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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So this was the dilema...jump to page 2 for the solution...


OK, so it may be a bit daft to admit in my first post here that I have fallen out of love with my '66 Convertible....but I have.

The back story:
I am in England, but 22 years ago lived in the USA for a while where I bought the car.
'66, 289, standard auto, convertible.
The car has been nearly problem free for all these years.

Modifications:
Stainless Steel Disc (edited after 120mm's post) Brakes (front only)
Electric fan
Electronic ignition.
Replacement (reconditioned) Carb'

Other than those it is very original: matching numbers, original radio, A/C (Disconnected as I am in the UK!)

So...toying with the dilemma...sell it, or fix it and thereby rekindle the lurve?

The interior needs redoing and the chrome too. Body is rust free.
I don't want to spend a fortune, and I am not looking or powerrrrr!
I do want a car that is tighter and more responsive. I live in a countryside of narrow twisty roads, this is not a place for cruising.


So for a tighter and more responsive solution...guide me...advise me!

I would really appreciate some of your expertise and experience.

I am not a mechanic, but I can do quite a lot (but if it is proper engine stuff I would get a mechanic to do it).

Over to you...?
 

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To make a '66 more driveable is pretty simple. New steering box, recondition the front suspension (replacing all the fiddly wear bits) and put a bigger anti-sway bar. Stiffer front springs, if you don't mind the additionally firm ride. While you're at it, drop the upper control arm 1" for free performance upgrade. (This is often known as the Arning or Shelby "drop". Also, you can adjust caster for steering responsiveness. Are your brakes drum or disc? If drum, a disc conversion is relatively affordable and easy.

Keeping in mind your location, I'd start with just those things and see what you think. I'm not in love with power.

 

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Send her my way........when it comes to Vintage Mustangs, I have no problem with the practice of polygamy!

+1 on everything above. I installed a rebuilt 16:1 steering box (manual) by Chockostang, 1" sway bar, Scott Drake export brace, all new suspension and steering to include a pivoting spring perch, "GT" front coil springs, Eaton "improved handling" rear leaf springs and accomplished the "Shelby Drop". With that said, does the car handle better, heck yea! Now.......does it handle like a late model Mustang........no. Will the above improve the handling of your car so that it is a joy to ride on your twisty roads in a spirited style, most likely!

With that said, if you still have lost that loving feeling and want to set that Pony free...let me know, I have a stable for her!
 

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You need something with a manual gear box for that sort of terrain. If the vert is an auto I would consider selling it.
 

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Well, there's several separate issues to address to get your car to be a fun corner-carver: body roll, suspension feel, and steering responsiveness. Because you have a convertible, your car is even less stiff (than a coupe or a fastback) so I'm sure you have quite a bit of body roll and I imagine it wallows around a bit.

Here's what I did with my fastback - and it is PERFECT for twisty roads:
-subframe connectors (not sure if those are possible with a vert) - very helpful for stiffening the chassy and preventing twisting
-1 & 1/8" front sway bar - prevents body roll
-Shelby/Arning drop - improves steering geometry and handling for free
-rack and pinion power steering - less turns lock to lock so it turns much more quickly, no over or understeer, lots of road feel

And that's it. I didn't put these things in with curvy roads in mind, but now that I know how my car handles I find every curvy road I can to go play on. My car drives like a golf cart and will keep up with everything I've been on the road with in the corners (including a Roush and a brand new Vette). There is nearly zero body roll so it doesn't feel like you're wallowing around or about to swing the rear end out. Everyone who's ridden with me on some curves has commented on how well the car tracks.

A 16:1 steering box, rebuilt to new quality, will go a long way to getting you what you want when it comes to steering responsiveness. A rack and pinion is not necessary (though I do absolutely love mine). As long as you're strong, manual steering shouldn't be an issue - although power steering may be a lot better and more fun to drive for you just because the UK tends to have lower speed limits, narrower roads, and more tight spaces for you to have to curse your way out of. Nothing wrong with the stock power steering, but I do prefer my r&p to it because of the quicker steer and better road feel.

So that takes care of steering. For stiffening, an export brace/monte carlo bar will help out a lot. I'm not sure if you can put subframe connectors on verts, but if it's possible, do it! It helps a LOT.

For suspension, the Shelby/Arning drop is the cheapest and most effective thing to do. Put on a front sway bar and you're in business! If you're still not happy with it suspension-wise, you could add on roller spring perches and adjustable strut rods. I don't have them and it doesn't bother me a bit, but neither have I ridden in a car that has them so I don't know what I'm missing :)

I vote for cleaning her up and getting her back on the road! A little elbow grease goes a long way on these cars when it comes to handling.
 

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Roller perches make the front end more compliant. The suspension can work more easily but doesn't feel soft.

