Best Ford Mustang Tuners

How to Tune your Mustang?

You might have any model dating from the original in 1965 to the latest 2019 Bullitt, whichever model you have, there are always more ways to improve performance. While some will call this sacrilege, others will claim its necessary. Sort of like taking a top athlete human and juicing him/her with steroids. No matter which school of thought you belong to, the fact is you can upgrade Mustangs as you upgrade any vehicle.

There are three ways to perform an upgrade; the first is to install aftermarket parts which are designed to increase power and performance. The second is to use a tuner for improving the specs of the vehicle through its electronic interface, and the third option is to perform both.

I won’t delve on aftermarket upgrades; this article is all about the best tuners for Mustang tweaking.

A bespoke tuner will increase your power and torque, improve your throttle response, provide a more aggressive shift point in automatic models only, and optimize for fuel economy. The bottom line of a tuner is to pull out every ounce of power and performance from the engine and parts you already have, or replaced with aftermarket parts.

Also consider reading these articles:

What can be tuned?

Essentially, any part can be tuned for performance, and this includes
Camshafts, Cold air intakes, Cylinder heads, Fuel injectors, Full exhaust systems and headers, Intake manifolds, Nitrous systems, Rear gear changes, Superchargers/Turbochargers, and Throttle bodies.

This is the performance list, there are other options to add such as automating windows, locks, alarms, etc., but that is for comfort, not performance.

A tune, when applied properly will increase your Mustang’s power and the performance range from 12-35 HP/TQ.

Take heed that tuning your Mustang will void its warranty, and understand this, Ford has proprietary software that will know when you tuned, and how many times you tuned and restored.

Custom, Canned and Dyno

There are three types of tunes available, these are:

  • Canned: A generic preset tune that comes with the device.
  • Custom: A specially written tune, either prepared by a company or made by a professional.
  • Dyno: A shop prepared tune, where the tuner dials it in real-time.

Take heed: Never buy a tune from an unknown source, and never tune by yourself. Custom tuning is for professionals that understand the nature of the entire operation; one change can destroy your performance, let alone an entire range of changes.

Tuning Years

From 1996 and onwards, Mustang cars come with PCM ODBII connectors, so for these models, you only need to plug and play. Anything older will require a special treatment not provided by a tuner.

Tuning Variants

There are two variants for tuning; one is the use of chips, which come with preset tunes that you can employ at the flick of a switch. These are closed circuits, which means you cannot make custom adjustments. The second variant is Tuners, which come with open circuits that allow you to make custom changes to specific options.

Now let’s look at the 5 best Mustang tuners on the market today.


List of Top-Rated Tuners for Mustang Comparison Table:


PhotoModelWeightDimensionsDescription
Ford M-9603-M8AFord M-9603-M8A17.3 pounds27” x 18.8” x 18.2”View on Amazon
Bully Dog 40470DIABLOSPORT DBS-81451 pounds11.2” x 4.1” x 8.8”View on Amazon
DiabloSport I2020
nGauge Digital Gauge Touch Screen
4.5 ounces7” x 4.75” x 2.75”
View on Amazon
SCT-Performance-7015Innovative Performance Chip/Power Programmer5 ounces8” x 0.5” x 6View on Amazon
Hypertech 2000Hypertech 200014.4 ounces8.8” x 5.2” x 2.5”View on Amazon

The Tuners for Mustang Reviews & Buyer’s Guide:


Ford M-9603-M8A – Tuner for Mustang

Ford M-9603-M8A

Description

The Ford Racing M9603-M8A model is an original factory tuner for 2015-2107 Mustang GT cold air intake and power pack calibration.

Performance

This is a very specific tuner model that comes with a GT350 cold air intake with an 87mm throttle body and exclusive intake adapter. When applying this model, you will increase your performance by 21 horsepower and 24 lb-ft peak gains over stock, and get a 40 lb-ft gain at 1500rpm.

Ford M-9603-M8A

Features

  • Fits 2015-2017 Mustang GT
  • Features exclusive no-lift shift strategy and enhanced throttle response
  • Calibrations available for manual and automatic transmission
  • Allows gear ratio changes up to 4.09:1
  • Automatic calibrations feature optimized performance shift schedule

Recommendations

This is an expensive focused model provided by Ford. If you want something that will provide a perfect upgrade, and are willing to pay for it, then this Ford upgrade kit is the one you want.


