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Maximum Motorsports S197 K-Member

Discussion in 'SVT Shelby GT500' started by Tob, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Tob

    Tob Salut! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    MAXIMUMFinalslightlysmaller.jpg



    I was recently given the opportunity to jump on the train a little early and grab a good seat before it pulled into the station. Maximum Motorsports is finalizing the design of their latest masterpiece, a K-member designed to fit the 2005-2014 S197 chassis. I just installed one in my 2009 GT500 and have already accepted the fact that the grin on my face may indeed be permanent. I invite you to spend a few minutes staring and studying.


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    My name is Tob and I have a hardware addiction.

    Yeah, and I'm not looking for a cure either. Pulling all of this from the neatly packed box it came in, one thing was clear to me in short order - a lot of thought went into this and it was going to take a bit of time to understand the reasoning behind the design. The beautifully designed/fabricated/finished tubular K-member holds nothing back. I expected that. What I wasn't prepared for were the CNC machined billet aluminum blocks. I had never seen a photo of them nor were they specifically talked about. It took me a few minutes to realize what they were for.


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    It was the large radius that gave it away. And while I figured out how they were integral to the design I had yet to grasp the utility they offered.


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    I had planned for this install for some time now and one of the things I wanted to take advantage of during the swap was to install a set of the now deceased, FRPP GT500 shorty headers. So I had to figure out an order of operation as well as a means to get it done. Maximum helped out in this department in a big way. They supplied a flanged tube assembly (as well as superb tech on the matter) that worked flawlessly with some beefy ratchet straps that I keep on hand.


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    Once the modular monster was safely restrained I was able to pull the factory K-member and suspension pieces with relative ease. I was able to do everything by myself (My Great Dane "Big V" was there just in case) either on my knees or on my back. The motorcycle jack I used made lowering the K-member a breeze.


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    I don't have any official specifications to report other than to say that design allows for a much stronger piece than the factory with increased room or clearance as well as much improved geometry.


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    The billet blocks. I hadn't identified the additional role(s) they were designed to fill until Chuck Schwynoch, the CEO at MM, pointed it out to me. The blocks (and the welded angle assemblies attached to them) were designed to allow the engine to be supported independent of the K-member. Absolute genius. Talk about room for a header install or pan change/maintenance, etc. Like a pair of comfortable shoes or your best fitting jeans, the included hardware fit like a glove. The three loosely threaded bolts you see are for attaching the K-member.


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    With the engine fully supported I was able to install and square up the K-member like a gentleman.


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    Installed along with the K-member were MM's caster/camber plates as well as their bumpsteer kit. I used a Longacre c/c gauge and string lines for alignment and was on the road. I'm happy to report that there is zero increase in NVH and I mean zero. I commented to Chuck that the car felt different in that it seemed to have lost the desire to plow off the road. It is clearly better than it was from a confidence perspective. I'm not finished with it yet and am trying to fine tune so that I can offer accurate and repeatable feedback to Maximum.



    Some truly creative minds have created something truly revolutionary. Chuck, Luka, Jack, and everyone else at Maximum - please, keep up the good work!


    Tob
     
  2. slowbra1

    slowbra1 Well-Known Member Established Member

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    TOB, thank you for this great write up. You are beyond a shadow of a doubt the best poster on SVTP bar none.
     
  3. cluscher

    cluscher Member Established Member

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    Wow, MM, welcome to the show! That is a mighty fine looking piece for sure. Did you happen to compare the weight of their K member over stock? As I scrolled the pictures I was hoping to see MM A-arms mated to that pretty K member. Is that next on the list? I'll be interested to see what else they come up with for the GT500.

    As always, some stellar wrenching combined with a stellar write up. Thanks Professor!
     
  4. 03 DSG Snake

    03 DSG Snake Unknown Cyborg Established Member

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    I have DREAMED of this day. I have been lusting after MM KMembers for years and finally got to install one on my 03 Cobra last year. Beautiful piece and it rewlly transformed the car.

    Happy I held out in hopes of MM releasing the S197 piece. The engine supports are GENIUS.

    Thank you Tob!!!! Looking forward to more on this.
     
  5. spitin venom

    spitin venom ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Established Member

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    Excellent write up as always! What is the difference in weight?
     
  6. Phantomhalo

    Phantomhalo All the boost! Established Member

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    Great write up! Is there anything that is required or highly suggested to buy with the K member such as the bump steer kit, a-arms, so on...? Does the NVH normally come from the A arm swap or the k member itself with other k members? This post really has me thinking about doing this now...
     
  7. VegasMichael

    VegasMichael 6/2021; 2.06 Established Member

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    I was curious as well. Tob usually compares the weights of car parts to prepackaged snack foods and then shares his findings. Apparently he wasn't feeling hungry at the time.
     
