Supercharging has become the go-to modification for street going Mustang enthusiasts looking to make big, streetable horsepower. Superchargers are one of those modifications, where you open the hood and instantly gain respect from every other car guy around you.
For the last three decades, Vortech has been a mainstay as a Mustang supercharger innovator. From the Fox body, to systems for classic cars, and now the sixth-generation S550, Vortech has been there. It was no surprise to see a few prototype Vortech systems at the SEMA show last fall. With demand higher than ever for horsepower, Vortech is once again satisfying horsepower hungry Mustang owners, with their new kit for the 2015 Mustang GT.
With the stock air intake system off, the strut brace and plastic engine cover are the next parts to be removed.
While the Coyote engine underwent mostly internal changes for the 2015 model year, getting better internals, and a new intake manifold, the S550 chassis is all new. This meant that while some parts of the S197 kit from Vortech would work, other parts required a new design.
The R&D process for kit hardware took around 8 weeks to complete. Development for complete kit calibration can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks. -Mike Reagan, Vortech
We spoke with Vortech’s Mike Reagan who told us “The R&D process for kit hardware took around eight weeks to complete. Development for complete kit calibration can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks.“ That’s fairly quick considering that this is an all new chassis to contend with.
Reagan also told us that they were able to use some of the design for the 2011-14 (S197) system as a starting point. However, the S550 system is less complex than its predecessor, “The majority of the differences are related to the charge-air plumbing. Based on the changes in the 2015 chassis, we were able to shorten-up and simplify the air path as compared to previous model Mustangs. The cooling system expansion tank and air inlet ducting are new as well.” This means a supercharger system that should be easier to install than ever before.
Left: The throttle body must be removed and a spacer installed–also included in the kit. Center Left: With the spacer in place, the throttle body is installed back on the intake. Center Right: The rear supercharger bracket is installed on the timing cover using factory holes. Right: The supercharger mounting bracket is installed next.
The standard 2015 Mustang GT kit includes Vortech’s V3-Si supercharger with a factory pulley good for 7.5-9 psi of boost. The kit is already available from Jegs.com as part number 933-4FQ218-064L.The V3-Si is a self lubricated supercharger, so there’s no oil lines to plumb and no hole to drill into your oil pan. It also has an efficiency rating of 78-percent, and is good for up to 775 hp with the proper upgrades. The kit is upgradeable to Vortech’s YSi or JT-trim supercharger unit, which will push horsepower into the 1,200 plus range.
The supercharger head unit is the next part to be installed. The V3-Si is capable of handling up to 775 hp.
Bringing temperatures down on the pressurized incoming air is one of Vortech’s charge air coolers. This air to air unit can support up to 900 hp at the flywheel. Its bar and plate design makes it highly efficient and durable. The charge air cooler also features cast end tanks and integrated mounting brackets. Mandrel bent 3-inch tubing, 3-ply silicone couplers, and Vortech’s attention to detail mean that this charge air cooler is not only high quality, but will fit behind the stock bumper with no trimming required.
No supercharger system would be complete without a bypass valve. Vortech doesn’t skimp on the hardware here either. Included in this kit is a Maxflow race bypass valve. This aluminum valve features a rolling diaphragm design which according to Reagan gives instant response. The captured o-ring design provides a leak-free seal, and the high-lift valve allows for excellent flow characteristics according to Reagan. Those going the more hardcore route will be glad to know that an upgrade to the Vortech Maxflow billet BOV is also available.
Top Row: Left: The fuel rail must be removed in order to install the new injectors included with the kit. Center Left: New fuel rail spacers are also supplied. Center Right: The shorter stock injector. Right: New injector being installed to the factory fuel rail, notice how much taller this injector is than the stock unit. Bottom Row: Left and Center Left: The Maxflow race bypass valve is installed on the charge pipe. Center Right and Right: The charge pipe is installed. It routes in front of the radiator and air conditioning condenser. The front bumper must be removed for this step however, this is an easy operation on a 2015 Mustang.
