All engines can benefit from a high-quality tune-up, and the Ford Bronco is no exception. If you're looking for a way to boost horsepower, torque and performance to your ride, Bronco tuning (and Bronco performance mods) is the best way to unlock all that hidden potential under your hood. In this article, we'll walk you through our personal Ford Bronco performance tune project and give you a few ideas on what you can do to modify your ride to show you just how much power you're missing out on by sticking with stock.
- Ford Bronco Tuning: The Complete Lethal Walkthrough
- Start With a New Exhaust System
- Unlock Some Hidden Performance
- Flash That Tune
- Swap Out the Stock Air Filter
- Upgrade Your Intercooler for Big Gains
- Take Performance & Sound a Step Further With Blow-Off Valves
- Results of Our Ford Bronco Performance Tune Project
- Frequently Asked Questions: Ford Bronco Performance Tune
Ford Bronco Tuning: The Complete Lethal Walkthrough
2021-2023 Ford Broncos are great-looking, extremely capable machines – even in stock form. But we at Lethal Performance have been chomping at the bit to get started on our Ford Bronco performance tune project to see how much better we could make it.
We started with our Lightning Blue Lethal Performance First Edition Bronco 4-Door with the 2.7L Twin-Turbo EcoBoost engine. And, of course, our Bronco is fully equipped with the Sasquatch package. Our baseline dyno numbers started with 253 HP and 318 lb-ft. of torque at the rear wheels. Impressive? Yes. Could it be better with a full-on Ford Bronco 2.7L tune? Definitely.
Keep reading (and watching) below as Team Lethal's Jared (AKA The Mustang King) takes you through Stage 1 of our Bronco tuning project and shows how easy it is to raise the bar on this truck's performance.
Start With a New Exhaust System
The first step in our Ford Bronco tuning journey began underneath the chassis with the stock exhaust. There's no question – it had to go. Factory exhaust systems are designed to meet emissions standards (and not piss off the neighbors when you roll home after sunset.) But we're about announcing our presence with real authority, so those stock restrictions needed to be taken care of. We tore off that stock exhaust and swapped it for something far more aggressive.
There are plenty of options to upgrade your Bronco's exhaust. We chose the AWE 0FG 3" Catback Exhaust with great-looking 5-inch tips in Diamond Black to ensure your system looks as great as it sounds. In the video below, Jared and the guys at Lethal Performance show you how to remove the stock exhaust and bolt on the aftermarket system from AWE. And then Jared takes the Bronco for a spin so you can hear how much better the new exhaust sounds compared to stock.
As a bonus, check out these sound clips for both the dual-tip and single-tip AWE catback exhausts for the 2.3L and 2.7L Bronco engines.
Other Exhaust Options to Check Out
Ford Bronco tuning is all about getting YOUR Bronco to where YOU want it to be. If you're not a fan of the sound and power coming from the AWE catback exhaust, we have a few more options for you. These are some of the best exhaust systems in the industry, so you're sure to find something that gets your heart racing.
- Kooks Street Series Axle-Back Exhaust: If you're a daily driver or weekend enthusiast, we highly recommend the Kooks Street Series Axle-Back. The exhaust features a single inlet, dual exit and performance muffler complete with black Kooks tips to give your Bronco a huge boost in sound and style, with a slight upgrade to performance.
- MRT Trail-Rated Turndown Axle Back Exhaust: If you're looking for a more sporty, performance sound, you'll want to check out the MRT Trail-Rated Turndown Axle-Back. With a straight-through muffler design that tones down the exhaust presence, you'll get a clean exhaust note that's not overpowering. This system is perfect for looking for an exhaust note that's not obnoxious and not overbearing.
- Corsa Catback Single Side Exit Exhaust: The Corsa Single Side Catback is one of our favorite systems for performance, but the sound is where it truly shines. Outfitted with Corsa's Patented, No Drone, Reflective Sound Cancellation® (RSC) Technology, this system creates an insanely aggressive drone-free exhaust note packed with deep tonality. Plus, it outflows your stock system by 60% for serious HP and torque gains.
- Thermal R&D Catback Exhaust: The Thermal R&D Catback is perfect for daily driving, off-roading and overlanding applications. Utilizing a ceramic coating, this system provides functional head reduction and improves your aesthetics, especially for those with lifted rigs. Not to mention, the aggressive, clean exhaust note sounds amazing.
Unlock Some Hidden Performance
Improving your performance doesn't always mean you need to add more and more power to your engine or take precious seconds off your 0-60 time. When it comes to Ford Bronco tuning, improving otherwise hidden inefficiencies will help your vehicle's performance maintain peak numbers over the long haul.
