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SN95 Chris' 351w Swapped 1995 Build Thread Profile - SN95 Mustangs

🥳 that feeling you get when you finally resolve a frustrating issue like that. Good on your cousin for helping figure it out. That autocross looked like it was fun, though the tire marks in the photos give me the sense it might not have been super competitive. I remember having a good time even when my car wasn't very competitive around the cones though.

Yeah, I placed 15th out of about 30ish drivers both days. 4th out of 5 in CAM T.

AutoX Scoreboard.JPG

Two of those drivers I don't stand a chance of catching anytime soon. The 1969 Camaro is VERY well set up and Sean is a good driver. The 99 Trans Am driven by Mike Berry (that's my cousin) is also VERY well-sorted and Mike has been driving for a long time. 10 years of AutoX in that car, plus dirt track before that. His codriver, Tony, started about the same time I did (March 2020). I am the better driver, but he's in the better car (for now).

I am in a better car in some ways than Brandon Hirby in the 1995 Cobra (I have twice as much power, a theoretically better suspension setup, etc), but he is definitely the better driver and has 315s helping him out. He's going to be going turbo soon, so he will be even harder to catch.

Not using this as an excuse, buuut...I am still very much learning the car. This is my second autocross after going to the Torque Arm setup, a new 427w, and some other big changes. I went from MAYBE 300whp to about 550whp. In the rain on Saturday, it was a little hairy. I actually didn't make but one set of those tire marks, when I spun out. I ran a little wide and hit a small patch of water and dirt and there was just no saving it.

I need to address the rear end. Still has stock TrakLok back there, but it's having trouble putting the power down. With 550whp, 3.73 gears, 275 wide tires, and only one wheel spinning, traction is a major issue, even in a straight line. I have a fellow AutoCrosser supposed to be selling me his old TruTrac, so hopefully that helps a bit on power delivery.
 
Where are you running at?

This was at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, AR! I was following your post in the FB group with interest. Glad to see you finally got to AutoXing again. Where do you run again?

With that much power you definitely need to get bigger rubber under your beast.

That's the goal, Brandon with the 95 Cobra is gonna let me test fit his wheels and tires to make sure they will clear my brakes and whatnot. Kind of just waiting until these tires are done for.
 
549
543
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Kansas City, Missouri
This was at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, AR! I was following your post in the FB group with interest. Glad to see you finally got to AutoXing again. Where do you run again?
I usually run in Independence, MO with Kansas City Region SCCA. I want to make it down to Neosho, MO with either 4 States Corvette Club or Ozark Mountain Region SCCA. How far are you from there?
 
I usually run in Independence, MO with Kansas City Region SCCA. I want to make it down to Neosho, MO with either 4 States Corvette Club or Ozark Mountain Region SCCA. How far are you from there?

Right at about 4 hours or so. Independence is a good bit further, about 6.5 hours. I think we talked about it a long time ago, I would like to make it up there to Neosho for an AutoCross. Learn a little from someone with a similar setup at a bigger AutoCross event than we have down here. I have a friend in Fayetteville, AR that I like to visit, that's 3/4 of the way there. I'm gonna add you on FB, if you make it down to one of those, maybe let me know and I will try to make it up?

In other news, I got a good offer today, a customer of mine that we took to Twin Peaks for lunch offered to help me corner balance the car for free. His company has a set of corner scales they use on the company dirt track car. I've been "weighing" (heh) whether to buy a set or not. I'll only really use them once to set the car up, but figured I could rent them out to other fellow AutoCrossers. This will take some financial strain off and I can do the balancing sooner rather than later.
 
Yeah, my best friend is in Bentonville, AR technically, 20 minutes or less south of the Missouri-Arkansas line. I just looked and it's less than an hour from the site they run at in Neosho. He's a fellow car guy. I've been trying to get him to AutoX his 350z for some time. Might be something I look into for October.
 
I had an AutoCross the weekend before last. I drove alone on Saturday. On Sunday, my adopted brother codrove with me. He's a VERY good driver, started off in Karts when he was young and was exposed to racecars his whole life, unlike me. So I had no doubt he could do very well in my car. It's the first time he's driven this one in 5 years, and I have made a LOT of changes since then, but he adapted really quick to it.

That weekend was a special event with folks coming from 4 different states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennesee). So there were a lot more people signed up than usual. Usually the out-of-state people that attend this event are very serious about AutoX (and tend to be very fast, too), so I usually place a little lower. That was expected. What wasn't entirely expected was just how terrible the car would be.

If you recall from my post about the August event, I said, "I was fighting a massive shortage of front grip. I will probably need to make some changes to the car. Jack from Maximum Motorsports had told me when I was planning this build that my Steeda 35mm front bar would likely cause some understeer issues. I had not experienced that until this event. I need to go shopping at my dad's little salvage yard and get some bars to test out."

