Penguin mods a pretty Pony! or "The S197 Blues"

Discussion in 'Cars' started by Mauro_Penguin, Jun 2, 2019.

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  1. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Hello all...

    Before anyone asks why Im starting a thread for a mustang here and not on one of the mustang forums, let me answer that quickly by saying that most all of the mustang forums out there are awful. It is extremely difficult to find RELEVANT information on many of them. For example...

    -Springs? 2" drop yo. (no relevant information on spring rates)
    -Control arms? Get stiff ones. (no consideration for bushing bind)
    -Tuning? Bama Tunes and an intake gave me 40HP (great, what about CFM and cam advance?)

    Although there is some good info on TrackMustangs Forum, and Boss302 Forums, I have more interesting reads here so I decided to drop a deuce on MSO and have fun getting flamed for it. On to the car...

    2010 Ford Mustang GT (Black on black) 20140303_172552.jpg 20140303_172524.jpg 20140303_172505.jpg 20140303_144222.jpg 2013-10-26 11.52.11.jpg 2013-01-13 10.27.33.jpg

    That last pic is from a trip we made to Tennessee shortly after getting it. Absolutely love the mud on it.

    The wife bought it in 2012 with 12k miles on it for less than $29k with an extended warranty. She got jealous that I bought my new Pu over the summer, and decided to buy herself a new(ish) car. Meh. To some we overpayed, but she fell in love with it, and at the time the Coyote 5.0's were still working out their bugs. In the end it was worth it. Things that came on the car...

    4.6L 3valve V8
    5spd manual tr3650 trans
    3.73 differential gears
    Track Pack dashboard timer
    Glass Roof (best pic of it 20140303_172732.jpg )
    Black leather w/heated seats
    Pony interior trim
    BlowByRacing rear lower control arms
    rolled rear fenders (prev owner... shakes head)
    Black out Fog light covers (removed the first week)

    Overall the car has been ridiculously reliable, so no ragretz. It is also a lot of fun to drive, even if you are being followed by the police who are waiting for you to do a burnout. The car is now at 60k miles (7 years later). Mods have been slow since we focused on paying both cars off early. The wife now has a longer commute, and I'm pretty happy with where the Pu is, so its time to begin tastefully modifying the mustang.

    First mods on the car over the years were synthetic fluids, custom purple shift knob I had made for the wife 20190609_184424.jpg 20190609_184420.jpg , MMD quarter window lovers, and a catch can. After the corksport catch cans were exploding under boost back in 2013, I decided to put it in the mustang and get a JBR for the Pu. Here is a pic of the two corksport cans on it at the time. 2013-10-06 18.13.40.jpg

    I had 1 hooked up on the passenger side which led to the pre throttle line, it never caught a drop of oil, so after 5 years of use I removed it and put the stock line back on. I have the other on the Driver side valve cover, this one catches a lot of shit. Ford built the PCV valve into the valve cover itself. Over the summer I will remove the valve covers and inspect the PCV valve and baffles, but no harm no foul so I don't expect to find anything crazy.


    Stock suspension on this car is interesting in that, it handles like shit but it has SSOOOO much potential. Ford used a hydrobushing on the front control arms just like our Mazda's, also Ford gave the car an almost flat roll center in the front at stock height. So the front end drives like a boat, and nose dives pretty bad when braking. Why do people drop these cars? I have no idea since there isn't much to gain besides going into a stiff spring. More on roll center later...

    The rear suspension is a "3 link" setup along with a panhard bar. Essentially you have a central short suspension arm that bolts up from the chassis to the top of the diff housing, and 2 lower control arms that bolt up from the chassis to the outer axle ends. This is light years better than the 4 link setup that used to bind up like crazy on the Fox Body mustangs and even the SN95 chassis of the 90's. The 3 link allows the axle to rotate as the suspension compresses, which keeps the diff/driveshaft flange fairly parallel to the nose of the car. This can be good for maintaining pinion angle and allowing the suspension to compress and rebound easily when cornering. The panhard bar bolts up to the passenger side of the chassis and and extends diagnolly to the driver side of the axle, so when the car launches and the axle wants to rise upward on the driver side due to resistance against the driveshaft, the panhard bar (along with the sway bar) force the axle to stay planted. 20190129_153714.jpg 20190129_153718.jpg Now that this is explained, on to the bad side of this rear end setup.

    Ford gave this car absolutely ZERO antisquat, because the control arms are parallel to the ground. So when you launch the car, eventhough the panhard and sway bar hold the axle down, the weight wants to shift back. Sounds good? Actually no. On stock suspension the weight shifts back, causing the axle to rotate up as the driver side of the axle wants to compress up into the chassis which actually forces the panhard bar to kick the axle outward away from the body (think track bar on a jeep wrangler front end). This leads to wheel hop, an unpredictable rear roll center, and potentially devastating pinion angle change that can eat up your diff. Ford's way of mitigating this, they used really soft bushings on all the rear suspension to keep the untrained driver from feeling all this shifting around of the floating axle, but even to the untrained driver it makes the rear end feel loose and unpredictable when cornering.