We added the UPR Products' Plug N Play Oil Catch Can. Oil catch cans keep your intake manifold clean and prevent the buildup of dirty oil and other harmful substances that will damage your engine and bleed performance over time.
As UPR's Steve B. says in the video below: "(Catch cans) take the dirty air from the PCV that would normally go into your intake manifold, and it's basically going to filter it out and collect it in the bottom of the can so you can just empty it and get rid of it."
Other Oil Catch Cans You May Want
Lethal Performance is home to a wide range of Bronco oil catch cans to ensure you get the performance you want from your engine. Here are more of our favorites you might want to check out for your Ford Bronco tune.
- Corsa Performance Aluminum Oil Catch Can: Corsa's Aluminum Oil Catch Can is the latest in their lineup to maximize your Bronco's performance and longevity. Made from 6061 aluminum, these catch cans eliminate blow-by of gas, water, oil vapors and particulates from the airpath that reduces engine life. They're a breeze to install and are a cost-effective way to ensure you're running at peak performance.
- J&L 3.0 Passenger Side Oil Separator: The J&L Passenger Side Oil Separator is another excellent option if you're looking for a simple way to boost your engine's longevity and performance. With a multi-stage filter system and solid billet construction, this is a reliable option to ensure clean air is always passing into your intake.
- Mishimoto Baffled Oil Catch Can Kit: Made for 2.3L applications, the Mishimoto Baffled Oil Catch Can is a complete bolt-on, blow-by solution perfect for any driver looking to max out their longevity. Featuring a set of air turbulators and baffles inside the can, this kit separates water, fuel and oil vapors from the crankcase gasses and collects them to be drained when you change your oil.
Flash That Tune
The real star of the show when it comes to getting your Ford Bronco performance tune project off the ground is the Whipple Supercharger Stage 1 Upgrade Kit. The kit has three components that work together to give your Bronco a swift kick in the ass.
Step 1 involves flash tuning the Bronco's power control module (PCM). We used the Whipple Superchargers Tomahawk Flash Device to modify our Bronco's PCM and maximize its built-in performance. We know what you're probably thinking, so don't get your undies in a bunch: the Tomahawk is street-legal in all 50 states, meaning even after using this tuner, your Bronco will still pass your state's emissions test, albeit with considerably more power.
In the video below, The Mustang King (or do we need to start calling him The Bronco King?) shows how simple it is to flash your truck's tune and then take the Team Lethal Bronco back to the dyno. The result? Almost 60 HP and a whopping 80 lb-ft. of torque to the wheels!
Other Ford Bronco Performance Tunes You Might Be Interested In
The tuner is the heart and soul of a full Ford Bronco performance tune. Each has different settings, so we highly recommend you check everything out to customize your ride to meet your exact specifications. These are just a couple of our favorites, but we have plenty more in The Tune Shop.
- Burger Motorsports JB4 Tuner: If you're looking for a simple plug 'n' play tuner, the JB4 Tuner from Burger Motorsports is a great choice. Even if you ignore everything else on this list and just want to tune your stock truck, you'll see performance gains up to 100hp and 120wtq to the wheels. Unlike other systems, the JB4 includes CANbus functionality. This allows it to take in critical engine data directly from the ECU for real-time tuning, including pedal position, throttle position, timing advance, fuel trims, air/fuel ratio, engine knock and much more.
- Ford Performance Calibration w/ ProCal 4 Calibration Delivery Tool: Sitting with a peak torque of 433 lb-ft. and peak power of 355 HP, the ProCal 4 Ford Performance Bronco Tune provides drivers with some of the best numbers in the industry. This Bronco Ford Performance tune is engineered and dyno tested to ensure your ride will get increased performance and power without sacrificing reliability. What else is there to say?
Swap Out the Stock Air Filter
The next step of our Stage 1 Ford Bronco tuning adventure is the easiest mod you'll ever make. Simply remove the stock paper air filter from your Bronco and drop in the oiled Whipple Superchargers High-Flow Direct Replacement Air Filter to experience nearly 18% less restricted airflow to your 2.3L or 2.7L EcoBoost engine. Check out the quick video below as Jared shows you how to swap your stock air filter for the upgraded version.
Other Induction Mods You'll Love
Upgrading your induction system offers even more performance boosts than just swapping out the filter. Cold air intakes are super effective, inexpensive mods that give your engine the power to breathe easier during drives. Instead of sucking up all that hot air under your engine, a cold air intake blasts cold air from the outside to keep everything performing at its peak. Check out our favorites below if you want to add a cold air intake to your Bronco tune.
