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Old 11-10-2009, 08:32 PM
traderdaddy traderdaddy is offline
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The Best V10 upgrades

I just got a 2003 V10 Excursion and would like to know what to do to it first. Please let me know what you did and what it helped. Thanks a lot!!
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Old 11-10-2009, 09:41 PM
Husky44 Husky44 is offline
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Originally Posted by traderdaddy View Post
I just got a 2003 V10 Excursion and would like to know what to do to it first. Please let me know what you did and what it helped. Thanks a lot!!
Depends. What are you wanting to use the truck for? Towing? Drag Racing? Mudding? Slam it in the weeds and make it go "thump/thump/thump"?

What are you wanting to improve on? Handling? Acceleration? Bling?
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by traderdaddy View Post
I just got a 2003 V10 Excursion and would like to know what to do to it first. Please let me know what you did and what it helped. Thanks a lot!!
I asked the same question 3 months ago about added torque for towing my travel trailer. I got lots of opinions but the common recommendations boiled down to these: a tuner, a cold air intake, headers, and a free flowing exhaust.

Their are a wide variety of brands or techniques for each mod but you really just have to read and make your own choices. I have listed what was recommended most often to me and what I chose.

For the CAI, some swear you don't need one and they say to do the "Zoodad" mod to open up the airflow to the front of the existing air intake. I chose the Volant CAI since it seemed to be the most often recommended at the time and did not involve cutting or grinding.

For the headers, it depends on whether you want shorties or long tubes. I can't explain why but long tubes are reported to have more effect overall. Gibson and the ones sold on eBay are shorties. The least expensive header option is eBay. Shorties don't come with the y-pipe replacement. Thorley and Banks both are long tubes and are both excellent quality and include the y-pipe replacements. Thorleys are cheaper and come in stainless or ceramic however they require a small bit of grinding on the frame for fitment. Banks headers are the most expensive but they require no modifications and they come with custom made heat shields for the starter, motor mounts, etc. All are made of mild steel except for Banks. Again, I can't explain the difference except that mild steel is of slightly lesser, but adequate quality.

If you are like me and have the restricted y-pipe, there is a y-pipe replacement also sold on eBay. It is a very inexpensive alternative to headers and will free up some exhaust flow forward of the cat. It can also be installed along with the shorty headers. There are 2 drawbacks...you are still dealing with the factory manifolds (if no headers) and you run the risk of the "flutter." Though I am not there yet, I intend to go with Banks after the new year.

For free flowing exhaust, there are several choices for kits and mufflers. Your stock tailpipe is 3" diameter with mandrel bends so it really doesn't have to be replaced. I threw a stainless tip on mine just for looks. All the kits and mufflers have different sounds but the chief complaint is that the V-10 sounds like a rice-burner at higher RPMs. You just have to listen to sound bites and take your chances. Magnaflow & Flowmaster seem to be the brands that are recommended a lot.

I went with the Flowmaster 70 Big Block II mostly because I know the name and it sounded pretty good on TeamMudd's page. It also fit right into the stock position after I used a sawzall to cut the intermediate and tail pipes off flush with the stock muffler. It has a low rumble at idle and doesn't get too loud at speed. I have also not had any drone or resonance at any speed. I haven't pulled anything heavy since I installed it so I can't really say what it sounds like under load.

TeamMudd's web page:
Sound & Video Clips

Now the tuner. 5 Star Tuning wins hands down as the most recommended tuner and place to buy from. I have yet to come across a complaint about customer service. He owns a V-10 and a dyno and has been tweaking his tunes for years now. I don't have one yet because I am waiting until I get my headers before I buy; but I know where I will be buying...5 Star Tuning.

Another mod that was highly recommended but I chose not to do:
Gears--I have 4.30s already and I didn't want to tank my daily driver's gas mileage. Gears will make a huge difference if you are towing often and heavy.

With the CAI and the muffler in place, I noticed a modest, seat-of-the-pants increase in power from a dead stop.

I hope this helps a bit. I don't really know all the technical reasons I chose what I did but I did lots of reading, tried to filter out the hype, and think I made an informed decision.

Good luck!

Stew
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:28 AM
Husky44 Husky44 is offline
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Originally Posted by Ex03AK View Post
Though I am not there yet, I intend to go with Banks after the new year.
Stew
FWIW, I'd do some more research on Banks before I bought their stuff; I personally just decided not to consider the Banks setup after doing my homework.

