Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
April 22, 2014

Let us hear from you.

Send your late-model Mustang questions or comments to: Late-Model Corral, c/o Mustang Monthly, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619, or email us at

Light ’em Up

I have an ’07 Mustang Shelby GT 500. When I depress the clutch pedal the brake lights at the rear of the car come on. Do you have any idea how or why this could be happening? Thank you for any help.

Mark Stadshaug
Silverdale, WA

This was a new one for us, but with a little research and a chat with our local Ford dealer technicians we were able to wrap our head around this bizarre issue. Apparently the ’05 and up Mustang utilizes a nylon or plastic bracket for the brake light switch and brake pedal support (shown here in the accompanying photo from a ’11 Mustang GT with an automatic transmission). On manual transmission equipped cars the clutch pedal can stress and flex this bracket when the clutch pedal is depressed, allowing the brake lights to come on. Apparently the issue is compounded by heavy aftermarket clutch kits as well. Some owners have found the bracket cracked, increasing the prevalence of the problem, but for most owners the simple fix has been to gently bend the metal tab welded to the brake pedal towards the switch plunger just a bit. This still allows the brake lights to illuminate properly when the brake pedal is depressed, but will now prevent the clutch pedal’s influence on the bracket from causing the switch and brake pedal to move away from each other and allowing the brake lights to engage. We haven’t been able to go through all the part numbers and verify if there were any year-to-year improvements on the design, though we have read that some owners have seen improved hardware in the GT 500 models. However we don’t know if that is true and what year it commenced.

Focus on the Four-Lug

I found a set of ’03 Ford Focus SVT wheels for sale. They are 17x7 with 5.94-inches of backspacing. Will these fit a ’89 Mustang hatchback with stock four-lug axles? I have rims right now that require wheel spacers, so I have wheel spacers already. My question is, if I do need wheel spacers, what is the thickness? Thanks!

Jesse Zeller
Littleton, CO

While the bolt patterns are the same (4x1.08mm/4x4.25-inches), the backspacing for the SVT wheel would require at least a one-inch hub-centric spacer and we’re not aware of anyone making a spacer that thick for a four-lug setup. Additionally, there may be some hub fitment issues, as we’re fairly certain the Mustang’s front wheel hub is larger due to the cast in housing for bearing support, unlike a front-wheel-drive application that often has a much smaller hub. If this is the case (and we’re not 100 percent sure) then you’d be looking at possibly machining the center hubs of the SVT wheels to fit them on your Mustang. In our opinion it just isn’t worth the hassle, even if the wheels were free. There are plenty of great looking four-lug replica wheels on the market or you can also upgrade to five-lug brakes and axles in several different ways to knock the door wide open on wheel choices. Five-lug is really the way to go, plus it’ll offer plenty of braking upgrade options as well.