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4.6L Exhaust Systems
A performance car is usually heard before it is seen. Production cars with modular engines are
manufactured with different priorities than those held by most enthusiasts, which is why the exhaust
is usually the first place people go to when looking to upgrade their vehicles. The Mustang has
several types of exhaust systems to choose from, as does the F-series truck. The Mark 8 and the
Panther-platform cars do not have many if any choices in the aftermarket, but the same principles
will apply. A good muffler shop should be able to fabricate a custom exhaust system for any
application that does not have an off-the-shelf system available.
Cat-Back Exhaust
The first change on an otherwise stock car usually is the addition of a performance cat-back
exhaust. Depending on the restriction of the stock system, gains can be impressive. The modular
engines with factory forced induction like the ‘03 Cobra and the Lightning will benefit the most from
improved exhaust flow, but even a Crown Vic can benefit from a well-designed cat-back system.
The factory mufflers are tuned to meet both government regulations on drive by noise, as well as
internal company policies, so they tend to be quieter than most enthusiasts would like. In some
cases, a particular model might sneak by with a particularly good design with low backpressure and
the right sound. The 2001 Mustang Bullitt is an example of a good factory muffler.
Magnaflow stainless steel cat back exhaust system
The Magnaflow stainless-steel
cat-back exhaust system adds
power and changes the sound
quality as well. Mandrel-bent
tubes and efficient mufflers
improve power by reducing
the exhaust backpressure.
Most aftermarket systems will replace the factory pipes with larger diameter mandrel-bent tubes
coupled with low-restriction mufflers. Mandrel-bent tubing retains the same cross section
throughout the bend, reducing backpressure throughout the exhaust system. Magnaflow makes
some good stainless exhaust systems for the Mustang and F-series applications. They have 2 1/2-
inch mandrel-bent, stainless-steel tubing and low-restriction, stainless-steel mufflers. These
systems will add an average of about 4-12 horsepower at the wheels on a stock car. The
supercharged ‘03 Cobra is an exception, as the gains may exceed 20 horsepower on this model.
The backpressure escalates as the supercharger forces air into the engine, and the OEM exhaust
system struggles to get rid of it.
5.4 Liter Ford Truck Magnaflow Performance Exhaust System
Trucks and SUVs need help
too! Magnaflow has
performance stainless system
available for the 4.6 and
5.4-liter trucks with the same
low-restriction pipes and
mufflers as their
passenger-car systems.
Magnaflow, Bassani, DynoMax, Borla, Holley, and others all offer exhaust systems for the Mustang
chassis, and most also offer systems for the F-series trucks and the Expedition/Navigator SUVs.
Some of the other platforms are not as popular, and not all manufacturers offer systems for some
of the more obscure models. Borla offers a system for the late model Crown Vic, and DynoMax
offers systems for the Thunderbird/Cougar models equipped with the 4.6. In every case, look for a
minimum of 2.5-inch mandrel-bent tubing for low exhaust restriction. This will work well with naturally
aspirated (NA) or supercharged engines with up to about 450 hp. Over that level, increased
performance will result from a 3-inch exhaust system. There are very few manufacturers of 3-inch
systems. DynoMax makes a 3-inch system for the ‘99-up Cobra with IRS, and MAC makes a 3-inch
system which fits the ‘96-‘98 Cobra and the ’96-up GT. The 3-inch systems crowd the rear
suspension and fuel tank, so other aftermarket components may or may not clear a full 3-inch
exhaust. Another alternative, especially on street/strip cars, is to use turndowns after mufflers,
eliminating the tailpipes. Check your local laws regarding this modification, as not all jurisdictions will
allow turndowns. On road-race cars, you can exit the exhaust at the rocker panel, in front of the
rear tire. Using NASCAR-style exits from BSR will maintain ground clearance.
Between the manifolds and the cat back exhaust, Ford has seen fit to include an H-pipe on some of
the factory exhaust systems. All Mustangs include a crossover tube, as do the Crown Victoria’s.
The crossover between the two sides of a dual exhaust helps prevent the exhaust pulse from being
reflected all the way back to the engine. The debate between the virtues of the H-style crossover
and the X-style has raged for a few years now. In general, an X-style crossover will make a bit more
horsepower, because it allows the movement of gasses between the sides a bit easier. I see where
sometimes the H-style will make a bit more low-end torque, but as with all exhaust tuning, there is
going to be some compromise involved. The crossover should be as close as practical to the
header collector. Adding an aftermarket H- or X-pipe should increase power levels about 10 hp
over the stock H-pipe.
mandrel bent 2 1/2 inch performance x pipe
The X-pipe with
mandrel-bent 2 1/2-inch
tubes adds 5-10
horsepower over the
production pipes. The
stainless construction of
this pipe ensures it will
last a long time.
Many exhaust manufacturers offer the H/X-pipes with or without catalytic converters. Of course,
every car used on the road should use catalytic converters, but those used for off-road or race use
only, may benefit from an off-road pipe. The catalytic converters used in the aftermarket H/X-pipes
tend to flow better than the stock units, adding some power. For a custom system, some very low
restriction all-metal catalysts are available from Europe that offer improved durability and very little
restriction. The development of catalysts for use on race cars has produced some very efficient
designs, which we can benefit from. When building a custom exhaust for a street rod or special
project, it would be beneficial to include a crossover in the design. Dr. Gas offers X-style crossovers
that can be welded into custom exhausts.
performance aftermarket H pipe
An aftermarket H-pipe will
improve power over the
factory pipes. The sound of
the H-pipe is different than
the X-pipe, and some prefer
one to the other. The H-pipe
produces a low rumble,
similar to the muscle-car
sound of the 1960’s. The X-
pipe produces a higher-
pitched sound, more like a
European sports car.
The stock cast manifolds do the job they were intended to, but just about everyone wants to
replace them with a header for improved performance. The cast-iron manifold retains heat in the
exhaust system, helping to light off the catalytic converter quickly. This is a major issue for the car
manufacturers, because most vehicle emissions are created in the time between the engine
starting, and the light off of the catalytic converter. Typically, the light-off takes 30-45 seconds, and
keeping light-off time to a minimum is why Ford has placed one of the catalytic converters so close
to the exhaust manifold.

