Click on thumbnails below for larger pics....
This 2017 Shelby GT350 (S550) was purchased from Justin Gaines at Athens Ford, a very positive experience for us. First pics below are of Justin gassing up the GT350 prior to us picking it up and you can see it in the background of Isaac's video at the dealership HERE.
Kind of a funny side note HERE on the origins of racing stripes since this car has them.
Purchase includes the GT350 Track Attack track event, FAQ HERE. (Archived website and video). Business Insider detailed their experience HERE.
I looked at this car when it first hit dealers in 2016 but refused to pay ADM of +$10-20k and was holding out for Ford to correct the packaging in 2017 to allow for both track and electronics packages (mutually exclusive in 2016). What attracted me to this dealership was the price below MSRP and the free lifetime powertrain warranty.....and all of the staff there were GREAT.
This car is a bit different than the standard Mustang for 2017; MagneRide suspension/tuning, huge Brembo brakes, Tremec TR3160, and aero with the key difference being the motor: a new 5.2L engine with a flat plane crank (aka VOODOO).
One thing I found weird in week 1 of ownership was that the voltage fluctuated between 12.1 and 14.9 with engine running, forum thread HERE and HERE discusses this is normal and I also confirmed this with the dealership tech. This is new "smart" charging technology where the PCM decides how the battery should be charged which saves very little gas and never completely charges the battery.....may be a way to disable this though, I like constant voltage charging and batteries that don't require chargers in between trips More related info can be found HERE.
[EDIT] Found a FORScan "Switch" at 726-04-01 to turn this battery management garbage off, detailed HERE and HERE - 14+ volts all the time now
Good pre-delivery and ongoing checklist can be found HERE.
Non-R models have front spoiler P/N FR3Z-17626-E, this should be looked upon as a disposable part and checked before taking delivery for scrapes and/or incorrect installation.
Window Sticker, Dealer Ad, Sales Brochure, Quick Reference Guide, Owners Manual (with GT350 Supplement and revised cartridge/canister oil filter service process build date 2017), Technical Specifications, Dealer Price Sheet, and Informational Video, Module Build (As-Built) Data.
Owners Supplement arrived via FedEx a week after purchase and contained a certificate of authenticity, a print, a poster, a brochure, and a stand with the chassis number to hold the small scale flat plane crank- NICE
Wired V1 to mirror accessory wiring by modifying the old Viper harness and plugging pins into back of the plug and running wiring through existing channel to headliner. Pics below detail what is involved, some information on the V1 plug pinout can be found HERE (archived in pdf format HERE). Similar wiring solutions for the mirror plug can be found on Amazon.
Trustworthy Valentine 1 radar detector should help keep me out of trouble, manual HERE (archived HERE)..
First investment/upgrade was to install passenger side catch can from Ford Performance (P/N M-6766-A50) (video HERE) after reading these forum threads HERE and HERE, some have decided to reverse one of the lines as shown HERE for a better fit......this is what I found to work better as well.
The catch can was purchased from American Muscle, installation instructions HERE.
For now I am skipping the driver side catch can, oil on that side seems to be minimal to non-existent (I took the same approach with the Viper for the same reason)......but, I may at some point decide to install the driver side can from Ford Performance (P/N M-6766-A50S), installation instructions HERE and HERE- According to a Ford engineer in the above referenced forum thread the driver side can will collect some oil if track level cornering forces are experienced. A simpler solution for the driver side might be the UPR Clean Side Separator which does not collect oil but prevents it from leaving the valve cover.
To establish a more linear feel to the clutch and eliminate the vague engagement point, the OE spring(s) were scrapped for the Steeda Clutch Spring Assist And Spring Perch Kit 35 Lb/In Manual Transmission (2015-2017) from CJ Pony Parts.
I did not have to use any pliers for the springs on removal or installation, all was done with hand pressure- start to finish in 10 minutes. I did lubricate all the same points where the OE assembly was lubricated, this was not noted in the provided instructions.
Some on the forums have reported this spring was not much of an improvement over OE, some even went back to OE......I have to say I'm with the majority and find that this spring is definitely an improvement and worth the $15 and 5 minutes it took to swap it out.
