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Ken's 2007 Mustang GT
"Eleanor Gone Wild"

This is an update on my 2007 Mustang GT Convertible. My last post can be found at:

In my last submission a year ago, I had ordered a turbo kit from Hellion. After speaking with them at length on the phone, they suggested that I make the drive up to Brenspeed in Northern Indiana to have them perform the installation. Automotion in Louisville is an authorized Hellion distributor and only a forty-five minute drive from my home in Elizabethtown; however they felt that to have the installation done correctly, I should go with Brenspeed for the peace-of-mind. I contacted Brenspeed on the phone and after numerous conversations regarding the need for the car to be fully streetable, decided to allow them to do the work. I had stressed repeatedly that this mustang was my only car, and if it were not going to be 100% reliable after the installation, I would have to take another route to reach my goal of 400 rear-wheel horsepower. Brent of Brenspeed assured me that it would be completely reliable and he even titled the Tune that he installed in the SCT Tuner, “My Only Car”.

Once in Indiana, the trouble began when the turbonetics turbo was not shipped to Brenspeed from Hellion. The entire kit was accounted for, except for the actual turbocharger. After a few phone calls, we were informed that a turbo would be sent overnight. The next morning, a sixty-eight millimeter turbocharger was being installed in place of the sixty-five millimeter turbocharger that was part of the kit that I had ordered. Hellion explained that they did not have any sixty-five millimeter turbos and they were sending me the upgrade at no extra cost. Months later I learned that the installation instructions note that when using the upgraded sixty-eight millimeter turbo, an upgraded blow-off valve is necessary, however they did not mention this over the phone, and no upgraded blow-off valve was sent to Brenspeed. This turned out to be a moot point in the end anyway.

Brenspeed had completed the installation, and Eleanor was on the dyno to tune the turbo in order to put down the promised 400 HP at the wheels. At only six pounds of boost, the kit was making 368 RWHP. I was unhappy with that number as I had driven all the way to Northern Indiana because of the promise of 400 streetable RWHP. I was told that the number was obtainable; it was only a matter of turning up the boost. I have no experience with turbocharging, and simply said, “You’re the man, do what you got to do to get-er-done.”

A manual boost controller that was not included in the Hellion kit was installed by Brenspeed, and the boost was turned up to nine pounds. I was told to avoid tampering with the manual boost controller, and it was actually wrapped tightly in black electrical tape to ward off any gremlins that might try to turn up the boost without installing the proper tune. I stressed that I would be back to allow them to do whatever was necessary if the need for more HP struck me. At nine pounds, the dyno showed 415 RWHP on one pull and 405 RWHP on another. I was very happy with the sound of the turbo, the workmanship was good, and the numbers were there, it seemed as if everything was coming up roses. I drove the car home without any issues.

Within the first thirty days however, I had to place two calls to Brenspeed regarding boost numbers. I had seen twelve pounds of boost at one time, and fifteen pounds at another. I expressed my concern about reliability and was told that if the boost gauge registered more than nine pounds of boost again, I would have to drive out to Northern Indiana to have the car inspected. I took the car to my local Ford dealer and had them inspect the plugs and actually had Brenspeed ship another set of pre-gapped plugs to the dealership for installation “just-in-case”. With the new plugs in the car, and a clear bill of health issued from my local Ford mechanic, I felt that my problems should have been eliminated. This wasn’t the case however, and the engine shot two rods out of the bottom of the block the very next time that more than three quarter throttle was applied. I have a written statement from the Ford Technician that did the inspection / engine removal / engine install that states that the cause of the damage was a malfunction of the manual boost controller. The turbocharger had only been on the car for forty-two days.

Ford of course would not warranty the engine, because even though there were only approx. 24,000 miles on the odometer, the installation of the turbocharger removed them from any warranty obligation. I called Brenspeed and told them of the catastrophic failure, and asked if I could receive a refund for the turbocharger if I returned the complete kit to them. I didn’t ask for a complete refund because I felt that they were entitled to the installation fee. I was told that they would not provide me with any type of refund, that there was no warranty or guarantee, however they would list the kit for me on e-bay and not ask for a commission. Hellion failed to answer any of my calls and did not respond to any of my e mail messages. I gave up on contacting them after four weeks of being unsuccessful. The complete turbo kit was sold for $3,000.00.

My local Ford Dealer installed a brand new long block and topped it off with a Roush Supercharger. The new setup was good for 445 HP at the crank with a full Ford Warranty. NOW I see what I should have done in the first place! I only went with the turbo because everyone uses superchargers to boost their mustangs and it was my desire to be different that has successfully drained my bank account. The new engine and supercharger, combined with the cost of labor totaled over $12,200.00. I hope someone can benefit from my mistake after reading this.

Two weeks after getting the new engine installed, Eleanor was rear-ended by a Chevrolet S-10 truck that was doing approx. thirty five miles per hour. The right rear frame rail was bent and there was extensive body damage. The driver of the truck had full coverage, and there were no injuries, however my Eleanor would be in the body shop for over NINE WEEKS to have the damage repaired. While in the shop, I asked that a rear bumper cover from blow-by racing be installed in place of the stock rear bumper and taped on rear skirt from Cervini. The result is a much smoother looking rear bumper. That’s my only silver lining.

Today, the car is running smoothly, and I’ve installed a Roush Cold Air Intake which required the computer to be recalibrated. The car is certified by Roush to have 470 HP on the crank. I calculate that with the aftermarket X-pipe and Magnaflow mufflers, 475 HP is a safe number to use when bench racing. As a bonus, the supercharger whine is very loud and earns “street cred” without Eleanor having to do anything that might grab the attention of local law enforcement.

It hasn’t been an easy road, it definitely hasn’t been cheap, it hasn’t all been fun and games, and if I had it all to do again, I would definitely make some changes. The bottom line is that I love my Eleanor for better, or for worse because you just don’t give up on family.



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