paddedwall.org
where your opinions are noted, and then summarily ignored

Instrumentation

Mounting aftermarket gauges in a Mustang is a "natural" desire. OEM gauge clusters have almost never been any more than a series of idiot lights and psuedo gauges that don't really indicate any useful info. Even worse, they typically only indicate there's a problem AFTER the problem has become an active vector for engine damage. You should NEVER let anyone tell you that aftermarket gauges don't provide any discernible value when the OEM cluser already has said gauges. It's simply not true. Besides, the gauges can also lend that "race car" aire to your otherwise non-race street ride, and you can choose to either make the installation appear to be OEM, or shortcut it, and intionally make it look added on for use at the track. I happen to like both ways, but the "added-on" look is definitely a more convenient install path.

Dash Pods

For 2010+ Mustang owners, the selection of ready-to-install dash pods is pitiful. I wanted something that mounts in the dip on the center of the dash pad, but there isn't anything available the fits/works. As a result, you essentially have just TWO choices:

  • A-Pillar gauges - these are the gauges you see A LOT, because the dash doesn't need to be modified, and routing wires is easier. That's all fine and dandy, but the problems I have with them is that a) I consider these to be ricer additions to a car, and b) it demonstrates a lack of comittment on the part of the car owner to put effort into coming up with a better solution. The short version (for me) is, "Not only no - but FUCK no".

  • Boss 302 Laguna Seca Dash Pod - It's nice that Ford racing has come up with this, but my issue with it is that the gauges don't point at the driver. What the fuck good are gauges that don't point at the driver? Many folks that have this pod say they can see the gauges just fine, but I don't care for it. Besides that, you MUST drill your dash to install it.

That's it. Those are your choices if you want something that's pre-fabricated. Not impressed? Me either. It seems like nobody wants to come up with something that will fit the 2010+ dash. Even SpeedOfSound doesn't have anything that is suitable (see below).

Gauges

Are you aware of how many analog gauge manufacturers there are?

  • Auto Meter
  • GlowShift
  • SpeedHut
  • Stewart-Warner
  • VDO

Add to that, the fact that each manufacturer has several styles of gauge to choose from, and you begin to realize just how staggering your choices are. When you add digital gauges to that list, as well as the choice between electric and mechanical senders, and it becomes truly mind-blowing. How do you choose the best gauge for you?

Mechanical or Electric?

Electric gauges will present the fewest installation issues because you're just dealing with wires. With mechanical gauges, you're dealing with tubing and fittings, or diffcult to route sending mechanisms (look at a mechanical water temp gauge to see what I mean), or that actually bringing oil/fuel (via that tubing) into the cockpit. Tubing can be kinked, cut, or squeezed, thus eliminating the usefulness of the gauge, so unless it's absolutely necessary, I avoid them. Another downside to mechanbical temperature gauges is that the sending mechanism cannot be lengthened or shortenedm, thus making installs a bit tougher.

Electrical gauges solve all of those problems (wires can be cut/extended to the appropriate length, and no harmful fluids in the cockpit), but they suffer from a slight lag in reporting their status, especially with regards to boost gauges. However, they are the easiest to install.

Full/Partial Sweep Guages

Another aspect of gauge selection is deciding how much of the gauge face is used for it's display. This is referred to as the "sweep (how far the needle travels from one extreme to the other). There are various types, but the most popular are partial sweep (60, 90, and 180-degree), and full-sweep (270-degree). Most of the gauge manufacturers provide gauges in both configurations for most of their gauges.

Gauge Size

Generally speaking, there are two standard gauge sizes - 2-1/16, and 2-5/8. The larger of the two are typicaly used in actual race cars, and most of the time, they are only available as mechanical gauges. they are also an order of magnitude more expensive than their smaller cousins.

General Appearance

Most gauge manufacturers offer their gauges with a variety of gauge face, needle and bezel styles, and once again, not all appearance styles will be available for both electric and mechanical gauges, and your options become even more limited if you move up to the larger gauges.