The problem with changing after that event is that, as my cousin pointed out, the course at War Memorial is much tighter than we usually run (it's much smaller, so there's a lot of overlapping sections of course) and it's on asphalt. So making changes to the car based on that one event may not be the right move, since we only run there once a year. But at our normal location, it still had the same issue, like I thought it would. It was really hard to drive around. I tried braking early and just going slower so that I could position the car for the next element and get back on throttle faster. That yielded slow times. I tried staying off throttle all the way, occasionally even lightly on the brakes, in an effort to keep the front end loaded, still not very fast. The car just wouldn't catch any traction up front.

About the only thing that worked and turned decent times was good, old-fashioned gas-mashin. Turn the wheel to get into the turn. As soon as it started to push, hammer down to rotate the car and get it pointed the direction we wanted, then countersteer and back off the throttle so the car would hook. That was faster, but still not fantastic.

I did phone in to Jack at Maximum Motorsports about the issue yesterday. My curiosity was about why the car started exhibiting such bad understeer after I put the K Member and new FCAs on. If it was just too much sway bar in the front, shouldn't I have had the issue at the June events?

I gave a brief explanation about the car, the issues I had, and some questions. His first question was whether I had properly bumpsteered the car when I installed the new 99-04 spindles and K Member. I sheepishly admitted that I hadn't, I had bought the gauge he sells and planned to do it eventually (at the same time I did a corner balance), but for right now I just set them where they looked right and moved on. His thought is that that's the cause of a lot of my understeer on the car.

So my projects for this week/weekend:
  • Pick up a factory 94-98 GT front sway bar.
    • Jack's exact words last year were, "In the front use the stock 1994-98 30mm swaybar along with the 1” rear swaybar. That should only result in a small amount of understeer."
    • I'm gonna go ahead and put the lighter bar on to hopefully gain some grip back up there.
    • If I still have troubles at the next AutoX, I'll take the tools with me to raise the Watts link at lunch time and then try again. If that setup gets me good front traction, I'll lower the Watts link a notch; with as much power as the car has, I need as much rear grip as I can get, but I still need the car to be driveable, not plowing off course with the tiniest amount of turning.
  • Resquare the K Member
    • My first attempt apparently wasn't very good, as I have -3* in each side of the car and both camber plates are maxed out...in the same direction...
  • Ensure that the heights on the front springs are even on either side.
    • When I put the K Member back in and lowered the ride height, I prioritized getting the front control arms perfectly level. Jack indicated that this may lead to some funky corner-jacking that may affect the handling.
  • Lower the rear ride height to where the rear arm mounting locations are even and the spring heights are the same on either side.
    • This should get me an acceptable antiquat percentage for now.
    • Eventually, when I corner balance the car, I will figure out CG numbers and IC location and all that to make sure that I get it around 60-70%.
  • Install Stiffler's transmission crossmember
    • I've had it for a while, just haven't prioritized the install, but I do need to...
  • Check and adjust pinion angle
    • A part of that adjustment is going to be trying to get the tail of the transmission up as high as I can. I have noticed in the past that the pinion angle I should be at gets the driveshaft very close to the emergency brake cable bracket. I am almost to the point in making changes to this car that it may make sense to remove the entire emergency brake assembly anyway. It's not exactly a street car anymore and I rarely street drive it that way. But I would like to be able to street drive it more, so it stays for now and my quest to get all the little bugs worked out so it's reliable continues.
  • Align the front end
  • Check and adjust bumpsteer to get it into the acceptable range of toe change
  • Adjust toe as needed
That's about as much as I will probably be able to get done this week/weekend.

I do have a 94-04 Cobra brake setup and Eaton TruTrac sitting here that needs to get installed. But the need for that isn't as immediate as making the adjustments outlined above.

Anywhos...please enjoy these photos from the last AutoCross. Oh, and if you read this far, I'll let you in on the secret that my brother ended up beating me on Sunday by 4/10s of a second.

IMG_1902.jpgIMG_1903.jpgIMG_1906.jpgIMG_1908.jpgIMG_2399.jpgIMG_3245.jpgIMG_3294.jpgIMG_5058.jpgIMG_5425.jpgIMG_1503.jpg
 
Well, some of my plans worked out well. Others, not so much. For one, I didn't touch the K member squaring or pinion angle. A fellow autocrosser was using the two-post lift to swap the trans in his Miata (how do you even break a Miata transmission??), so I was stuck on the four-post. Those two things weren't too big of deals for me, so I put them on the back burner.

I pulled the Steeda 35mm sway bar off the car and got ready to put the new 31mm on. Then realized quick that the bushings were way too big. Crap. Pulled out the trusty digital caliper....and found that they sold me a factory V6 sway bar that is 27mm. Well, whatever, I guess. That ought to help my front grip still even though it'll be MUCH lighter than I had before. I'll make some adjustments at the Watts Link if I find it's funky (TAKE THE EFFIN TOOLS TO CHANGE IT WITH YOU TO THE EVENT, CHRIS, YOU FORGETFUL EFFIN IDIOT).

