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4.6L / 5.4L Supercharging 3- and  4-Valve Modular Engines
Supercharged modular motors are so popular that I was forced to separate them into two chapters.
Given the current concern for emissions compliance (especially here in California), supercharger
kits have become extremely popular. Blower kits allow users to dramatically increase the power
output of their motor without resorting to the usual array of cams, cubes (cubic inches), and
compression, none of which would likely be emissions legal. Adding 100 hp (or more) to your 4.6L
or 5.4L modular motor with traditional bolt-ons is a difficult (but not impossible) proposition. Adding
the same amount of power with a supercharger is quite easy. Given that the rated power output of
a typical Cobra motor is about 300 hp, improving the power output by 100 hp equates to a gain of
only 33 percent. Truth be told, most enthusiasts would be disappointed if they received a gain of
“only” 100 hp from their blower kit. The gains from a 7 to 8 psi kit would probably be closer to 150
hp (roughly 50 percent), upping the power output of your 300-hp Cobra motor to an altogether
more impressive 450 hp. The best thing about the gains offered by supercharging is that additional
power is just a pulley change (and proper tuning) away. Suppose you build a dedicated blower
motor down the line the right supercharger can easily supply your new power needs.
1400 horsepower Ford 5.4L DOHC engine with ATI F2M blower
Things got serious during testing when
Accufab installed an ATI (Procharger)
F2M blower on a 5.4L 4-valve motor.
Running 25 psi, the high-compression
modular motor produced 1,400 hp.
Though enthusiasts had been installing superchargers on their modular motors for years, things
really took off when Ford introduced the supercharged Cobra in 2003. The 4.6L 4-valve motor
came from the factory with a forged short block, including a forged steel crank, forged steel
(Manley) connecting rods, and even forged aluminum pistons. Naturally, Ford lowered the static
compression on the supercharged combination for safe street use on unleaded pump gas. The
highlight of the supercharged 4.6L 4-valve was of course the Eaton M112 supercharger. Like any
supercharged (or turbocharged) motor offered by the factory, improving the power output was a
simple matter of upping the boost pressure. Actually, there’s a great deal of power to be had with
software tuning, as the factory naturally left the timing and fuel curves pretty conservative. A tad
more timing (especially down low) and a slightly leaner mixture up top can give you an easy 30 to
40 hp from a chip change. Add to that the extra boost available from blower and/or crank pulley
swaps and ’03 Cobra owners were ruling the streets. The supercharged ’03 and ’04 Cobra motors
not only produced impressive peak power numbers (easily more than their rated power), they also
produced something decidedly missing in previous modular motors: torque. The positive-
displacement roots supercharger belted out impressive low-end and midrange torque like nobody’s business.
Novi 2000 blower installed on a 4.6L DOHC engine
The Novi 2000 (shown here in
intercooled form) has proven itself an
excellent street blower for a modular
motor. Though capable of supporting
better than 1,000 hp, the Novi even
excels at lower (street-oriented) boost
While the Mustang performance world welcomed the supercharged Cobra, enthusiasts soon found
that the limiting factor in terms of power output was actually the Eaton supercharger. Kenne Bell
came to the rescue with a more efficient and powerful supercharger. Having already rescued the 5.4
L 2-valve Lightning owners, Kenne Bell decided that 4-valve Cobra owners deserved the same
respect. Replacing the roots blower with a more powerful twin-screw takes the blown Cobra motor to
the next performance level. While Cobra owners struggle to exceed 500 flywheel hp with the stock
Eaton (most resorting to nitrous to dip into the 10s with the stock blower), upgrading to the Kenne
Bell twin-screw blower (especially the larger 422 model) pushes wheel power numbers over 700 hp.
This power potential allows supercharged Cobra owners to dip into the 9s without nitrous. What
Cobra owners like most about the Kenne Bell upgrade is that the majority of the components,
including the factory air-to-water intercooler, are kept intact. The Kenne Bell twin-screw doesn’t
suffer the low-speed power losses associated with a centrifugal supercharger, offering all of the
immediate boost and torque response of the Eaton roots blower without falling off at elevated
engine speeds and power levels. Where the boost pressure (and resulting power) supplied by the
Eaton roots blower falls off rapidly, the power just continues to climb with the Kenne Bell.
Vortech supercharger kit installed on a 2005 4.6L 3 valve motor
Just before this book was completed,
Vortech introduced a supercharger kit
for the new 2005 4.6L 3-valve motor.
As time goes on, the market for the
3-valve will catch up.
The centrifugal camp (ATI, Paxton, and Vortech) all jumped on the supercharged Cobra
bandwagon, offering to replace the restrictive Eaton supercharger with a much more efficient
centrifugal design. While the centrifugal superchargers are capable of easily exceeding the power
levels offered by the Eaton roots blower, there is a tradeoff associated with this upgrade, a tradeoff
many of the Cobra owners are not willing to accept. Unlike the Kenne Bell twin-screw blower, the
boost pressure supplied by the centrifugal blowers increases with engine speed. Pullied to produce
11 psi, the Eaton (or Kenne Bell) blower may offer 10 psi at 2,500 rpm where the centrifugal will
only supply 2 psi. Obviously, this significant difference in boost pressure will result in a sizable
difference in torque production in favor of the positive-displacement blower. Out on the other end of
the rev range, the result is quite different, as the efficiency of the roots blower diminishes where the
centrifugal is coming into its element. For maximum peak power, the centrifugal design will offer
much more power potential than the stock Eaton M112 roots blower. Given the efficiency of the
centrifugal design, it’s also possible to run much higher boost levels than with the roots blower while
maintaining the same charge temperature. The choice between a positive displacement and a
centrifugal comes down to where you want your motor to produce power, down low or up high.
Vortech VF24 supercharger
I was excited about testing the new
Vortech VF24 supercharger, but
damage to the test motor (with another
supercharger) meant that I couldn’t
include results on the impressive new
race blower.
Naturally, in this chapter you’ll find testing on the supercharged ’03 Cobra crate motor. I replaced
the stock Eaton supercharger with a naturally aspirated manifold from the 2001 NA 4-valve Cobra
in an effort to demonstrate just how much power the Eaton supercharger supplied to the stock
motor. Boost upgrades for the Ford Racing Cobra crate motor are also covered, as is a Kenne Bell
twin-screw blower upgrade. I ran a Vortech supercharger on the ’03 4-valve motor, and then
installed a Paxton Novi 2000 on a Sean Hyland (high-compression) 4-valve test motor to
demonstrate the effect of intercooling. In addition to the 4-valve motors, this chapter also includes
coverage of a Paxton supercharger kit for the new 2005 4.6L 3-valve motor. Though we hoped to
include test results on the new Vortech VF24 race blower, problems arose with the test motor and
pushed testing beyond the completion date of the book. We did manage to run a wild 5.4L 4-valve
motor with an ATI F2M supercharger and air-to-water intercooler that produced huge power. The 4-
valve (and 3-valve) combinations work very well with forced induction, much better than the 2-valve
counterparts. Credit the improved head flow offered by the 4-valve motors for the improved power
potential. Read on and see for yourself.
Dyno Horsepower chart for 2003 Mustang Cobra Engine with an Eaton Supercharger Naturally Aspirated vs.
Eaton Supercharger
NA ’03 4-Valve Cobra:
369 hp @ 6,000 rpm

