Before Ford came out with the EcoBoost
engine in 2015, the V6 was a great entry-level Mustang. It was a good option for those who wanted a muscle
car but still needed something affordable and fuel-efficient.
Even though Ford discontinued the V6 after the 2017 model year, there are still plenty on the road. If you’re a V6
owner that’s looking to trade some of that fuel efficiency for power, there are plenty of upgrades to get more out
of your engine.
There are mods available for every generation of V6 Mustang. Keep reading to learn more about these mods or click on
a year range to skip to product recommendations for each model.
1994-2004 V6 Mods | 2005-2010 V6 Mods | 2011-2014 V6 Mods | 2015-2017 V6 Mods
Exhausts & Cold Air Intakes
Mustangs with V6 engines have a single-exhaust configuration consisting of a Y-pipe. Because they only have one exit
pipe in the back, converting to a
dual exhaust can greatly increase airflow and reduce backpressure.
A new exhaust system lets your V6 breathe
better, freeing up horsepower and torque for power gains. Not to mention adding a dual exhaust can give your V6
Mustang a smooth, deeper exhaust note.
If you want something simpler, you can install an aftermarket Y-pipe. Most of them have an easy bolt-on installation
and come with higher flowing catalytic converters so they’re less restrictive. You can pair them with a new set of
shorty headers to really open up the exhaust.
Cat-back exhaust systems are a comprehensive upgrade that will replace everything from the catalytic converter back.
They can give your V6 a deeper exhaust tone along with added efficiency.
For 2015 V6 Mustangs and newer, a resonator delete X-pipe can replace the restrictive factory resonator. This will
improve your sound and boost performance. They can be used with the factory mufflers or an aftermarket axle-back
system. Axle-backs may not provide the best performance gains, but they can contribute to a better sounding and
better looking exhaust.
You can add even more power by combining a new exhaust with a cold air intake kit. Aftermarket
intakes are far less restrictive than the stock intake system, bringing more cool and clean air into the engine.
This can free up horsepower and torque by making your V6 more efficient.
Throttle Bodies & Throttle Body Spacers
The throttle body is also one
of the most important Mustang V6 mods. It’s fairly easy to install as well. If you’re going to add a cold air
intake, you may want to pick up a bigger throttle body or throttle body spacers.
Larger throttle bodies can send more air to the intake manifold. This can help acceleration and improve throttle
response. They’ll help make your engine less restrictive so you can get the most horsepower possible.
Throttle body spacers lengthen the intake manifold to alter the airflow for better performance. They provide
mid-range torque gains and optimize the air-fuel ratio for improved fuel economy.
An engine tuner is one of the
most valuable tools for automotive enthusiasts. Once you start adding mods to your V6 Mustang, your computer won’t
know that you added them. This could limit the potential performance these upgrades offer. You can use a tuner to
adjust the air/fuel mixture, coolant temperature, shift points, speed limiters, and more.
ECU tuners come equipped with features that
can help amateurs and experienced car enthusiasts alike get the best tune possible. Pre-tuned settings will help
those who aren't sure of their tuning skills and don't want to mess anything up. They also allow you to backup
factory settings, which can be stored and recalled at any time. You can even use the programmer to detune the
Mustang if someone like your teenager is going to have access to the car.
SN95 V6 Mustang Mods (1994-2004)
Ford used the 3.8 liter V6 overhead valve engine in all of its SN95 Mustangs. In 1994, this V6 put out 145 horsepower
and 215 lb.-ft. of torque. Though the horsepower numbers changed throughout
the SN95 generation, it maxed out at 193 hp.
If you’re looking to add some more power to your 3.8L engine, here are a few mods that can give your V6 better
2005-2010 V6 Mustang Mods
Ford switched to a 4.0L SOHC V6 engine in 2005, the first year of the S197 generation. This engine produced 210
horsepower and 240 lb.-ft. of torque, and was used through the 2010 model year. Although this engine is more
underpowered than the one used in the later S197s, with a few mods, you can reach the same horsepower or better.
Superchargers & Turbos
If you want your V6 to feel more like a V8, a forced induction system can give you that extra boost. They’re one of
the more expensive mods but can offer significant horsepower and torque gains.
Superchargers and turbos use compressors to force more air into the engine. Superchargers run off the engine, while
turbos are powered by exhaust gases.
There are a few supercharger options for
early S197 V6s. Depending on the supercharger, you can get your 4.0L to produce as much as 330 horsepower
and 337 ft.-lb. of torque. That’s over 100 more horsepower and nearly that much in added torque.
Although there may be less turbocharger
options, a turbo will boost power levels as well.
2011-2014 V6 Mustang Mods
In 2011, Ford unveiled the new “Cyclone” V6 engine for the later S197 Mustangs. The “Cyclone” used Twin Independent
Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT). The 3.7-liter V6 engine made almost 100 more horsepower than its predecessor,
coming in at 305 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque.
It may have been a smaller displacement than the old 4.0L, but it weighed over 40 pounds less and offered more power.
Even though this engine has plenty of horsepower, there are still some performance upgrades you can add.
For a full look at a variety of different upgrades, check out our 2011-2014 Mustang mod guide.
S550 V6 Mustang Mods (2015-2017)
2015 was the year the V6 became less of an entry-level sports car and more of a budget option. Ford released the S550
generation in 2015, still offering the 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 engine. In the S550’s body, the V6 put out 300 horsepower and
280 lb.-ft. of torque. 2015 was the same year that Ford came out with the new EcoBoost engine.
The EcoBoost was a turbocharged four-cylinder that made 310 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft. of torque. The EcoBoost had
more power than the V6 and a much sportier feel. Many of the creature comforts were also removed from the V6 models.
With the rise of the EcoBoost, the V6 just couldn’t compete anymore. So in 2017, the V6 Mustang era came to an end.
However, if you own a V6 S550, adding these performance upgrades can narrow the gap between it and the EcoBoost and V8.
Does a V8 Swap Make Sense?
There’s no need to feel underpowered just because you have a V6 Mustang. There are plenty of upgrades that will make
your V6 almost as powerful as a V8. Plus, installing mods is part of being an enthusiast. But if you want even more
power, you can always do an engine swap.
It might be tempting to swap a V8 into a V6, but the effort might not be worth the reward. Along with buying all the
parts, you have to make sure all the components are compatible. If you’re not an experienced wrencher, you’ll need
to pay a professional.
S550 owners that are already familiar with engine swaps may be able to get a good deal on an F-150 Coyote engine from
a scrapyard. Doing most of the work yourself will help keep the total costs lower. But for many V6 owners, a V8 swap
will be too expensive and time-consuming.
This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.