In my experience, they were NOT very user-friendly in getting me detailed info for my application, or even a shipping quote. There's another post on here (or maybe on the V10 page) that gave another person's very dissatisfied experience with the whole Banks Power Pack.

I can't speak for the Ex V10, but in general, I don't think you get a lot of bang for your buck from CAI. I've read on here before that others have actually checked intake air temps, and are reading within a few degrees of ambient. So the "C" in CAI isn't really going to help you. A drop-in K&N or orther free-flowing airfilter may get you better flow, but in general, CAIs don't add a lot of performance gain.

The restricted Y-pipe is definitely worth resolving. I'm still researching the header issue; generally shorties are marginal improvement over stock exhaust manifolds, and long tubes are the recommended way to get real performance gains. That said, you've got to have the exhaust to flow them all the way out (y-pipe, cats, muffs, etc), however, you can open up too much and lose your backpressure, robbing yourself of the low-end torque you really need. Also, IMHO, you need to do some significant intake flow improvements (read forced induction) in order to really need to increase (and see the benefits of) an exhaust flow increase on these trucks.

In my experience (again, not specific to the truck, but generally), the single best SOTP improvement you're going to buy is gears, particularly if you're running 3.73s.

There's my input on power/performance improvements, but again, what is your goal?
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:14 AM
traderdaddy traderdaddy is offline
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WOW! This forum is great. I didn't expect all the reply so qiuck. Ok, Here is my downfall. I drive it about 60 miles a day so mpg is an issue. I pull moderate stuff, utility trailers and occasionally med sized enclosed trailer. Nothing real heavy. I am wanting all the speed and all the torque with all the mpg's of course . I have found a lot of good info on this site already and just joined. So far I love the excursion. I will keep reading and try to figure out whats best. Thanks
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Old 11-11-2009, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Husky44 View Post
n my experience (again, not specific to the truck, but generally), the single best SOTP improvement you're going to buy is gears, particularly if you're running 3.73s.

There's my input on power/performance improvements, but again, what is your goal?
I'll +1 Husky here on the gears...but I tow a 9000# high wind profiile travel trailer all over the country...

Quote:
Originally Posted by traderdaddy View Post
WOW! This forum is great. I didn't expect all the reply so qiuck. Ok, Here is my downfall. I drive it about 60 miles a day so mpg is an issue. I pull moderate stuff, utility trailers and occasionally med sized enclosed trailer. Nothing real heavy. I am wanting all the speed and all the torque with all the mpg's of course . I have found a lot of good info on this site already and just joined. So far I love the excursion. I will keep reading and try to figure out whats best. Thanks
If you aren't towing very heavy...3.73's are a very good compromise.

Where do you live? I ask because high altitudes rob power from normally aspirated motors...

Also do you have stock sized tires still on your Ex?...larger tires effectively raise (lower numerical numbers) your final gear ratio...high gear ratio (i.e. lower numerical numbers...3.73, 3.55, 3.10...you get the picture)...reduces your low end 'grunt'. Lower gear ratios (i.e. higher numerical numbers (3.73, 4.30, 4.56...you get the picture)...are better for low end 'grunt'...so if you have changed your tires to larger tires...your 3.73's aren't 3.73's any more...they are likely somewhere between 3.73's and 3.55's depending on the size of your tires...

The biggest factor I have found in towing all over the country is NOT TO BABY the motor...RPM's ARE YOUR FRIEND with this SOHC motor...she is designed to rev to make power...don't be afraid to wind her up to 3000 RPM's minimum...

With 3.73's at 65mph in 3rd gear you will be turning somewhere in the 2600RPM range...for 'most' towing I found that to be a very acceptable spot...however on good grades...you will very likely down shift to 2nd to make the climb (by good I mean greater than about 4-5% grade)...

Why I like the 4.30's so much is that you can turn off OD and you are running just under 3000RPMs...at those RPM's you can pull darn near any hill and if it is a really long and steep one (6% for 5 mile types)...well I just speed up to 70mph for those 5 miles and I'm turning 3200RPMs and I can easily pull those hills at 70mph even loaded to 17,000#'s combined!

So it really comes down to what you are trying to do...

I've found that most of my towing my old 7500# TT around the country...3.73's in 3rd gear at 65mph was a dream...of course everyone's view of "dream" is subjective...

Hope this helps a little bit...WELCOME to FTE!