I found that adding a proper export brace and Monte Carlo bar made a *huge* difference on how the front of my car feels in sporty driving. They aren't expensive and are usually pretty easy to put in. I think Kelly has them as well and may have forgotten to mention them.

The Arning drop really is great, though, but does require an alignment after.
 

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First things I did to improve the handling of my 69 fastback after I bought it was:

- larger front anti sway bar
- new bilstein shocks
- roller bearing spring perches
- one piece "export" brace
- arning/shelby drop
- tightened up the stock steering box a small amount
- had the tires spun balanced

- alignment specs (done at a shop):
These specifications are in order of importance.
1. NO more than .25 degrees difference between driver’s side and passenger’s side.
2. +2.0 to +3.5 degrees caster.
3. -.5 to 0 degrees camber. No positive camber, please. There is no problem having a slight variation from driver’s side to passenger’s side to account for the crown in the road.
4. 1/16" to 1/8” toe in


The car was always fun to drive, but after doing the above, the car was also a pleasure to drive.

My skills are nothing more than a fair home garage mechanic with no special tools other than a timing light and a torque wrench.
 

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I'd keep it and use the recipes above to make it even more enjoyable. The fact that your here asking and willing tells me the passion is still alive.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks a lot for the comments so far...my interest is sparked!

A couple of questions:

The image in 120mm's post...is that from a parts dealer I could deal with by saying "see that image...I want to buy that lot?"
The reason I ask (and hope it is that simple) is because I would not know what parts to ask for if I was to list them individually.

That leads me to the real question: Could somebody list the specific parts I need to get?

And beyond that: my rear leaf springs are old, very old and the car has already done its own "Shelby Drop" but because of sagging springs. Even I get the point that Drop may be good, but Sag is not. I assume I need to replace the rear springs?

Steering box is 22.1, but with addition of power steering. I think that going back to manual should make the car more engaging to drive.

Lastly...what on earth are roller perches?

Thanks for all the help so far.

PS It is Sky Blue, blue interior, cream top.....just to help you picture the scene!
 

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That leads me to the real question: Could somebody list the specific parts I need to get?
Rear:
Rear leaf springs (at least as stiff as GT springs)
Rear shocks (search the board for many brand/model recommendations)
You may need u-bolts & shackles, depending on how rusty yours are.

Front:
Front GT springs
Spring perches
Front shocks
Sway bar (at least 1"; some rx 1 1/8")
depending on how old things are, you might want upper control arms and lower control arms.
For the steering, if you keep it, check out your tie rods, idler, and pitman for wear and replace as needed

Many vendors offer kits, and some, like OpenTracker, www.opentrackerracingproducts.com/ will give you good advice on what you need via email, but I don't know about them doing business overseas.

And beyond that: my rear leaf springs are old, very old and the car has already done its own "Shelby Drop" but because of sagging springs. Even I get the point that Drop may be good, but Sag is not. I assume I need to replace the rear springs?
Replacing leaf springs is pretty easy except sometimes the old ones are a little tough to get out. Search the forum for many articles about it.

Steering box is 22.1, but with addition of power steering. I think that going back to manual should make the car more engaging to drive.
I'd put that change low on the list.

Lastly...what on earth are roller perches?
The "perch" is where the front coil spring rests on the suspension (on top of the upper control arm). The stock unit has a hard bushing. Changing that to a bearing helps the suspension move more easily. Here is more info: Opentracker Racing Products - FAQ
 

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funny I am kind of the same way. I love my car, but I think I have worked on it so long that now that I can drive it, its anticlimatic
 

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Don't get me wrong or anything but I've done or had done many of the suspension upgrades mentioned above. The only one that made ANY noticeable difference to me was installing a new pitman arm. The roller spring perches get so much hype but I couldn't notice a difference at all in the cars handling afterwards. Maybe my car is so dialed in that I'm trying to improve on perfection :)

Best of luck which ever direction you go.
 

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Where are you in the UK

I have three stangs. I live in Essex

My 65 is seam welded, has sub frame connectors, borgeson PS, 4wdb, Vintage Air and a five speed. Low profile tyres, Monte Carlo bar and engine brace.

It's clearly the best driving mustang I've ever had. Very comfortable on the back roads. Planted with no "OH SH*T" moments when driving.

My 66 GT350 is dead stock with a T5 and is a comfortable car on the back roads. Most importantly. It's been well taken care of so all items work as new. Non power steering by the way.

Stiffening your car and a new PS box will help greatly. Just about every old Stang I've owned has had a poorly steering box. That one item alone would really improve an otherwise healthy car

Being a convertible it will never be a rollerskate but being a convertible early mustang 99 % of the UK will be jealous of you.

Peter
 
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