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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all. I have a 1965 Mustang 5 lug and am wondering if there's any good cars for a suspension swap/donation? I know some older trucks frequently get Explorers/Crown Victoria's (too wide for the Mustang I believe) suspensions swapped in, and I was wondering if you guys know of any good swap options? If there aren't any good/worthwhile options, what kits do you guys recommend? Looking for something that doesn't break the bank, with stock ride height, and power steering included/compatible for a later add-on.

Thanks in advance!
 

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What are you trying to accomplish with the a swap? A typical 5 bolt (8") rear end is very durable. While the "necessity" of rear disc brakes is questionable on these light cars, some like to do it for style if nothing else. They make kits for what you have. For the front, you can get the factory style Kelsey Hayes kits as well that fit what you have. Steering a bit loose? Send your box to Dan at Chocostang for a rebuild. He can hook you up with power steering as well.
 

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Because of the unibody construction on these cars, and the way the front end works to transmit kinetic energy not only through the frame rails, but also up through the shock towers and through the braces into the firewall, it's complicated.

Many people remove the shock towers in order to fit wide engines, like Coyotes for example. To make that work, they usually use a stiffer crossmember with something like a Mustang II suspension. There are big downsides though: the suspension travel is shorter because the arms are shorter. The geometry changes for the worse, because the shorter arms cause the tire and wheel to move through more of an arc with the smaller arms as it moves up and down. And lastly, you have two rather spindly frame arms attached to a somewhat floppy body holding the entire front end. If you don't want to experience terminal cowl shake, or watch your fenders beat up your hood, you'd need to tie things together with a bunch of heavy duty bracing, and that's a pain too.

If you want cost-effective solutions, the best things you can do to your ride and handling are pretty straightforward for most cars.

Do the Shelby/Arning drop to fix your suspension geometry.
Get a 1" front sway bar
Get the best shocks you can afford, for all four corners. I'm a big fan of Bilstein, but if it's in the budget, think about a good coilover setup. You can talk to someone like Shaun at StreetOrTrack about this.
Get the slop out of your steering parts, and don't forget bushings (like the donuts on your strut rods).
Have you ever greased your steering box? Didn't think so... and neither has anyone else. If there's play, as @66coupe289 says, send it off to Dan.
Use an export brace, and consider a Monte Carlo bar if you want to carve corners.

Last, but certainly not least, do an alignment that suits modern radial tires. You need more caster. This will make a tremendous difference.

There are a lot of other things you can do to greatly improve your handling and ride; adjustable strut rods, rollerized perches, variable rate front springs - the list goes on. But the above stuff will get you leaps and bounds ahead of where your stock suspension is. If your car's like mine, you are wallowing around corners, front tires squealing like a 1970s cop show if you're doing anything beyond "dead slow", rolling like the Queen Mary in a swell, and that's not much fun. Doing the above changes will really change the car's character, and make it a blast to drive.

If you're a racer, you may want to go farther than this. But as far as "donor car parts" there are many things that have been tried, but few would be considered an improvement. Including the Granada spindles I was dumb enough to put in my car back in 2000. =)
 

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What are your goals? Performance? Ride?

Many folks think they need a "suspension swap" because they're riding on 50+ year old components, worn out stuff or modifications made by Hacker & Co. A few simple and cost-effective changes can usually result in a very good handling and riding Mustang.

a. "Arning Drop". Relocation of upper control arm mounting point 1 inch lower and 1/8 inch rearward. Improves camber curve of the front suspension through compression and extension.
b. Increased front spring rate. Prevents over-compression of suspension during "spirited" driving. Helps reduce rear-front and side-to-side weight transfer.
c. Increased front anti-sway bar diameter. Helps control side-to-side weight transfer on cornering. Note... too big can promote understeer/snap oversteer. Generally, 15/16 or 1 inch is the maximum recommendation.
d. QUALITY shock absorbers. Adjustable ones, even better. Koni (red) or Bilstein's are very good. Pricey, but good.
e. QUALITY replacement suspension components. Moog (avoid their budget-friendly "RK"-prefixed offshore offerings), NAPA Chassis brands are decent.
f. Avoid polyurethane products except for sway bar frame bushings and lower spring saddle bushings.
g. "Competition" wheel alignment. Do not use factory specifications unless you drive like Grandma on 6.35 x 14 bias-ply tires.....

For the "steering system", a rebuild of the steering box by Dan Chockley (chockostangclassicmustang.com), Moog replacement tie-rod ends, a Shelby "Quick-Steer" Pitman and idler arm set and, if power steering is desired, either an "EPAS" (Electric assist) or the factory BENDIX system (also available from Dan) will make your car steer like the thoroughbred it is.

PS: Don't forget to address the REAR suspension, as well, with good quality rubbers, matching shocks and a higher-rate leaf spring.
 

