NC Mustang Parts GT500 Rear Brake Adapter Install and Review

With the Steath Bomber’s GT500 front 4-piston Brembo calipers on 14″ rotors, we love the performance and the look. However, our stock 11.8″ rear rotors left us wanting more. Having read about the inter-changeability of the GT500 rear 13.8″ rotor, we researched and found the easiest method to be the NC Mustang Parts adapter brackets. The other popular method is to use the factory GT500 brackets, which requires removing the axles, which then leads into a rear differential fluid change. That seemed a waste, seeing as we had changed our rear differential fluid just a few months ago. The great thing about this swap, regardless of method, is that the GT and GT500 rear calipers are basically the same. The only difference is that certain GT’s have a bit of interference between the caliper bracket and the GT500 rotor. With years of grinding under our belt, we weren’t afraid to make sparks fly to fit this kit.

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We ordered the brackets from NC Mustang Part’s eBay store. They arrived quick and packaged well, and included all new hardware. We also ordered a pair of StopTech slotted rear rotors. We then gathered the required tools:

  • 1/2″ Electric Impact
  • 1/2″ Breaker Bar
  • 3/8″ Ratchet
  • 3/8″ to 1/2″ Adapter
  • 18mm Socket
  • 15mm Socket
  • 13mm Socket
  • 3/4″ Socket (for lug nuts)
  • Brake Cleaner
  • Matador Surface
  • Brake Caliper Compressor
  • Permatex Medium Strength Blue Thread Locker
  • Bungee Cord (to support the brake caliper)
  • 2x Jack Stands
  • Jack
  • 2x Wheel Chocks

We began by chocking the front wheels, then jacking up the rear of the car by the axle pumpkin. Placing our jack stands under the axle tubes, we lowered the car onto the stands. Using our torque wrench, we removed the rear lug nuts and the rear wheels. Side note, this is a great time to inspect your wheels for cracks front and back, as well as clean them!

Using our 13mm socket, we loosened the two caliper slide bolts, then hung the caliper from a convenient hole in the inner fender with a bungee cord. We removed the brake pads, then used our 15mm socket to remove the two bolts holding the caliper bracket to the axle bracket. The rotor was then able to be removed. We then used our caliper compressor kit to push the brake piston back into the caliper to make the coming installation easier. Laying the stock rotor on top of the new GT500 rotor, the size difference between them was obvious!

We dry-fit the adapter bracket (which installed with 18mm bolts), then the new GT500 rotor (noting proper orientation of the slots, and using a pair of lug nuts to hold the rotor to the axle flange), then the caliper bracket, and then the caliper. During each step we judiciously checked for proper clearance. Overall, at least 2mm of clearance was present at all points, and the rotor spun free. We then disassembled everything and reinstalled the adapter bracket and caliper bracket using a dab of Loctite blue on the adapter bolts, and proper torque on the caliper slide bolts.

We reinstalled the wheel, then repeated the entire performance on the opposite side. After both sides were completely installed, we removed the jack stands, lowered the car to the ground, and took a test drive to ensure everything was operating correctly. No noises were detected and the brakes worked perfectly. We torture tested the brakes a few days later at the CSCC Fontana Autocross, where they performed great and allowed the car to stay flatter and brake later when entering corners. We highly recommend this upgrade, along with the front GT500 brakes, for any S197 Mustang.

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Mishimoto Catch Can Install and Review

Recently we picked up an Associate Sponsorship from Mishimoto. We’ve been a big fan of what Mishimoto has done in the automotive space; specializing in the intake, cooling, and oil control fields. We knew that running our Stealth Bomber at high RPM out on the track would cause excess oil consumption, so our first addition from the Mishimoto line was their Compact Baffled Oil Catch Can. We chose the two-port variant and installed it on the driver-side valve cover PCV hose. Here is the engine bay before the install.

