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Suspension

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Post by brianrcotter Sat Dec 18, 2021 7:55 pm

Hey guys,

Long time stalker, newer poster.

Quick back story, my dad built the car from 88-91 and purchased a 78 Mustang II King Cobra with the 302 and used all parts available from it for the CR build.

It's a CR 5000 and it's at my buddy's shop. I bought all new front end parts (bushings and such) for the A arms, multiple times from different manufacturers. Unfortunately they're all too large for what's currently on the car. I spoke with my dad and he swears up and down everything is from the mustang II, which so far as I can tell is the case aside from this specific bushing. The newly purchased upper and lower ball joints work and fit, but the A arm bushings that we have purchased (multiple manufacturers) none of them fit.

Does anyone have any idea on what might be the cause or resolution to this issue?

Do I just buy all new A arms and say the hell with it, or what?

brianrcotter

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Post by Hotrod Sat Dec 18, 2021 10:43 pm

I was intrigued by your question since I have never seen a Pinto/Mustang II that used different suspension parts.  The Pinto used a slightly different strut.  For the most part, though, they were all the same except for springs and shock rating.

A little research turned up something about the KC having "Rally" suspension.  Perhaps, there is a difference in parts for that particular model.  I would be surprised if there was though.

It is possible that what was on the car your Dad used were some kind of replacement parts and not original equipment. I would suggest contacting a MII specialty vendor and ask them it there is a difference. When I looked up the 78 MII at Orielly auto parts, there was no listing for the King Cobra version. Only the Mach 1.

The KC was praised back in it's day for handling. It is possible (and this is pure speculation on my part) that in order to tighten up the suspension for the Rally package, that Ford made the outer steel shell of the bushings smaller. This would have reduced the amount of rubber and stiffened the bushings. Seems far fetched though.

You may be forced to replace the upper and lower CA's.
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Post by brianrcotter Sun Dec 19, 2021 12:56 am

Hotrod, thank you for your response. I have agonized over this issue and same with the builder helping me at N&E speed and Machine in Quincy Florida. Neal is a connoisseur with anything old, bit sometimes these things go unnoticed. I will definitely look in to that and I appreciate the advice.

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Post by Hotrod Sun Dec 19, 2021 9:12 am

Replacing the CA's might be the best option, anyhow.  If your current parts really are different than a normal MII, then you will always have a hard time getting replacement parts.  There were apparently so few KC's built, that virtually no one is going to tool up to make a such a low volume specialty part.

Considering how popular the MII front suspension is in the street rod world, you should be able to upgrade the normal suspension to far exceed the performance of the stock KC.

Just my dos centavos.
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Post by brianrcotter Sun Dec 19, 2021 1:57 pm

Aside from stock do you all have any recommendations? A lot of the aftermarket tubular control arms seem to bring the wheels in closer to the body, which I really need to avoid as I have already had to use some spacers in the front for clearance.

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Post by Hotrod Sun Dec 19, 2021 3:14 pm

Tubular control arms are not really required if you are satisfied with the stock parts.  The main advantage to them I see, aside from looks, is if you intend to eliminate the strut rod on the lower control arm.  Those heavy strut bushings on the frame are pretty stiff and age doesn't help them, as they tend to harden over time.  This makes the suspension overly stiff.  Going to a true A-arm type lower makes for a freer setup, but be warned, there is no way to swap to them correctly without welding on the chassis.  A tube needs to be added to the rear of the crossmember and, because the Sebring parts are kind of thin, a gusset really should be added to the tube for strength.  Maybe more than one.

If you go to a tubular lower, you might as well add the upper, too, just for looks.  There are many different suppliers for tubular CA's, but I would recommend making sure the tubing used in the lowers is at least 3/16" thick.  Many are 1/8" thick.  I don't think I have ever saw an upper CA that is heavier that 1/8", but there is much less load on the upper.

