Vintage Mustang Forums banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Info on Car: 1965 convertible 289/4 speed (new pepped up engine)
I am running original 14 inch Style Steel wheels which now have new tires all the way around and I have front disc/ rear drum brakes
I did have the car aligned and it helped but still nowhere near where it should be IMO


The car drives bad. There's much "play" in the steering wheel before the wheels ever turn.
I'm almost positive the entire front suspension, including the steering box, are all original.


I'm seeking new shocks/struts/springs and adding the "Shelby drop" and wanting good driver quality parts that won't break the bank.
I'm aware I probably need to change the steering box (real dumb *** move for not doing it with engine out of car but dad swore it drove like new before he parked it lol) I spoke with Dan at Chokostang last night but he will not be back until March 1st, which is ok, only a month. He seems to be pretty unanimous on here as far as who to purchase a box from ?


I was looking at the "gt" springs, kyb gas a just shock/strut but not sure if this would give me what I'm looking for


thanks in advance
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,689 Posts
Everyone here raves about John at Opentracker. He is the 'go-to guy' for upgraded parts that will improve the stock suspension. I've read posts where people say his parts made the car feel a whole bunch better. I'd start there and see what he has to say for a recommendation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Everyone here raves about John at Opentracker. He is the 'go-to guy' for upgraded parts that will improve the stock suspension. I've read posts where people say his parts made the car feel a whole bunch better. I'd start there and see what he has to say for a recommendation.
thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,969 Posts
Give the whole suspension and steering a good inspection for worn parts. Anything worn is going to cause the car to drive sloppy. A few years back before I did my car it was so bad I could not drive next to another car on the highway as it would dart all over the place. I found the lower control arm bushing were wasted. When they wear out there’s nothing to keep the suspension in alignment.

What I’d suggest. Absolutely do the Arning drop. It makes the car inherently corner flatter. It improves the camber to make the tires bite better in turns but it also raises the front roll center. Doing so is what makes the car more stable and corners flatter. Use good quality replacement control arms. I’d recommend spending a little extra money on a good set of shocks. Something on the order of Koni or Bilstein. Good shocks make a difference and are worth the money.

If it’s in the budget, adjustable struts. Getting rid of the rubber biscuits on the struts does wonders in making the car more predictable, especially while braking. It’ll stop dead straight and not feel unstable. Plus you can add a little extra much needed caster.

Of course at a 1” sway bar and do what ever you can to stiffen the unibody up. The export brace and Monte Carlo bar are good additions. I’d suggest setting caster at 3* and camber .5* negative. I have roller perches. Some like them, some don’t. My opinion they’re not going to hurt. Ford’s original design used a greaseable bronze bushing. What ever. I think one of the best reasons to use either a roller, bronze or poly set is that they will outlast a rubber bushing. That was the original purpose of them was to use them on Mexican taxi cabs asvthe stock rubber ones didn’t hold up well on their rougher roads and the roller bearing ones did.

I’d suggest calling either Street or Track or Opentracker Racing. Both of them sell a wide range of parts from completely stock to high end. Both have excellent customer service and will only sell you what you want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
thanks
I did replace the lower control arms as they were completely worn out, the bushings "fell out" when removed from the car


It was silly (thanks pops) on my end that I could put new tires and alignment on the car and it be ready for trip across the state. To say the suspension is tired is an understatement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,969 Posts
Rubber bushings induce a lot of slop once they start to wear. I’m not trying to up sale you but more as a commentary adding Opentracker’s roller bearing idler arm made my steering very precise. Dare I say almost RnP? With attention to little details the stock suspension and steering can work really well at reasonable cost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
I still have a decent amount of suspension work to do myself but I will say definitely go for the higher end shocks; I recently swapped out my KYBs for the non-adjustable Koni ones and it made a big difference. Given the cost spread it is not worth cheaping out on those.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Rubber bushings induce a lot of slop once they start to wear. I’m not trying to up sale you but more as a commentary adding Opentracker’s roller bearing idler arm made my steering very precise. Dare I say almost RnP? With attention to little details the stock suspension and steering can work really well at reasonable cost.
thanks
Are the upper control arms prone to needing replaced on these cars?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
202 Posts
What Huskinhano says it spot on and what I did to my car which is also a 65 conv. with styled steel wheels and 205/70r14 tires.

I also did the roller front spring perches and roller idler arm. My car was originally a manual steering car and I did the borgeson power steering conversion, which I like quite a bit. It replaces the steering box. Last I also added adjustable strut rods, mostly so I could get a bit more caster. The borgeson conversion likes lots of caster for "return to center" feel.

