Two-Valvers get no respect. Despite being the standard-bearer in thousands of Mustang GTs from 1996 through 2004, Ford's 4.6L 2V engine has been overshadowed by its high-falutin' 4-Valve cousin found in various itinerations of Mustang Cobras and Mach 1s. The 2-Valve found no love in the aftermarket either. Magazines gushed over the 4V, and manufacturers rushed to make parts for it while pretty much ignoring the SOHC motor.
There has been an epiphany of sorts concerning the 2-Valve 4.6, though, as parts developers have recognized that there is indeed a market for 2-Valve go-fast stuff (cue clouds parting and heavenly chorus singing). Superchargers, cold air intakes, headers, cams, cylinder heads, and other parts are now available for the 2-Valve Mustang owner wanting to hop up his or her engine.
The one glaring exception was an affordable high performance intake manifold. The only decent alternative to the standard intake was the one found on the 2003-04 Bullitt edition of the Mustang. Ford offered the manifold through its Ford Racing parts division, but discontinued it when production switched to the 3-Valve 4.6L in the current Mustang. Even when the Bullitt intake was around, it was pretty pricey-around 1,800 bucks when you included the necessary gaskets, hose, and hardware.
But Trick Flow Specialties has come to the rescue with its new Track Heat 4.6L 2V intake manifold kit (cue bugle call and the 7th Cavalry). In one fell swoop, Trick Flow solved two problems-performance and price. In dyno testing, the Track Heat intake added low-rpm torque (where 2-Valve engines desperately need it) and outperformed the factory intake above 6,000 rpm. The Track Heat is a bargain, too. It comes with all the gaskets, hardware, air intake tubing, brackets, hose, and line needed for installation on Romeo and Windsor 4.6s-for less than half the price of a Bullitt intake and installation hardware.
The Trick Flow Track Heat intake manifold is a direct bolt-on for 1999-2004 Mustang GTs, and will fit 1996-98 GTs that have been converted to the later Power Improvement (PI) cylinder heads. At first glance, the most obvious feature of the Track Heat manifold is material. Since it's made from cast aluminum, the intake is ideal for engines juiced with healthy doses of nitrous oxide or turbo/supercharger boost. That's stuff that would shatter a factory plastic intake like so much glass.
The Track Heat intake's upper plenum is located at the rear (the factory upper is centered). This allowed Trick Flow engineers to use symmetrical runners in the lower plenum without hitting a Mustang's stock hood. That's a pretty big deal; as-cast, the runners flow enough air to support breathed-on cylinder heads flowing as much as 280 cfm on the intake side. The Track Heat's lower plenum has plenty of material for porting and gasket matching too. Try that with a factory plastic intake.
As you might have guessed by now, the Track Heat intake manifold is aimed at the guy with a warmed-over 4.6L. As we stated before, the intake handily outperforms the factory manifold; according to Trick Flow, it's pretty much neck and neck with the Bullitt intake on a stock engine. But throw on a power adder, a free-flowing exhaust, or other modifications and the Track Heat flat-out walks away from its more expensive competitor.
Installing a Trick Flow Track Heat intake manifold is pretty much a remove-and-replace deal. You will need to make a few modifications, like lengthening the IAC motor wiring and replacing the coolant tube with a Track Heat-specific tube. Trick Flow includes all the pieces you will need to make these modifications.
You're getting a tech two-fer in this story, too. Trick Flow invited us to its headquarters to record the installation of a Track Heat intake on two Mustangs-a stock 2003 GT with a Romeo 4.6L and a 1999 GT with a Windsor 4.6L upgraded with all sorts of good things including an all-forged bottom end, a custom tune from Akron Horsepower, and a Paxton Novi 2000 supercharger. We also have chassis dyno results for the naturally aspirated GT, courtesy of Akron Horsepower.
Thanks to Trick Flow, 4.6L Two-Valve owners now have a true high performance intake manifold to call their own-one that not only makes power out of the box, but one fully capable of handling modifications that would make a stock plastic intake run home crying to its momma. In other words, you're gonna love it.
TFS-518B0002 Trick Flow Track Heat Intake Manifold for 4.6L 2V, bare finish
TFS-51800002 Trick Flow Track Heat Intake Manifold for 4.6L 2V, silver powdercoat
TFS-51811002 Trick Flow Track Heat Intake Manifold for 4.6L 2V, black powdercoat