Wow.. I have to add my 2 cents.
all a Jet chip will do is advance timing, giving you a minute bit of HP gain, as long as you use high octane fuel. the price of the Jetchip vs. cost of fuel vs. potential HP gain doesn't add up to anything but wasted money.
the programmer mentioned would be nice, however I don't believe should be used until all mods are completed.
Iridium plugs give longevity, NOT more HP. they are 100k plugs, no HP plugs. I wouldn't really recommend an iridium plug, they aren't for every car. a regular platnum would be fine, NGK, Motorcraft or even Autlite for your Vulcan would suffice.
If you want something noticable get Pulsestar.
as for wires, motorcraft wires are made by Prestolite. they're good. Not worth the money for them. for a performance wire I'd actually look into a set of MSD or Taylor's instead.
I'd also put an MSD coil in as well at that point.
But for basic and cheap mods..
180F thermostat, it'll get you passed California smog with no problems, and the motor will run a bit cooler.
cone filter and intake tube will help as will removing the baffle in the air box.
Find the correct resistance rating for temperature at 75F and put in place if idle air temp sensor. it will trick the car computer into thinking the temp is 75F at all times.
gas pedal slack mod.. Ranger Trucks are known for this.. several Taurus's I've seen have the same issue.
Ford deliberately does this to keep the car slowed down.
gas pedal upwards. you'll see the cable attachment on top.
life the pedal UPwards till it stops. the top part of the pedal will be against the firewall. you will see maybe up to 1/2" of cable sticking out (sometimes more, sometimes less). you need to close that gap! I use cable ties and wrap them around the cable until the slack has been removed. Usually 3 small ones does the trick.
the gas pedal will now be higher than what you're used to. when you romp on the gas, you'll notice the difference.
at full WOT
the butterfly plate will be full horizontil, or closer to it.
I'm not sure on the 3.0, but if it has 2 coolant hoses plugged into the throttle body, you can safely remove them and join them together with a coupler. all this does is help is ice cold weather helping the throttle body plate from freezing. I suppose if you're in a cold climate you should leave that..
but where I'm at.. it's worthless, but mandatory for smog. Go figure.
the idea is to take away the excess heat generated from the hot water flowing through it giving you a bit of cooler air going in. cooler air is more dense, which is what we want.
the cap & rotor, well not much to do with this, I use cap& rotors with brass fittings vs. steel or aluminum. they conduct a sneeze better and don't oxidize or corrode as easily.
If you're brave, get a dremel out with a grinding wheel & see if you can port out the throttle body hole. more air flow = more HP.
same with the intake manifold.. a port & polish kit is relatively cheap, probably take a couple hours to do and you'll notice a gain instantly.
Also lightening the load in the trunk helps but is minute.
proper tire inflation helps as well.
Also.. synthetic oil.. amsoil or redline IMHO is top notch.. everything else is fine too.
Quality oil fitler.. motorcraft (made by purolator so it's good anyway) is a good choice. don't get a "racing" filter, less media traps less dirt. you still need to keep the engine clean too. synthetics will help.
Also I'd add an aftermarket tranny cooler because you'll be driving faster and the temps might get to high and we all know Ford AXOD's aren't to friendly. Also a must.. bottle of Lubegard Red. (this is NOT a snake oil. it's proven to work!)
but the tranny cooler will help a lot.
If you can find an adapter.. an oil cooler sandwich adapter if you can find something to fit. cooler oil will last longer and keep the engine happier in the process.
Most of these are pretty inexpensive mods and are easy to do and will generate noticable results.