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I have done much of what @Grimbrand suggested:

My mods include:

1.) GT front springs
2.) 5 leaf - mid-eye rear springs
3.) 1" sway bar
4.) Export brace
5.) Monte Carlo bar - straight/quick removeable
6.) Power steering box for 16:1 ratio (running manual)
7.) Granada front spindles and brakes
8.) Dual master cylinder
9.) Arning drop
10.) Bilstein Sport shocks

Parts in the garage to go on:
1.) Adjustable strut rods
2.) Roller perches
3.) Factory 5 lug spindles and Kelsey Hayes brakes. My Granada brakes work just fine and I do not "need" to change them. I found a deal on the KH and would like to have more year specific parts on the car, so I will change. For 64.5-66 cars the factory Granada parts are not ideal and some experience bump steer. (I cannot say it has been an issue for me). There is a company out there that makes a geometry correct "Granada" spindle for early cars. Those are actually more heavy duty than the early factory parts. I would not hesitate replace front drums on a '67 and up factory Granada parts as the geometry would be correct and the brakes work very well.
 

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Many folks think they need a "suspension swap" because they're riding on 50+ year old components, worn out stuff or modifications made by Hacker & Co. A few simple and cost-effective changes can usually result in a very good handling and riding Mustang.
THIS!!!^^^^^^^^^

Most of the babies that get thrown out with the bathwater on Mustangs are due to wear, mal-adjustment and/or hackery.. The original design drove great, and can drive even greater with carefully-selected upgrades.
 

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For 64.5-66 cars the factory Granada parts are not ideal and some experience bump steer. (I cannot say it has been an issue for me). There is a company out there that makes a geometry correct "Granada" spindle for early cars. Those are actually more heavy duty than the early factory parts.
With my car being a '67, I thankfully don't have bumpsteer issues. Partly because I used garbage pads from 2000, my stopping power actually got worse compared to the power drums my car came with! I have had un-fun wheel fitment issues as well, and I've been unable to run center caps since I put the Granada spindles on. On the plus side though, my car did not try to pull to one side on stops anymore, and the Granada spindles are beefier than the original factory units. These days, there are economical options readily available that work better than the Granada units.
 

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67 coupe, 69 Sportsroof, 86 hatchback
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...what kits do you guys recommend?
None. Just rebuild and improve upon the "independent SLA" suspension you have. It's worth noting that the vast majority of racers with old Mustangs are doing just that. In classes with open rules you could transplant Ferrari parts if you wanted but nobody does, they just improve upon what the car came with. I figure that many thousands of people actually pushing our cars to their performance limits probably have a clue so that's how I go to.

If you are on a tight budget you can even swap out parts at a time to some degree if you want. Strut rods now, rollerized spring perches later, etc. With a bigger budget just call Shaun at Street or Track and tell him what you want out of your car and he will hook you up with any "kit" you like.
 

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Agree with the rest - shoehorning in suspension from other vehicles is not the way to go at all. It might be marginally cheaper but it is significantly more difficult to obtain the right suspension geometry and function when you're using stuff that is not designed for your specific car.

An upgraded stock suspension will do wonders. People comment on how good my car's suspension is all the time, and I do not have a single "radical" item installed. I've got roller spring perches and heim jointed strut rods, but otherwise the rest is stock - stock LCAs, Opentracker optimized stock UCAs, Bilstein shocks, GT-spec coil springs, GT-spec leaf springs, 1&1/8" sway bar up front, Arning drop. Overhauling all of the suspension with good components and those two modified parts costs 2-3k. You will not be able to correctly fit any other vehicle's suspension into your car for less than that.
 

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My factory suspension replacement/improvements on my 67:

1. New Koni shocks both front a rear
2. New Moog premium tie rod ends
3. New front sway bar bushings.
4. New Eaton rear leaf springs and shackle bushings. Higher rate than stock.
5. Relatively new Moog upper and lower ball joints.
6. Solid export brace
7. Straight removable Monte Carlo Bar.
8. New Moog idler arm

On my list:

1in sway bar
Open Tracker front crossmember
KH front disc kit from Chock
Send my steering box and power steering components to Chock for rebuild.

I don't race or do a lot of spirited driving, I really do baby my 67 most of the time so quality stock replacement parts with some minor improvement mods is what I am going for.
 
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I agree with everyone else. My old 1967 coupe with 100% factory suspension handled just fine in the curves. People often confuse what handling actually means...it means road holding ability when pushed. That old stock '67 never once lost traction in a curve even when I pushed it beyond what I should have. This does not mean that the car felt as composed going through those curves at speed as say my '91 Miata did at the same speed...but it still did the job.

That being said, there are still plenty of improvements to be made to the stock suspension as others have already mentioned. There is no doubt if you did major surgery you could fit some other car's suspension under the car...but why would you? The factory stuff even without modification will handle what 90%+ of people will put it through without a hitch(assuming v8 spec components...the I6 didn't handle as well as the v8 due to a worse steering design and softer spring rates).

