thatsnowinnebago UberDork
4/4/22 8:31 p.m.

Like the title says, what do I need to know about S197 5.0 mustangs? I'm looking for my next fun car and just realized the early ones (2011ish) are starting to dip into my price range. My current knowledge is limited to the fact that they make a ton of power, sound great with an aftermarket exhaust, and can swallow at least 275s all around. 

thatsnowinnebago UberDork
4/4/22 8:36 p.m.

Gonna reply to my own thread with the GRM Tech Tips I couldn't find earlier...

The_Jed PowerDork
4/4/22 9:14 p.m.

This is relevant to my interests. The oldest kid gets her license this fall and I'll be passing my '12 2.4/5-speed Accord to her then, once again, shopping for a vehicle.



Thanks for posting that link!

Ranger50 MegaDork
4/4/22 9:54 p.m.

Oil pump gears.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
4/4/22 10:04 p.m.

I had this one for a while:

It was a lot of fun, made great noises, and was plenty fast for any situation on the street. I autocrossed it once, and it was kind of ridiculous how overpowered it was with the stability control off. But it had some aftermarket springs and shocks  from the PO, and the ride was perfectly awful. Even 5+ years ago, I was too old for that kind of thing.

IIRC, the main gotcha is the MT82 transmission, which apparently doesn't hold up well to racing/track conditions. I wasn't doing anything too rough, and I'm pretty easy on transmissions anyhow, so I wasn't too worried about it.

Patientzero Dork
4/4/22 10:28 p.m.

If you buy the correct wheels they will fit a 315 all the way around.  They are a really solid platform to start from and don't need much to be very fast on a track or autocross course.

Driven5 UberDork
4/5/22 12:38 a.m.

For the brief time I had a mostly stock (just an axle-back) 4.6 S197, I thoroughly enjoyed it as a street toy. Partially because of, and partially in spite of, its relative lack of refinement. When I drove a stock 5.0 it felt a bit quicker, but not as much as I had expected 100+ hp gain and extra gear to feel. 

infinitenexus Dork
4/5/22 11:23 a.m.

I had a 2012 5.0 and it was a fantastic car, although mine was a bit of a lemon and got rod knock at 69K miles. Tons of power at any RPM, and the weaknesses are pretty easily fixed. The first thing to do is to get wider tires, as the stock ones are dangerously narrow--I had 285s on mine and that was a good start. That size fits fine on the factory "track pack" or "brembo package" wheels, which I found cheap on facebook marketplace. I think they're 19X9, and a decent weight for that size. Oh, and there was an option to get brembo front calipers on this car. It's a simple upgrade with factory parts, and highly recommended as the stock front brakes aren't really adequate to stop a car this heavy and fast repeatedly. Shocks and springs are the next upgrade, and a lot of people do something with the front seats as they aren't the most supportive (and the factory power seats are super heavy, like 70+ pounds).  The engine responds to bolt-ons well, although headers are a PITA to install. I had a 3" X pipe and 3" duals on mine and it sounded absolutely fantastic.

Also, the Vorshlag thread is required reading:

thatsnowinnebago UberDork
4/5/22 1:54 p.m.

In reply to infinitenexus :

Thanks! I just started perusing that thread before my next meeting and there's a lot of good info in there. 

thatsnowinnebago UberDork
4/5/22 11:13 p.m.

For those that have an S197, or have driven one, how's the visibility? My buddy said he had a hell of a time seeing out of his wife's 2008. I'm 6' and he's a little shorter than me so I'm not sure I'll have the same problem.

Driven5 UberDork
4/6/22 12:43 a.m.

I'm 6' and didn't notice anything problematic about it... Then again mine was a convertible and my frame of reference was Miatas.

thatsnowinnebago UberDork
4/6/22 1:10 a.m.

In reply to Driven5 :

I'm also coming from a Miata so that's promising. 

akylekoz UltraDork
4/6/22 6:33 a.m.

You are on the right track, an S197 with 5.0 is a nice package.  My 08 has responded well to suspension upgrades as well as take off GT500 brake upgrades.  It will take all of the tire, 285 rears from the factory for GT500s, 275 to 305 square setup is possible with the correct offset and or spacers.

My ideal S197 would be an 08-09 with a 5.0 but they never came that way. 

I just started updating my bolt on thread for some suspension options.   Two thoughts are stiff spring/softer sway bar or soft spring/stiff bars depending on who you go with.  One is better for street use.  I spoke with three or four different manufacturers tech departments before deciding, forums and racers have their own opinions.

My 5'6 wife doesn't like the big hood to look over, I don't think visibility is terrible but it's no where near what you get in an E30 or Fox chassis mustang. 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
4/6/22 9:17 a.m.

I'm just barely 6', and I never had any issues with visibility.

Going from memory, I think my car had Steeda springs and some kind of fancy shocks that Vorshlag sells. Again, the ride was *awful*. I really can't stress enough how bad it was. smiley

Region_Rat New Reader
4/6/22 10:51 a.m.

I had an S550 and sold it go to back to an S197 as I felt I could see a lot better out of the S197.  Two totally different cars and experiences though but I always feel like I know where the front tires are in the S197 and never felt that comfortable in the S550.  But I'm old and slow so...

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/6/22 10:59 a.m.

Visibility - front and sides much better than a Camaro.  The back?  Well, that's a big ole butt.  I added a backup camera.  I couldn't believe I was doing it, but the view trying to back up is the worst I've experienced in any car I've owned.

Glorious noises from the 5.0, V8 that wants to rev, silly fast for commuting, great platform for 7/10's driving.  I haven't started modding yet, other than an axle back exhaust.


EDIT:  Also oil separator.  I am amazed with just street driving how much collects in there.


buzzboy SuperDork
4/6/22 11:09 a.m.