  8. GT Premi

    GT Premi Well known member Established Member

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    ^^^Those.

    Any increase in NVH would be coming from the engine mounts and/or A-arms. Just a swap in K-member will not affect NVH; not noticeably, anyway. As someone who has gone this route [with BMR parts], I don't recommend swapping A-arms. The random, yet persistent, steering vibrations are just not worth the gains. My car felt like a dream after my suspension updates until I had the K-member and A-arms installed. Now it's an annoying nightmare on the highway, thanks to the vibrations.
     
  9. Catmonkey

    Catmonkey I Void Warranties! Premium Member Established Member

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    Special K, indeed! Tob, could you clarify what motor mounts you're using? If stock mounts work, I have to get one of these. Any idea when they go into production and pricing?
     
  10. Tob

    Tob Salut! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I had a few discussions with the good people at Maximum and I did bring up the question about weight. I'm not in a position to quote accurate numbers as I honestly don't know what the final design will consist of. I believe there is more than one variation of the billet block and that alone has an impact on weight. I think that I can safely say that if you are seeking major reductions in weight from a K-member swap then you may want to look at the more drag oriented units that are currently for sale. I waited for Maximum's K-member because I wanted the most robust piece available - not simply the lightest. I knew they'd rework the architecture with improved geometry. I was absolutely caught off guard with the ability to support the engine without the K-member in place. Weight reduction is always welcomed but not at the cost of a potentially weaker structure as far as I'm concerned.

    I won't jump the gun and try to provide data that may prove inaccurate. Simply put, Maximum fine tuned the roll center height. They did take into account the rules that certain sanctioning bodies have in place. The K-member is far more rigid than stock which results in far less deflection when loaded under various dynamic conditions. Throughout the design phase, MM made an effort to ensure that NVH wouldn't rear its head, and part of that plan included the decision to design it around stock style motor mounts.

    We also discussed whether or not MM plans on offering a front arm. Be aware that as hard as I may have pried that I'm not privy to everything. I can say that MM is not unhappy with the Multimatic manufactured factory arm either from a design or durability standpoint, other than they welcomed the change Ford made to include a stronger balljoint on the most recent factory arm revision. Beyond that, I honestly don't know.

    A few other things I didn't mention. If you go back and look at some of the photos you'll see two control arm pivot holes, similar to what they've done previously with Fox/New Edge chassis cars. The K-member was designed to accommodate either a hydraulic or an electric rack. There are some minor details that those of you with sharp eyes may have picked up on that I didn't address. Suffice it to say, Maximum has more in store and I look forward to the official release.



    Immediately upon pulling the K-member out of the box I laid it next to a ~ 10 year old MM Fox body K-member I happen to have. You might find it interesting.


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    I am using the factory stock, OEM GT500 engine mounts.:) I do not know what the final price will be nor do I know exactly what will be included. Maximum is gearing up for production in the near future but I have no date to offer.
     
  11. BMR Tech

    BMR Tech Authorized Vendor Authorized Vendor

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    Very nice post Tob! And yes, very nice K-Member. I have always been a fan of MM K-Members, they are definitely one of the best options when looking for a front end that is more rigid, and offers geometry adjustment / improvements.

    I have run (2) MM K's on my previous cars.

    We have been kicking around the idea of developing (2) more K's. One was going to be a handling specific piece - and now seeing this up close, it looks like either A: we may not bother, or B: We better be on our game when we design it!

    So, the outboard mounts on the front rack bar....were you able to acquire the front end bracing? If not, will you be acquiring it anytime soon?

    The A-Arm pivot (front) mounts - did they provide you with a spacer for the rear mount, if you decide to raise it up? We have a limited # of K's that we made with the same raised front mount, but never got around to offering the spacer for the back.

    The motor mounting method - were you informed on exactly why they chose to offer it in that fashion? I dig it.

    I noticed the rear most mounts, they seem to be somewhat narrow. That goes against what our next revision / version may be, because the floorpan in that region is a very known weak point, especially on a handling application. Do they, or are they planning on offering some bolt-in or welded reinforcement plates for that area? Kind of like the Shelby Pieces:

    http://www.shelbystore.com/Shelby-K-Member-Support-Plates-p/s5mk-5a035-a.htm

    My favorite design feature of this piece is the rear arm mounting area. The K-Members that have failed, typically fail where the A-Arm is mounted on the rear leg of the K-Member. Of course, the brace that goes from side to side helps, but that design on this piece is very, very well thought out.

    MM did a great job!
     
  12. 03 DSG Snake

    03 DSG Snake Unknown Cyborg Established Member

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    I'm running delrin A-Arm bushings with poly motor mounts on my Cobra with the MM K and have no steering vibes or any more noise to speak of.
     