    In a nutshell this chassis can handle awesome, but Ford made compromises to keep road noise down, and make the car "feel powerful and sporty" from all the brake dive and squat to potential buyers. Maybe they just wanted to sell the ford racing suspension upgrades also?

    Two last things that I will explain before I begin uploading pics and explaining mods... Ford used hydrobushing engine mounts to keep the engine NVH at a minimum. Just like the mazdaspeeds! Also the shifter assembly is some hybrid that is mounted on the chassis by a soft bushing, and reaches down into the trans to shift. This makes for near impossible shifting in higher RPM's since there is so much torque wanting to move the engine and trans from their static position. This is actually an easy fix.

    "Penguin, this sounds like an awful car!" Well its no spec miata or e46 M3, but its super fun to drive, has nice trunk room, and a really roomy and pretty interior. Once again, the S197 has A LOT of potential but it does need to be modified properly. Thus begins our journey...

    (Pics to cum...)

    Edit: Old pics found and uploaded. ...sploosh...
     

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    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
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  2. JohnnyTightlips

    JohnnyTightlips Platinum Member

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    Waiting and excited to cum....
     
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  3. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Sploosh...

    I'll post more pics as I find them, and go through the mod history.

    Soon I'll make a thread for my Pu (so much shit done to that one), and then I'll finally get back to the suspension thread I started 2 years ago. There is a lot of learning I need to share...

    Honestly, I am terrible about journal like entries. I am always working on the 2 cars on my days off, I am just awful about documenting it.
     
    Mauro_Penguin, via a mobile device, Jun 3, 2019
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  4. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    As with any used car purchase, we enountered some obstacles....

    The car came from Carmax without the OEM floor mats, so I picked up some floor and trunk mats that had the GT logo that ford threw all over the car just before they were replaced with the 5.0 logo upon its release. Figure keep the theme going right? Also the car came without a belly pan. I know some guys will remove it for easier wrenching, but they do serve a purpose. So much so that Ford actually revised the design on the 2010 model to drop engine bay pressure more efficiently, and improve cooling. Old vs New (bottom of a Boss302) ad4.jpg 02-2012-boss-302-underside.jpg

    Shortly after buying it, we had to take it into Ford for "plastic" issues. 1) the air diverter for the A/C system broke. Some plastic gear in them used to crack, a few hours at Ford and the factory warranty covered it. 2) a year after purchasing the car, the key fob battery died on my wife. No biggie, but when she went to use the key to unlock the door, it wouldn't open. There is a plastic clip that holds the key lock assembly on the door, well this clip has been known to break. Another trip to Ford, factory warranty wins again. This time I asked the service clerk about the lock, since there is no lock assembly on the trunk. He confirmed my suspicion that if the battery on the car ever died, along with that plastic clip breaking on the door, then the car would be a giant lawn ornament. You cant pop the hood without opening the interior door, and you cant open the interior door if the clip on the driver door breaks. Fucking Ford... Some googling of the issues informed me that these were all common problems, but never occur again once fixed at the dealer. Oh well, still better than owning a GM...

    Most recently the plastic lumbar support broke too, another plastic gear breakage. 20190420_102854.jpg Noticing a pattern? This one is out of warranty, but I picked up the assembly from Tasca Parts for $100. You really feel the lower back sink without it, otherwise I would forget about the damn thing.

    The one big issue that stuck out in my mind, was the small friggin battery that Ford put on these cars. If you google battery corossion on the s197 chassis, you will see these cars eat up batteries and cables. The Motorcraft battery lasted us damn near 5 years, but the cables started corroding like crazy. I tried some of that junk cable and terminals from knuconceptz.com, but that stuff cant handle high load for a long time and started shorting out the car. 20160802_100404.jpeg One time it almost started a fire. Long story short I trimmed the bottom of the battery tray, and used some aluminum sheeting to make a heat shield. I measured the biggest battery with the highest CCA I could find, and used some awesome welding cable
    ()
    to replace all the hot and ground leads on the car. 20171018_170318.jpg 20171018_194102.jpg 20171201_151911.jpg I highly recommend this cable if anyone is in need of redoing their battery leads. We haven't had an issue since.

    With the exception of the electrical system, everything has been pretty pety. The only reason the electrical issue ever escalated to a short/fire was because of the shitty rice burner parts I chose to put on the car. You live and you learn I suppose.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
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  5. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Silver Member

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    FWIW motorcraft batteries have a 10 year warranty
     
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  6. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Thanks for the tip, I did not know that. Unfortunately that battery is long gone. We went with an Advance Auto one that lasted 3 years, and now have a huge one from Interstate.

    The interstate I bought at Costco for cheap, and they come with a 5 year warranty, none of that prorated foolishness. The problem is that FL heat usually nuke's batteries long before average life expectancy.

