Ford Probe Tuning

"This will PROBEably be fun!"

The Probe is loved by it's owners and often overlooked as the basis for a tuning project, especially over in the UK. Because so many forum members and readers have emailed us about the Probe and recommendations on how to modify one, so we've created this guide to go over what we feel are the primary areas which make for improvement and tuning success on this great car.

It is actually quite a good car for a project and can be turned into a storming track day car if you plan your mods carefully - the large engine bay can be home to some very impressive conversions.

We shall in this article take a peek at Probe tuning and summarise the best modifications for you.

Ford Probes are fantastic project cars and with the right performance parts you can substantially maximise your driving fun.The Probe is popular among our members for tuning projects Sit down first and research Probe tuning to avoid making the usual dear slip ups we see.

See our video which provides a complete introduction to Ford Tuning, it contains some tips on performance and handling modifications.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Probe Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are at the top of your mod list for the Probe.

Fully adjustable suspension allows you to fine tune the handling of you Probe substantially benefitting your drive.

Good suspension tweaks that often improve handling for the Probe include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe in or out on the front wheels. Toe in for stability, or Toe out to improve cornering. It would also pay to improve the brakes, by adding larger discs and or higher friction pads..

We would go to a maximum drop of 29mm - 35 mm on most models. You risk handling compromises if you go lower than this.

Tuning modifications.

Our aim in engine tuning should be to increase peak power at the top end.

With performance tips you can turn your Probe into a hot hatch, potentially beating larger cars on the track.

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Turning our attention to the Probes engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

This list of the stages and mods that are usually performed by our members, decide how far you want to go before you begin.

Getting the correct grade of mods for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 motorsport parts just don't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your Probe

  1. Tunes - A remap provides the most advantage in terms of cost, aftermarket ECUs, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are are often the best upgrade for an engine, but they must be setup by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake Mods and Exhaust Upgrades - NB: on their own these mods won't ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Probe Handling Mods (suspension) - Replacing worn bushings and shocks greatly enhances your Probe road holding and cornering. Poly Bushes and Coilovers are typically fitted to achieve this
  5. Braking Mods - Improve your Probe's stopping power ought to be listed in your priority list.
  6. Forced induction upgrades - Adding a turbocharger is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades it does provide the largest gains.
  7. Flowing and porting the engine head - for larger gains, you will get better flow and make a more efficient engine if you do this to support your other mods.

Probe Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include:sports exhaust,Panel air filter,lighter flywheel,alloy wheels,Remap,suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm).

Typical stage 2 mods often include:Fast road cam,Ported and polished head,power clutch,fuel injector & fuel pump upgrades,.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: competition cam,adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger),Engine balancing,Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves),sports gearbox.

Peak power is nice in motorsport but for a driveable and fun car you need a wide torque band and perhaps extending the rev range.

The aim of this article is to give a limited introduction of car tuning mods and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your project and all aspects of modding cars.

It improves the intake and exhaust flow and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a remap.

We'd also caution you not to go with a motor sports profile cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.When pushing up the power you will need to pay attention to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Using higher octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from pinking or premature ignition on your Ford project after fitting other mods.

Uprated injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

Probe Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust.  Contrary to popular belief there is generally a small if any power gain achieved by fitting an induction kit, they only help and are recommended after you boost the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for Probe engines you should go with a performance panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Sports exhausts can usually air flow through the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you could will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Getting the head polished and ported will help get more air into each cylinder. This is definitely a job for a professional with a flow bench. In nearly all cases of Probe tuning your clutch will start to fail and this should be improved - read our overview on clutches for more information. The best mods in our opinion for your Probe are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

For most Probe engines TorqueCars would suggest you just go with a washable panel air filter. On heavily tuned engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help release the power providing you address the problem of needing cold air.

Sports exhausts can usually air flow from the engine but do not go too large or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Head work including a head port and polished and 3 or 5 angle valve job will really help to release the potential of the engine.

When you start tuning your Probe you will find that the standard clutch starts to complain so get an uprated clutch. NA (naturally aspirated) engines do not achieve big power gains if you remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications.

With turbocharged engines this is another story.

A remapped turbo will give impressive power gains and take full advantage of the strength of the block. Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will give large power gains.

Turbos are generally harder to add than a supercharger. It is harder to map a turbo as the boost comes on exponentially with engine speed.

Superchargers however will give a boost which is proportional to engine speed so is easier to map. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brakes cool down and are usually lighter than the steel ones. It is worth noting that although they can look cool on the Probe Big alloy wheels will actually decrease your performance.

The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this is due to the change in your effective final drive ratio. Although some people have gone larger we would stick to a 18 inch rim size as the maximum.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our car forums where you can discuss Probe options in more detail with our Probe owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Ford tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below. We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these articles which are kept updated and constantly revised.

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