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What modification is most important to keep the car on the road?

  • Suspension

    Votes: 9 45.0%
  • Brakes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Tires

    Votes: 5 25.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 6 30.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm sure most of you are aware of the voluminous numbers of videos on YouTube of Mustangs losing control and flying into crowds, trees, cars, ditches and whatnot. I'm frequently shouted down by people when I point out it's not the car that's the issue, but more like a lack of driver training, maturity, incredible power, and the ubiquity of the Mustang. These awesome cars are within financial reach of young people that have little experience behind the wheel. Since there are so many of them, it's not a stretch to realize that eventually, some kid that gets his hands on one is going to stand on the gas while saying: "lookit this, ya'll!" just before he wipes out a bunch of nuns in a crosswalk.

I've been driving for quite some time and am no stranger to powerful machines. I am by no means a novice, but I'm no expert either. Also, I find the Mustang to be a much more versatile machine than any other I've owned. There are soooooo many options. GT, GT Premium, Track Pack, GT500, CS, Boss, etc. That being said, I'm a bit underwhelmed by a few things. I think I've figured out what Ford did to make the Mustang as good as it is. They cut corners in some places while breaking the bank on others.

For example, that goddamn prop rod. I hate that thing. I've had more than one Mustang and I've always thought they made the car look cheap. I get it though. They cut corners by putting the prop rod in so they could spend money on nicer elements elsewhere in the car. Instead of putting in dampers, they went with the rod which over hundreds of thousands of units actually allowed them to give the customer a better product. They knew their market well enough that they realized those of us that care enough would put dampers in later. Same goes for other things, like the drivetrain. I get the distinct impression they put less into the suspension so they could give us more in the way of engine. Fiiiiiiine by me.

So, my question is this: Aside from driver training courses (which everyone should take, even the casual driver), what single element of the Mustang would you change to maintain the highest measure of stability on the road? If you picked "other" what would it be? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Drive safe!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There's an old saying that the most failure prone part of a motorcycle is the nut that connects the handlebars to the seat. :)
 

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I've tracked a few S197 chassis cars for a few years now and i'm torn on what my answer should be... Obviously you want to address all of the things you listed, but as far as what should come first, its hard to say.

Tires would be my first choice, assuming you have a large enough rim to fit a useful tire. However, grippy tires and sloppy stock suspension a recipe for success does not make. If anything sticky tires will exaggerate body roll, because instead of starting to slide and reducing body roll due to loss of traction, the tires will stay hooked and the body will continue to roll - think michael jackson, smooth criminal.

Now, if you have nice suspension and not enough tire, the car still may not handle well, but it will be predictable. It wont be sloppy, it wont be bouncy, it shouldnt have a tenancy to snap when trying to make corrections. However, not having enough tire to match a given amount of spring rate and dampening can cause some unfavorable handling characteristics as well... typically that isnt an issue though until you are really pushing the car (and i mean racing, like actually pushing), so i suppose my vote will be for quality suspension first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I've tracked a few S197 chassis cars for a few years now and i'm torn on what my answer should be... Obviously you want to address all of the things you listed, but as far as what should come first, its hard to say.

Tires would be my first choice, assuming you have a large enough rim to fit a useful tire. However, grippy tires and sloppy stock suspension a recipe for success does not make. If anything sticky tires will exaggerate body roll, because instead of starting to slide and reducing body roll due to loss of traction, the tires will stay hooked and the body will continue to roll - think michael jackson, smooth criminal.

Now, if you have nice suspension and not enough tire, the car still may not handle well, but it will be predictable. It wont be sloppy, it wont be bouncy, it shouldnt have a tenancy to snap when trying to make corrections. However, not having enough tire to match a given amount of spring rate and dampening can cause some unfavorable handling characteristics as well... typically that isnt an issue though until you are really pushing the car (and i mean racing, like actually pushing), so i suppose my vote will be for quality suspension first.
Thanks for your input! The thing about performance cars is that there are so many variables that can affect a vehicle and many crucial ones (such as tires) get overlooked. I keep thinking about the differences in the suspension setups between the GT, CS, Track Pack, GT500 and Boss. I really wish Ford had an interface that showed which car got what so you could compare them and their performance. Throwing money at online retailers for a swaybar here and a lower control arm there doesn't do much good. You need definitely need to have a plan.