    If the Interstate craps out early (not likely), I may look into a motorcraft again so long as I can find one in the bigger size I am now using.

    Thank you @Easter Bunny
     
    Mauro_Penguin, via a mobile device, Jun 5, 2019
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  7. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Silver Member

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    The first five on motor craft are 100 % it’s prorated after that

    I actiall Have a motor craft in my ms3
     
    Easter Bunny, via an iPhone, Jun 5, 2019
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  8. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    I've been busy the last couple of weeks, but its finally update time.

    So once the car hit 50k in early 2018, I decided to do some extended maintenance. I had already swapped the serpentine belt, spark plugs, filters and such. Now it was time for fluids...

    Engine Oil: Motul 5w30 (factory spec is 5w20 but blackstone kept showing wear so I bumped it)
    Trans Fluid: Ford Mercon V (yes, eventhough its a manual its uses Ford ATF)
    Differential Oil: Motul 75w140
    Power Steering Fluid: Ford Mercon V
    Coolant: Motorcraft VC7 (Gold colored coolant, mixed 50/50 with distilled water)
    Brakes/Clutch: Valvoline Dot 4 (Motul is too rich for this since I power bleed it at least once a year)

    Everything is pretty straight forward. The trans fill plug is on the side of the trans where the chassis tunnel starts to shrink, so its a bitch to fill. 20171013_163846.jpg 20171013_163854.jpg Thanks Ford...

    By this time I had picked up two mods for the pony. Aftermarket motor mounts and a Stainless Steel clutch line with a power bleed fitting. Sounds small I know but 1) it's Mrs Penguins daily driver, and 2) I wanted to mod it a little more methodically than just slapping meat head parts on it.

    The motor mounts helped out BIG TIME since Ford used the same HydroBushing design thats on the PMM on our Mazda's. 20180321_151404.jpg 20180321_135704.jpg Install was meh since there is an arm that attaches the mount to the block, it needs to be removed in order to get the factory mounts off. I was being lazy and was trying to jack up the engine enough to clear them, that ended up being a waste of an hour. 20180321_151428.jpg Once on they are handy in that they come with spacers to keep the engine at stock height, or you can remove some of them to lower the engine. This will come in handy when we install some long tube headers later. For now I opted to lower the engine a bit to marginally move the center of gravity downward.

    The clutch line was a motherfucker to get on! The slave is internal to the bellhousing, just like the GTI's and other newer cars. The clutch line attaches at the bellhousing where the slave has a hydraulic line poking out. 20180616_200421.jpg 20180620_231838.jpg Ford uses a vacuum system to bleed the brakes and clutch, despite having normal bleeders equipped on each brake caliper. I personally hate vacuum bleeding, since it is difficult to get a good vacuum sealed system without spending a fortune. Hence the clutch line I bought from McLeod which has an elbow to power bleed the clutch line. I had just helped a work buddy install this and a new clutch on his GTI so I was familiar with the set up. Only problem is that where the bleeder valve fits, is in the cramped trans tunnel and the bleeder is made with super fine threads.

    I ended up cutting a hole in the trans tunnel by the accelerator pedal in order to have direct access to the bleeder. 20180619_165520.jpg 20180620_124725.jpg 20180620_125108.jpg Sloppy I know, but besides dropping the trans everytime I want to bleed the clutch, I couldn't figure out an easier way for this routine maintenance procedure. When it comes time to do the clutch on this car, I'm going to clean up the hole a bit and make a better cover for it. Just like the tight area on the Trans fill hole, everything involving the transmission was kind of an after thought on this chassis. Thanks Ford...

    So now shifting was way easier, between less engine movement from the motor mounts and a smoother clutch engagement it was much easier to drive the car in a spirited manner.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
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  9. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Once all the maintenance was done...

    Remember in the OP when I mentioned that the car came with Lower Control Arms from BlowBy Racing? Well, its a company stationed out of Boca Raton in south Florida. They specialize in domestics, particularly in Mustangs. (There are so many shops and stores in south/central Florida that specialize in mustangs and corvettes that its hilarious.) Anyway when we first got the car I realized that they werent the wimpy OEM lower control arms. Ford used some thin control arms with very soft bushings that resulted in terrible wheel hop for even the most careful driver. Since the car had some of the "track pack" goodies, I figured it must have been some Ford Racing upgraded control arms.

    Fast forward to 2018 and the wife had started complaining about excessive rear end noise. The rear end has always made noise from slop in the rear suspension and 2 peice driveshaft, but this was bushing squeak and a lot more clunking than normal. I got under the car to make sure everything was ok, and it looked like the lower control arms were starting to have bushing rot. When I was inspecting everything I saw the faint etching on the control arm from BBR, 20171013_151606.jpg some quick googling showed me that the control arms on the car were a set of drag racing only with poly bushings. You can see them by the jackstand in this pic. 20171018_152141.jpg These suckers are tough but since I never took them apart to lube, and possibly some overtorque at the initial install, the bushings were wearing a bit. Also the bushing on the differential was starting to crack.

