If you are a fan of Mustangs and you are on social media, you have no doubt seen Lethal Performance’s Jared Rosen promoting his company’s latest project vehicle in a Goldmember costume. While he is clearly a fan of Mike Myers’ movie villains, Jared knows how get the word out on his gold and black 2018 Mustang GT. To push its performance higher, he also knows a thing or two about adding boost with a Whipple supercharger.
Just order the kit, install it, and you’re making some huge power and torque. — Jared Rosen, Lethal Performance
“…I’ve been saying the same thing for over a decade,” Jared said. “However, the facts are that pretty much every project car we’ve built has eventually gotten a Whipple on it. So it’s no surprise that a fresh, new Whipple now tops the engine in our 2018 GT.”
As you might expect, Lethal Performance ordered a Whipple Superchargers’ 2018 Mustang GT Stage 1 supercharger system in a custom gold finish to match its project’s moniker, Goldmember. Students of the sport might have noticed that this unit features the original intercooler lid, as Lethal Performance received one of the first available kits from the pre-production run. The lid houses a patent-pending triple-core intercooler that works with a massive heat exchanger up from to really tame blower discharge temps.
“The new 2018 Mustang GT system is quite different from the previous ’15-’17 system. For one, it’s now a 3.0-liter head unit, which uses Whipple’s newest Gen 5 rotor profile,” Jared explained. “This new rotor profile creates more power at lower RPM and boost levels then the previous version as it doesn’t take as much power from the engine to make power.”
Before we arrived, Power By The Hour’s Jake Long upgraded the oil pump gears and crank sprockets with billet replacements from Boundary Performance to ensure there won’t be any failures as Lethal gets more aggressive. When we arrived, the front end accessory drive was already removed, and he pulled the intake for our benefit.
“The other big thing is the intercooler setup. The ’15-’17 kits mount the blower on top and intercooler on the bottom. Since the ’18 has less room to work with, Whipple designed the system upside down,” he added. “This puts the blower under the intercooler. After the air is compressed it goes up through the Whipple triple-core intercooler design and then it passes back through the intercooler into the engine. This design offers the largest intercooler out of any other kit available for the 2018 Mustang.”
These latest systems aren’t just about the Gen 5 blower, however. Whipple creates a complete system right down to the fuel system enhancements and its own tuning.
“This system includes everything you need at a level nobody else can compete with,” Dustin Whipple, Vice President of Whipple Superchargers, enthused. “First, we are the only 50-state legal system, we make multiple stages for power ranges, and we offer an optional three-year/36,000-mile powertrain warranty. Plus it comes with a flash tool, which is the only one that can change tire/axle ratio…”
Next Jake and Lethal Performance’s Jared Rosen pulled Goldmember’s front fascia to clear the way for the eventual installation of the heat exchanger, coolant reservoir, and coolant pump that will supply in the air-to-water intercooler atop the blower.
“Since the 2018s are both direct- and port-injected , Whipple includes a high-flow, 415-lph in-tank fuel pump and 37 lb/hr, dual-spray-pattern fuel injectors for the port side to supply the fuel needed to support the power this kit makes . This is also the first kit to start shipping Whipple’s new Tomahawk flash device, which took the place of its Flare flash tool.”
Installing the supercharger means re-routing and extending several wires and cooling hoses. Just follow the detailed instructions to ensure you cover all the bases before you lower the supercharger into place. The kit is definitely complete though, as it includes extended coolant fittings, plug-n-play wiring harnesses, and everything needed to complete the install.
Jared is definitely a fan of Whipple’s blowers, so choosing the latest version for his 2018 Mustang project, appropriately named Goldmember, was a no-brainer. He certainly presents a strong case though.
