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Old 09-01-2016, 06:17 PM   #1
wildcatgoal
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wildcatgoal's Build - 2016 DIB GT PP

Updates down the page.

Before


After


SECTION ONE: Modifications
I bought my S550 from Koons in Baltimore in February of 2016 and, through an “aptly-timed” snow storm, drove it home to Atlanta. Once I got past the bad weather – like… standing snow – and started opening it up a bit, I quickly realized that I was disappointed with the stock PP suspension. It felt disconnected, floaty, bouncy in that back at times, and the body role in turns required an odd “moment of silence” before feeling comfortable. I think it’s a good package from a value perspective, but I expected much more “BMW-like” handling out of a car with a $40K+ MSRP. But… #modreasons.

15,000 miles or so later, after accumulating parts over time, I’ve pieced together a proper-handling car. While I'll always experiment here and there, Steeda over time has been very supportive, leveraging their road course heritage in helping me find my own path along my own journey to run myself into massive debt paying for road course entries, tires, brakes, gas, insurance... OMG! They've been very professional, even as I tried other companies' parts (unfortunately usually without any luck).

Suspension:
What I was going for here was a well-damped, visually appealing, and road course-capable (yet not teeth-breaking) package. Clearly what I ended up with was primarily Steeda components.

Core Suspension
- Swift Spec R Springs (originally Steeda Ultralite Linear)
- Steeda Pro-Action Shocks/Struts
- Steeda Caster Plates
- Steeda Sway Bars
- Steeda Bump Steer Kit
- Steeda Adjustable Sway Bar End Links
- Steeda Rear Camber Adjustment Bracket (to be installed)

Subframe and IRS
- Steeda IRS Subframe Brace
- Steeda Ultralite 2-Point G-Trac Brace
- Steeda IRS Bushing Supports
- Steeda Differential Bushing Inserts (Red)
- Steeda IRS Alignment Kit
- Steeda Vertical Links
- Steeda Ultralite Jacking Rails
- Steeda LCA Bearings
- Ford Performance Toe Bearings

Performance
This is the least interesting “category” of my build. One reason I buy new cars is to have a warranty on elements of the car I either cannot fix or don’t want to be bothered to fix myself. I can do suspension work, so I don’t mind paying for and doing that work myself if push comes to shove. I enjoy working on suspensions! But engine work? Well, I rebuilt my '68 Lincoln's MEL 462 and my Harley's engine and both are stone age compared to this 5.0 and even that process gave me gray hairs. I'd rather leave the engine to trusted experts. I will have me a turbo in the future, though... assuming I remain gainfully employed (never know these days).

Engine/Power
- Ford Performance "Power Pack 2"

Transmission/Shifter
- MGW Race Spec
- Anarchy Motive “Titan” Shift Knob

Exhaust
- Solo Performance Mach XV Catback

Fluids
- BG Syncro Shift II
- BG Ultra-Guard LS

Exterior Enhancement
I’ve never been someone that likes the look of most exterior add-ons/changes, even some which are actually functional. For example, I dislike most spoilers and front splitters. So sue me. But, when a quality, tasteful (to me) part comes along that doesn’t cost a ridiculous price, I’m all for it. If I get deep into track work, I'll probably get a splitter and functional spoiler (probably attached to a second trunk door so I can just put it on for track days only). I haven't needed them yet.

Body/Aerodynamics
- Space City Spy Upper and Lower Grills
- Ford Performance Decklid Panel (GT logo delete)

Wheels and Tires
Daily:
- Need 4 Speed Motorsports Project 6GR wheels (Front: 20x10, Rear: 20x11)
- Cooper ZEON RS3-S tires (Front: 275/35-20, Rear: 305/35-20)

Track:
- Rays Gram Lights 19x10.5" ET35
- Continental DW (Square: 285/35-19) -- I regret cheaping out on these...

Lighting
- Diode Dynamics LED Side Marker Lights (Red)

Installation Notes
For bumpstops, I cut the first tier of the OEM PP bumpstops off in the front. No issues there. For the rear, I have about 1.5 tiers cut off. I don’t know what inches/CM measurement that is. At first, for the rear, I cut the first tier off only (like .75”) but had some bounciness. This was corrected by Steeda – and that complaint is totally gone. So keep this in mind if you get Ultralites springs: ask Steeda and listen!

The MGW shifter was installed by George at MGW in Augusta, GA. It took him about 1-hour, tops. Essentially, Steeda installed the entire original front suspension except the sway bar. I did everything in the rear. Since I've done other work myself including replacing the Ultralite springs with Swift Spec R.

