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My 2012 Mustang Boss 302 Progress

My car is mostly stock but I thought I'd make a post about my progress with the few things I've done and their purpose.

- TracKey (purpose: performance): This is pretty obvious. I have read plenty of articles about the development of the track key with numbers ranging from 200 to 400 parameters in the PCM being changed, including throttle response, torque management, intake and exhaust variable cam timing, ignition timing, among others. It also automatically sets the steering weight to heavy (adjustable with the regular key) and relaxes stability control safety nets. I feel like ABS is also less intrusive/aggressive but have never read about that so could just be in my head. The intent was to tune the engine to run like the Boss 302S race car, dialed back only for street durability requirements and emissions.

- Ford Racing Torsen Diff - OEM spec (purpose: performance): I bought my car used (with 231 miles, mind you). It's a long story but the point is, I didn't order it or even search for my favourite at different dealers. It was a great deal since it was previously registered but unfortunately did not have the optional Torsen limited slip differential and came with the standard clutch-type limited slip differential. The difference after the switch in traction and ability to put power down made me a massive believer in Torsen differentials.

- Tires - F: 275/35/18 & R: 285/35/18 Michelin PSS (purpose: PSS have much better grip than the stock PZeros and wider front section for longevity). I have been going up in section size from stock (255) in the front to improve the car's balance and help with tire wear. I am going to 285 next for a square setup, to hopefully improve wear and allow rotating. I went with Pilot Super Sports since they seem to be the best street oriented performance tire available now - in terms of noise, comfort, longevity, and dry and wet grip. With that said, I am considering trying Bridgestone Potenza RE-71Rs when it's time to for new tires.

- Wheels - 18"x9.5" TSW Nurburgring's (purpose: save weight and better 18" tire selection): I went with 18" to drop the weight a little and TSW Nurburgring since they seem to have a good reputation for track performance and are the only ones in the price range that were good quality and forged (rotary forged) wheels as opposed to cast. The fact that they are relatively light for the size - about 22 lb a pop - combined with the claim of being stronger than cast was the selling point.

- Maximum Motorsports Caster/Camber Plates (purpose: performance and longevity): This is obvious, to introduce some camber. I am running -2.3 degrees. This was to reduce tire roll over rather than increase performance, improving tread wear and eliminating a squirm I got in turn 7 (the fastest turn on the track) after turn in as the car rolls onto the tire shoulder and back.

- UMI Lower Control Arms - Roto Joint (purpose: performance): This was to eliminate wheel hop under heavy throttle, especially on rough roads as well as better traction out of turns. For a quick review and how-to install, check my initial post.

- JLT Catch Can (purpose: longevity): I got this to reduce oil being mixed in with the air fuel mixture in the intake as much as possible. For a review, please click on JLT Oil Catch Can Review.

- Saleen S281 Front Grille (purpose: longevity): I did that to improve air flow under hood and reduce heat build up. I've never had an issue with the stock grille but the 2013's come with removable fog lamp blocking plates and the 302S has a wire mesh in its place so I figured it's a good idea. For a comparison, read my Saleen S281 Grille vs Stock post, including temperature readings.

- Brake Pads - downgrade (purpose: longevity and streetability): This is a bit of an odd one, but I switched to street pads that are a downgrade in outright stopping power and feel from the stock brembo pads after they wore down. The two reason being are a) this is by no means a track car, spending most of the time on the street, so braking performance and bite at street temperatures is more important - and improved - plus there is reduced dust and noise, and b) I can't afford brake cooling ducts yet and a new front fascia to avoid drilling out fog light inserts. I'm worried that, without brake cooling, I might boil my (DOT4) fluid since track pads mean more braking power and more heat generation. Once I get the brake cooling ducts and install them, I will probably run HAWK HP+ pads, at least on the track, and switch back to street pads at the end of the day.

- Fays2 Watt's Link (purpose: stability): I got this due to very good reviews to people who switched from a pan hard bar setup to a Watt's link. The problem with a pan hard bar is that it attaches to the chassis at one point and the axle at one point (and runs parallel to the axle). Its purpose is to locate the axle laterally as it moves up and down but since it attaches only at one point on the chassis and another on the axle, it draws a very wide radius slight arc as the axle goes up and down. Steeda (I believe) did a test once, measuring the deflection left to right and it was very small, measured in hundredth of an inch. Most people probably won't notice but the Watt's link improves ride quality over bumps immensely, especially at speed, making the car feel a lot more secure. With that said, most people credit little to no improvement in performance due to switching from a PH bar to a Watt's link, which is probably true but the confidence to push the car could result in going quicker.

- Open side-exit pipes (purpose: noise): As many people know, the Boss 302 came with a neat quad exhaust system - two pipes exit out the back and two exist at the sides just in front of the rear wheels. From the factory, Ford installed baffling plates, which are basically blocking plates with small (perhaps 1/8") holes to quiet the car. Remove them, and the car sounds even more phenomenal.

- Ford Racing Boss 302R Steering Rack (purpose: steering feel and future proofing bushing upgrades): I got this during a time when I thought I had a steering rack problem. On the plus side, the 302R rack has less filtering for better feedback and prevents the steering shake that is common with stiffer front control arm bushings.

- Heartthrob Flowpack Axle Backs (purpose: mostly noise and a little drop in weight): I did this for sound and weight, as they are 20 lbs lighter than stock. Here's a link to my initial post for a review and another link for a comparison video vs stock.

- GT500 Spoiler (purpose: looks): This was purely for looks, although it does have a gurney flap that can be replaced with more aggressive flaps to give some downforce but the one I have is an OEM GT500 spoiler with the SVT package. It isn't flat but I suspect that, at best, it might reduce lift a little but nothing more. 


  1. Very informative. Looking forward to see the car!


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