    I bought some replacement control arms from J&M. This company specializes in non binding suspension arms. The design is a ball made out of delrin or something like it, sandwiched between some comparatively soft poly bushings. p-349-large_44_Mustang_Lower_Control_Arm_3_Piece_PolyBall_Bushing__06158.jpg jm-23861b_9554.jpg The result is a bushing design that can be torqued to factory spec, and move freely with no binding resulting in better suspension cycling. They are AWESOME! The rear end could compress and recover much easier now. The car turned smoother, made less noise, and even had an easier time handling bumpy roads.

    The diff bushing was unfortunately not so easy. I wanted to use a spherical bearing design that Steeda sells, in order to free up more movement for suspension cycling while minimizing undesired suspension slop. Well the outer bushing sleeve didnt want to press out of the damn differential housing. I tried torching it, soaked it in PB blaster, tried to press it out, and nothing. 20180328_174137.jpg This is a common issue for these cars and luckily BMR makes a replacement poly bushing that fits in the stock bushing sleeve. Overnight shipping and 3 days later (fucking processing) I was able to install the bushing. Picked up some wire wheel attachments for the drill at Harbor Freight and cleaned up the inside surface of the bushing sleeve. 20180330_130458.jpg The BMR design is actually a 4 piece with 2 inner cups and 2 outer plates all made of poly. Screenshot_20190627-124504_Gallery.jpg Pack it tight with grease and it allows the axle to move freely up and down with no binding. Not the way I wanted it to go, but still a good result. 20180330_135227.jpg

    Fast forward about 6 months, and I wanted to change the angle of the stock suspension arms. In short, raise the front Roll Center and increase anti-squat in the rear. Roll Center is still being sorted out before slapping parts on, so I'll revisit that later. Anti-squat was achieved by rear control arm relocation brackets. Ford made the factory arms almost parallel to the ground, which gives zero antisquat. By slightly changing the location of the attachment on the axle, the lower control arms can better catch the shifted weight from launching. This is done without going into a stiffer spring!

    I decided to go with J&M relocation brackets since the rear LCA's worked out so well, also I didnt want any potential for mismatching parts due to brand switching. 23885_Black_Complete.jpg When these things came in, they are friggin heavy! They bolt on where the factory arms attach on the axle, but provide 3 positions for fine tuning. I had to slightly bore out just one of the holes on each bracket because I could not get the backets to fully line up and bolt on. The rear end comes with stock axle weights to reduce some sort of jitter that can develop. The axle weights came on most mustangs, but not all depending on the gearing in the diff. The relocation brackets weighed almost as much as the axle weights, so no adding of weight. 20190129_154759.jpg I used the top hole to mount the arms, since at the time we still had stock shocks. 20190130_122913.jpg 20190130_122922.jpg The result was a firmer/less bouncy rear end when going over bumps. When taking off the car felt like it wanted to push you forward, instead of feeling the ass drop/squat even with light throttle and waiting for it to recover before even moving forward. Incredible what the right mods can do to a car!
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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  10. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Spring/summer of 2019....

    Come April 2019 the wife had started complaining about noise from her brakes. I had checked them 3 or 4 months prior and at the time the pads had a bit of life left. She has been filling in at a store much further than her normal commute, so my maintenance schedule got bumped up quicker.

    She mentioned that it made a grinding noise sometimes, so I checked out the brakes again and holy crap! The rear driver corner was worn down to bare metal. The other 3 corners still had a good bit of life left. My guess is that with the crappy stock suspension, that panhard bar puts enough flex on that corner to wear out the brakes faster. My reason behind this? The outer pad on the driver corner where the panhard bar attaches to the axle was worn down to the bone, but the inside pad looked like the other 3 corners of the car. It was very unique wear. So... we swapped cars for a few of days since I have a short commute while I gathered the parts for the job. Here are pics of the front brakes and the rear carnage.
    20190428_122542.jpg 20190428_122558.jpg

    Part Inventory:
    Autozone rotors
    -2 rear OEM size
    -2 (13.25" 5.0L) front rotors
    5.0L front caliper brackets
    Stoptech street/track pads
    BOSS 302 brake lines
    BlowFish Racing Master Cylinder brace
    Valvoline DOT 4

    So in 2010 Ford switched to the newer mustang exterior, eventhough the framework and most of the interior was still the same as the 2005-2009 S197 chassis. The 2010 model had the new exterior (lets call it gen2 S197 chassis), but retained all the engine, transmission, and suspension work of the gen1 S197 chassis (2005-2009). There were very slight differences when ford released the 5.0L and 6spd transmission in 2011, such ass Ball Joint size, front brake size, axle upper control arm bracket, and a couple more... But for the most part it was the same car. Ford did the same thing when they released the SN95 chassis in 1994. They kept the 5.0L OHV engine, transmission, and 4 link solid axle from the Fox Body but now had the advantage of a stiffer chassis and better front suspension. But thats a whole other conversation...

