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I am actually going to agree with Beechkid. you need a front sway bar. I have a Rod & Customs MII on our 64 Comet and it came with a sway bar. Makes a big difference. And you would be amazed at how you can alter the handling with alignment angles.
 

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Definitely a different post. I had a pocket full of suggestions until I saw you had a Heidt's, then all that went out the window. Funny, the proponents of MII swaps usually seem to go on and on about how well they ride and handle. (I am not a fan.)
"Feel" is very subjective. To me the feel and handling of a Focus (excepting the SVT's) is just barely adequate for a compact FWD car with McPherson struts. I can't really get my head around a comparison between one and a vintage Mustang.
I hate to bring up removing the MII and going back with stuff more resembling a stock suspension but I don't really know what else to suggest. Plus I'm not at all sure that would even achieve what you're after. So I'm no help at all I guess. Definitely interested in what other folks might suggest though.

I had a MII kit in a 65 fastback I built. Unless you are doing a bigblock/mod motor/ls swap and need the shock towers removed any MII kit is a mistake. I have been experimenting with different suspension setups along with frame connectors during the last 15 years on 3 different 65 mustangs. The MII in a fastback, ron morris complete coilover conversion in another and stock suspension in another. After driving all 3 my conclusion is stock suspension with poly bushings, roller perches, progressive rate coil springs, and good shocks will handle as well as any other aftermarket system at a fraction of the cost. As far as steering, the borgenson conversion feels very "rack & pinion" like without the high cost, turning radius issues, and exhaust clearance problems that rack & pinion retrofit kits suffer from.

You can improve the handling of your classic but you will never get the feeling of a modern car like your focus without building an entire streetrod type rolling chassis and fitting your body to it. I have been there and tried that and kept my bank account emptied trying to get modern car handing and feel.... wish I would have spent less money trying.


Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Having road-raced the pony cars (mustang specific) in the late 70's in SoCal, I can suggest this.......IMHO I preferred the oem style suspension to the Mustang II conversions....much more stable, responsive & consistant. there is a slight different in the alignment specs for a street use versus track use car, but the street specs (which for the 60's cars are is the same as for the 70's msutangs- which had radial tires- otherwise the spec's are for bias ply and I guarantee you that if the alignment specs were for 1965, that will cause a handling issue with radials).....will work on the track (not excellent but good)
So, if I am reading this right, as long as I do not have an alignment spec for bias ply tire car, I should be pretty close since we are running radials?

front sway bar......required!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IMHO - without one the vehicle is unsafe for use on any public street because of weight stability & emergency manuevers. Sway bars were ONLY removed from the cars used for drag racing as they reduced the weight transfer to the rear wheels and of course reduced the vehicle weight a few pounds.
Well then it's a no brainer--I need to get that bar that Heidts says will work with there front end kit I have. I must admit, this '68 does remind me how the drag car feels on the road (our class requires a 30 mile road cruise) of course it is sway bar delete.

with regards to shocks.....IMHO:

3) KYB- A very good shock for street/strip applications. If you are running a softer tires on the street (such as BFG that are a mix of steel & nylon belted or tires with profiles not shorter than 50 series), these provide the extra stiffness that you need for both comfort & stability. ....
So, maybe my new KYB's aren't as bad as I thought and that a sway bar will make a bigger difference than higher $$ shocks.


With todays tire/suspension technology, you can definitely make the stangs drive more like a porsche...but, your car looks excellent, just need to remember the basics......and controlling weight transfer & getting the best traction within the tires (road) contact patch is always what is the goal in road racing (and general handling). I would keep the suspension, just add front sway bar (leave the rear off for now until you evaluate the outcome) - I would go with the largest diameter bar you can find....to off-set weight, I would look for a hollow tube/bar (yes a little pricey but excellent)...then have the aligment spec's verified and keep the KYB's...evaluate 1 step at a time.

I hope this helps.......
Yes this helps a ton!! I appreciate your suggestions and the compliment. The Heidts bar is 7/8". I am leaning to wards that since I assume they are recomending that to go with their M11 kit ans an option. On the other hand, in your opinion, should I be looking for a 1"' bar from someone else for say, a '78 Mustang?

Thanks Again!!
 

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There is no inherent handling advantage to the Mustang II front suspension. It's main advantage in 64-73 Mustangs is it allows the use of really large engines, such as the 4.6 DOHC. A properly set-up stock suspension can easily outhandle the MII setup.

Simply doing these items from TXMAG's list would be superior to typical MII.

Arning/Shelby Drop
Roller Idler arms
Good rebuild or new steering box
Performance alignment
Roller UCA/LCA
Front sway bar around 1" in size
Monte Carlo Bar
Export Brace

Eliminating the shock towers also often eliminates a lot of triangulation bracing. Haven't seen your car, but I've seen a lot of MII conversion cars at shows that had less front end rigidity than a stock six-cylinder coupe. Sometimes people use fancy-looking cross-bracing with Heim joints to make up for it. Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but a Heim joint is a pivot, designed to flex. Kinda the opposite of what you'd want in a chassis brace.
 

