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S197 2011 Pandora's Box S197 Build Thread Profile - S197 Mustangs

Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
526
563
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Connecticut
Last edited:
40
110
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Houston, TX
After finally getting some free time to REALLY dig into this car to see how bad 140,000 harsh daily driven miles have been on her, I am convinced that most people would have put this car out to pasture. Just about every typical wear item on the car was falling apart or getting close to that stage - the factory upper strut mounts for instance were literally crumbling as I pulled the struts out from the car. I take the blame for it - I was always good about taking care of the basic engine needs, but until recently, finances were not there to prioritize keeping up with the suspension bits and it snowballed, especially over the past several years. Nonetheless, I've always really enjoyed this car and it has significant sentimental value, so she is here to stay and I am excited to finally have the opportunity to make it into the car I've always wanted it to be. The end goal is for a really fun, mostly street car that can handle an occasional track day to give the other cars a rest.

I got started on the rebuild this past weekend with mostly the suspension - here is an overview of the parts going onto the car for this phase:
newparts.jpg

newparts0.jpg
newparts1.jpg

The front end is now complete with new control arms, inner and outer tie rods, wheel bearings, sway bar links and of course the ford racing adjustable struts and sway bars. Vorshlag camber plates were installed onto the struts. Here are some before and after photos:
frontbefore.jpg
frontafter.jpg
frontafter2.jpg

The rear end is now in progress. I got the rear control arms installed along with whiteline relocation brackets. I am waiting on bushings to arrive for the adjustable panhard bar before going further. For now, the factory springs, shocks and stabilizer bar are removed, waiting for installation of the new goods. Here are some before and current state photos:

rearbefore.jpg
controlarmrelobrack.jpg

While waiting on the bushings, I'm going to work on replacing the rear differential cover gasket since there is a small leak. While I'm in there, I'm going to replace the axle seals/bearings and of course replace the diff fluid.

Once the rear end is done, I will be tackling the brakes. The calipers will be getting rebuilt/replaced all around and boss 302 brake lines will be installed along with a thorough fluid flush. As you can see, new rotors and pads are already on the front, as I have no idea when my new brake hardware will arrive. I'll do the same for the back so it is drivable until then.

The pandora's box continues after that with a clutch replacement, clutch line replacement, and installation of an MGW shift (really excited about that one).

Stay tuned - I am confident this will end up being quite a fun car when she's finished.
 
40
110
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Houston, TX
Much progress has been made over the past few weeks. The rear end is now 100% complete and consisted of installing the springs, shocks, stops, panhard bar, sway bar and links to complement the roush control arms and whiteline relocation brackets. The rear fender liner on both sides was starting to sag and deteriorate, and was replaced. The rear differential was also fully serviced, consisting of replacing the cover gasket and fluids. "While I was there", I went ahead and replaced the rear axel bearings. And, while I was already nasty with gear oil, the transmission fluid was replaced.
rear complete 0.JPG
rear complete 1.JPG

Next, the brake system was addressed which had been seriously neglected. As you can see in the previous photos, new rotors and pads were installed earlier to get by (I was originally told my replacement calipers were on backorder until September but fortunately they arrived at the end of July). First, the brake system was fully flushed with 2 liters of fluid to prevent contaminating the new hardware. New calipers and Boss 302 lines were installed all around, followed by a follow-up flush and bleed (including the abs unit via forscan).
boss brake lines.JPG
calipers.JPG
front complete.JPG
rear complete 2.JPG

After everything was installed, I adjusted the panhard bar to even out rear end, and then did a string alignment to get the front to a mild -1.5 degrees of camber and 0 degrees toe for street purposes. Comparing these photos to how the car started 8 weeks ago blows my mind despite the amount of effort I've put into the restoration.

Yesterday, the MGW x-spec shifter arrived and I was able to get that installed relatively quickly. What an amazing shifter compared to the sloppy jello oem unit!
shifter.JPG

Unfortunately, as I have been test driving the car over the past few weeks, I have come to find that this car (being a 2011), is one that is impacted by the ridiculous EPAS steering rack shudder/vibration issue/bug that stems from drastic changes/stiffening of the suspension. It is so bad that the car is almost undriveable above 55 MPH in sweeping turns. So, the pandora's box continues with another $1,000 dropped on a Boss 302R steering rack, which should arrive in a few weeks. Once that unit is installed, phase 2 will begin, which will be an interior overhaul.

Overall, despite the EPAS issue, this car has completely transformed into a really, really fun vehicle. As a side note, the suspension dropped closer to 3/4 of an inch rather than a full inch as suggested by the kit. I'm pretty happy about this, as I don't really care for the slammed look. Here is how she looks as of today:

current state.JPG

I'll post an update once the Boss 302R steering rack is installed, and perhaps some driving video.
 