    So since we have the 4.6L engine which weighs less and has 12.4" rotors in the front, I upgraded the front to the 5.0L (heavier weight) 13.25" rotors which were bigger and had a caliper bracket further out so the brakes can apply more effective torque while braking. All I had to do was buy the larger rotor, and the caliper bracket to relocate the caliper further out. Both brake systems used the same 2 piston calipers, so it was a simple bolt on. This is very similar to how we upgrade the rear brakes on MS3's to Mazda5 rotors and caliper brackets. Here are pictures of the brackets and rotors.
    20190428_151737.jpg 20190428_151903.jpg 20190428_151507.jpg

    The BOSS 302 had MANY upgrades for track duty and really was an incredibly UNDER appreciated car. In this case it had stiffer brake lines. They are a hard outer rubber like OEM, but have a much thicker and heavier teflon lined interior. This is similar to an SS brake line upgrade, but at half the cost of SS lines and straight from Ford Performance so fitment was OEM perfection. I did a quick squeeze test of both lines when I removed the OEM GT lines, and the BOSS lines are incredibly stiffer with no give compared to the stock ones.

    I went with Stoptech pads because they were a good option for street use with a more aggressive bite. The GT only has a couple of good aggressive pad options, because most other people upgrade to the Brembo brakes that were a Track Pack option and also came standard on the GT500. I looked into the Brembo upgrade first, but the cost was more than 3 times what it cost me to do this whole brake set up. At this time I do not have any plans to supercharge the car so I don't need the extra beef or the extra cost of the brembo's. Since the wife DD's the mustang, having cheaper pad and rotor options is a plus in case of warping from our heavy FL rain puddles. Install required some grinding down of the front brake pad tabs because the fitment with the caliper shims was so tight. Nothing major, I think the paint was just too thick. 5 mins with a dremel and a bit of patience settled that easily.

    Finally the BlowFish Racing brace was a quick final purchase. It bolts on to the driver wheel well and keeps the master cylinder from flexing out. I was curious how much flex the factory set up had, so I recorded the master cylinder with a camera and a small ruler. It flexed forward and upward about 3-4mm while stepping on the brakes. So this was a small but significant upgrade to the parts list. I did have to bend some OEM bracket for the cabin/intake pulse system, but since I removed that garbage a long time ago, it was no hair off my head. 20190428_194719.jpg

    So the brake parts were cleaned, greased, installed, and power bled. Final pics, the front looks red because of my tool box reflecting off the rotor. Much nicer than where we started. 20190428_194743.jpg 20190428_194758.jpg

    At first I wasn't too impressed with the stoptech pads. They advertise minimal break in period, about 100 miles or less. The brakes were a little more linear, but still kind of lacking good hard bite. Fast forward 400 miles later and... Oh baby I'm in love with this brake setup!!! The pads took forever to bed in, but holy crap they bite hard and stop awesome! You can slightly touch the brakes for slow stopping or hit them hard and bite the steering wheel. I really wish I could make my genPu stop like this, but for now "C'est La Vie."

    May 2019 I decided to pull the trigger on some Bilstein struts and shocks in order to prevent this awesome brake setup from getting chewed up as well. I went back and forth for a LONG time between keeping it as struts or going to coilovers. The car drives so smooth though that I did not want to fuck it up, and I did not want to deal with the head ache of adjustable coilovers like I have on my genPu. I was ready to pull the trigger last year, but they were on back order for 8 months. I wanted to pay off the brakes first, but felt that they would really compliment each other since the bilsteins would reduce a lot of the brake dive the car had on the stock struts. Sadly there are only a couple of mustang vendors that sell Bilstein's. Everyone sells awful set ups that get you low but ride like shit, I on the other hand I wanted good ride with no drop.

    20190529_132737.jpg 20190529_141229.jpg 20190529_163356.jpg

    Install was easy, just like any strut and shock set up. A lot of guys upgrade the stock front strut mounts which have a bearing for the spring, to solid rubber strut mounts that came standard on the GT500. I prefer the bearing since it reduces any likelihood of spring bind. Unlike the strut bearing on the MS3's which come apart simply by looking at them, these stayed together very well. Not sure why they get a bad rep, but I also don't understand half the mods people do to these mustangs. I also picked up a strut tower brace from SR performance. I know I know... but with firmer struts and my future plans I felt like it was a worthwhile investment. Ford included a brace like this on the BOSS 302, along with a back side X brace option that deleted the rear seat. Since Ford cheaped out on some upgrades for the GT but not the BOSS, I felt like it was worth looking into. The brace is a solid 1 piece, so no multiple pieces bolted together which maintain a potential for flex. 20190529_181920.jpg For $90 it wasn't bad, but it does take up a bit of space in the engine bay. I had to cut my battery bracket and my catch can mount a bit for it all to fit together nicely, but I didnt get a picture of it after the trimming. Meh, still happy with it.