- Roush 422233 R Series Cold Air Intake Kit: If you bought your Bronco for the off-road, you'll love the Roush R Series Intake. This system gives the air filtration system in your Bronco a larger capacity and excels at preventing dirty, toxic air from getting into the engine. It's purposefully designed with the off-road in mind, protecting your engine for better performance when riding out on the trails.
- Corsa Closed Box Air Intake: Ready to drastically outflow your stock intake and bring your performance to new heights? The Corsa Closed Box Air Intake is perfect for streamlining cold air delivery, and the closed-off design shields it from engine heat, reducing airflow temperatures even more. Plus, this system is great for increasing your air intake tone and turbo whine.
- aFe Momentum GT Cold Air Intake System w/ Pro DRY S Filter: With a unique one-piece housing, three-layer performance air filter and dyno-tuned intake tubes, the aFe Momentum GT Intake is a true performance masterpiece. Every piece in this innovative system is designed to reduce heat soak to achieve maximum power gains while maintaining a perfect fit. Plus, the 360-degree radial flow air filter is reusable and washable, so you'll never have to worry about replacing it.
- Mishimoto Performance Air Intake: For 2.3L Bronco drivers, check out the Mishimoto Performance Air Intake for a 29% boost in your power. Along with an aggressive intake tone, this system is designed to keep the intake flowing through any terrain utilizing the Bronco's stock fresh air inlet, which features a dust trap to protect the air filter from dust and debris.
Upgrade Your Intercooler for Big Gains
To complete the Stage 1 Ford Bronco tune kit, you'll add the Whipple Superchargers Mega Cooler Intercooler. Watch below as Jared shows off the new intercooler and discusses what kind of performance improvements he expects to see once it gets installed in our First Edition Bronco.
Other Intercooler Options You Might Want
If you don't decide to pick up a full Ford Bronco performance tune kit like the Whipple kit we used, you still might want to think about picking up an intercooler for some serious gains. Here are a few of our favorites.
- CP-E Core Front Mount Intercooler: If you've got the itch to go faster every time you get behind the wheel of your Bronco, you'll want to check out the CP-E Core Intercooler. With a maximized core design, fully casted end tanks and bolt-in installation, this system is an easy way to get substantially lower and more consistent charge temps to boost your performance and speed.
- Mishimoto High-Mount Intercooler Kit: With a 49% greater core volume and 93% greater external fin surface area than stock, the Mishimoto High-Mount Intercooler Kit is perfect for giving your Bronco the coldest, densest air possible. Relocated to the upper grille to allow for better airflow at all times, this system also produces power gains of 11.6 HP and 13.7 lb-ft. of torque on the stock tune.
Take Performance & Sound a Step Further With Blow-Off Valves
Next, we wanted to add some proper turbo noise and performance to our Bronco, so we added in the Dual Port Turbosmart BOV Kompact VR13 – an awesome little mod that makes a big difference.
When you perform a Bronco tune, your ride will be making way more boost than it was designed to. The factory recirculating valve from Ford may not be able to handle things right – the Turbosmart BOV will. Plus, we really love that "pssssh" sound. Check out the video to see how simple the installation is (and how cool things sound once everything is in place.) The Turbosmart BOV Kompact VR13 also comes in a full recirculating model if you're not interested in getting any sound boosts from your system.
Results of Our Ford Bronco Performance Tune Project
With the complete Whipple Stage 1 Ford Bronco performance tune kit installed, it's time to see what kind of power gains we're seeing from our Bronco. Below, you can watch Jared take the Lightning Blue Team Lethal Bronco 2.7L to the dyno to see how it performs.
Wow! Let's just say we are pleased with the results. You can see the actual figures from the dyno testing in the video, but the simple mods we made to the Bronco gave us over 70 horsepower and 110 lb-ft. of torque to the rear wheels. That's legit, kids!
Frequently Asked Questions: Ford Bronco Performance Tune
If you still have questions or need more information about Ford Bronco performance tunes, check out the answers to our most frequently asked questions below.
Is the Ford Bronco Fast?
How Much HP Does the Ford Bronco Make?
A standard turbocharged 2.3L Ford Bronco has 300 HP in stock. For 2.7L models, that number gets bumped up to 330 HP.
Can Performance Ford Bronco Tuning Improve My Fuel Efficiency?
Performance Ford Bronco tuning is typically focused on increasing power and performance, which may lead to a slight decrease in fuel efficiency due to increased engine output. However, plenty of tuners offer fuel economy-focused tuning options to optimize efficiency.