Autocrossing my 95 GT convertible

Bill95

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Apr 9, 2005
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I have commented to a couple of Warhorse Racing videos recently, but a glitch has always deleted my comments. I am working with YouTube customer service on that. Ironically, I started a conversation with you here yesterday and accidently deleted it, and then my attempt to directly message him was intercepted by forum rules for newbies. :) Anyway, big fan, maybe he'll see this..

I have a 95 GT convertible (5.0, AODE). I was beginning to think I had messed up by not starting at the rear of the car (Steeda 5-link or MM torque arm) but felt better after watching the Warhorse Racing videos.

I have installed adjustable struts and shocks (Koni yellow SA), Steeda camber plates and 35mm front sway bar, 2003 front LCAs (I was told, better bushings, low friction ball joints, and improved turning radius). I also have Cobra front brakes with Hawk pads (front and rear), and the factory subframe connectors (XR3Z-76101W08-AA and XR3Z-76101W09-AA) that were used as a customer fix (Technical Service Bulletin) for excess vibration. Which leads to my first question. I believe (because of the TSB) that those are legal for Solo, even in Street Class. Does anyone know anything about that?

My other question is what to do next? I ordered Steeda steering rack bushings, upper and lower rear control arms, an Addco add-on rear sway bar, and the Steeda springs (555-1083) that Brian Meyers (replying to one of the Warhorse videos) said would make the end links adjustable (Thanks, Brian). Interestingly, Steeda's discontinued bar (006-1STA) was 5/8", while Addco's bar (#677) is 7/8". I might need those end-links pretty soft.

I want to stay in as competitive a class as possible. I am guessing that would be Street Touring (STX?). I think wheels and tires might determine that. I currently have 17x9" Cobra style wheels, with BFG g-Force Comp-2 A/S tires (high 400 TW rating). I also have a set of 17x8" wheels and depending on what wheel and tire size was allowed in my class, could use them, and maybe some Rival S or other 200 TW tires.

I have a cold air intake and an underdrive crank pulley (both reversible), but nothing else done to the engine.

Any help or comments will be appreciated. Thanks again to Warhorse Racing for the great videos.
 

Warhorse Racing

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Bill95,

I saw your YT comments, but I couldn't reply to most of them because they got taken down. I hope the issue gets resolved soon. Thanks for checking out my videos; I hope they are helpful.

The Cobra brakes will move you out of Street Category, as will the UCAs/LCAs you ordered. Changing 2 sway bars will too.

The question is whether or not you'll be able to run in Street Touring. My biggest concern is the fact that you mentioned your subframe connectors have been welded in (this was in your YT comments). There is a passage in the Street Category rules (which should also pertain to ST) that reads:

"Alternate parts (parts that may fit due to common platforms) listed in a factory parts manual are not authorized unless their use is specifically referenced in the factory service manual or in a service bulletin for the specific model and/or option package."

That MIGHT allow your welded-in subframe connectors, but it MIGHT NOT. I would suggest reaching out to the SCCA: [email protected]

Having an email response from the SCCA that allows your mod will help if you get protested by a competitor at an event. Having the TSB will help too.

If you end up being legal in Street Touring, your car would be in STU. The number of competitors will vary, as will the level of competition, so it's hard to say if that will be a "competitive class" in your area. Check results from prior events in your area to see how many cars are in the Category/Class you are considering. Most Mustangs tend to end up in CAM these days, but running in CAM can get expensive.

It's really important to get as familiar as possible with the SCCA rules before ordering parts. The 2022 Rules should be out soon.

If you are just starting out, you should run in Novice Class. You'll still have to pick a "base class" and adhere to those rules, but you won't have to compete directly with veteran autocrossers. I wouldn't make any more mods to the car before you've done a full season of autocross. And, I wouldn't buy top-tier autocross tires if this is your first season. Good tires will cover up a lot of mistakes (and you'll chew them up really quickly). Get the car neutral using the adjustable shocks & struts and your sway bars, then get as much seat time as possible on inexpensive tires. That will give you time to get a sense of the amount and level of competition in your area, and what mods the car might need to be competitive in the Category/Class you ultimately decide on.