    The difference afterward was a whole new car! No brake dive, no squat at launch, the car turns so much sharper now even with stock springs that it makes you wonder why Ford didn't include bilsteins from the start. This is hands down the simplest and greatest mod you can do to this car. You really feel more confident about pushing this car to the edge of its handling capacity with these dampers. The valving on these is firm but smooth on compression, while rebound is smooth and quick without jacking down or being bouncy. It took the wife a day or two of driving to really get the full extent of these bilsteins, but she is in love with her car all over again. She used to roll her eyes at me when I would talk about upgrades to her car, now she gets excited after having seen what a good brake and damper upgrade can do.

    This pretty much catches us up to whats been done to the car to date.

    ....Tune in next time for a new episode of... Penguin's Wall of Text! ...

    Prothane bushings, Steeda parts, GT500 springs, and the creme de la creme... a Cortex Racing Watt's Link.

    See you next time!
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
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  11. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Silver Member

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    Bilsteins have been my favorite “mod” to any car I have put them on.

    There was an on ramp to my ex girlfriends house that was a white knuckle turn at 35 on stock shocks which turned into 55 mph sight distance limited on my ranger with just a change in shock
     
    Easter Bunny, via an iPhone, Jul 26, 2019
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  12. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    You're right in that it's an "upgrade" and not really a "mod", but still one of my favorite parts on the car.

    I'm really surprised at how soft some suspension is on cars. The MS3, mustang, and even a friends brand new Lexus SUV all have incredibly soft suspension to a point where its uncomfortable to drive.

    The Lexus I drove had so much roll and so much brake dive that I was actually scared while driving the car. Even braking slowly from a distance felt uncomfortable. Yet none of these cars had blown dampers.

    My In laws have a 1997 Expedition with Ranchos from a few years back, and they hold that mountain of a truck very well when stopping and turning.
     
    Mauro_Penguin, via a mobile device, Jul 27, 2019
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  13. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Quick post.

    Mustang goes under the knife tomorrow. Parts list include...

    Steeda Upper Control Arm (track version)
    Steeda X Brace
    Cortex Racing Watts Link (track version)
    Ford Racing "L" springs
    Ford Racing transmission cooler scoop
    Ford Racing Bump stops
    Front Control Arms (w/steeda extended ball joints, and prothane rear bushings)
    GT500 clutch master cylinder (if time allows, otherwise I'll save it for another garage day)

    If all goes well, I should have everything bolted on the car by tomorrow night. Then Friday I can adjust the watts link and pinion angle on the upper control arm. I have to remove the steering rack in order to swap the front control arms, so I'll take it to get the toe set either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.

    It'll be a bit of work, will take as many pics as I can remember to take.
     
    Mauro_Penguin, via a mobile device, Aug 7, 2019
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  14. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    So the install days were mildly successful, emphasis on mild.

    I was able to install the bumpstops, X brace, and Watts link. The instructions from Cortex for the Watts Link left a lot to be desired. Also the fucking 100+* florida heat and humidity didnt help since my garage is not air conditioned. I had to stop several times because I felt a headache come on from the heat, so I had to stop for a while and rehydrate before continuing. All this slowed down my progress by several hours.

    The Front control arms, springs, transmission air scoop, and Rear upper control arm will be left for a later time. At least I dont have to worry about getting it aligned for now since I didnt touch the front end.

    While doing all this work, I cleaned the seatbelts because they weren't retracting anymore. I used a pin to hold the belt at max extension, and let the belts soak in a 1:2 mix of degreaser and water for an hour. Got a tip from a youtube video to strain the seatbelts with a sliced PVC pipe. It worked well, and then a final wipe down with a microfiber cloth.

    20190808_163609.jpg 20190808_151813.jpg 20190808_162651.jpg 20190808_162809.jpg

    Lets start with the easy stuff. Ford Racing bumpstops... Nothing fancy to write home about, the old ones on the axle were looking pretty worn. These new ones are more progressive so they are a little softer than stock, and are actually intended for lowered ride heights. I only needed to worry about the rear, since the Bilsteins required me to remove the front ones. Here are some pics of the old and new.

    20190808_181934.jpg 20190808_182307.jpg 20190808_182602.jpg

    Next comes the steeda X brace. This thing goes in the trunk and attaches at the shock mount and upper chassis. It requires drilling 2 holes on each side where it mounts at the chassis. Ford did something similar as an option on the Boss302/Laguna Seca mustang, except that one eliminated the rear seat and replaced it with a fiberglass or cloth cover. Fun fact... Steeda actually made the brace for Ford to use on their track and production cars. That original setup will cost over $1k, and yes you can still buy it new from some online stores. Personally its a little rich and impractical for us. The version I bought keeps the rear seat and costs may 1/5 of the original Ford one. Here are some pics...

