5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
2008 Ford Shelby GT500 Suspension Upgrade - Project Vapor Trail
Steeda's Coilover Suspension And Watt's Link Transforms Project Vapor Trail's Handling (And Looks)
Here's a comparison of the bulky stock spring and strut and Steeda's sleek, adjustable coilover strut set, fully assembled with the heavy-duty Steeda upper-strut mount. Its slim shape and good looks are a minor part of the Steeda coilovers, which allow for infinite adjustment of compression and rebound, offer the expected ride height and spring-rate adjustments, and are designed around Steeda's rugged, quiet spring mount, which can withstand more spring rate without popping. Obviously they are built to perform, but Steeda is so confident in the quality of these parts, they pack a lifetime warranty. That kind of guarantee makes it a lot easier to shelve the stock gear and go for better performance.
When you lower your 'Stang, it throws off the car's suspension geometry by lowering the roll center. To correct that deficiency, Steeda developed the taller X5 balljoint, which raises the roll center to its proper height, thus reducing bodyroll, sharpening handling, and keeping more of the tire on the road. Good stuff, but installing one requires a bushing press to push the old ball joint out of the control arm. With the same press, you can force the new ball joint into the control arm. After it's in place, install the grease fitting. The balljoint is pregreased, but you can use the fitting down the road to maintain the bushings.
More familiar to those who have lowered a few Mustangs is a bumpsteer kit. If you don't correct bumpsteer by correcting the height of the tie-rod end, the wheel will actually make slight steering movements as the ride height changes with braking, cornering, or bumps. Naturally, Steeda's bumpsteer kit corrects these mathematical ills and helps keep your car tracking straight. Installing them is as simple as removing the old tie-rod ends and installing the Steeda kit. The detailed directions walk you through the minutia. Naturally you will need an alignment after all this work.
Here's a clear look at PVT's completely Steeda-fied front suspension in place. You can see how the X5 balljoint and bumpsteer kit work together to raise the roll center, while the coilover is anchored by the stout Steeda mount. The billet collar allows you to raise and lower the ride height based on your liking or the car's intended use. These parts are used on cars as diverse as Sutton High Performance's Renegade drag racer and Robin Burnett's NASA American Iron road racer. Suffice it to say that it should be plenty for PVT's street intentions.
To finalize the front end, Steve installed the braided-steel brake hose and slotted rotor from Steeda's GT500 brake upgrade kit. The hoses firm up the pedal feel, and the slotted rotors help shed gasses that build up between the pad and rotor, which is all said to improve braking. Let's face it though, most people upgrade the rotors because they look cool.
While the front brake upgrade is a simple remove-and-replace process, the upgrade for the rear requires a bit more work. That's because it spaces out the caliper to make room for a 13-inch rear rotor. This helps braking, as well as filling up those 20-inch wheels, which make the 11.8-inch stocker look miniature. To space out the calipers, first pull the rear axles, which means digging into the differential. Matt pulled the stock cover and got right to work. While this gave us the opportunity to replace the break-in fluid with some fresh lube, it would have been a great time to install a differential girdle, so keep that in mind if you are making this move.
With the axles out, Matt bolted on the billet caliper relocation brackets. These pieces are works of art, and place the stock caliper in the right spot without upsetting the factory functionality. Here he is installing the ABS sensor in the new bracket so everything will work just like stock, only better.
Matt followed up the brackets by reassembling the rearend, applying a fresh bead of sealant to the differential cover, and bolting it back on. While the cover cured, he moved to the braided-steel brake lines included in the brake upgrade kit. There are left and right lines, so make sure you grab the correct one for the brackets to line up with the mounting holes on the frame.
Matt installed the new rotor and bolted on the caliper before finishing up the brake-hose install. While the new rear rotor is larger, it's actually lighter than the stock parts, so it helps trim down some of that bothersome unsprung weight while improving braking. Notice that Matt cleaned off a bit of the rotor's anti-corrosion coating where the pad makes contact, as it ensures the rotors and pads will make nice right away.