“The complete Whipple system for the 2018 Mustang is going to be hard to beat. The instant horsepower and torque of its twin-screw design has always been the main attractor, and now with the new rotor and intercooler design it takes things to a whole new level,” Jared enthused. “There are so many pros that it has over what others have to offer. It’s the most well-thought-out, well-designed kit out there. So, for the every day daily driver or weekend warrior, the kit has everything you need. Just order the kit, install it, and you’re making some huge power and torque. Not only that, but this thing drives just like the car does from the factory except when you mash the pedal to the floor. Then you smile ear to ear and know exactly why the Whipple system is so widely used and recommended.”
Before installing the supercharger, you’ll need to remove and set aside the intercooler lid; assemble the fuel rails, install the fuel injectors, install the rails, install the fuel rail crossover line, and remove the tape from the intake flanges. And, most importantly, be sure to fill the blower case with the supplied lubricant. The Whipple units are shipped dry and bad things will happen if you run them without lube.
To add this system to Goldmember, Jared turned to the installation experts at Power By The Hour Performance in West Palm Beach, Florida. Much of the system installs like its predecessor, but the upside down arrangement and fuel system enhancements add some new wrinkles.
“The installation of the new 2018 kit is actually similar to the ’15-’17 setup. Most of the intercooler system, air box, and belt-drive system are just like the previous design. It’s really when you get to the actual head unit installation that differs slightly. The assembly bolts down differently, but is pretty straight forward like the 2.9-liter. The only thing that stands out is installing the required 415-lph fuel pump upgrade, which really isn’t difficult at all. The pump simply replaces the stock fuel pump and comes with the components needed for installation.”
With the blower all set up, the Power By The Hour crew lowers the unit into the valley, taking care not to sandwich any wires or hoses between the intake and cylinder head. This prototype unit required sealant for the lid and gaskets for the intake-to-head mating surface, but production units will use O-rings. From there Jake torqued the internal intake bolts, installed the intercooler lid, bolted on the blower bracketry, installed the pulley, added the throttle body, and topped it off with the cold-air induction system.
Bolting It On
After Power By The Hour main man Jake Long spun the wrenches, teaching the factory PCM how to handle its newfound boost was as easy as flashing in the calibration provided in the kit. This is easily performed with Whipple’s new, proprietary Tomahawk tuning tool.
“Calibration is key, especially on a car with an aftermarket supercharger kit. No one wants to install something that makes great power but drives like crap. That’s where the Whipple calibration comes into play,” Jared said. “Whipple has a top calibration expert, who does tons of OEM and performance tuning work, handling its tunes. That means these tunes are based on a better platform and tools than most have available to them when tuning. Whipple’s calibration isn’t only designed to make power, but to drive like stock. All of the safety features from the factory as well as added safety features are used on the Whipple cal, so the car performs great with the same level of safety and reliability as a stock car.”
That level of performance didn’t come easy, as the company put in a lot of time testing the calibration to ensure that it delivered not only performance, but that coveted driveability.
Closing out the install, Jake mounted the large heat exchanger behind the front bumper, then bolted up the intercooler reservoir and pump assembly below the driver-side headlamp. Then routed the remaining hoses, plugged in the pump wiring, and filled the intercooler system with coolant. Obviously, we are just hitting the highlights, but all the little details are covered in the expansive instruction manual.
“The Whipple calibration offers the best of both worlds. First, it’s 50-state legal, which is very important to us. Second, all the factory diagnostics are working. Many don’t know, but almost nobody will get the 2018 to work properly through the ‘emissions’ side due to the codes and parameters being hard coded in the PCM code,” Dustin explained. “We deliver a wide range of power, yet we still incorporate cat protection and many other factory functions. We spent countless hours durability testing and finding what will live and what won’t. Cold start, hot start, restarts, idle, deceleration, and part-throttle operation are all near OEM levels giving the customer many trouble-free miles…”
Lethal Performance 2018 Mustang Mods
• 3.0-liter Gen 5 Whipple supercharger
• 3.75-inch blower pulley
• 93-octane fuel
• 132mm Whipple throttle body
• Boundary 0il pump and crank sprocket gears
• Kooks long-tube headers and midpipe
• Lethal Performance resonator delete
• Lethal Performance axle-back exhaust
• Reische 170-degree thermostat
Of course, it doesn’t just drive well, but it practically doubles the rear-wheel output of the already potent 2018 Mustang GT. Thanks to 12 pounds of Gen 5 boost courtesy of a 3.75-inch pulley, it put down a stout 755.54 horsepower and 560.51 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels.