    20190809_150156.jpg 20190809_150132.jpg 20190809_164111.jpg 20190809_164142.jpg 20190809_164115.jpg 20190809_171736.jpg

    I had to cut some of the interior panels in the trunk, which was actually harder than you'd imagine. The material was too soft for tin snips, too hard for sharp kitchen scissors. I ended using a serated knife and sawed the material out. I will go back and clean up the holes a little bit better later. Over all its kind of sexy looking, the wife was worried about losing trunk space but when she saw it her eyes lit up. This and the strut brace are the only braces I was interested in since Ford saw a need for them on their track cars, and frankly any other brace is a waste since the S197 chassis is so much more rigid than the previous generations.

    On to the Watts Link... First off lets talk about the solid axle since I only briefly talked about it in the original post. The upside to the solid axle is that its a standard size, and you can get beefed up axles, more aggressive limited slip differentials, and switch out gear ratios to shrink or lengthen power delivery to the tires. The axle adds quite a bit of unsprung weight, and thus is almost always able to maintain contact with the ground. Whether you are a drag racer or corner carver, this can be useful. The downside to the solid axle is that it is heavy as hell, and kind of hangs off of the chassis by a few suspension arms. The axle if not supported well, can rotate backwards with relation to the tire, hop around on loose bushings, twist and tuck upward on the driver side, and also shift side to side. With that being said its crucial to properly support the rear axle in order to maintain proper cornering, launching, and even cruising.

    The OEM panhard bar is a simple long diagonal arm that extends from the passenger side of the chassis, down to the driver side of the axle. This arm keeps the axle from freely shifting side to side, and also helps in launching the car since it helps resist squat. Unfortunately this arm causes the rear to feel uneasy when going over bumps on the highway, and can make turning feel uneven since the roll center on a solid axle is based on the differential location. Making a hard right turn always felt like the rear wants to jump and slide out. This is due to the arc motion that the panhard provides when the rear suspension compresses. Still not clear? Here is a really bad GIF I found on google, no the tires don't catch fire on mustangs.

    watts-link-pivot-point-infographic.jpg vnPPHX1.gif

    A panhard could be set up for cornering, the goal is to keep the roll center (differential) in the middle of the car. It would need to be perfectly horizontal to the ground, in order to limit that arc movement on the axle and therefore keeping the roll center from shifting. On this chassis that means dropping the car almost 2" and getting an adjustable bar. Dropping it that much is a no no for me. So what is the alternative? A Watts Link! This is a system that mounts the axle with 2 smaller arms to the chassis in order to keep the differential centered on the car, which provides a more stable roll center. The only downside to the watts link is added cost over a panhard set up, and depending on the manufacturer design it can add a ton of crap to the rear end. Here are some visuals to help understand how a watts link moves.

    2015-08-19_23-12-25.jpg differences-panhard-bar-watts-link-2018-12-23_22-16-21_665499.gif

    I was torn between Griggs Racing and Cortex Racing, both were similar in simple design and cost. Griggs has a long history of racing only mustangs, but I went with Cortex simply because the website was much easier to order on. The damn thing took about 2 1/2 weeks to process before shipping, eventhough I was told over the phone that it would ship after a week. Long story short the box came in 3 1/2 weeks later fucked up from UPS, but the parts were fine. Here are more pics...

    20190808_164119.jpg 20190808_164130.jpg 20190808_164143.jpg 20190808_164153.jpg 20190808_154130.jpg 20190808_171134.jpg 20190808_165156.jpg 20190808_165212.jpg 20190808_165653.jpg

    The parts are very nice, and very high quality. The differential cover is also a "girdle" which has jam bolts to keep tension on the bearing caps that hold the inner axle bearings. Also the differential cover is HUGE and holds an extra quart and change over OEM, which is nice. As I was installing the cover, one of my neighbors came over to talk to me, and go figure I forgot to back the jam bolts out. I started tightening up the diff cover and kept getting uneven bolt tension. I almost had the damn thing fully tightened when I realized the bearing caps were being squeezed. Shit!!! I tried to back the jam bolts out, but had to remove the cover completely because of how tight they were. I reinstalled everything and put a screwdriver to my ear on the jam bolts while I rotated the driveshaft. I didn't hear any grinding, groaning, or excessive tension anywhere so I figured the bearings and caps were still ok. Mounting the brackets that support the watts link arms were not as straight forward. I had labeled the bolts according to the included diagram, and tightened down the brackets according to Cortex instructions, but that left some brackets sitting uneven. So I loosened everything back up and torqued everything down my own way while being mindful of orientation and tension. Also I removed the axle breather to clean, and realized that it was stuck closed when the differential fill plug hissed at me while removing it. So I did the same thing as my genPu, I disassembled the breather and cut a small aluminum circle to replace the rubber diaphragm that sticks. The last picture are some bronze sleeves I had to use to support the axle panhard bolt, I needed to reuse that bolt because it provides support for the anti-squat bracket on the driver side. It started to crush slightly before I got anywhere near the torque spec, so I left it as is for now.