The shorty header retains the close-coupled catalytic converter, which is good for emissions. Ford
Racing, Holley, and JBA all offer shorty-style headers for the Mustang. JBA offers shorty headers
for the F-series trucks as well. Most of these headers are 1 5/8-inch diameter, and they are not
equal length. The packaging makes equal length shorties virtually impossible. The shorty header
does not really tune the exhaust to make more power, since the tube length is so short and
unequal. The 3-5 horsepower you would measure as an improvement are likely the result of A:
reduced combustion dilution versus a log-style cast-iron manifold and B: the fact that exhaust port
heat is allowed to escape the port, rather than back up into the cylinder. The shorty header is a
small improvement over the OEM cast-iron exhaust manifold, but a longer primary tube is really
required for making the best power.
Ford Racing High Performance Short Header Installed on a 4.6 Liter DOHC Engine
Ford Racing produces a shorty
header for both the 4.6-liter 2- and
4-valve Mustang. The header will
connect the engine to the stock
H-pipe or any aftermarket pipe. This
header will provide some
improvement over a stock manifold
Hooker, Kooks, and Kromer Kraft presently manufacture long-tube headers for the Mustang 4.6. A
basic long tube as produced by Hooker has 30-inch primary tubes and a 1 5/8-inch pipe diameter.
The collector is 3 inches in diameter. This is an adequate street header, but I prefer larger primary
tubes. There is a trade-off between header primary diameter and primary length. The smaller
diameter primary will maintain a higher gas speed, but the backpressure will be higher than a larger
tube, resulting in increased pumping losses at higher RPM. Most mainstream header manufacturers
are also used to manufacturing headers primarily for carbureted engines. A carbureted engine
relies on the exhaust system to provide a vacuum signal to the carburetor. Fuel-injected engines
can tolerate a larger header tube without the low-speed loss of drivability that can affect a
carb-equipped engine with large-tube headers. Our dyno tests have proven that even a dead-stock
4-valve Cobra engine can make more power in all RPM ranges with a 1 3/4-inch primary-tube
header; gains of 7 hp and 8 ft-lbs of torque over 1 5/8-inch headers are not uncommon.
Hooker long tube headers for Ford Mustangs with the 4.6L DOHC engine
Hooker long-tube headers for
Mustangs are an economical
long-tube design. The 1
5/8-inch primaries merge into
a 3-inch collector. They are
available painted or ceramic
coated for both the 4.6-liter
2- and 4-valve engines.
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This has been a sample page from

How to Build Max Performance 4.6 Liter Ford Engines How To Build Max Performance 4.6 Liter
Ford Engines
by Sean Hyland
This revised edition features new and current
information throughout the text, an additional 16 pages,
and all black and white photography.
When the ’96 Mustang came out with the 4.6-liter V-8, some
performance enthusiasts were scared away by its technology. But
those days are long gone. Ford added horsepower and torque to
its 2- and 4-valve V-8s over the years, and the number and
quality of available aftermarket performance parts has exploded.
Ford took things to the next level with the new 3-valve Mustang
GT engine and the 5.4-liter GT and Shelby GT500, adding even
more high-performance options.

In this updated edition of How To Build Max-Performance 4.6-Liter
Ford Engines, Sean Hyland gives you a comprehensive guide to
building and modifying Ford’s 2-, 3-, and 4-valve 4.6- and 5.4-liter
engines. You will learn everything from block selection and
crankshaft prep, to cylinder head and intake manifold
modifications. He also outlines eight recommended power
packages and provides you with a step-by-step buildup of a
naturally aspirated 405-horsepower Cobra engine. This is the
definitive guide to getting the most from your 4.6- and 5.4-liter

Temporarily Out of Stock - More On their way!

Click below to view sample
pages from each chapter.
Chap. 1 - Engine Block
Chap. 2 - Crankshafts
Chap. 3 - Rods
Chap. 4 - 4.6 Pistons
Chap. 5 - Cylinder Heads
Chap. 6 - Int. Manifolds
Chap. 7 - Fuel Injection
Chap. 8 - 4.6 Camshafts
Chap. 9 - 4.6 Exhaust
Chap. 10 - Ignition
Chap. 11 - Lubrication
Chap. 12 - Cooling
Chap. 13 - Power Adders
Chap. 14 - Packages
Chap. 15 - 405HP Engine
8-1/2 x 11
44 pages
445 B/W Photos
Item #SA82P
Price: $22.95
Click here to buy now!
This is a great book that any modular engine owner or enthusiast will enjoy!

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