Project Mustang 5.0, Part II: Controlling Body Roll with Whiteline
By Vince Illi
Earlier this year, I dramatically improved Project Mustang 5.0's handling and added a degree of adjustability by installing Steeda springs, Koni adjustable dampers, and caster/camber plates from Maximum Motorsports. The result was a well-balanced chassis with neutral handling. There was, however, still a bit of body roll when taking very fast corners.
Fortunately, Whiteline—an upstanding member of the Nerd Alliance—has recently added a slew of products for the S197 Mustang platform to their parts catalog. Although Whiteline is based out of Australia, these parts were developed and built here in the good old U. S. of A.
Whiteline sent me a bunch of parts for Project Mustang 5.0. In this installment, we'll be installing their adjustable strut tower brace and their heavy-duty, four-way-adjustable front and rear sway bars.
The first item to be installed was Whiteline's adjustable strut tower brace. Unlike most other braces on the market, Whiteline's bar is adjustable for both height and length. The height adjustability means one bar will fit vehicles with just about any intake manifold or supercharger combination.
|Whiteline's strut tower brace for S197 Mustangs is the only one on the market that I know of with adjustable height and length. The height adjustment allows the same bar to clear almost any intake manifold or supercharger—other vendors require you to purchase a different bar if you need more height clearance.
The length adjustment means the bar will fit “tightly” on all vehicles, regardless of manufacturing tolerances. Other strut tower braces have slots where the strut tower bolts go. This enables the bar to fit all vehicles without having to worry about variations in machining of the bar. The problem there is that the bar will not stiffen the chassis much (if at all), because the slots allow the bar to shift somewhat, even if the strut tower nuts are torqued down properly.
Whiteline's bar doesn't have slots on the mounting plates. Instead, the bar is adjustable for both length and height via the use of eccentric bolts on both mounting plates. Rotating the eccentrics raises the bar and alters its length. To install the bar, we loosened the jam nuts on either side of the eccentrics, installed the bar on the car, and then rotated the eccentrics to set the bar at its lowest height. (Setting the bar at its lowest height is required for the stock hood to clear it. Even so, it is still high enough to clear a BOSS intake manifold.) This also changed the length of the bar to make it “tight” against both strut towers' bolts. We then tightened the jam nuts on the brace and the nuts on the strut tower.
|These eccentric bolts allow adjustment of height and length.
|These two photos show the height clearance with the new Whiteline bar installed. Most strut tower bars for the S197 must be removed before the “5.0” engine cover can be taken off. However, with the Whiteline bar I can easily remove the engine cover with the bar still in place.