If all you want to do is rebuild the front end.  Just get stock replacement CA's.  They are available with new bushings and ball joints already installed and there is nothing wrong with them.  Or you could find some original equipment parts and rebuild them yourself.  From what you have said, it sounds like you have the parts. No sarcasm intended.

Simple upgrades would be polyurethane bushings, but if you don't keep them lubed, they can be noisy (groaning).   I wouldn't go to poly strut bushings as they will most likely be too stiff.  There are also poly steering rack bushings.  The poly parts should sharpen up the steering and make it quicker responding.

If the car sits high in the front, you can get dropped spindles.  These usually lower the front end 2".

The front brakes can be upgraded (if they aren't already) to larger discs without breaking the bank.  There are several kits that use mostly stock parts from other cars.  These will usually give 11" rotors.  Those that use Granada rotors will widen the track by about 1/2" on each side.  Since you are running spacers, you might be able to get rid of them.

Hope some of that helps.  Post up more specific questions and I will try to answer them.
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Post by brianrcotter Sun Dec 19, 2021 3:34 pm

Thanks! So I ordered QA-1 coilovers for the front end, went with the 700lb spring rate along with all new brakes, new rotors, pads and all the jazz. I was a little concerned the 700lb spring rate might be a bit much, but I guess I'll see what happens.

Just honestly doing a little overhaul since I'm adding new heads, cam, and just installed a Holley sniper EFI on it (302 V8) Eventually I'll switch to a 9 inch and change over to 5 lug instead of 4 lug, I'm just not ready to pull the trigger yet.

It's in a pretty reputable shop, with a bunch of local guys from the Tallahassee Region AACA I joined. They do work on everything dating back to like 1900. Full custom fab, building from the ground up and aren't afraid to take on much of anything.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][url=https://servimg.com/view/20336792/4]

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Post by brianrcotter Mon Dec 20, 2021 6:00 pm

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What about something like this?

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Post by Hotrod Tue Dec 21, 2021 11:01 pm

i can't comment much on those, as there is not much info given.

These are the ones I used on my car.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I chose them mostly because they are indicated to be made with 3/16" thick tubing on the lowers.  I got the ones that are made for coil over shocks since I knew I was going to use them.

I didn't use the tubing reinforcements that came in the kit.  I made my own using a single long tube that went through both sides of the crossmember.  I felt this was much stronger than the welded on bushing that comes in the kit.  FWIW - All these kits come with the short bushings.  I just felt that there was a better way to do it.

I was not impressed with the ball joints.  They may have been fine, but I didn't like the looks of them.  I replaced them with other parts.
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Post by brianrcotter Tue Dec 21, 2021 11:24 pm

Sounds great. I needed them so I already went ahead and ordered them, I spoke with my neighbor who has the car at his shop and he understood and agreed with welding gussets on to assist in added sturdiness.
Thanks for the help, do you think the 700lb spring rate will be okay?
Thanks!

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Post by Hotrod Wed Dec 22, 2021 8:50 am

I'm pretty sure the 700's will be way too stiff.  I have regular coilovers on my car and I'm using springs in the 300 lb range, if I recall correctly.  The rating is marked on my springs and I'll try to remember to check them when I go out to the shop later today.

FWIW - I have a 46 Ford coupe with colovers on the front and I think I'm using 600 lb springs on it.  It weighs 2000 lbs on the front.  That's at least twice what a typical Sebring weighs on the front.
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Post by Joltin Joe Wed Dec 22, 2021 1:59 pm

Great info, Mike. I'm going to need it. BTW: I am Not a mechanic. The shop full of mostly Harleys is that of a weekend tinkerer.
Oh, I've rebuilt my share of shovelheads, Evos and even a Twin-cam, and put together a few decent ground up builds (all hardtails), but putzing around with the two-wheel types is Not same same your league.
That said, here's what I'm dealing with.
My Saxon has a 1971 Mustang 302 (nothing special). It has M-II front end. According to the receipts that came with the car, everything on the front end has been replaced with new. R&P, coils, shocks, discs, calipers, anything and everything is new.