DIABLOSPORT DBS-8145 – Diagnostic and Performance Tuner for Mustang

Bully Dog 40470

Description

The DiabloSport in tune i13 8145 is a handheld tuner that is compatible with various Ford series that range from 1999-2019.

Performance

As a vehicle owner, you can use this performance programmer to boost your power and optimize your driving ability. This product comes preloaded with dino-tested programs that serve the demands of your car.

The installation of this performance tuner is simple. For example, one can add torque and horsepower without any tool. Also, it has an ARM processor, which is ideal for high-resolution screens.

One can adjust the amount of octane gas to use, change tire size, and remove the speed limiter. You can customize the settings to suit your preferences.

Features

  • Preloaded tunes to ensure optimal power
  • Ease to install and maintain
  • Responsive touchpad
  • Extensive Monitoring and Datalogging Capabilities
  • Increases Horsepower & Torque
  • Monitor Engine Parameters
  • Reads & Clears PCM Diagnostic Trouble Codes

Recommendations

Well, this is a premium tuner that serves different vehicle models. Exceptional service is worth the spent penny.


nGauge Digital Gauge Touch Screen Tuner– Datalogger for Ford GM Dodge HPTuners

DiabloSport I2020

Description

Nguage digital tuner is a powerful device that calibrates your Ford 4.6 Mustang engine as it monitors the stats simultaneously.

Performance

Nguage has a customizable user interface for displaying six gauges thanks to several ODBII inputs. One can still program the warning light conveniently. Typically, this tuner will perform optimally in the design department.

Additionally, this device has brushed aluminum chrome bezels to give it outstanding performance. You can use the compatibility table for ensuring that the parts fit your model, make, year, and sub-model.

DiabloSport I2020

This is a full diagnostic device that will read and clear all PCM DTC’s, and it also provides you with preset tunes for a comprehensive performance upgrade, or personalized tweaking for specific performance, which includes: calibrating speedometer and gear ratio, shift points, and firmness, fuel injectors, fans, spark timing and RPM idle with rev and speed limiter adjustment to name but a few.

Features

  • Automating light-sensing function with dimmer
  • The device has programmable LEDs
  • Two CAN channel plus high-speed support
  • Upgrade firmware through USB or micro-SD card
  • Two analog input buttons

Recommendations

The central selling point this device has specific features that store and record car data logs. Backing up your logs is beneficial for future reference.


Innovative Performance Chip/Power Programmer – Compatible with Ford Mustang

SCT Performance 7015

Description

An innovative performance chip is a powerful programming device that improves a car’s fuel economy and gains extra mileage, thereby cutting costs.

Performance

The chip adjusts to Ford Mustang 4.6 automatically. Moreover, it can optimize the air-fuel ratio and increase consumption efficiency resulting in a balanced timing curve. Using the chip means the design will not adjust to your vehicle’s permanent factory settings.

Features

  • Affordable price point
  • 100% money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty
  • Enclosed chips in an aluminum shell with anodized finish
  • No changed to the car’s factory settings
  • It boosts the vehicle’s throttle response It optimizes fuel mileage.
  • Reads & Clears PCM Diagnostic Trouble Codes.
  • Full-Color LCD display for easy viewing, day or night.
  • Increases your vehicles Horsepower, Torque, Throttle Response, and even Fuel Mileage
  • Installs quickly and easily via your vehicle’s OBDII port.

Recommendations

The installation of the chip is easy as it consumes less than 15 minutes. The chip will serve you for a longer duration if you maintain and groom the Ford 4.6 Mustang well.


Hypertech 2000 – Max Energy 2.0 Power Programmer Tuner for Mustang

Hypertech 2000

Description

The Max Energy 2.0 Power Programmer is legal in all 50 states, including California. This device comes with specific Mustang tunes.

Performance

The Max Energy 2.0 will provide you with Speedometer Calibration, TPMS Threshold, and Top-Speed Limiting, as well as provide you with Automatic Transmission Adjustments that includes Shift Firmness Tunes. You also get Shift Response tunes and TCC Slip Tunes. In fact, this device has a tune for everything, and you can focus on specifics, or on entire ranges of change.

