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S197 2011 Mustang V6 Performance Pack: Building the wrong car for D Street

drj2k1

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Where to even begin... With the quarantine currently in effect for all of NYC and it's boroughs I've finally got some time to post on here.

A little background: Started autocrossing in 2008 at the age of 17, caught the bug hard running a grossly underprepared 1992 Civic in Street Mod. Decided it would cost far too much build the car for SM and replaced it with a purpose build 1985 Honda CRX Si that was already set up for C Street Prepared (still have this car today but it has been sitting for awhile and needs a refresh for FSP). College and life got in the way and I took a hiatus from autocross until 2013 when I picked up a 2008 WRX and ran it in D street, STX, and ASP. The car was seriously uncompetitive in the higher classes so I set it up for rallycross (poor idea and beat the piss out of the car) leading to me selling it off shortly after running the 2017 SCCA East Coast Regional event at the Rally Farm in Virginia.

In late 2017 I picked up a 2009 Civic Si and prepared it for H-Street autocross. With my father as a co-driver (tire warmer duty lol) we attended our first SCCA regional autocross event in June 2018, the Tirerack Finger Lakes Champ Tour. We didn't trophy but got hooked back into the sport as a father-son activity, which led to us getting serious about autocross again. Flash forward to 2019 I took the Civic to the farthest extent of the SCCA "Street Class ruleset": custom bumpstop tuning, competition swaybars with rod ends, staggered offset wheels with reverse staggering of tires (255 width rival 1.5S pinched on a 7inch rim was something else lol), fresh koni yellows, more aggressive pads, etc. In total we attended 4 SCCA tour events in 2019 (Metlife Prosolo in NJ, Finger Lakes Champ Tour, Bristol Match Tour, Bristol Motor Speedway Champ tour). With more seat time and experience we were able to trophy with the car at two tour events and "coned away" another trophy position at a third event. Unfortunately in July 2019 the car met an untimely demise at the hands of an FDNY ambulance when I was sideswiped in NYC.

Welp fast forward to fall 2019 and I found myself in the market for another car to split daily driver duty/autocross time. Decided I wanted to go rwd this time around and test drove all the usual suspects for SCCA street class autocross including (in my budget ofcourse ): BRZ, Camaro turbo 1LE, s550 ecoboost performance package, newer WRX, Miatas, etc. Didn't really love driving any of them.

Then I remembered reading an old Car & Driver magazine years ago about a V6 performance package mustang called the "mayhem" package. I liked the idea of the efficiency of the 3.7 V6 as a commuter in NYC and the idea of the factory upgraded GT/GT500 suspension goodies and brakes coupled with the lighter weight for autocross usage. Found a well used 2013 at a local ford dealer and despite being beat up I really enjoyed the feel of the car and its driving dynamics. Didn't buy that car and eventually found a garage kept 1-owner 2011 V6 premium with the performance package that had complete maintenance records from Ford. At the end of the day I bought the car and set out to build the "wrong" car for D-Street autocross

I had no intentions of autoxing the car stock form until I had gone through everything (77k mile car) and some minor prep to baseline the car. This didn't last very long as the car was pressed into autocross duty when my father's Miata snapped its Racing Beat swaybar at a local BMW club event and we finished the afternoon driving the mustang. Initial impression were that the car felt very well balanced with plenty of power for the small venue we were running, there was quite a bit of nose drive with the soft stock springs/original shocks, but once the car set it's weight it was very predictable. Even bone stock on basic summer tires the car put down some decent times!

We did a handful of events with the SCCA, Porsche club, and BMW club to finish the end of the season with the mustang with only a quick alignment (-1.4 degrees camber using stock bolts/zero toe) and a shitty set of AMR 17x8 wheels (snow wheels that the original owner threw in with the sale) mounted with our tiny leftover tires from the civic (225 width Rival 1.5S up front/255 width Rivals out back). I hated the understeer prone staggered tire setup but it was more of a run what you brung effort. During this "baseline" campaigning of the car in D-Street trim (minus illegal) we were able to place the car within 1 second of nationally prepared & well driven D-Street cars in our region on a 60 second course (2019 Turbo 1LE Camaro, 2019 Civic Type R, Evo X, and Focus RS).