SECTION TWO: Impressions (of Original Setup with Steeda Ultralite Springs)
As I noted above, the PP suspension left too much on the table, IMHO, and had to be improved if I was going to be happy with this car. Listen, I’m not (currently) a track junky or even a regularly aggressive driver, but when I want to carve a road, I want to carve it with confidence and predictability. I have driven many M3’s, they are my standard. In my opinion, an IRS-equipped sports car that cost as much as mine did having the top suspension package should get close, but the Mustang GT PP didn’t. The PP package technically handles well, but, again, doesn’t do so while being “confidence inspiring”. Mostly, I didn’t like having to wait for it to get through a quick “body roll” before I know what it was up to.

Driving Impressions
It took me a while but I finally got up to Suches and also the Helen-area in “north-ish” Georgia a few times to give this car a run down. The short of it is, this car handles much, much, much, much better. It also handles differently. Predictability (confidence) and controllability sum up this package. I’ve settled on 1.5 turns on the struts up front and the same in the rear.

Tire Performance
The Cooper Zeon RS3-S tires did not disappoint. No, they aren’t Michelin PSS’s, but for a grand total of <$800 shipped, I am impressed.

Subframe Bracing
One thing I noticed, which I’ll venture is largely attributable to the bracing, is that the car does not feel like the wet noodle it did before. I swear I’d go over a speed bump and it felt like the front half of the car was bending over it, not just the suspension parts. Obviously most of that is in my head, but with the braces, when I go over a speed bump, for example, it’s like you can feel the suspension articulating only, not the car “bending” over it. Does that make any sense? This is hard to describe without sounding like I’m just making things up. In handling situations (I know, speed bumps… who cares?!), the vehicle feels like it pulls into the direction of the turn. I’m not going to say it all of a sudden doesn’t understeer anymore (which the S550 loves to do), but it reduces the influence of the big V8 lump in the front of the car. I wouldn’t get a front brace if I had an Ecoboost, but with the V8… there is a real feeling of “lightness” from my bracing. Now, I can’t attribute the massively improved handling to any one thing I added, but I know that these braces do help eliminate the frame as a component of the suspension, so to speak, which made understanding what he car was going to do easier. I’m willing to bet someone can get around the same loop without these braces just as fast, but they contribute to driver confidence, which is vital for me.

IRS Enhancements
I believe these “chassis feeling changes” also come from what I’ve done to the IRS with the Steeda support bushings, etc. The annoying, and quite frankly disappointing, floaty feeling from the back of the car with the OEM PP suspension is gone. I went with the red bushing supports because my driveline already makes enough noise (I’m told “it’s normal” by two Ford dealerships… it’s BS is what it is). I’m not sure a noticed much an effect from these specifically, but I’d have to take them off to know for sure, since everything went on at the same time. Combined, these parts made the rear of the car feel like it was actually attached to the car, which is a huge plus. Yes, there are new/additional noises (NVH) that I have had to get used to, especially with my Torsen differential, but Torsens aren’t the quietest design. Essentially I hear more of my already terrible clunk/clank in the driveline and I can hear the differential moan in certain situations (tight turns). The addition of these parts did not “create noise” so much as it had a minor effect of making noise coming through the drivetrain a little more pronounced. I don’t hear any sort of pronounced “whining” or “constant sounds” after installing these parts, just the occasional slightly amplified already existing noises. (No, the MGW shifter did not add noticeable noise.)

Wheel hop… the biggest question. Almost all gone. I wish it was all gone, but I can get them to hop. Now it’s like a “maybe, if I’m unlucky they’ll hop a little” sort of thing. Before, I felt like I was going to break my teeth out with how violent the wheel hop was on my car – it was absolutely ridiculous. Now, it only happens a couple/three times then it’s over, if that. I recently had this perfect launch that got me off the line like butter and took out a 2016 Camaro SS auto in an 1/8 mi. legit drag race. But the next race, I got full of myself and just gunned the thing too much and had a couple hops. Oddly, the car will not hop AT ALL, ever, when I run my wheels that have Nitto Invo tires. I hate those tires, though.

Springs, Dampers, Sway Bars
These springs make the car handle like a Porsche – best way I can describe it. They are designed to seat the car this way to encourage a bit of weight transfer to the rear, which means I can power out or corners on the inside – it’s pretty cool. That’s what I meant about the car “driving different”. Before it was biased towards understeer but I couldn’t correct with oversteer well – it just… understeered more instead. Now the car is far less biased toward understeer (more camber up front and it’ll be gone, I’m sure) but I can, if I want and in a very controlled manner, snap the throttle right quick to straighten the car out, if needed. It’s something it wouldn’t do before without feeling like I was going to eat curb. These are a very unique spring in that regard. I don’t see the same bias towards shifting weight to the rear big, staggered tires in other springs. I mean, in actuality, the car sits almost level with Ultralite springs. Most others have a rake. I’m not doing a good job of describing the handling as neutral, but the car is actually very neutral and, more accurately, much more natural to me.

