Emissions Equipment – Who Would Have Thought??

By: Bob Goodson
August 7, 2022

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Emissions equipment… This term makes hot rodders cringe. At least it did in the 1980’s.  Late models tend to get around that with a laptop these days. But back in 1986 when SEFI was added to the Mustang it sent the old school carburetor guys spinning.  So many cars were converted to carb back then because computer controlled engine management was some sort of “black magic”.  

This equipment that managed Exhaust Gases to reduce carbon emissions was typically removed by people thinking they were doing something to “increase performance”.  Smog pump removal or bypass with a shorter belt was the first thing on people’s list.  Somehow that seemed to give people a false sense of “seat of the pants” difference.  I’d say it was like a placebo effect.  It did free up a couple hp at high rpm.  But when on a dyno, the margin of error was within the same percentage of what was “gained”.  

There’s no denying that I was a part of that gang of people yanking stuff off and throwing it away.  Anything and everything to gain a 1/2 ounce of horsepower had to be done, mainly because it was FREE!  And being very young and on a budget made that such a priority.  I mean, it was FREE… right?? Who’s with me there?  Ok, so it cost a short belt and a little of your own time to remove the pump and associated equipment.  But, you removed weight and freed up the serpentine system to spin better at high rpm.  Because that’s really where it was shown to improve.  Maybe throttle response too if you wanted to argue the seat of the pants-o-meter.  Ha!

Fast forward 25-30 years and its obvious that the nostalgia is getting most of us.  Prices on Foxbody Mustangs are jumping up and I’ll be brutally honest in that the stock Foxbodies that are selling are not going to win any races. It’s totally a nostalgic thing.  A stock Fox Mustang really doesn’t handle that well, doesn’t accelerate as fast as some soccer mom vehicles today and they really don’t stop that well either.  Saleen did approach two of those three on most of their production cars. A few other models did get some performance upgrades like the SSC and SC models.  

So these days it seems putting the cars back together in some factory fashion is the order.  It is in my book.  Mainly because I want this Saleen to look like it was the day it was delivered.  Or as close to it as I can get with what I know about it and the pictures shared with me. 

In the picture above you can see the valves have been removed and the associated vacuum lines. At some point an owner removed all the emissions equipment and just put a hose over the air injection tube going into the back of the heads.  

So, true to form, all those items I threw away years ago, I’m buying back.  I now understand the old school Boss 302 and Boss 429 guys trying to find air pumps and hoses. Ha! 

We’re still in gathering mode on this.  There are some vacuum lines we’ve got to round up to complete the ensemble.  But, we had to share the thought process of this.  I’m sure others can relate. 


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