What I Chose, and Why

The following describes the gauges I ended up with, the decisions I made along the way, and why I made those decisions. YOUR decision tree will likely result in a different gauge selection.

  • Analog or Digital? - I really don't think digital gauge displays are approrpiate for a muscle car, so I chose analog. Us old guys - what are ya gonna do?

  • Gauge Size? - Since this isn't a race car, and we really don't have a lot of space do deal with in a Mustang, I chose 2-1/6 inch gauges.

  • Electrical or Mechanical? - Due to the ease of routing "just wires", coupled with status that didn't require a mechanical gauge, I elected to purchase electrical gauges.

  • Partial or Full-Sweep? - I wanted full sweep gauges because I really don't like the partial sweep nature of the OEM instrument cluster.

  • Appearance - I wanted the numbers on the gauge to somewhat match the OEM cluster, the same illumination color (blue), and a black face and bezel.

I've used all of the "big three" (Auto Meter, Steward Warner, and VDO) at one point or another in the past, and you certainly can't argue the quality of those parts. However, none of them had a gauge style that met all of my criteria, and even if I were to settle for "close but no cigar", it would have cost me $500 just for the gauges. It was then that I discovered SpeedHut. They had gauges that did or could meet ALL of my criteria, and still cost me less than $350.

The SpeedOfSound Concept2 Gauge Pod

So I ordered some SpeedHut gauges and the Speed of Sound Concept 2 dash pod. Right after I got the order confirmation notice, I got an email from Alan, the guy that runs SOS. It seems that their web site is WRONG, and the Concept 2 will NOT fit 2010 and up Mustangs (it says 2005+, but it *should* read 2005-2009).

I talked to Alan at SOS, and we talked about the pod and why it doesn't "fit". After weighing some options, I decided to have him ship me the pod anyway, and was planning on trying to make a go of it. I couldn't believe that it couldn't be made to work. I was wrong - kinda. The problem lies in the package tray that for inexpicable molded into the top of the dash. It's only purpose appears to be to obsolete all existing dash pods - including the one from SpeedOfSound. The base of the pod would have to be heavily modified in order to mitigate the presence of the dash package tray, and I decided I don't want to go through that hassle.

So, you can take it from one who knows - the SOS Concept 2 will NOT fit your 2010+ Mustang. This means I have 2-1/2 more options:

Click image for full size version, and more pics.
  • Individual gauge pods - I'm not a fan of this idea because it looks even more like crap than all of the other center-dash options. I really don't mind drilling the dash, but this would probably require a dozen holes. Definitely not a good idea.

  • Fabrication (from scratch) - There are two possible fabrication materials I can use - aluminum or ABS plastic (the "half" solution is to use a combination of both). There are three roadblocks (for lack of a better term) - a) I have to perform all fitment on my dash, b) I'm not a master fabricator, and b) I don't want to have to pay someone else to fabricate it for me. I wish I had a 2010+ dash to work on OUT of the car...
  • A-pillar pod - I had to list this because it is an option.

I have the gauges, and still have the SpeedOfSound dash pod, so I thought I'd go ahead and post some pictures of the trial fit.


Individual Gauge Pods

I ordered and received two different individual gauge pods, both from GlowShift. They were both inexpensive, so it was worth it to see what's what. There's only one other gauge pod available, and it's from Auto Meter and costs more than both of the two GlowShift pods combined.

  • GlowShift GS-U01B - This is a black metal pod, and as long as you get a standard gauge (with the two mounting screws on the back) the mounting hardware is adequate. However, if you get SpeedHut gauges, you're going to have to come up with something else. Other than that, the gauge fit into the pod is okay, but Speedhut's gauges will present additional issues because their gauge bodies aren't as big as gauges the use the mounting stud style. Once mounted, the gauge isn't easily adjustable regarding elevation or windage. Cost is $10. Of the two gauge pods listed here, this is the most viable. SpeedHut gauges require some additional effort to secure in the pod, but it's a better fit than the plastic pod (described below).

