A Look Inside JPC’s Newest Three-Valve Intake Manifold
At the Performance Racing Industry show in Orlando back in December, Ford Mustang aficionado Justin Burcham and his crew at JPC Racing pulled the wraps off their new cast intake manifold designed for the 2005-2010 three-valve engines. Justin and company recently supplied us with one of the new intakes so that we could take a more in-depth look at this new piece from the Maryland-based high performance manufacturer.
In 2008, JPC designed and released a billet aluminum intake manifold for the three-valve engines that produced some noticeable horsepower gains and in 2010, they set out to further develop the design, incorporating some improved features and design elements. The new intake would also sport cast aluminum construction rather than billet aluminum to bring the manufacturing cost (and therefore the purchase price) down. Like any successful company, JPC listened to their customers, and cost was one of the common criticisms that led to the newest iteration of the three-valve intake that we have here.
“We started the process for this intake back in 2005. We knew that the 2005 and later three-valve Mustangs were going to be the next Fox body, and we wanted to get a jumpstart on things,” said JPC Racing’s owner Justin Burcham. “We were boosting the cars from day one early in 2005 and had problems with the plastic intakes splitting or the power curve falling off. We like to turn a lot of RPM’s here at our shop, and so we wanted to design something that could stand up to the rigors of forced induction and give us a lot more top end power with differing combinations.”
The intake went through numerous design changes and rigorous testing to achieve just the right design and performance before JPC would take it to market. The finished product is a complete, ground-up design by Burcham and company at JPC Racing, with a one-piece construction that’s been CNC machine finished and is available in a standard “as cast,” black crinkle, or gray crinkle finish.
• 20+ HP naturally aspirated, 40+ HP with power adder
• Main gains on 5,000+ RPM, doesn’t lose low end horsepower
• Fits under the stock hood
• Deletes CMRC plates
• Will work with factory fuel rails or any aftermarket
• GT and GT500 throttle body plate available
New Meets Newer
“The difference between the new intake and the older aluminum version primarily comes down to cost and cosmetics,” said Burcham. “The actual designs, as far as the interior and exterior dimensions, the runner lengths, and things like that are the same. We designed the new model to make certain it would fit under the factory hood. Some of our older intakes would fit under the hood, but every now and then we’d find a car with aftermarket mounts, a different K-member, or something like that and it would slightly rub. But the cast intake definitely fits under the factory hood.”
JPC has been able eliminate the factory Charge-Motion Runner Controls, or CMRC plates. These plates come outfitted under the intake on the factory 4.6L three-valve engines and are intended to improve air velocity and flow characteristics to maximize light-throttle efficiency and reduce emissions. The CMRC plates, at a light throttle position, significantly reduce the space for incoming air to pass and reach the cylinders, thus inhibiting overall horsepower. Many enthusiasts have resorted to CMRC delete plates, which replace the factory pieces with plates with unrestricted airflow. Others simply remove the plates altogether and bolt the intake directly to the cylinder heads, as JPC and other manufacturers have done.
Delivering The Whole Package
While many intake manufacturers simply provide an intake and leave out the extra elements, JPC has gone the extra mile to provide a complete, ready-to-install setup out of the box, including all of the gaskets and fittings. “We tried our best to incorporate everything one would need with this intake,” Burcham explained.
JPC custom made the fittings on the side of the intake to attach to the Ford evap line and the valve cover hose on the passenger side, along with a fitting for the brake booster line on the back of the intake plenum. “We tried to think of everything our customers might need. We didn’t want to just say ‘well, here’s your intake and you guys figure out the rest of it.’
Fuel Rails: Aftermarket or Factory, It’s your Call
From the factory, the 4.6L three-valve engines have a fuel rail configuration that extends up over the top of the stock plastic intake, and with the larger design of the JPC piece, the factory fuel rails aren’t tall enough and, in all honesty, would just diminish the clean look of the aftermarket intake. The intake comes ready for plumbing right out of the box, sporting a set of two removable fuel rail brackets on each side.
Burcham points out that there is a workaround to make the factory fuel rails functional in conjunction with a supplied high pressure hose for those so inclined to reuse them. Doing so requires the cutting and removal of the hard plastic line that goes over the top of the intake and using the supplied line to run underneath the intake. “It works, but I think it looks kind of hideous. If you’re going to spend the money to put an intake on it, just go ahead and get a set of fuel rails,” stated Bucham with a laugh. The intake comes ready for plumbing right out of the box, with a set of two removable aluminum fuel rail brackets on each side.
Versatile Throttle Body Options
So, What’s It Worth?
Ah yes, the part of these articles that everyone is most interested in. JPC advertises the intake as capable of producing a 20-plus horsepower increase naturally aspirated and 40-plus on boost. And doing his part as an honest businessman, Justin is upstanding and makes no bones about the expected results from bolting on this new intake. Admittedly, on an otherwise stock Mustang, the improvement in aesthetics will outweigh the power gains, with little to no increase. It’s when you begin pushing the envelope that it truly shows its hand.
“In our testing, both with in-house and customer cars, we have seen some mid-range and low-end power increases. But in most of the tests that we’ve performed with centrifugally supercharged or naturally aspirated cars, we normally see about the same horsepower and torque through the lower RPM ranges; from 2,000 to around 5,000,” explains Burcham. “There are a couple peaks and valleys where there might be 400 RPM’s where it might lose 10 ft/lbs and 10 horsepower, and there’s also a couple peaks where it might gain 10 or more additional horsepower.” While operating under the 5,000 RPM mark the horsepower is virtually the same, once it hits 5,200, the power curve begins the journey to the north.
“On a stock short block with heads, cam, a cold air intake and a set of headers – maybe your everyday driver – we typically see at least 20 horsepower at the wheels, although we have seen more,” said Burcham. “Our intake just carries the horsepower out further and peaks later in the RPM range. If you have the right cam and a good air intake and throttle body, it’ll make horsepower well past 7,000 RPM; it’ll keep climbing even at 7,500.”
The new cast intake manifold from JPC is a shining example of taking an already solid design and making improvements that add up to a great new product. The previous billet aluminum version of the three-valve intake will continue to occupy its own niche market, while the cast model serves to satisfy the suggestions from current and would-be consumers with great new features including CMRC removal, a definitive under-hood fit, flexible throttle body options, and maybe most importantly, a lesser price tag. If you’re in the market for a three-valve intake manifold, be sure to add JPC to your short list.