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Retrofitting '13/'14 GT500 Bilstein Damp-Tronic's to any '07-'12 GT500

Discussion in 'SVT Shelby GT500' started by Tob, May 18, 2013.

  1. Tob

    Tob Salut! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    The goal here is to update my 2009 GT500 struts/shocks to those of the 2013/2014 GT500 that is equipped with the optional Bilstein Damp-Tronic's, part of the optional Track Package suspension. They are electronically adjustable (two positions available) which will require a custom harness of sorts to provide power. I had hoped that FRPP would have released a comprehensive kit but to date I've seen or heard nothing to indicate that it may be forthcoming - but who knows, maybe its right around the corner.

    Anyway, as I mentioned in another thread, the Bilstein hardware is not stand alone when factory equipped on a '13/'14 GT500. It's integration is a bit complicated from a simple bolt-on perspective. As 5.0 Magazine put it...

    I already have the FR500S ABS module (defaults TC to off at startup), don't have to worry about nibble control (hydraulic rack), and probably have more rear brake bias than the stock percentage via the 13" FTBR brakes I installed. So hopefully, integration for me is only a matter of obtaining the proper fastening hardware/bushings along with a harness/switch to provide power and the ability to go from stock to sport mode.

    I received the struts/shocks yesterday afternoon. They are supposed to be ~10 mile take-off's. I believe they came from Henderson, Nevada, which has me wondering if they originated at Shelby's nearby facility as the result of an upgrade or conversion to something else. To begin with, the rear shocks.

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    I'm not sure how many channels there are to allow fluid to flow between the external reservoir and the shock or how the seal between the two is in place.

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    I'm going to need a pair of upper bushings (or upper insulator's as Ford Parts calls them). I'm not sure if that is the upper and lower bushing atop the shock or not.

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    I currently have factory Ford KR springs/shocks/struts on the car (and have been on it since almost new) but wanted to compare these to the factory rear shock. My original 2009 rear shocks are longer as well as being larger in diameter (the outer shock body anyway) than the Bilstein units.

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    I hope that the lower bushings are available through Ford as they were not included with everything else.

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    You can clearly see a larger diameter upper shaft with finer threads on the Bilstein. The following photo shows the two prongs inside that no doubt necessitated the difference. I'll have to procure the appropriate plug in pigtail(s).

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    Current retail price from Ford....$384.40 each!

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    Moving to the front, the struts...

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    They have markings to identify a left and a right but look to be the same.

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    The harness and connector exit through the bottom of the strut.

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    Problem for me, someone didn't take very good care of the left strut during the removal and damaged the wiring. It is severed right at the bottom of the shaft with only a tiny bit of sheathing intact. Both wires are cut and as it stands there isn't enough wire protruding through the tube to reattach them...

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    I'll notify the seller and we'll see what he can do. The struts don't come cheap new at $515.10 each.

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    Either way, I'll also need a pigtail(s) to plug into the struts as well.

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    I'm considering using some FRPP springs as well as a pair of MM c/c plates so that I can have more freedom come alignment time. But first I have to procure the appropriate bolts/nuts, rubber bushings, and connectors/pigtails. I see the connectors as part of a main harness when scouring through parts diagrams but am hoping they are available individually (especially for the rear shocks). Sam, can you help me out here?

    Most importantly, I have to find out how they are powered and what it takes to switch between regular and sport mode. I don't plan on attempting to hack or somehow utilize the electronic suspension control module that the factory uses with this arrangement.

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    So lots of details to attend to. Hopefully I can overcome each obstacle that currently stands in the way.
     
  2. cluscher

    cluscher Member Established Member

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    You are brave, Trendsetter! Very cool you're going to tackle this. It will be interesting to follow to say the least. I can't wait to see how it turns out. This is a cool mod, my favorite of your projects yet. Go man, go!
     
  3. SuperFly03

    SuperFly03 New Member Established Member

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    I've been wondering about this... as well as hacking the 4.2" LCD screen into a pre-'13 GT500...

    Sub'd.
     
  4. mblgjr

    mblgjr Pay Attention Boy! Established Member

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    Sweet project.

    Sucky situation with the severed harness :(
     
  5. BIRDDOC

    BIRDDOC New Member Established Member

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    Can't wait to see how this turns out. Go Tob!
     
