Tech: Steeda S550 Drivetrain Bushings

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Mount Up

Steeda offers an easy way to sharpen the shifting of your S550

By Steve Turner
Photos by Steve Turner and courtesy of Steeda Autosports

Unless you have been around Mustangs for a really long time, you might not realize just how tight and quiet the modern Mustangs are. The chassis are stiffer, the suspensions are more refined, and the engineering isolates the driver from all those bumps and buzzes. Most people see this isolation as a great thing. However, everything has a trade-off.

A really quick way to improve shift feel on your 2015 Mustang is by installing Steeda’s S550 Mustang Shifter Base Bushing Bracket Kit (PN 555-7092; $74.95). Not only does it replace the factory rubber shifter base bushing with a higher durometer urethane bushing, but its billet bracket is far more robust than the thin stock bracket.
A really quick way to improve shift feel on your 2015 Mustang is by installing Steeda’s S550 Mustang Shifter Base Bushing Bracket Kit (PN 555-7092; $74.95). Not only does it replace the factory rubber shifter base bushing with a higher durometer urethane bushing, but its billet bracket is far more robust than the thin stock bracket.

Cases in point are those squishy hydro engine mounts, soft rubber driveline bushings, and that remote shifter. Yes, they isolate the driver and passenger from all those mechanical noises. That’s fine if you car is a commuting appliance, but if you happen to enjoy some spirited driving, then all that give can cost you some precision.

Now if you have tried to power-shift a high-horsepower ’05 or newer Mustang, you might not understand the loss of precision we are talking about. However, those squishy bushing and the remote-mount shifter on these cars move around when the engine is under load. That means that the next gear isn’t always where you thought it would be.

Yours truly learned the hard way about all this movement when trying to power-shift a 2008 Cobra Jet. “Don’t power shift,” they said. Your author didn’t listen. Things moved around. A shift was missed. A really cool pass ended prematurely. Granted the remote shifters have gotten better over the years, but there’s always room for improvement.

Steeda’s clever MT-82 Transmission Mount Bushing Insert (PN 555-4037; $29.95) doesn’t even require you to remove the stock shifter mount bushing. Instead, the insert fills the voids in the stock rubber bushing, which reduces transmission movement without increasing NVH.
Steeda’s clever MT-82 Transmission Mount Bushing Insert (PN 555-4037; $29.95) doesn’t even require you to remove the stock shifter mount bushing. Instead, the insert fills the voids in the stock rubber bushing, which reduces transmission movement without increasing NVH.

We know that an aftermarket shifter is a sure way to sharpen the shifts, but there are some other ways take slack out of the driveline and improve that shift feel. While we were up at Steeda Autosports’ Valdosta, Georgia, campus documenting the company’s suspension gear for the 2015 Mustang, we also photographed the installation of three parts that do just that—the company’s adjustable engine mounts (PN 555-4039; $209.95), a transmission-mount bushing insert (PN 555-4037; $29.95), and a shifter base bushing and bracket (PN 555-7092; $74.95).

The stock motor mounts are soft and filled with fluid to dampen out engine vibrations. However, not only will they allow the engine to move under load, they will wear and sag over time. Steeda’s Adjustable Motor Mounts (PN 555-4039; $209.95) will not only hold the engine in place better, but they allow you to swap out urethane inserts to lower the engine for intake or blower clearance.
The stock motor mounts are soft and filled with fluid to dampen out engine vibrations. However, not only will they allow the engine to move under load, they will wear and sag over time. Steeda’s Adjustable Motor Mounts (PN 555-4039; $209.95) will not only hold the engine in place better, but they allow you to swap out urethane inserts to lower the engine for intake or blower clearance.

If you are one of those that are concerned about NVH, the engine mounts do introduce the slightest of vibrations, but the other bushings are said to be pretty innocuous on that front. Having driven Steeda’s 2015 with these in place, we will say that the stock shifter does seem more precise when you are hard on the gas. The company has since released a new Tri-Ax shifter for the 2015 Mustang, and we are looking forward to seeing how much that improves the shift feel.