Twisted Shifterz GT350 Qualifier White w/ Black 6 Speed Shift Pattern Knob from eBay installed, 2 1/8" diameter and M10x1.25 threads with recess for lift-for-reverse collar. Blue Thread Lock included and required, READ the instructions that came with the knob.
Key for the thread locker to work is that the threads on the shifter and the knob have to be clean. To remove the OE knob (which also uses blue thread locker) I just used one of the rubber jar openers in the kitchen (think small rubber sheet) and a little bit of force to unscrew it....still in mint condition after removal.
Installation video of similar knob HERE.
I don't mind using a hood prop rod as a backup but prefer struts as a primary method to raise and support the hood.....so I ordered the Redline Tuning 2016+ Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 & GT350R Hood QuickLIFT PLUS (P/N 21-11030-02) from Amazon.
Hood actually opens an inch or so farther than with the prop rod. You will have to drill/cut your battery cover (P/N FR3Z-63018A16-AA).
I ordered the below to reinforce key chassis points:
- Steeda S550 Mustang Ultra Lite Low-Profile Chassis Jacking Rails (P/N 555 5205) from MA Performance
Installation Instructions HERE and Video HERE, Demonstration Video HERE
- Steeda S550 Mustang Ultralite 2-Point G-Trac Brace (P/N 555 5533) from MA Performance
Installation Instructions HERE and Videos HERE and HERE, forum discussion HERE
- Steeda S550 Mustang Rear IRS Subframe Support Braces (P/N 555 5754) from MA Performance
Installation Instructions HERE and Videos HERE, HERE, and HERE
Big THANKS to Bill Tschida at MA Performance for the superior customer service
Lloyd Ultimats from Auto Anything. Article detailing the new logo release HERE.
I ordered Black, Ebony would have been a closer match to factory carpet.
Diode Dynamics LED Interior Light Conversion Kit (Cool White) from CJ Pony Parts installed.
NOTE: Diode Dynamics is generally unresponsive to emails so not the best customer service rating from me- I would probably just use cheaper bulbs if I had it to do over- quality and customer service can't be any worse so no value to pay a premium. I assembled a guide HERE that outlines a MUCH better way to install the vanity lights in the sun visors when compared to the game of Operation their video recommends and provides lots of working room to avoid damaging the sockets and bulbs. Also check out some alternative DIY guides like this one HERE.
Diode Dynamics XP80 Backup/Reverse LED from MMS installed.
Generic S550 Installation video HERE....it was a bit more work on the GT350 since the diffuser required removal to access the light bulb. (6) Push pins removed using a screwdriver, (2) ribbed push-in retainers removed with Door Panel/Clip Remover, (4) bolts removed with 10mm wrench (front then rear since front hooks will hold diffuser up until rear bolts are removed)- pics below are color coded for fastener type, tool used, and location. It's a tight squeeze to get your hand in to access the plug; turn and pull out, replace bulb, check that it works, reassemble.
~1 week old, less than 300 street miles on the odometer.....a problem/issue with the OE Michelin Super Sport tires disintegrating.
Over the course of installing some of the above performance parts, I noticed severe chunking of the passenger side tires - I wish I would have taken some pics because the dealership pics don't represent just how bad the issue was.
Back to Athens Ford, I was told that the service manager, Jeff Owens, took some pictures to forward to Michelin to start my claim for a replacement set of tires from Michelin. After several follow-ups and almost 2 months later (odometer at ~1000 miles now) I am contacted to bring the car in to the dealer to get the set of tires replaced and I confirm on drop-off that the SET of tires will be replaced.....after a day in the shop, the dealer is reporting that Michelin is refusing to cover replacement of the left side tires, one of which now shows delamination. I have seen retreads that look better than this "new" set on my brand new car. A call to Michelin (1-866-866-6605) prompted them to reopen dialogue with Athens Ford after assuring me that the SET would be replaced. I'm not sure if this was a bad day for manufacturing at Michelin or if the Ford spec tire compound is the issue.
I will have to say it was fairly easy to get in touch with a person at Michelin Customer Service and they always returned follow-up calls promptly.