Overall daily driver ride quality is BMW-like. Not harsh at all up front. You can tell the rear spring is pretty stiff and I would not use Ultralites without upgraded, adjustable dampers. Body role is vastly reduced, turn in (especially with my current alignment) is notably quicker. Slamming the brakes does invite some nose dive, but not much. Slamming the go-pedal doesn’t really feel like it shifts the car back. Like, if I’m on the highway and get into 3rd gear for a “pull” and hit the gas, let of, hit the gas let off, the car doesn’t bob forward and back all that much… which is wonderful. Obviously it’ll sink in the back if I’m hammering it off the line but not like it did stock. Stock it looked like I was aiming for the sky.

I have my rear sway bar at the middle setting, front sway bar at the “one notch less than full stiff” setting. This yields a perfect compromise of daily driving and excellent handling, without being abusive or even remotely uncomfortable. Frankly the stiffer front bar setting (vs. one notch less like I had it when I first installed it) makes the car notably more comfortable to drive. For the track days I have coming up, I’ll probably just go full-stiff on the front and the back since… why not?!

SECTION THREE: What Would I Improve?
(1) Steeda provides these little metal throwing star things to adjust the shocks/struts. These suck. You have to basically use two hands to work them around because they sort of twist off the adjuster thing. An actual handle, maybe one that is also key-chain-able, would have been nice. I know nicer tools are available in the aftermarket, but I wish something better was included. The Koni Yellows come with the same tool, and this tool is common among many adjustable shocks. I had a similar tool for the adjustable shocks I had on my Subaru Legacy GT back when I had that (wonderful) car. So, this isn’t a “Steeda cutting corners” thing. It’s a “Steeda could differentiate itself, but didn’t” thing. Make sense?

(2) The stance of the Steeda Ultralite springs with 20” wheels and staggered tires does not leave even wheel gap on my car. As discussed above, this is a consequence of how they designed the springs to distribute weight evenly across the car. Everyone says my car looks great on Ultralites, though! Steeda has spring spacers you can fine tune the rear with now. And if you have the BMR CB005, which sometimes seems to raise the back of the car up a little, it's perfect (as seen on two cars with that part and Ultralite springs).

SECTION FOUR: Pictures (That I Have)














Space City Spy Grills:


Ultralite Spring Drop:


A Full Replacement Suspension Fits in the Back:


Sway Bar/Differential Bushings:


IRS Subframe Brace:


Front Strut, Rear Shock Not Yet Installed:


Front Strut/Sway Bar:


Rear Spring, Shock, Sway Bar:


Oil Separator:


Shift Knob (Sorry, I Just Had Eaten a Muffin... Crumbs!):


MGW Shifter Install by George at MGW:


Cooling Off After I Beat a 2016 Camaro SS Auto:


The Day the Project 6GR Wheels Went On (Pre-Suspension Work):
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Last edited by wildcatgoal; 01-17-2017 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 09-01-2016, 06:27 PM   #2
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The stance on those 6GR's is so good
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:56 PM   #3
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Car looks amazing! Mine is still on order but one of the first things I ll do is buy Solo XV exhaust. The best sound in my opinion!
6GR wheels look good even before suspension work being done!
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Old 09-06-2016, 02:33 PM   #4
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How do you get the car color to change from blue to purple and back again like that?
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:25 PM   #5
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Car looks awesome bro! Did you install ZL1 mudflaps ?
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UPR Vertical Links, Koni Yellow Adjustable, Barton Shifter, Satin Black Project 6GR 10"f/11"r (285R19/305R19). Roush axle back with Lethal Performance H-Pipe, JMS Pedalmax.

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Old 09-06-2016, 03:29 PM   #6
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I have Jaeger Bros mudflaps. They're alright only because you can just quickly take them off.
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Old 09-19-2016, 02:03 PM   #7
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Subscribed because we think a like and I want to go the same route as you. Great car man!
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Old 09-19-2016, 02:41 PM   #8
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Minor update:
A new alignment has all but eliminated understeer. Basically my front camber was increased and the rear was reduced as much as they could without being worried about rub from my big tire/wheel combo in the back. This additionally resulted in the car being notably more responsive with less deliberate steering input. I'm very happy with the results. I didn't get a print-out of the alignment specs because it was done as a courtesy to prepare my car for Atlanta Motorsports Park on the 25th (JZilla Track Days event).
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Old 10-10-2016, 12:58 PM   #9
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Installed new lower control arms with the Steeda LCA bearing. Also installed the FRPP toe link bearing. Made separate thread but pasted it here, too.

---------
Last night I finished up the installation of new lower control arms equipped with the Steeda LCA bearing and I also upgraded the toe link bushing to the FRPP toe link bearing. I won't get into how much I hate universal ball joint presses (for the toe link bearing), but I hate universal ball joint presses!