One of the cool things about the enthusiast level Vortech systems has always been that a competent enthusiast could install the system using tools in their own garage or driveway, over a weekend. “Our system for the 2015 model year GT is the simplest and fastest Vortech installation on a Mustang, including the Fox body. Very straight-forward,” says Reagan. We were on hand for this install and it was a single day affair at Vortech headquarters. Most enthusiasts should be able to have this kit up and running over the course of a weekend.
Left: The front bumper support must be removed to install the charge air cooler. Right: The charge air cooler once installed: Notice: Everything is left loose until final installation There's no couplers installed until the system is plumbed.
Our system for the 2015 model year GT is the simplest and fastest Vortech installation on a Mustang, including the Fox body. Very straight-forward.
For many of us, horsepower is like a drug. It seduces and lures us in, and once we get a taste we only want more. Thankfully, just as in the past, Vortech offers a variety of options and upgrades to fit everything from our tastes in system aesthetics to how much power it makes. “We offer upgrades and options for component finish type (black or polish), compressor size (matched to customer’s specific needs), an 8-rib drive, and a billet Maxflow BOV” says Reagan. He also says there’s an optional upgrade to Vortech’s JT trim supercharger, which will also fit this same bracket.
With the intercooler in place, the first piece of plumbing for the outlet side is put in place. The silicone couplers on the inlet and outlet sides of the intercooler are also installed.
The stock air intake box is reused, but modified for this installation. Part of this includes removing the air intake silencer. The rest of the factory box remains since it already draws cooler air from behind the grille and driver side headlight.
We’ve already shown you a story of a 2015 GT wearing such an upgrade and putting big power numbers to the ground. We also know that NMRA racer Terry Beefcake Reeves, uses a JT Trim supercharger on his 2011 Mustang race car, and is using this kit on his 2015 Team Beefcake Racing development car.
Tuner or Complete
Whether an enthusiast is looking for a kit to bolt on their daily driver never having to worry about making another change, or they’re of the more hardcore variety, perhaps with many of the supporting parts already in hand; Vortech has them covered. “Vortech offers a few variations for the 2015 GT, all of which are upgradeable. Reagan mentioned, “The range varies from our basic Tuner kit, which is all of the hardware (bracket, drive, CAC, inlet, discharge), to a complete kit which includes injectors and a 91-octane calibration.”
Install and Test
We’ve outlined the installation highlights in our photos and captions throughout this story. The primary thing to remember here, is if doing this install at home, take your time and follow the instructions. If you get into a bind, simply contact Vortech’s tech support.
The test car for our installation is a 2015 Mustang GT equipped with a manual transmission. The car was completely stock, and sipping 91 octane California fuel. The baseline dyno pull was good for 371.6 hp and 330.7 lb-ft torque at the rear tires.
Left: A new K&N air filter replaces the stock unit in the modified OEM airbox. Center: The second remaining pieces of plumbing are installed from the outlet of the intercooler to the throttle body. Right: The supercharger air intake tube is installed from the supercharger to the airbox.
With the Vortech installation complete and the calibration loaded into the computer, the final dyno pull was made on the Dynojet. The end result was 528.7 hp and 428.8 lb-ft of torque. Gains of 157.1 hp and 98.1 lb-ft torque at the rear wheels.
Left: The intake cover must be trimmed to fit with some of the new plumbing. This photo shows a comparison between the two. Right: The car gets tested on the Dynojet.
Further scrutinizing of the dyno graphs shows that torque and horsepower are quickly outrunning the stock engine from 2,700 rpm all the way to redline. In fact, as RPM increases and the supercharger continues to spin harder, the numbers only continue to improve. From 4,200 rpm, torque is over 400 lb-ft and remains there all the way to the end of the test.
At 4,000 rpm there’s already a 50 hp difference between the stock and Vortech equipped numbers. The horsepower line continues to pull increasingly further away from stock and looks as though the engine would take some additional RPM, we think it could continue going a little more. This is just a testament to the supercharger’s efficiency and how it’s an excellent match with the Coyote engine platform.
Whether you’re looking to make your daily commute a lot more fun, or you’re wanting to break a few hearts at the next test ’n tune night, this Vortech system will do either for your 2015 Mustang GT.