Because a wheel was damaged during installation and had to be repaired, my car was at the dealer for 7 days, which included a nice weekend and some car activities ....and then it was discovered that the "fix" was not adequate since these were powder-coated wheels and that not one but ALL wheels were damaged in varying degrees. A few more days down for all to be sent off for bead-blasting and powder-coating and on delivery discovered that these guys also failed - poor prep/materials/process = sub par results and several wheel weights fell off wheels as they waited for pickup on my garage floor. Good labor is hard to come by these days. As a last resort, the dealer has backordered a new set of OE wheels so my car can know life without jack stands, it's been almost a month since I have driven it.
Finally.....success. Kevin Tavares and Joe Johnson worked to procure a new set of OE wheels and picked up the old wheels, mounted/balanced the new wheels/tires, and brought them back to my house- THANKS!
~2 weeks old, less than 600 miles on the odometer.....
After eating breakfast on the way to my paint protection installation, I got in the car to leave and....NO START
My first experience with Ford Road Service was not great: although my home dealership was within the 35 mile radius, she told me it was not so I got towed to the closest dealership. This dealership was only 10-15 minutes away from where my car was stranded but about an hour from my home.
Dallas from Hemphill Towing and Recovery showed up and did a PERFECT job getting the car loaded- no scrapes and without any input from me followed the protocol outlined in the manual- Kudos Dallas.
Matt Lane at Angela Krause Ford was awesome as well, as a GT500 owner he understood my concern leaving the car out in the weather and agreed to store it inside on the service lane- Kudos Matt.
The issue turned out to be rare; one of the wiring posts had broken off the integrated starter solenoid, maybe a hairline crack was present in the plastic post mount at manufacturing/installation that vibrated to a breaking point Because the issue was not common, the starter was not in stock at the local DC and had to be shipped from Detroit so the car was at the dealership for a few days.
What started out as a bad day turned out to be OK, happy that I got stranded somewhat close to home and had some great people to get my car to the dealership and get the issue resolved Time to reshedule that missed paint protection appointment.....
Xpel Ultimate Plus Paint Protection Film (VIDEO) on the front bumper/hood/fenders/mirrors/door handles installed at Sun&Shield Automotive Films.
SpaceCity Heel/Toe Spacers (discount code M6G) and Fingerprint Free Trunk Strap V4 (Red) installed. Props to Oy for bringing these small-detail-items to market.
Heel/Toe Spacers installation instructions HERE, forum discussion HERE. 1/2" seems perfect, pedal height is not raised drastically as you can see in the pictures but just enough so that heel/toe does not require as much effort.
Trunk Strap installation instructions HERE. This addition works exactly as I desired, I'm still not sure why Ford does not have some type of similar provision as OE....I've had older German cars that have handles molded into the interior trunk panel for this reason.
ZL1 ADDONS Rock Gaurds installed. Not sure why they elected to use grey VHB tape, I removed this after a while and changed to 3M Scotch 5952 Black VHB Tape- way less visible.
First engine oil and filter change at 1285 miles to get rid of break in material. My car's build date was 2017 and had the later cartridge/canister style oil filter documented HERE - important to check your filter type prior to ordering as a spin-on metal oil filter was used prior. For the first change I decided to stick with the OE Motorcraft XO-5w50-QGT synthetic oil and the Motorcraft FL-2062 filter, an oil change kit is cheapest at K-MansParts and includes everything you need. I added 2 single quarts to my order to make a full case and have some oil to add in between changes. Another cheap source for the Motorcraft oil is RockAuto.
There have been some reports that the OE Motorcraft 5w50 shears pretty quickly so at the next change onward I'll use Amsoil Signature Series 5w50 which meets the Ford WSS-M2C931-C specification- Data Bulletin HERE and will stick with the OE Motorcraft FL-2062 Oil Filter ordered in bulk from Amazon. Although I did not replace it this time I have bought new oil drain plugs in bulk as well and will replace them at every oil change going forward, FORD OIL DRAIN PLUG, BC3Z-6730-A / FT4Z-6730-A.....sometimes found cheaper on eBay or at Tasca.
