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2020 Ford Explorer ST | Finally, a Real Performance SUV from Ford

I know that title may be a bit harsh, but if you read our review of the somewhat lackluster 2019 Edge ST you’ll understand its meaning. That version of the Edge was marketed as the first SUV from Ford Performance. Other than the nice styling, that car was a let-down. Ford really needed to do something special to redeem their efforts to produce a true performance SUV. Enter the 2020 Ford Explorer ST.

Let me get this out of the way right up front. I was extremely excited to see that the newest version of the venerable Ford Explorer was returning to a Rear-Wheel-Drive based architecture. In my humble opinion, RWD is simply superior from a driving dynamics standpoint than a FWD design. For the ST model, the Ford Performance engineers took advantage of this drivetrain change and produced what I consider the first real performance SUV from Ford. Click Here to Continue Reading...
Tested | Prototype JLT Intake for the 2020 Shelby GT500 Mustang

In case you guys missed it, let me catch you up. SVTP has been working with VMP Performance to test the performance increases we can squeeze out of the recently released 2020 Shelby GT500 Mustang with some typical bolt-on parts and tuning. After seeing some impressive stock boost level gains, both at the track and on the dyno, it was time to test out a classic Mustang mod; a JLT Cold Air Intake.

The SVTP community is well aware that a CAI is a member of the holy trinity of basic bolt-on mods for any car (intake, tune, and exhaust for the uninitiated). And for close to twenty years the folks at JLT have been churning out some of the Ford Performance Nation’s favorite kits. The styling and materials of the kits may have changed some over the years, but JLT’s share of the intake market continues to grow. Part of that growth is due to their commitment to performance and the speed at which they introduce kits. Modern 3D printing has cut design and production times significantly, which leads us to the star of this feature. Click Here to Continue Reading...
2020 Shelby GT500 | Modding and Testing VMP's Project Snowbird

I know you guys have been waiting for this. The 2020 GT500 has already proven to be a supremely impressive addition to Ford Performance family of vehicles. But this is SVTP, you know we never leave anything stock for long. So we teamed up with the supercharger experts at VMP Performance to cover some up the preliminary build up of their project Predator. When we arrived, the car was already equipped with a ported supercharger courtesy of Jokerz Performance. Other than the blower, the car was stock.

So the first order of business was to strap the Twister Orange Mustang to rollers and set a baseline. He above setup netted us 680 RWHP, but the interesting thing we noticed was the power starting to drop off once the engine reached 7,700 RPM. VMP’s Justin Starkey believed it was due to restriction in the suction side of the intake tract. We would soon find out just how true that theory was. We decided to ditch the factory airbox lid to see if that freed things up a bit. There’s been a rumor that opening things up could make things interesting. Check out this video: Click Here to Continue Reading...
5 Star 93 Octane Tuned | 2020 F-250 7.3L Tremor | Road Test

The 2020 Super Duty Tremor has certainly piqued the interest of the SVTP Community. Not since the introduction of the original SVT F-150 Raptor have we seen this much interest in a new Ford truck, and there’s good reason for it. The Tremor (a badge that Ford has been known to dust off from time to time) delivers on the desire for a more muscular and off-road capable package than the Super Duty has ever been equipped with. We’ll have a complete review of the Tremor package in the coming weeks, but today we wanted to focus on a very special truck.

What we have here is the very first 2020 F-250 Tremor 7.3L V8 with a 5 Star 93-Octane tune. It’s tuned with HP Tuners software and loaded in with an nGuage. The driveability of this tune is very similar to the 87 Octane 5 Star tuned truck we tested a couple weeks ago. This particular truck definitely felt stronger on the bottom end than the STX truck, but it’s difficult to parse the percentage of the gains that come from the bump in octane versus the difference from 3.55 to 4.30 gears. Then you have to take into account the fact that the Tremor has taller tires, which wipes out some of the advantage of the lower gearing. Click Here to Continue Reading...
2020 Ford GT Supercar Gets More Power and Gulf Racing Heritage Livery

Today, Ford Performance announces upgrades to the Ford GT supercar for 2020, including increased engine power to 660 horsepower and improved cooling. Much of the 2020 Ford GT’s advancements are a result of Ford’s continuous technological innovation, especially GT’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost® twin-turbo V6.

