KJ Jones Senior Technical Editor
August 1, 2009
Photos By: KJ Jones
Frankie Galvan of Racers Edge Tuning finishes up his installation of a really trick part we discovered for Whipple-blown S197 Mustang GT. Steeda's S197 Mustang Whipple Supercharger Drive system (PN 555-3350) is an all-inclusive, stand-alone, 10-rib belt drive for Whipples that can pump boost up to 15 psi, in roughly four hours of do-it-yourself installation time.

While we're not certain of the exact words, the first thought that is expressed in the cowboy adage about a four-legged pony ridden hard and put away wet can also be applied to our cars. We feel Mustangs of the four-wheeled variety should be driven hard, especially when the Ponies are set up with power adders such as blowers, turbos, or nitrous oxide. Of course, logical thought-with respect to traffic/speed laws, radar-wielding state troopers, children chasing balls into the street, little-old ladies in crosswalks, and so on-and appropriate restraint should be exercised before cutting a 'Stang loose anywhere other than on a race track, but giving a Mustang all its got is the rule-of-thumb to follow whenever possible.

Daniel Buck subscribes to our way of thinking. On most weekends he can be found bombing his Whipple 2.3-supercharged, '06 Mustang GT through Southern California canyons or streaking into power slides and loops across the dry beds at Lake Elsinore. (Daniel's 'Stang also has a five-speed transmission, which replaced the 5R55S slushbox that it was given at the factory.)

While driving a blown, late-model Pony with spirit certainly is fun, the aggressive behavior actually does a huge disservice to the supercharger's drive belt. Sustained, high-rpm runs and inconsistent throttle activity (on-the-gas/off-the-gas) are the nemesis of supercharged performance. They're also the primary causes for slipping and chunked or tossed belts.

The factory's six-rib serpentine belt leaves a lot to be desired once a supercharger is added to the mix. Daniel's 2.3 Whipple maxed out at 10 psi of boost at the outset of our project. Blowers that are driven by a single belt that also drives a 'Stang's accessories tend to suffer from inconsistent belt tension.

Tight is right are words to live by with respect to blower belts and the full-time tension they require for enabling Roots/twin-screw or centrifugal superchargers to produce consistent boost. We've experienced this with our own supercharged project Ponies, and the adage really comes to light when you consider the boost and power difference we saw on David Buck's GT after Greg Monroe and his team at Racers Edge Tuning in Downey, California, installed a brand-new, 10-rib, dedicated belt-drive system that Steeda created for Whipple-blown, S197 'Stangs.

The cool thing about Steeda's new S197 Mustang Whipple Supercharger Drive (PN 555-3350; $1,295) is that it isn't the overwhelmingly elaborate superstructure of braces, brackets, and heavyweight components you would think necessary for maintaining full-time belt tension. To the contrary, Steeda gets it done by using a simple standalone system that's based on two CNC-machined, 6061 T6 aluminum mounting plates; a heavy-duty, 10-rib belt tensioner; a 10-rib crank pulley; and a 10-rib blower pulley. With the supercharger drive in place, an S197's OEM accessories are driven by a shorter six-rib drive belt, which also is included in the kit. Three kits are available to take you from 11-13, 14-16, and 17-19 psi.

We dig telling you about cool cars, cool parts, and cool projects. This report covers all of the above. Although Daniel's Pony is stock-appearing, it gets cool points because of the blower, of course, and the fact that he made the trans swap to make driving more fun. It also packs BMR's Level 1 suspension gear, a SPEC Stage 2 clutch, and an Eaton posi, all unseen-but-major contributors to its hardcore sleeper persona.

Photos and captions detailing RET's lead tech Frankie Galvan's installation and results from tuning master Greg Monroe's before-and-after dyno tests are straight ahead, so keep reading to learn more about this slip-free option from Steeda.