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Sway bar is a 100% must if you're looking for any serious handling.. and not sure if you have the cash but..
coiloverrear
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
You can improve the handling of your classic but you will never get the feeling of a modern car like your focus without building an entire streetrod type rolling chassis and fitting your body to it.
Dave
I hear you Dave. I was just thinking that, here I am driving an econo box that is handling better than a modified car--there might be something that we can do to at least get us in the ballpark. I know that I am comparing apples to oranges though.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Haven't seen your car, but I've seen a lot of MII conversion cars at shows that had less front end rigidity than a stock six-cylinder coupe.
Not having an export brace or sway bar, I noticed a bit of an improvement when we put in the Monte Carlo bar so hopefully an anti sway bar will help even more.
 

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I hear you Dave. I was just thinking that, here I am driving an econo box that is handling better than a modified car--there might be something that we can do to at least get us in the ballpark. I know that I am comparing apples to oranges though.
You have no sway bar ? Holy moly!
 

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Discussion Starter #29
You have no sway bar ? Holy moly!
Nope.........and looking at the Heidts site--it is an option for the kit (obviously the PO declined to add it even though he ultimately went to ps with the car after the mod). Looks like I need to sell off some old parts laying around to finance the new sway bar.
 

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You will be gabberflasted at the difference it makes! The big fat Buick I mentioned had no roll bar!!


Slim
 

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Discussion Starter #31
You will be gabberflasted at the difference it makes! The big fat Buick I mentioned had no roll bar!!


Slim
Well than that's the next wintertime mod for us. I can't say it handles bad (but than I have nothing to compare it to--age wise) but I am concerned if the Wife were to do any kind of evasive move at speed--might not turn out well.
 

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Not having an export brace or sway bar, I noticed a bit of an improvement when we put in the Monte Carlo bar so hopefully an anti sway bar will help even more.
You have no sway bar at all? If you add a 1" front sway bar, you'll be amazed at the difference.

Wow. Even the 6 cylinder puddle-jumper had, I think, a 5/8" front bar.
 

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A Focus also has a lot of neg. camber frt and rear. That really gives it stability on the road that you can never have with a solid rear axle Stang. Focus's are hard on the insides of the tires as a result esp. the rears.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
You have no sway bar at all? If you add a 1" front sway bar, you'll be amazed at the difference.

Wow. Even the 6 cylinder puddle-jumper had, I think, a 5/8" front bar.
yep, the base Heidts kit did not include a sway bar. Heidts bar is 7/8" I'm guessing that I will see a difference with that but do I really need to go up to a 1" bar? IOW will the additional 1/8" make that big of a difference? I'd like to stick with the Heidts piece since they designed it to fit their parts.
 

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yep, the base Heidts kit did not include a sway bar. Heidts bar is 7/8" I'm guessing that I will see a difference with that but do I really need to go up to a 1" bar? IOW will the additional 1/8" make that big of a difference? I'd like to stick with the Heidts piece since they designed it to fit their parts.
Yes, the 1/8" will make a big difference. Remember, that's the diameter.

I find it amazing that they consider the sway bar optional. I would consider any Mustang with no front bar a deathtrap.

No wonder you find your Focus has better handling. A 1960 Falcon probably has better handling. It had a sway bar.
 

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Wow! I was going to make recomendations until I read you didn't have any sway bar on the front. That car can't be safe. Fix that first then take the car to the next level.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Yes, the 1/8" will make a big difference. Remember, that's the diameter.

I find it amazing that they consider the sway bar optional. I would consider any Mustang with no front bar a deathtrap.

No wonder you find your Focus has better handling. A 1960 Falcon probably has better handling. It had a sway bar.
Well, it sounds like we have narrowed down our handling issue. I was starting to thin that this was just how old Mustangs drove. What got me starting to question the car was one of the last days we had it out and I launched it hard from a stop and took it to 70, at that speed I didn't feel good at all and in the curves it just didn't feel right. The only other older car I drove was a '69 big block Vette and it handled a lot better but I just dismissed it as that was a higher end car figured it wasn't fair to compare a Mustang to a Vette. I'll talk to Heidts to see if one of the 1" sway bars (from another mfgr) will fit their suspension. I'm just hesitant of buying a unit from somone else in case it doesn't fit the Heidts unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Hi Guys,

You know, dummy me....... I should of know that this car needed a front sway bar but I was so convinced that since it had an aftermarket front end (Heidts) that, in their design, it must not need it. I did talk to them (tech guy) when I wanted to put the Monte Carlo bar on and they told me that it can only help--looking back, he probably assumed I already had a sway bar. Sounds like our handling will greatly improve with an anti-sway bar in place.
 

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Sway bars are not rocket science, and they are pretty simple. IIRC, the 60's Chevy Nova front sway bar could be fitted to the Mustang. Someday I'll take a tape measure to cruise night and see if that's right.
 
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