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Old 03-17-2017, 09:14 PM   #1
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DrBrian's Guard GT

I’m creating this thread for the build of my 2015 Guard GT. I think “build” may be too strong a word, as I have no intention of doing anything more than make it how I want it to be. However, if any of this information can prove helpful to someone else then it’s not a wasted effort.

On February 3rd, 2015 I ordered the car. The wait was a beautiful torture, logging into COTUS on the hour to see if it progressed. Tracking its shipment on the train and its ultimate delivery at the dealer. I took delivery on April 28th and already had a small box of add-ons.

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Checking it over at dealer delivery

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Mine!

First, was a ‘Sto-N-Sho’ front license plate mount. Connecticut is a two plate state, but the factory front plate mount looks horrid to me and I didn’t want to ruin the face of the car. Install was extremely straight forward and quite simple.

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Next was a cue ball shifter that I picked up and installed easily with the included Loctite (important later).

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Last in my pre-delivery box of goodies was an LED reverse bulb. My last car had a highly tinted rear window from the factory and visibility when reversing was poor until I upgraded the bulbs. I failed to fully realize that the Mustang had a backup camera and extra light would probably not be necessary. While I ended up not needing it for visibility, the incandescent light did look odd with all the LED in the rear, so I’m glad I swapped it out.
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:17 PM   #2
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Next on my list was the standard wheels and tires. I had dreams of better rubber and wheels that my wallet could not swing. The next best thing was a set of the 5-star, quasi-Bullitt OEM wheels that I got as takeoffs from someone who’s wallet could afford new rubber and wheels.

Attachment 118061

It was a net zero for the tires, but at least the wheels looked good.

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I was able to grab a set of used snows for the original wheels and had them mounted and balanced for when the bad weather came.

Attachment 118060
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:21 PM   #3
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While I was thrilled the car, the exhaust just wasn’t “V8” enough. I looked over everything that was available at the time and it was either too expensive or had reports of drone. I wasn’t looking to go crazy, I just didn’t want anyone to have any doubts as to what engine was in the car. I decided to fabricate a replacement for the suitcase resonator, leaving the rest of the system intact. I ordered two 12” bottle resonators and a length of stainless exhaust tubing and welded up an H-pipe with the resonators and the sound was perfect! Louder, but not obnoxiously so. A proper sports car gurgle when under hard deceleration, and ZERO drone!

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Side by side

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Welding complete

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Old

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New
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:24 PM   #4
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Once winter 2015 arrived, I swapped over to the snowshoes and only added a set of Husky mats to keep the carpets fresh.

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Over the winter, the car did very well, especially in snow mode, but I hated to see it all snow covered and salty from the roads. Fortunately, it was a light winter, but the pucker factor of driving in limited traction situations forced my hand into thinking about getting some serious snow tires for the car, but that would have to wait until next year.

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Old 03-17-2017, 09:26 PM   #5
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Finally, spring of 2016 had sprung and I was able to install the Ford Racing strut tower brace that my wife had gotten me for Christmas. Nothing about that install was difficult, and the result really tightened up the front end of the car. It was now very easy to find the limits of the factory 235/50R18 All season Pirelli’s!

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Old 03-17-2017, 09:33 PM   #6
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A few months had passed and I was really getting frustrated with the clutch. I’ve had many manual transmission cars so the experience shouldn’t have felt this new to me, but this clutch was just very numb. I decided on picking up the Steeda 35 lb/in clutch spring and the install was incredibly easy. The result was magnificent! I could feel the engagement point in the pedal and it made driving the car that much better!

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Original Left, Steeda Right

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Unfortunately, with the pedal worked out I became aware of how much throw there actually was in the shifter. Somehow, it now felt like I had a truck transmission throw, and the term “rowing the gears” seemed to be VERY appropriate.

I ended up stumbling into a Steeda sale and discount code for the ‘Tri-Ax Street’ short throw shifter. Now this isn’t the big shift box, just a slightly redesigned lever and lockout mechanism. The installation wasn’t bad, but I’m glad I had a helper and a whole day to just get into it and take my time doing it. The biggest issue with the install was my aftermarket cue ball shifter. The included Loctite was VERY strong! We ended up breaking a strap wrench and using its strap as padding for a 36” pipe wrench with another three foot cheater bar to get the ball to break loose. We were debating on how much of the car we were going to break, but fortunately we didn’t break anything other than tools. Needless to say, when I reinstalled the shift ball I used a small section of rubber cord instead of Loctite, which is working much better.

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Old 03-17-2017, 09:41 PM   #7
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Towards the end of July 2016 I acquired a JLT 3.0 Oil Separator. I understand this has become a somewhat contested mod at this point, but the amount of blow by I catch between oil changes is impressive, perhaps to two ounces.

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Old 03-18-2017, 11:24 AM   #8
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At this point, winter was coming, so I started the search for some serious snow tires. Nokian was the brand to beat and that reputation allowed for some impressive pricing. The best price I was quoted was a little over $900 out the door. While I understand that quality tires cost money, I figured I could put that grand towards a winter car and save the Mustang a second winter of salt and sand. I found a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 110k, the inline 6, and a transmission that was replaced less than 30k ago that I negotiated down to $1800. It needed a few odds and ends, but now I had a snow/bar car that could grab car parts and keep the Mustang off the salt and snow covered roads! Win!

