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Discussion Starter #1
I have a '66 coupe with a 289 C-4 auto power-train, and I'm looking to refresh the stock front end. I'm interested in a kit, or guidance on putting together a parts list. I've searched the site for similar strings but most are kinda old.

Everything looks worn and sounds creaky when driving. I've just done the front disc brake conversion. Thankfully, the car doesn't show any signs of cracked shock towers or anything like that. Its originally a California car and rust is not a problem either.

I don't plan to do a Shelby drop. All I know at this point is I have an interest in Detroit Eaton springs, roller perches, and hydraulic shocks (QA1s). I'd also appreciate hearing about the pros and cons of new control arms vs. just putting new ball joints on.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Spammer Hammer
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There are many good reasons to do the Arning drop. You should reconsider your decision. Other than that, call John at Opentracker Racing.

 

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Be careful of Internet suspension "kits". Typically, they include very low quality parts to make the price competitive. I bought all my suspension parts from Shaun from Opentracker. Highly recommend him. However, if you really want to pinch pennies, you could put together your own Moog kit on Rock Auto; with the exception of the roller perches. You will have to go to Shaun or Open Tracker Racing for those. Just be sure to select quality parts. The cheapest parts are not a good deal.
 

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Don't buy a kit! I did before I was educated. The kit was a great deal until I started replacing half the stuff with much better quality parts from Opentracker and SOT. Roller spring perches is a big improvement IMO. The control arms I got in my kit seemed cheap/cheesy enough I ended up replacing them too. Do your research on here then put together your list. IMO you will be much better off in the locg run. No reason not to do the drop too.
 

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Parts List?

Outer Wheel Bearing Set (bearing & race), 2 reqd.
Inner Wheel Bearing Set (bearing & race), 2 reqd.
Hub Grease Seal, 2 reqd.
Cotter Pin, 2 reqd.
Lower Control Arm, with Ball Joint, 2 reqd.
Upper Control Arm, with Ball Joint, 2 reqd.
Outer Tie Rod End, Driver's Side, 1 reqd.
Inner Tie Rod End, 2 reqd.
Outer Tie Rod End, Passenger Side, 1 reqd.
Pitman/Idler Arm Kit, Shelby "QuickSteer", recommended.
Stabilizer Bar End Link Kit, set of 2, 1 set reqd.
Stabilizer Bar Frame Bushings, 2 reqd or 1 set of 2.
Strut Rod Bushing Kit, 2 reqd or 1 set of 2 kits.
Coil Spring Lower Saddle (perch), 2 reqd.
Coil Springs, 2 reqd or 1 set of 2.
Coil Spring Insulator, Upper, 2 reqd.
Shock Absorber, 2 reqd.

That's pretty much it. When researching there may be additional questions, such as "with or without power steering". If you DO have power steering that raises a whole 'nother set of circumstances, such as the condition of the control valve, hydraulic hoses, slave (ram) cylinder and pump. At the very least you'll probably want to replace the bushings at the ram frame mount.

Now for my $0.02 worth.....

a. DO the "Arning" drop. Klaus Arning was a Ford engineer who recognized the inherent deficiency in the Mustang's front end geometry. After all, the car was designed using the Falcon's front suspension and it, as with almost ALL domestic cars of the day, were engineered with generous UNDER-steer, which is the tendency of the car to keep going straight when the steering wheel is turned. This keeps the "average" driver in relative control as opposed to having the car OVER-steer, where too much steering input results in the back end passing the front end! It's like a free gift...well, free if you know somebody with a 17/32" drill bit or relatively cheap if you have to buy one. It will make a difference not only in how the car handles at ALL speeds but the ride as well.

b. Try and purchase MOOG brand components when possible...and of those try to find "made in USA" vs. anywhere else. For bearings I've had good luck with both US AND Japanese, as well as European. SKF, NSK, NTN, Timken should all be fine. Yes, Eaton-Detroit Spring for springs, Koni or Bilstein for shocks.

c. For '65-66 owners, especially those with non-PS and non-Special Handling options (aka, "slow" steering box) and/or large diameter steering wheels where you're planning on replacing the Idler Arm anyway, I recommend the Shelby "QuickSteer" kit. These arms are extended to provide more mechanical advantage and "quicken" the steering ratio, typically cutting 1/2 to 3/4 turn off the lock-to-lock turning of the wheel. Make it much more enjoyable to drive. The only detraction is that it DOES slightly increase steering effort. Not noticeable with PS but more noticeable if you have wide tires on the front and a small steering wheel when parallel parking. Once moving it's not noticeable at all.