  • GlowShift GS-U01 - This is a plastic pod that allows easy adjustment after it's mounted. However, that's the only good thing about it. My SpeedHut gauges stand no chance at all of snugging up into this pod. Since it's injection molded, the finish is inconsitent, and really does require painting to make it look decent. The hole in the bottom of the pod is not big enough for mechanical gauge temperature sensor leads, so be prepared to modify the pod if you have these kinds of gauges. Finally, the mounting "hardware" consists of a round piece of two-sided tape. If you don't want to use the tape, there are two holds in the base intended for use with mounting screws. It's too bad about the fit issue, because these pods are only $7 at Amazon. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

Speed of Sound A-Pillar Pod

Even after seeing an a-pillar pod in an ultra-rare 2011 GT-350, I hate the thought of going this way, but I'm tired of having $325 worth of gauges sitting in a box. Besides, I can always remove it when I've come up with an acceptable dash-top pod. Yes, I'm rationalizing.

In any case, this pod completely replaces your driver's side OEM A-pillar cover, and is already the correct color for your interior. This means two things - you don't have to modify your exsting trim to mount it, and you don't have to paint anything.

Installation

Installing gauges can be broken down into two distinct parts - installing sending units and installing the gauges.

Test Fit Gauges to Pod (that I won't be using)

Before we talk about the installation, I wanted to do a test-fit, more for visual affirmation than anything else. Your first question might be the same one I had - how do you secure the gauges to a gauge pod that doen't have anything for the gauges to actually attach to? The simple answer is that it's a press fit. In order for the ABS plastic pd cells to retain the gauges, I merely placed some velcro tape (the smooth hook side) on the sides of the gauges and shoved them into the pod cells. That seems to secure them pretty well. I performed this test fit because I actually like the pod cell design, and I wanted to see how it looked on the dash.

Installing the Sending Units

Since I'm installing water temp and oil pressure gauges, I have to install the sensors that came with the gauges. This is typical of aftermarket gauges, so don't waste time trying to find gauges that will work with your factory sensors. Further, your factory sensors are required to help the computer to manage the engine's operation, so we can't just rip them off the engine. Your only option is for the new sensors to coexist with your OEM units - speaking of which...

Neither the 3.7 V6 nor the 5.0 V8 have a water temperature sensor. Instead, a cylinder head temperature gauge communicates with the computer which then interpolates the water temperature based on that information. What this means is that there is NO WATER TEMP SENSOR with which to coexist. You have two solutions - drill and tap an appropriate place on the engine to install your sensor into, OR put a tee sleeve into the upper radiator hose that already has a fitting welded into it. I chose the radiator hose route because I really didn't feel like drilling/tapping anything on the motor. You can get one of those radiator hose sleeves here, and it only costs $35 with shipping.

Click image for full size version, and more pics.

Installation requires that you partially drain your cooling system, remove the upper radiator hose, remove about 2-inches of hose, insert the sleeve Tee, and reinstall the hose onto the car. To mitigate the possibilities having to deal with a catstrophic fuck-up on my part, I ordered a new hose from Tousley Ford If you go to your local Ford dealer, it'll cost you $45 for the hose. I don't understand why Tousley can sell the same hose for $18 (which is much more reasonable IMHO). Anyway, I used a hack saw to section the hose, and installed the Tee sleve with some new screw clamps. I then drained about a gallon of coolant from the cooling system, installed the hose, and returned the drained coolane to the motor.

The oil pressure sensor is MUCH easier to deal with, especially on a V6. It's located on the drivers sideof the motor, and is positioned between the back of the alternator and the front of the exhaust manifold. Since I have a base coupe, I don't have an oil pressure gauge on the dash, and I didn't care if the idiot light still functioned or not. This meant more factory wiring harness surgery was required.

The Ford oil pressure sender has two signals - on and off. The reason for this is that it does nothing more than complete a ground to the block when there's no oil pressure, and disconnects the ground when there *is* oil pressure (above about 5 psi). The act of completing the ground connects the circuit and the light comes on. The oil pressure gauge in our Mustangs works the same way. To get the needle to read halfway bewteen good and bad on the gauge, Ford built in some resistance in the electronics that supports the gauge. The sending unit is the same for all cars, and therefore gives the same all-or-nothing signal.

