Pre Tune Information
by Michael Decipha Ponthieux
Before inquiring about a custom tune, be sure you have verified the following for best results
Last Updated: 11-5-2013
A forged crankshaft is not recommended for stock blocks (excluding modular blocks). A cast crankshaft is typically able to support 900hp and is often
stronger than the limitation of the stock block. This does not apply to V6 engines, V6 engines are more susceptible to crankshaft harmonics
and thus forged crankshafts are recommended on all performance oriented V6 engines. A factory sbf 302ci block is good for approx 550rwhp,
a factory sbf 351w block is good for approx 900rwhp. A factory modular ford block is good for approx. 1500rwhp.
Aftermarket blocks should be used for all engines that exceed these ratings.
Factory rod bolts should be replaced with ARP high strength rod bolts in all boosted applications.
Gapless rings should not be used in any application, all boosted engines should have at least .006" per inch (of piston diameter) regardless of
the piston manufacturer's recommendations. The second ring should be gapped at no less than the gap of the top ring, again regardless of the
manufacturer's specifications. Highly boosted and/or heavy-nirous injected engines should have at least .008" per inch (of piston diameter).
All coyote 5.0L engine's subject to nitrous and/or boosting, should have the factory ring gap of 0.008" opened to 0.016".
Factory SBF E7 heads should be the absolute first component replaced in the engine. All engines should have MLS head gaskets and ARP head studs.
This is neccessary for all boosted engines.
For all modular engines converted to DOHC (cobra-heads) the block MUST BE DRILLED for the additional water jackets. Failure to do so will
result in heat spots and engine damage.
Spark plugs will be dependent upon the CYLINDER HEAD, in all cases, ALWAYS compare the thread reach and washer design from the old plug
to the new plug. If your spark plug currently has a washer present, the new spark plug MUST have a washer present as well. All DOHC cobra
engines MUST have a washer present.
The following is a list of typical spark plug specifications, for boosted applications up to 15 psi.
Note: The above AP numbers are AUTOLITE part numbers, in all cases, read your plugs and adjust the heat range and gap as needed.
|Engine Type||Year||Head||CID||Liters||N/A Plug||Gap||Plug w/ Boost||Gap||Note
|Pushrod SBF||89 - 95||E7||302||5.0||APP 25||.054||APP 24||.040
|Pushrod SBF||93 - 95||GT40||302||5.0||Autolite 764 / NGK TR6||.032
|Pushrod SBF||GT40 Y||302||5.0||AR 94||.028
|Pushrod SBF||TFS Twisted Wedge||302||5.0||Autolite AR3924||.050||APP 3923||.032
|Pushrod SBF||Edelbrock Performer RPM||302||5.0||APP 23||.028
|Pushrod SBF||Canfield||302||5.0||APP 3922||.030
|Pushrod SBF||AFR||302||5.0|| Motorcraft AGSP32CK||
|Pushrod V6||89 - 95 SC||Essex SC||231||3.8||APP 5144 / APP 2544||.054||APP 103||.044||
|Modular||93 - 04||SOHC||281||4.6||APP 764 / APP 104 / NGK TR55||.054||NGK BR7EF||.032||(Do not recommend TR6 but is OK)|
OEM is 1/2 thread
|Modular||92 / SVO / FRPP||SOHC||281||4.6||AGSF-32C||AGSF-12EE||SVO / FRPP & (SOME early 4.6L)|
REQUIRES FULL THREAD
|Modular||93 - 04||DOHC||281||4.6||.035||.030||
|Modular||93 - 04||TFS Track Heat||281||4.6||NGK (copper heat=6)||.030||
|Modular||05+||3 Valve||281||4.6||APP 5143 / Bosch 8120|| ||
|Duratec V6||2000+||SOHC||183||3.0||Motorcraft 8GFF32WX||.044||
|GM BB||Edelbrock RPM 6005||428||7.0||Autolite 3924||.045||
If your engine currently has CHAMPION plugs they MUST BE REPLACED prior to getting your engine tuned.
NEVER, use a half thread plug in a full thread head!!! However, using a full thread plug in a half thread head is acceptable.
Always reuse washers if they are present on the plugs being removed.
Boosted engines should not have high overlap and duration. The stock camshaft is typically most ideal for turbocharged engines. A slight performance
gain can be ascertained by retarding the stock camshaft by -4 degrees (PTV clearance shouldn't be an issue unless pistons are above the deck).
Custom camshafts for turbocharged applications often lean on the exhaust for a slight decrease in spool time. It is not recommended to replace the camshafts
on DOHC or VVT engines . For VVT engines, any replacement camshaft that has more lift than the factory cam's MUST have phase limiters installed to prevent
accidental PTV clearance issues due to faulty tuning / hydraulic lag.