Considering the lack of preparation of the mustang and lack of seat time with this chassis we are thinking that we might have a semi-competitive car this year, but given the current state of affairs in racing we might not be able to put that to the test for a few months.
 

drj2k1

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The theory I'm looking to test here is that a 2011-14 mustang V6 might be competitive in D-Street autocross. Over the past few years the class has been won by a s550 Ecoboost mustang, Camaro LT with the 4 cylinder turbo, and most recently by the Civic Type R. In comparison the s197 is a much older chassis, has an antiquated rear suspension design, and carries a bit more weight. By analyzing some magazine test and doing my best bench racing over the winter, I was surprised to find that the measured numbers of the V6 PP aren't as far off last years champion Civic Type-R as I originally expected. For your entertainment check out the differences below:

2011 Mustang V6 PP (Motortrend 2010): 305hp/280lb-ft, 3464 lbs (need to get mine of the scales to compare), 0-60 5.1 sec, skidpad .96, braking 60-0 104ft.

2019 Civic Type R (C&D 2019): 306hp/295lb-ft, 3160 lbs, 0-60 5.1 seconds, skidpad .99, braking 70-0 147 ft (60-0 99 ft Motortrend 2019)

Taking into account that the mustang was tested on tires that are 9 years older in design/technology I'm wondering what things might look like on equal modern 200tw rubber (both cars are mandated to use a 8.5 inch width rim). To me the biggest discrepancies will come from the weight difference and the torque lower in the powerband on the CTR. I've heard earlier s197's are lighter but the proof will be in the pudding with lighter wheels/tires and additional weight savings from the lighter exhaust.

Interested in hearing some of your feedback and experiences autoxing this chassis as we all wait out the quarantine.
 
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Bill Pemberton

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Glad to have another Autocross/Trackraticus on the TMO Forum and thanks for giving all of us a solid history of your racing sickness. Now there is no cure , but this is a virus we all have here and we find the only thing that suffers is our Visa or Mastercards, ha. One never knows how the V6 Stang will do, but you already have evidence that some of the bigger machines can be sleepers against the small imports -- the V6 Camaro proved that at the Solo Nationals besides at your events. I am only 60 miles from the Solo Nationals site in Lincoln, Nebraska, and like you and your father , my son and I are running together ( though in his ASP Evo 9 ). Dave W and Auteaux , both run Mustangs and hopefully they will pop in here with some advice.

The tire choices for your Mustang will likely benefit most from the RE71S, BFG Rival S 1.5, or the sleeper from last year , the A052 Yokes. Hope to hear about your exploits when the Virus contagion is over and feel free to send me a PM ( conversation on this site) or an email , anytime.

[email protected]
 

drj2k1

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Glad to have another Autocross/Trackraticus on the TMO Forum and thanks for giving all of us a solid history of your racing sickness. Now there is no cure , but this is a virus we all have here and we find the only thing that suffers is our Visa or Mastercards, ha. One never knows how the V6 Stang will do, but you already have evidence that some of the bigger machines can be sleepers against the small imports -- the V6 Camaro proved that at the Solo Nationals besides at your events. I am only 60 miles from the Solo Nationals site in Lincoln, Nebraska, and like you and your father , my son and I are running together ( though in his ASP Evo 9 ). Dave W and Auteaux , both run Mustangs and hopefully they will pop in here with some advice.

The tire choices for your Mustang will likely benefit most from the RE71S, BFG Rival S 1.5, or the sleeper from last year , the A052 Yokes. Hope to hear about your exploits when the Virus contagion is over and feel free to send me a PM ( conversation on this site) or an email , anytime.

[email protected]
Bill,

Thanks for the warm welcome, its always great to see a fellow autocrosser out here. Even better that you co-drive with your son, its a great hobby/addiction to share within the family. I haven't had a chance to go to Nationals yet but have been dying to get out there for the past few years, I hear it's quite the experience.

