V6 Mustang Performance Parts Guide (1996-04 3.8L)

Posted 1/6/2014 by Jeff Jimenez

Let us help you improve the performance in your SN95 & New Edge Mustang by walking you how to select performance parts!

FOLLOW: mustang , 94 04 mustang , tech , mustang v6 , new edge mustang , sn95 mustang

V6 Mustang Performance Parts Guide (96-04 3.8L) - V6 Mustang Performance Parts

The 3.8L 1994-04 Mustang V6 was an economical solution to those who liked the looks of the SN95 Mustang but couldn’t afford the more expensive GT & Cobra models. For many teenagers out there these Stangs were often their car. They provide a solid foundation with sporty looks and in the case of the 99-04 New Edge design, decent performance. Sorry 94-98 owners but I have owned both a 94-98 and 99-04 V6 Mustang during my lifetime and the 94-98 models are just sub-par in factory performance.

Just because these models do not feature a V8 doesn’t mean they can’t perform well. Many of the same suspension and exterior components can be switched out with GT or Cobra parts to easily dress up the exterior and improve performance. Being that I have owned two of these V6 Mustangs, I wanted to share some of the experiences I have had modding these Pony cars. You can make them extremely fun to drive and best of all many of the performance, handling and exterior mods won’t break the bank.

Before we look at performance modifications, let’s look at some of the specs and horsepower found in the 94-04 V6 Mustangs.

94-04 Mustang V6 Specs

  • 94-95 Mustang V6 3.8L OHV (232 cid) 145 hp & 215 lb-ft tq
  • 96-98 Mustang V6 3.8L OHV (232 cid) 150 hp & 215 lb-ft tq
  • 99-00 Mustang V6 3.8L OHV Split Port Design (232 cid) 190 hp & 220 lb-ft tq
  • 01-04 Mustang V6 3.8L OHV Split Port Design (232 cid) 193 hp & 225 lb-ft tq

With the New Edge Mustang redesign in 1999, the 3.8L V6 underwent some changes that gave it a good boost in horsepower. The engine kept its OHV design; however the intake system got a major redesign with a larger throttle body, split port design intake manifold and better flowing cylinder heads. This added an extra 40 horsepower over the previous year model.

Below you will find modifications broken up into multiple sections for easy selection. These include air/fuel, exhaust, engine, driveline and suspension modifications. Each section includes a more in-depth look at ways to improve your V6 Mustang!

V6 Mustang Performance Parts - Air/Fuel

One of the easiest ways to quickly free up some horsepower in any Stang is with the addition of the cold air intake (CAI). Due to the differences in the intake manifold design, there are two different CAI available – 94-98 model and 99-04 model. These V6 Mustang cold air intakes feature smooth piping and fender well mounted air filter to maximize air flow and lower air intake temperatures. Another great way to improve your performance is to get rid of the small factory throttle body found on the 3.8L V6 Mustangs. BBK offers a great line-up of performance throttle bodies for these Mustangs. For the 94-98 models you get a 56mm version and the 99-04 New Edge Mustang gets a 65mm version. These will help you net more horsepower when paired with an intake. Don’t forget the routine maintenance of changing your fuel filter to ensure a clog filter doesn’t rob you of horsepower and fuel economy!!

V6 Mustang Performance Parts - Engine

Just because your Stang is a V6 model doesn’t mean you can’t free up some extra horsepower with a few simple engine mods! Adding a SCT handheld tuner such as the SF3 or iTSX will allow you to maximize your performance but uploading one of our custom tunes. They also let you adjust for gear ratios, tire sizes, turn off rear O2 sensors for off-road exhaust systems and even clear check engine lights. These can be the foundation of just about any performance Mustang build! Another proven way to free up some horsepower is with a set of underdrive pullies for your 3.8L V6. Underdrive Pulley kits have been shown to add up 10+ hp on 99-04 models. Speaking of performance, don’t forget to improve your ignition system with a Screamin’ Demon coil pack. When adding a performance coil pack to your V6 Mustang, don’t forget to replace your spark plug wire and spark plugs. Worn ignition components can rob you of performance and fuel economy!!

V6 Mustang Performance Parts - Dual Exhaust

The one mod that all V6 Mustang owners should do is install a dual exhaust conversion on their Stang! Not only do you get performance gains but you also get a deeper more aggressive exhaust tone with improved exterior appearance! Installation of a V6 Mustang dual exhaust kit will get rid of the ugly single exhaust tip and allow for your exhaust system to “exhale” better. This means increased horsepower and improved fuel economy! There are multiple options for installing a dual exhaust on your 3.8L Pony. One of the easiest ways is to pick up one of our complete kits below that features a mid pipe and cat back system. These are available in both an x pipe and y pipe version. If you want to maximize your exhaust performance you need to go with the x pipe version.

You can also build your own V6 dual exhaust system. This will allow you to pick and choose a system that fits your personal taste and performance needs. Use the following steps to build your perfect V6 Mustang Dual Exhaust System!!!

  • STEP 1: Pick Your Headers
    • You can keep your factory headers and use any h/x pipe below to start your new dual exhaust system. NOTE: If your Stang has an exhaust leak sound coming from the engine area, you may have cracked factory exhaust manifolds. This is a common issue on 99-04 V6 Mustangs. If this is the case add a set of BBK shorty headers to your order. If you would prefer to get the most performance out of your 3.8L V6, go with the Pacesetter Longtube headers. You will have to use the matching x pipe to properly install the long tube headers.
  • STEP 2: Pick Your Mid Pipe
  • STEP 3: Pick Your Cat-Back
    • If you are using any of the off-road or catted x/h pipes from below, you can choose from any of our 94-04 GT cat-back exhaust systems to finish off your exhaust system. You can shop our full line of catbacks here – 94-04 Mustang Cat Back Exhaust Systems. Don’t forget to add stainless steel muffler and tail pipe hangers to finish off your installation.

V6 Mustang Performance Parts - Driveline

Installing a set of rear end gears and a traction lock differential are some of the easiest ways to improve the acceleration of your V6 Mustang. The factory rear end that came in the V6 SN95 and New Edge Mustangs featured a 7.5” rear end with a differential that only sent power to one wheel and a gear ratio that was designed for fuel economy not acceleration. This results in the “One Wheel” burnout …if you could even get it to burnout! Combine new gears with an aluminum driveshaft and a short throw shifter to maximize acceleration and shift performance!!

V6 Mustang Performance Parts - Suspension

Installing a set of lowering springs not only improves the stance of your V6 but it also improves that handling characteristics! Most 94-04 V6 Mustangs did not come with rear sway bars. So installing Cobra or Eibach sway bar kit will only further improve your handling. If you have modded your six banger with plenty of performance mods from above you are now also experiencing “wheel hop”. This can be eliminated by installing a set of rear control arms. Once installed you will be able to plant your new found power to pavement and improve your acceleration.

94-04 V6 Mustang Exterior Mods


V6 Mustang Performance Parts Guide (1996-04 3.8L) Tech Info

1994 (94) - 1995 (95) - 1996 (96) - 1997 (97) - 1998 (98) - 1999 (99) - 2000 (00) - 2001 (01) - 2002 (02) - 2003 (03) - 2004 (04)