As a V6 owner myself, I understand how frustrating it can be trying to modify a V6. While there is not as much aftermarket support for the V6s as there is for the V8s, there are still plenty of performance parts out there. Supercharger and turbo kits are available for V6s now. But if you’re starting slow or don’t have quite that much to spend I would recommend these three modifications first: a cold air intake, upgraded exhaust system and a tuner.
Top 3 V6 Mods That Add Horsepower
Cold air intake systems by themselves can add 8-10 horsepower to your car and are relatively inexpensive. A K&N FIPK V6 Intake kit would be a great option for any Mustang v6 owner due to its simple bolt-on installation and instant results. If you’re not looking to spend $200-$300 on a complete intake system, a K&N Drop-In Replacement Filter is a less-expensive alternative that will still net you a good amount of horsepower. Plus, a v6 aftermarket intake or filter can be cleaned and reused, so you’ll never have to buy another filter, saving you money in the long run.
The newer 2011-2014 V6 Mustangs already put down impressive power number but by adding a 2011 Mustang V6 cold air intake you can get a couple extra ponies to the ground. However, for a 05-09 Mustang, I would recommend an intake/tuner combo kit. In most cases, S197 Mustangs will not run if a new CAI is installed without an aftermarket tune. The car will start but stall out immediately.
A tuner reprograms your car’s computer, working with your modifications, to produce the most horsepower (or mpg’s, depending on the tune). Tuners can be tricky. If you’re unfamiliar with them you can check out our tuner tech article for help.
A custom tune is ideal. But know that tuning a car by yourself can be tricky if you’re not sure what to do. There is a small possibility of actually damaging the car if you run it with an improperly calibrated tune.
A custom tune designed to run with high octane gas (91+) will produce optimal results and add as much as 20 bhp to a bone-stock car. Octane is a vital factor: You can always run higher octane gas than you are tuned for but never lower octane!
Choosing an exhaust can be confusing; we have a great exhaust tech article on exhaust systems/terminology if you’re wondering what an H-pipe is, or if you just need a refresher. I’ve heard that putting an aftermarket exhaust on a V6 will give it a high-pitched, raspy exhaust note, but in my experience this is not always true! There are many factors that determine the sound of your exhaust: a balance between intake and exhaust is crucial. If you have doubts about what setup is right for you then call our knowledgeable tech staff. They’ll make sure you get the sound and power you want.
Six cylinder Mustangs have a Y-pipe, which funnels exhaust gases from both banks into one tail-pipe. The most common “dual exhaust” out there is another Y-pipe that attaches after the catalytic converter and splits the stock mid-pipe into two tail-pipes. That’s fine if you just want the look of a dual exhaust. If, on the other hand, you want to squeeze the most ponies out of your pony, an X-pipe that allows you to use a GT cat-back exhaust is definitely the way to go. I’ve got a Pypes Stainless Steel X-Pipe on my 2004 V6 and, with a GT cat-back, I picked up another 15-20 bhp.
These mods will put you on the right track to building your V6 Mustang into a serious street machine. V8s will undoubtedly continue to dominate with their large displacement and infinite aftermarket options. But stay tuned as the V6 world is steadily growing and gaining momentum. This has not gone unnoticed here at AmericanMuscle and we look forward to seeing more modded V6s at our next annual show!