The oil drain plug is easy to remove by hand but you can also use a 3/8" ratchet sans socket- there are stops built in so that you know when it is loose and can be pulled out or when it is fully tightened. Capacity with filter change is 10 quarts of oil and it comes out fast, make sure you have a big drain pan. It is apparent that the engineers placed the oil filter in it's location and orientation to make a mess, you can get creative and minimize the mess with paper towels, flexible funnels, etc. Filter canister is removed using a 27mm socket. The small red o-ring is not used, the two large red o-rings replace the OE black o-rings on the canister- be sure to lube o-rings with some fresh oil. Old oil filter is pulled off, canister cleaned out, and new filter cartridge pressed into place. There is a torque spec to reinstall oil filter assembly but I just tightened mine by hand until it stopped and the factory green marks lined up.
I also checked the passenger side catch can, it had about 1/4 of oil in the bottom which was cleaned out.
Wanting to make my GT350 sound more like a GT350R, I opted for the Corsa Resonator Delete/Stainless Steel Double X-Pipe 3" (P/N 14347) from Maryland Speed.....but the wait was a bit extensive; 6+ weeks and counting so time to dispute credit card charges since these guys refuse to cancel but keep giving me the runaround....first item ordered and may be last item received- ..... just go Amazon.
After following up with Corsa directly they price matched Maryland Speed and shipped same day
I understand the GT350 focus is performance, but the stereo really is pretty horrible with zero low end sound.
I decided on a JL Audio Stealthbox (manual) with a 12TW3-D4 (manual) powered by a JL Audio XD300/1v2 (manual) with gains tuned as per JL Audio with voltmeter to avoid clipping. Additional information for tuning amplifier gain with a voltmeter: MTX Video (MTX Test Tones Download), Sonic Electronix Video, Instructions from Sonic Electronix.
Some helpful forum threads:
Master Installation Sheet HERE
- Stereo/Speakers/Wiring information (Archived),
- Stealthbox Installation Tips/Tricks (Archived),
- Stealthbox Installation Information (Archived),
- Dynamat and Amplifier Installation (Archived),
- Powered Subwoofer Installation (Archived),
- Using FORScan to Disable Bass Roll-Off/Attenuation Post 1 (Archived) and Post 2 (Archived)
To keep speaker wiring simple and avoid tapping/splicing/hacking into the OEM harness wires, I decided to go ahead and replace the rear speakers with Rockford Fosgate Prime 6.75" speakers (P/N R1675X2) (manual HERE) from Crutchfield- they included the Metra speaker mounting adapters (P/N 82-5605) and speaker wire harness adapters (P/N 72-5602) at no cost with purchase of the speakers which were on sale for $39.99. The RF speakers were selected since they are marketed as a factory replacement speaker that works well with head unit power as-is, no need for a new amplifier. 16 gauge speaker wires were tapped into the Metra rear speaker wire harness adapters (P/N 72-5602- instructions HERE) and then soldered along with heatshrink tubing to the JL Audio XD-CLRAIC2-SW adapters to convert the speaker level signal to RCAs- no Line Out Converter (LOC) required, just flip the switch to high level if low level does not suffice. The amplifier senses an audio signal to turn on so I thought a remote turn on wire was not required, but the auto sense turn on feature causes intermittent popping- just tap the blue/white wire in the wiring harness under the passenger side speaker and run a remote turn on wire. Rockford Fosgate OFC 4 gauge power and ground wires were used with a 30 amp MAXI fuse. Power wire was run through a grommet in existing hole (covered with sticker-see pics below) in the water drain channel under the battery tray and sealed with some black flexible seal I had laying around, and then through a hole drilled in the bottom upper right corner of the battery box- fuse holder attached with Scotch Extreme (3M Dual Lock) Velcro to inside of battery box. Power wire then run through existing grommet after cutting the rubber end off and under trim to the trunk. Ground wire was bolted to existing open bolt hole under spare tire bolt assembly as others have done after removing paint down to metal- the foam piece will need to be slightly modified to allow for the wire and bolt, I just used a big drill bit like a rotozip. Amplifier was mounted to wood mount anchored to wheel well with E6000 adhesive.