Ported stock GT40 intakes are most ideal for all SBF engines BOOSTED making up to 400rwhp. For highe HP applications, 'bread-box' style
manifolds are highly effective. Ideally the throttle body should be located in the center front of the engine (not typicaly possible).
Inlet Air Temperate Sensors
If your intake manifold is designed to accept an IAT/ACT sensor, it should be plugged and the IAT/ACT sensor relocated to the inlet piping.
ACT/IAT sensors located in the manifold are prone to heat soak and cannot accurately represent the actual air charge temperature.
Note: When relocating the IAT/ACT to the inlet piping, the ACT fuel, spark, and VE modeling SHOULD be corrected in the calibration.
It is imperative that your ECU and FUEL PUMP relay's are in 100% functional operating condition. If the relay's are more than 10 years old or if their age is unknown
they must be replaced. A faulty/failing ecu or fuel pump relay will cause unstable fueling and can lead to engine damage. It is highly recommended to run no smaller
than 4ga wire from the alternator charging post to the battery terminal; as well as a 4ga or greater from the battery negative terminal to the transmission bellhousing (nearest
Oil and Filter
Make sure you have fresh oil in your engine before getting it tuned, if you have a new engine use proper break-in oil
such as straight 30w with high zinc content (specified off road use only). Use only Champion-labs (STP, BOSCH, MOBIL1, K&N) or Wix oil filters.
DO NOT use FRAM fiters, if you have a fram filter on your engine, replace it prior to getting a custom tune. All high horsepower drag race engines
>1500hp should have a magnet attached to the oil filter with a large capacity filter (1 quart). Recommend using fully synthetic 20w-50 oil after proper
break-in is completed. If your engine has been running at an idle AFR richer than 11:1 for more than 5 minutes, it is REQUIRED to change your
oil to prevent engine damage. The excess fuel can 'wash-down' the cylinders and contaminate the oil, fuel does not lubricate and will damage the engine.
If you are unsure if your oil is contaminated, the dip stick can be checked for any fuel odors, this is not always a good indication and fuel may still be
present in your oil. If in doubt, change your oil and filter.
For initial break-in, the engine should be operated with water only. After the engine has been broken in, the coolant should be drained and replaced with
GREEN anti-freeze coolant. DO NOT use the red DEX-COOL even if factory equipped. Water wetter can be added to your coolant system if desired. Verify all radiator
hoses are in like-new condition and do not have any cracks or dry-rotting present. Squeezing the hoses is a typical method to check for wear. When filling the coolant
for the first time, the vehicle should be at a slight angle with the front end (radiator) higher than the engine. The lower radiator hose should be pinched repeadily until
all air bubbles are purged from the coolant system. All factory THERMOSTAT BYPASS hoses should be blocked off and a 195+ degree thermostat WITH BYPASS
HOLES should be installed. All race engines and high performance street engines should have a high pressure water pump with a high pressure
radiator cap and an adequately sized overflow reservior. The fan must be properly shrouded to the radiator with the lower air dam in place for best results.
Verify your belt is properly tensioned and that all pulleys are spinning in the correct direction. Some water pumps are reverse directional. Proper tension
can be checked by placing a socket on the alternator pulley and turning the serpentine belt which cause the crank pulley to turn if adequate tension is present.
The belt should be checked for cracking / dry rotting, and should be in like-new condition.
Brakes / Wheels
It is imperative that your brakes are functioning at 100% of optimal performance prior to getting your vehicle tuned. All wheels must be hubcentric, aftermarket
wheels must have hubcentric rings. The lugnuts are not load bearing and should not support the weight of the vehicle. Wheel spacers cannot be used for racing
applications. Make sure your tires are not dry-rotted and they are inflated to the appropriate pressure. Street tires should not be any less than 35psi unless
otherwise specified. Slicks should be aired up to manufacturer's recommended pressure during the initial tuning phase.
All slicks should only be pressured up with nitrogen only.
CLEAN YOUR MAF
The maf sensor can be cleaned by simply removing the HOUSING from the inlet piping and using electrical parts cleaner to spray the maf sensor element.
DO NOT unbolt the maf sensor from the housing on 90mm ford sensors, this will usually strip the housing and the sensor will not reseal.
Using a q-tip to swab the element is not recommended but can be done if extreme caution is used.
Be sure to let the sensor sit overnight in a warm and dry area for all residual traces of the cleaning solvent to fully evaporate.
Failure to do so may cause sensor damage upon power up.
