Performance Mustang Parts You Must Have
by Todd Schafer on February 11, 2014
Tuning a car is costly. While plenty of car enthusiasts love modifying their vehicles, not all can afford to pay top dollar for everything. Some of us have to pick and choose what we buy. So, in the spirit of saving during these tough economic times, we’ve compiled a list of the five most economical aftermarket performance Mustang parts that give you the biggest bang for your buck.
These parts aren’t necessarily the cheapest, but they give your vehicle the biggest boost for the amount of money you spend.
1. Rear Differential Gears
Changing your rear-end gear ratio allows your Mustang to cycle through the gears more quickly and increases its acceleration considerably while also possibly increasing your gas mileage. Many of the top aftermarket companies offer Mustang rear gears for around $150 – $250 and can make the difference between winning and losing at the drag track. Quicker off the line, quicker to the finish. Gears are marked in final drive ratios. They are denoted with a number, 3.73, 4.10, 5.16 etc. The number refers to to the number of time the drive shaft will rotate before your tire makes one complete rotation. The higher the number the more power going to your wheels. For newer model Mustangs I would recommend a 4.10 gear upgrade.
To put it simply, the stock shifter found in Mustangs isn’t meant to go through high-performance abuse and it isn’t optimal for racing conditions. With a short-throw shifter, which costs between $150 – $200, you can shift through the gears quicker and put that added acceleration you got from the rear gears to better use. Again there are many brands to choose from. My recommendation would be the Ralco RZ Short Shifter. They make short shifters for several late model Mustangs
3. Cold Air Intake
Stock Mustangs suffer from restricted air flow due to an odd air-silencer assembly they’re built with. A cold-air intake allows more air into the engine to keep it cooler and increase horsepower. They can cost anywhere from $125 – $500, but just about any will serve to better your vehicle from its stock-running counterparts. By directed cold air into your engine from outside your engine bay provides your engine with a cooler airflow throughout the engine. This burst of cool air produces added horsepower and can increase your gas mileage. Cold Air Intakes come in many styles, (cold air intake, short ram intake), with and without air boxes, and are made out of many different materials, plastic composites, aluminum, stainless steel. They come polished, brushed and powder coated. Because of the ease of installation, the cold air intake is one of the first upgrades a owner will do. R2C Performance is a US manufacturer of race parts for circle track cars. Through their knowledge and expertise in racing they have launched a street intake called the R2C MaxxFlow Cold Air Intake. Prices are aggressively positioned to make it the best value in the market right now.
4. Brake Upgrades
So you’ve made all these additions to make your car faster, but can it stop? If you’re going to increase its speed, it’s only logical to increase its stopping power too – for your own safety and the safety of your vehicle. The purpose of brake upgrades is pretty self-explanatory. Good, cost-effective brakes range from $200 – $500. The components that are typically upgraded are rotors, brake lines and brake pads. Rotors are available in OEM, slotted, cross drilled and slotted and cross drilled. The purpose of the slots and drilled holes is to release heat off your rotors. By reducing heat, your rotors and pads last longer and your don’t loose as much stopping power. Stainless Steel brake pads are ideal for the aggressive drive who does the occasional track day. The benefit is a firmer pedal pressure and ability to take higher temperatures without bulging or flex. Brake pads come in many materials, ceramic, semi metallic and full metallic. Each is designed for a certain driving style. It is important to select the correct brake pad for your driving habit to get the best performance and wear for your money. Then you always have the option to upgrade to a big brake system but then you are talking about big money. Not exactly the cheapest add-on, but one that could very well save your life.
5. Exhaust Upgrades
Larger exhaust and muffler add-ons can increase performance, but let’s be real here. You’re looking for that right, throaty roar that Mustangs are known for when you decide to replace the exhaust. For anywhere from $150 – $900, you can get the roar of your dreams. There are many options for the do it your self-er. You can just add a sick looking set of tips to your existing exhaust ends, or change out your restricted OEM mufflers for some free flowing ones which will produce that low guttural purr. An Axle back exhaust is replaces the OEM mufflers and tips for a setup that connects to your existing piping after the rear axle. A Cat-back exhaust, which is very popular, connects after your catalytic converter and runs out the back of your Mustang. A Turbo Back exhaust is just as the name implies, an exhaust system that connects after your turbo and usually replaces your cats making for a true free flowing exhaust. (Due to the omission of the cats, this system would be illegal on all US Highways) Performance gains all depends on the severity of the exhaust system you decide to install. The more free flowing the system the more performance your will gain but too much makes your car not street legal which defeats the purposes for most enthusiasts. The cat-back exhaust is a good choice for most street and track drivers because it provides a good amount of performance and retains your catalytic converters so you are also street legal. Exhaust components are probably one of the most accessible parts on my list. There are a growing number of manufacturers that make really nice exhausts for the Ford Mustang. Magnaflow, Gibson, CGS and Flowmaster. Another brand that makes a nice exhaust for the Ford Mustang is Borla. Borla Mustang Cat-back exhausts are available for 1987 to 2014 Mustangs.
Hopefully all you Mustang-owning budget-tuners out there now have an idea of the Mustang parts you should buy first. Autotuningstore.com was launched with you in mind. Being enthusiasts as well, I wanted to create a site that made you more than just a customer. We are dedicated in taking care of each customer with the utmost respect. Happy tuning.