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      ABOUT TEAM SHELBY   01/01/2007

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Watts Link

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Terrific news tonight.


With every bolt torqued to its maximum and countless re-torquing to ensure proper installation, further diagnosis with a set of chassis ears confirmed the BMR/Shelby Adjustable UCA to indeed be the culprit responsible for the clunking, something we already knew after reinstalling the OE assembly eliminated the clunk entirely.


Proving again why he’s worth his weight in gold, my tech wasn’t satisfied with punting on what should have been a perfectly functional upgrade, especially given the tubular UCA’s extra robustness and ability to support a more aggressive pinion angle. In addition to other suspension attachment points he was able to eliminate, he mic’d both ends of the UCA and was able to identify two discrete and distinct clunks, one at the bolt that attaches the UCA to its mount and the other at the bolt that connects the opposite end of the UCA to the differential.


He proceeded to dissect the component and began measuring tolerances. He discovered a .016 diameter gap between the upper bolt and the metal bushing collar through which the bolt passes. A similar .010 gap also existed at the other end. He proceeded to have machined a pair of appropriately-sized cylindrical shims that he press fit into the bushing collar and around the bolt at the opposite end to take up the slack.


The rear end is now as clunk-free with the complete suite of tubular and billet rear suspension components, including the WhiteLine Watt’s linkage, as it came from the factory. Absolutely no metal-on-metal impact exists despite being set to support a negative 1.5 degrees of pinion angle. Even with the supercharger loving the huge chunks of cold late-autumn air and conditions being cold for even the UHP A/S tires currently on the car, the rear is rock stable with phenomenal forward bite and finally functioning EXACTLY as I hoped.


The only other additional modification made was removing the Shelby Adjustable Sway Bar link ends. The 5490-B Sway Bar includes selectable attachments points of its own, making the adjustable ends superfluous while also introducing a metal-on-metal rattle that can't otherwise be dialed-out by virtue of their design and construction.


Lastly, I had Dynamat added to the rear seating and forward portion of the trunk compartment to compensate for the inherently less NVH dampening the rear-seat delete yields. I had the chassis double-layered directly opposite suspension attachment points to further dampen out any additional resonance the firmer parts and their lesser amounts of deflection transmit.


Even without adding an additional layer of Dynaliner on-top, the cabin is now much more quiet today than with the OE components that bend and flex and whose relatively soft bushings go a long way toward dampening NVH on their own. I now have the best of all worlds, with suspension that’s razor sharp but not at-all uncomfortable for everyday street driving with a cabin that’s quiet enough to converse at normal conversational levels without deadening the car's exhaust note or the enhanced supercharger whine by virtue of the resonator delete added to gain sufficient clearance for the front strut tower brace.


The final step of the suspension upgrade will be to incorporate the Shelby rear strut tower brace in the trunk once I’ve swapped-put the OE Shaker Sub for the Shelby Kicker unit whose form factor allows the brace to pass cleanly beneath and behind it.


I remain frustrated that Shelby wasn’t able to guide me toward shimming the UCA rather than trying to refute the clunk the item description clearly references and attributes to needing an upgraded mount in conjunction. Ultimately, the tolerance between the supplied bolts and collar were so wide that it simply wasn’t well-fitted and incorporated enough slop into the configuration to not only introduce the undesirable clunk, but potentially become a point of failure after repeated metal-on-metal impact.


Presuming all such components don't have similar gaps or customers are able to correct and compensate for them, I'm very satisfied with my choices. I’m now absolutely thrilled with the car after achieving precisely what I had hoped in terms of improving its handling, rear-end stability and lowering its CoG without needing to endure any downside in the form of introducing any negative NVH characteristics. Fortunately for me, I’m lucky enough to have a tech whose fastidiousness and desire to have the car perform as it should exceeds even my own.


I'd heartily recommend this particular upgrade path for anybody who's seeking to achieve a similar goals.