Inlet / MAF
Be sure your intake piping is completely sealed with no sharp bends or transitions. Airflow does not like to bend anymore than 15 degrees at a time, although
thats almost impossible to follow in an automobile, you want the minimal amount of bends as possible. DO NOT place your air filter in the fenderwell where it can
suck in water. All inlet piping should be of the same diameter as the MAF sensor and throttle body. High flow Slot style MAF sensors are recommended for all
applications. If using the stock MAF sensor with a 'calibrated' MAF housing. When purchasing a MAF sensor for the older Ford vehicles 1983 - 2004,
it is only recommended to purchase MAF sensors calibrated for Foxbody Mustangs utilizing 60lb injectors REGARDLESS OF YOUR ACTUAL INJECTOR SIZE.
It is recommended to install a screen on all MAF setups, however, If you are using larger than 3" piping, it is REQUIRED to have a screen installed before the MAF sensor.
A screen can be made by using screen door mesh available from your local Lowes or Home Depot. If possible, it is
recommended to have a screen BEFORE and AFTER the sensor element (when applicable).
Note: a 75mm throttle body is adequate to support 500 hp naturally aspirated.
This does not apply to configurations where the throttle body is a pre-supercharger restriction such as MN12 and Terminator setups.
The MAF must be in a blow-through configuration such that the meter ONLY measures airflow entering the engine, thus the BOV must be located BEFORE the maf
on all turbocharged applications (that use one). Ideally the MAF should be in the center of the straight length of pipe available, this is typically the charge pipe that
runs from the outlet of the intercooler, through the factory air box opening, and up to the throttle body.
Cold Air Intakes
Cold air intakes that REPLACE the stock MAF housing, such as most all 2005+ Mustang CAI kits, must have the MAF transfer calibrated.
Never use a CAI setup that places the filter in the fenderwell where it can suck up water. This can lead to hydrolocking the engine
when driving through a puddle.
PCV / Breather
Be sure your PCV system is completely sealed, the crankcase should be under vacuum when the engine is running, this will reduce emissions while improving
throttle response and incresing power. A faulty PCV or unsealed PCV setup will result in windage and will cost power. NEVER use a filter type breather vent on the
valve cover. The PCV system must be completely sealed. For race engines, it will be necessary to install a catch can to prevent oil from entering the intake.
if using a ford ecu other than the svo 4cyl ecu, be sure you have high impedance 12+ohm injectors only. Proper injector size can be calculated using the following
INJSIZE x NUMBER OF INJECTORS x 1.6 = MAXIMUM RWHP (multiply again by 0.8 for boosted applications)
for quick reference typical injector size horsepower limits are given as follows:
Note: The ford 42lb injectors only flow 34.5 lbs The values given above can be increased by 15% (x 1.15) by increasing fuel pressure to 55psi.
|Injector Size||Color||4 Cyl N/A||4 Cyl Boosted|
or N/A w/ E85
|6 Cyl N/A||6 Cyl Boosted|
or N/A w/ E85
|8 Cyl N/A||8 Cyl Boosted|
or N/A w/ E85
I highly recommend using no less than Siemens Deka High Impedance 80lb injectors in ALL ENGINES (excluding split port).
Alternate fuels (such as E85)
E85 requires approx. 25% more fuel than gasoline (not including power gains). For all E85 engines,
the injector size must be increased by 25% (or multiply the above hp values by 0.8 to get E85 power limits).
Adjustable fuel pressure regulators are not needed and should ONLY be used when you have borderline injector capacity.
FMU's should not be used, however if one is present, it should be set to raise fuel pressure by using the 6:1 disc only so long as the
fuel pressure does not exceed 75psi at maximum boost levels.
Fuel pump(s) must be adequate to support the horsepower of the engine. Fuel pump requirements can be calculated by using the following formula:
fuel pump LPH x 2.8 = horspower limit of pumping capacity.
For those in the UK with pump flows listed in Imperial GPH (UK gallons), 1 GPH = 4.55 LPH
A typical 255 LPH pump is capable of supporting 700hp and is adequate for most street vehicles.
Be sure you are using a high pressure pump if your engine is boosted or if fuel pressure is raised due to small injector size.
All drag racing setups with a return style fuel system must have a fuel cooler.
For returnless style fuel systems such as 99-04 modular fords, the stock basket should have holes drilled to help prevent fuel starving.
A cobra twin hat is highly recommended for all 99-04 engines making over 400rwhp
The cobra hat will support 700 rwhp with a boost a pump voltage amplifier and wiring upgrade.
Ford GT Supercar pumps are not recommended and will require FPDM and line modifications.