Regarding tires, I picked up a set of 265 width RE-71R's to mount on the some 18x8.5 at the Discount Tire Direct President's day sale. I've found the stiffer sidewall to be much more predictable and shows better overall wear/longevity on camber-limited street class cars. The Yokos are definitely tempting if we decide make the trip to Nats this year and need a fresh set of tires.

I'll definitely reach out at some point via PM/email to pick your brain as I get a chance to actually bolt-up some parts and start setting up the car for the delayed start of the season.

-J
 

Bill Pemberton

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There is definitely a school of thought that the RE71s work better on some bigger cars, and it was a hoot watching folks playing with tire choices at Nationals. I had the task of checking Decals and Products for Contingencies at the Nationals and there were folks trying unique combinations -- like A052s in front and RE71s in back. Those folks were a bit miffed I noted they were not eligible for Tire Contingencies since the decals could only match one set of tires. They knew it would not work , but the trend was being pushed as a new secret weapon , so you had folks going out on a limb. Most of this combo was on Porsches , with the idea the fronts would stick a bit better with the A052s on front. Who knows , but 95% or more winners were on the same tire all the way around.

Contact me anytime and I look forward to hearing how things go for you once the Season starts? I run BFG gforce R1Ss on my Boss S , even though they do not heat up as fast as the Hoosier R7s, but they run less ( money) and last at least one additional weekend. For the tracks I run they seem to also stay more constant in the 30 -35 minute races.

My son and I run Hoosier A7s on his EVO 9 and as is well known, they are a killer Autocross donut!

[email protected]
 

drj2k1

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Quick update:

Last weekend had a chance to finally work on the brakes which have been a sore point on this car during our baseline autocross experiences in the fall. Long story short, we lost significant stopping power multiple times at an event down at Jones Beach when hot lapping the car with my father co-driving. Figured we boiled the brake fluid (it was black) and bled the brakes with ATE Superblue DOT 4 (which is now yellow?). This improved the situation somewhat, but we still had unresolved brake performance issues at the season finale event in Fairfield, CT.

Upon disassembly the factory performance package pads were extremely glazed and the rotors had some heat checking. Went to replace the factory rotors/pads with Centric Premium rotors & Porterfield R4-S pads, but ran into some unforeseen issues. After reading about the V6 PP I was under the impression that the front rotors were increased to the base GT 13.2's, but found my car was equipped with the smaller 12.4 rotors of the base v6 (I should've been more suspicious as the car came with 17 inch snow tires and no brake clearance issues). I'm wondering if the early build date of my car (9/28/10) might have something to do with the smaller rotors compared the the 13.2's listed as correct part on numerous sites?

A quick run to autozone netted a replacement set of Duralast Gold rotors in the proper size. Took the car out to bed the brakes with a few back to back 80-5mph runs to get the brakes hot and was happy with the newfound braking performance.

My prior experiences with the R4S has been positive as a solid mixed use pad for autox/daily use in NYC without too much dust and the guys at Porterfield have always been extremely helpful. Hoping the new setup can handle the weight/heat generated by this car, but won't know until the 2020 season resumes.

Koni Yellows should be going on the car within the next few weekends, praying that the stiffer shock/bumpstop setup mitigates some of the brake dive of the soft GT springs/80k mile original shocks...
 

drj2k1

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Got a chance to work on the car again this past weekend when we finally got a break from all this rain. I've had a persistent clunk in the rear end since purchase and figured it was the end links so I took advantage of the opportunity and installed the StranoParts rear sway as well as the rear Koni Sports & Ford Racing rear bumpstops.

Set the sway to middle setting (which is supposedly just a touch softer than the stock 24mm bar) and the Koni's to one turn from full soft.

Initial driving impressions were positive, rear end felt like it tracked better and no more clunking!

