KJ Jones
February 1, 2013
Contributers: KJ Jones, KJ Jones Photos By: KJ Jones

In most discussions about '11-'13 Mustangs it's almost impossible to complete a conversation without mentioning their horsepower potential. While making big steam (at the feet, of course) is the main objective in our performance-focused tech efforts, performance gains measured at the dragstrip also help validate the benefit of upgrading new 5.0s.

In stock trim or with upgrades, '11-'13 GTs are arguably the most well-rounded 'Stangs yet. They excell in all disciplines of motorsport. However, despite the new Pony's versatility, street/strip performance still reigns as late-model Mustangs' unofficial qualifier.

As we've demonstrated in past projects, increasing a Coyote's 412-420 crankshaft horsepower isn't difficult. However, putting it to the ground is the bigger challenge. This is critical -- solid traction actually carries about the same amount of weight as making power and torque, maybe even more. So a cool traction concept for big-power Coyote Mustangs is the subject of this report.

With the help of Justin's Performance Center, we're installing a rear-suspension package on Al Davis's street/strip '11 GT that features slick new components from BMR Fabrication (Xtreme antiroll bar, Panhard rod, upper/lower control arms) and Strange Engineering (adjustable front struts/rear shocks), and putting the combination to the ultimate test -- a comparison of the OEM setup versus the BMR/Strange package -- through a series of eighth-mile hits at Maryland International Raceway.

The parts were preliminarily installed at JPC's Millersville, Maryland, headquarters for fitment confirmation, to verify pinion angle and to complete the small amount of welding that is necessary for the antiroll bar's end-links. However, as the BMR control arms truly are direct replacements for their OEM counterparts, we had JPC owner Justin Burcham repeat their install steps right in the pits at MIR, to demonstrate how easily such a swap is accomplished in a non-shop environment and, of course, to determine -- through timeslip data -- how the upgrades affect a 'Stang's forward motion under hard dragstrip launches.

Read on through the photos and captions, as they provide details on the suspension system we selected and its DIYable installation. And, check out the results of our on-track testing, as they really support the importance of this upgrade for '11-up 5.0 Mustangs that see similar street/strip use.

Horse Sense: This report brought closure to KJ Jones' Spring '12 Tech Tour -- a two-week, 1,200-mile circuit through three states that scored us NMRA event details and several tech reports. While this particular marathon was centered on the East Coast -- a longtime hotbed for Mustang action -- we're more than hip to (and happy about) the fact that 'Stangbanging happens everywhere. Don't think for a minute that our visits are strictly limited to points in the East. As you read this, it's quite possible our tech editor is off on another run to points far away from his West Coast base.

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Parts List

  • BMR Xtreme Antiroll Bar Kit (XSB005; $499.95)
  • BMR Panhard Rod (PHR006; $139.95)
  • BMR Boxed Lower Control Arms (TCA019; $139.95)
  • BMR Lower Control Arm Relocation Brackets (CAB005; $149.95)
  • BMR Single-Adjustable Upper Control Arm (UTCA032; $179.95)
  • BMR Upper Control Arm Mount (UCM002; $149.95)
  • Ford Racing Performance Parts 2005-2013 Shelby GT500-Style Front Strut Mount (M-81883-C; $94.99)
  • Strange Engineering Single-Adjustable Front Struts (S6009LM; $139.95 each)
  • Strange Engineering Single-Adjustable Rear Shocks (S6008LM; $89.50 each)

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On The Dragstrip

One of the important things to note right away is that the dragstrip portion of this tech effort was conducted on a totally unprepped 1,320 at Maryland International Raceway. Lack of prep was not accidental, and it actually goes against everything that the staff at MIR stands for. Track Manager Jason Miller was heard saying, "I hate hearing that sound," when Justin Burcham made the first baseline run (with the factory rear suspension).

Justin handled the parts swapping in the pits, and also served as test pilot for a series of eighth-mile runs in Al Davis's 11-second (the naturally aspirated, 5.0-liter Pony features a CAI, Boss 302 intake manifold, long-tube headers, 15-inch drag radials and gears) '11 Mustang GT, to determine the what effects of a really affordable, simple suspension upgrade are.

With variables such as rear-tire pressure, launch rpm and technique, and shift points (runs were made with the automatic transmission left in Drive) remaining constant throughout our test, we witnessed abysmal launch performance with factory hardware. However, steady reductions in 60-, 330-, and 660-foot incremental times prevailed, once the stock suspension pieces were replaced with selected parts from BMR Suspension and Strange Engineering.

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Consistency is always crucial when performing studies like this breakdown of ’11-’13 Mustang street/strip suspension upgrades. For our test, driver Justin Burcham maintained an initial launch rpm of 2,000 revs, and would flash the torque converter to 3,800 during each pass, letting the ’Stang’s automatic transmission shift itself trough the eighth mile. While tire pressure in the Mickey Thompson drag radials remained unchanged at 15 psi for the duration of our test session, making adjustments in rear-tire pressure is another aspect of achieving and maintaining launch consistency. 5.0