How Do I Add Horsepower to My V6 Mustang?

Ford Mustang Q&A

V6Stang04 asked: “I have a stock V6 Ford Mustang, what can I do to increase it’s performance?”

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

Ford Mustang Cold Air Intake1. Cold Air Intake

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.

DiabloSport's InTune Ford Mustang Tuner2. Tuner

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!

3. Exhaust

V6 Mustang Exhaust

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 tends to not be true! There are many factors that determine the sound of your exhaust and 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 from the factory, 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 rear wheel horsepower.

These mods will put you on the right track to building your V6 Mustang into a serious street machine. V8s may continue to dominate with their large displacement and infinite aftermarket options, but these tree mods a the best way to have your six cylinder Mustang catching those pesky GT owners. 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 national Mustang-only car show!

  • Michelle

    okay so i added a cai and a dual but i think the mpg got worse… whats up with that?!

    • Bacon

      I have a CAI and Dual Exhaust and to really to take advantage of these you need to do a Tune. Yet sometimes you might see a MPG decrease, due to the extra power being a bit more fun and enjoying it a bit more. Driving style tends to be the biggest factor in MPG.

  • Jordan

    I have a 95 v6 3.8L ‘stang with dual exhaust but the H-pipe has rusted through and I can’t find a replacement. The pipe looks a lot like your v6 dual exhaust adapter kit although it is 2 1/4” and shrinks down to go over the 1 3/4″ pipes that have the catalytic converters on it. If you know where I can find a H-pipe like that it would really help.

    • Jordan

      So I just remessured the pipes and the inlet is 2″ and the outlet is 2.5″. Does anyone know where I can find a ’95 V6 H-pipe with those dimentions?

  • Dave

    How do you add power to a V6???? Get a V8 lmao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Allen

      Don’t hate. Some of us can’t afford the insurance, man!

    • nick

      its easy to turn heads with a V8 and hey who wouldn’t want to!? but try doing it in a V6… oh and my 94 v6 beat a 2005 V8 stang heads up on the street

    • Howaboutsid

      Your a straight dumbass

      • mike


  • Alex

    I don’t know why people don’t have respect for sixers. I own both a Terminator and a 99 v6 mustang. I love both cars; they are both fun to drive. It upsets me when people bash the sixes and say the only real engine is a v8. Good grief, take a look at what Porsche has been able to do with their sixes. Their 911 Turbo would lay the smackdown on my supercharged V8. Granted, price difference, but with gas prices constantly rising, I see American manufacturers starting to do a lot more development with the smaller engines.

    BTW-Nobody can scoff at a v6 that gets 300 horsepower and 30 mpg! Amazing.

    • Ernest Allen Buffington

      I want this how

  • http://AmericanMuscle Ben

    I have a 07 V6 Grabber Orange. I have put on a Roush Cold Air Intake along with JBA Dual exhaust. I just installed the SCT custom tune. Currently running the racing tune with 93 oct. I am wondering how much hp and torque I have. I know stock come 210hp 240 torque. By the way any doubters of the SCT tune, trust me its worth it.

  • Dgrissam3

    I own a 2000 V6 Automatic Mustang. It has a true dual exhaust on it, and i put a drop in filter of a K&N. I was going to build a custom CAI but then i decided it wasn’t worth the money putting into it. Don’t get me wrong, I love speeding around town in my v6, because it looks cool (Chrome cobra rims, nice red color that i wash and wax a bit and take care of it etc.) But when it comes down to it…I won’t dump money into because 1. Its an automatic. And 2. Its not a GT…I am a little versed in cars but not much. So i’d probably F it up. But…I was needing some help. I wanted to know what people recomended as far as V6’s and V8’s, but I also wanted to know what people prefered as far as stick and auto were concnered. If someone can help me, hit me up at Would give my army email..but no. Lol

  • Djferndog

    a pulley kit would be nice

  • Cocksucker59

    Fuk v6 mustangs u know how u add hp?? Buy a v8.

  • Alex B.

    Got a question. Can the FR500S mufflers be installed on the 2011 + V6 Mustang. I like the Ford Racing Sport Axlebacks for the V6 but the FR500S sound better to me. It has a 2.5″ pipe but I have heard that the mounting points are different on the 2011+ cars.

  • Bill52

    That’s a decent increase of horsepower. Did you put your car on a dynamometer?

  • Jhon

    wow, 8-10hp from an intake? no, more like 1-2hp difference. Unless it is made from thermoplastic buy the cheapest intake you can find. and 20hp off of a tune? no, more like 10hp. This person obviously knows nothing about this car, engine, or aftermarket upgrades. Take this advice from me, a person who has a 2003 v6 with intake tune and exhaust and also a dyno sheet proving this. And if you dont believe me check out the forum. 

  • daniel

    hello i have a 96 v6 wanting to get more power dont know to much. i cant find any parts for my stang other then super charger,s an turbo,s but i need other parts befor i can do all that. like some good heads.any info ? sure need the help

    • Ryan McConnell

      I had a 03 3.8 running 14.5 (same as my dads stock gt) and now have a 00 conv 3.8. Best for your dollar is gears a posi and a tuner

  • daron

    my v 6 looks better then your gt lol @darontoogucci

  • Jesse wingo

    i heard that my 97 mustang v6 is not ment to hand power… like a supercharger is this true?

  • Cary D Smith

    I had an 1998 mustang v6 years back with a pro charger spd,355 gears, done for 300 had a 5 angle valve job,bbk t body and did 12 .2 1/4 mile and still beat v8 stangs with a charger, I just bought a 2014 mustang last night auto. and its bad to the bone 305 hp awesome cant wait to get on this one I have a 2000 gt now too and the v6 beats it all the time,so don’t hate because you don’t know

  • Ricky Lafferty

    just blew my 4.0 V-6 up and am looking for another one to put back in it’s place….I still don’t know what happened to it but I have no compression on the back 2 cylinders. when it went, (at 140,000 miles) it instantly went red hot and by the time I got out of it and got it off the road, it was banging and had lost all but minimal power…then it cooled down as fast as it heated up so I tried to drive it to a safer spot to leave it until I could call a tow. too late…I took it to a very good mechanic who has worked with SOHC V-6’s and he said it was toast and to look for another engine to drop in it….so I’m looking for that now and would like to have one with larger cams and maybe valves if my computer perameters will accept them. any suggestions or a reasonably priced engine out there?

  • Josh

    I own a v6 mustang with a pro charger making around 470 HP get at me v8 drivers