For my own list of changes, I'm going to go with 19x9 wheels off the track pack car and a decent set of tires to go with it. Mine's a daily driver, however, I like the thought of being able to get every last bit of performance out of this car that I can.
 

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Personally, I like it when an engine overpowers the suspension. Given there's a limit, 700rwhp with stock suspension is foolish. But my biggest issue is brakes. You have to have your stopping power on equal ground as your "forward power." Now they come standard with Brembo's.


Pick your poison.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Personally, I like it when an engine overpowers the suspension. Given there's a limit, 700rwhp with stock suspension is foolish. But my biggest issue is brakes. You have to have your stopping power on equal ground as your "forward power." Now they come standard with Brembo's.
I'm seriously interested in the Brembo package as an upgrade, but I might just start with some braided brake lines.
 

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I'm seriously interested in the Brembo package as an upgrade, but I might just start with some braided brake lines.
It wont help you stop any better. With 295 NT-05s at all 4 corners my car could still kick the ABS on with the standard 13.2" brakes with carbotech XP-10 pads. What this means is i still had way more brake than i did tire: Tires are the most important part of stopping.

There will be a small mechanical advantage going from a 13.2" rotor to a 14" but its minuscule compared to just changing to a more aggressive compound. The main benefit of going to 14" brembos is higher heat retention for road course racing (larger rotor = more thermal capacity) and fixed calipers for more even pad wear. The stock floating 2 piece calipers can flex along the slide pins and wear pads unevenly, this is not an issue on a fixed caliper like a Brembo.

By all means they are worth every penny, i just don't want you to buy something under the impression it will do something it wont.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It wont help you stop any better. With 295 NT-05s at all 4 corners my car could still kick the ABS on with the standard 13.2" brakes with carbotech XP-10 pads. What this means is i still had way more brake than i did tire: Tires are the most important part of stopping.
Agreed. Most definitely.

There will be a small mechanical advantage going from a 13.2" rotor to a 14" but its minuscule compared to just changing to a more aggressive compound. The main benefit of going to 14" brembos is higher heat retention for road course racing (larger rotor = more thermal capacity) and fixed calipers for more even pad wear. The stock floating 2 piece calipers can flex along the slide pins and wear pads unevenly, this is not an issue on a fixed caliper like a Brembo.
I didn't even think about that. Glad I asked.

I owe you a beer, my friend. The reason the braided brake lines were a first reach for me is because I put some on my motorcycle after a mechanic friend of mine demonstrated exactly how they work. If you've ever done it, it's cool. Forgive me if you already know this. Basically, You grip the brake line in your fist and you can feel part of the line bulge slightly when the brake is pulled in. Braided brake lines keep the hydraulic pressure moving down to the caliper and not outward. When I put them on my bike I was impressed with how much better the bike slowed, and it saved my dumb *** more than once when someone turned left in front of me. But of course, cars and bikes are hugely different. :D

So, in your opinion, would the Brembos be best to prevent fade versus the stock brakes?
 

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So, in your opinion, would the Brembos be best to prevent fade versus the stock brakes?
Absolutely. If you are in conditions where the stock brakes are not able to keep up, the OEM Brembos are a fantastic upgrade. If however, you're looking for shorter stopping distances you want:
Tires
Pads
Rotors

In that order. What type of fade are you experiencing? A soft pedal means the fluid is boiling, so a quality DOT 4 (not the off the shelf stuff at Auto zone, Advance, etc...) will help with that. If your pedal is still hard but the car is not stopping then you have cooked the pads, and upgrading to a more aggressive compound will help.
 

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Mustang drivers never hit the brakes anyway...full throttle is the solution to every problem.