I don't have any plans to upgrade the front speakers and OE amplifier but never say never- speaker impedance and wattage ratings can be found HERE and HERE, Mumbles 401a simple wiring diagram is HERE and HERE, converting OE amplifier plugs to RCAs is HERE.
I'm not quite sure why Ford did not give us a decent AGM battery but I figured with the amplifier installation above it was a good time to upgrade. An Odyssey PC1200MJT from Amazon (Battery Mart) installed using a hold down strap from Poly Performance (SKU WCB-HDAS-METAL - West Coast Battery P/N HDS-1200/1700) as recommended by Odyssey for this application....I also elected to add a piece of foam weatherstrip to the inside top of the mount. This was NOT plug and play but involved modifications to the hold down strap, battery box, and retaining bolt assembly detailed in pics below (Bracket pics borrowed from VW Vortex's vwtechr32). Key to this mod is removing the OE post clamp hardware that sticks up above the posts and prevents the battery cover use- replaced with M8 bolts/washers/nuts after drilling a hole through the post clamps and can be reversed in future if desired, no permanent modifications.
Usually one of the first things I do is replace the OE lug nuts with Gorilla, the OE steel lug nuts with SS caps don't look great after a few rounds with a lug wrench and pose some concerns as outlined by Auto Fanatic. I have never had catastrophic failure as he did but just want something solid so......Gorilla it is, part number 61147CX sourced from Autoplicity but just get them from Amazon.
In the pics below you can see where Autoplicity sent me two different types of lug nuts with the same part number, it looks like the part changed at some point and they just shipped what they had with no regard for their customer. I unsuccessfully tried to get a return authorization, many emails but no RA......they then tried to blame the manufacturer for no response. RA still unresolved after a month so they were just riding the clock to push my return outside their return window- credit card company and BBB seem to be the resolution here, no more Autoplicity for me.
Well, I decided to follow up with Gorilla and they had no idea who Autoplicity was, it seems Autoplicity takes your money and a distributor drop ships the product. Shortly after I reached out to Gorilla, Jon Collier (National Sales Rep) was emailing me to see what he could do to resolve an issue he did not really own. Super over and above customer service on his part, he went through his samples to find me another 16 matching lug nuts for the better/older parts I had received from Autoplicity and shipped them to me- THANKS Jon!
Kudos Gorilla , BOO Autoplicity
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy ......time for a quick North GA Distillery Tour
We decided to take a quick tour of the North GA mountain roads and see some distilleries along the way, a quick 2 days over the weekend.
First stop was Moonrise Distillery, great tour and nice bourbon.
Second stop was R.M. Rose Company, neat history- was started by a Confederate Army doctor after the civil war.
Third stop was Chatooga Belle Farm and Distillery a little bit over the GA state line in SC, awesome views and my wife liked ALL of the distillery products. We met Ed and Kitty, Ed shared his story and product samples with us.
Fourth stop was Grandaddy Mimm's, we met Tommy Townsend who told us about the history of the business and shared samples of products with us- GREAT host
Intermission in our tour before heading home was our favorite BBQ place that recently relocated from Blue Ridge to McCaysville, Joe's BBQ- same great food and larger dining area.
Fifth stop was Lazy Guy Distillery, we sampled their wide variety of bourbons and whiskies.
Sixth and Final stop was ASW Distillery, another great tour and nice atmosphere to drink bourbon/whiskey and socialize.
Great weekend and the car is great for touring mixed with some fun mountain roads
OE filter gets dirty pretty quick so rather than replace it with another paper filter I opted for the Ford Performance Air Filter (P/N M-9601-G) made by Airaid from Late Model Restoration (American Muscle had them on back order after this forum post....older thread HERE). This is a dry filter so no oil, and this can be cleaned at every oil change so better value than R&R OE paper filter. But hang on to your paper filter so you can use it while this filter dries from being cleaned
AutoFanatic has a video HERE detailing his installation, note the AIRAID P/N is 863-399 for this Ford Performance part M-9601-G....my filter did not even come in a white Ford box, now Ford just applies their label to the Airaid box. Also note the filter tab installs facing down, not the way it was installed in this video. You will need an 8mm socket for the clamp bolt.