Click image for full size version.
Original oil sender

This means that the idiot light comes on TOO LATE. If you see the oil pressure light, there is NO oil pressure at all, and you have about 10 seconds to shut it off to avoid the possibility of major damage. This makes it beyond useless for most of us. My choice was to remove the OEM sender altogether, so I didn't need a Tee fitting for my installation. If you want to keep yours, you're going to need a Tee fitting, and I've included a link to order them on the net.

So, I disconnected and removed the OEM fitting from the block, and installed the new sending unit. I then cut about seven inches of the insulated wiring carrier away, and then cut the original sender off. I figured there might be a reason to reinstall the sender at some point in the future, so I put some solderless connectors on both the wire under the hood, and the wire still hanging on the original sending unit. I then folded the original wire back on itself and connected someadditional wire (solderless connector again) to it. I routed that wire around the back of the motor, and attached it to the grounding screw on the passenger side strut tower. (Remember, a grounded condition tells the idiot light - and the gauge if you have one - that there is oil pressure, so the light will stay off, and the factory gauge will read normal pressure.)

If you want to maintain a working idiot light/faux gauge on your dashboard, you're going to need a tee-fitting that allows you to use both senders. All you need is a tee fitting that allows you to use both senders. Go to this page, and on the top row of available fittings, you'll see "Tee", with a series of available sizes listed underneath. You want a 1/4 tee, so click the "1/4" size, and you'll be taken to another page that shows the available Tees in that size. I chose the "Medium-Pressure Plated Brass Threaded Pipe Fittings" in black annodized. I received my order two days after placing it.

Installing the Gauges

Click image for full size version, and more pics.

Installing the gauges into the pod was pretty much a no-brainer, but unfortunately, connecting wires is kind of manufacturer-specific. The Speedhut gauges have six wires coming off of them. The gauge face and the need are illuminated separately, and the gauge electronics need a start/run electrical connection, and finally, the sender has it's own wire. To simplify the under-dash wiring, I connected all of the similarly colored wires together (black-to-black, white-to-white, and red-to-red). There was a handly ground spot on a steering column bolt for the black wire, and I connected the white wire to the purple wire on the back of the headlight switch so that the dash-mounted dimmer would control the new gauges along with everything else.

The only wire left to connect was the red 12-volt run/start wire. On the passenger side of the car, behind the kick panel, you'll find a fuse panel. Select a start/run fuse position, and install a fuse tap to supply power to the gauges. I think I used fuse position #35.

Final Comments

The hardest part of installing the guages was the discovery phase. Where to put the senders and what fuse to use for gauge power. I was astounded that there's no actual water temperature sender on the motor (even on the 5.0). All in all, the SoS A-pillar pod is the best solution for the 2010 and up because it requires no mods to the dash, although if something does become available that looks decent in the center of the dash, I'd be willing to consider it.

Finally, there is a problem with A-pillar gauges that only road racers would see - the pod actually blocks your view past the A-pillar when you're turning left. THIS is why we need a center-dash solution, and preferrably, one that resembles the pods available for 2005-2009 S-197 cars.


Stereo Upgrade

Let me start by saying that I don't mind the quality of the sound coming from the stock components. It's not a Shaker system, but it's plenty loud for my old ears. The thing that REALLY bothers me about it is that the headunit doesn't have a USB port for plugging in a thumb drive, or even a SD slot for a memory card. C'mon Ford, it's 2012, and almost nobody even uses CDs anymore. In terms of stereos, modernizing is a damn good idea. Besides that, the Mustang doesn't have enough space to put a crapload of CDs (in this case, a "crapload" is just two).

One problem with upgrading he stero in your Mustang is that in order to do so, you MUST replace the panel behind which the HVAC and OEM stereo lives. This will add at least $250 to the cost of your upgrade, so prepare yourself mentally for that realization. Thankfully, you have a few options in that regard:

  • Scosche FD1441B - When first released, this unit was responsible for draining car batteries overnight. A firmware upgrade has corrected the isse. I've heard that a new version of this adapter panel is ready to be released. I don't know what (if any) features it has than the one currently available, or even if those features are compelling enought to warrant updating mine when it's available. When it's released, I will not hesitate to append this item with a note about it.

