Tech: EcoBoost Mustang Drag Prep

0 EcoBoost Mustang Track Prep Featured

Ready for Launch

Lethal Performance preps its turbocharged Mustang for the drag strip

By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Lethal Performance

For those following the progression of Lethal Performance’s 2015 EcoBoost Mustang project here on the Front Page, you know the project recently took a turn toward more serious performance with a turbocharger upgrade. We’ve seen the car move from basic bolt-ons to an improved intercooler to the aforementioned turbo. Now that it’s packing horsepower credentials over 425 ponies, Team Lethal decided to bolster its drivetrain and suspension for an assault on the 1,320.

Many of the quick EcoBoost Mustangs feature automatic transmissions, but Lethal Performance is striving to put its manual-trans 2015 into the 10-second zone. To do so meant bolstering the drivetrain. That process started at Power by the Hour where technician Donnie Renfrow pulled the MT-82 six-speed transmission.
Many of the quick EcoBoost Mustangs feature automatic transmissions, but Lethal Performance is striving to put its manual-trans 2015 into the 10-second zone. To do so meant bolstering the drivetrain. That process started at Power by the Hour where technician Donnie Renfrow pulled the MT-82 six-speed transmission.

“Our plans for the car are to continue making more horsepower and to go faster at the track. We knew that at some point we would have to address the factory clutch and suspension so instead of risking failure at the track we would do the upgrades before,” Jared Rosen of Lethal Performance explained. “To me it makes much more sense doing it this way. So much time and effort gets put into a build and to get the car ready for the track. It’s a shame when you put in all of that time just to have something break on your first pass. I wonder how we know all of this? You learn as you go along and try not making the same mistakes you have in the past.”

To that end, they drove the EcoBoost project over to Power by the Hour in Boynton Beach, Florida for a series of upgrades. Among the robust items they added were a Barton short-throw shifter as well as more rugged halfshafts and a carbon fiber driveshaft from The Driveshaft Shop. They also installed one of McLeod Racing’s first direct-replacement clutches for MT-82-equipped EcoBoost ’Stangs.

The Lethal Performance project was one of the first EcoBoost to receive McLeod Racing’s new clutches for the 2.3-liter Mustangs. A direct-replacement for the factory single-disc unit, features a segmented, semi-metallic ceramic facing designed for smooth engagement. It is said offer a dramatic increase holding capacity good for street/strip performance.
The Lethal Performance project was one of the first EcoBoost Mustangs to receive McLeod Racing’s new clutches for the 2.3-liter Mustangs. A direct-replacement for the factory single-disc unit, features a segmented, semi-metallic ceramic facing designed for smooth engagement. It is said offer a dramatic increase in holding capacity for street and strip use.

“I haven’t seen any driveshaft or halfshaft failures on the EcoBoost Mustang yet. However I don’t want to be the first nor do I want to waste my time taking a car to the track just to see it break,” Jared said. “Making sure the car is prepped and there’s less chance of failure is how we do it from here on out. With that said we turned to our goof friends over at The Driveshaft Shop for their 800-horsepower halfshafts and 1000-horsepower carbon fiber driveshaft. Both of those pieces will give you a lot more confidence knowing that you’re less likely to break something.”

In addition to the driveline upgrades, Lethal vastly improved the performance of the rear suspension with a set of Viking Performance shocks and several BMR Suspension upgrades. Among the BMR goodies Lethal added are the company’s driveshaft safety loop,  Cradle Bushing Lockout Kit, Billet Vertical Links, and Adjustable Toe Rods.

With the McLeod Racing disc in place, Donnie reinstalls the factory pressure plate and torques it to spec.
With the McLeod Racing disc in place, Donnie reinstalls the factory pressure plate and torques it to spec.

“We haven’t experienced wheel hop with the EcoBoost ’Stang yet but again it’s more about being prepared. BMR has been working extremely hard on their S550 parts offerings. These guys know what they’re doing. So when we needed to choose who to work with on the rear suspension it wasn’t even a question,” Jared added. “BMR’s Kelly Aiken has always been a huge supporter of Lethal Performance so having him involved and interested in our car makes it that much better. He even went out of his way to get the Viking Performance crew involved and we’re very thankful for all of it. I believe all of the parts on our car make for a winning combo and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.”

You can watch the Lethal EcoBoost make its first full pass down the drag strip with these mods and hot shoe Jeremy Martorella behind the wheel…

And, as you would expect, this won’t be the last time you see this car making passes. Team Lethal has set its sights on a 10-second pass with this car, so stay tuned.

With more clutch in the bellhousing, Team Lethal wanted to bolster any other possible weak links by upgrading the driveshaft and halfshafts with more robust parts from The Driveshaft Shop and replacing the shifter with a billet unit from Barton.
With more clutch in the bellhousing, Team Lethal wanted to bolster any other possible weak links by upgrading the driveshaft and halfshafts with more robust parts from The Driveshaft Shop and replacing the shifter with a billet unit from Barton.

