Everyone loves easy power plays, especially the ones that offer noticeable returns for little effort and investment. The right tricks can even make more power to wheels without actually the engine actually making more power. The key is reducing parasitic losses.
By reducing the parasitic losses on the engine, more of the power that it’s already making gets to the wheels. Our project car for this miniseries of articles is a 2005 Mustang GT that is mostly used for time attack and high performance driving events (HPDE). However, it’s also a street car registered in California, so it needs to stay emissions legal—mostly because we want to drive it to and from the track. Forced induction and the weight and increased heat it brings are out of the question. That means we’re pretty limited on our power increasing options, so it’s time look for the gremlins eating the power we already have.
Anything the engine turns costs horsepower. While running around on the street at lower RPM, these stolen numbers are usually pretty modest, meaning that you may not notice these losses at low RPM. However, the faster the engine spins, such as when it’s running on a road course or drag strip, the more horsepower each component requires. This is when single digit power losses turn into double digit losses. With that in mind, while looking at the front of the engine we’re presented with a few options. We’re going to start by going straight for the obvious—the water pump.
We know what you’re thinking, “electric water pump on a track car?” Yes, hear us out on this one. Meziere’s WP346 high flow pump for modular Ford engines is designed for street or drag strip use and is rated for a constant 55 gallons per min (GPM) free flow. For reference, most mechanical water pumps for V8 engine applications flow in the vicinity of eight gallons per minute at idle, and around 70 gallons per minute at 6,500 rpm. That trade-off costs about 12 horsepower to the wheels.
At idle and low rpm, like stop and go traffic, the Meziere pump will typically flow two to three times as much as a mechanical pump. However, once the engine rpm exceeds 3,000, the pendulum swings in favor of mechanical pumps. Above 6,500 rpm, there’s really no contest when it comes to maximum flow. But the question is, “do you actually need that level of flow?” We think not for our naturally aspirated project.
To check our thought process, we reached out to Meziere. They told us they saw no potential issues with a healthy or upgraded cooling system on street driven track day car running limited sessions. They did add that they would not recommend this water pump for extended high RPM endurance style racing, but it should be more than adequate for our flat-out 20 minute track sessions.
But you don’t have to believe us or even Meziere; our friend Sal Molinare of SpecFab Racing has proven that it can work for years with his trusty Frankenstang.
Sal ran the same Meziere pump in Frankenstang during its evolution from daily driver, to drag car, and then championship winning road race car for over nine years. Through each of those versions, the stroked 3V was twin screw supercharged and making near 700 hp to the wheels. Sal swears he never experienced a failure or even fought overheating issues. He recently swapped to a Coyote engine and put a Meziere pump on it as well. Plus, as Sal said, “When you consider what some other mods cost to develop 12 horsepower, it’s really not what I would call expensive.” We were sold on this experiment after chatting with him.
Oh yeah, one more thing about this project. Ford modular engines have a secret that makes an electric water pump a super easy upgrade; you can swap one on in about 20 minutes, so it’s not even a huge time commitment if your needs change and you decide to swap back to a mechanical pump. And you don’t even have to drain the coolant. It’s true, we did it. We also took our project one step further and upgraded to the 2007-10 style cooling system for the best results. Read on and we’ll show you how.
Christopher Campbell has been heavily involved in the automotive world since he began building his first car, a 1967 Ford Ranchero, with his dad at the age of 14. That started a lifelong passion with custom hot rods and muscle cars. After graduating from Cal State Long Beach, he went to work for HOT ROD magazine as Associate Editor. From there he became Technical Editor at Popular Hot Rodding magazine. Currently he creates freelance content for OnAllCylinders as well as many diverse enthusiast magazine titles such as HOT ROD, Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords, Mopar Muscle, Super Chevy, Mustang Monthly, and 8-Lug.