2020 GT500 - where do the parts come from?

Epiphany

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Every time I get my hands or eyes on something automotive I start by studying closely, always wondering how and why. What I find equally as captivating is who. Over the years and with each generation of Mustang I've learned quite a bit as to the suppliers as well as the fact that Ford seems to go out of their way to keep quiet about it. Once in a while they share who did but what but not often. So I wanted to start a thread dedicated to the bits and pieces that make up the 2020 GT500, the ones that aren't readily apparent.

To begin with, a part that wasn't around when I was a kid and in a material I wish we'd see far more of - carbon fiber. Specifically, the carbon fiber driveshaft on the 2020 GT500. Ford chose to use one on the 2013-2014 GT500 and the benefits of using one allowed the car to reach an alleged top speed of over 200mph. From a small presentation Ford engineers did at the time...

zz GT500 driveshaft in 2013.JPG

I was so impressed with the piece that I figured out a way to adapt the '13/'14 CF driveshaft to the '07-'12 GT500's that came before it. An engineered billet steel adapter and the factory shaft bolted right in. I tried to secure unfinished fixed flanges from Tremec to reduce cost but they were unwilling to chance violating certain terms they had come to with Ford. I ended up working with a superb machinist on this one without anything from Tremec.


ZZ 2013GT500 CF shaft adapters being machined.JPG


ZZ 2013 GT500 CF shaft prototype.JPG


ZZ 2013 GT500 adapters.JPG


I ended up doing runs of a dozen or so each time and sold them to '07-'12 GT500 owners that could now use the factory '13/'14 CF shaft. Everyone agreed - the CF shaft in place of the two-piece steel made a noticeable difference in terms of NVH, all positive at that. I learned first hand how good of an idea this was and figured Ford would stick with these from now on with any Shelby program they decided to do.

Enter the 2015 Shelby GT350 and I was lucky enough to get invited to the Powertrain Reveal at Building 57 (SVT's headquarters that was shared with Roush). I spoke at length to every engineer there including Jamal Hameedi, the head engineer at SVT. He was great to talk to but seemed slightly evasive when I questioned him about the choice of a two-piece steel shaft in the car after learning how beneficial it was on the '13/'14 GT500. A discussion for another day but suffice it to say that for whatever reason SVT had chosen to not use a CF shaft aft of the Voodoo engine. I planned of once again to fit a CF shaft in place on my own but wasn't that impressed with what the aftermarket was offering. I then started seeing QA1 making mention of setting up a CF shaft operation of their own. It looked like they were going to offer some shafts for use in a few different sanctioned motorsports vehicles as well as a few passenger car applications. When they announced a CF shaft for the GT350 I jumped at the chance as they had really stepped up their game with a CF shaft that stood out above the rest in terms of quality and engineering. I did a writeup in the GT350 section on my install as it was too good of a product to not share. I ended up selling the car in November of 2017 with a plan to buy the yet unannounced GT500.

When finally introduced at the Detroit Auto Show, I was thrilled to hear that Ford was going to once again use a CF driveshaft. It made perfect sense as most everyone knew the car could use all the weight reduction it could get. It was at that moment that I tried to figure out who would be supplying the shaft for this one and figured it would be along the lines of what the '13/'14 GT500 used. Relevant to this discussion, some of the background...

Laid up tubes for the '13/'14 came from Toray. Note the increased OD at the ends...

zz GT500 CF shaft tube in 2013.JPG



The CF tubes were mated at each end with machined and heat treated inserts that provided points to attach CV joints. IIRC, it was Neapco that took care of this portion of the manufacture of these CF shaft assemblies.

ZZ GT500 CF shaft splined tube ends in 2013.JPG



These splined ends were then pressed into the tubes, dry.