  • Metra 99-5823 - I've seen more bad things said than good about this unit, but the most annoying is the claim that someitmes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

  • Metra 99-5826CH - This is the a new version of the 5823, and features a touchscreen HVAC control. I haven't seen one, and I haven't heard any comments about it.

I originally went to Crutchfield to see what was available as far as speakers and head units. Since the Mustang is way down on storage compartments, every little bit helps, so I knew I wanted a single-DIN head unit. I'm not into fancy touch-screen stuff, and prefer to keep my gear firmly rooted in the world of "basic but functional". As far as speakers were concerned, I wanted 3-way because I don't have sub-woofers (and don't plan on getting them), and I think 3-way speakers are a better choice over 2-ways in that instance.

After selecting my head unit and speakers, I started adding the stuff to my shopping cart. When I added the head unit, the site prompted me with a choice between the Metra 5823, and the Scosche, but the Scosche was (and always seems to be) out of stock with no ETA for being back in stock. So my only choice was the old Mtera kit, which I wasn't really interested in. A quick call to Scosche revealed that they'll have a nother batch of adapters ready by "late November". Bummer.

Along with the adapter panel, Crutchfield recommended a wiring harness kit, and antenna cable adapter, and speaker wire adapters. Before I clicked order, I chatted with one of Crutchfield's "advisors", and asked if they'd cut the price of the other gear because I was going to have to go somewhere else for the Scosche panel, and they said no. Well, that pretty much sucked big hairy donkey testicles, so I gathered up all the part and model numbers from my cart, and went to Amazon. Not only did Amazon have everything (including the Scosche Panel, but not the antenna adapter cable), but I saved $50 over what it could have cost if I had purchased from Crutchfield. On top of that, if I had purchased from Crutchfield and then went to Amazon for the Scosche panel, I would have spent $50 more than going with Crutchfield on everything but the panel, so in actuality, I saved $100 by going to Amazon. It's too bad Crutchfield wasn't willing to deal, and as a result, I'll never use crutchfield for anything more thana convenient research site.

Lastly, if you have a base car like me, and you want to change out your stereo, you MUST also change your speakers (yes, all four of them). The OEM speakers aren't up to the task of handling the power put out by aftermarket head units. On the flip side, if you're going to keep your OEM head unit, replacing just the speakers is okay and according to some, more than worth it.

What I Ordered (23 Oct 2012)

  • Scosche FD1441B ($242) - For the panel, I chose the Scosche because it has fewer reported quirks, and I think it looks better than either of the Metra units and the price at Amazon wasn't too bad at all. (received two days after placing order)

  • Kenwood KFC-X966 head unit ($229) - This had everything I wanted, was single-DIN, and got reasonably good reviews. I'm going to apply an anti-glare cover on the faceplate to address that one complaint from other owners. (received three days after placing order)

  • Kenwood KFC-C6894PS speakers, 2 sets ($44/set) - these 6x6 3-way speakers fit both the doors and the rear deck.

  • PAC Wiring Harness CR2-FRD1 ($71) - You need this to adapt the head unit to the OEM harness. If you have Sync or steering wheel controls, you'll probably need a different harness. Just do what I did and go to Crutchfield, and add any head unit to your shopping cart that will "fit" in your car and then see what wiring harness adapter they recommend for you.

  • Metra 72-5600 Speaker Harness Adapter, 2 sets ($8/set) - You need these to avoid having to cut into the OEM speaker wire leads.

Installation

Click image for full size version.

I started by installing the speakers. My idea was that if I installed the speakers first, I could test them with a head uinit that was know to be fully functional (my OEM one). After verifying that speakers were functioning correctly, I could move on to the new head unit.

