an incredible bang for the buck upgrade path that will ideally suit the majority of owners that are looking to transform their tame stock car into a fun and powerful daily driver with minimal modifications and cash outlay.