Tech: 2015 Mustang EcoBoost CAI Test

2015 Mustang EcoBoost CAI Test Featured

Mighty Small

Clocking big gains on a 2.3-liter with an Airaid CAI and SCT tuning

By Steve Turner

Now that the 2015 Mustangs are out in the wild, it appears performance enthusiasts might just have underestimated the little, 2.3-liter EcoBoost Mustang. While we agree that Mustangs and V-8s go together like peanut butter and jelly, it’s fun to have another viable performance option and we’ve been anxious to get into modding these turbocharged cars.

Charged with crafting preload tunes for Airaid’s new cold-air intakes, SCT Performance head calibrator Matt Alderman invited us over follow along with the tuning and testing of the new intake on SCT’s in-house DynoJet. The stock 2.3-liter Mustang baselined with 252.03 horsepower and 286.03 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels.
Charged with crafting preload tunes for Airaid’s new cold-air intakes, SCT Performance head calibrator Matt Alderman invited us over to follow along with the tuning and testing of the new intake on SCT’s in-house DynoJet. The stock 2.3-liter Mustang baselined with 252.03 horsepower and 286.03 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels.

While SVTP now has its own EcoBoost project Mustang in the driveway, we were ready to get into the upgrades as soon as we heard that Airaid would be shipping its cold-air intake system for the 2.3. We started looking for a car to test this kit on, and it turned out that Airaid shipped both of its CAI kits—EcoBoost and GT—to SCT Performance so head calibrator Matt Alderman could create preload tunes.

That means you will be able to scroll through your SCT handheld device and choose a tune made just for the Airaid intake. What that meant for us is we’d have the opportunity to follow along as Matt tested this calibration on SCT’s in-house EcoBoost project Mustang. Spoiler alert: The combination of the intake and tuning worked really well. You can watch the dyno pulls right here:

When we arrived, the Airaid system was already installed on the car, so we will bring you a full installation in the future. However, the system offers a pretty straightforward installation, and you can check out the highly detailed instructions to see if you can tackle it yourself. Or, you can watch this fine video put together by our friends at CJ Pony Parts

Since Airaid was first to market with the EcoBoost system, we wanted to bring these results to you right away. However, we were also afforded the opportunity to follow the complete installation, tuning, and testing of Airaid’s 2015 Mustang GT system at SCT, so stay tuned to this page for those results in the near future.

The Airaid system was already on the car, but it looks to have a simple installation. Fortunately Ford put the EcoBoost turbo in an easily accessible spot on the passenger side of the engine compartment. The Airaid inlet tube adjoins the turbo inlet via a silicone coupler that steps down the big inlet tube to the smaller turbo inducer. This means you can upgrade your turbo but retain the Airaid system by using a new coupler.
The Airaid system was already on the car, but it looks to have a simple installation. Fortunately Ford put the EcoBoost turbo in an easily accessible spot on the passenger side of the engine compartment. The Airaid inlet tube adjoins the turbo inlet via a silicone coupler that steps down the big inlet tube to the smaller turbo inducer. This means you can upgrade your turbo but retain the Airaid system by using a new coupler.
If you don’t follow the EcoBoost world closely, you might not realize these cars are run by a speed-density fuel-injection system. That means there is now mass-air sensor measuring the incoming air. There is, however, a pressure sensor in the air stream, which must be swapped into the Airaid inlet tube.
If you don’t follow the EcoBoost world closely, you might not realize these cars are run by a speed-density fuel-injection system. That means there is no mass-air sensor measuring the incoming air. There is, however, a pressure sensor in the air stream, which must be swapped into the Airaid inlet tube.
Both Airaid CAI systems for the 2015 Mustang feature a sealed airbox with an integral inlet tube, which mates with the factory fresh-air scoop behind the grille. Not only does the box’s lid keep hot underhood air out, its clear lid and metal backing offer some intriguing opportunities for customization.
Both Airaid CAI systems for the 2015 Mustang feature a sealed airbox with an integral inlet tube, which mates with the factory fresh-air scoop behind the grille. Not only does the box’s lid keep hot underhood air out, but its clear lid and metal backing offer some intriguing opportunities for customization.
Matt started out by flashing the EcoBoost Mustang with the new preload tune that he crafted for this combo. He did so using an SCT X4 handheld tuner. These devices save the stock calibration in memory and allow you to flash the computer with one of 10 performance calibrations. Currently, the Wi-Fi-enabled X4 can download firmware updates, but in January they will be able to pluck custom tunes from the cloud as well.
Matt started out by flashing the EcoBoost Mustang with the new preload tune that he crafted for this combo. He did so using an SCT X4 handheld tuner. These devices save the stock calibration in memory and allow you to flash the computer with one of 10 performance calibrations. Currently, the Wi-Fi-enabled X4 can download firmware updates wirelessly, but in January it will be able to pluck custom tunes from the cloud as well.
With the Airaid cold-air intake in place and the new SCT preload calibration installed, the SCT EcoBoost Mustang was ready to make some power.
With the Airaid cold-air intake in place and the new SCT preload calibration installed, the SCT EcoBoost Mustang was ready to make some power.
We are used to raucous V-8s with open exhausts running on the dyno, so an EcoBoost Mustang with a stock exhaust and a closed airbox was pretty quiet. Most of the sound came from the tires on the rollers.
We are used to raucous V-8s with open exhausts running on the dyno, so an EcoBoost Mustang with a stock exhaust and a closed airbox was pretty quiet. Most of the sound came from the tires on the rollers.
The EcoBoost Mustang sure liked the combination of a freer flowing intake and tuning. With the Airaid system and an SCT preload tune, it picked up a whopping 33.75 horsepower and 62.86 lb-ft of torque. That’s a rear-wheel gain you can feel.
The EcoBoost Mustang sure liked the combination of a freer flowing intake and tuning. With the Airaid system and an SCT preload tune, it picked up a whopping 33.75 horsepower and 62.86 lb-ft of torque. That’s a rear-wheel gain you can feel.
Just for fun, Matt flashed in a hotter tune to simulate what you might expect to see if you have a custom tune created for you car by your tuner of choice. It only picked up peak gains of 5.97 horsepower and .70 lb-ft of torque, so you know the preload tune is pretty good!
Just for fun, Matt flashed in a hotter tune to simulate what you might expect to see if you have a custom tune created for you car by your tuner of choice. It only picked up peak gains of 5.97 horsepower and .70 lb-ft of torque, so you know the preload tune is pretty good!
Longtime readers know that we like to dig a little deeper into the numbers when we can. While the graphs have the highest resolution of data points, looking at a sampling of data in chart form helps illustrate trends and reveal gains under the curve. As you can see, the peak gains from the hotter tune were small, but in the midrange he added significant increases of 12.59 hp and 17.33 lb-ft.
Longtime readers know that we like to dig a little deeper into the numbers when we can. While the graphs have the highest resolution of data points, looking at a sampling of data in chart form helps illustrate trends and reveal gains under the curve. As you can see, the peak gains from the hotter tune were small, but in the midrange he added significant increases of 12.59 hp and 17.33 lb-ft.

Comments

comments

One thought on “Tech: 2015 Mustang EcoBoost CAI Test”

Leave a Reply

8,113 views