2005 Mustang GT handling upgrade advice

Discussion in 'Corner Carver Racing Tech Discussion' started by fusion66, Dec 6, 2018 at 10:38 AM.

  1. fusion66

    fusion66 Junior Member

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    First time poster and looking to see if I am missing any “low hanging fruit” in regards to using my 2005 GT with manual trans for casual autocross and a few track days a year (like Track Night in America). My primary focus would be on anything that is reasonably priced and has a significant impact on the cars handling.


    Current configuration (a couple of items are in process).


    CAI, axle back exhaust, and tune. I’m not looking for horsepower as I need to learn to handle what is already there.


    Steeda Sport Springs, 1.0" drop front, 1.25" rear


    -Tokiko D-Spec struts and shocks w/ Ford Motorsport GT-500 strut mounts


    -Ford Motorsport GT-500 front LCA's.


    -Eibach adjustable rear LCA's (rubber bush). UCA has not been changed.


    -BMR lower control arm relocation brackets


    -BMR adjustable PHB (poly bush/ greasable) w/ BMR frame mount.


    -Ford Motorsport rear bump stops, shortened for spring drop.


    -AMR 18X9 Silver wheels w/ Nitto 555's. 255/45 ZR18


    -Factory front sway bars w/ Prothane bushings and upgraded to '08+ links.


    -Whiteline adjustable rear sway bar


    2011+ front rotors (13.2”) and air ducts with 3” cooling through the backer plates


    Stoptech Sport pads


    DOT 4 Castrol brake fluid


    Camber is -1.6 degrees, 0 toe, caster unknown.


    Based on reading through many of the “handling” post, a cheap upgrade to improve handling would be to adjust camber to maybe -2.0 to -2.5 degrees for autocross and track use?


    I know my tires are a weak link for sure. I prefer to use these up and then upgrade. I know it isn’t a huge upgrade over what I have now, but I have a set of Firestone Firehawk Indy 500’s that I have used on another car for autocross and track days and liked the performance (clearly I am not targeting the pointy end of competition). I don’t know that I want to take the plunge to much wider wheels/tires as I want to keep expenses under control and that is a big upgrade (with big gains I am sure).


    Thoughts on what else I should consider? My driving skills are limited (15 autocross, 3 track days) so I am okay with suggestions to focus on driving for now.
     
  2. RoushStage_3

    RoushStage_3 Junior Member

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    I have the ford racing 3 way adjustable front sway bar and it handles like a go cart! Also the steeda chassis X brace (the one in the trunk) might help stiffen up the whole package... about to pull the trigger on one myself. Of course I’ve never autocrossed my car yet but it spends most of its time In the Texas hill country, so I have a pretty good idea of its limits


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  3. fusion66

    fusion66 Junior Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I will look into the sway bar and cross brace. I do have a front strut brace but didn't list it as I have heard that the front is already pretty stiff even without the brace. I haven't seen too many builds adding the x brace so I will be curious to hear what your experience is with it.
     
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  4. AndrewNagle

    AndrewNagle forum member

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    Have the Steeda X trunk brace as well
     
  5. RoushStage_3

    RoushStage_3 Junior Member

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    How do you like it? I just had one offered to me for $100.


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  6. AndrewNagle

    AndrewNagle forum member

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    I think it stiffened things up but have no hard evidence, for $100 I would get it
     
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  7. ddd4114

    ddd4114 forum member

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    I think this depends on how you will use the car.

    If you're planning on hitting the track a lot more, you might want to save your money for a better brake setup, especially pads. The 13.2" setup will last a lot longer than it would with a 5.0L, but it really depends on how hard you're pushing the car. It'll probably suffice for a little while, but it's something to keep in mind. For street and autocross use, it should be fine.

    -1.6deg of camber is a pretty reasonable compromise if this is a commuter car. If it's just a weekend car, I would add another 0.5deg since you'll need it with stickier tires. I'm guessing you can make -2 to -2.5 deg work fine with a commuter car as long as you rotate the tires regularly, but I don't have personal experience. Actually, if you're comfortable with buying tires a little more often even if it's a commuter car, then I'd throw as much camber at it as you can get.

    Otherwise, I would just save your money for event registration until you're more comfortable with the car. Without having a good (repeatable) baseline for how the car performs, it's a little silly to throw parts at it because you could easily make it perform worse and you wouldn't really know. I would burn through your current set of tires first, and then the next step would be investing in something a little stickier.

    If you want to protect for the future, there are a couple things you can do if you plan on taking your car to the track more in the future. First, the OEM differential vent is garbage and will fail, so any kind of catch can setup is cheap insurance against blown axle seals. Similarly, catch cans for the engine (both for the breather and the PCV) are also cheap insurance. After that, I'd get an AiM Solo DL (or equivalent) for two reasons. First, it's worth every penny to help you improve your driving. Second, you can log basic OBDII data like coolant temperature to see if you might need to upgrade your cooling setup. I'm not sure how the 4.6L S197 compares to the 5.0L, but with the 5.0L, the OEM cooling system is barely adequate.