The walbro returnless specific pump requires cutting of the basket and is not recommended.
The stock 05+ Mustang GT pump is adequate up to 450rwhp.
It is highly recommended to fill up with fresh fuel. It is common for vehicles to sit for extended periods while being worked on. This usually results in fuel degradation
and solid deposits at the bottom of the fuel tank. The fuel pump and fuel filter should be replaced if the vehicle has been sitting for more than 3 years or if any
fueling issues arise during the tuning process. Remember only use the highest grade PREMIUM fuel, unless otherwise discussed.
Failure to use high octane fuel can result in engine damage. If you forget to fill up with high octane fuel, you do not need to drain your tank. Simply
drive the vehicle like a normal human keeping the throttle below approx. 35% until your next fill up. REMEMBER, always FILL UP before going to the track or autocrossing,
fuel slosh is serious concern and can cause your engine to run lean. Always keep a full tank of fuel when racing your vehicle. The little bit of weight savings is not worth
damaging your engine over. Also note, most aftermarket fuel pumps have a shorter operating life when not completely submerged in fuel.
It is highly recommended to keep no less than a half tank at all times.
For replacement pumps, Treperformance has quiet and quality pumps at a very resonable price.
It is critical that your exhaust is leak free and that your o2 sensors are new and are functioning properly. Only the front two oxygen sensors control fuel mix, the
rear two o2 sensors are not needed unless required to maintain emissions testing. For vehicles equipped with catalytic converters, be sure you specify that you have
cats present in the vehicle info sheet or on the tune application. High flow catalytic converters often do not flow more than most OEM catalytic converters. Proper size
exhaust length and piping is necessary for proper delta pressure. If your exhaust is inadequate it will typically result in the engine reaching MBT ignition timing
much lower than practical, this will cause a loss in engine performance. For all naturally aspirated engines making less than 500 horsepower, 2.5" dual exhaust is adequate.
A single 3" pipe flows approximate to dual 2.5" pipes. For turbocharged applications, all piping past the turbo will need to be doubled as compared to a naturally aspirated engine.
The MINIMUM recommended turbo sizes are as follows:
|Engine Cylinders||Engine Size||Turbo Flange||Turbo Size||AR||Max HP
|4||1.5 - 2.5||T-3||70mm||.68||550
|6||3.0 - 4.0||T-4||70mm||.96||550
|8||4.6 - 5.8||T-4||76mm||.96||700
Header "hot-side" piping can be easily calculated by multiplying the pipe diameter by 1000.
1.25" header is good for 1250 hp
1.50" header is good for 1500 hp
2.00" header is good for 2000 hp
2.50" header is good for 2500 hp
3.00" header is good for 3000 hp
For turbocharged applications the cold side exhaust needs (downpipe) are doubled as per naturally aspirated. All race turbo engines should have a cut out present. All
turbo's should have a heat blanket and all hot side piping should be wrapped. It is highly recommended to keep a fire extinguisher in all turbocharged vehicles.
It is highly recommended to get a larger than neccessary AR housing and using a restrictor spacing plate between the turbo header T-flange and the turbo's exhaust AR housing.
For all turbo applications that utilize a BOV, verify the BOV is CLOSED AT IDLE, the BOV must ONLY open when there is more pressure in the
inlet piping than the intake manifold. Any BOV that opens during normal driving is faulty or incorrectly installed and must be resolved before the vehicle
can be tuned properly. BOV's are not recommended for turbochargers that have 'surge vents' in the casing such as airwerks / borg warner.
As boosted levels are increased, the wastegate requirements are reduced. The wastegate discharge should be piped into the downpipe
and not vented to atmosphere for all street vehicles. The discharge piping should be of equal to or greater size of the wastegate discharge. The placement of the
wastegate should be so positioned that it is in direct flow of exhaust gas with no bends directly before or after the wastegate valve. If the placement
of the wastegate is such that it is at an angle greater than approx. 70* to direct flow, the hp suppression begans to reduce. In all applications the wastegate
must be COMPLETELY closed until manifold pressure (boost) exceeds the wastegate spring threshold. The table below gives an approximate hp suppression
for typical sized wastegates. The HP suppression is the amount of horsepower (calculated from airflow) that the wastegate is capable of bypassing. For example,
if your turbocharger is capable of moving enough airflow to support 1200hp, and your desired hp limit is 800 due to your engine components, you must have
a wastegate that is capable of 'suppressing' at least (1200-800) = 400 hp.
Note: The above values are approximate, there are just too many variables to
have a definitive answer, as a general rule of thumb, when in doubt go larger.
...continue on to the Initial Tune Instructions
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