Stiffen Your 'Stang! 2015 Mustang Strut Tower Brace R&D, Part 5: Final Testing Rig and Results
What a unique and exciting project this has been! We don't want to simply develop neat products; we want to understand how and why they function. This is why our team has been working to develop test protocols for our S550 Mustang strut tower brace evaluations. This segment shows our final testing process and the very surprising results.
Final Testing Rig
After experimenting with a setup designed to record pressure, we noticed that measuring travel distance between the two strut towers would provide identical results if we used a much more adaptable testing device.
Our team acquired a few linear-displacement gauges to modify our strut brace for testing. We started by hacking apart one of our prototype bars.
We then mounted the gauge to the bar.
This gauge mounts on both ends of the bar, allowing us to record the movement between each section.
The two portions of the bar need to move horizontally while being contained in the vertical travel direction. We added a pin-and-cylinder portion to the two sides of the bar to create a male/female connection, eliminating vertical movement.
For this, we broke out the MIG-welder "
" and the TIG-welder.
Check out a couple images of our progress so far.
This bar shows the results we wanted for an S550 with no bracing, as well as an S550 with the K-brace in place.
We added a second bar connecting the two strut towers, this addition provided two more data points - the Mishimoto strut brace and the Mishimoto strut brace with the stock K-brace.
To summarize, we are collecting data points for these four variations:
- No bracing
- Stock K-brace only
- Mishimoto strut brace only
- Mishimoto strut brace with the stock K-brace
The stock K-brace is a pretty beefy piece of steel that connects the two strut towers to the firewall.
This piece is included on GT and EcoBoost models with the optional Performance Package, and it would be our primary competition in terms of stiffening impact. We wanted to provide benefits for those vehicles without OE bracing, but we also wanted our product to add to the stiffening of the S550 when installed with the stock brace.
With that in mind, we conducted two different tests with each of the four variations noted above.
- Cornering: 30 mph slalom
- Braking: 50-0 mph (ABS engaged)
We ran each test (sorry, no video) and organized our results in an easy-to-digest chart.
This chart shows that the addition of our brace provides a huge benefit by reducing strut tower movement in both braking and cornering conditions.
As you would expect, the lack of any bracing caused quite a bit of flex with both driving situations, nearing 0.5mm of displacement between the two towers.
The stock K-brace does a great job at reducing flex, dropping numbers by around 30%.
A direct comparison of our brace setup to the stock unit reveals that our unit comes out on top. We were able to bring movement down to 0.2mm through the corners and 0.25mm during hard braking. So, if you are a V6 or non-PP EcoBoost owner, our brace will be a better investment than purchasing a Ford brace.
Our last test utilized both the stock K-brace and our strut tower unit. Once again, we saw an even further increase in rigidity, dropping movement by 55% compared to a braceless Mustang.
What does it all mean?
We've verified our strut brace design and can begin manufacturing our first batch of units. Even though the stock K-brace does a fine job, we saw great improvement with our brace installed. If you seek the most rigid front-end setup, matching the stock brace to our strut brace will provide the most effective solution.
In addition to verifying the effectiveness of this particular component for the Mustang, we've conducted some awesome (and fun) testing protocols that can be used for future chassis-bracing components developed here at Mishimoto.
Coming Up - Discounted Pre-Sale
With a successful test complete, we've started to assemble our first batch of strut brace kits. We will be launching a discounted pre-sale in the coming weeks for any folks interested in picking one up.
Thanks for following our progress! Feel free to follow up with any questions!