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In a slight side story, my house has a single car garage that has never had any car other than a Miata in it, and no one believed that I could get the Mustang in there. I measured the car, and marked the floor and saw that it was possible. However, was it probable? No. I had tractors and log splitters, and welding gear, and car parts to vehicles that I sold 20 years ago… but there was hope. I began a sell off things at an alarming rate and shuffled things in the outbuildings until I could fit the car. That success was VERY sweet! (I even got a nice car cover to keep her warm!)

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Old 03-18-2017, 11:25 AM   #9
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Over the winter, I sold the original wheels with the snow tires to a nice guy who had cracked his wheel in a single car accident. Although I never cared for the look of the wheels, they did look good on a ‘new edge’ SN95.

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Come spring of 2017 and I’ve awoken the Mustang only to have to put it back away with the arrival of the blizzard ‘Stella’ and the return of cold and snowy weather. While the return of the cold is upsetting, I did stumble into a pull-off set of staggered performance pack wheels and tires for a very good price. The previous owner took delivery of his 2017 in November of 2016 and pulled these off his car in less than 5 tanks of gas. Once the weather breaks for the second time I plan to get these mounted up.

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Old 04-02-2017, 04:42 PM   #10
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CJ’s, AM, LMR, etc. all know that spring is the time to hit you up with mods! I almost bought a few bolt on suspensions, and even a pull off performance pack suspension. While trying not to spend money foolishly I decided that I would just get the OEM performance pack K brace. Finding out what hardware I was going to need was proving a little challenging, but I put together the parts list and placed the order.
This truly is the easiest of installs. It's literally more difficult to jack up the car high enough to roll under than anything else.

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The last two items do NOT need to be ordered. The insulator nuts were already installed on the shield as an assembly. The grill bolts are the fasteners for the battery cover and I managed to break one when putting the car away for the winter.


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Shield and brace

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Non-PP shield note the threaded holes for the kbrace bolts

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Non-PP vs. PP shield

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K brace installed
Important tip! Install the shield WITH the kbrace. I torqued the brace and then put the shield on. That required I drop some more fasteners to get the shield on. If I would have placed it in with the brace it would have been that much easier.

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Complete.
6 bolts, the brace, the shield, and 3 additional screws and its done.

I drove it around, and while its not as dramatic as the STB and upper K brace, it is noticeable and for less than $100 its a pretty cheap mod. Not to mention the door access it provides for the oil filter.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:45 PM   #11
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Wow! Your build and goals are similar to mine: conservative upgrades, make it your own. Mine is a year-round DD like yours. Nice car .
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:05 AM   #12
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Wow! Your build and goals are similar to mine: conservative upgrades, make it your own. Mine is a year-round DD like yours. Nice car .
Thanks!
I'm enjoying it and making little changes that I feel enhance the car. I don't want to take it so far that I start introducing problems. One thing at a time and try to keep my changes limited to things that make sense, even if only to me!
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by drbrian722 View Post
Thanks!
I'm enjoying it and making little changes that I feel enhance the car. I don't want to take it so far that I start introducing problems. One thing at a time and try to keep my changes limited to things that make sense, even if only to me!
Perfect way to go about it. Research, research, research. I've been fully aware of any potential negatives prior to installing any mods. The slight nvh increase from my suspension upgrades are more than worth it for the handling and ride composure, for instance. Everyone has a different threshold though .
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Old 04-05-2017, 12:01 PM   #14
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Since I had a little time after installing the K brace I decided to remove the sound tube. To date this has been the hardest mod! Yes, getting under the car and replacing the shifter is easier! Dropping the exhaust, fabricating and reinstalling is easier!

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Engine bay with the tube

I bought the Blowfish Racing kit, which is an expensive option at $12 for what it is, but I bought it anyway. 90% of this install is just removing the tube and plugging the holes. However, the firewall side is held on by a 10mm nut on a 2 inch stud that is almost impossible to get to. I have the STB and it’s right in the way and every angle to the nut is aggravating. I ended up putting the car back up on jack stands and getting at it from the bottom. Two extensions and two universals and I can get a deep socket on the nut. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the nut to move. I headed down to Harbor Freight and bought a flexi-head Ľ and 3/8 drive ratchet that worked perfectly. However, the length that made it great to get to the nut limited the travel so it came off one click at a time. About 70 minutes of single-click hell. Once it was off the whole assembly came out easy.

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the tube

The engine bay looks much better without it and the sound has improved inside the cabin as far as I’m concerned. It was a lot of work for something that should have been 10 minutes to remove, but worth it.

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Engine bay without the tube

Next on the list is some sort of wheel hop fix…
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Old 04-05-2017, 12:57 PM   #15
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I just ordered the exact same items for my build. Like you said taking it slow and realizing how your car reacts to the changes you make to it. I ordered the BMR chassis brace and BMR cradle lockout as well. Trying tighten the chassis and then move on to other modifications to support. Looking forward to your thread with input of modifications you do!
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