  13. Tob

    Tob Salut! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I figured if anyone was going to notice the additional mounts on the front rack tube that it would be you Kelly. I do not have them. When the rest of the system becomes available I assure you that I'll be ordering them though. For those of you that aren't sure about what Kelly is referring to, take a look at a post Ron made earlier this year. Note that the prototype K-member seen in those photos is different than what I installed. That K-member doesn't use the billet blocks, for example. Look closely and you'll see other changes as well.

    http://www.svtperformance.com/forum...ximum-Motorsports-new-S197-parts-being-teased

    No spacer for the A-arm at the rear mount. Again, I don't know what Maximum may have up their sleeve here.

    The "motor mounting method"...I forget who had the epiphany, Luka or Chuck. Exactly why they chose to offer it...how could you not?!

    With respect to the floorpan being weak where the rear K-member mount attaches - I also see subframe connectors in those Shelby store photos. I have never seen a complaint that the World Challenge cars (for example) were having issue with that attachment point and they are pushed to limits far exceeding what 99% of us will ever see. I'll ask though as you've piqued my interest in so far as any test data may show. I did notice the reinforcement that MM added to the rear flange and I'm quite confident in the engineering behind it.


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    Beau Dunnivant has been field testing a prototype K-member on his S197 in American Iron successfully and has no doubt provided measurable feedback to Maximum.




    I maintain a growing folder full of part failures from both Ford as well as a number of aftermarket companies. Your comment about the rear leg is dead-on. Here's a current offering from a fairly large name that yielded in the area you spoke of.


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  14. GT Premi

    GT Premi Well known member Established Member

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    You don't have EPAS. The vibration I wrote about affects cars with the electric power steering assist system. The system isn't calibrated to deal with aftermarket steering components.
     
  15. BMR Tech

    BMR Tech Authorized Vendor Authorized Vendor

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    Good stuff Tob!

    As for that floorpan, it's an issue, I promise.

    The road course customers I have, I point them to inspect that area quite often. I would say, 50+% of my customers who have road coursed on our K-Members, and not added material there, have warped/bent/distorted that portion of the floor pan.

    At any rate, I recommend anyone who is participating in handling activities, to reinforce that specific location. Especially with more rigid aftermarket K-Members.

    And yes, I love the engine mount idea. But, I am still trying to understand it. It is very nice, and cool as all get out, just looking for more specifics other than how cool it is, and clearance. I wouldn't think clearance is better than say, our engine mount design.
     
  16. GT Premi

    GT Premi Well known member Established Member

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    My interest is piqued about that spot being weak, too. I've used that very spot to jack/support my car a few times! :eek: Like the Shelby pictured in Kelly's link, I, too, have boxed subframe connectors.
     
  17. Tob

    Tob Salut! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I'll see what I can dig up on the S197 floorpan being weak in that area. And Kelly, if the only specs I ever provide are with respect to "how cool" something is then I haven't done a very good job. This system was designed to allow use of the factory mounts as I mentioned earlier. I can't argue on behalf of (or against) a non-factory mount if mount clearance is the topic at hand. I can say however that when the factory engine mount is used in conjunction with Maximum's machined blocks that this system provides clearance/room/etc that no other factory engine mount system provides. Changing the oil pan or installing a set of longtubes? The ability to do either without the K-member present (if you so choose) and the engine bolted down is huge! Squaring up the K-member is also simplified because you aren't moving the engine with it.
     
  18. BMR Tech

    BMR Tech Authorized Vendor Authorized Vendor

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    Yes! Squaring the K member, has always been a nightmare, with the traditional systems. That alone, is worth it! Thanks for bringing that up.
     
  19. BMR Tech

    BMR Tech Authorized Vendor Authorized Vendor

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  20. Bad Company

    Bad Company Well-Known Member Established Member

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    I've been waiting to see more on this piece for a while now. Tob what size and gauge tubing is used for the main structure of the K-Member? I'm estimating roughly 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" diameter by looking at the pictures. The way they tied the hop and arms of the K-member along with the cross brace should add a lot of strength to the rear LCA mounting points on this piece. I know where you stole that picture of the failed K-member.....LOL That picture is one of the reasons I've been very leery of doing another K -member swap in my car. But the MM K-member has been something I've been considering because of their past history of doing it right. The rear mounts are slightly smaller than stock, but I don't know if this would cause an issue or not. The Roll Center change is nice and should really help the handling. The front upper mount needs to have a spacer for the rear mount. Otherwise it will alter the anti-dive characteristics of the suspension in a manner that isn't good. It would be nice if they actual dialed in a little more anti-dive than the stock K-member also by raising the rear mount slightly higher than the front, yet keep the bolts for the front mount in the same plain as the rear bushing for easy free travel of the suspension. Do you know if MM altered the anti-dive geometry also?

    If this is a prototype they have time yet for some fine tuning before releasing it for sale.

    Good job on the write up......thank you.
     

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