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That is why you check the parts for fitment BEFORE you install/upon installation. :drop: Just throw in a couple more layers ( 5 or 6 in your case )of Dynaliner and all of your problems will be solved ! :hysterical2:

Edited by Albino500

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Madlock... I PM'd you but in case you miss it, I was wondering if you had a painting tutorial that went along with this write up. Your paint job is flawless and I would LOVE to repeat this on my Whiteline Watts Link prior to installation! Cheers!

So, here's an interim progress report on the suspension upgrade. The project includes FR-3 "L" Springs and "B" Sway Bar Kit, Shelby Caster Camber Plates, Shelby Adjustable Upper Control Arm, Billet Lower Control Arms and Relocation Brackets and Whiteline Watts Link on a '13 Coupe with Performance and Track Packages.

The FR-3 Springs and Shelby Caster Camber Plate installation is standard fare. Nothing unique or special to report. The same can be said of the Adjustable UCA, LCA and Relocation Brackets which I had powder coated.

L Springs Mounted


FR-3 Sway Bar end mount


Shelby Adjustable UCA


Shelby Billet LCA and Relocation Brackets



Here's what's become the object of many peoples' fascination, the Whiteline Watts Link differential cover and propeller pivot mount. I powder coated the differential cover which "weapons grade" doesn't even begin to fully describe.


Incredibly strong? Yes. Beautifully made? Almost. Several of the milled threads required cleaning-up for the supplied bolts to fasten properly. A couple of modifications were also necessary to accommodate the 2013 GT500 and Track Package, namely re-boring a larger diameter cooling inlet to match Ford's OE fitting. Whiteline claims the product was developed before the 2013 cars came to market and information about its differential cooling system was available. The second important modification required machining an all-new inlet for the differential temperature sensor (below).


The final accommodation was relocating a vent Ford incorporates into the OE differential cover to a more convenient location on the axle since the Whiteline cover didn't offer one.


It's also important to note the OE differential cover includes attachment points for plastic fasteners attached to the temperature sensor harness. Rather than drilling into a freshly powder coated differential cover, the harness was simply zip-tied to the differential cooling return line.

The next step was to mount the cover and propeller stantion to the differential. The FR-3 Pack's additional lowering warranted use of the upper stantion mount position. Higher-riding stock suspensions would likely use the upper stantion mount position.


The propeller bushing simply slides over the pivot and each of the Watts Link's control arms extend horizontally to the right panhard bar mount and a Whiteline-supplied bracket on the left that provides the correct geometry. Whiteline also provides a crossmember that replaces the Panhard Bar reinforcement bracket that spans the chassis and ties together both sides.





From this point, the next step is to secure the linkage arms to the propeller and propeller to its pivot with Whiteline-supplied washers and bolts. (Note: These were among a handful of incorrect pieces of hardware I received with the kit which, according to Whiteline, resulted from early QC discrepancies and will be remedied by FedEx tomorrow morning. Frustrating, but not fatal.)



With everything properly fitted, greased, and thread locked (absent the missing hardware), the next step was situating the Ford Racing 5490-B Sway Bar to complete the FR-3 Handling Pack component installation.




The final steps after installing the couple of missing hardware pieces will be to center the axle, set the proper pinion angle, tighten-up the jam nuts and perform a complete alignment before taking the car for its first test drive. Other components not pictured are the FR-3 Front Stabilizer Bar with Shelby Adjustable Sway Bar Links, and the Shelby Transmission Cooling Duct.

Given the scope of the installation and the installer's fastidiousness, about ten man hours of labor have been invested so far with another two to four anticipated before the car is back on the road, everything has been fully tested, and the car is put back on the lift to recheck all connection points and fasteners. Further information to follow as progress warrants.

Addendum: All of the crappy half-assed looking stuff is original factory equipment, from which these components were among the many that were mercifully liberated. (OE differential cover and rear sway bar not pictured)


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I hope to be upgrading my GT500 in similar fashion, soon.


One question though, why would you use both a sway bar and the Watt's Link? I have been reading that they serve the same purpose but the WL does a better job since there is no arc to speak of when the car corners or hits bumps.


Thanks for sharing your work,



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I believe you are confusing the panhard bar with the sway bar. Panhard bar and watts link do the same thing, locate the axle.



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