However, the steering is a mess (my opinion). I wish I knew how to take pictures here. Instead, you'll have to use your imagination. At first glance, the problem appears to be the exhaust manifold on the drivers side. It's huge, and hence, the builder had to position the steering column so far over to the left (as you sit in the driver's seat, or "right," if you're bent over the radiator), that he had to "notch out" a tiny portion of the inner wheel well.
I know, I know, a picture is worth a thousand ...

The guy that built this car did everything else 1st class. So, far every part of the car I've touched (save the steering), has clearly been wired and assembled to perfection.
So, WHY, in God's good name, is there THIS aberration? It makes no sense, but there it is.

As mentioned before, I plan on replacing the Chevette steering column with one closer to the BJ8 (narrower). My thoughts re., that header, are to replace both sides with ones that will allow for a proper column installation.
Also, as stated before, the car sits way too tall. I plan on lowering it by at least several inches. How many, I've yet to measure. I planned on swapping out whatever is necessary on the frontend. After reading Mike's piece, I'm thinking I could further lower it with those A-arms coupled with a 2" drop spindle.
The ass end of the car is another issue. I was thinking adjustable coil-overs back there too (not sure if the staggered rear shocks pose an additional issue or not.
So, once I sort out the steering, front and rear suspension, install the new BJ8 dash I just finished rebuilding, then ...
Whoops, see? I was about to write: "then I can install the spin on/off wire wheel hubs."
Duh, uh? Right. I'd be doing that when I swap out the front spindles.

Writing this out has been helpful. I live alone on a mountain in the backwoods of Northern Vermont. It means I talk to almost no one, and certainly to nobody about this car.
Thanks for listening, guys.

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Post by Hotrod Wed Dec 22, 2021 2:58 pm

Joe, Ford, like most auto manufacturers, made many different exhaust manifolds for their engines.   Ford, IMO, was the worst offender.  It seems that they started with a basic long block and built new external parts for every car and truck model they fit it to.  It's possible that the person that built your car just used the manifolds that came on the engine, without attempting to find something that might have worked better.

You have a few options, though:

1 - Find a U-Pull-It type salvage yard and walk around looking at various Ford with the Windsor engine. You might find a drivers side manifold that offers more steering clearance. If your Saxon has the same type of engine mounting scheme as the Sebring, then the "one size fits all" frame mounts that CR used will be an issue. You will need something that dumps as far to the rear as possible. Unfortunately, since the Windsor based 5.0 has been out of production for several years, some manifolds may be hard to find.

2 - Look for some "tight tuck" type headers intended for street rod applications. The same fitment (rear dump) limitations will apply here as with regular cast iron manifolds.

3 - Reroute the steering shaft. Street rodders have had steering shaft routing issues for years. Dropping a big V8 into a narrow preWW2 chassis creates many issues. Fortunately, there are companies like Borgeson and Flaming River that have stepped up to the plate and built high quality universal joints and other parts to basically bend the steering shaft around most obstacles. Sounds to me that you will, at very least, need 3 universal joints. One at the steering column, one at the steering rack, and one in the middle of the steering shaft. If running an intermediate u-joint, you will need a support bearing attached to the frame, otherwise the shaft will just flop around. I'll try to find some links to better illustrate what I'm talking about. This option will allow you to keep the exhaust you already have.