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Installation was fairly easy. Besides the catch can, we sourced some 1/2″ fuel/PCV line from a local auto parts store. We inspected our potential mounting areas and found the location of our oil pressure sensor array to be the perfect spot. We located those sensors underneath the air filter, out of the way of any major heat sources and moving parts.

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Then, we removed the existing PCV line by turning the green levers and removing the hose. We then used a razor blade to slit the hose end, allowing us to remove the OEM fittings.

The 1/2″ fuel line was proving extremely hard to fit over the OEM fittings. We used an old hot rodder’s trick, soaking the line in hot water to soften it up, then slipped the hose over the barbed ends. We then drilled two holes in an OEM bracket on the strut tower, mounted the Mishimoto Catch Can mounting bracket with the supplied hardware, then installed the included 3/8″ NPT 1/2″ hose barb fittings in the catch can, using a bit of plumber’s tape to ensure a leak-free fit.

We then installed one end of the hose to the intake manifold, then routed it to the catch can, using a silver sharpie to mark our desired length. We then removed the hose, and made a straight cut with a razor. We then mounted the intake hose to the Out port on the catch can. We performed similar steps with the valve cover hose, routing it to the In port on the catch can. Our installation was complete in less than an hour. The mounting bracket features slotted holes, allowing for a precise clocking of the catch can to fit your vehicle.

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We love this kit’s dark aesthetic, and feel it gives the installation a near-OEM look, which fits the overall feel of the Stealth Bomber perfectly. After a few weeks of driving we opened the can and had a bit of oil caught at the bottom of the container, proving that the catch can was necessary and works as designed.

I Wanna See It Painted, Painted Black

We clearly appreciate the color black (or shade, if that’s your opinion on colors, but that’s a whole other post), and there are many types of ways to turn an item black. After getting asked by a fellow racer about the types of black paint we use on the Stealth Bomber, we decided an in-depth post was needed.

In the SkunkRennWerks garage, we have five basic categories of black paint. From left to right; Plasti-Dip, Rustoleum Textured Satin Black, Rustoleum Trim & Bumper Black, Rustoleum Flat Black Engine Enamel, and Krylon Smooth Finish Flat Black. All are spray cans for convenience. Now these aren’t the only blacks we use, but they are in the rotation the most.

The first, and our personal favorite, is the love-it-or-hate-it Plasti-Dip. Originally developed as a tool handle coating to increase grip, Plasti-Dip’s spray can formula allows the wielder to create a tough, rubbery coating on nearly any surface. This product produces more of a satin than a flat black, with an appearance similar to OEM trim. We like Plasti-Dip’s ease of application, with minimal prep work required and rather lax masking needs. It can even be re-coated over and over with no need to remove existing dip. Plasti-Dip can be peeled off, assuming sufficiently thick coats are used. The downside of Plasti-Dip is that it loves to stick to itself, so as mentioned it peels (occasionally when you don’t want it to), adding difficulty in areas where you need a harsh line. It also does not wear well, resulting in tears in the dip itself, so is not suitable for high-traffic areas. Painting with Plasti-Dip is also an art form. Unlike traditional spray paint, thick coats are a way of life. Typical application steps for us are one light mist coat, then 3-4 thick, wet-paint coats applied 15 minutes apart. Our preferred use for Plasti-Dip are grills, three dimensional badges, and trim that doesn’t get touched often. We would never use Plasti-Dip on an area that sees high heat. Plasti-Dip’s makeup means cleanup is a snap, with Goo-Gone reverting the dip to a liquid state, and overspray wiping away with detailing spray and minimal elbow grease. The Stealth Bomber has Plasti-Dipped GT badges, gauge and vent trim rings, and strut tower brace.

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Next up is the Rustoleum Textured Satin Black. This is a standard spray paint, but with just a hint of texture. This texture happens to match most OEM’s black plastic. Our preferred usage for Rustoleum Textured Satin Black is for interior trim, radio bezels, and items that get touched often. Like Plasti-Dip, we wouldn’t use this on areas that see high heat. The Stealth Bomber has Textured Satin Black on the 3-gauge panel, shift light surround, pedals, and cup holder trim.