d. There's something to be said about purchasing Control Arms complete with ball joints. This eliminates the need to service the UCA shaft, bushings and seals and the LCA inner bushing is pretty much a non-serviceable item.

e. I'd avoid any suspension bushings made from polyurethane. They don't have the "give" of rubber and will not only transmit more road vibrations into the chassis, polyurethane strut rod bushings are well known to snap strut rods as the bushing is so hard it can't flex enough which means the strut rod itself will fatigue. The same is true with stabilizer links. Also, polyurethane stabilizer frame bushings are noted for squeaking.

f. Last one... Coil Spring Lower Saddles (perches). Ford made these, up through '64, using a bronze bushing and it was greasable. Due to cost, they changed the design to one that uses an elastomer to support the inner sleeve... the same type of material used in engine and transmission mounts, rear leaf spring eye bushings, etc. Because the saddle doesn't have to rotate all that much, from the Upper Control Arm going from full extension to full compression.... (I'd be surprised if it was even 45 degrees), the elastomer does a decent job, keeps things quiet and, if anything, the deflection from center adds a bit of "spring rate" to the front suspension. For a vehicle that isn't raced or auto-crossed it's doubtful the driver could even feel the difference. I'd stick with a lower-cost OE-style replacement vs. the extra cost of "rollerized" perches. If I was going to put ANYTHING "rollerized" on my Mustang they'd be, in this order, 1. Adjustable strut rods with spherical roller bearing ends and 2. Spherical-bearing mount Lower Control Arms. These are the 2 places most needing the precision offered by a roller bearing.

Happy Trails!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Parts List?

Outer Wheel Bearing Set (bearing & race), 2 reqd.
Inner Wheel Bearing Set (bearing & race), 2 reqd.
Hub Grease Seal, 2 reqd.
Cotter Pin, 2 reqd.
Lower Control Arm, with Ball Joint, 2 reqd.
Upper Control Arm, with Ball Joint, 2 reqd.
Outer Tie Rod End, Driver's Side, 1 reqd.
Inner Tie Rod End, 2 reqd.
Outer Tie Rod End, Passenger Side, 1 reqd.
Pitman/Idler Arm Kit, Shelby "QuickSteer", recommended.
Stabilizer Bar End Link Kit, set of 2, 1 set reqd.
Stabilizer Bar Frame Bushings, 2 reqd or 1 set of 2.
Strut Rod Bushing Kit, 2 reqd or 1 set of 2 kits.
Coil Spring Lower Saddle (perch), 2 reqd.
Coil Springs, 2 reqd or 1 set of 2.
Coil Spring Insulator, Upper, 2 reqd.
Shock Absorber, 2 reqd.

That's pretty much it. When researching there may be additional questions, such as "with or without power steering". If you DO have power steering that raises a whole 'nother set of circumstances, such as the condition of the control valve, hydraulic hoses, slave (ram) cylinder and pump. At the very least you'll probably want to replace the bushings at the ram frame mount.

Now for my $0.02 worth.....

a. DO the "Arning" drop. Klaus Arning was a Ford engineer who recognized the inherent deficiency in the Mustang's front end geometry. After all, the car was designed using the Falcon's front suspension and it, as with almost ALL domestic cars of the day, were engineered with generous UNDER-steer, which is the tendency of the car to keep going straight when the steering wheel is turned. This keeps the "average" driver in relative control as opposed to having the car OVER-steer, where too much steering input results in the back end passing the front end! It's like a free gift...well, free if you know somebody with a 17/32" drill bit or relatively cheap if you have to buy one. It will make a difference not only in how the car handles at ALL speeds but the ride as well.

b. Try and purchase MOOG brand components when possible...and of those try to find "made in USA" vs. anywhere else. For bearings I've had good luck with both US AND Japanese, as well as European. SKF, NSK, NTN, Timken should all be fine. Yes, Eaton-Detroit Spring for springs, Koni or Bilstein for shocks.