Good luck,
Joe.
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Old 11-11-2009, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex03AK View Post
I have listed what was recommended most often to me and what I chose.
Great V10 power post! Reps given.
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:28 PM
traderdaddy traderdaddy is offline
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Thanks!!! Very welcoming posts. Are there any "bolt on" must haves I could do right now?
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Old 11-11-2009, 06:16 PM
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Traderdaddy,
You will learn quickly that FTE folks are plenty willing to give answers to your questions. I have to agree with Husky & X_Hemi_Guy on the gears. If you have 3.73 gears, an upgrade to 4.30s is great bang for the buck, if you really need them at all. If you already have 4.30s, you probably don't need any further mods at all unless you get a heavier trailer.

Husky,
You have given great info and insight and I agree that the Banks Power Pack is not the way to go. That is the reason I put together my own poor man's "power pack" of sorts. I am only going to use the Banks headers because I believe, based my own research and the recommendations in these forums, they are the best quality headers on the market. I haven't bought anything from Banks yet but have had a good experience with them so far. Albert at Banks has even called me back a couple times to let me know they are running specials. I hope I don't run into the same problems you had however I am willing to risk it. Hopefully I will only deal with them one time unless I need warranty service, which shouldn't be likely given the quality of their products. As for the CAI, you make a great point regarding air temps in the CAI. I guess I am just a victim of good marketing. I got a CAI simply because I won't ever have to wonder "What if?" Lastly, I totally agree about forced induction but I simply can't afford it and it actually uses more gas which somewhat defeats my purpose for the mods.

Howler, thanks for the reps! I appreciate it.

Stew
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex03AK View Post
Lastly, I totally agree about forced induction but I simply can't afford it and it actually uses more gas which somewhat defeats my purpose for the mods.
It only uses more gas if you stand on the skinny pedal more. Under similar driving conditions, the turboed engine is more efficient.
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:31 PM
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It only uses more gas if you stand on the skinny pedal more. Under similar driving conditions, the turboed engine is more efficient.
Good point about the skinny pedal and I agree on the turbo. I guess I wasn't exactly clear where I was coming from. I was under the impression the OP is looking for bolt-ons so I was limiting my thinking to a supercharger; and they reportedly use more gas. I am not aware of any bolt-on turbo kits available for the V-10. Have I missed out on something?

Thanks,
Stew
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by traderdaddy View Post
Thanks!!! Very welcoming posts. Are there any "bolt on" must haves I could do right now?
Not really, IMHO, at least not for power or MPG. For starters, if you want increased power, you can get there, but you're going to see the same or reduced MPG. If you want improved MPG, same advice as others made for the forced induction discussion--stay off the skinny pedal. 10 mph slower yields significant differences in gas mileage.

Like stated, best SOTP performance improvement will be gears, but that's expensive, and for most it's not a bolt-on.

My advice for the uses you described would be to leave your engine alone. Your Ex won't break a sweat with "moderate" towing, even with 3.73s (assuming, as Ex-Hemi brought up, you aren't spending significant time at altitude). Most of the performance "bolt-ons" (short of a complete exhaust), are more marketing than results.

If the mod bug is totally kicking your butt, then I suggest you look at some handling mods. Some combo of sway bars, good shocks, tightening up your steering (gear box adjustment, ball joints, etc, as necessary) will improve your handling for your commute. If your wallet is bigger and burning brighter, go for a good set of aftermarket wheels and tires. I wouldn't go for a radically larger overall diameter, but a larger diameter wheel (and subsequently shorter sidewall) will further improve handling, as long as you don't go too low profile on the tires, or you'll ride like a log wagon.

In short (I guess it's too late for that, isn't it!), if you wanna do some mods, tighten up your handling a little, then work on the creature comforts or the bling. You've got plenty of truck to do what you want, and you'd have to spend a lot of money to make a noticeable difference on acceleration.

Yes, most of us on here don't have a life, and post a lot because rep points is where we get our self-actualization! Plus, it's easy to sound smart on here!
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:46 PM
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Yes, most of us on here don't have a life, and post a lot because rep points is where we get our self-actualization! Plus, it's easy to sound smart on here!
Well said!
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:51 PM
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Well said!
Wow, just realized you were in Anchorage too. That makes at least 3 of us on here from the MOA. Wonder if there's some sort of weird statistical thing like "Alaska, home of more Ex's per capita of any state in the nation"?
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:43 AM
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I think it's just more folks in Alaska don't have a life...
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