Increasing EcoBoost Mustang Power With Hooker BlackHeart Speed Exhaust

01. To capture the latest and greatest in performance from Ford and Hooker Headers, the BlackHeart Speed Exhaust team invited us up to their R&D and manufacturing facility to witness the installation and testing of their high-quality exhaust offering for Ford’s 2015-2016 Mustang EcoBoost.

02. Tim Grillot gave us a quick tour of the Hooker BlackHeart R&D and manufacturing operations in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Exhaust parts are digitized into CAD, and assembly fixtures are computer-designed to make sure each production part fits as it should.

03. Grillot checks a header fixture to the prototype header.

04. All BlackHeart exhaust parts are hand-welded with precision fixtures.

05. The Hooker BlackHeart exhaust system we installed for the 2015-2016 EcoBoost Mustang is manufactured of 100 percent 18-gauge 304 stainless steel tubing. It features a 3-inch turbo downpipe and a “downpipe back” exhaust kit with Y-pipe.

06. To keep the EcoBoost’s ECU happy and the check engine light off, we chose the race down pipe, which includes a high-flow catalytic converter, stainless steel flex pipe, factory-location oxygen sensors bungs, and an OEM mounting bracket.

07. We were impressed by the details of the BlackHeart system. These hangers fit like the OEM system.

08. The designers of the BlackHeart exhaust focused on saving weight throughout the system, as evidenced by this support bracket. Lightweight 18-gauge tubing is more time-consuming to bend smoothly, but the BlackHeart engineers reason that the mass savings is worth the effort.

09. The mufflers featured polished, 4-inch, dual-wall 304 stainless steel tips with a laser-etched Hooker BlackHeart logo. Purposeful black tips are also an option.

10. Before ripping the OEM exhaust off our EcoBoost tester, we baselined the car on Hooker’s in-house Dynojet chassis dynamometer. The stocker put down 265 hp and 279 lb-ft of torque to the wheels.

11. With our baseline dyno session complete, our 2015 Mustang went up on Hooker’s lift to ease removal of the OEM exhaust system (you could certainly do this job on jackstands in your driveway). Hooker’s installation specialist, Alan Pendley, began by removing the oxygen sensors and the two nuts that attached the stock downpipe to the turbo outlet.

12. Next, Pendley removed the nuts securing the support bracket to the catalytic converter.

13. Moving rearward, Pendley unbolted the exhaust hanger brackets from the rear subframe.

14. Pendley removed the rear muffler hanger bracket bolts.

15. Next, Pendley freed the Y-pipe from its rubber hanger.

16. To make installation of the BlackHeart exhaust easier, Pendley removed one of the converter support bracket bolts and loosened the other, allowing him to swing the bracket out of the way.

17. Pendley enlisted the help of his coworkers to lower the entire OEM exhaust as one piece.

18. We laid the OEM exhaust system (top) next to the BlackHeart exhaust system (bottom) for a comparison photo. As you can see, the BlackHeart should flow a lot better over the factory setup. Turbocharged engines love exhaust flow; they are a rare case when bigger is better.

19. To see how much weight the BlackHeart system saved, we weighed both systems. The OEM system weighed 79 pounds.

20. The BlackHeart system weighed 57 pounds, 22 pounds less.

21. Pendley began installing the BlackHeart system by bolting up the 3-inch downpipe to the turbine housing.

22. Next, Pendley swung the catalytic converter support bracket back in place.

23. Pendley loosely installed the two bolts that replaced the studs on the OEM system.

24. Pendley slipped a 3-inch clamp over the secondary pipe and slid it over the downpipe.

25. Pendley inserted the secondary pipe’s hanger into the OEM rubber isolator.

26. Working rearwards, Pendley installed the Y-pipe over the rear of the secondary pipe.

27. After transferring the OEM exhaust hangers to the BlackHeart system, Pendley loosely connected the left- and right-side axle pipes to the Y-pipe.

28. Pendley also transferred the OEM hangers to the BlackHeart polished mufflers, and slipped them over the axle pipes.

29. Next, Pendley lightly tightened each clamp and checked the alignment of each component.

30. Once he was satisfied with the system’s fit, Pendley tightened each clamp securely.

31. Pendley’s final step was installing the oxygen sensors.

32. Back on the dynamometer, the BlackHeart “downpipe back” system added 13 hp and 13 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. The 3-inch turbo downpipe with high-flow catalytic converter added 9 horsepower and 9 lb-ft to bring the total system gains to 22 hp and 22 lb-ft. The system also brought a low, powerful rumble to the exhaust.

33. But the crew wasn’t done. They knew the best way to take advantage of the BlackHeart exhaust’s flow capacity was with a proper engine management tune. Grillot used a DiabloSport inTune i2 programmer to load a 93-octane fuel program and let the EcoBoost strut its stuff. The results were an impressive peak 285 hp and 353 lb-ft torque. The combination of complete exhaust and the tune added 35 hp and massive 76 lb-ft of torque over stock.

ORGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MARCH 7, 2016 BY WES DUENKEL

SOURCE: MUSTANG360

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