My personal modifications to this '66:

1. A bunch of misc chassis stiffening mods.
2. SoT front coilover suspension
3. Shelby drop
4. Shelby quick steer arms w/ roller idler
5. SD 4.5 mid-eye rear leaf springs(this will be replaced with SoT 3 link stuff in another month or two)

What we tend to forget is that in the end...these are street cars that we rarely race and our imagination about what the car could be clouds our judgment about the fact that the car is just fine as it is.
 

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It does occur to me that there are a couple of 'donor vehicle' items that you may want to latch onto if you find them:

a '98-01 4R70W transmission is pretty sweet as far as automatics go. Just be sure it has the "Windsor" bolt pattern - not the Mod Motor version. The Mustang V6 is a good source for this transmission. Bellhousing is integral to the case, so it won't work if it's the Mod Motor pattern. '98 has all the truly important updates for longevity. Past 01, most models lose the mechanical speedo gear provision.

Aluminum driveshafts from Explorers and Mountaineers work very well in our cars, although you might need to have it shortened. Don't bother if a forklift has bent it.

96-01 Explorer/Mountaineer 5.0 HO motors are always a good foundation for any basic build; they are set up with good heads (GT40 or GT40P), and usually show very little wear even with 100K miles or more.

I personally feel as if the 8.8 rear axle is more trouble than it's worth, especially for a first gen Mustang, but they are decent, and well-supported with aftermarket! To use one in any early Mustang will require some fuss - either fabricating brackets on the car, or cutting off the axle's bracketry and welding on early Mustang mount points to make it work. Width is the big consideration, especially for 64.5-66 Mustangs and their narrower track. They need C-clip eliminators so that if you break an axle, you don't lose the stub and tire it's attached to. Most tracks won't let you run them without this change. So why bother mentioning them? Because most out of Explorers and Mountaineers (as well as a lot of trucks) will have 3.73 gears, limited slip, and disc brakes! For a dedicated racer, or someone with a lot of mountains to drive on, the discs shed heat faster from repeated stops. For all others, the good old 8" works great, as do the factory drum brakes in back - so long as you have decent pads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It does occur to me that there are a couple of 'donor vehicle' items that you may want to latch onto if you find them:

a '98-01 4R70W transmission is pretty sweet as far as automatics go. Just be sure it has the "Windsor" bolt pattern - not the Mod Motor version. The Mustang V6 is a good source for this transmission. Bellhousing is integral to the case, so it won't work if it's the Mod Motor pattern. '98 has all the truly important updates for longevity. Past 01, most models lose the mechanical speedo gear provision.

Aluminum driveshafts from Explorers and Mountaineers work very well in our cars, although you might need to have it shortened. Don't bother if a forklift has bent it.

96-01 Explorer/Mountaineer 5.0 HO motors are always a good foundation for any basic build; they are set up with good heads (GT40 or GT40P), and usually show very little wear even with 100K miles or more.

I personally feel as if the 8.8 rear axle is more trouble than it's worth, especially for a first gen Mustang, but they are decent, and well-supported with aftermarket! To use one in any early Mustang will require some fuss - either fabricating brackets on the car, or cutting off the axle's bracketry and welding on early Mustang mount points to make it work. Width is the big consideration, especially for 64.5-66 Mustangs and their narrower track. They need C-clip eliminators so that if you break an axle, you don't lose the stub and tire it's attached to. Most tracks won't let you run them without this change. So why bother mentioning them? Because most out of Explorers and Mountaineers (as well as a lot of trucks) will have 3.73 gears, limited slip, and disc brakes! For a dedicated racer, or someone with a lot of mountains to drive on, the discs shed heat faster from repeated stops. For all others, the good old 8" works great, as do the factory drum brakes in back - so long as you have decent pads.
The original plan has been to take the 5.0 from a Crown Vic/Explorer/Mustang/F150 or whatever and take GT40p heads from an Explorer and stick them on. I'll likely snag a T5 transmission from a scrapyard and hope the 3rd gear is good. I was planning on keeping the factory rear differential (code 1, 3.00), unless you guys recommend fitting bigger gears into it. Any other parts you recommend I swap from other cars? I've heard taking the master cylinder from the Explorer is common, and would be a good use of that thing if I'm already taking the engine, ECU, wiring harness, drive shaft, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What are you trying to accomplish with the a swap? A typical 5 bolt (8") rear end is very durable. While the "necessity" of rear disc brakes is questionable on these light cars, some like to do it for style if nothing else. They make kits for what you have. For the front, you can get the factory style Kelsey Hayes kits as well that fit what you have. Steering a bit loose? Send your box to Dan at Chocostang for a rebuild. He can hook you up with power steering as well.
I would like to just have some newer parts in there, with some newer goodies like front disc brakes (don't care for the rears, they can stay drums) and power steering. I'm not racing with my Mustang, the whole point for it is to be a fast, fun cruiser/daily driver. The rear differential (3.00) will be staying, unless people really recommend I re-gear it or swap it entirely. Also I will likely get my steering box sent in to be rebuilt. Thanks for the advice!
 
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