50
39
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Houston, TX
That is pretty sweet my man! Once I get my car painted they will look like twins. I would recommend for you to inspect the upper (third) control arm. I completely ripped out the bushing/grommet on the mount side in June and had about 1/2" of slack as a result. I replaced it with an adjustable BMR one that needed a bit more R&D (so I would invest in another brand, unless they all have that ~1/8" of slack) but I am fixing the bug hopefully before the next event in January. BTW, I am looking to make the change to PAGID brake pads. They look promising and allegedly don't have the horrible dust issue that Hawks do. I am also finally installing the 4pot calipers I've had sitting for a few months since I have realized that is the reason why I am so slow in the braking zones. I also had an upsie moment last session when I went off track at Carousel. Thanks to God the only damage was mud plastered everywhere underneath.
 
40
110
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Houston, TX
That is pretty sweet my man! Once I get my car painted they will look like twins. I would recommend for you to inspect the upper (third) control arm. I completely ripped out the bushing/grommet on the mount side in June and had about 1/2" of slack as a result. I replaced it with an adjustable BMR one that needed a bit more R&D (so I would invest in another brand, unless they all have that ~1/8" of slack) but I am fixing the bug hopefully before the next event in January. BTW, I am looking to make the change to PAGID brake pads. They look promising and allegedly don't have the horrible dust issue that Hawks do. I am also finally installing the 4pot calipers I've had sitting for a few months since I have realized that is the reason why I am so slow in the braking zones. I also had an upsie moment last session when I went off track at Carousel. Thanks to God the only damage was mud plastered everywhere underneath.
Thanks man! I always enjoy your car and seeing how it does out there!

The third upper control arm is on the long list to be replaced. I had a look at it while I was replacing the rear components and at the time it was still holding well, but I do have a replacement bushing ready to go when it starts getting sloppy. I've heard it is a pain in the butt to replace and might just replace the whole arm. I think you will notice a nice difference with the new brakes!
 
40
110
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Houston, TX
I installed the Boss 302R steering rack back in November and I am happy to say that it has fully resolved the EPAS shuddering issue that I was having. Only those who have done this install can appreciate how ridiculous that third rear bolt with 32 oz of blue Loctite on it from the factory is. Do yourself a favor and heat that bolt up as you work to remove it!

The car feels absolutely fantastic and I am really looking forward to getting out on a road course next year.
New rack:
20211020_133950.jpg
Fire, a flat swivel head ratchet and a "breaker wrench" helped get that ridiculous Loctite bolt out...
20211030_151525.jpg
New rack installed:
20211030_175308.jpg

Old junk:
20211030_160537.jpg

Also took some time to replace many of the worn, cracking and falling apart exterior trim bits (hood cowls, window trim, door seals, etc, along with completely new front grill and lights). Also redid the tint that was starting to peel/bubble and turn purple. She is now also riding on a set of brand new take off wheels that I acquired back in 2014. It is almost starting to look the way she did when I first got it.
20211021_123540.jpg

The clutch is starting to slip badly and is definitely about to go out. I'll be installing a new clutch kit soon and will probably divorce the clutch from the brake reservoir, install a steel clutch line, and replace the main seal while I am in there since the car will see a little track time next year. Also in the plans will be a set of bronze apex wheels and track tires to keep the street wheels from getting destroyed, remove a little weight and get some wider rubber on it.
 
Last edited:
50
39
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Houston, TX
The clutch is starting to slip badly and is definitely about to go out. I'll be installing a new clutch kit soon and will probably divorce the clutch from the brake reservoir, install a steel clutch line, and replace the main seal while I am in there since the car will see a little track time next year. Also in the plans will be a set of bronze apex wheels and track tires to keep the street wheels from getting destroyed, remove a little weight and get some wider rubber on it.
That is looking epic my man! There is definitely gonna be a new challenger in town. When you get to replacing your pilot bearing (behind the flywheel) try the bread method, it is so satisfying and easy. The pilot bearing will come out in less than 2 minutes. I used a 1/2" short extension and 2 fresh slices of bread (no grease necessary). Pack bread and tap the extension, keep repeating until pilot bearing comes out.

And yes, do keep an eye out on the upper link. I took the plunge to the poly/spherical combo route and it can be a bit harsh. I don't mind though, it gets people that get on the car talking :D.
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
6,410
5,303
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
Cmon, you guys know old farts with bad backs can't bend over, so my bread method is simple...........I give the dough to someone else who kneads it. That's how I slice it since at my age and retirement I just loaf. Not trying to be a crusty old man,
it's a Wonder I can even Rise out of bed in the morning, but I think the idea is great and I raise my glass in a Toast to the guy who thought this up, he is a butter man than me!
 

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