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4.6L / 5.4L 2-Valve Supercharging
Though superchargers certainly predated the fuel-injected 5.0L Mustang, it wasn’t until Ford
replaced the carburetor in 1986 with a long-runner fuel-injection manifold that Mustang
supercharging came of age. Modern 4.6L enthusiasts have the 5.0L to thank for the current crop of
superchargers available for the modular motors. Those of us with a few years under our belts
remember when the Paxton planetary drive blowers were the only game in town and actually
running across one on the street was a real surprise. Those early planetary drive Paxton blowers
have since given way to such impressive offerings as the gear-driven Novi 1000, 1200, and (my
favorite) the ever-impressive Novi 2000. Where the early Paxton blowers were hard pressed to
support 500 hp, the modern Novi 2000 is capable of more than doubling that number. In this
chapter, we’ll test systems from Ford Racing, Kenne Bell, and Vortech, not to mention supercharger
offerings directly from Ford.
800 Horsepower 4.6L SOHC engine with Vortech YS-Trim supercharger and a custom dual-core air-to-water aftercooler
This 4.6L 2-valve mod motor
cranked out 800 flywheel hp
running a Vortech YS-Trim
supercharger and a custom
dual-core air-to-water aftercooler.
While Ford offered Paxton supercharged motors back when Carroll Shelby was putting the hurt on
Ferrari, the modern era probably started with the Eaton M62 supercharger in the Ford Thunderbird
Super Coupe. The 3.8L V-6 was equipped not only with modern fuel injection, but also a positive
displacement roots supercharger and intercooler gave it 5.0L performance. Ford supplied truck
owners with an impressive gift in the form of the supercharged 5.4L Lightning truck. An easy 14-
second machine right off the showroom floor (13s if driven well), the 5.4L Lightning mill
demonstrated that the 2-valve mod motors really responded to boost (what motor doesn’t?). Ford
would later add an Eaton M112 roots supercharger to the 4.6L 4-valve Cobra in 2003, and then
apply an even more impressive 2.3L twin-screw blower to the all-aluminum 5.4L 4-valve mod motor
used in the Ford GT. To date, this is the ultimate Ford modular motor, and quite possibly the most
impressive (if not most powerful) motor Ford has ever offered in a production car. Rated at 550 hp,
the supercharged 5.4L 4-valve motor has been tested to produce that 550-hp power rating at the
wheels. I’d pit this supercharged mod motor against any stock 427 Cammer (though not technically
a production motor), 428 Cobra Jet, or Boss 429 any day.
 roots blower kit from the Ford Racing for Ford 4.6L SOHC engine
Want to make your 281-ci mod motor
feel like it just gained another 100
cubic inches? This roots blower kit
from the Ford Racing catalog will
provide big-block-like torque from your
4.6L.
Though the 5.0L can be credited with introducing the modern performance world to supercharging,
the 4.6L has continued to expand the popularity of forced induction. Currently there are a minimum
of 10 different supercharger manufacturers that offer kits directly for the 4.6L Ford family. The
number of manufacturers involved (and their success) should give you an idea about the popularity
of the supercharged mod motors. In the end, it’s the enthusiast that benefits from the proliferation
of available kits, as competition improves the product line and decreases the cost to the consumer.
Having 10 different manufacturers also provides variety. This is an important fact and contrary to
some of the propaganda you read on some of the Web sites there is not one ideal form of
supercharging for the 4.6L 2-valve motor. Were there one form that excelled above all others and
provided the very best of every comparison variable, no other form would continue to exist.
Fortunately for us, this is simply not the case. Variety allows you to pick and choose the best
combination to meet your particular needs. Centrifugal superchargers perform a certain way, as do
roots and twin-screw blowers. Which one is right for you depends on what you want.
4.6L engine with T-Trim centrifugal supercharger unit from Vortech and air to water intercooler
Even on a mild 4.6L, a centrifugal
supercharger like this T-Trim unit from
Vortech will add an easy 100 hp. The
air-to-water aftercooler provides the
necessary cooling to allow you to run
elevated boost levels on pump gas.
If you are looking for maximum (peak) power production from your (hopefully suitably built) 4.6L
2-valve motor, then you will probably be best served by a centrifugal blower. If instantaneous boost
response is more important, then you should be leaning toward either of the positive displacement
designs (roots or twin-screw). There are obviously positive and negative attributes offered by each
type of supercharger, but in the end, the choice will likely come down to more variables than just
peak power; things like cost, kit completeness, ease of installation, availability, customer service,
and (very important) tuning. Does the supercharger kit come with an ECU program designed to
provide maximum safe performance on pump gas? Does the kit include the necessary injector
upgrade, fuel pump upgrade, or ignition amplifier? Once installed, how difficult is it to further
increase the power output? Is it more involved than a simple pulley change (it almost always is)? I
have just scratched the surface in terms of considerations when choosing a supercharger for your
4.6L Mustang, but know that all superchargers offer a significant power gain, just be sure that the
tune (air/fuel and especially timing) are spot on before putting your foot in it.

