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2013 Mustang GT Steeda CAI and Boss 302 manifold review!
Hey guys! I have spent some major coin on mods lately, and the first ones that came in the mail are the Boss 302 manifold with the installation parts and front strut tower brace, as well as the CAI upgrade from Steeda (already had their CAI before the manifold.) I ordered the intake and tune, along with all of the Boss 302 items from AmericanMuscle.com. The only item I ordered directly from Steeda was the upgrade CAI inlet tube and MAF housing to properly fit the Boss 302 manifold. Shipping was fast and easy from both sources.
First off, I'll start with the Steeda CAI with BAMA 93 octane tune and stock manifold. I chose this intake because it uses the factory air duct from the fender, and the quality and showroom finish Steeda offers is always top notch.
The install was very simple and the finished look was impressive. I love the nice curve in the inlet tube, and the blue filter with the chrome ring on it finishes the appeal.
Once the tune was loaded, I was extremely surprised on the sound of the engine after startup. I live in Minnesota where not a lot of people drive these cars, much less modify them. The sound of the intake give a deeper, throatier tone to the engine and the exhaust. You can also hear a nice suction of air coming from the intake itself, which sounds VERY nice.
Performance wise, there is a very noticeable power gain across the entire power band, and the RPM limit is raised to 7300, up from 6800 (soft limiter.) It really picked up around 4000-5000 RPMs. The Steeda CAI is definately worth the money, and keep in mind that while the filter may not be as big as the JLT, the tube and MAF housing is still 101mm which draws in plenty of air for maximum performance.
Now onto the Boss 302 manifold. This is like the cherry on top of the intake system (excluding the throttle body, which is more like sprinkles.) With the manifold, I also had purchased the Boss 302 install kit, the front tower strut bar, and the Steeda Boss 302 CAI upgrade to properly fit the manifold. I also, of course, have the free tunes for life by BAMA Performance, which you will need to retune to accommodate the new manifold.
Installation of this manifold was a bit trickier and requires a torque wrench, a soldering gun with solder, and some wire, along with some deep sockets, extensions, and rachets. CJPonyParts uploaded a video of the complete installation, which I do suggest watching before installation so you guys have a good idea of the precautions to take. The only problems I had was replacing the factory fuel line with the one the came with the manifold. I trimmed a small hose clamp and jammed it into the metal spring fitting on the end of the fuel line to pop it off. This method will save you the hair pulling if you do not have the tool and want to change out the fuel line during install. Another issue I had was with the tuner. It was the first time updating it, and in process it completely erased it's data, serial number, etc. The tunes that come via email are programmed using the serial number on the tuner, so I was not able to upload the tunes. Finally I got tired of being denied and tried reconnecting the tuner to the computer. Magically it solved the issue and the device itself recovered its data. SCT makes a simple layout of instructions on transfering the tunes over to the device. In total, with the problems and taking my sweet time (waxing the car inbetween steps) install took about 9 hours.
The fit and finish of the manifold, with the strut tower brace and new CAI tubing was spot on, and the look... it looks like a beast. I couldn't wait to take Sally out and stretch her legs.
Upon startup, you could hear a more airy sound coming from the intake system altogether. More suction, more air, more power. The sound of the Boss 302 manifold isn't quite as throaty as the stock manifold, but it does have an exotic smoothness to it that makes it unique. Overall, it certainly looks AND sounds superior to the stock manifold.
Performance gains.... are wicked. As other have noted, you do notice a small amount of low end loss, but basically, it just gets transfered into the higher end and then some. Keep in mind that the new tune raises the limiter to 7600 RPMs. This is where the Boss 302 manifold starts to drop off some power, but there is still significantly greater power at this point than that on the stock manifold. At about 4000 RPMs is when the power starts to build on. 5000 RPMs its building on hard. 6000 Rs and when you think its going to start slowing down as the stock manifold did, it doesn't. It builds power hard all the way to rev limiter. You can feel it drop off a little bit right around 7300 RPM, but the difference between the stock manifold and the Boss 302 manifold is night and day. Think of this piece as a poor man's turbo. It really feels like its spooling through the higher power band. Oh, and the sound? If you like the sound of air being sucked into the engine with an exotic tone, this is the manifold for you. You will also greatly benefit from the power in the upper Rs. Mods that pair up with this intake would definately be an Xpipe, as the two designs would work together in their performance and sound production. Overall, the money was very well spent with these upgrades and I'm very happy with the results. The car now feels like its able to pull hard all the way to redline and not slow down anymore.. hopefully I come across that '06 cammed GTO again I went head to head with last week, I'd be able to pass him up with the new setup.
Next, I will be doing a review of the MGW short shifter AND the StainlessWorks full header system with the catted Xpipe. Hopefully will be able to pick up some kind of camera or GoPro so I can do video reviews of these mods as well. Thanks for reading guys!
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Excellent review man! I'm sure your thorough detail will help other members that are interested in a similar setup. Plus, it's great to see how pleased you're with the new intake setup! I definitely think you'll see another solid pump in power with LT headers and high-flow Xpipe too. Your engine is going to be screaming for RPM then!
You're correct the factory GT strut tower brace won't fit over the Boss Intake Manifold. you'll need the Boss 302 strut tower brace if you'd like to run one. Also, the Boss Intake Manifold isn't too difficult of an installation. If you're okay with basic hand tools and can follow a torque spec sequence, you'll be okay.
I attached an install guide for the Boss 302 Intake Manifold if you're interested in seeing what you may get yourself into. Then you won't have any surprises!
The Steeda CAI is definately worth the money, and keep in mind that while the filter may not be as big as the JLT, the tube and MAF housing is still 101mm which draws in plenty of air for maximum performance.
We love to hear it & we are very happy that you are enjoying your set-up!
Please let me know if I can ever help with anything in the future ... you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have the Boss Manifold, BBK TB and JLT CAI with tunes from two vendors. I've been playing with them for a while but overall it kicks a$$ over stock. Glad you're happy also!
Looks great! The carbon fiber and covers help beef up the look. I'm personally going to chrome out my bay a bit, while adding the nice MMD MUSTANG cutout strut kit.
Also, I went about installing my MGW.. its the Holy Grail of shifters. Seriously. You stockers or halftermarketers don't know what you're missing. This beast came with two brackets for feel and NVH, I personally used the stiffer with more NVH and its perfect. Gives a super solid and PRECISE/ACCURATE feel with increased engine/exhaust sound. With every last penny. Stay tuned for my review on this little gem because I'm gonna make it good. I'll drive on it for the weekend and do a writeup on Monday. In the morning I'll be doing a complete fluid swap too, that should aid further in smoothness.
Exhaust should be arriving in the next week or two. I'm ROLLING for this one.
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