Even though SN95 Mustangs use the same platform as the Fox Body generation, there were noticeable improvements. This was partially due to better engine technology and suspension components. Overall, the SN95s came from the factory a little better equipped. As a result, SN95 horsepower starts from a better baseline. But there’s still significant room for improvement.
While there are a lot of great modifications for the SN95, these are some of the best ones to start with. They’ll work on any Mustang from 1994-2004, but if you’ve got one from 1999-2004, we have additional mods for New Edge Mustangs here.
Horsepower helps you accelerate quickly, one of the many things people love about Mustangs. Whether you just love getting up to speed on the highway, or want a competitive drag or drift-ready SN95, horsepower will be a critical component.
Cold Air Intake
Cold air intakes get recommended a lot. That’s because they’re easy to install and actually deliver the promised results. Essentially, a cold air intake moves the stock intake away from the engine itself. That, combined with some heat shielding, allows the cold air intake to pull in cooler air. Cool air is more oxygen-dense, and thus able to produce more power in the engine.
As an added bonus, there’s no denying that a cold air intake looks way cooler than the factory air intake. A little underhood dress up is never a bad thing, especially when it’s improving power as well.
Your engine isn’t just responsible for creating driving power. It also has to spin the alternator to charge the battery and operate the power steering pump and water pump. It’s able to do all of these things thanks to accessory pulleys.
Unfortunately, this kind of engine-multitasking does reduce your usable horsepower. You can’t simply disconnect the accessory pulleys without causing some serious problems. What you can do is change your engine’s priorities.
Underdrive pulleys allow you to prioritize the crankshaft over your accessories. By making the crankshaft pulley smaller, you ensure that it spins more for each accessory pulley turn. This reduces each accessory’s parasitic effect. Some underdrive pulley kits combine larger accessory pulleys and a smaller crankshaft pulley for more benefit.
Using an ECU tuner may be necessary for your other modifications to function. It’s also a great modification on its own. Giving your engine a tune allows you to set its parameters and priorities. In addition to a cold air intake, a tune is going to give you immediate benefits with very little effort.
If horsepower is the most important stat for you, then you might be a good candidate for an engine swap. Coyote swapping a New Edge Mustang is popular just because of the absurd horsepower increase. But really, most modern V8s are going to greatly improve your stock horsepower. There are a variety of crate engines and crate engine kits available. While engine swapping is an expensive and time-consuming modification, it does have huge power payoffs.
Exhaust modifications are incredibly popular for most late model Mustang enthusiasts. That’s because exhaust mods have the benefit of improving sound as well as reducing backpressure. The trick with exhaust upgrades is keeping on the right side of the law while improving sound and power.
Long tube or shorty headers replace your exhaust manifold, which is the first piece in the exhaust system. A lot of backpressure is created here, which makes it the ideal place to reduce it. Shorty and long tube headers are both much longer than your stock exhaust manifold.
Shorty headers come in equal and unequal lengths. You’ll get a deeper sound from unequal length shorty headers, but more power from equal length headers. Long tube headers offer both a deep rumbling sound and major performance gains. It is harder to find long tube headers that are fifty-state legal though, as neighbors aren’t wild about the sound.
Axle-Back or Cat-Back Exhaust
Upgrading to an axle-back or cat-back exhaust system is another major exhaust improvement. An axle-back system replaces everything from the rear axle to the exhaust tip. A cat-back replaces everything from the catalytic converter back.
Cat-back exhausts give more performance gains, but they’re also much harder to install. If you’re just looking for a great exhaust sound, then an axle-back system may be a better fit for you.
No one has ever doubted the Mustang’s ability to go fast. In a straight line, at least. Unfortunately, when it comes to the kind of precise handling needed for navigating curvy highways, autocross courses, or drifting, the SN95 needs a little help. Suspension modifications improve the responsiveness and precision of your handling.
Coilovers are one of the best suspension modifications you can make. Not only do they give you the adjustability you’ll need to lower your SN95, but they’re also stiffer than your stock suspension. This combination of stiffness and adjustability is what makes coilovers such a valued part.
