Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
Project Smog-Legal Killer - Quest for 10s Leads to New Clutch, Anti-Roll Bar
After plenty of problems and several fruitless trips to the track, Smog-Legal Killer finally brings it home.
Every project has milestones and for the Smog-Legal Killer, the 1992 Ford Mustang SSP coupe we've been building up, this update marks a big one. Although the weathered ol' coupe isn't done yet, we finally nabbed the e.t. we'd been chasing since the start.
But we'd be lying if we said it was easy. Like all good stories, it features trials and tribulations, and like most hot rodding tales, many of the problems fell into two categories: user error and plain old dumb luck.
To be honest, our emissions-friendly Fox-body has surprised us on every account. Perhaps we were pessimistic about its power potential, but when we bested our projected horsepower figures, we were both happy and concerned. On paper, we were hoping for 450 hp at the wheels, so when the motor churned out 523 hp, we knew 10s were possible.
For starters, we're at the limits of the stock block, the 42-pound injectors we chose are now too small, and we were 100 lb-ft over the limit of our clutch. Hmm, now what? Well, like any real-world racer, we decided to save the money and try for the 10s.
With our new G-Force T5, Ram Powergrip clutch, and some sticky 28x10.5-15S Mickey Thompson ET Drag tires, it was time to let this sucker fly at Sacramento Raceway. As for suspension, it still had the worn (200,000 miles of worn!) Lakewood shocks and Eibach Drag springs accompanied by some new stuff, like SVE upper and lower control arms, and all new rear end internals from Latemodelrestoration.com.
To say our suspension combo was simple and a bit compromised would've been an understatement. In addition to the mismatch of old and new, the car also lacked any sort of anti-roll or swaybar. We knew the car might be a little hard to control at the strip, but we literally had no idea what was in store.
With your author manning the camera, we threw hot shoe Drew Wallace of AED behind the wheel for a few passes. What ensued was beyond scary. With nothing tying the body to the wheels, the car launched crooked and got so hacked out of shape from the twisting, bending, swaying, and floating, we had no idea how Drew kept it headed down the track. After several failed attempts that almost ended in disaster, we decided it was too dangerous to continue with our test. The best we could muster was an 11.22. Strike one.
Without anything securing the chassis to the suspension the car was unsettled, but thankfully Wolfe Race Craft had the easy fix, a rear antiroll bar (ARB). This ingenious piece ties the chassis to the rear axle to prevent unwanted body roll and it helps to plant the tires evenly on launch.
The main bar is constructed of 1-1/4x.0375-inch-wall chromoly tubing with equally stout laser-cut chromoly mounting arms. The main bar is welded to the rear portion of the frame rails and is connected with spherical rod ends to tabs that are welded on the rearend.
The rear bar prevents unwanted body roll by transferring the twisting loads between the bar, axle, and chassis. For tuning, the rod ends can be preloaded to account for driveline torque. The standard unit has been tested down to the 8.40s, and for those looking to go even faster, a double-mounted unit allows for even greater adjustability.
What does this mean from the driver's seat? It translates into straight and controlled launches, better 60-foot times, and the ability to dial in the right amount of traction.