There are all manner of products out there promising cheap and easy horsepower gains for Mustangs. We’ve seen a few that work, and plenty that don’t live up to their hype. At the end of the day it’s all about how well the part is designed and manufactured, and the technology, or science behind it.
Heatshield Products has been building thermal barriers and related products for enthusiasts and racers for years. Selling everything from exhaust and header wrap, to barrier material to help keep the heat out of other components or away from drivers, chances are they have a high quality thermal product to fit the needs of most applications.
Heat Shield Products recently sent us some intake manifold shields for our 2011 Mustang GT, Project Wild E Coyote. If you’ve been following along with the build of this project car, then you may be aware that we’re making the transition to turbo for our power adder of choice. We’re also going to be using a Ford Racing Performance Parts BOSS 302 intake, to help breathe in that pressurized air.
Unfortunately like all other V-8 engines, the intake manifold on our Coyote engine is still subject to the same radiant heat exposure that has plagued all V-configuration engines since their design early in the 20th century. This additional heat robs horsepower as it reduces the density of the incoming air charge.
The Heatshield Products intake shields are made from 0.125-inch fiberglass material that is shielded by 0.003-inch aluminum. The heat shield material is resistant to 1,100° F constant radiant heat, and the adhesive is good to 300° F. With more than one-inch of air gap between the shield and the radiant heat source, Heatshield Products says this shield is capable of blocking 90-percent of the heat. even if there is less than a one-inch gap, the company says it is still an effective barrier for blocking radiant heat.
For the BOSS intake, the heatshield, part number 140007, fits behind the intake runners, blocking radiant heat from the engine valley and reducing the amount that is absorbed into the runners. Use of the intake heat shield should result in a more dense incoming air charge for our turbocharged engine by keeping radiant heat away from the intake runners.
In testing, other shops have shown a 12 hp gain with just the installation of the intake shield. That may make this modification possibly the cheapest horsepower per dollar on any Mustang engine we’ve found since bumping the timing on the old pushrod 302’s.
On the standard Coyote intake manifold, part number 140008 is used and fits on the underside of the intake manifold to block heat radiating from the engine valley to the manifold. We have to wonder if the heat shields may boost power even more on the stock manifold since most of it sits down in the engine’s valley, exposing an unshielded manifold to more radiant heat.
Installation is fairly simple for either the BOSS or stock Coyote shield, though both do require the manifold to be removed. The shields are already cut to the correct size, if trimming is desired it can be done with a pair of sharp, heavy duty scissors, or a utility knife. The underside of the intake must be cleaned and free of dirt and grease. A final wipe down with a pre-paint product or isopropyl alcohol is also necessary to remove any last contaminants.
With the backing removed from the adhesive, the shield is lined up and pressed into place firmly. Once it’s installed, simply reinstall the intake manifold, new gaskets may be needed.
We have these installed on Wild E Coyote’s new BOSS intake manifold and will be testing them out soon. Whether an engine is forced induction or naturally aspirated, the benefits of an intake heat shield have been proven on the dyno already. This is one more piece that should give us a competitive edge on the track, and keep our engine a little happier with cooler air intake temperatures. At an extremely low cost per horsepower, and a relatively simple installation process there’s not much you can do for the same amount of money to gain this much horsepower this easily.