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Heating up a 4-cylinder Ford

OK, so, I’m in love with the Ford Transit Connect, see, and I want to get rid of my E250 work vehicle which, I drove mostly empty almost all the time and with which I get 10MPG (big straight six). But, the love of my life only has 138HP and wheezes out under load.

What are the steps to modern and smart and LEGAL HP gains? Any ideas?

Really nothing out there for increasing the hp of the Transit Connect. You should drive it, you might be pleasantly surprised how well it performs stock.

Normally the only serious way to get better power is to buy a vehicle that has more power. The rest of it is basically tinkering that makes money for the companies that make modding equipment/parts.

Not much you can do with a Transit Connect. It’s made for low cost operation and being roomy for it’s size. Power really wasn’t much of a priority. With that said, it will probably offer similar performance to that of a 3/4 Ton van with the 300 I6. The 300 I6 offered reliablity and good low end power, but once you got moving it was pretty gutless. Past 2500 RPM it didn’t bring much to the table. You may want to consider an E150 with the 4.6L V8. It’ll get better mileage than the E250, (though not nearly as good as the Transit Connect)it offers superior performance, and will have just as much, if not more room than the Transit

In other markets Ford offers the Transit with a range of turbo-diesels.

Thanks for the feedback, guys. I am well aware of the characteristics of my 300 six, had one several years ago in a 150 van and yes, gutless is the active word except for the low end grunt. I also had the misfortune of owning a '64 Escort wagon years ago. Awful car. Just awful.
But I know that out there somewhere people are rodding up the fours and some run really well. What I want is about 40 more horses for lane merging and passing on the highway (as needed). No speed freak these days but sometimes capability at mid-range is important. Thanks again for the comments and, no, I don’t want a rear drive van ever again. I’m in Maine. And I want traction and some pulling power, too. Thanks.