While not quite on par with the 4-valve 4.6L, the 4.6L and 5.4L 2-valve motors respond very well to
supercharging. Whether the blower kit is a simple M90 from Ford Racing or an intercooled YS trim
from Vortech, adding a blower kit to your mod motor will yield impressive dividends. One convenient
way to calculate the power potential offered by any supercharger is to take the power output of the
naturally aspirated motor and multiply it by the boost pressure as a function of atmospheric
pressure. Since a naturally aspirated motor runs at an atmospheric pressure of 14.7 psi (or 1 BAR),
all we have to do to double the power output of the motor (in theory) is to double the pressure to
the motor. By this I mean that if the naturally aspirated 4.6L 2-valve motor produced 300 hp, all we
have to do to reach 600 hp is to double the pressure or supply 14.7 psi using a supercharger. If we
supply only 7.35 psi, we should see a corresponding power gain of roughly 50 percent, since 7.35
psi is 50 percent of 14.7 psi. Using 10 psi, we see that the power gain will be 68 percent, since 10
psi is 68 percent of 14.7 psi, while 20 psi should provide a gain of 136 percent. The simple math
formula is as follows: Supercharged HP = NA hp x (Boost pressure/14.7 +1).
twin-screw supercharger from Kenne Bell installed on a 4.6L SOHC engine
The twin-screw supercharger from
Kenne Bell combines the immediate
response of the positive-displacement
blower with improved efficiency (and
power potential) over a typical roots
blower.
Now that I have extolled the virtues of the boost/power formula, I can tell you why motors usually do
not reach the stated power outputs. The first problem is that the formula does not take into account
the parasitic losses associated with driving the supercharger. In the case of a high-horsepower
application, the supercharger may consume 50 to 100 hp (or more) and this power is subtracted
directly from the output. If the boost pressure of 10 psi were to supply a mass flow gain able to
support a 68-percent increase, then you would still have to subtract the parasitic losses associated
with driving the blower. Due to the increase in heat associated with the increase in compression (to
10 psi), the number of oxygen molecules per volume is less than it would be at atmospheric
pressure. Therefore, the increase in pressure of 68 percent (to 10 psi) will not likely yield a
commensurate gain in power, though intercooling can improve the air density (number of molecules
per volume). Despite these seemingly insurmountable odds, we often reach the power suggested
by the power/boost formula on 4.6L 2-valve motors by combining a healthy (and powerful) naturally
aspirated combination with an efficient supercharger.
Horsepower dyno testing chart of a 4.6L SOHC engine with supercharger Naturally Aspirated vs. With Ford
Racing Supercharger
PI 2-Valve GT:
298 hp @ 4,900 rpm

With Ford Racing Supercharger:
383 hp @ 5,700 rpm
Largest Gain: 117 hp @ 5,900 rpm
PI 2-Valve GT: NA vs. Ford Racing Supercharger (Horsepower)
When you’re trying to add power to your 2-valve modular motor there’s nothing quite like forced
induction. In this case, the boost in power came from a Ford Racing supercharger kit. The Ford
Racing supercharger system utilizes an M90 Eaton blower and dedicated intake casting that
features long intake runners to maximize the power production below 6,000 rpm. Unlike most other
supercharger systems, the Ford Racing blower doesn’t include an intercooler, but you don’t need
one at the reduced boost. Adding the blower to the SHM 2-valve 4.6L upped the peak power to 383
hp and the torque to 395 ft-lbs. The peak-to-peak power gain was 85 hp, but the largest gain was
117 hp at 5,900 rpm.
Torque dyno testing chart of a 4.6L SOHC supercharged engine
PI 2-Valve GT:
345 ft-lbs @ 4,100 rpm

With Ford Racing Supercharger:
395 ft-lbs @ 3,800 rpm
Largest Gain: 95 ft-lbs @ 5,900 rpm
PI 2-Valve GT: NA vs. Ford Racing Supercharger (Torque)
As expected, the roots supercharger provided instantaneous boost and torque, adding 60 ft-lbs at
just 2,500 rpm. In fact, the Ford Racing blower added a solid 50 ft-lbs throughout the rev range. An
extra 50 ft-lbs is always a welcomed addition to any 2-valve 4.6L Mustang. The boost pressure
reached a peak of 6.8 psi, but was just 4.5 to 5 psi for most of the RPM range.
Previous | Next


This has been a sample page from

Building 4.6 / 5.4L Ford Horsepower on the Dyno Building 4.6/5.4L Ford
Horsepower on the Dyno
by Richard Holdener
The 4.6- and 5.4-liter modular Ford engines are finally
catching up with the legendary 5.0L in terms of aftermarket
support and performance parts availability. Having a lot of
parts to choose from is great for the enthusiast, but it can
also make it harder to figure out what parts and modifications
will work best. Building 4.6/5.4L Ford Horsepower on the
Dyno takes the guesswork out of modification and parts
selection by showing you the types of horsepower and torque
gains expected by each modification.

Author Richard Holdener uses over 340 photos and 185
back-to-back dyno graphs to show you which parts increase
horsepower and torque, and which parts don’t deliver on
their promises. Unlike sources that only give you peak
numbers and gains, Building 4.6/5.4L Ford Horsepower on
the Dyno includes complete before-and-after dyno graphs,
so you can see where in the RPM range these parts make
(or lose) the most horsepower and torque. Holdener covers
upgrades for 2-, 3-, and 4-valve modular engines, with
chapters on throttle bodies and inlet elbows, intake
manifolds, cylinder heads, camshafts, nitrous oxide,
supercharging, turbocharging, headers, exhaust systems,
and complete engine buildups.
Click below to view sample pages
Chap. 1 - Throttle Bodies
Chap. 2 - Intake Manifold
Chap. 3 - Cylinder Heads
Chap. 4 - Camshafts
Chap. 5 - Nitrous Oxide
Chap. 6 - SOHC Supercharging
Chap. 7 - DOHC Supercharging
Chap. 8 - Turbocharging
Chap. 9 - Engine Headers
Chap. 10 - 4.6 Engine Buildups
8-1/2 x 11"
Sftbd.
208 pgs.
340+ b/w photos
Item # SA115P
Price: $28.95
This is a great book and a
must have for anyone
considering modifying a 4.6 or
5.4 Ford for more power!
Click here to buy now!


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