A decision about your "next level" rear end upgrade (Panhard bar, Watt's link, IRS swap) should only be made after you have defined your driving style and settled on a Category.

I hope that helps. I'm always happy to answer any questions you have.
 
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Bill95

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Apr 9, 2005
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Bill95,

I saw your YT comments, but I couldn't reply to most of them because they got taken down. I hope the issue gets resolved soon. Thanks for checking out my videos; I hope they are helpful.

The Cobra brakes will move you out of Street Category, as will the UCAs/LCAs you ordered. Changing 2 sway bars will too.

The question is whether or not you'll be able to run in Street Touring. My biggest concern is the fact that you mentioned your subframe connectors have been welded in (this was in your YT comments). There is a passage in the Street Category rules (which should also pertain to ST) that reads:

"Alternate parts (parts that may fit due to common platforms) listed in a factory parts manual are not authorized unless their use is specifically referenced in the factory service manual or in a service bulletin for the specific model and/or option package."

That MIGHT allow your welded-in subframe connectors, but it MIGHT NOT. I would suggest reaching out to the SCCA: [email protected]

Having an email response from the SCCA that allows your mod will help if you get protested by a competitor at an event. Having the TSB will help too.

If you end up being legal in Street Touring, your car would be in STU. The number of competitors will vary, as will the level of competition, so it's hard to say if that will be a "competitive class" in your area. Check results from prior events in your area to see how many cars are in the Category/Class you are considering. Most Mustangs tend to end up in CAM these days, but running in CAM can get expensive.

It's really important to get as familiar as possible with the SCCA rules before ordering parts. The 2022 Rules should be out soon.

If you are just starting out, you should run in Novice Class. You'll still have to pick a "base class" and adhere to those rules, but you won't have to compete directly with veteran autocrossers. I wouldn't make any more mods to the car before you've done a full season of autocross. And, I wouldn't buy top-tier autocross tires if this is your first season. Good tires will cover up a lot of mistakes (and you'll chew them up really quickly). Get the car neutral using the adjustable shocks & struts and your sway bars, then get as much seat time as possible on inexpensive tires. That will give you time to get a sense of the amount and level of competition in your area, and what mods the car might need to be competitive in the Category/Class you ultimately decide on.

A decision about your "next level" rear end upgrade (Panhard bar, Watt's link, IRS swap) should only be made after you have defined your driving style and settled on a Category.

I hope that helps. I'm always happy to answer any questions you have.
Excellent advice, thank you! I will contact the SCCA. Though it is some years since I first heard it, I am confident this is a known TSB.
STU... Good to know. As far as CAM goes, yeah, I want to avoid expensive. Anyway, good news, my 17x9s and 275/40-17s are under the 11" and 315 limits. I really like what you said about tires covering things up. And, I never really expect to be competitive. But, I don't want something stupid to put me in a hopeless class. I saw a guy who thought a carbon fiber hood would be a cool upgrade when someone crunched his car. He ended up in a Modified class with a stock small sedan (Corolla?). No fun. I will look for the 2022 rules.
I'm not sure I qualify as Novice. I ran in (maybe) 4 or 5 autocrosses in college, but that was in the late 1970s (I'm 65). I did a Saturday autocross driving school (local SCCA?) in a college parking lot in Northern Virginia about 17 years ago (right after I bought my 95 GT). FYI, underdrive pulleys bumped me out of stock. Anyway, probably something in there to eliminate Novice. :)
As for the next level mod. I might see a panhard bar in my future, but interestingly enough, I was given what I was told is the cradle/frame for a Cobra IRS. As I recall, it is missing axles, the center section, shocks, brakes, and sway bar. It's really just the frame, control arms and uprights. I haven't been brave enough to try to piece it together. And, from your video, I will comment that I know I have ABS, but have no idea if I have traction control. I doubt I do.
Thanks again, for such an excellent answer. You are very generous with your time and advice. And, unlike much of the free advice people give, it is worth more than I paid.
 

