Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
February 1, 2005

Horse Sense:
The '05 Mustang rear suspension is a three-link design from the factory, incorporating a Panhard bar with standard rubber bushings on the end, meaning neither the 5-Link nor the 5-Link 2 will work. And while the '05 Mustang's rear suspension design is an improvement over the previous four-link design, Steeda has already produced new products that incorporate the 5-Link's design elements, such as adjustable antisquat and sliding adjustments for roll center for the new Mustang's rear suspension system.

We have a solid 20,000-plus miles on our 3g GT project, and the handling supplied by the Steeda 5-Link and accompanying suspension bits is impressive. Whenever we get behind the wheel of our project car, the tight handling and superb amount of control makes us look like superstars.

When we first installed the original 5-Link on the GT, the only negatives we perceived were the weld-on installation (it scares many home mechanics away) and that we could no longer use tailpipes. While the Steeda side exhaust is the perfect look for our '00 Cobra R clone, some people prefer a rear-exit exhaust. Little did we know Steeda was already working on a refined version that would allow full exhaust use and that could be completely bolted on in the driveway.

The original 5-Link suspension system was expressly designed for SCCA American Sedan racing rules, which mandated that factory upper control arms must be in place. The original 5-Link, a dedicated road-racing suspension, mounted its upper links inboard of the upper torque boxes to allow the factory upper control arms to stay in place (albeit without any bushings to prevent binding), right where the stock tailpipes would run. This is of little consequence on a race car that usually runs long-tube headers and turndowns. Steeda favored the longest Panhard bar possible with the largest adjustment range for racing use. Since coilover shocks are illegal in American Sedan racing-but extremely popular on the street-Steeda used extra gussets and more material (in the extra room a coilover would need) to add strength to the 5-Link's brackets.

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The new 5-Link 2 system takes all the best features of the original 5-Link and offers them in a bolt-on package, thereby reaching the more street-oriented enthusiasts who occasionally hit the track. The 5-Link 2 allows tailpipe routing as well as the use of coilover kits, and it works on any '79-'04 rear axle.

To achieve these changes, Steeda engineers moved the upper links back into the factory torque-box location to make room for tailpipes, while the Panhard bar axle bracket was redesigned to accommodate coilovers and increase exhaust clearance. Unlike the original 5-Link, no part of the 5-Link 2 attaches to the diff cover, thus allowing easier gear servicing and the use of rear-axle girdles. Steeda even designed a pass-through axle vent system for '99-and-up cars so you don't have to drill and tap a new axle vent location, as we did on our 3g project. Lastly, the final criterion of the 5-Link 2 was to make it a bolt-on assembly, with welding optional for severe use. With all these changes and upgrades, the 5-Link 2 has the perfect combination of street manners and track handling.

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