“Starting off with a baseline of 423 rear-wheel horsepower through a 10 speed auto is ‘schlepity pepidy good’ as Goldmember would say,” Jared laughed. “Then to install the complete Whipple system and make over 700 rear-wheel horsepower at 11-12 psi on pump gas with the out-of-the-box calibration is pretty insane. We’re pleased with the results especially on the Whipple calibration. Gaining nearly 300 rear-wheel horsepower over stock is outstanding.”
Ready For Launch
Naturally, after Goldmember rolls off the dyno, its next official appointment was with the drag strip at Palm Beach International Raceway. With sticky tires on board, Jared will try to lop a couple of seconds off the car’s elapsed time with all that twin-screw power.
Today’s modern Mustang Powertrain Control Module requires a modern tuner. As such, Whipple includes its own Tomahawk handheld in every kit. It is preloaded with a 50-state-legal companion calibration designed to run the Gen 3 Coyote as if it were born with the supercharger from the factory.
“So far my best time at the track with this car is an 11.29 at 123 MPH with a Lund Racing E85 tune, Kooks headers, and the BMR Bread and Butter suspension package,” he predicted. “I’d love to see a nine out of this car with the Whipple calibration, which would be so awesome. So I’ll set that as a goal and see if we can make it happen.”
“I really believe that it can break into the nines,” Dustin added. “We went 10.3 and we short shifted three shifts, as we were only working on the engine side first. With the right launch and our latest cal, nines with a daily driver that passes smog is very possible!”
That is but one goal for Team Lethal, however. This crew doesn’t leave well enough alone too often. After wrapping the testing of the out-of-the-box system, Jared and Goldmember plan on partying even harder.
Drop-In Fuel Pump Upgrade
In order to support the power created by a twin-screw-supercharged Gen 3 Coyote 5.0-liter, Whipple includes a 415-liter-per-hour fuel pump from DeatschWerks. The DW400 is the company’s highest-flowing in-tank fuel pump and is a result of collaboration between DW and Bosch, which manufactures the pump to DW’s specs. Sporting a pressure ranges of 70-100 psi, this pump is suited for boosted applications requiring a lot of flow, and it is compatible with high-ethanol fuels, like E85.
To install the new DW pump, Jared removed the factory fuel basket from the tank via the opening accessible under the rear seat. After removing the stock pump, he clearanced the basket to make room for the larger DW400 pump, slid the new pump into place, and reassembled the basket. The pump plugged right into the factory wiring, and then it was just a matter of reversing the process to make the fuel system blower-ready.
“Once we’ve finished testing with the Whipple calibration. We plan on converting over to E85 and turning it up,” Jared added. “With that a smaller pulley, a custom tune from Lund Racing, a triple-pump return fuel system, and some Injector Dynamics ID1300s will make their way onto the car to see what she can do. Who knows where it goes from there? As much as I don’t want to make a call to Tim over at MPR Racing Engines, he and I know that call will most likely happen.”
It’s safe to say that we’ll see some really aggressive performance from this car in the future, but for now the as-delivered kit definitely offers some impressive gains.
With the addition of the Whipple Gen 5 supercharger, Lethal’s Goldmember 2018 Mustang GT picked up a whopping 332.25 horsepower and 165.44 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. Its final tally of 755.54/560.51 at the wheels is pretty impressive for a bolt-on power adder with an out-of-the-box calibration. Not only are the gains chunky across the powerband but the Whipple-boosted Gen 3 Coyote keeps pulling to nearly 8,000 RPM!