Third in line is Rustoleum Trim and Bumper Paint. This paint is great for exactly what it says, trim and bumpers! We use this in place of Plasti-Dip where we have harsh lines and transitions that don’t bode well for the dip. Produces a satin black similar to Plasti-Dip. This paint also has a bit of flex additive in it. Currently, the Stealth Bomber has nothing painted with this paint. Works great for Fox Mustang bumper trim.

Fourth is Rustoleum Engine Enamel. The can we grabbed happened to be the 500° version, but we also use the 2000° version regularly. This paint is very flat, and best for temperature-intense areas. Note that it will produce some vapors/smoke as it fully cures after the first heat cycle. The Stealth Bomber has it’s AC Condenser and exhaust tips painted with this paint.

Finally we close with Krylon Interior-Exterior Ultra Flat. This paint seems to stick to anything, dries dead flat, and has incredible coverage. However it is not for high-temp usage, or nice enough to use in the interior. The Stealth Bomber has the tow hooks and some miscellaneous underhood items painted with this paint.

Besides the five main black paints, we also have a few little cans in our blackout bag of tricks. Among those are gloss black caliper paint, obviously only for brake calipers and recently used for touch-up on our Brembo calipers, and Testors Flat Black Enamel Model paint which was recently put into action with the rivets holding down our GT500 hood vent.

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In general, we paint in what we call a four-angle paint job. Large items are painted from four sides to ensure even application, then flipped over and repeated for complete 360° coverage. Small items are rotated by hand through each of the four sides, with the hand holding the part sheathed in a latex glove for easy cleanup.

In the words of Mick Jagger, “No colors any more, I want them to turn black

February 2016 Bomber Update

The blackout program is still in effect with the Stealth Bomber. This month we tackled the behind-the-grill area with the AC condenser taking the black, along with some touch-up on our front tow hook and GT500 hood vent rivets, as well as swapping the interior door handles for base model V6 black plastic handles, darkening the interior even more. We also installed the front SKNKWRK plate after a friendly encounter with local law enforcement. Remember folks, stay legal!

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BMW E46 Yaw Sensor Replacement

What is a BMW post doing on a Mustang racing site? It’s one of our daily drivers, and one of our favorite road trip/parts runner/carry-all cars. Our particular example is a 2001 E46 wagon in classic Alpine white, featuring a manual transmission, coil-overs, OEM Euro clear corners and taillights, DIY Plasti-Dip shadow-line trim, tinted windows, and Alpina 18×8 wheels.

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The particular problem we’ll address today with our little BMW is a yaw sensor failure, with revealed itself by the ABS/TCS system grabbing the passenger front caliper for a millisecond, then illuminating the ABS and TCS lights, indicating an error in the system. This happened within minutes of driving the car, and was quite noticeable and alarming. Scanning the code with our OBDII reader showed a yaw rate error, leading us directly to the yaw sensor itself. We researched online, and came across tested yaw sensors on eBay, part number 1166003. $59.99 later, we had a verified good sensor sitting on the workbench.

First, we gathered the necessary tools for the job:

  • 3/8″ Ratchet
  • 3/8″ 16mm Socket, Deep
  • 1/4″ Ratchet
  • 1/4″ 10mm Socket
  • 1/4″ 1-1/2″ Extension
  • 1/4″ 1-1/2″ Extension, Wobble
  • 1/4″ Universal Joint
  • 1/4″ Driver
  • 10mm Box-End Wrench, Ratcheting
  • 5mm Hex/Allen Wrench
  • Wire Cutters
  • Magnetic Helper
  • Pry Bar
  • Flashlight
  • Matador Surface

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The sensor is located in the floor, just in front of the driver’s seat. We unbolting the driver seat, with two 16mm nuts under plastic covers up front, and two 16mm bolts out back.

We tilted the seat back, without disconnecting it’s wiring harness. Underneath the seat, a wiring harness is zip-tied to a plastic bolt. We cut it with the wire cutters, then turned the bolt by hand to remove.

