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Article: Mustang GT V8 (S550) Ultimate Tuning Guide - "MO POWER BABEH!" Part 1

Mustang GT V8 (S550) Ultimate Tuning Guide - "MO POWER BABEH!" Part 1
Steeda Guides

Mustang GT V8 (S550) Ultimate Tuning Guide - "MO POWER BABEH!" Part 1

Now you have purchased your Mustang GT with 5 litres of thunderous "Coyote" V8 power, how can you start taking it up a notch, or three? 

Well the first thing that you need to know is that Ford built a potent weapon of an engine and made it even more potent when the facelift 2018+ model came out. It's built to tune and can suck up as much power as you throw at it.

NA - Naturally Aspirated - tuning is simple and even 700+ is no issue on the stock block when going FI - or Forced Induction - i.e Supercharged or Turbo.

Extracting power from the Coyote is pretty simple, just help that 5 litre set of lungs breathe better.

Breathing in can be improved simply in a few stages.

Cold Air Intakes / Induction kits

1. A Steeda Cold Air intake. (CAI)

Our 555-3193 Open CAI comes with a restrictor in the next allowing it to be used "bolt on" with no tune required. However even this will see you gaining 20 horsepower and 20ft/lbs of torque. If you want to follow up with a tune, simply remove the restrictor when adding your tune and hey presto, even more performance!

2. If you are planning to go with a Steeda tune straight away then you can opt for our all new Closed CAI or the de-restricted open CAI as above.  Steeda Tunes are designed to be in line with our "factory plus" ethos, giving smooth reliable power and great driveability. If your car is in warranty we do say that only take the step of getting a tune done if you are happy with the idea of voiding your powertrain warranty. After all, if you are worried by that thought you won't be able to enjoy the upgrade! Just get a "no tune" intake and upgrade to a tune once out of warranty! 

However don't worry, with a Steeda tune you are working with the best names in the industry. Steeda were the first company to be able to sell Ford endorsed tunes in Ford Showrooms and have continued to develop brilliant tunes for your Ford. You don't get to hold the drag world record for NA cars with second rate tunes, that is for sure! Our Steeda "Tunes for Life" program means that as you upgrade your hardware we upgrade your tune free of charge ready for the next step...

Steeda pride ourselves on the best Cold Air Intake development in the business and we only want to make and sell functional effective parts. That's why on the 2018 + Mustang we only provide our closed air intake which requires tuning. That's because we found that Ford had done such a good job on the basic setup that "same diameter" hardware would NOT give an improvement, only bigger bore hardware that would need a tune.

Cold Air Intakes are the first step in "breathing in" for your engine, but breathing out also can be improved and that's where exhausts come in....


Exhausts in a performance sense means two things:

1. "Headers" or as we say in Europe, Exhaust Manifolds. These attach directly to the engine block (on both sides on the V8, each dealing with 4 of the cylinders...

2. "Cat Back" exhausts, which as the name says go from the catalytic converters area, just at the back of the exhaust manifolds all the way back to the exhaust tips. These usually come with X or H pipe resonator deletes at the "front" of the system. X pipes perform marginally better, but if every pony counts that should help guide your choice!

You can also get axle backs and x or H pipe inserts, but for real performance gains a catback and or headers are the choices to make. You can read more about the wonderful world of Mustang exhausts in our "Best Exhaust Guide"...

A tuned Mustang GT with a high quality intake and catback exhaust sounds good and really kicks up performance. Our Q500 was dynoed in the UK at 480 hp as you can see here:

So simple and easy quality modifications really do make BIG real world differences. And they sound great while doing it! 

Right so now we have covered the basics its time for a big decision...

Do you go power mad and decide that it's time to head for Forced Induction OR do you want to enjoy those 5 litres as nature intended, breathing clean fresh air, and not having it rammed into your manifold by angry turbos or massive superchargers....

If you chose option one, you will have to wait for our Forced Induction guide haha! Sorry! But if you want more from your Coyote "au naturelle" then read on! Because there is certainly more that we can do....

Intake Manifold

After the cold air intake has been installed the next step of the airs journey is through your throttle body and into your intake manifold, both of which can be upgraded. Ford again upped the game with the 2018 facelift car and the intake manifold from the 2018 can be swapped onto 2015-2018 cars (and indeed 2012-2014 Coyote S197 GTs) for a nice enhancement in performance.

This will be optimised with the addition of the VMP performance 2018 Manifold loom to allow proper and efficient use of your engine at all speeds (again beware tuners / vendors saying lock out kits are the answer....they just don't want the added complexity of making the car run properly....) and also taking the manifold install as an opportunity to add heat shielding to optimise heat control. As we all know, added heat = lost power.

If you have taken the above steps, you will have dealt with the passage of the air through your Coyote from the very front of the car (intake) through the engine and out through a full exhaust system and you will have matched it with a Steeda tune to take advantage of all that extra air flow and you should be seeing a very healthy number a nice bump over 500hp. But who cares about numbers, it's all about the feeling and sound of driving your newly unleashed Coyote!

Engines make power very simply...They take in as much air as possible so they can mix in as much fuel as possible in order to make as big a bang as possible!

In very basic terms your hardware optimises your air flow, and the ECU (Engine Control unit) tune optimises your fuelling to match to create optimum power, optimum efficiency and optimal engine performance in all conditions.

This is why FI is called "Forced Induction" it uses mechanical means (i,.e a turbo or supercharger) to physically stuff as much air as possible into the engine in a variety of ways...... but more about that in part two!

For now all you need to know is that your Coyote can easily blast through the 500hp barrier with simple safe and affordable modifications that can be done step by step and with no need to beat up on all that lovely air.


Power means nothing without the ability to deliver it! That's why when we set about building a World Record breaking drag car we built an NA stock block drag car just to show HOW FAST you can go by ADDING GRIP to the Mustang platform. This is done by using Steeda performance chassis and suspension mods and Michelin tyres on great Velgen wheels. Shop around the site or call us for advice, or take another read of our Mustang Basic Upgrades Guide

Your journey to enhanced driveability, feel, confidence and the ability to lay down all that sweet, sweet V8 power starts with the Steeda IRS Base Pack. Super affordable, simple and the ONLY parts we recommend to EVERY Mustang owner. If you dont have it, buy it now and thank us afterwards! 

Steeda Silver Bullet Drag World Record NA Stock Block Mustang GT

 You never know, it could be your first steps to a world record of your own?


Shout out to Donut Media for the "moh power babeh" inspiration... I love those guys!



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