 

Having the transmission out for the clutch swap certainly expedited the mounting of the Barton shifter in the tunnel.
Having the transmission out for the clutch swap certainly expedited the mounting of the Barton shifter in the tunnel.

 

Which one would you rather have in your Mustang? Clearly the bulky two-piece driveshaft is obviously much heavier than the one-piece carbon-fiber driveshaft.
Which one would you rather have in your Mustang? Clearly the bulky two-piece driveshaft is obviously much heavier than the one-piece carbon-fiber driveshaft.

 

According to The Driveshaft Shop the carbon fiber driveshaft offers more torsional twist but with the reverse snap of a steel shaft, which is said to reduce harmonics and improve 60-foot times. They DSS unit also replaces the rubber Guibo on the back fo the factory transmission with a billet plate and a 1350 Spicer U-joint, which further removes slop from the driveline.
According to The Driveshaft Shop, its carbon fiber driveshaft offers more torsional twist but without the reverse snap of a steel shaft, which is said to reduce harmonics and improve 60-foot times. The DSS unit also replaces the rubber Guibo on the back fo the factory transmission with a billet plate and a 1350 Spicer U-joint, which further removes slop from the driveline.
In the unlikely event of a driveshaft failure, a carbon-fiber shaft won’t pole-vault ram into the floorpan and pole vault the car. However, to ensure its EcoBoost Mustang was safe at the drag strip, Team Lethal also selected a driveshaft safety loop from BMR Suspension. Donnie sandwiches the BMR loop mount between the factory transmission mount and bolts in on. Then he installed the loop.
In the unlikely event of a driveshaft failure, a carbon-fiber shaft won’t ram into the floorpan and pole vault the car. However, to ensure its EcoBoost Mustang was safe at the drag strip, Team Lethal also selected a driveshaft safety loop from BMR Suspension. Donnie sandwiches the BMR loop mount between the factory transmission mount and bolts it on. Then he installs the loop.
When you rev up your 2015+ Mustang and dump the cluch at the track with sticky tires, you are pushing your luck with the stock halfshafts. As such, Lethal selected these rugged units from DSS, which are an easy install. Donnie just removes the spindle, pops out the stock shafts, slides the new shafts in and reassembles the rear suspension.
When you rev up your 2015+ Mustang and dump the clutch at the track with sticky tires, you are pushing your luck with the stock halfshafts. As such, Lethal selected these rugged units from DSS, which are an easy install. Donnie just removes the spindle, pops out the stock shafts, slides the new shafts in and reassembles the rear suspension.
One of the secrets to dialing in a 2015+ Mustang at the drag strip is a set of double-adjustable Viking Performance rear shocks. These dampers offer 19 different adjustments for compression and rebound, which means you can choose from 361 valving combinations. While the rear suspension was apart for the halfshaft upgrade it was easy for Donnie to swap out the dampers.
One of the secrets to dialing in a 2015+ Mustang at the drag strip is a set of double-adjustable Viking Performance rear shocks. These dampers offer 19 different adjustments for compression and rebound, which means you can choose from 361 valving combinations. While the rear suspension was apart for the halfshaft upgrade it was easy for Donnie to swap out the dampers.

 

To gain further control of the rear suspension when it gets shocked at the drag strip, Donnie bolstered the IRS with BMR Suspension’s Cradle Lockout Kit. This easy bolt-on system greatly reduces cradle movement, which leads to a reduction in wheel hop.
To gain further control of the rear suspension when it gets shocked at the drag strip, Donnie bolstered the IRS with BMR Suspension’s Cradle Lockout Kit. This easy bolt-on system greatly reduces cradle movement, which leads to a reduction in wheel hop.
The rear cradle braces in the BMR lockout kit replace the factory sheer plates. They not only lock the cradle down, but also they center it and offer an additional jacking point. Donnie bolts them on using the factory mounting points.
The rear cradle braces in the BMR lockout kit replace the factory sheer plates. They not only lock the cradle down, but also they center it and offer an additional jacking point. Donnie bolts them on using the factory mounting points.
Donnie rounded out the BMR rear suspension upgrades with the company’s spherical-bearing billet vertical links and adjustable toe links.
Donnie rounded out the BMR rear suspension upgrades with the company’s spherical-bearing billet vertical links and adjustable toe links.

 

On its first full pass with the Lethal/Rarefab turbo upgrade and these suspension and drivetrain enhancements the car ran an 11.93 at 114.26 mph, but this is just the beginning. Team Lethal has its sights set on 10s in a manual-trans EcoBoost Mustang.
On its first full pass with the Lethal/Rarefab turbo upgrade and these suspension and drivetrain enhancements the car ran an 11.93 at 114.26 mph, but this is just the beginning. Team Lethal has its sights set on 10s in a manual-trans EcoBoost Mustang.

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