Warhorse Racing

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I'm glad I was able to help. The more information/documentation about the TSB you have, the better off you will be.

The mods you have/intend to use are pretty close to what I had on my SRA cars in CAM. My cars are not fully-prepped CAM cars, and they do okay at my local events. Whichever class you choose, you'll find the Mustang drivers at events are very welcoming and helpful.

As you might know from my videos, I'm a Novice Coordinator for 2 clubs. Basically, we consider anyone with less than 1 season of autocross (9 events) a novice. It gives us a chance to break bad habits before they form, and to get a sense of how safe a driver is. Once we know a driver is safe, we can really focus on getting them faster. If a driver has prior experience and is immediately running times in Novice Class that would be competitive in their base class, we will politely ask them to move out of Novice Class. Your club might see things differently, but I think you'd be fine to register in Novice Class.

I'm a big believer that any Mustang, IRS or SRA, can be made into a competitive autocross car. I think the IRS has an advantage, but there are some really fast SRA cars around. I will always have one SRA autocross car in my stable.

It's really nice to hear that my channel is helping people. I got a lot of different (some bad) advice when I first started autocrossing. I wanted to create a trustworthy and accurate resource for Mustang drivers.
 
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revhead347

Apparently my ex-husband made that mistake.
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I already ordered the Addco bar. But, still, let me know if that falls through. Does it have the adjustable links? It should, if 006-1STA.
Yes it does. It's the original 006-1STA. I haven't even seen the Addco bar. Addco was the original company that bent the bar for Steeda. I'm in the process of selling it to another member here though.

Kurt
 

Bill95

Member
Apr 9, 2005
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Virginia
I'm glad I was able to help. The more information/documentation about the TSB you have, the better off you will be.

The mods you have/intend to use are pretty close to what I had on my SRA cars in CAM. My cars are not fully-prepped CAM cars, and they do okay at my local events. Whichever class you choose, you'll find the Mustang drivers at events are very welcoming and helpful.

As you might know from my videos, I'm a Novice Coordinator for 2 clubs. Basically, we consider anyone with less than 1 season of autocross (9 events) a novice. It gives us a chance to break bad habits before they form, and to get a sense of how safe a driver is. Once we know a driver is safe, we can really focus on getting them faster. If a driver has prior experience and is immediately running times in Novice Class that would be competitive in their base class, we will politely ask them to move out of Novice Class. Your club might see things differently, but I think you'd be fine to register in Novice Class.

I'm a big believer that any Mustang, IRS or SRA, can be made into a competitive autocross car. I think the IRS has an advantage, but there are some really fast SRA cars around. I will always have one SRA autocross car in my stable.

It's really nice to hear that my channel is helping people. I got a lot of different (some bad) advice when I first started autocrossing. I wanted to create a trustworthy and accurate resource for Mustang drivers.
Warhorse, My Addco rear bar and Steeda springs for the end links arrived (actually, so did my rear upper and lower control arms). I know the Addco bar is not sold with the springs, but the Steeda springs are supposed to make the Addco links adjustable. Well, unless your adjustable bar end link bolts are a lot longer (these are 5-1/8"), I'm going to need some advice. The Steeda spring has a free length of 2". If I take the end-link bolt from the sway bar kit, and stack a washer, two bushings, a washer, the spring, a washer, and one more bushing (I am now leaving off another bushing and a washer) I have to compress the spring 1/2" just to get the nut on a couple threads.
Is your bolt longer, or is there a trick to this? I expect the bushings to compress, but the last bushing and washer add an inch to the length. That should be pretty close to squashing the spring flat. I don't expect that much compression. Also, without the spring, I expected a sleeve between the upper bushings and lower bushings... apparently not... It's not shown on the instructions, but every end-link kit in their catalog shows a sleeve, not that there is room for a sleeve. And, from looking at their diagram, no sleeve gives the 1.75" "Functional Height" shown on the specified end links (45-013-BU) for my bar.
How long are your end-link bolts? Any suggestions?
 