    20190808_154716.jpg 20190808_161639.jpg 20190809_121934.jpg 20190808_175952.jpg 20190809_121902.jpg 20190809_121914.jpg 20190809_121921.jpg 20190810_130547.jpg

    Finally the time to mount the pivot arm came. The central pivot bearing is made of Delrin (everything else is aluminum), and can be positioned in any of the 4 locations on the diff cover in order to raise or lower the roll center based on desired set up. The cover comes with a few different holes, you can use them for differential coolers, breather cans, and temp sensors. Also the bottom has a small drain plug with a tiny magnet, just like the OEM fill plug that has a giant magnet. (That's the grey butthole looking thing pictured below.) Once everything is bolted on, the axle needs to be centered. Cortex offered a couple of tips but no real instructions, luckily its not hard to figure out. I used the lugnuts and some washers to lock the rotors on, and used measuring tape and an aluminum square I had from another project. There is a bumpstop reinforcement bracket welded on the frame, I measured from that onto the square which I mounted on the wheel hub. A little lengthening on one arm, and shortening of the other and I got both sides to match down to a half mm. I put a jack and block of wood under the diff to raise and lower the axle after adjusting it, just to make sure the axle centers properly after adjusting. Cortex suggests 1/16" delta between both sides, so relatively speaking there is a decent margin of error.

    20190809_125025.jpg 20190809_130057.jpg 20190809_133806.jpg 20190809_121741.jpg 20190808_160013.jpg
    20190809_133530.jpg

    The result? Turning is more responsive and the rear is solid. The rear is so much more stable than the front end now, that it is apparent how much more bar and spring the car needs in order to really push it hard. Surprisingly there was hardly any increase in noise, which I expected with the "track" version that has heim joints on both sides of the linkage arms. You can just barely hear the drivetrain wind up and down, but there is less suspension clunking from the axle and driveshaft no longer moving side to side anymore. The rear view mirror does vibrate a little bit, which is annoying but oh well. Still way more bareable than a fully mounted mazdaspeed.

    One thing that I did notice that the wife told me last week about, the brakes have a bit of shake to them when cold. It is not like warped rotors that shake violently as you slow down. This is a slight shake at the steering wheel when you first drive the car and brake, and as you warm up the brakes it smoothes out and goes away. Quite weird but it might also be the tires needing their balance checked.

    Already making plans for the other parts to go on in the next few days.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  15. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Quick update, for complete lack of updates...

    Been busy the last few weeks with a dieing cat, the hurricane Dorian scare, taking the wife to the ER, and having 3 wisdom teeth pulled. My jaw is still on the mend from the 2 really impacted teeth, so garage time has been non-existent with the exception of some cleaning and sorting.

    As far as the mustang goes, I ordered some poly bushings and collars for the sway bars along with adjustable front endlinks from steeda. I also greased and booted the heim joint on the upper control arm for the rear axle, so I can throw that on faster.
    20190830_135600.jpg 20190830_135608.jpg 20190830_140904.jpg

    So far we've been enjoying the watts link. The car is so much more stable on the highway, to my surprise shifting is much improved too. Even with the two piece driveshaft, the driveshaft does not like to bend at its joints if it doesn't need to. The car is much easier to swing around on turns since the rear can flex and grip better. Only downside I've found is that there is a bit of drone in the cabin now at highway speeds. Relatively speaking it is not a big deal.

    That shake at the steering wheel ended up being from the brake pads themselves. The shaking is worse when you lock the hand brake after a long drive, if you don't lock the e-brake the shaking is significantly less and goes away after the first application of the brakes. I will more than likely take the rotors off and use one of my wire wheels to clean any embedded material off. Of course this will have to wait until my jaw finishes healing.

    That's all for now.
     
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  16. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Silver Member

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    How did you only get three teeth pulled? Why not all four?
     
    Easter Bunny, via a mobile device, Sep 14, 2019
    #16
  17. Mauro_Penguin

    Mauro_Penguin Punk in Drublic Motorhead Platinum Member

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    Only had 3 fully formed and that were an issue, the 4th is slowly growing but wont be a problem according to the Xrays. At this rate it'll be grown in time for my midlife crisis.

    Given the nature of your question, how many teeth did your dentist leave you with?
     
    Mauro_Penguin, via a mobile device, Sep 14, 2019
    #17
  18. macdiesel

    macdiesel Silver Member

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    I had 5 pulled. No bueno.

    Good read and progress @Mauro_Penguin. That glass roof is badass. Never knew that was an option.
     
    macdiesel, via an iPad, Sep 14, 2019
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  19. anthony

    anthony Greenie Member

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    luckily all of mine grew out straight!
     
  20. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Silver Member

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    I had just the four wisdom teeth pulled
     
    Easter Bunny, via a mobile device, Sep 15, 2019
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