Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsHow To Paint Body
Ford Mustang Front Splitter Installation - Top Speed Secrets
Installing And Testing A Near-160-Mph Dynatek '06 Mustang Front Splitter.
I sat behind the wheel, wondering how I managed to get myself into these predicaments. Part of me was excited about the prospect of running flat out in an '06 Mustang. This was made all the more exciting by the fact that the speed limiter had been removed after the installation of the DiabloSport program required to run the race air-intake system from C&L Performance. Since we had to remove the speed limiter anyway, we decided to improve the power and speed potential right along with it, but I digress-back to my combination of excitement and concern.
The excitement portion was pretty obvious, as I was about to embark on a big speed trip, but so too was the concern. After all, here I was again on my favorite stretch of deserted test road, ready to ring out yet another power Pony for all it was worth.
There are dangers involved in this sort of endeavor, not the least of which was having a tire come apart or some other unexpected mechanical failure. How did I ever run flat out in a supercharged Mustang for 40 minutes in those many Silver State Classic events? Was I like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, who stated he was getting too old for this %@#$?
The butterflies began right after I was offered the opportunity to cover (of all things) the installation of a new front chin splitter (a.k.a. spoiler) offered by Dynatek Racing. Don't get me wrong, the splitter looked racy on the new Mustang and appeared to be well made, it's just that spoiler-install stories aren't exactly my cup of tea.
Give me a cam comparison, a set of cylinder heads or any type of forced induction, and you'll see one tech editor who's as happy as a clam. I've never been one to walk the show circuit, cover drag race events, or even get involved in photo shoots that involve scantily clad Mustang models. The appeal of the hottie bikini models notwithstanding, I have embraced the dark side that is dyno testing and forever will it control my destiny. Given my affinity for all things dyno, I looked at the offer of covering the splitter install with some disdain. How was I going to politely let a company know that I was no more interested in its spoiler than I would be in a free subscription to Cat Fancy magazine?
I think my lack of enthusiasm must have been evident, or the enthusiasts at Dynatek might be sharper than they let on, but before I knew it, there I was with camera in hand watching as they went through the motions of installing a trick chin splitter on a pretty, red '06 Mustang.
How did they convince me to leave the comfort and safety of the dyno cell in exchange for shooting the spoiler? Truth be told, we tech editors are a pretty simple bunch. When the folks at Dynatek asked about covering the spoiler install for MM&FF, I politely replied that the only way I could see fit to do so would be if the story included a test to verify the system at top speed. I figured that after they refused my outrageous stipulation, I would be free to roam the dynos in search of my next test victim. Great plan, with only one problem. The Dynatek folks didn't refuse the offer. In fact, they welcomed it with open arms.
Either they were extremely confident in their product, or they were downright crazy. Either way, I was to sit idly behind a camera while others worked on the spoiler. But my idle time was spent mentally prepping for the high-speed adventure to come.
In terms of installation, only a brief rundown is in order, as the splitter was easy to put on. The front splitter was shipped out to sunny California, where it was installed by a technician flown out by Dynatek. The location was chosen due to its proximity to my top-secret test facility, code-named Area 52. Even I'm not dumb enough to take a 300-plus-horsepower Mustang and have at it on a local freeway.
Installation of the spoiler required drilling the necessary holes in the splitter and bumper. Templates were supplied to properly locate the holes. A single center metal support was used, along with side attachments that secured the splitter to metal brackets that were themselves attached to the inner fender. Double-sided adhesive was also used to secure the splitter to the body at the base of the radiator opening. The final two attachment points came in the form of trick aluminum support rods. The holes drilled previously using the supplied templates housed anchor points for the strut rods. The multipiece rods used mounts that were bolted in place to the splitter and bumper using supplied hardware. These mounts were then attached using the adjustable support rods. Once the rods were secured using set screws, we were ready for action.
Once at Area 52, we were able to put the Dynatek splitter to the ultimate test. Since we had no wind tunnel to simulate the maximum speed of the '06 Mustang, we decided the next best thing was to actually produce the forces by subjecting the car to some full-throttle action. Here is where the butterflies started to feel more like pteranodons.
After checking the tire pressures and lug nuts, I made one final visual inspection of the splitter, and it was time to go. Truth be told, the top speed run was pretty uneventful. The Mustang pulled strongly to 6,000 rpm in every gear except Fifth, where the aerodynamics finally overcame the available power, and we simply stopped accelerating. Being more than six miles in length, Area 52 offered plenty of run-up room, so the GPS had plenty of time to record the car's maximum speed of 157 mph. Credit the extra power offered by the more aggressive tune and the C&L race air intake for a portion of the impressive speed potential.
The car was amazingly stable at speed, more so than without the splitter. This would provide better grip at speed and on track, should you choose to go there.
Credit also goes to the gang at Dynatek for not only making a splitter that was rock solid at 157 mph, but for having the guts to have a crazy tech guy from MM&FF prove the point.