1999 Ford Lightning - Project Stealth Fighter: Part 1
Upgrading the Supercharged Ford Lightning for Monster Power
With a completely original engine powering our in-house ’99 Ford Lightning, we found ourselves a little underwhelmed with the 15-plus-year-old technology. The time had come to make a real power upgrade to the truck if it was going to have any chance keeping up with modern day performance trucks. Luckily for us, the same tuners and power upgrades that were available then, are still available now. We knew the stock supercharger and liquid-to-air intercooler were the main Achilles heel and would be the first to go.
Whipple Superchargers is no stranger to making big, reliable boost. Its direct-replacement 2.3L supercharger lowers air charge temperatures and uses less horsepower to turn compared to the factory Eaton-style blower. To allow the Whipple to take deep breaths, an Accufab Racing single-blade throttle body replaced the diminutive stock piece. Keeping intake air charge temperatures down is key to making reliable power and Afco has the liquid-to-air heat exchanger for the job. Built from 100 percent TIG-welded aluminum, the Afco PRO series heat exchanger moves cooling liquid through a double pass core and adds dual electric fans for serious airflow capacity. Tuning for all the modifications came from SCT Performance with its 90mm Mass Air Meter and Power Flash custom tuner.
On Whipple’s dyno, the Lightning made 336 hp and 388 lb-ft of torque, which was very respectable for having nothing but Kooks long-tube headers and a Banks Monster muffler on the truck. The engineers at Whipple were certain more power and lower intake air temps were just a few upgrades away. Check out the article, and if your truck isn’t quite fast enough, give the companies listed in the source box a call.
SCT PerformanceSanford, FL 32771
McGaughys Suspension PartsFresno, CA 93722
Whipple SuperchargersFresno, CA 93722
AFCO Racing ProductsBoonville, IN 47601
Accufab RacingOntario, CA 91761