Before the struts made their...
Before the struts made their way into the car, Winter had to install the springs on the struts. The springs are short enough to slide on the strut, and the top of the stock strut can be bolted on without having to compress the springs. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?
With a stiffer spring, body roll is also reduced. "The object is to keep the tires on the ground," Kershaw says. Also helping are the sway bars. Both bars are stiffer, and the front sway bar has three different settings from which to choose. These settings range from full race, street/strip, to street only. "The softest setting, the hole the furthest inward on the front sway bar, will give you more oversteer and adds to the fun factor," Kershaw says. "A more experienced driver will probably appreciate this on dry twisties. In wet conditions, or for a less experienced driver, a little understeer can be dialed in by using the outer holes." By increasing oversteer, you are reducing understeer, or push, thus allowing you to drive into the corner deeper and harder without fear of washing up the track. In other words, it makes the car more neutral.
Two questions that we wanted answered were, what kind of clearance issues would we run into, both with the ground and with the wheel and tire combination, and what will the kit do in regard to overall feel?
"We were lucky to have learned much about the Mustang suspension via the FR500C program as well as the development of the GT500," Kershaw says. "Ford Racing Performance Parts and SVT were doing track days together to dial-in our kit and the GT500. We tested with 245/50-18 tires on stock 18-inch rims, and we had no issues as to clearance. We've run the kits on GTs with GT500 rims as well as FR500 rims without any difficulty. However, if you want to run a stud girdle on the rearend, you will have interference with the Panhard bar. We redesigned our stud girdle to accommodate this and have given it a new part number [M-4033-G2].
"Overall, the Handling Pack should make the car a little more dynamic feeling. It would be one step closer to a go-kart, but not so much that it rattles your fillings loose. It's very satisfying to whip a Mustang through a turnaround and let the rearend hang out with our Handling and Drag Packs installed."
Once the struts were assembled,...
Once the struts were assembled, they were installed in the car from the bottom up. With the struts in place, we linked the spindles back up, along with the brake line mounts. We didn't hook the sway bar back up, as we were swapping it out for the one that came with the kit. Once everything was buttoned up below, we went back up top and tightened the four mounting bolts along with (finally) the strut tower brace.
Also of note is the strut tower brace. This item was a true bolt-and-go part on this '06 GT. Keep in mind, though, that if you have a V-6, a supercharged GT (think GT500), or a GT with an '07 intake shroud (plastic engine cover), the strut tower brace will not fit without modification to components under the hood. As of press time, FRPP has not developed a brace that would fit the V-6 cars or those with the intake shroud.
"You only run into a problem when you use the brace with the intake shroud or on the V-6, which oddly enough, has a taller intake," Kershaw explains. "You can add a couple of washers to raise [the brace] up a bit, but it will then interfere with the hood insulator a bit. Basically, it's the owner's call as to what gets done to make it fit."
For those of you with a blower, help is on the way. "We are finalizing our '07 Cobra brace and Handling Pack," Kershaw says. "Both should be available soon."
One thing we found out about installing the brace is this: If you are replacing the front struts at the same time as you plan on installing the strut tower brace, leave the brace last; you'll only have to take it back off to swap the struts.
Pack of Parts
We visited the FRPP Web site to get a better idea of what comes in its Handling Pack (PN M-2005-FR3). While each part contained within the kit has its own part number and can be purchased separately, doing it all in one shot with the Handling Pack would be the way to go to ease headaches and installation time. Check out what comes in the kit.
Damper Kit (PN M018000-A)
Mustang GT Lowering Spring Kit (PN M-5300-K)
Mustang GT Antiroll Bar Kit (PN M-5490-A)
Mustang Strut Tower Brace (PN M-20201-S197)
As stated, the factory front...
As stated, the factory front sway bar was going to be replaced by the beefier sway bar that comes with the Handling Pack. As you can see here, the new sway bar (bottom) has a slightly larger diameter than the factory sway bar (top). Also, the sway bar comes with that cool-looking Ford Blue paint job.
In addition to being a beefier...
In addition to being a beefier unit, the FRPP front sway bar has three adjust-ments from which to choose, depending on driving style and usage. The three holes in the sway bar allow you to set it on either a street, street/race, or full race setting. Since Project MILF is a dual-purpose daily driver, we set up the sway bar in the middle bolt hole, which is the street/strip setting.
After we greased the supplied...
After we greased the supplied bushings, we reused the factory sway bar mounts and bolted in the sway bar. Once the sway bar was wrenched down, Glen Knell at Crazy Horse gave the bushings a shot from the grease gun. With this being the last piece of the puzzle in terms of the front suspension, Knell bolted the front wheels back on.
We thought the front end was...
We thought the front end was easy, but the back end was an even bigger piece of cake. For the rear of Project MILF, the factory sway bar, shocks, and springs were to be replaced by the Handling Pack's parts and pieces.
The first item on the agenda...
The first item on the agenda was the removal of the rear shocks. For added insurance, we supported the rear by putting a trans jack under the pumpkin. We first removed the sway bar and took off the wheels. To remove the shocks, we had to get into the trunk first, pull back the carpet, and take out the top shock bolts. We then went under the rear and loosened the final bolts to the shocks and took them out.
The rear shocks are tuned...
The rear shocks are tuned for maximum performance and to work in conjunction with the lowering springs.