Much in the way professional athletes have taken to wearing Breathe Right strips to open up their nasal passages and optimize their breathing during a game, it is important for an engine to intake and exhale air as efficiently as possible in order to maximize performance. For this reason, Project Grabbr recently got a set of JBA‘s 1 7/8-inch long tube stainless headers, part number 36685S, with matching H-pipe part number 36685SH. Both are avaible from Jegs.com as part numbers 578-36685S and 578-36685SH. For installation we headed to PSI Speed Solutions in Palmerton, PA by Sean Dill and strapped the car to the dyno with help from none other then Drag Radial star Frank Soldridge.
In preparation for the mounting of the ProCharger P-1SC-1 supercharger, we pre-emptively replaced the 2011 Mustang’s stock bushings to with UPR‘s Adjustable Motor Mounts. Adjustable in ¼-inch increments from stock engine height to a ¾-inch drop, they offer additional hood clearance and lower the centre of gravity in the process. Featuring Energy Suspension Urethane bushings and CNC machined 7075 Billet Aluminum, they are the strongest and most versatile bushings on the market.
The headers are 1-7/8-inch, full length, fully-polished headers constructed from 304 stainless steel. The matching 304 stainless steel mandrel-bent 3-inch H-pipe helps us complete the installation. The main reason for choosing this particular setup was due to the V-band connections at the H-pipe, as this should eliminate any potential exhaust leak issues. JBA has been developing and manufacturing exhaust systems for over 22 years and is well known for its Cat4ward headers with the JBA Firecone. Their merged collectors greatly improve the engine’s volumetric efficiency.
By increasing the diameter of the tubing to a more desired diameter we are able to flow the exhaust gasses out of the engine at a better rate increasing scavenging and power. -Don Lindfors, JBA Headers
Other benefits can include reduced under-hood temperature, improved fuel economy, and improved engine compartment aesthetics.“Stock exhaust pipes are designed with efficient manufacturing in mind rather than performance,” says JBA’s Don Lindfors. “By increasing the diameter of the tubing to a more desired diameter we are able to flow the exhaust gasses out of the engine at a better rate increasing scavenging and power.”
Not only has the diameter been increased, but the mandrel bends ensure diameter consistency, unlike the crush bends of the factory systems. The X design in our mid pipe helps balance the scavenging affect between both banks of the V8 motor.
Before you start any job, you want to make sure you received all of the proper parts for the installation. The header number will be stamped on the engine flange. The JBA kit will include the driver and passenger side header assemblies, two O2 bung plugs, two V-Band clamps, gaskets, and reducers. There is one bung in the primary tube in each header, which is the recommended location from Ford Racing for the wideband sensor (the front one) and then the rear sensors can go into the collector location. If your tuner prefers to use the collector location for tuning, JBA has O2 sensor extensions available but they must be purchased separately. There’s also an O2 location on the H-pipe that we plugged since it wasn’t used in our application.
Using a lift for this project is highly advised since you’ll need access and leverage underneath the vehicle as well as the capability to lift the engine up within the chassis. The strut tower brace and engine cover will need to be removed to provide additional clearance. Start by disconnecting the battery and removing necessary fasteners and fittings–from the air intake as well. A lubricant or penetrating oil will help here. Next, unplug the O2 sensors from the catalytic converter assembly and the converters from the factory headers and H-pipe respectively, which can then also be removed. Removing the nut on the driver side motor mount will allow the engine to be raised with a jack and the help of a block of wood to distribute the load once it is raised 2 to 3 inches.
Removing the lower two-point brace from the rear of the K-member will help to provide more room. The three bolts securing the starter in place will need to be removed, as will the lower shields under the car. Once loosening the bolts that attach the steering shaft, U-joints to the steering rack, and the steering column, the shaft can be removed offering more room but still not much. It’s easiest to remove the upper nut for the factory catalyst pipe from the top side (passenger side only) because the starter is in the way of getting a wrench in there.
Inside the car, the steering shaft plate needs to be unbolted from the floor. The top end of the shaft also needs to be disconnected from the steering wheel. This is to provide more room to get the headers in and out. The bottom end of the shaft gets removed from the rack as well. Removing the nuts attaching the header to the cylinder head is difficult due to the limited access, as will tightening the studs after installing the gasket and securing the JBA Long Tube header in place with the original studs.
As is the case with most projects, install all header bolts loosely, then tighten each bolt evenly to ensure flat, consistent contact. JBA recommends starting from the inside of the flange working out, alternating from top to bottom so that the bolt connects the flange to the manifold to the point where they barely touch. This method will allow easier access and help prevent leakage to provide optimal performance.
Once fasteners are tightened, the disassembly process can be reversed piece by piece. Slide the H-pipe halves together, check fitment with collectors, keeping them lightly snugged down to give movement, but allowing for adjustment, then install V-band connectors to finish up installation. Tighten everything moderately, working from V-band connector back to the factory exhaust.
In typical fashion, the install did not go without a hitch. Sean Dill of PSI Speed Solutions details the troubleshooting experience, “Once tightened down, the headers did not line up properly with the H-pipe. In order to get everything to line up, we needed to pull the base of the headers closer together with a ratchet strap.”
The variance in alignment was likely caused by heat in the welding process, but was a simple fix. We pulled the headers together with the strap until everything lined up, then installed the H-pipe with the V-band connections. Next we started the car up and let it warm up to look for leaks. We then shut the engine off and let it cool down before ensuring all fasteners are secured tightly. Mufflers sometimes require adjustment to properly position once everything is tightened. Once we wrapped up the install, it was time for Frank Soldridge to once again strap the S197 to the dyno to see what kind of gains we were looking at. “The factory headers on these cars are pretty efficient,” commented Soldridge while going through the data, “The gain with the long-tubes really comes in the high RPM range.”
JBA's 2015 Mustang Header Options
JBA is already offering long-tube race headers, Cat4Ward emissions headers, X-pipes, axle-back and cat-back systems. The cat-back includes a stainless steel 3-inch X-pipe system with 4-inch stainless steel tips. The 1 7/8-inch long tube headers are available in raw 409 stainless steel, ceramic coated, titanium coated or fully polished 304 stainless steel.
We ran our car on the dyno before the install began. Spinning the rollers the car made 402.0 hp and 363.o lb-ft of torque. After installing the headers and H-pipe, we showed 415.0 hp and 368.0 lb-ft of torque. Those are peak gains of 13 hp and 5 lb-ft of torque at the rear tires. As suspected, gains were predictably modest with the stock intake and remaining exhaust pieces post H-pipe. Average power went from 289 hp on our baseline run to 294 hp.That is an average increase reached of 5 hp. Torque went from 314 lb-ft to 317 lb-ft average, an average gain of 3 lb-ft of torque. The most significant gains were achieved at the top end, with power sustaining longer where it had previously begun to drop off. “These headers will really shine once we put the ProCharger on the car later this spring,” added Soldridge. “It will be worth the effort to install them once all the pieces are in place.” We’re looking forward to it!