The SN95’s factory sway bars are fine for basic street driving. But to reduce body roll and increase your grip on corners, thicker sway bars are a great investment. Sway bars are easy to install, and you’ll see the benefits immediately. As far as modifications go, this makes them an easy choice.
Subframe connectors are one of the best modifications for Fox Body Mustangs because chassis flex was such an issue. While some of that flex was reduced on the SN95, subframe connectors are still a great investment. These steel tubes connect the front and rear of your Mustang, stiffening the chassis and improving handling.
Though these aren’t the easiest modification to install on your own, they are one of the most recommended due to the immediate benefits. By preventing flex they can also help to increase the lifespan of your Mustang.
Wheels, Brakes, and Alignment
The way your Mustang sits, or its stance, affects appearance and performance. This makes it a great area to improve. With just a few adjustments, your SN95 can perform better and look nicer.
Aftermarket wheels aren’t just for appearance, although that’s certainly one reason people choose to upgrade. The aftermarket is full of great looking wheels for SN95 Mustangs. Larger wheels provide more precise handling, while smaller wheels can cut down on noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).
Disc Brake Upgrade
Thankfully, the SN95 Mustangs came with disc brakes. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be improved. As you add horsepower, you should improve stopping power as well. Many SN95 owners are especially fond of the SVT Cobra’s disc brakes. The great thing about this option is that they’re era-appropriate and an easy swap in.
In general, all the modifications the SVT team made to the Cobra are fantastic ideas for SN95 mods.
Caster Camber Plates
If you’ve decided to lower your SN95 Mustang, you’ll want to pick up a set of caster camber plates. These plates allow you to adjust the caster, camber, and toe angles of your wheels and tires. This is very important for proper alignment, and allows you to get low without losing any grip.
Performance modifications are important, but when you’re hitting the road, comfort also matters. Your SN95’s interior has most likely seen better days. Obviously, you should replace tattered or stuffing-less seats and fix any droopy headliner. But there are a lot of other ways you can make your Mustang perfect for you.
Short Throw Shifter
By adjusting the shifter’s pivot point, short throw shifters are able to make your shifts more precise while requiring less effort. That’s one of the reasons short throw shifters are such a popular modification. They’re also easy to install and look a lot better than the stock shifter.
Floor mats are so simple they don’t really count as a modification, but they’re still recommended. If you take the time and care to detail away decades of debris from your SN95’s carpet, then protecting it with a good floor mat is smart. A “good” floor mat is essential. While cheap floor mats can roll around, creating a hazard, high-quality floor mats are cut to precisely fit your Mustang. You don’t want to risk the floor mat wedging itself under a pedal at an inopportune time.
If you still have your original steering wheel, it’s likely looking worse for wear. Since you’ll need to replace it anyway, it may be worth upgrading to a performance-oriented steering wheel. Not only will it be more comfortable, but the extra traction will make your handling better right at the source.
Changing up the exterior of your Mustang is a great way to make it yours. These modifications tend to be the most fun since you’ll get reactions right away.
Swapping out your spoiler really changes the lines of your SN95 Mustang immediately. Though you’re unlikely to see any real performance benefit, you’ll definitely see an appearance boost. Though rear spoilers tend to be the most popular, chin spoilers really change the face of your Mustang for a more aggressive appearance. Experimenting with different styles of spoilers can help create the look you want.
Upgrading to LED headlights gives your exterior a more modern appearance and improves your ability to drive at night. Compared to the factory halogen bulbs, the LED lights will be much brighter. Make sure to install them correctly to avoid blinding other drivers.
Whether they’re functional or not, there are few exterior mods as look-altering as a hood scoop. Hood scoops come in a variety of styles, and while not all are functional, all definitely change the look of a Mustang in a big way.
Modifying Your SN95 Mustang
Changing up your SN95’s appearance and performance with modifications can turn an older Mustang into a sharp-looking performance beast. Or you can skip the appearance boosts altogether for a sleeper car that will take people by surprise.
The SN95’s flexible design allows for many exciting build directions.
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.