Cleaning instructions HERE (archived HERE) when using Airaid cleaner, although their instructions for other products suggest more common cleaners can be used.
For example, see at the bottom of this instruction PDF (archived HERE):
"NOTE: Synthamax Air Filters do not require oil. Service air filter as needed by cleaning with common non-petroleum allpurpose household cleaner and water. Simple Green®, Formula 409® or equivalent works great. Apply cleaner to outside of air filter and allow to soak. Then flush filter clean from the inside out with a garden hose and repeat steps if necessary. Do not apply high pressure water or air to clean filter. Allow filter to air dry and reinstall."
Ford Performance Blue Coil Covers (P/N M-6P067-M50B), originally a Boss302 part, purchased from Amazon and installed.
[PENDING] Wanting to make my GT350 handle more like a GT350R, I initially looked at the Ford Performance Springs (P/N M-5300-W) but decided I did not want it any lower so I opted for the OE GT350R springs and rear sway bar from AutoNation Ford White Bear Lake (front sway bar is the same P/N on R and non-R):
I also purchased new hardware that Ford listed as one time use:
- R rear sway bar (P/N FR3Z-5A772-E)
- R rear sway bar bushings (x2, P/N F2GZ-5493-C)
- R right rear spring (P/N FR3Z-5560-W)
- R left rear spring (P/N FR3Z-5560-X)
- R front springs (x2, P/N FR3Z-5310-M)
Installation videos that might help are HERE (transcript).
- Front Strut Lower Bolt (x4, PN W715932-S439)
- Front Strut Lower Nut (x4, P/N W520517-S450)
- Front Strut Upper Mount Nut (x6, P/N W715135-S440)
- Rear Upper Shock Mount Bolt (x4, P/N W718383-S439)
- Rear Lower Shock Mount Bolt (x2, P/N W716286-S439), if removing the rear shock you will also need this- I did not.
Vorshlag Spring comparison HERE and HERE.
Forum discussion HERE, HERE, HERE. Interesting spring comparison post HERE.
Since I was already taking apart the suspension to install springs and would need an alignment, I figured it would also be a good time to install:
- SPC EZ CAM XR (16MM - 2) Camber Bolts (P/N 81280) from SaberSport eBay
Installation instructions HERE (SPC) and HERE (BMR)
- Steeda 555-4438 Alignment Kit (IRS Subframe 15-18 Mustang) from Amazon
Installation instructions HERE, videos HERE and HERE
Forum Discussion HERE
- BMR CB010 Cradle Bushing Lockout Kit (IRS Subframe 15-18 Mustang)
Installation instructions HERE
- Caliperfexion Stainless Studs and Extension Kit to replace the one time use front brake caliper bolts.
Installation instructions, Drawing and Specifications, 17-4PH Stainless Description, 4340 Manganese Phosphate Description
Forum Discussion HERE, HERE, and HERE
[PENDING] Anticipating at some point that the steering wheel might wear out I preemptively ordered the Ford Performance GT350R Steering Wheel (P/N M-3600-M350R) from Levittown Ford Parts - it was on special and I figured I would store it just in case.....Alcantara does wear out (installation instructions HERE).
Installation videos HERE: CJ Pony Parts and American Muscle
Au revoir, another car on my bucket list came up with a deal too good to pass up so the GT350 had to say goodbye. GREAT American car with an awesome motor, transmission, and suspension......but did burn oil like a rotary Mazda
Oil Analysis performed by Blackstone Laboratories
2018 Mustang Owners Manual (the fuse guide here seems to apply to my 2017, maybe yours as well?)
Ford Performance: Installation Instructions (archived below)
GT350 Reviews and Articles:
GT350 Video: *High Speed Connection Recommended*
GT350 DIY Guides/Installation Instructions:
- mattlqx's Module Address spreadsheet
- Livinitups' F150 Module Address spreadsheet
- S550 As-Built Values spreadsheet (archived HERE)
- Ford As-Built Tire Calculator v3.0 (forum thread HERE)
- FORScan S550 Mustang Thread
- Download AS-BUILT Data File by VIN