Steeda acquired the LCAs for me and installed their bearing in Valdosta, saving me the frustration of having to find someone local to do it for me. I paid reasonable shop labor and of course for the parts, but this allowed me to take off the old LCA and put the new LCA on without leaving my car on jack stands in my HOA-controlled parking garage (which wouldn't have gone over well). I just wouldn't have the time to take the LCAs off, get the bearings pressed, and put them back on all in one day (or even the same week...). Plus I know it was done right. HUGE thanks to Steeda for this!

I'm sorry, I don't have great pictures. I'm not Bill from CJ Pony Parts!






Installation Notes:
In order to do this job, I leveraged mostly BMR's instructions for installing their LCA bearing. Steeda's instructions were more detailed and immensely helpful, but seemed to suggest lowering the IRS, which makes dealing with the LCAs easier, I figure, but isn't necessary if you have a 24mm swivel socket. Why? Some dipshit at Ford put the front, inner LCA bushing bolt facing backwards into a very tight spot. If they just made it face the other way, you could take it off from the wheel well in a jiffy. Instead, with a combination of a long 1/2" extension and a 24mm swivel socket, I got it off by fishing that assembly just under the inner half shaft joint (that goes into the differential) and over the IRS cradle. Ultimately this made the swivel almost perfectly straight, just a smidgen of "bend". I couldn't do it without the swivel, a straight socket wouldn't stay on the bolt.

The work was actually pretty fun, but time consuming. The only really frustrating part was getting the new LCAs into the inner brackets. The most efficient way for me was to get the inner mounting points close to their brackets, then push in the front inner bearing in past the bolt hole some, which lined up the rear bearing in its bracket enough. I used my rubber persuader to knock the two bearings into their home a little while feeding the bolts in (rear first), but mostly once you get them into where they have to go, you can manipulate the LCA fairly easily (just have to have the knuckle jacked up so it's not interfering).

So obviously the rear springs come out doing this. But I was able to put them back in and seat them just fine by installing the inner bolts first, putting the spring in and getting it set up, then jacking up the LCA and lowering the knuckle assembly into where it bolts to the LCA. After that bolt was torqued down (to like a billion torques...) I was able to reinstall the shock, the lower sway bar end link, toe arm, end links, and whatever else that's down there no problem. I am frankly amazed I was able to articulate my 900' 1/2" torque wrench under the car on jack stands (just two rear jack stands, I needed the car at the downward angle to have enough space).

I did have to remove my exhaust because it was getting in the way.

The Wonderful Results:
Honestly I was half expecting the addition of two spherical bearings to create noise. I have no additional NVH - just different and frankly more desirable NVH. I guess the only difference is that everything is MUCH MUCH tighter in the back, so the rear suspension feels stiffer which results in "stuff" in my car moving around a bit more. Going over bumps is a little more abrupt feeling, but it's actually preferable.

I get less "thud" and "jerk forward" when I put the car in gear. I have no idea why... but that's nice. Driving, the rear of the car now feels composed, every input of power is so much more immediate. I don't know why, but my car also doesn't seem to understeer at all anymore, as well. I cannot get a wheel to hop for the life of me and the inner wheel in a sharp turn will not skip if I gun it. The car also feels more stable, like side to side. It also appears to be the case that I have "more wheel travel downward" now. Even when jacked up the wheels will hang a bit lower. I went into a McDonalds parking lot that usually will tripod my car and it didn't tripod. The LCA bearing apparently keeps the suspension from binding, so I figure that's the reason why. And since day one my car rocked back and forth after it stopped. This has all but gone away now.

I'm really happy with the results and I think everyone should do this mod.
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:44 PM   #10
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I got some gum on my tires so... BURN OUT!


And another guy got some gum on his, too... damn litter bugs.

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Old 10-28-2016, 09:53 AM   #11
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Did pretty well at autocross at Steeda Pony Wars

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Old 12-14-2016, 11:43 AM   #12
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following. Great write up
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:40 AM   #13
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I had a 2014 DIB Cyclone that turned from deep blue to purple in the shade, your suspension work is admirable. I am installing BMR "lock-out" w/ J&M aluminum subframe bushings after the 20th, hope it helps, I haven't had "wheel-hop" but rarely get on the throttle too hard. Enjoy the twisty's! Thank's for the instructional write-up.
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Old 12-16-2016, 09:57 AM   #14
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Awesome, helpful write up. Car looks amazing! Bummed they don't sell those logo delete deck lid panels anymore.
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Old 12-16-2016, 04:09 PM   #15
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Congratulations on MOTM! The car looks fantastic! Happy to see another s550 sitting beautifully on a set of 6grs Great writing content in your build thread as well!...I enjoyed the suspension talk but the part about your ex not complimenting Christ but being good in bed LOL
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