For now, follow along and see how some easy bushing bolt-ons can add precision to your S550 shifting.

Steeda technician Jamie Bell gets started with a ratchet and a long extension. Using those tools, he removes the bolts that retain the factory engine mounts.
Steeda technician Jamie Bell gets started with a ratchet and a long extension. Using those tools, he removes the bolts that retain the factory engine mounts.
Moving under the car, Jamie supports the engine with a jack and removes the engine-mount brackets.
Moving under the car, Jamie supports the engine with a jack and removes the engine-mount brackets.
After removing the brackets, Jamie wiggles the factory mounts free from their perches.
After removing the brackets, Jamie wiggles the factory mounts free from their perches.
Clearly the Steeda adjustable engine mounts are more sturdy than the gelatinous factory mounts (right). You can adjust the Steeda mounts in ¼-inch increments, lowering the engine up to ¾ of an inch.
Clearly the Steeda adjustable engine mounts are more sturdy than the gelatinous factory mounts (right). You can adjust the Steeda mounts in ¼-inch increments, lowering the engine up to ¾ of an inch.
Whether you keep the engine at stock height or lower the engine with the Steeda mounts, you can choose between the softer red bushings or the higher durometer black bushings. Since the black bushings transfer a far greater level of vibrations into the chassis, Steeda recommends these for competition use only. Jamie uses some painters tape to keep the bushing inserts in place while he places mounts on their perches.
Whether you keep the engine at stock height or lower the engine with the Steeda mounts, you can choose between the softer red bushings or the higher durometer black bushings. Since the black bushings transfer a far greater level of vibrations into the chassis, Steeda recommends these for competition use only. Jamie uses some painters tape to keep the bushing inserts in place while he places mounts on their perches.
After sliding the mounts into place, Jamie moved back up top to bolt the Steeda mounts down.
After sliding the mounts into place, Jamie moved back up top to bolt the Steeda mounts down.
Moving back, Jamie supports the MT-82 manual transmission with a jack and removes the stock transmission crossmember.
Moving back, Jamie supports the MT-82 manual transmission with a jack and removes the stock transmission crossmember.
You can see that the large voids in the factory bushings really allow the bushing to move around atop the crossmember.
You can see that the large voids in the factory bushings really allow the bushing to move around atop the crossmember.
Jamie removed the three bolts retaining the transmission mount, Jamie then prepped the Steeda bushing insert with waterproof grease.
Jamie removed the three bolts retaining the transmission mount, Jamie then prepped the Steeda bushing insert with waterproof grease.
Jamie used a vise to squeeze the insert in until it is fully seated in the factory bushing. Then he reinstalled the mount and transmission crossmember.
Jamie used a vise to squeeze the insert in until it is fully seated in the factory bushing. Then he reinstalled the mount and transmission crossmember.
Jamie removed the two bolts holding on the stock shifter base bushing and bracket. When laid out next to the stock stuff you can see how much more rugged the Steeda bracket and urethane bushing are.
Jamie removed the two bolts holding on the stock shifter base bushing and bracket. When laid out next to the stock stuff you can see how much more rugged the Steeda bracket and urethane bushing are.
It’s tough to get a camera up into the transmission tunnel to get a shot of the complete bracket, but the Steeda bracket and bushing combo bolts right in place of the stock unit.
It’s tough to get a camera up into the transmission tunnel to get a shot of the complete bracket, but the Steeda bracket and bushing combo bolts right in place of the stock unit.
We drove the Steeda Mustang after the installation of these parts. There was a slight resonance at certain rpm with the engine mounts, but the total package definitely made for a more positive shifting experience with the stock shifter. Since our visit, the company has released its Tri-Ax shifter for the 2015 and newer Mustangs. We look forward to trying one of those out soon.
We drove the Steeda Mustang after the installation of these parts. There was a slight resonance at certain rpm with the engine mounts, but the total package definitely made for a more positive shifting experience with the stock shifter. Since our visit, the company has released its Tri-Ax shifter for the 2015 and newer Mustangs. We look forward to trying one of those out soon.

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