Let me tell you - ANYONE can install new speakers in a Mustang. You don't even need tools for the rear ones until you're actually ready to remove them. There are a lot of how-to's on the internet regarding the replacement of speakers in our cars, so I won't bore you here with particulars. Further, when you're working alone and toward a goal, it's often a royal pain in the ass to stop and take pictures as you procede with a mod (I didn't take any pictures of thi process). The only thing I want to tell you is that you can avoid "polarity problems" involving the Metra speaker harness adapters by replacing ALL FOUR SPEAKERS AT THE SAME TIME. Trust me, it's the only way to do it right and with minimal hassle.

When you order a new head unit, you should also make sure that you order the appropriate adapter harness for your car. The easiest way to see what harness is required is to go to the Crutchfield web site, describe your car, and let them determine the appropriate harness for you. Believe me, you don't want to order the wrong harness. After you get the part number for the harness, and if you want to order from someone other than Crutchfield, you are at least armed with the appropriate info for your particular car.

If you can solder, you can wire up your harness to your radio without anyone else's help. Most connections are made color-to-color, so this makes it a lot easier. Go to radio Shack and get some heat-shrink tubing, and rosin-core solder, and if you need one, a cheap soldering iron. You will also do yourself an immense favor by purchasing a set of "helping hands". It's a weighted base with a pair of alligator clips on it, and it can fold the wires together while you solder. I went to Harbor Frieght and paid $6 for one of these.

Once you've soldered your harness to the head unit, it's time to remove the OEM HVAC panel and OEM head unit, and replace them with your new stuff. The head unit does NOT bolt to the panel, which makes it easier to make sure you're not pinching any wires on the harness. It took me an hour to solder the harness, and 15 minutes to replace the head unit.

Level of Satisfaction, and Final Comments

The only thing you have to do is take your time, and take normal observational precautions while doing any of this work. Regarding soldering, ALWAYS visually double-check that you're soldering the correct wires together. If you bought your stuff from Cruitchfield, they have a 24-hour help line/online chat to help you over the rough spots. Since I have some experience in electrical connections and stereo installs, I chose to get my stuff cheaper, foregoing the free advice available from Crutchfield. Do what makes you comfortable.

Finally, if you're not adding something like an amp and a woofer, or unless you're totally uncomfortable with doing the work yourself, there's absolutely NO REASON to take the car to a place like Mothers or Best Buy to let them do the work. In fact, I saw a story about a guy that let Best Buy install new stereo gear for him, and his brand new 2013 GT burned to the ground as a result. Your mileage may vary, but as for me, I don't trust tonk monkeys to work on my car.


Stereo Upgrade, v2

Click image for full size version.

After eight months, the Kenwood head unit crapped out, and is apparently dead. I tried to get a warranty replacement, but the company that sold it (via Amazon) says they don't have a unit to give me, so they would have to send mine out for repair, and that would take three to five months. Well, I simply refuse to go that long without being abole to listen to my thumb drive, so I decided to go ahead and just get another head unit. I chose the Pioneer AVH-X5500BHS Multimedia DVD Receiver with 7" Motorized Touchscreen Display. Yes, I double-DIN'd this time.

Installation

Installation took about 15 minutes, but cutting the old stereo off the harness adapter and mating the adapter to the new head unit's harness took about an hour.

Meh

I hate the way this head unit organizes music on a USB thumb drive. I have a few folders with various artists in them, and these folders are placed at the END of the folder list. Furthermore, the files inside folders are sorted by artist, album, and then title name (it COMPLETELY ignores the name of the file). As far as I can tell, there's no way to change the way this works. I fuckin' hate it, but at least it works.

Harness Bar

Click image for full size version.

Since I want to go autocrossing in the car, I thought it might be a good idea to get some 4-point racing harnesses. However, in order to properly mount a harness, you have to have something that will allow you mount them properly. Enter the "harness bar".

There are at least three manufacturers that I know of - Sparco ($450), Corbeau ($300), and finally, Cipher Auto ($200). The price was simply too good to pass up, so I went with the Cipher bar from Andy's Auto Sport.