Supercharged (8.7 psi):  
501 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Largest Gain:  138 hp @ 6,400 rpm
4-Valve ‘03 Cobra: NA vs. Eaton Supercharger (8.7 psi) (Horsepower)
In an effort to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Eaton supercharger on the factory ’03 Cobra
motor, we removed the blower and installed a 2001 4-valve (NA) Cobra intake manifold in its place.
Equipped with the 2001 intake, the ’03 Cobra motor produced 370 hp in naturally aspirated trim.
This compares to 501 hp with the supercharger in the same trim. Note how the power curve
continued to climb with the Eaton but leveled off with the naturally aspirated intake. Equipped with
the stock blower (and crank) pulleys, the Eaton supercharger pumped out a peak of 8.7 psi.
Dyno torque chart for a 2003 Ford Mustang Cobra 4.6L DOHC with an Eaton Supercharger
NA ’03 4-Valve Cobra:
377 ft-lbs @ 4,000 rpm

Supercharged (8.7 psi):
461 ft-lbs @ 4,000 rpm
Largest Gain: 166 ft-lbs @ 3,000 rpm

4-Valve ‘03 Cobra: NA vs. Eaton Supercharger (8.7 psi) (Torque)
Check out the difference in the torque curve between the naturally aspirated motor and the
supercharged ’03 Cobra motor. Note that the long runners in the 2001 NA intake improved the
torque production in the middle of the rev range. The Eaton supercharger produced a falling torque
curve, though the peak value was up from 377 ft-lbs to 461 ft-lbs
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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"
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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