Im considering trying the late model Fatman Fabrications mustang front suspension conversion in my 65, Anyone else tried it yet? Looks like a great idea, uses the late model steering rack, struts, brakes.
Ahhh, my bad. I thought you were looking into a Mustang II setup. Thats what i get for not clicking your link first!
One thing that I found while looking over the hotrodder posts was a general feeling that Fatman's service after the sale was not always the best.
That kit looks interesting though. Since it uses alot of proven factory parts, I'd say I like it. But it's too late for me to try it out on my car, as I have a M II kit in it.
I did see that it used the escort / topaz rack but thats still better than the old gear box Ive got. I also like the idea that I can get modern technology suspension, steering and brakes without having to hack the h$ll out of my car.
I was told "well under $1000". I asked the questions "So, I should be able to complete everything for around $1500" to which they responded "Oh no, you can do it for much less."
So I collected:
$300 - Used set of 15" AR rims (plus shipping)
$200 - New Take-off 2003 rotors and PBR calipers (shipping included)
$75 - '98 GT spindles
$60 - Remanned Escort Rack
$15 - New Take-Off struts
That put me at $650 invested already, and I waited with baited breath. Then they released the kit for $1995 (plus shipping) and told me I had to spend another $100+ on a new steering wheel?? So, that "under $1500" (rims not included) now put me up at almost $3000.
When I called them on it, they skated around the issue and made up excuses. They can keep it. For more than $1000 less, I can easily put together an MII front end with top of the line everything and lose the shock towers to fit in a big block.
I'd bet the tilt column is adding quite a bit of fat to the kit, but I see that as a bonus. I'm upgrading my car to a tilt so I can fit my thick legs under the wheel, then lower it to a better driving position.
That article you posted looks like they reuse the old spindles somehow, the stock column and then the rest of the kit. The crossmember itself is nothing more than a big piece of plate steel, cut, bent and has the mounting bungs for the power or manual rack. I bet if you were willing to reverse engineer it, it would come out a lot less.
They use the SN-95 spindles, but cut off the steering arms and give you new ones to bolt on and make it into a rear steer. Supposedly, they needed to go into the firewall for the steering coupling so they decided to just add in a new column into the kit. A tilt column is a good idea in general, but should cost under $500 and I don’t need one at the moment so why should I have to pay for it? TCP has no problem showing you how to cut and modify the steering column and they include the necessary parts to do the job. Why can’t it be an option for the FatMan kit? For what they give you realistically, $1995 is about $800 too much, and that’s including the steering column. Once again a vender misses the mark. They invent a completely different approach to get into the game, then price it out of the reach of what the market should bear as far as I’m concerned anyway.
I don't really understand the point of the Fatman kit. The only advantage is that it lets you trim the shocktowers a little bit so maybe you can squeeze in a big block. But it's too expensive to compete with an MII conversion which does the same thing more effectively. I guess the fact that you don't need to weld anything is a plus but not a very big plus.
The Fox/SN95 front suspension is nothing to write home about from a performance perspective and doesn't offer a huge advantage over what our cars came with or what you could get from TCP/Global West/etc. I guess the rack and pinion steering box is an advantage, but again not big enough to make the rest of it worthwhile.
I've got tons of ideas, but no time, and even if I did I can't afford the R&D time to work out the bugs. I need my car to run. Unfortunately at this point, my car still needs a front end. I've been looking at various MII setups, but it can be confusing. I have the spindles, control arms and a rack, but the rest of the pieces can add up quickly. I've looked at 5 different manufactureres of MII front ends and have seen things done different ways for different reasons and haven't been able to make enough sense of it to figure out which way is better than another.
For Instance, one complete kit is really cheap at $1300, but it only has 9" brakes (everyone else offers 11"), no strut rods, sway bar, motor mounts or shock tower covers, but it does have strut rod eliminators which I don't think I'm a fan of. Or, I can buy an unfinished, tack welded crossmember for under $300 and make up the rest as I go. It seems like a good idea until you realize that just the steering column mods can cost up to $200.
I did end up donating my SN-95 spindles and brakes to this project, so at least they are getting good use.
I know about that one, along with Randall's rack, and there is also the Omni and Taurus rack as well as the Mustang Shack BMW rack which never saw the road (thankfully).
However, as I posted the other day, I am NOT a fan of the GM J-car racks. They just don't hold up. On my '88 Grand Am (bought new), I was on my 3rd rack by 100,000 miles. (as well as my 3rd battery, 4th alternator, umpteenth set of brakes, 3rd control module...)
'Scuse me, this topic comes up often, and I say the same thing, to almost the same people.
The Fox body front suspenstion is at least current, and no doubt an engineering improvement over the Mustang II stuff.
I don't want to get into all this slip angle booge woogie, it's just better. The SCCA autocross times prove it. The Fox body cars are the most competeive. Enough said.
Nothing wrong wrong with the II's stuff, that's an improvement over the vintage Mustang stuff. If you are going to modernize, might as well go to the current stuff, No?
Pricing: as usual, as long as they make a pile of dough off of fewer units sold, they think it's good.
I agree, I personally dont care for Mustang II stuff, Ive used it on streetrods and its nothing special, just easy to adapt to varying applications. The fox body stuff might not be curtting edge, but I dont see many late model cobra owners complaining about how their cars handle. A mac strut is IMO much better than all but the very best aftermarket stuff available for our cars, and as an added bonus most any autoparts store will have what you need in the event of a problem. As far as cost goes, I dont care!! If I was worried about the cost I certainly would have picked a different hobby, nothings cheap when your hobby is automobiles.