Installation

The Cipher bar did not come with instructions, so I used the instructions for the Corbeau bar that are posted on American Muscle. The tools you need are a reasonable set of metric sockets and wrenches (15-19mm) a T50 Torx bit socket, a small flat-bladed screw driver to pry the seat belt retaining caps off, and an appropriate ratchet. You may also need a helper to hold one end of the bar up while you're attaching the other end.

Since there were no unexpected issues regarding the install of the bar. Don't torque down ANY of the bolts until you've got all of the parts installed. You also do NOT have to remove the seats to install this bar.

All in all, it took about 1.5 hours to install by myself.

RaceQuip Racing Harnesses

Click image for full size version.

Pretty much everyone buys the Corbeau harnesses, but as my parents were keen to remind me when I was a young child, I'm not everyone else. I didn't want to have to spend $300 for harnesses. Part of the cost of the Corbeau belts is the cam lock. If you want to save some money, you can get a latch/link harness for less than HALF the cost of a camlock harness. Enter the RaceQuip harness (also available in various colors) - at just $60 each, you simply can't beat the price. Unless your favorite racing sanctioning body does not allow latch/link belts, this is a VERY viable choice.

Installation

Installation is straightforward - remove the seats, bolt in the lap belts, and reinstall the seats. The shoulder belts are even easier because nothing needs to be unbolted, moved, or modified. Simply loop them over your harness bar or rollcage cross bar, feed them through the headrest, and wham bam, you're done.

The only surprise I encountered was that the bracket where the inside oem seatbelt buckle bolts needed to be removed and modified so that the harness mounting tab would fit flush against the bracket. All I needed to do was file some material off the inside edge of the buckle bracket detents so that the hole in the harness tab would alignwith the threaded hole in the bracket. I supplied a picture of the modified bracket above so you coudl see what I'm talking about. This could just be something you need to do for the RaceQuip belts, but you should be prepared to have to do it for your preferred harness as well.

All told, it took about 3.5 hours to install by myself.

Well...

After actually driving the car (using my OEM seat belt), I found that the configuration of the bar causes binding on the retractor for the stock belts. Fuck! This is a potentially dangerous condition, and it looks like I'm going to have to replace the bar with a Corbeau unit. It's so dangerous in fact, that I refuse to sell it to anyone else unless they promise to only install it in a car who's sole use will be in Autocross events.

Ford Racing GT500 Steering Wheel

Click image for full size version.

Part of the problem with getting a "base" Mustang is that they spare no expense in order to cheap out on minimal accoutrements. Among those interior items that are as cheap as possible is the steering wheel. It's made out of molded rubber, and it's slippery. Fortunately, it's an easy (and somewhat expensive) thing to fix.

Since I wasn't interested in controlling the stereo from the steering wheel, my choices were a steering wheel from a 2007 Bullitt Mustang, or one from a 2009 GT500. I merely wanted to keep the buttons I have (for the cruise control). I chose the FRPP steering wheel. It went in without any issues with normal hand tools (you need Torx drivers to do this mod).


Gentex Auto-Dimming Mirror

Click image for full size version.

This was one of the things I missed by getting the base model Mustang. I thought it would be okay, but the base mirror had a quirk that I simply couldn't live with. The reflected image was distorted, and made cars look narrower and taller than they really were. It REALLY bugged me, so I got a Gentex auto-dimming mirror with a compass.

Installation of the mirror itself took all of five minutes. Simply slip a small flat-bladed screwdriver in the slot at the bottom of the mirror base and pry back toward you. With your other hand, pull the mirror up toward the roof. It should slide off without much effort at all without damaging either the mirror or thew windshield. At this point, the new Gentex mirror will slide down over the mount, and you can then tighten it down using a Torx driver.

Wiring was fairly straightforward. Remove the a-pillar trim, door sill, and kick panel on the passenger side of the car, and the map light console between the sun visors. Run the wiring harness across the roof line, down the A-pillar, and down to the fuse panel behind the kick panel. Connect the wires as indicated by the instructions.

The whole thing took about an hour, with 55 minutes of that involving the electrical hookup (mostly due to trim panel removal).