The Viper-spec T-56 went in...
The Viper-spec T-56 went in without much drama, even with the long-tube aftermarket headers. The midpipe would be a different story.
For the installation, we turned to Hurricane Performance In Orange Park, Florida, which has a ton of experience with Mustangs of all generations. We also took advantage of the dyno tuning services of TunersInc, which resides in the same complex.
In addition to poor shifting and clutch engagement, Guida's car suffered from poor tuning, especially on cold starts. TunersInc's Tony Gonyon made quick work of the ECM calibration changes that were needed to improve the driveability and idle characteristics of the Mustang.
The D&D crossmember necessitated...
The D&D crossmember necessitated us modifying the existing subframe connectors so that the crossmember mounts could be welded to the subframes.
The T-56 swap added a level of difficulty to the overall installation, as it requires a longer speedometer cable and a different crossmember, but the twin-disc setup is barely different from installing a single-disc unit. It's just one more disc and a floater plate. Once the clutch was installed, we also opted to upgrade some associated components with parts from Maximum Motorsports.
Maximum provided us with its aluminum firewall adjuster, clutch quadrant, and a slick new clutch cable. All three pieces have been engineered to provide the best performing clutch-engagement mechanism on the market, and the setup did not disappoint. In fact, we credit these components with making the clutch engagement even smoother than the Fidanza 2.1 single-disc clutch that we have in project Recession Special.
Part of this drivetrain makeover...
Part of this drivetrain makeover includes Maximum Motorsports' new firewall clutch-cable adjuster (PN MMCL-3). As you can see here, the inside of the Maximum Motorsports piece (left) has a serious opening and bevel on the backside that prevents the cable from binding and grinding on the edge as it comes out of the adjuster. It retails for just $39.95, fits '82-'04 Mustangs, and Maximum claims that it offers more adjustment than any other adjuster out there.
Fidanza has done a great job with its pressure-plate selection and clutch-disc material, and the Maximum Motorsport pieces allow their potential to shine through. All too often we've installed aftermarket quadrants, adjusters, and especially aftermarket clutch cables, only to have the pedal pressure increase when it really shouldn't.
We also took the opportunity to put the Mustang on the dyno, base lining it with the five-speed transmission, and then returning with the six-speed and twin-disc installed. We would expect the five-speed to be fairly efficient, and the car produced 605 rwhp and 522 lb-ft of torque. With the twin's smaller profile, we wondered if the reduction in rotating mass would improve power.
A perfect A-B clutch test would have been ideal, but we ran the car with the T-56 and the twin-disc clutch due to time constraints just to see what would happen. With the new setup, the Mustang knocked down 634 rwhp and 581 lb-ft torque. We attribute the increase in peak power to the fact that the supercharger belt did not slip as it did on the baseline. Our baseline offered 15.2 psi of boost, while during our follow up, the Vortech was huffing some 17.8 psi. There was also a huge increase in horsepower and torque under the curve, and we believe much of this came from the better ECM tuning that Tony Gonyon at TunersInc supplied, along with the decrease in rotational mass that the smaller 8.75-inch Fidanza clutch system offers.
We are using Maximum Motorsports'...
We are using Maximum Motorsports' aluminum clutch quadrant (PN MMCL-6; $34.95), shown at top in the photo above. Maximum's quadrant allows the use of a factory cable or its own cable, along with its firewall adjuster. The MM quadrant also copies the stock radius to keep pedal pressure down. To read about all the innovations of this little piece of aluminum, visit www.maximummotorsports.com and click on the product tech info.
The results of the dyno test were certainly skewed, however the change in driveability was as accurate and apparent as can be. Our subject vehicle's owner, Matt Guida, hadn't been happy with the way his Mustang was running and driving, but after the numerous mods we made within this story, we were able to turn his Mustang into something that was once again a pleasure to drive and enjoy.
"With the old clutch, the pedal feel was dead on the top of the travel with a stiff pedal travel on the bottom half," noted Guida. "Engaging the clutch required a lot of revs before letting out the clutch, at which time it would instantly engage and you would either have to accelerate and drive away, most likely with some tire spin, or immediately depress the clutch and roll forward, at which point you would have to start the process all over again. This made parking-lot driving unbearable, and loading the car on a trailer was a very difficult task.
"The Fidanza twin-disc clutch is a completely different experience. The clutch pedal feel is linear with engagement taking up about a quarter of the way off the floor. Engagement is smooth, and you can slip the clutch if need be without it biting excessively. Parking-lot maneuvering, as well as leaving a traffic light, is the same as when the car was stock. There is no longer any bucking or on/off type of engagement. The clutch's grip is apparently very good as spinning the 285-series drag radials in Third gear is easily done by rolling into the throttle.
"The new MGW shifter has a very accurate, tight feel without being too notchy. One more inch of reach on the handle would be welcomed, but it's better than the unit I had prior, which had a lot of slop, even when in gear."
Dual-disc clutch systems are not inexpensive, though the Fidanza piece is competitively priced in the market at about $1,300. That said, if you're making enough horsepower to warrant the use of one, then you're no stranger to opening your wallet in the name of speed. There's no point in making a ton of horsepower if you just won't drive it as much as you could, just because it's a pain. Fidanza's twin-disc clutch will let you do that and bring back the pleasure of driving.
We had to notch the factory...
We had to notch the factory block plate to allow the clutch cable to sit flat on the bellhousing. It's a rather common mod when performing the T-56 swap on a 5.0L.
After getting the transmission...
After getting the transmission buttoned up down below, we moved back to the top and positioned MGW's trick shifter handle, and then tightened it down using the Allen-head fasteners. We topped the shifter off with MGW's super-cool composite race knob. These are available with a number of different logos on the top. We went with the traditional six-speed pattern.
Unfortunately we experienced...
Unfortunately we experienced a bit of belt slippage during out initial dyno session with the TR-3550 five speed and 10.5-inch clutch. We knew we'd pick up some power and torque with the performance tuning of TunersInc, and we believed the smaller 8.75-inch Fidanza twin-disc clutch would offer a lower rotating mass and therefore some more power. While it's only speculation, the change in peak power was probably due to the change in boost pressure, but the area under the curve, which showed the biggest gain, probably benefitted from the reduction in rotating mass and the better computer programming. As you can see from the graph, large gains were made across the rev range, and that makes for an even more exciting ride.