ZZ GT500 CF splined shaft ends in 2013.JPG


This was a rather unique way to attach the ends as most everyone else in the game was bonding them, chemically. The arrangement proved to be very robust and a perfect match for the car and the way it was used. This is pretty much the shaft, albeit in the sizes necessary, that I figured would be used on the 2020 GT500. I assumed it would likely deviate in whatever fashion necessary to be optimized for the Predator/DCT combination over that of the Trinity/TR6060 as that would make sense given the money Ford spent in development.

I had yet to see some clear and up close shots of the 2020 GT500 driveshaft as Ford hasn't promoted it like they did previously and nobody has pulled one out and documented it yet. So I was a bit surprised when I finally got a good look at it while under the car to do Lethal Performance's resonator delete. After making a couple required cuts to the exhaust system and removing the factory resonators this was my view.


20200212_171618-XL.jpg



This was clearly not anything like the tube design that was used on the previous GT500, which looked like this when in place...

ZZ 2013 GT500 CF shaft in place.JPG


Different design but same supplier? Didn't know but one thing is for sure, it looked a heck of a lot like the CF shaft I purchased from QA1 for my GT350.

Here's a shot of the QA1 GT350 CF shaft atop a factory '13/'14 GT500 shaft.

zz%20driveshafts-XL.jpg



Odd that the lay up on the 2020 GT500 CF driveshaft looked very close to that of what QA1 has been doing. Looking closely, not at the diagonal/intersecting filament windings but rather at the lines you see parallel and about 1/4" apart there is a striking similarity. What you see on the 2020 GT500 shaft is what you see on an aftermarket QA1 CF tube...

20200212_171337-XL.jpg



Those lines are from the compaction tape QA1 uses after the carbon fiber is wound on the mandrel. The tape helps ensure a uniform wall thickness and helps with surface protection. What you see in the next photo is from Dunstone's website, a company that provides the hi-shrink tape to QA1 and it it is this signature that I believe shows that QA1 is indeed doing the CF shafts for the 2020 GT500.

ZZ high shrink tape on CF shaft.JPG


How the tape is used to make for a stronger tube and why the GT500's tube looks to be from QA1.



This link to Dunstone's page shows that they supply QA1...
https://www.shrinktape.com/markets/fan-case-and-drive-shafts/


Finally, there is a tag on each and every 2020 GT500 driveshaft. Even new they are somewhat difficult to read but look at the upper right hand corner from the tag on mine. It shows a serial number that reads "QA1001640." The first two letters could have stood for Quality Assurance but I'm convinced they don't. It is QA1 supplying the tubes for this car. I'd be interested to see somebody else's tag (along with their chassis number) to figure out their numbering system.

20200212_171502-XL.jpg



Anyway, I hope some knowledge has been imparted that shares some of the history on this that leads us to where we are on this part. How QA1 became a Tier supplier here I have no idea as I think this is their first effort (with CF driveshafts anyway).





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Tomster

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I'm usually shot after a few sentences with some of these posts around here lately.

Well thought out, written and very insightful. I'm glad you are back and in the same epiphany as I knew you when you had your 350.

Anyway, you are a kid with a new toy. I'm very happy for you and I am looking forward to the innovations you produce moving forward.

I hope next time you are in town you get hold of me.

Keep up the great work.
 

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Epiphany

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I mentioned Neapco and what they did on the '13/'14, which was to take the tube laid up by somebody else and finish with the ends/CV joints. I suggested they are doing as much on this effort as well.

More fodder...
this full length shot of a 2020 GT500 driveshaft was posted April 8th, 2019 (elsewhere) and the quote below it was from the gentleman that posted the photo...