My ex drove an S197 so I spent quite a bit of time behind the wheel. Coming from an E36 the blindspots felt huge. But I think that's the case with most modern cars. Visibility was never an issue though for 5'7" her or 6'0" me.


Mad_Ratel Dork
4/6/22 3:57 p.m.

i've had a 2012 v6, a 2012 gt premium, and now ride in a 2013 boss 302.


The v6 had a buzzy motor and was great for riding around.


the gt premium was the wife's car, great GT car.  Rolled OVER miles when you drove it aggressively. Heated seats were great.


the boss has full cortex Spec Mustang Extreme, with Watts link and Torque arm, 19x10 up front, 19x11 in the rear.  It's a blast to drive and autocross, dead flat in the corners and with the JRI coilovers you can adjust firmness for daily vs track.  

The nitto 555 g2's are fine for street driving.  But I have a set of Rt660's and 19x11 all the way around on the way for autocrossing. The nittos could not handle the powa.   I drove it 2k miles home from the prior owner and it got 22 mpg on the highway averaging over 90 mph on the highway.  


Note: i bought the car with the suspension for less than the normal boss going rate.  I could never justify spending the money someone else did for this kit. It's amazing but the car plus suspension cost would put me close enough to a 911 to justify the gap.   (the parts are around 8 or 9k not including the amount someone paid to have it installed.) 

racerfink UltraDork
4/6/22 5:46 p.m.

In reply to thatsnowinnebago :

I've found that most people who complain about visibility have horrible seating positions.  When I instruct at track days, seating position, combined with the fact that most people look at a point two feet in front of the car, makes them feel like things are happening too fast.  Fix those two things, and it's amazing how much more confidence they have behind the wheel.

BlindPirate Reader
4/6/22 8:41 p.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm just barely 6', and I never had any issues with visibility.

Going from memory, I think my car had Steeda springs and some kind of fancy shocks that Vorshlag sells. Again, the ride was *awful*. I really can't stress enough how bad it was. smiley

I had Steeda springs and Koni yellows. It rode nice, better than the factory setup 

11GTCS Dork
4/6/22 9:15 p.m.

I have an ‘11 California Special and have put 20K on it in the 6 years I’ve had it. Around here with the current market I could sell it at a profit if I wanted to but it’s a keeper. The CS package is mainly a body kit with a different grille, front air dam, wheels along with the rear spoiler and lower diffuser off the GT 500 of the same vintage. The interior is unique as well with the middle of the seats and parts of the dash having a carbon fiber look. Mine has 3.73 rears and the MT82 6 speed, in my admittedly limited experience driving high performance cars it’s the quickest thing I’ve driven.  For the way I drive it the handling is good and predictable. Tires make a huge difference, currently running a set of 19” 265 / 45 Continental ECS which are a night and day improvement over the Pirelli P Zero Nero tires that are OEM.  The few times I’ve pushed the needle into the danger to license zone the car has felt composed and planted so the front air dam, rear diffuser and wing may actually be functional. The only modification is a set of Roush axle backs that are too loud if I’m honest. 

The transmission is notchy in cold weather, it improves quite a bit after driving a few miles and allowing it to warm up. In warm weather it shifts noticeably better.   I’m not a big guy at 5’8”, I have no problem seeing out of it to the front and sides. Rear vision isn’t optimal but then mine has a great big GT 500 wing on it so I’ll allow it.  The AC on these cars is just adequate in my opinion.  The compressor on mine grenaded at about 40K which fortunately was covered under warranty. Other than the AC issue it’s been routine maintenance only   

Mine is a pampered toy compared to what a lot of you guys do with your cars but then I’m old and I’m fully aware the car is way beyond my skill set. My wife loves it and it’s mostly a weekend fun car.  The trunk is big enough for a couple of bags and a cooler. The ride is comfortable, the electric power steering gives good road feel and even with the Roush mufflers it’s reasonably quiet at highway speeds cruising.  I’m smiling every time I drive it so mission accomplished. 

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/7/22 12:12 p.m.
BlindPirate said:
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm just barely 6', and I never had any issues with visibility.

Going from memory, I think my car had Steeda springs and some kind of fancy shocks that Vorshlag sells. Again, the ride was *awful*. I really can't stress enough how bad it was. smiley

I had Steeda springs and Koni yellows. It rode nice, better than the factory setup 

Agreed -- the Koni yellows and Eibachs on our Mustang rides beautifully -- and is more than acceptable for HPDE use, too.

The_Jed PowerDork
4/27/22 8:08 p.m.

In reply to thatsnowinnebago :

Slight highjack inbound, apologies.


Has anyone played around with the rear suspension pickup points to alter the instant center and anti-squat?

Turbo_Rev Reader
4/27/22 8:32 p.m.

I had an 06'. If I remember correctly, they start getting a little cranky after a few bolt-ons (headers, CAI, etc.) 

A very good company called SCT does reflashes for them and they write pretty good canned tunes. Mine was doing 13-second quarter miles on all-weathers back then with a cross pipe, headers, CAI, and tune. 

I'm currently trying to start back with the SCCA and maybe get into HPDE. If I had another S197, the only thing I'd replace in the beginning is the seats, brakes, and tires. They're big fat pigs compared to most things and the pseudo-leather seats are basically upright slip-and-slides. 

tester (Forum Supporter)
tester (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/27/22 9:12 p.m.

I really enjoyed my '09 Bullitt. It was a perfect substitute for a very expensive restomod. It looked, sounded, and road great. I will qualify that I was a FOX/SN95 Mustang aficionado so my tolerance for ride quality may be questionable. At 5'10" and with my seat adjusted properly, visibility was ok. Visibility was not as good as a FOX but on par with the SN95. 

It was hit and totaled or else I would still have it. 

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