You're missing a poll item: 2015+ :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Absolutely. If you are in conditions where the stock brakes are not able to keep up, the OEM Brembos are a fantastic upgrade. If however, you're looking for shorter stopping distances you want:
Tires
Pads
Rotors

In that order. What type of fade are you experiencing? A soft pedal means the fluid is boiling, so a quality DOT 4 (not the off the shelf stuff at Auto zone, Advance, etc...) will help with that. If your pedal is still hard but the car is not stopping then you have cooked the pads, and upgrading to a more aggressive compound will help.
I've not had the brakes on this car fade, but I've had them go south on me before in a retired police car once upon a time and I don't ever want to experience that again. I'd like to be as proactive as possible in making my car safe, and I'm much more interested in enhancing the entire driving dynamic, not just the usual "more horsepower" thing that makes companies like American Muscle so much money. I live in the southwest and have taken this car through California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah on some very hot days and plan to do more in the future. Most of my driving is spirited, but not reckless, so having the best suspension and brakes I can afford is what's most important to me.

I'm a guy that hangs on to his machines for a long time and I go out of my way to baby them. I don't spend money for the sake of it and I try to be very judicious in what I get. I feel far too many people get excited and impulse buy things that do very little, so I take my time and try to learn before spending. It's always good to have a plan before wrenching - hence my post.

So, if you don't mind me asking, what kind of tires, pads and rotors would you suggest? As I may have said, I'm going to start with wheels and go up to 19x9 which means I'll need tires to go with them. I was thinking Yokohamas, but I'd be curious to know what others use.

Thank you very much for all your input!
 

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Michelin PSS is one of the best tires, I'd check out their AS3 if you want all seasons
 

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As3 is a bit soft sidewall and carcass for this car, pushing up understeer. I'd not do a/s on this car.
 

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I also think 9" is a tiny bit narrow, i'd go at least 9.5" or 10" if you could help it. Its really hard to say what tire is "best," everyone will have their own opinion on cost vs performance vs life, etc.

For my uses and my budget, the Nitto invo or nitto 555 have been my go to tire. There are cheaper tires, there are tires that last longer, there are tires that grip better... those are just the balance that has worked well for me on a "spirited street car."
As far as pads, that is another place where there is way more than one right answer. As for me, i like to run Carbotech (the lead engineers left and formed a new company called G-loc for those who did not know) or G-loc pads when tracking. Since there is always a transfer layer of pad material between the pad and rotor ("bedding the brakes") I like to stick within that same company for both street and track pads so i don't have to change rotors every time i switch compounds. This may be excessive, it may be marketing, but i'm happy enough with their pads not to care.
For the street i like the 1521 compound, and for the track i like the XP-10. The XP-10 is a track pad though, so when cold it will be very squeaky and very hard on rotors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'd heard good things about Nittos, but I've never run them. For years I used BF Goodrich on everything I drove, but I was put off by them after the whole Explorer tire scandal ten or so years ago. Ever since I've been putting Yokahamas on my cars and Dunlops on my bikes. I've got Pirellis on my 2014, however, those are the stock tires and I've not been impressed with how they wear.

As for size, I'm inclined to go with what will clear the Brembos, and I'm finding the 9.5" track pack wheels like these should work just fine.


I can't say I know a damn thing about the brakes you mention. I've usually gone with Raybestos over the years. When you mention the 1521 compound, do they last very long? I like what I've read about them thus far. They're a little on the pricey side, but brakes are like helmets. Do you want a cheap one off the clearance rack or do you want something a little more solid? :)
 

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The only mod that will keep this car straight is the driver. No suspension, tire, or brake upgrade will protect the car from bad driving
+1

As far as enhancements/upgrades I'd start with tires. I noticed a BIG improvement in handling & traction with the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
 
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+1

As far as enhancements/upgrades I'd start with tires. I noticed a BIG improvement in handling & traction with the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
I second this. Went from BFG Geforces to MPSS... night and day difference.
 
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