How To Install Turbonetics’ NX2 Turbo On An EcoBoost Mustang

It has been one long year for Full-Race Motorsports, Turbonetics / PTE, and myself as I have been quietly testing the Turbonetics NX2 “drop-in” turbocharger on my 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost.

Within the testing time frame, I have been through five different turbos and two different tunes. I am approaching 40,000 miles on the latest prototype and have had zero issues. To answer a common question – yes, my engine internals are bone stock. However, my S550 has every Full-Race Motorsport goodie possible from their charge pipes, blow off valve, intercooler, cold air intake, to their downpipe and race spec exhaust.

The drop-in Turbonetics NX2 provides over 27-pounds of boost to my 2.3-liter Ford EcoBoost Engine. Its called a “drop-in” because it is precisely that. Installation requires zero modification to the stock charge piping, blow off valve, and intercooler so that this turbocharger can be installed in a matter of hours.

Before installing the turbo, I made sure to get a baseline on my Mustang. With a stock turbo, 91-octane fuel, full bolt-ons and no tune, I was able to make 310 wheel horsepower with 312 wheel torque. Is the car a freak of nature? Who knows, but there is no denying the car did rip on its stock turbo.

Everyone wants to know what power I made after the turbo install – I ran into some issues because the car is not equipped with auxiliary fuel, but I made over 450 wheel torque. I am working as fast as I can to get that issue solved and get the car back on the dyno to make a full pull on maximum boost. When I tested the car with the NX2 turbo the car was on 91-octane fuel and ran an MS109 Race Gas Map tuned on a Cobb Access Port.

The turbo pulls hard throughout the entire RPM range and provides over 1000 RPM of reduced spool time assisted by the dual ball bearing, billet compressor wheel, and twin-scroll design.

I took a friend for a drive in my car with the new turbo, it was great to see his reaction, and he complimented how strong the power came on and how much quicker it was than his stock turbo tuned on E30, since then he got his own Turbonetics NX2 Turbo.

Here is the actual Turbonetics NX2 “drop-in” turbocharger for his 2017 Ford Mustang Ecoboost.

How to Install 

You need essential tools including a full metric set, 3/8-inch ratchet, and needle nose pliers to perform the install. I recommend using a lift if you have one and be prepared to lose oil and coolant throughout this process. I lost about a quart of coolant and a decent amount of oil during my install.

Don’t take risks when it comes to lubrication, use the best replacement fluids for your Mustang. I use Motul Lubricants with my car because its trusted by many race teams and used with the Ford Performance/Roush Road Racing/Kohr Motorsports Ford GT4 Mustangs.

What will you need exactly?

  • 1 Turbonetics NX2 Turbocharger
  • 3 Cans of Motul 300v 5W30 (Recommended)
  • 1 Bottle of Motul MoCool
  • 1 Jug of distilled water
  • 1 Ford Motorcraft Oil Filter
  • Drip pan / Oil catch
  • Basic Tool Set (Metric)
  • Use of a lift is recommended, but ramps or a jack work just fine (always make sure to use jack stands)
  • Cobb Access Port (Highly recommend or any tuner)
  • Some banging tunes to get you excited about this install

Step One: Remove Stock Turbo

To start, make sure the car is completely cooled off, if not, I mean you’re more than welcome to find out what happens and drop a comment on this post. Remove the stock intake and hot-side charge pipe.

Carefully remove the coolant and oil lines from the OEM turbocharger. Do not remove the oil drain from the block, disconnect it from the CHRA / turbocharger. Again, I warn you to make sure the car is cooled.

Disconnect your O2 Sensor from the back of the head. Using needle nose pliers, remove all vacuum lines connected to the turbo. There are two bolts on the back of the stock turbo, you will need to loosen these to remove either your aftermarket or stock downpipe. Four-bolts hold the turbocharger to the head, two on top and two on the bottom.

If you haven’t had third-degree burns yet, remove the nuts that hold the heat shield but keep the heat shield because it gets reused.

The turbo should be very loose at this point, pull it straight out and run to the nearest stereo to blast your favorite song as we are ready to start reassembly with your new turbo.

Step Two: Prep the new Turbo 

To prep the turbo, install the two studs provided into the turbine housing; these are used to hold your OEM or aftermarket downpipe in place. Remove the OEM turbo gasket on the head. Install the provided Ford OEM gasket, make sure that the 90-degree lip of the gasket is facing outward. Remove and install the provided OEM Ford O-Rings onto your oil and coolant lines.

You are now ready to get this bad boy into your Ecoboost.

Step Three: Installation 

Install is straightforward, how you removed the OEM turbo is how you install the new unit. Make sure that it is flat against the head and reinstall the heat shield over the turbine side using the new OEM hardware provided.

Reconnect the downpipe using the provided Ford OEM downpipe flange; lip side faces the turbine, convex side faces the downpipe.

Connect your O2 sensor and get ready for the final pieces. Install the provided intake adaptor followed by your modified or stock intake tube. Attach your OEM or modified charge piping to the turbo and intercooler. From there you are ready to attach all your vacuum lines.

Once complete, stand back, breathe heavy and get ready for some serious power out of your EcoBoost.

Before you start the car, take this time to perform an oil change. Dive under the car to remove your old oil filter and drain plug. After a few minutes of draining your oil, install a new OEM oil filter, make sure to put a thin layer of oil on the filter to make removal easy.

Tighten your drain plug back up and pour six quarts of Motul Oil into the fill cap. Open your coolant reservoir and dump a full can of Motul Mocool, later when you start the car up you can see how much-distilled water you need to add.

Step back and marvel your success, or if I did your install, big smile cause you’re on camera. Take a Snapchat or do it for the gram at this point.

Before we fire this party up, let’s go through a quick checklist of parts.

  • Check oil level
  • Drain plug is tight
  • O2 sensor is reconnected
  • All vacuum lines are secured
  • Hose clamps are tight
  • Turbine to head nuts are tightened
  • Downpipe nuts are tight

If all of that checks out, we assume that you have a tuner at this point. Communicate with your tuner to get a baseline map that uses wastegate pressure around 18 PSI. Upload your new tune to your programmer, reset the oil life, and now you are ready for your first startup.

Don’t be alarmed; your Mustang will smoke. That does not mean the world is ending. You will see visible smoke from the turbine and exhaust because of an oil coated residue that prevents rust. Yes, it will smell but stay calm and let it burn off. With a flashlight, check your turbocharger for leaks. Check for engine codes and if all is good, go for a test drive.

Review: 

Overall, this install will take an experienced tech about an hour and a half, if you are a amateur enthusiast following this DIY, it may take you around four and a half hours if you do not access to a lift and professional tools.

How difficult is the install? Around 5/10, with the removal of the actual turbo being the hardest part.

I highly recommend your Mustang gets tuned after installing this turbo. You are safe to drive on a baseline tune, but you won’t have optimum performance.

As a final note, if you are looking to make more than 400 wheel horsepower, you will need auxiliary fuel.

About the author

Charles Siritho

My name is Charles Siritho - my name is hard to forget as you’ll say it wrong the first go around. I am the owner and founder of The Function Factory, specializing in high-end automotive media / commercial video and photography services.
Read My Articles

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