After putting some more miles on the setup I'm not all that happy with the ride quality even after dialing back the Koni's to 1/3 a turn from full soft. The car does not composed at all over bumps and skittish even when cruising, which was not the case with the factory GT struts/rear sway (keep in mind I live in NYC where the road quality is abysmal). Additionally I noticed minor tire spin when accelerating out of 90 degree corners, but this was also not the case with the factory setup (could also be the 80k mile original Trac-lok showing its age).

Going to measure the strano bar to see if its the 7/8th or 1 inch (picked it up used on craigslist assuming there was only one version..) and place try it on the softest setting to see if that improves the ride somewhat. If not I picked up a 22mm factory bar that I can swap in to play with

Wondering if the rebound of the Koni's are overwhelming the factory rear spring rate? Or maybe the rear ride quality is just more noticeable because I still have the 80k mile factory struts on the front end?
 

Coz

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New struts/shocks with factory springs on a non-Boss V8 is never recommended. I'm guessing it's even more of an issue with V6 springs.

I think the tire spin is more of an issue with the sway bar than the Konis.
 

Bill Pemberton

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Try cranking the rear shocks to full soft. Just a wild thought as a buddy of mine had some success with that a few years back and it seemed to help. He had a V6, but not sure of the springs installed on the car and he is currently overseas ( Air Force) and I am sad to say I did not get his email address. Just a thought and easy to try.
 

Grant 302

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New struts/shocks with factory springs on a non-Boss V8 is never recommended. I'm guessing it's even more of an issue with V6 springs.

I think the tire spin is more of an issue with the sway bar than the Konis.
I don’t know about ‘never recommended’, but is does seem like a bit of overkill on the rear damping. Even 1 turn is probably way too stiff.

The V6 performance packs have GT springs and bars.

Agreed about the bar...I’d try full soft on that one before swapping again.
 

Grant 302

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With less weight upfront then the V8 I would be tempted to trying no bar or a 18mm rear bar? I liked my car on corner exit with no bar, but the understeer was too much.
That and maybe a slightly stiffer rear spring like base Boss or LS, if you can find them.

Should help the weight transfer faster with OEM squat geometry.
 

drj2k1

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That and maybe a slightly stiffer rear spring like base Boss or LS, if you can find them.

Should help the weight transfer faster with OEM squat geometry.
Unfortunately springs are not free to be changed in the "Street" autocross classes. I'd love to slap a set of Steeda Boss Comp Springs or Ground Control Coils, but a spring upgrade/further suspension modifications will have to wait until I make a jump to a higher class (I've got a desire to toss my lot in CAM-C with a minimum-weight Procharged build, but that's not in the cards for now). Until then I have to modify the car within the boxed ruleset of SCCA street class, where I hope to improve my driving in a rwd platform/learn the car.

Going to start with softening the rear sway this weekend which I agree seems to be the logical cause of the new wheel spin. Will also dial back the Koni's and see how the ride is affected (IIRC Konis recommends not running them to the ends of adjustment, but I'll double check).

Hoping to assemble the front struts this weekend with the new "tuned" bumpstops from RE suspension and slot the strut holes per FSM specs. Will have to wait until things cool down on the COVID-19 front until I can install/get an alignment.

Thanks for the input all,
J
 

blacksheep-1

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don't kid yourself about that "antiquated" rear suspension, it will handle just fine. The general setup around here for that car is about 600 pound springs front, about 350 rear, Ford blue bar up front on the middle setting, an 18mm or no bar in the rear, all the camber you can get. That should get you close. Those cars were more than a match for the new GT4 cars that ran in PWC and had to be legislated out of competition by the organizers. I would think that the 6 banger would have an advantage over the v8 in the point-and-shoot autocross world. Also, a gear change and an aluminum flywheel will work wonders. All you nee dot do is get with Bill Pemberton on which tires to use.
 
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blacksheep-1

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I thought other OEM springs would be allowed and why I suggested the OEM Boss and LS springs. That’s not the case?
I'm thinking stiffer springs might not be the way to go... With regards to the stock springs, they make "goobers" that have different rates that you can install...
 

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