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S197 @4o6racing Build Thread Profile - S197 Mustangs

ChrisM

Mostly harmless.
1,165
1,383
Exp. Type
HPDE
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3-5 Years
SoCal
🤣🤣 This picture was straight out of the box! The combination of the aluminum components of the shocks and the Cortex brackets is stunning. Makes me want to mount them on the doors where you can actually see them all the time!
All my Cortex stuff is like that too. I don't know whether to put them on the car or in a display case!
 
814
1,255
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
SoCal
Dangit, you can't get all these cool upgrades when I'm going to be in the same class! But seriously, those are beautiful as is the car. Can't wait to see how you like them!
I’m gonna need more than fancy shocks to have a fighting chance in a sea of GT350 sharks!
 
814
1,255
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Time Attack
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
SoCal
I was hoping to have install pics and some initial impressions on the new Penske setup since they were delivered 3 weeks ago today. When I ordered the package, I had Cortex ship it without camber plates since I already have Vorshlag plates. The KW strut uses an OE style spring perch, so I knew that a coil spring adapter would be needed. The beauty of Vorshlag’s modular design makes this pretty easy. Except this is the first set of Penske’s they’ve done for the S197. I made a call to Penske to get the technical specs for the strut shaft. Guy that answers the phone remembered assembling the order for Cortex a few weeks prior! First batch of parts from Vorshlag weren’t quite right - sent 14mm upper spool instead of 16mm. No big deal and they were on it immediately to send out the correct ones. Took a bit more back and forth to get the stack up height correct - the lower spool needed to be shortened to allow full thread engagement of the top nut. I opted to have a local aerospace machine shop modify them. Big mistake. They managed to screw one of them up badly enough that it won’t work. Lucky for us, their regular business is airplane parts…😳 Vorshlag was on it again and had new spools on the way same day - should be here Friday.

Quick note on the Penske’s. Cortex just recently launched their new website, and the Penske packages are now listed on there. The stigma on Penske’s has forever been a $10k price tag. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see they’re not much higher than equivalent MCS or JRi setups. And with the Cortex package, you get the custom offset strut lowers for wide tires. So it had me wondering, what’s the catch with the lower price? We’ll, when I was talking to the guy at Penske, I asked him the difference between these and the inverted option that Penske sells for the Mustang (which are $10k for double adjustable). He said the internals are the same with the dual-bleed shaft design, and he actually likes the Cortex better because the adjuster knobs are on the top of the strut rather than under the car when installed.

This whole process has restored my faith in American small business at it finest - from Fillip at Cortex on the upfront guidance, to Terry answering the phone at Vorshlag when I called, to Geoff at Penske who couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful.

Also found these gems. Couldn’t bring myself to mount the reservoirs in the trunk with hose clamps and janky brackets. Took a chance on these mounts, since they’re designed for motorcycles. Fit is perfect!


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(This is on a bike-not actual pic of my car yet!)

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And one of the actual shocks and struts - dig those custom Cortex strut housings!

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I just have to ask: how do you plan to pass the remote reservoirs through the bottom to the inside of the car? From the looks of the s197 trunk, I suppose it involves a hole saw and some rubber grommets;)?
 
814
1,255
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
SoCal
I just have to ask: how do you plan to pass the remote reservoirs through the bottom to the inside of the car? From the looks of the s197 trunk, I suppose it involves a hole saw and some rubber grommets;)?
Exactly, 2.25” hole saw with Seals-It two piece rubber grommet. Here’s a pic of an install by Vorshlag.

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Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
588
689
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Connecticut
I'd bet the Cortex Penske setup for the S197 is based on the Shelby/Penske package for the S550, that have strut housings suspiciously similar to Cortex units. Don't know if the S197 valving & spring rates went through the same shaker rig development Shelby did for the S550. But I figure Fillip can make a pretty good guess at what works.
 
814
1,255
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Time Attack
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3-5 Years
SoCal
I'd bet the Cortex Penske setup for the S197 is based on the Shelby/Penske package for the S550, that have strut housings suspiciously similar to Cortex units. Don't know if the S197 valving & spring rates went through the same shaker rig development Shelby did for the S550. But I figure Fillip can make a pretty good guess at what works.
That’s correct - the kit that Shelby is selling uses the Cortex strut housing and shock brackets. In fact, my setup came with 2 sets of logo inserts for the adjuster knobs - one with the Shelby logo and one with the Cortex logo.

