These Are The Best Budget 2005-2014 Mustang Upgrades
Last Updated: May 10, 2022
For a lot of younger enthusiasts, the S197 is their first love affair with the Mustang. With the return to the classic styling with retro-inspired lines and accents to the old-school rumble of the 3-valve V8 in the earlier cars, these were the return to form that Ford needed for the car. With these 2005-2009 Mustangs, the classic low-slung lines and the low rumble of the 4.6 liter V8 held their ground against its competition for a few years. However, as more rivals reemerged, like the Camaro and the Challenger, the competition began to push harder and the car needed to change to keep up.
Shortly after the new body style debuted as a 2010 model, the big changes to the S197 began. The 2011-2014 Mustang brought in the now-beloved Coyote V8 which outmuscled the competition easily. The new body and engine kept the Mustang fresh to the point of still looking good today, nearly 10 years after the final year for the S197. Many people love these cars because of their muscle car styling, but the performance is what truly brings people to them. These have become bargains in the market, and the V8 has stayed potent and fun throughout.
Budget 2005-2014 Mustang Exhaust Upgrades
One of the best ways to make these Mustangs even better behind the wheel is the installation of modified exhaust. If you want to keep your car manageably loud while not being too loud for other people, upgrading to a resonator delete is the best way possible. For the early S197 models fitted with the 4.6 liter V8, the best option is upgrading to an H-Pipe like the Pypes Catted H-Pipe. Designed to improve exhaust flow while helping bring out that classic muscle car rumble, an H-Pipe is an inexpensive way to wake up your Mustang for a little extra horsepower as well as completely changing the exhaust’s tone.
For the later models fitted with the Coyote 5.0 liter V8, these engines are designed to sound more like a sports car. With a raspier and higher-pitched exhaust note, these engines push out over 100 more horsepower. For these engines, installing an X-Pipe such as the MagnaFlow Clamp-On Tru-X or BBK After-Cat X Pipe can completely change the car’s driving style. These mid-pipe resonator deletes, while more high-pitched in their tone, help make more power because of their more straightforward and simple designs which restrict exhaust flow less. These will give your Mustang an all-new sound that can’t be matched.
Budget 2005-2014 Mustang Transmission Upgrades
One of the most iconic features of the Mustang has always been the manual transmission. Whether it is the 3-speed manual from the first generation Mustang or the 6-speed found in the newest, the manual transmission is a part of the Mustang’s personality. From 2005 to 2010, the TR3650 five-speed manual was responsible for bringing power to the wheels. As good as this gearbox is, even by today’s standards, it could be improved. When pushed hard on the track, as well as while driving around town, upgrading to a short-throw shifter is a simple way to make driving more engaging and fun. The Steeda Tri-Ax Short Throw Shifter is a great and relatively inexpensive shifter that builds upon the one found in the car already.
While the TR3650 received praise for its solid and precise shifting, the replacement in the 2011 and newer Mustangs was not. The MT82 suffered from some major issues, but they can be handled and dealt with to prevent them. One of the fixes for them is by upgrading to the Steeda Tri-AX Short Throw Shifter which helps prevent unnecessary movement of parts by tightening the upper end. This, when paired with a high-performance clutch, not only fights the weaknesses of the factory transmission but also cleans up the “sloppy” shifter. This is a must-have for your transmission in your 2011-2014 Mustang for any enthusiastic driving.
Budget 2005-2014 Mustang Horsepower Upgrades
One great upgrade for these cars is also one of the easiest ways to improve horsepower dramatically. We have designed and patented the Steeda Ultimate Power Package kit that we use on every generation from the SN95 to the newest on the market. These kits include a new cone filter, new rotomolded plastic, and a full tune from us. These are cost-effective ways of getting a lot more power for not much money compared to setups like superchargers and turbochargers. On the 4.6 liter V8, the use of a Steeda Mustang GT Ultimate Power Pack can provide an extra 35 horsepower and 26 ft-lbs of torque when tuned through SCT Tuning’s devices.
For the Coyote-engine Mustang, however, the gains are larger and more noticeable too. More torque-heavy, using the same type of setup nets the Coyote around 44 horsepower and 52 ft-lbs over the stock setup. With the Steeda Ultimate Induction Power Package kit, you can make your Coyote Mustang drive harder, breathe clearer, and push further than ever. With the included SCT X4, you can easily upload the tune for your engine through your OBDII port to bring new life into your Coyote V8 safely and quickly. This tune has been reworked to make it one of the most reliable tunes developed in order to ensure longevity and performance for years.
Budget 2005-2014 Mustang Suspension Upgrades
One of the absolute best upgrades you can make to both your cars appearance and performance at the same time is the addition of lowering springs, upgraded shocks, or any other proper form of lowering your car’s suspension. The Mustang in particular benefits greatly from lowered suspension both aesthetically and in terms of performance. On the 2005-2009 S197, the hard lines and flat classic muscle car shape go perfectly with a low look, especially since these cars have wide fenders from the factory. Using parts such as the Steeda Pro-Action and Ultra-Lite Lowering Springs gets the low look many owners want as well as handling many enthusiasts would want too.
For owners of the 2010-2014 body style Mustang, lowering your car can dramatically improve performance and make it closer to actual racing use. Pairing the Coyote engine with a properly modified lowered suspension can make your car into a proper performance machine going around corners on par with many high-level performance companies. A great option for this is with the Steeda Pro-Action and Sport Lowering Springs which will take your ride height from stock to race car with ease while improving handling to take corners and handle high-speed use more readily.
Budget 2005-2014 Mustang Wheel Upgrades
One of the best upgrades for the S197 Mustang is definitely new wheels. With the aggressive body style, sharp lines, and wide range of customization available, the early S197 is the perfect platform to show off wheels on. An aggressive set of wheels, whether a classic five-spoke design or a more modern multi-spoke design, can completely change the styling of the entire car. One example of these wheels for the early S197 is the Chad McQueen Racing Mulholland wheel. Large, old school, and aggressive, the Mulholland is the perfect wheel for your S197 to give it that classic muscle look.
The newer S197 Mustangs took on a larger, more grand touring style to their design, progressing towards the sports car look of the S550. This design, while good with the five-spoke wheel as well, could pull off the multi-spoke look very well. A perfect example of this is the new Steeda Trident which is an evolution of the five-spoke design. Designed to fit the look of any Mustang from 2005 until the current (2023) body style, these look best on the 2011-2014 S197s in particular. With these slightly concave wheels’ aggressive styling, you can be sure that your car will stand out among the other Mustangs and cars around you.