Warhorse Racing

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Warhorse, My Addco rear bar and Steeda springs for the end links arrived (actually, so did my rear upper and lower control arms). I know the Addco bar is not sold with the springs, but the Steeda springs are supposed to make the Addco links adjustable. Well, unless your adjustable bar end link bolts are a lot longer (these are 5-1/8"), I'm going to need some advice. The Steeda spring has a free length of 2". If I take the end-link bolt from the sway bar kit, and stack a washer, two bushings, a washer, the spring, a washer, and one more bushing (I am now leaving off another bushing and a washer) I have to compress the spring 1/2" just to get the nut on a couple threads.
Is your bolt longer, or is there a trick to this? I expect the bushings to compress, but the last bushing and washer add an inch to the length. That should be pretty close to squashing the spring flat. I don't expect that much compression. Also, without the spring, I expected a sleeve between the upper bushings and lower bushings... apparently not... It's not shown on the instructions, but every end-link kit in their catalog shows a sleeve, not that there is room for a sleeve. And, from looking at their diagram, no sleeve gives the 1.75" "Functional Height" shown on the specified end links (45-013-BU) for my bar.
How long are your end-link bolts? Any suggestions?
I'm helping a friend with his car today, so there are a few more things I want to check/research when I get home, but I measured the bolts on my 1STA (on the car, so it was hard to get an exact number). They are roughly 6.25".
 

Bill95

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I'm helping a friend with his car today, so there are a few more things I want to check/research when I get home, but I measured the bolts on my 1STA (on the car, so it was hard to get an exact number). They are roughly 6.25".
About an inch longer. That makes perfect sense. Very helpful. Now you helped two friends with their cars today. Thanks. :)
 

Bill95

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The 3/8 x 6" bolts are perfect for the Steeda springs. My attachment shows one end-link with the 5" bolt and one with the 6" bolt. I also upgraded a couple of the washers. Some were a smaller diameter. I also show what I bought (in case it helps anyone else). Of course, I'm just gathering parts right now. In all likelihood, it will be weeks before I install this stuff. I'm prepping the body for paint, doing some interior work, getting a new top, and need a new starter.
I do expect to be ready for the 2022 autocross season. Maybe I can even find and attend a driving school before then.
Warhorse, again, let me know if you have anything to add. I'm always interested.
 

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Warhorse Racing

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I'm looking for a 3/8 x 6" Grade 5 bolt today..By the way, don't hesitate to add anything you come up with. ;)
The first thing I will add is a general safety warning. The Steeda 1STA, if adjusted incorrectly, can lead to extreme oversteer. It will bring the limit of rear traction further in, and make the car undriveable at the limit of traction. Small adjustments make a big difference. Using the larger Addco bar and modifying it does come with risks that could lead to dangerous handling issues on the street and on an autocross course. I haven't personally tried this mod, so I can't say how safe/effective it is.

Are the end link bolts that came with the Addco bar Grade 5 or Grade 8? All of the hardware should be the same strength.

The Steeda 1STA instructions specifically call out 2 "bushings with nipple trimmed off", and they are meant to go in a specific position: "With the head of the bolt at the top, it passes first through the Endlink Washer, then the Endlink Bushing, Frame Bracket, Endlink Bushing Without Nipple, Endlink Washer, Spring, Endlink Washer, Bushing, Swaybar, Bushing, Endlink Washer, and Nut."

I'm not sure why these bushings are required in this location, but I figured I would pass along that information.

I hope that helps.
 
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Bill95

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The first thing I will add is a general safety warning. The Steeda 1STA, if adjusted incorrectly, can lead to extreme oversteer. It will bring the limit of rear traction further in, and make the car undriveable at the limit of traction. Small adjustments make a big difference. Using the larger Addco bar and modifying it does come with risks that could lead to dangerous handling issues on the street and on an autocross course. I haven't personally tried this mod, so I can't say how safe/effective it is.