So I ordered some 27mm bushings to put on (planned for tonight).

The bumpsteer was a big thing I needed, though I didn't expect it to be that bad. I thought it would be toeing out pretty badly. It turns out it was toeing IN over 1/4" in the first inch of travel. I got it to where it's toeing out about .030" in the first inch of bump. I left it there. I will need the two-post lift or some jack stands to get more precise with it. The four-post has a bar in a bad spot, so it's hard to keep things like the jack from moving; it also doesn't have functioning locks, so just touching the lift caused the dial indicator needle to swing .030". But it's definitely better than it was.

Have the alignment set to full caster, -3.5* of camber (is that too much, do y'all think? I've still been wearing the outer edge with 3* in it, buuut it's been understeering pretty bad, too, soooo), and 0 toe.

I drove it last night sans the front bar and it felt nice and smooth up to about 90. The flat-spotted front tires got moved to the rear, so you could definitely feel that, but otherwise, the car felt great. Steering was quick and it felt good, even without the bar (of course, I wasn't driving all that hard).

I also test fitted Brandon's 95 Cobra wheels and tires and can make them work with ome spacer and 8" coilover springs instead of my current 10". I am gonna have to upgrade next season to stay competitive, that much is sure.
 
Fun weekend at AutoCross last weekend. Our last points event of the season (not that it matters to me, since I missed several in the beginning of the year waiting on my engine).

With the 27mm front sway bar on the car, I had a TON more front grip. It was definitely too far back in terms of front roll stiffness. The 30mm I had planned to use would’ve been much better. With the 27mm, the car felt like it was lifting up the inside rear tire. It made for some uncomfortable driving on course and caused a decent amount of oversteer. Oversteer doesn’t bother me too much, since I get it on throttle all the time. But the lifting was disconcerting. At lunchtime, I lowered the Watts a notch to try to compensate a little, and that helped. Just a slight amount of oversteer and much more drivable.

By the end of Saturday, my right rear tire was gone on the outer edge. My friend/competitor Brandon also had a rear tire that was basically gone. We came up with the genius plan to take his 315s off the front of his car and throw them on the rear of my car, keeping my 275s up front. Then we would just codrive my car.

He ended up codriving with a guy in an SSC Scion FRS, so I drove alone on his tires. WOW. The course opened up and I was really winding it out in 2nd. There was so much grip compared to what I am used to. I could get on the gas early and stay in it longer and harder. Slaloms felt incredible. The car had a slight amount of oversteer Saturday, but with the staggered setup, had a darn near neutral handling Sunday (again, compared to where I have had the car before; I know square is better, but with the setup where it was Sunday, it was great).

I am pretty excited. I think the next major thing I’ll be doing is Konig Hypergram 18x11s and 315/30/18s all around. Then I am going to focus on tuning what I have; the car should be more capable than it is right now, I just need to find the best combination of adjustments to bring out the potential. I haven’t invested the time into finding that yet since I haven’t gotten everything where I want it anyway. I’ve just been driving around the issues.

Anyway, here’s the required photos!

IMG_0101.jpgIMG_0229.jpgIMG_0230.jpgIMG_1231.jpgIMG_0314.jpgIMG_0444.jpgIMG_0449.jpgIMG_0450.jpgIMG_1626.jpg

OH! and I still forgot the 1-1/8" socket to adjust the Watts. Thankfully a fellow, well-prepared AutoXer came to the rescue.
 
4,643
5,248
First, that $1K trailer is awesome, check out the wheel bearings, a little repaint and send it,
With regards to the 300 Ford 6 banger, those engines were raced down here in the stock car classes for years, they are really a stout engine.

s5ZKBftl.jpg
 
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Are you still running the rear gt brakes, cobras in the front, proportioning valve biasing as much to rear as possible?

i have similar setup minus the proportioning valve. Really feels like it just locks the fronts. Do you feel like the proportioning valve helped?

When you go cobra rears i will be curious if you get any measurable braking improvement. Are you planning to use stock cobra bracket or dual caliper cobra brackets?
 
Are you still running the rear gt brakes, cobras in the front, proportioning valve biasing as much to rear as possible?

i have similar setup minus the proportioning valve. Really feels like it just locks the fronts. Do you feel like the proportioning valve helped?

When you go cobra rears i will be curious if you get any measurable braking improvement. Are you planning to use stock cobra bracket or dual caliper cobra brackets?