Right now I'm trying to get ready for my family Christmas gathering since I have to work on the holidays. I'll get back ASAP.
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Post by Joltin Joe Thu Dec 23, 2021 9:25 pm

Mike: I took a closer look. Probably should've done that in the first place. Actually, the problem does NOT appear to be the manifold (as I wrongly stated).
Again, to be clear, I am NOT a car wrench. Harleys, hell, any V-twin, and yes, that I can manage. I also never claim to know something I don't. So please, bear with me as I stumble through this.
BTW: Christmas and Family come first. We can talk more after the season.
Okay, it doesn't appear as thought the problem is the manifold. And, yes, I have researched those "close-fitting" aftermarkets to which you refer (seem kind of inexpensive as a whole? I saw stainless setups for as low as $125, and ranging up to $500. Thought they'd be more?).
But to the point. I think the problem is where (of all things) the OIL FILTER is mounted!
It's mounted to a freaking BAR that juts off the block. I'm sure you know about this far better than me.
Like I say, it sits fairly low and looks as though it was positioned as an afterthought.
What puzzles me is why didn't the original builder just modify THAT roadblock, rather than Rube Goldberg something as critical as the goddamn steering!?

We've all heard this before: "[My] car has NEVER been driven in the rain." Invariably BS. That said, I sincerely believe this car hasn't.
The first owner built the car and according to the bill of sale, put "0" miles on it. Owner #2, racked up 152 miles.
The 3rd owner was a husband who bought it in 2014 for his wife. She put 2032 miles on the car in seven years. When I asked about the condition of the top and frame. She didn't know. "I've never put it up."
(the chrome frame and top still had wrapping paper in them).
I only mention this, because as I crawl around this car, I can see quite clearly the way in which it was put together. I spent 25 years in the new car business, most of them as GM. I know what a new car looks like, and aside from a few gaskets degrading, the wiring, nuts, bolts, washers, everything, looks almost brand new and built not 30+ years ago.
My point is, WHY would someone go to all that trouble, be THAT fastidious in his/their work, and cobble together this ... this steering mess?

Sorry. I don't expect an answer. I think of you a lot as I work on this car. So much of the workmanship has your signature. And then there's this. I always try to find the 'sense' in things. I don't see it here.

Okay. Here's what I plan on doing (I know, I'm repeating myself). I want to replace the whole frontend of the car.
New M-II frontend with adjustable coil overs (and, no, doesn't have to be a "Hotrod" or "Jerry Mills" -type exotic frontend, just a nice, capable suspension system).
And with that, a manual rack and pinion setup (the boots on either end of this one are cracked and falling apart (and why not, been 30 years?).
While I have everything out and apart, I can deal with the steering. I hear you on the three-section column. I would rather not go that route. One break in the system is already one too many (that's purely intuitive, of course).
We can talk about the spindles at some point. The car sits way to high. Perhaps new shocks and coils will resolve the issue. If not, we can go with different spindles. I want to add spinoff hubs too. We can talk about that later as well.
That's enough for now. Again, sorry about sending you off on my stupid manifold comments. When I looked down there, all I saw was lots of manifold. Not being a car wrench, I never imagined someone would put an oil filter THERE!

Thanks again, my friend, merry Christmas


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Post by Hotrod Thu Dec 23, 2021 10:14 pm

Yeah, that dang filter sticking out of the side of the block has tripped up many Ford engine swaps.  Oh, don't worry about the holidays.  We finished that up last night.  I work shift work and have to work this weekend.  Unless something breaks, it will, most likely, be a boring weekend for my partner and me.

Ford has modified their basic engine externally so many times over the years that I honestly can't keep up.  I'm not a Ford guy.  I was raised in a GM family (my grandfather was a Cadillac mechanic) and always ran Chevys.  I know them much, much better than Fords.  Post up a picture of what you have,  I can make better recommendations if I can see your installation.  

Many times, when Fords are installed in street rods, the filter has to be relocated.  Not that hard to do, just takes time and money (like everything else in this hobby Shocked  Rolling Eyes ).  You get a plate that takes the place of the filter and a remote filter mount.  You can mount the remote filter where ever is easiest to access.  Then you run hoses between the two parts.  In principle, it's as simple as that.  You can get fancy with braided stainless hoses, but they are not required.  It sounds like Ford had to do some kind of relocation of their on.  The "filter on a bar" thing sounds odd.  Normally the Ford filter screws straight on the driver side of the engine block at about a 30* down angle.
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