Are the end link bolts that came with the Addco bar Grade 5 or Grade 8? All of the hardware should be the same strength.

The Steeda 1STA instructions specifically call out 2 "bushings with nipple trimmed off", and they are meant to go in a specific position: "With the head of the bolt at the top, it passes first through the Endlink Washer, then the Endlink Bushing, Frame Bracket, Endlink Bushing Without Nipple, Endlink Washer, Spring, Endlink Washer, Bushing, Swaybar, Bushing, Endlink Washer, and Nut."

I'm not sure why these bushings are required in this location, but I figured I would pass along that information.

I hope that helps.
I wanted to be sure I could make the adjustable links, and have them fully uncompressed, so I could minimize the effect of the add-on bar because I was worried about too much oversteer. If I do get too much oversteer with the links fully soft, I will look for a smaller bar in the factory position or try removing it.
I was looking for Grade 5 bolts, because that is what Addco sent. I ended up with Grade 8. I can see no downside to them being stronger. If they were the weak link before, now something else is, but the overall point of failure only moved up.
If I read what you said correctly, I need to cut the nipple off of only the second bushing (with the top bushing being the first bushing). See my attachment to make sure I understood. Thanks, I would never have had that instruction
 

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Warhorse Racing

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I wanted to be sure I could make the adjustable links, and have them fully uncompressed, so I could minimize the effect of the add-on bar because I was worried about too much oversteer. If I do get too much oversteer with the links fully soft, I will look for a smaller bar in the factory position or try removing it.
I was looking for Grade 5 bolts, because that is what Addco sent. I ended up with Grade 8. I can see no downside to them being stronger. If they were the weak link before, now something else is, but the overall point of failure only moved up.
If I read what you said correctly, I need to cut the nipple off of only the second bushing (with the top bushing being the first bushing). See my attachment to make sure I understood. Thanks, I would never have had that instruction

Adjusting oversteer with smaller rear bars in the OEM location is a good option. Ford put a lot of different bars on 79-04 cars.
I don't think there will be an issue with a stronger bolt.
You are correct, only cut the nipple off of the 2nd bushing in the location you tagged in the photo.
Also, it looks like you still have the metal sleeve installed (inside the spring). When using the spring, you would not use the metal sleeve. The sleeve won't allow the spring to compress.
 

7991LXnSHO

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About an inch longer. That makes perfect sense. Very helpful. Now you helped two friends with their cars today. Thanks. :)
This is a new bushing link @revhead347 (Kurt) sent. The part number for the updated bushing (and I’m not sure how much of the link kit) is MasterPro K5342 Stabilizer Link. If I have to trim, the pic Bill posted will help.
 

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Bill95

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Adjusting oversteer with smaller rear bars in the OEM location is a good option. Ford put a lot of different bars on 79-04 cars.
I don't think there will be an issue with a stronger bolt.
You are correct, only cut the nipple off of the 2nd bushing in the location you tagged in the photo.
Also, it looks like you still have the metal sleeve installed (inside the spring). When using the spring, you would not use the metal sleeve. The sleeve won't allow the spring to compress.
I know that Ford makes a variety of rear bars. If only because some guy named "Warhorse Racing" talks about them on his excellent YouTube videos. :)
There is no sleeve. There isn't one included with the bar. The end-link is only bushings, bolt, nut, and washers, (and I added the spring).
And, I do realize it would not allow compression if there was a sleeve.
This is a new bushing link @revhead347 (Kurt) sent. The part number for the updated bushing (and I’m not sure how much of the link kit) is MasterPro K5342 Stabilizer Link. If I have to trim, the pic Bill posted will help.
Very interesting. Thanks. I found, and have attached, a picture of the MasterPro part. It does not include the spring, but looks to be the right length, They are $8.99 each at O'Reilly's. The 6" Grade 8 bolts I bought were about $3 each, the Grade 8 washers (optional) were $0.40 each. It's a cheaper path, unless you need new bushings, in which case MasterPro is the way to go.
 

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