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.

Frankie secures the 10-rib drive system's upper mounting plate to the lower plate using three M10x30 flat-head bolts. Measuring just over 0.6-inch thick, the polished CNC-produced plates really are the heart of Steeda's new drive system, as the company's stout design helps keep the blower belt from flexing and losing traction with the pulleys.

On The Dyno
We bolted Daniel Buck's 2.3 Whipple-blown '06 Pony on the Dynojet chassis dyno at Racers Edge Tuning and saw 10 psi of boost in our initial three-pull test. Although boost level didn't waiver during the baseline runs (which would have indicated that the OEM, six-rib serpentine belt may be slipping), the preliminary test left us with wild thoughts about the type of boost and power the same setup would make if the accessories could be taken out of the equation, and the test was being performed on a 'Stang with more engine or a bigger Whipple blower, as well

As you see in the dyno chart, final testing showed us a serious gain in power, as well as a really big torque increase (especially in the middle-rpm range) that actually could be more impressive if the 'Stang's engine had been more robust. The cool thing is that the change was completely brought about by bolting on Steeda's S197 Mustang Whipple supercharger drive (PN 555-3350; $1,249.00). The dedicated, 10-rib belt and its 1-on-1 relationship with the crankshaft remain solid at low and high rpm, thanks mostly to the system's heavy-duty tensioner and idler wheel. The apparatus fits (with minor hood modification) and looks clean when it's bolted to an S197s Three-Valve 4.6-liter engine. As 'Stangbangers who have firsthand familiarity with blower-belt slippage and breakage, we're happy to tell you that Steeda definitely has nailed it with its new 10-rib, dedicated belt-drive system for Whipple supercharged '05-'09 GT 'Stangs.

Step By Step

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M5lp_0908_30_z Steeda_whipple_supercharger Cutting_hood
Cutting the hood is a messy task that also requires a lot of patience. Fine metal debris goes everywhere when a cutoff wheel is used, so it's critical that the engine is fully covered before starting this step!
M5lp_0908_31_z Steeda_whipple_supercharger Blower_oil
Don't forget to add 4 ounces of oil to the blower before starting the engine. Blower oil was not included with the drive system at the time we worked on this install and dyno-test project, but Steeda is considering making the oil part of the kit's standard content.
M5lp_0908_32_z Steeda_whipple_supercharger Orange_silicone
Steeda provides an elaborate system to measure, tape, and mark the location where the hood must be cut for pulley clearance. Following directions is always important, but we freelanced a bit and found that using orange-colored silicone works just fine for this procedure. After placing small dabs of silicone along the gate on the blower pulley and in the center of the pulley, witness marks left on the hood show us exactly where to cut.
BaselineSteeda DriveDifference
RPMPowerTorquePowerTorquePowerTorque
2,700174.38339.21206.45401.5632.07{{{62}}}.35
2,800185.50347.94214.08401.5028.5853.56
2,{{{900}}}197.89358.38231.52419.2733.6360.89
3,000209.88367.44{{{240}}}.35420.7630.4753.32
3,{{{100}}}217.73368.{{{90}}}251.34425.8133.6156.91
3,{{{200}}}227.66373.66259.62426.1631.9652.50
3,{{{300}}}238.63379.79275.72438.7637.0958.97
3,400244.20377.22289.71447.5945.5170.37
3,500256.29384.62296.49444.8540.2060.23
3,{{{600}}}260.92380.66311.43454.3550.5173.69
3,700266.34378.08313.82445.4747.4867.39
3,800267.26369.38322.60445.8455.3476.46
3,900281.56379.17337.06453.9655.5074.79
4,000295.30387.73345.64453.8350.3466.10
4,100298.24382.05358.88459.7460.6477.69
4,200310.93388.{{{80}}}371.83464.9360.9076.13
4,300324.09395.86382.61467.2958.5271.43
4,400334.20398.93393.83470.1359.6371.20
4,500339.42396.14400.67467.6661.2571.52
4,600344.86393.74401.07457.9856.2164.24
4,700355.53397.30397.62444.2942.0946.99
4,800367.70402.32412.41451.2444.7148.92
4,900379.54406.81415.70445.5936.1638.78
5,000394.28414.17430.66452.3436.3838.17
5,100403.12415.15439.15452.2736.0337.12
5,200410.38414.49448.04452.5337.6638.04
5,300418.66414.88446.91442.8828.2528.00
5,400427.26415.{{{57}}}454.96442.5127.7026.94
5,500431.23411.80456.12435.5824.8923.78
5,600436.43409.32461.60432.9325.1723.61
5,700439.64{{{405}}}.09468.58431.7628.9426.67
5,800448.51406.15465.84421.8617.3315.71