I doubt the shaker rig was used for the S197 setup, but like you mentioned, Fillip has a lot of track R&D on S197 spring rates. From there I’m confident Penske can dial in the right valving. They dyno every shock and strut before it leaves, so there’s always a baseline to measure degradation before rebuild, and to validate future changes.

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814
1,255
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
SoCal
Fought through the heat this afternoon to finish up the suspension install. Reservoirs were the last piece of the puzzle. I opted for a different placement than most of the installs that I’ve been able to find pics of. I didn’t like how close the hoses would be to the over axle exhaust pipe, so I opted to go straight back and mounted just outside the frame rails. Should be much easier to access the compression knob when needed. Now to get the ride height and camber dialed in - time for shakedown!

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814
1,255
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
SoCal
Don't put the clamp in the middle of the canister. You want to clamp on the ends, outside of the piston travel range. There is a chance of deforming the canister in the middle and causing the piston to stick.
Thanks for looking out Jason! I’ll make the adjustment. Shake down tomorrow at AutoClub Speedway interior course, SCCA Track Night in America.
 
814
1,255
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
SoCal
First impressions of the Penske’s? HOLY CRAP!

I haven’t driven the ACS Interior circuit since 2019, which were the 2nd & 4th events after getting the car. A lot of changes since then to both car & driver, so I was curious to see what the lap timer would measure for improvement.

Best lap in 2019 was a 1:21.9 hero lap. Most other laps without traffic were in the 23’s & 24’s. I ran a 1:19.3 in the 2nd session with the Conti ECF’s, but the session was cut short with a random limp mode at the top of the main straight on lap 3. Got back to the pits and ran a crank relearn with the scanner, and swapped out to sticker SuperCar 3R’s for the final session. Main goal was to get an initial heat cycle to break in the 3R’s for upcoming time trials. Session 3 was magic! The sticky tires brought out the best in the new suspension. Absolutely hooked up and on rails. Turn in is so much more responsive and quick. Kerbs - yes please. The result? 1:16.9 - a full 5 seconds on this short course was beyond expectations. The interior circuit only uses 3 turns that we use on the Roval, and initial comparison of corner speeds is very encouraging. Can’t wait for the inaugural Mustang Drivers Club time attack on Oct 1st.

 
814
1,255
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
SoCal
This project has been on the list for a while but kept getting delayed when my research on how to relocate the steering wheel controls would always result in more questions than answers. Retaining the switch that controls the message center on the dash was a priority, as I still use some of the gauges. I’ll add what I’ve learned here in hopes this may help someone down the line that wants to maintain a functioning switch.

I started with removing the airbag, steering wheel, trim pieces and finally the clock spring. This is the connector that plugs into the clock spring, followed by a description of each wire in the connector. Pin location is counted right to left on this side of the connection

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It’s unlikely I’ll ever reinstall the factory wheel, but I always feel the need to preserve take-off parts in the event I ever go back. The harness that resides inside the steering wheel is not available separately. I couldn’t locate a used online, so I made the call to cut this one. In an effort to keep cutting to a minimum, the wires used for the cruise control switch were de-pinned from the connector. I spent some time mapping wires back through the clock spring with the voltmeter - here’s the mapping so you don’t have to:

Switch connector: ———>Main Harness:
Black wire ———————>Pin #5
Blue wire/wht stripe——>Pin #3
Red wire/wht stripe ——>Pin #11

Next was finding a spot to mount the switch. I decided to cut a hole in the lower trim piece, and the left side was the space with the least amount of curves. This would keep the retained switch closest to the wheel. The cruise control keys were keeping the trim piece from sliding back into the dash, so I removed them from the switch and ground down all of the plastic until it was nearly flush main plastic housing. A bit crude, but necessary to clear the dash and still be able to adjust the height of the steering column. Lastly, drilled 2 holes on each side and ran a zip tie around the switch to secure it tight.


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From here it was just a matter of slipping the pins into the appropriate ports on the main harness and taping it up good so they won’t disconnect. Tucked everything in and reinstalled the plastic trim.

Next up were the components for the quick release steering wheel mount and new wheel. I opted to use the NRG brand adapter and quick release after reading many positive posts on them, and looking at several in other track cars here locally. Quality is very good, and the fit is precise with absolutely no slop or movement. This particular QR is SFI rated as well for some additional piece of mind.

Hub adapter: SRK-175H
Quick release: SRK-R200BK/RD (this is for the black & red hub, other colors available)

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