Hypertech 2000

The Hypertech Max Energy 2.0 provides you with an updateable internet download, and you can restore your tunes back to the original factory settings too.

Features

  • Emissions Certified 50-State Legal
  • Speedometer Calibrator, TPMS Threshold, Top-Speed Limiter
  • Automatic Transmission Adjustments; Shift Firmness Tunes, Shift Response, TCC Slip Tunes, Shift Points
  • Throttle Adjustment, 0-60 Throttle Restriction, Throttle Response Tunes, RPM “Rev” Limiter
  • Cooling Fan “On/Off” Temperatures
  • Read and Clear PCM DTC’s
  • Return To Stock Or Change Option Settings
  • Internet Updateable

Recommendations

The Hypertech Max Energy 2.0 is a classic universal device. This means that it can be used for any model, all you need is the right software and tune for the specific applications you desire.


FAQ


The original Ford Mustang I two-seater concept car was developed in 1962. From this day on the world of muscle cars changed. The original design evolved very quickly into the 1963 Mustang II four-seater concept car. These two launches were interesting, but it was in 1965 that Ford finally hit the market with its GT350 model.

This model started with the Mustang fastback. Its designer Shelby added quicker steering, a sportier suspension, and larger brakes. It was powered by a stock 4.7-liter V8 engine that delivered a massive 306 horsepower by adding a high-rising intake manifold and a four-barrel carburetor. This 1965 model is a collector’s item and is one of the most popular Mustangs on the market. In 1968, Ford produced the first Mustang Cobra model which came with a 335 horsepower engine.

In 1969, Ford introduced the Mustang Mach 1. The 1969 Mach 1 featured a new aerodynamic body called the SportsRoof which was supplemented with a 428 Super Cobra Jet V8 engine delivering 335 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. While these figures were impressive back in 69’, they are still impressive today. In 1971, Ford followed through with a heavier version, and then in 1974 delivered the Mustang II, which was also named Cobra, but this was a smaller hatchback model with a 2.8-liter V6 giving 105 horsepower.

The next big change came in 1984; the Mustang SVO came with a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivering 175 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 210 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm. This turbo four models delivered the same power as the 5.0-liter V8 but was much lighter.

Enter the Cobra R in 2000; this is the Mustang SVT Cobra R. It was this model that finally propelled Shelby into the automotive hall of fame, and came as a limited edition. The years rolled on, and ion 2016, the all-new Mustang GT350R was introduced to the world.

The Shelby GT350 Mustang was designed as a modern reflection of the original Mustang model GT350. What makes this model special is the 5.2-liter flat-plane crankshaft V8 engine which delivers an incredible 500 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque using a six-speed manual transmission with a Torsen limited-slip differential.

In 2018, Ford introduced the next stage Mustang; this is the 2019 Mustang Bullitt. This model comes in many variants, the core of this model is Its 5.0-liter V8 engine providing 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. However, this model uses a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2019 Ford Mustang comes in 8 variants, these are:

  • 2019 EcoBoost®: Fastback, Premium Fastback, Convertible, Premium Convertible
  • 2019 GT: Fastback, Premium Fastback, Premium Convertible
  • 2019 Bullitt

About the author

Jeff Glucker

Jeff Glucker is a longtime editor and columnist at MechanicFAQ.com. He’s a proud Delaware native and currently lives in Wilmington. When he’s not writing about cars, he’s driving them. And when he’s not driving them, he’s probably doing something else like spending time with his wife or yelling on his children because you need to do that too. You can follow him on Twitter @JGlucker

2 Comments

  • Good article. However, the 2019 Mustang Bullitt edition is equipped with a six speed manual transmission. An automatic is not offered or available for this model. The GT and GT premium can be equipped with an optional 10 speed automatic transmission.

    • Hi Eric,

      Good point! It is possible, but it’s not an off-the-shelf solution – you can’t just buy it on Amazon or elsewhere and install it like any replacement part. There’s a whole guide that needs to be written so I’ll just remove it for now.

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