Yes, 13" 2000 Cobra R Brembos in front, parts store blank rotors, SS lines, Raybestos ST47 pads. Stock GT rear with Raybestos ST43 pads and all SS lines back there. Factory prop valve gutted and FRPP prop valve installed in rear line, full open. ABS removed.

I won't claim that I totally understand proportioning valves...my thought is that, since I have mine all the way open anyways, I could have just gutted the factory valve and I would have the same/similar braking that I have now. I don't know that for sure, since I did them at the same time.

Gutting the valve and adding the aftermarket valve definitely did help a lot. Really made a difference with how much I could get on the brakes before the front locked up. The car stops harder and faster with what I have now than it did before, although I still think I had the best braking before I started fixing and upgrading the suspension (my struts were shot before, too).

The overall braking should improve with the Cobra setup. Right now, there's a mechanical mismatch with the physical size of the front vs rear. All I'm doing to counteract that is allowing the rear brakes to engage sooner, with more pressure. That doesn't fix the mechanical mismatch. The rear tires aren't pulling their weight (well, stopping their weight), as evidenced by the fact that, no matter how hard I jump on the brakes trying to lock up, the rears just won't do it (try it on some old tires). So, theoretically, the Cobra brakes will help. Anecdotally, this is also the route that everyone I've spoken to has suggested.

I found a set of stock Cobra caliper brackets on eBay that I picked up for less than the dual caliper setups. I've also heard a bit of leeriness about using aluminum in that particular application. I wasn't a fan of the kits since they come with a bunch of stuff that I don't need or can get cheaper elsewhere. Rotors and brackets are just from RockAuto. Reusing my stock calipers and current pads. The plan is to install the Eaton TruTrac, the Cobra setup, ARP wheel studs, etc all at the same time.
 
First, that $1K trailer is awesome, check out the wheel bearings, a little repaint and send it,
With regards to the 300 Ford 6 banger, those engines were raced down here in the stock car classes for years, they are really a stout engine.

View attachment 69592

I have used the trailer a few times now. Took it to Oklahoma and it did great. I do need to redo the bearings this winter. And clean up the underside a bit. Kind of rusty down there. I also need to see if there's a way I can raise it up a bit. It has a bad habit of scraping the ground and I can't get out without climbing through the window because of those tall fenders. It'd be nice to make it a little taller and make the fenders removable.

Y'all ever seen a 360-pound dude climb through the window of a 95 Mustang? It's as bad of a sight as it sounds.

That's another big step, I also used the old truck to haul the Mustang for the first time. I haven't driven it much since the engine build and reinstall last year. I hadn't driven it down the road since...April? May?

Anyway, I got it out, hooked the trailer up, and hauled it to this last event. It squatted down to the overloads as soon as the trailer was on it. I have some new leaf springs I'm gonna put on this weekend, and an air bag setup that should be here tomorrow, also planned for install this weekend.

246151348_396472591968756_5438659743223391917_n_63421a0b8bc87d2b4fd8f27413475ad41d3ea763.jpg

The engine and brakes didn't seem to mind the load. I just don't care for how far down it squatted. It's always been a little weak in the spring department. I can stand on the bumper and make it squat pretty much to the overloads. They're probably the factory springs and tired at this point in their life.
 
597
748
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
Huntsville, AL
Its amazing how the new trucks dwarf the older models. Don't feel bad about the rear squatting. My 26' enclosed gave my 2015 F250 the Carolina Squats. I added a set of 5000lbs air bags...problem solved. The ride when towing is also tremendously improved. You have good days ahead.
 
Its amazing how the new trucks dwarf the older models. Don't feel bad about the rear squatting. My 26' enclosed gave my 2015 F250 the Carolina Squats. I added a set of 5000lbs air bags...problem solved. The ride when towing is also tremendously improved. You have good days ahead.

It really is! The funny thing is, it felt HUGE back when I was learning to drive (this was my first vehicle, bought it for $900 not running).
To be fair, that truck next to mine in the picture is jacked up pretty good.

152354125_10164957589445207_6425867158688626706_n.jpg

Buuuut this is mine next to a stock height 2015 Chevy 2500.

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That's what I have on the way, these 5000 pound LoadLifter bags.

If I didn't love this truck and want to keep it forever, it would make a whole lot more sense for me to sell it and my 2014 Focus and get a 2015+ Ford truck to daily and haul with. I might still do it next year. But I'm also back to thinking about buying a house and it'll do what I need it to for now. I just need to use it between here and Hallett next year to make sure it can handle that trip.

@PatrickStapler it's cool to see you here. I remember you from the Ford and Shelby Meet.
 
597
748
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
Huntsville, AL
That’s a fun event.

You can find some good deals on the 2015 F250’s. I would also say I think you would be happy with that choice. I’m very happy with mine. It will pull the devil out of hell.

Set yourself up a CarGuru search with all the options you want and you’ll get daily updates. That’s how I found mine. Took less than a week.
 

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