Written by Stephanie Davies
Photography by the author and the FSC staff
In the last installment on Mike Washington’s Pure Evil Mustang, we followed along as EB Custom Works in Ronkonkoma, New York, installed Team Z Torque Boxes to help launch the car safely. Following the completing of that project, Eric Bardekoff, owner of EB Custom Works in Ronkonkoma, New York, got to work installing a Strange Engineering 9-inch rearend in the Mustang.
Strange Engineering provided a fabricated 9-inch rearend housing (P/N HF9M86ME) that has been narrowed by one inch on each side, with a Strange Reinforced Back Brace (PN H1128N) welded in place, along with Strange adjustable lower control arm brackets. The Strange housing allows for four-hole adjustability for the lower control arms on the axle side, as well as multiple-position shock height adjustability for the proper suspension geometry. The rear also came already equipped with stock 8.8 upper control arm ears welded on. Washington also installed billet aluminum bushings with spherical bearings to avoid binding issues.
The rear features a 40-spline spool, a Strange through-bolted HD case with 3.812 bearings, as well as a large pinion bearing support (PN N2323). A 9-inch 4.71 Pro Gear (PN RP07990471US) was chosen for the combination, as well as a billet-yoke large pinion (PN U1604B). Strange’s Completion Kit (PN R3200LB) completed the assembly of the center section. Strange also provided 1350HD U Joint Straps (PN U1610HD) for extra drivetrain durability.
While this might seem like overkill for the power level of this particular build, Washington will never have to worry about causing damage during harsh launches with the manual transmission, as this combination will have it handled.
As you can see, this rearend definitely gives Pure Evil a solid foundation to withstand aggressive launches. Check back into an upcoming issue of Fastest Street Car as EB Custom Works performs more upgrades on Pure Evil as it is readied for battle during the 2019 NMRA racing season.
With the rearend housing powdercoated and ready for installation in the Fox, Bardekoff finished assembling the rear by attaching the anti-roll bar to the housing and bolted up the center section. Because the stock rear was been removed during the installation of the Team Z torque boxes, the Mustang was already jacked up, level, and ready to go.
Strange also provided a 5/8 Drive Stud Kit (PN A1038). Prior to beginning the installation process, EB Custom Works prepared the axles using the supplied spacer Strange Engineering to give the axle the proper offset, before the ball bearing axle bearing was pressed on. With the bearing sitting flush against the spacer, the axle collar was than pressed on. The shop installed the 5/8-inch wheel studs torqued and fastened using supplied lock nuts to prevent the studs from backing out.
Bardekoff jacked the new rearend up high enough to make the lower control arm connections, before tightening them with a locknut for a snug fit. He was careful not to overtighten, as not to cause binding. He stressed how important it is that these pieces move freely to avoid unnecessary tension on the suspension system. Bardekoff the raised the rearend up into place and re-installed the stock springs (legal for Limited Street racing), bolted the Afco shocks re-valved by Menscer Motorsport in, and made the upper control arm connection.
Due to the adjustably of the both body side and axle side lower control arm brackets, Bardekoff was able to roughly set the suspension geometry to his liking for Washington’s racing application.
Strange Engineering Hy-Tuf 40-Spline Gun Drilled Axles (PN A2000) were chosen with the Ultra Light Axle Flange Option (PN R3200LB) reducing rotational mass, and Bardekoff slid them into place inside of the heavy-duty, reinforced axle tubes. The axles are forged from low-carbon, high-manganese, high-nickel, and high-molybdenum steel, and Strange performs the majority of machining before heat-treat to provide consistent hardness.
With the rearend installed, Bardekoff installed the brakes (stay tuned for more details on the stoppers in a future issue), bolted on the wheels, and lowered back the car back down to the ground. The anti-roll bar end-links were neutrally connected to ensure that there is no preload. Suspension geometry will be finalized once the drivetrain is reinstalled in the car and Washington is race ready in the driver’s seat to neutralize the suspension and allow for virtually no preload. Bardekoff will then be able to adjust the preload to his liking for proper launches. He will dial in the upper control arm bracket adjustment at that time to achieve proper instant center.