ZZ 2020 GT500 CF shaft revealed on SVTP on April 8th 2019.jpeg


...all I can tell you is it was removed from a 2020 GT500 pre production and not one of our test mules or I wouldn't have posted it on here. Btw our one test mule that I posted about 2 years ago with the SC 5.2 (older block) with the 10 speed ended up getting the DCT last year with an aluminum driveshaft that was not a production based piece at all. It has a ton of miles on it now but couldn't tell you how this CF driveshaft will hold up over time cause we really don't have that data. I tried to give the biggest hint I could last July about the DCT without straight up saying it and risking to much
 
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Epiphany

Epiphany

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I had an opportunity to speak to some of the parties involved with the production of the 2020 GT500 driveshaft today. I confirmed what I believed to be true, that Neapco is supplying the ends and QA1 is producing the carbon fiber tubes (not Neapco). It sounded as if Ford engineers approached QA1 about being the tube supplier and not the other way around. So when you look at the label placed on every shaft you'll see NP (for Neapco Driveline, highlighted in red) listed before an engineering number and QA1 (for QA1 followed by the serial number, highlighted in green).

Z 2020 GT500 Neapco and QA1 ID on CF shaft.jpg


If anyone can get a look or a shot of the label on theirs I'd be interested in the serial number. QA1 would have had to get way ahead of production with the tubes but I'm not sure if my car (chassis number 251) actually has the 1,640th shaft produced or the 640th.

I also learned that in terms of the weak link in these CF shaft assemblies isn't the tube or where the two come together but rather the CV joint at either end. I'm sure somebody will find a way to break one at the strip eventually and it'll be interesting to study the failure mode to see if it indeed plays out this way.
 

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I’m planning to have mine on the lift this weekend. I’ll come back to you with information for chassis L0240.
 
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Epiphany

Epiphany

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Good man!
 

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I had an opportunity to speak to some of the parties involved with the production of the 2020 GT500 driveshaft today. I confirmed what I believed to be true, that Neapco is supplying the ends and QA1 is producing the carbon fiber tubes (not Neapco). It sounded as if Ford engineers approached QA1 about being the tube supplier and not the other way around. So when you look at the label placed on every shaft you'll see NP (for Neapco Driveline, highlighted in red) listed before an engineering number and QA1 (for QA1 followed by the serial number, highlighted in green).

Z 2020 GT500 Neapco and QA1 ID on CF shaft.jpg


If anyone can get a look or a shot of the label on theirs I'd be interested in the serial number. QA1 would have had to get way ahead of production with the tubes but I'm not sure if my car (chassis number 251) actually has the 1,640th shaft produced or the 640th.

I also learned that in terms of the weak link in these CF shaft assemblies isn't the tube or where the two come together but rather the CV joint at either end. I'm sure somebody will find a way to break one at the strip eventually and it'll be interesting to study the failure mode to see if it indeed plays out this way.
Where is that tag? Mine is on the lift now and I can’t see the tag. However I will be installing resonator delete this weekend and will post up the part numbers.
 
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Epiphany

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It's on the shaft and you'll be able to see it once you cut and remove the factory resonators - you may have to put it in neutral and rotate it though.
 

Houston Kid

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I rarely read posts that long because the op’s writing ability is lacking. Lol. I read all of this one. Great write up. Thanks.
 

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Here is my driveshaft label. My vin ends in 0954, and my chassis # is L0261.
IMG_0579.JPG
 
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Epiphany

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So I'm chassis #251 with driveshaft #1640 and you are chassis #261 with driveshaft #1633. Makes sense they are that close number wise as they rolled off the line very near each other. Thanks for sharing and I hope your res delete mod is going well.
 

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So I'm chassis #251 with driveshaft #1640 and you are chassis #261 with driveshaft #1633. Makes sense they are that close number wise as they rolled off the line very near each other. Thanks for sharing and I hope your res delete mod is going well.
I am still on the fence, as I think the car sounds pretty amazing as it comes, so I don't know. What would make me fall over to the other side of the fence is an H pipe.

I go back and fourth.....
 

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Tob: I salute all you modders and am always impressed with your motivation and skills and *your* attention to detail is at the top. :-)

But like Jaime, I think she sounds just fine and can't imagine making her louder still. Heck, I HAD to enable Quiet Start because I know it was too loud for the neighbors.

However, I only know the physical difference between X and H so would one of you esplain them? TIA...
 

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