Next, we used the pry bar to pop the lower inner door trim plate. This plate is held on by 4 plastic clips and was very stubborn.

We then pried the front section of the carpet back, exposing the bracket holding the yaw sensor.

The bracket is covered by a wiring harness, which we moved to the side, using the seat stud to hold the harness out of our way. The bracket is held on by four 10mm bolts, two of which are visible at the top of the bracket, already removed in the above picture

The lower bolts are quite difficult. The first bolt, on the outer side, can be accessed by removing the ground point with the 10mm box wrench, then removing the 10mm bolt on the bracket with the 1/4″ drive and both extensions, using the wobble extension to get the 10mm socket on the bolt. The last bolt is impossible, in our opinion, without doing a little demolition work. We used the pry bar to cut through the Styrofoam, to allow for us to use our extensions and the universal joint to get the socket on the bolt.

 

The bracket itself was then able to be removed, and the sensor unplugged via a simple push clip. We used the 5mm hex/Allen wrench to remove the two bolts holding the sensor to the bracket. Installation, as they say, is the reverse of removal. We bolted the sensor to the bracket, and the bracket to the body. We reconnected the ground point, and placed the chunks of Styrofoam back in place. Then fold the carpet back down, screwing in the plastic bolt, using a new zip tie to hold the wiring harness in place. Replace the lower inner door trim, then re-position the seat and bolt it back into place.

A quick test drive showed no more errors, and after a few trips with the car, we’ve declared the problem completely resolved!

January 2016 Bomber Update

It has been a few weeks since we modified the Stealth Bomber, so let’s get into what has been done in the past month. In the plate category, we switched to California’s 1960’s Retro Black Plate program with a personalized plate, matching the black paint quite nicely.

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Internally we continued the blackout program with a refurbishment of the extra wide brake pedal using Rustoleum textured black paint and grip tape, the addition of a GT500 dead pedal with black grip tape, blackout sills using Plasti-Dip, blackout cup holders, and the return of the MOMO MOD-88 wheel, this time with working horn and turn signal cancellation!

Externally we took the “go big or go home” mantra to heart and stepped up to a set of 18×10.5 ET45 Rotiform (model unknown) wheels, wrapped in used Bridgestone RE-71R’s in 275/35/18 sizing. Somebody took our sign to heart! The grip is astounding and we can’t wait to see what the Stealth Bomber will do out on the track!

UMI Control Arm Bushing Replacement

We’ve been hearing a squeaking over bumps coming from our UMI lower rear control arms. Not knowing the exact age of the bushings on the chassis side, we knew a replacement was in order. Researching on UMI’s website, we easily found replacement bushings for our control arms. Ordering and checkout was easy, and our parts arrived neatly packed just a few days later. UMI also included a TON of stickers, which we always appreciate.

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Removal of the control arms is an easy affair. We jacked up the body, supported it with jack stands, and let the axle hang free. Wheel/Tire removal was next. Then, working one side at a time, we unbolted the chassis and axle bolts, and pulled the control arm out of the car. Then, using an appropriately-sized socket, we hammered the inner metal sleeve out of the bushing. With this sleeve free, we started one of the bushings by prying on the edge of the pushing with a wide flat-bladed screwdriver, then resorting to pulling with our hands to remove the half bushing. With one half out, the other was easily pushed out by hand.

Installation, as they always say, is reverse of removal, just with a lot more elbow (and bushing) grease. Using the supplied Energy Suspension grease, we lubed all sides of the bushings, and the outside diameter of the inner sleeve. Then we installed a bushing half, pushed in the inner sleeve, then installed the other half. the bushings tend to want to walk out of the control arm on their own, so a quick installation into the chassis-side mount is key. We elected to bolt the axle-side on first, then lever the chassis side into place using the weight of the axle. We then slid the bolt home, and went to hand-tight. After replacing the opposite side, we set the car back on the ground and tightened the bolts to spec.