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He of Long Wind
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2,172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to make 450 hp with my stock 5.0 w/120,000 miles, and I'm on a tight budget. What things should I do?

I browse through the forum almost every night, and it seems that countless posts ask some variation of this question. How do I take an old stock engine and coax it to produce X% more horsepower without spending too much cash? It makes me think about my first hot-rod ... a '71 Mach One FB with a 351C/2V. God I loved that car! It was an old junker that my Dad and I bondo'd back to life - and in 1984 it wasn't even a classic. It was just an old rusty car. For a Mustang, the '71 was a gigantic pig, and it probably couldn't have broken into the 16's on the best cool night, but it sounded fantastic with my JC Whitney mufflers and short turn-downs. Sporting those 2nd-hand SS Cragar rims and a slightly cracked flat-black spoiler, I was the king of the street ... at least whenever I had gas money. I was a broke teenager with only a part-time job. So it was a struggle just to pay the insurance and upkeep - let alone make serious performance upgrades. But I could dream.

Since I really couldn't afford major upgrades, I spent several years wasting $20 or $40 at a time on upgrades that really weren't upgrades ... engine additives, special spark plugs, an Accel coil, a high-flow air cleaner, etc. Every week I dedicated money to improving the old '71, but it never seemed to go any faster. I hadn't quite figured out that making more horsepower (fundamentally) meant dumping more fuel and having the air flow and mechanical integrity to burn it. So instead of saving money for the upgrades that might have mattered (machine work on the block/bore & rebuild, higher-compression pistons, upgraded cylinder heads and camshaft, etc.), I wasted my money - a few dollars at a time on stuff that didn't work. In spite of all my efforts - in spite of twisting every screw on the carburetor - setting the timing at every possible position - and trying every magical oil and fuel additive on the market - my old '71 Mach One never really made more power than it did on the first day.

I'd bet my experience isn't unique. How many of you have wasted money trying to make more horsepower, only to be disappointed? If you ever fallen for a faux upgrade, a snake oil promise, or a miracle gadget, let's hear the story. Maybe we can save someone from throwing money away ...
 

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Like A Boss
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18,927 Posts
Not much, but my dad put some fuel injector cleaner (fuel additive) into his 99 Expedition, and the cleaner caused the car to stall at every stop until 3 fuel tanks later. Its not a mustang, but its still a 2v 4.6, and its not for performance, but it was a waste...
 

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26 Posts
My previous Stang was a 98GT. Had 70K miles on it. It was so damn slow. I had full off road exhaust, CAI, pullies, tri-ax, 4.10's. It was hell at the drag strip. I couldn't hook and the best I could ever get was a 14.5. Those 96-98 4.6's were God awful slow. I probly had 220RWHP at best......buuuut now i have 400 in my fox!!
 
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