“Ford GT continues to be the pinnacle of Ford performance,” said Ed Krenz, Ford Performance chief program engineer. “GT is always the ultimate expression of Ford racing innovation, and as we know from the 1966 Le Mans through today, that means constantly raising our game for our customers as well as earning the checkered flag.”
MT-82 Manual Transmission Oil Change | Amsoil MTF

Love it or hate it, the MT-82 is the transmission that brought six gears to the masses in the Mustang market. Before it, buyers were required to step up to one of the halo performance model Pony cars in order to row through more than five speeds. The Getrag box has plenty of pluses, but it did get off to a bit of a rocky start. Thankfully, we like modding here on SVTP.

One of the biggest complaints the MT-82 received early on was sketchy gear engagement that differed based on temperature. It seemed that the factory synchros were particularly sensitive to oil viscosity, and Ford filled the MT-82 with a fairly lightweight oil from the factory. That was fine for cold weather and average daily driving. However; during hot summer months, and especially on the road track, the oil would get so thin that several shift issues would pop up.
Explorer ST Bringing in New Buyers | 2021 Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package Debuts

The 400-horsepower Ford Explorer ST -- proving there is a growing market for performance SUVs – is surpassing sales expectations and attracting new customers trading-in luxury brand vehicles.

Explorer ST is accounting for 21 percent of overall Explorer sales, with nearly 28 percent of non-Ford trade-ins coming from luxury brands. In addition, Explorer ST is helping Explorer retain its title as America’s all-time best-selling SUV, according to Ford analysis of new light vehicle registration data from IHS Markit.

“Ford ST stands for performance for enthusiasts, and Explorer ST is no exception,” said Craig Patterson, Ford SUV marketing manager. “We believe once drivers feel the power and refinement of our first-ever Explorer ST, performance bred from racetracks around the world, demand will only grow stronger.”
2019+ Ford Ranger FX4 Review | Way Better Than Expected

If I had to distill my impressions of the new Ford Ranger pickup truck into a concise phrase it would have to be, it defies expectations. The latest iteration of Ford’s Iconic Ranger has been available for about a year now, and in that time I have seen review after review pan it. Most complain about the ride and styling. My only guess for reasoning behind those reviewer’s claims is they aren’t really truck guys.

In my humble opinion, as someone who has not been without at least one Ford Truck in his fleet for the last twenty years, our 2019 Ranger test truck is the best riding and handling non-specialty truck Ford currently builds. Ride quality is certainly subjective so your mileage may vary, but I came away very impressed. I like a truck to ride like a truck; firm but not kidney-bruisingly-harsh. The Ranger suspension engineers nailed that. Not only that, the Ranger also feels surprisingly connected to the pavement. When you combine all that with a properly stiff fully-boxed frame and what you’re left with is a truck that feels much more planted and capable than its relatively small size would lead you to be. Click Here to Continue Reading...
WTF??? | Ford EcoBoost Engines Now Have EGR Coolers

Well this is a new one. We recently had a 2019 Ford Ranger FX4 in for testing. For those unfamiliar with the specs of Ford's reborn small'ish truck, it is currently only available with a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-Cylinder engine and the 10R80 10-Speed Auto. That mill has proven to be pretty stout in tuned Mustang application dating back to 2015, and there are a few guys turning them up in Rangers too.

However, as I was poking around under the hood of our test truck I noticed something odd. Ford is equipping the Ranger's 2.3L with an Exhaust Gas Recirculation ("EGR") system that also includes a tiny EGR Cooler. By now you probably know that clogged EGR Coolers have led to the early death of countless diesels over the years, and I've never seen one fitted to a Ford gas motor. Nonetheless, there it sits. I thought technology had progressed passed the need for EGR on gas motors in general. It appears I was wrong, and 'diesel like' emissions systems are now being fitted to gas motors. Let's hope we don't start seeing Gasoline Particulate Filters ("GPFs") next: Click Here to Continue Reading...
SVTP Drives a Tuned 7.3L 2020 F-250 | HP-Tuners & 5 Star Tuning

The wait is finally over. The engine no one ever expected to see Ford building in the 2020s, the Brand-New 7.3L ‘Godzilla’ Pushrod V8, is finally making its way into the hands of the Super Duty buying public. And even better than that, the aftermarket is already hard at work making improvements. The usually suspects are already starting to crank out cold air intakes and exhaust system, but we were lucky enough to get our hands on something really special.

That fine folks at 5 Star Tuning in Florence, SC invited us out to take a look at and drive one of their 2020 Super Duty test trucks. This particular model was an STX F-250 4x4 equipped with the new 7.3L gas engine and 3.55 gears. More importantly, it had an early version of 5 Star’s yet-to-be-released 87-Octane performance tune installed in its ECU. 5 Star elected to use HP Tuners’ software and the ever popular n-Gauge tuner. The result is impressive. Click Here to Continue Reading...
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