c. For '65-66 owners, especially those with non-PS and non-Special Handling options (aka, "slow" steering box) and/or large diameter steering wheels where you're planning on replacing the Idler Arm anyway, I recommend the Shelby "QuickSteer" kit. These arms are extended to provide more mechanical advantage and "quicken" the steering ratio, typically cutting 1/2 to 3/4 turn off the lock-to-lock turning of the wheel. Make it much more enjoyable to drive. The only detraction is that it DOES slightly increase steering effort. Not noticeable with PS but more noticeable if you have wide tires on the front and a small steering wheel when parallel parking. Once moving it's not noticeable at all.

d. There's something to be said about purchasing Control Arms complete with ball joints. This eliminates the need to service the UCA shaft, bushings and seals and the LCA inner bushing is pretty much a non-serviceable item.

e. I'd avoid any suspension bushings made from polyurethane. They don't have the "give" of rubber and will not only transmit more road vibrations into the chassis, polyurethane strut rod bushings are well known to snap strut rods as the bushing is so hard it can't flex enough which means the strut rod itself will fatigue. The same is true with stabilizer links. Also, polyurethane stabilizer frame bushings are noted for squeaking.

f. Last one... Coil Spring Lower Saddles (perches). Ford made these, up through '64, using a bronze bushing and it was greasable. Due to cost, they changed the design to one that uses an elastomer to support the inner sleeve... the same type of material used in engine and transmission mounts, rear leaf spring eye bushings, etc. Because the saddle doesn't have to rotate all that much, from the Upper Control Arm going from full extension to full compression.... (I'd be surprised if it was even 45 degrees), the elastomer does a decent job, keeps things quiet and, if anything, the deflection from center adds a bit of "spring rate" to the front suspension. For a vehicle that isn't raced or auto-crossed it's doubtful the driver could even feel the difference. I'd stick with a lower-cost OE-style replacement vs. the extra cost of "rollerized" perches. If I was going to put ANYTHING "rollerized" on my Mustang they'd be, in this order, 1. Adjustable strut rods with spherical roller bearing ends and 2. Spherical-bearing mount Lower Control Arms. These are the 2 places most needing the precision offered by a roller bearing.

Happy Trails!
Thanks for this - its exactly the word I was looking for!
 

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Call John at Open Tracker as noted above. You'll probably leave a message and he'll get back to you. But dude is super cool and will take time to advise you on what you need and doesn't try to sell you more than you need.
 

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You will want the 90° grease kits for the UCAs if you dont have them.

If you have manual steering look at a roller idler arm. I bought one for my 67, the 65/66 pieces are a bit more spendy.
 
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The work is simple, but some gotchas. Please identify if you have power steering or not.

1) Do NOT disconnect the strut rods from the lower control arms until the BIG HONKING nut at the front is removed. Otherwise, the strut rod will just spin.

2) After reviewing the cost of the end links and sway bar bushings, it might be wise to just go with the GT style or 1" bar. Stiffens the front end, for not a lot more $$.

3) The steering gear box probably has not had grease replaced or adjusted since it left the factory. It would be a shame to do all the work, find out the box is sloppy, and get to remove what was put on, to get the box out, and possibly pay for another front end alignment. I recommend Dan at Chockostang to rebuild it, and it box comes out a lot easier with the front seat out.

4) Export brace and Monte Carlo bar. If you don't have them, now is the time to put them in.

5) Replace your rubber brake hoses while you are in there. Brake job also. Examine your hard lines to see if they are OK.

6) You can leave basically the whole thing together, removing the upper control arm bolts, undoing the shocks, removing the lower control arm bolt, and the front sway bar mounts. If a manual steering, disconnect at the pitman arm, and cut the brake hoses. Compress the coils, and basically the whole thing comes out from under the car. You can also "build" the new stuff the same way, and it is a lot easier than being on your back.

7) I do not own stock in it, but I use a 1/2" Ryobi Electric impact. It will remove any bolt / nut that has access (upper control arm nuts not, if the engine is still in). Various extensions, a wobble, and 6 point sockets make it a lot easier, plus soaking everything in (Pick your favorite WD-40 type product).

8) There are 2 bolt on steering stops on the lower control arms. Photograph them and put them back the same way.

