First new billet flywheels for V6 Mustangs: aluminum and steel replacements for cast iron originals


Written by Moore Good Ink

• Billet steel flywheels are stronger than cast iron and safer at high rpm
• They also function better than cast iron when used with modern friction materials
• Billet aluminum flywheels are light: they accelerate and decelerate faster
• Blanchard-ground flywheels are free of clutch snatch, chatter, and run-out
• Blanchard grinding ensures the flywheel is mounted parallel to the crank flange
• Billet aluminum flywheels with robust 1/4in steel inserts avoid distortion

Columbia, SC: Ram has introduced a new range of billet aluminum and billet steel flywheels for V6 Mustangs from 1997 to 2004.

Blanchard Grinder spins clockwise as the flywheel spins counter clockwise.

The advantage of the billet steel over the original cast iron unit is that, though they weigh the same, around 32lbs, the billet steel unit is significantly stronger. Crucially, it remains free of stress cracks and, therefore, safe at high engine speeds and higher clutch clamping forces. In addition billet steel flywheels operate more effectively with modern high-performance clutch friction materials than do their cast-iron counterparts.

In comparison, the aluminum flywheel has the decisive advantage of carrying minimal weight. In this case it rids itself of half its mass—tipping the scales at 16lbs. Lower mass means a lower moment of inertia, which translates to faster response—faster acceleration and deceleration as well as less wheel spin.

Constructed from 6061-T6, Ram’s aluminum flywheels use 1/4in thick steel inserts to avoid distortion. To maintain their flatness the inserts, which mate with the clutch disc friction surfaces, are fastened to the flywheels by 18 rivets.

Ram flywheels are counter-bored for 3 button-head cap screws. These secure the starter gear ring to the flywheel. When the aluminum flywheel is exposed to sustained heat, notably during clutch slippage, it expands as does the starter gear ring. But its contraction rate is faster than that of the gear ring. Hence, during this cooling period the ring can loosen on the flywheel. This is why the cap screws are necessary.

To overcome clutch snatch or chatter and provide minimal run-out, these new flywheels are Blanchard-ground, contributing a proper friction surface. It also ensures the flywheel is parallel to the mounting flange. In addition, Ram counter-bores the flywheels for button-head cap screws that secure the starter gear ring to the flywheel. 

Ram’s new flywheels replace the original cast iron units on all 3.8 liter V6 Mustang models of the following years: 1997-1998; ’99-’00; and both 3.8 and 3.9 liter models 2001-2004. The flywheels on model years from 1997 to 2000 are externally balanced; the later units from 2001- ’04 have zero balance. All flywheels are fitted with 164-tooth starter gear rings. Part numbers and prices are as follows:

 

1541 Steel flywheel Ford 3.8L Steel flywheel Ford 3.8L 97-98 164 tooth ext. bal. $365.00
1542 Steel flywheel Ford 3.8L Steel flywheel Ford 3.8L 99-00 164 tooth ext. bal. $365.00
1543 Steel flywheel Ford 3.8,3.9L Steel flywheel Ford 3.8,3.9L 01-04 164 tooth ‘0’ bal. $365.00
2541 Alum. Flywheel Ford 3.8L Alum. Flywheel Ford 3.8L 97-98 164 tooth ext. bal. $467.68
2542 Alum. Flywheel Ford 3.8L Alum. Flywheel Ford 3.8L 99-00 164 tooth ext. bal. $467.68
2543 Alum. Flywheel Ford 3.8,3.9L Alum. Flywheel Ford 3.8,3.9L 01-04 164 tooth ‘0’ bal. $467.68


What’s SFI certification?

 

This official sticker tells you that the materials used in the manufacture of this Ram flywheel have been certified by the SFI. Here’s an interesting story about drag racing flywheels before the influence of SFI.


 

 Menacing repercussions in earlier times before SFI flywheel certification

One evening in September, 1959, 22-year-old drag racer Tom “Mongoo$e” McEwen rolled into Lions Drag Strip near Los Angeles, CA with his 1948 Fiat Topolino. It was fitted with a 340cu in blown Chrysler Hemi gasser engine. In his 3-speed La Salle transmission he discovered that second gear was broken and he didn’t have a spare. The second gear in the LaSalle was the starting gear. So, he determined to leave the line in high gear by drenching his M&H rear slicks with water and inflating them to 30psi.

  Earlier the Topolino had run almost 130mph. But on this night, though its elapsed time was impeded, the Topolino with its wet M&H slicks and smoking half-way down the track set a record speed of just over 139mph—the fastest ever Gas Altered speed recorded. It had picked-up 10mph! Mongoo$e duly returned to the starting line to back-up his time, “And at about 900 to 1,000ft, says McEwen, “the cast aluminum flywheel comes apart. It came out of there like shrapnel—it almost cut that car in half, exploding all around me. I still don’t know how it missed my legs and ankles.”

For further information contact:
RAM Automotive Company
201 Business Park Blvd.
Columbia, SC 29203
Telephone (803) 788-6034 or visit: www.ramclutches.com

 

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