  6. MrUnsubtleNinja

    MrUnsubtleNinja New Member Established Member

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    I think 5.0 made a mistake. AdvanceTrac does all that stuff not hitting sport mode for the suspension.
     
  7. PRP

    PRP New Member Established Member

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    Tob,

    My best bet is that the PCM supplies a signal to the shock when put into "Sport Mode" and that one of the electronic/electric terminals is power with the other being ground. And my thinking is that the PCM doesn't supply ANY signal when in "Comfort" mode (basically, goes into 'default' mode).

    The *easiest* way to check what the PCM does is with a 10M ohm minimum impedance Digital Volt Ohm Meter (any *GOOD* DVOM will suffice), set to DC Volts, connected to the wiring harness plug for a shock/strut and then toggle between Sport/Comfort mode.

    It is *rare* that a PCM supplies a full 12v to a output device but there are a couple of exceptions (Fuel pump, FP relay, power up relay, etc.). Most of the time, 12v is supplied to the output via a fused circuit and the PCM supplies the ground (-) for it (injectors, for example). That is because the transistor used to switch it on/off is only able to handle a low level of current (1.75a, If I recall correctly). The output device provides a voltage drop and allows the PCM to control it without frying the diode/transistor (semi-conductor) because the voltage drop reduces the current flow (amps) in the circuit.

    *Typically* the PCM supplies a 5v reference signal but that is on input devices. Some older Fords had a 9v reference voltage but they gave that up when they figured out a car would still run on <9v and the ECM was still trying to operate, hence the univeraally accepted 5v reference voltage signal.

    Be very careful if you're going to probe someone's PCM harness. DO NOT use a 12v test lamp on it because they do not provide enough resistence and you WILL kill a PCM with one. A "Noid" light will work fine though.


    I'm interested in seeing what you find out,

    Phill
     
  8. me32

    me32 BEASTLY SHELBY GT500 TVS Established Member

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    Ill be keeping an eye on this
     
  9. Tob

    Tob Salut! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Phill, your thoughts quoted above pretty much mirror what I've pondered as well. I take heed in everything you've mentioned as it all makes sense. I'm as interested as you in seeing what it'll take to make this work.

    I hope quite a few do! Maybe I'll get lucky and somebody with direct knowledge regarding this specific mod will speak up!

    Hey brother, may I ask a favor? IIRC, you swapped out your Bilsteins but still have them. Can you take a shot of the bushings at the top of the shock? I'm curious as to what the two halves look like...
     
  10. 5spd07gt

    5spd07gt BaggedCobra Established Member

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    Wow, just when I think you can't get any more innovative you out do yourself Tob. Again and again and again and again......
     
  11. Carl

    Carl New Member Established Member

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    My eyes are on this..
     
  12. GT Premi

    GT Premi Active Member Established Member

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    Again with excessively complex mods?? I don't think this one's gonna work. I'm betting you're gonna need a new computer or Body Control Module along with some way to interface with the dampeners.
     
  13. 03 DSG Snake

    03 DSG Snake Unknown Cyborg Established Member

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    Shame about the wiring, other than that....



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  14. Tob

    Tob Salut! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    You two are killing me.
     
  15. stkjock

    stkjock Corn Powered 900 HP! Established Member

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    Starting to wonder if your car spends more time with its tires off the ground vs on the ground.

    Good luck on the mod
     
  16. ponyboy96

    ponyboy96 Member Established Member

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    Seems like a pretty cool project. my guess is the wires are power and ground. Probably .5 volts as you mentioned and act as on/off. On being performance mode. should be easy to wire something up.

    On the other hand when reading this the big question I had was why go this route and not just get a set of adjustable shocks?
     
  17. PistolWhip

    PistolWhip Resident Man Dime Established Member

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    sub'ing for another sweet Tob retrofit.
     
  18. luv2spedup

    luv2spedup New Member Established Member

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    Great project... Subscribed
     
  19. 03 DSG Snake

    03 DSG Snake Unknown Cyborg Established Member

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    Much easier to slap a button in the cockpit than to pop the hood, turn 2 screws, then crawl on your hands and knees to adjust 2 more in the trunk.

    :burnout::burnout::burnout:
     

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