Coincidently, I was goofing off last week, and attacked a 1968 Mustang, similar set up. No engine, and no front seat seat, and no fenders. It took just over 18 minutes to pull the whole steering / suspension off the car, including the column. It was power steering, so there were a few more bolts to undo. I also removed the coil spring covers and just smacked the Upper control arm studs after the nuts were off, and let the coil springs fly (not for the faint of heart, and no one was around me).
 

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I made the mistake of not buying the upper control arm assemblies. Pieces were broken out of the arms where the spring perches bolt on. The threads for the mounting bushings are also unusable. Even though I sprayed on penetrating oil a day earlier and removed them with an impact wrench using the lowest pressure possible. I guess the extra ball joints and shaft and bushings will come in handy in 20yrs when the other ones wear out.

For the shelby drop one of those stepped drill bits is nice to have. I think they are carbide. The shock tower steel is hard and thick. When you get to about 3/8 in the drill speed needs to be slow. When you get the pressure and speed right it becomes easy to drill those holes.
 

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I bought a huge kit 28 years ago, and I agree with all the above except
1) I do recommend the polyurethane bushings because my car still rode/drove better than stock and it has been 28 years and it is all still like new. Arning, export brace, 1" sway bar. Poly all unless you spend the extra coin on adjustable strut rods and those associated parts.
2) if you're doing the work yourself, spend the money on something safer and better than the cheapest coil spring compressor for your own safety and being sure the spring doesn't tear a person or a fender up. You can always sell the tool.
 
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I bought a huge kit 28 years ago, and I agree with all the above except
1) I do recommend the polyurethane bushings because my car still rode/drove better than stock and it has been 28 years and it is all still like new. Arning, export brace, 1" sway bar. Poly all unless you spend the extra coin on adjustable strut rods and those associated parts.
2) if you're doing the work yourself, spend the money on something safer and better than the cheapest coil spring compressor for your own safety and being sure the spring doesn't tear a person or a fender up. You can always sell the tool.
Seen enough of these to avoid polyurethane bushings...

 

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Seen enough of these to avoid polyurethane bushings...
Man! I never even knew it was an issue with a car unless it was tracked, wrecked, or hit some kind of terrible pothole. I have about 60k miles on my poly I guess. The rest of the poly bushings have been great as well.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
The work is simple, but some gotchas. Please identify if you have power steering or not.

1) Do NOT disconnect the strut rods from the lower control arms until the BIG HONKING nut at the front is removed. Otherwise, the strut rod will just spin.

2) After reviewing the cost of the end links and sway bar bushings, it might be wise to just go with the GT style or 1" bar. Stiffens the front end, for not a lot more $$.

3) The steering gear box probably has not had grease replaced or adjusted since it left the factory. It would be a shame to do all the work, find out the box is sloppy, and get to remove what was put on, to get the box out, and possibly pay for another front end alignment. I recommend Dan at Chockostang to rebuild it, and it box comes out a lot easier with the front seat out.

4) Export brace and Monte Carlo bar. If you don't have them, now is the time to put them in.

5) Replace your rubber brake hoses while you are in there. Brake job also. Examine your hard lines to see if they are OK.

6) You can leave basically the whole thing together, removing the upper control arm bolts, undoing the shocks, removing the lower control arm bolt, and the front sway bar mounts. If a manual steering, disconnect at the pitman arm, and cut the brake hoses. Compress the coils, and basically the whole thing comes out from under the car. You can also "build" the new stuff the same way, and it is a lot easier than being on your back.

7) I do not own stock in it, but I use a 1/2" Ryobi Electric impact. It will remove any bolt / nut that has access (upper control arm nuts not, if the engine is still in). Various extensions, a wobble, and 6 point sockets make it a lot easier, plus soaking everything in (Pick your favorite WD-40 type product).

8) There are 2 bolt on steering stops on the lower control arms. Photograph them and put them back the same way.

Coincidently, I was goofing off last week, and attacked a 1968 Mustang, similar set up. No engine, and no front seat seat, and no fenders. It took just over 18 minutes to pull the whole steering / suspension off the car, including the column. It was power steering, so there were a few more bolts to undo. I also removed the coil spring covers and just smacked the Upper control arm studs after the nuts were off, and let the coil springs fly (not for the faint of heart, and no one was around me).
Thanks for this - the car has power steering.
 
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