    Hope that helps!
     
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  8. fusion66

    fusion66 Junior Member

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    Great feedback - thanks for the thoughts on the brake set up, camber, breathers, and track time. I have used the track addict app for lap times and a separate OBD II data logging system for gathering data (speed, rpm, coolant temp, etc) with good success but I will look into the AiM Solo system.
     
  9. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson corner barstool sitter

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    I agree with ddd regarding the brakes; if you're going to upgrade the 12.4" brakes at all, you might as well go up to the SVT/GT500 14" setup. And on the pads - StopTech really should have done a better job of emphasizing "light" in "light track day use" because these used to be "Formerly known as Street Performance Pads". You will outgrow them. And BTW, rotors should be 'plain' or perhaps 'slotted'. Cross-drilled rotors need not apply.

    My preference for pads would be either Carbotech in XP8 or XP10 or G-loc in R8 or R10 as these pad compounds are very gentle on rotors even in street duty (Hawks in HP+ and up in street duty eat iron for breakfast). Castrol SRF seems to be the gold standard for fluid, but Motul RBF600 seems to be entirely sufficient for normally-aspirated 4.6L cars.

    Unless you're going to get into swapping between 'track' and 'street' alignment settings, -1.6° is about the minimum amount of camber you should be running. I can tell you that as far negative as -2° can still be streetable without undue wear issues - provided that your average street driving is also somewhat more "enthusiastic" through the corners than most other drivers you encounter. A good choice here would be the Steeda HD strut mounts, as they feature some camber adjustability along with being a bit more durable than the OE-style mounts when the car is lowered.

    The "seat time, tires (and wheels), everything else" mantra certainly applies here. On the matter of wheels I think you'll eventually need to be looking at least as wide as 10". But don't put too much tire on 10's, as turn-in response and steering precision will suffer. Also, don't be too afraid to run tire sizes that are shorter than the 27" or so that Ford chose. FWIW, I'm running 285/35-18 Michelin PSS tires (25.9" tall) on 18x11 wheels, which did change the locations on the track where I was shifting and added a couple of shifts/lap as well. They've seen 13 track days, somewhere north of 5000 street miles, been stored through 4 winters in an unheated garage, and they still have several track days' life left in them (though they have lost a bit off their peak grip at this point).

    Adjustable bars are a very good idea (as are adjustable dampers), and I'm going to put in a pitch for eventually having both bars adjustable. It's a nice tool to have in your tuning kit to adjust for future changes, which will happen if the bug bites you very hard at all. As a side comment, Koni yellows are probably a better choice.

    A clogged axle breather (this happens) can and will cause you to blow fluid out past the axle seals. At minimum, periodically pull the fitting, clean it with some sort of solvent, and dry it before reinstalling it. I wouldn't suggest going too many track days before draining and replacing the axle fluid and at least checking the transmission fluid level.

    Yes to the idea of an Aim Solo (or similar system), and a Go-Pro. But these can and probably should wait until you have a little more track time under your belt (being signed off to run solo might be a good guideline for this, the idea being to concentrate on driving that's way different from street driving before adding any potential distractions). With Race Render, you can merge the Aim Solo data with the Go-Pro video so that whatever data you want to display is overlaid on the video. Get the good version, it's only about $50.


    One thing you can do in your street driving that will help your track driving is to picture the line you should be taking through most corners and staying on it. The only difference here is that on the street you're normally going to be limited to staying within the lane width rather than the pavement width, and you'll be going somewhat slower/not pulling anywhere near the same cornering g's. But you're looking to make the mental approach second-nature here, not crowd the measured performance out to the limits.


    Norm
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018 at 10:21 AM
  10. fusion66

    fusion66 Junior Member

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    I really appreciate you guys taking the time to provide such detailed feedback. The brake rotors and pads are relatively new while the cooling ducts are in process of being added. I am sure that the first time I see significant brake fade that causes me to cut a track day short I will quickly look to upgrade the brakes to 14” with a quality pad. I will plan on bleeding the system with Motul 600 next spring before my next track day. The rotors I currently have are plain so at least I got that right :)


    I will likely not be swapping between street and track alignment so I will push towards -2 degrees and make sure I run my toe at or near zero to minimize tire wear.


    The Tokiko D-specs came with the car (along with all of the other mods with the exception of the rear sway bar and brakes) and they only have 3000 miles on them so I hope to play a bit with them and learn before moving on to something else if needed.


    With the second mention of axle breather concerns I will look at DIY options to create an effective breather system and improve that area this winter.

    Working on driving skill in the Mustang is now on hold due to winter but I can use the same approach in my daily driver.

    Thanks again for the great feedback.