A quality alignment to shelby specs is also a must. I think opentracker has the specs on his site.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,969 Posts
thanks
Are the upper control arms prone to needing replaced on these cars?
I would say if the shafts spin easily and not damaged you could take them apart, clean and grease them up. Put 90* zerk fittings on them and replace the ball joints with a good quality one. Besides your time all you would have invested is the cost of the ball joints compared to buying whole new arms. You’ll have to balance that out if you have the time or you want to spend the time rebuilding the old ones. Another plus for rebuilding the old ones, you’ll know the quality of the arm itself, you’ll know it fits fine and you can offset the shaft to add a little extra caster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,405 Posts
thanks
Are the upper control arms prone to needing replaced on these cars?
Yes. When I was rebuilding the suspension on my '70, I was looking at a rebuild kit for the upper control arms. I found new control arms for pretty much the same price. So, be sure to look into that before you rebuild your current upper arms. I've rebuilt two of these suspensions (the other was a '69 Cougar which is the same as a Mustang) and on both cars the upper control arms had many cracks around the bushing areas. That's another reason to replace them.

As an example, here's how I built my suspension:

- Shelby Arning drop
- Scott Drake upper and lower control arms (from Street or Track)
- Scott Drake street performance coils springs (from Street or Track)
- Roller spring perches (from Street or Track, but I think they're originally from Open Tracker Racing)
- 1 1/8" front anti-sway bar with urethane bushings (Yeah, that's a little big, but it's what Shaun recommended. I got it from Open Tracker because Shaun was unable to get the front sway bar at the time.)
- Export brace (from Street or Track)
- Bilstein Street Performance front shocks (from Street or Track)
- Monte Carlo Bar (from Street or Track. It's a good part, but I have to modify something because it won't clear my shaker snorkel)
- New tie rod ends and idler arm from Moog
- Rebuilt "quick ratio" steering box from Chockostang
- Kelsey Hayes non-power 4-piston caliper disc brakes from Chockostang (car had factory drums)
- Factory style power steering kit from Chockostang (car had manual steering from the factory)
- Factory, Mach 1 rear sway bar with urethane bushings
- Scott Drake 4-1/2 mideye leaf springs (from Street or Track. The rear of the car sits a little too high for me. Not sure if they will settle down or if I should have went with bottom eye springs. )
- Bilstein rear shocks (from Street or Track)

So, what's the verdict? Well, I've driven it only about 200 miles so far, but yahoo! I'm absolutely thrilled with the way the car handles and drives. I haven't even aligned the front wheels yet, but it tracks straight as a string. (I'm working to get the wheels aligned.)

The Bilstein shocks are especially good. I've driven Mustangs with Koni and KYB shocks and, sorry, I was not impressed. The ride was harsh and handling was just OK. The Bilstein ride is firm and positive without being at all harsh. I'm very impressed!

Many people dislike the early Ford power steering, but I've always thought it was OK based on previous cars I've owned. I admit the boost was a little too much, but I don't have this problem with my Chockostang power steering kit. I'm not sure if it's because everything is new or if the Shelby drop has any affect, but it's really nice and not over-boosted with good feedback.

So, there you go as a real-world example. The only change I'm planning is to eventually install the Street or Track strut rods. I still have a lot of other things to finish up on the car before I do that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
i went with Street or track tubular / spherical bushing front end kit - paired that with koni shocks and 520 springs with 1/4 coil turn cut to lower it.
https://www.streetortrack.com/Street-or-Track-Tubular-Front-End-System-pr-24480.html



its definitely on the stiffer side, but the ride is nice. I drive 20 miles a day on it - pot holes.. suck.. but other than that its great.


If i were to do it again, i'd spend the extra 1k and get his coilover system instead though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,405 Posts
i went with Street or track tubular / spherical bushing front end kit - paired that with koni shocks and 520 springs with 1/4 coil turn cut to lower it.
https://www.streetortrack.com/Street-or-Track-Tubular-Front-End-System-pr-24480.html

its definitely on the stiffer side, but the ride is nice. I drive 20 miles a day on it - pot holes.. suck.. but other than that its great.

If i were to do it again, i'd spend the extra 1k and get his coilover system instead though.

Based on my experience, swapping out the Koni shocks for Bilstein shocks would likely give you a much better ride as well as better handling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,969 Posts
i went with Street or track tubular / spherical bushing front end kit - paired that with koni shocks and 520 springs with 1/4 coil turn cut to lower it.
https://www.streetortrack.com/Street-or-Track-Tubular-Front-End-System-pr-24480.html



its definitely on the stiffer side, but the ride is nice. I drive 20 miles a day on it - pot holes.. suck.. but other than that its great.


If i were to do it again, i'd spend the extra 1k and get his coilover system instead though.

Never thought about that the Bilsteiens would ride better. Maybe that’s what’s going on with my 66. I have a full SoT non coil over too. Initially I didn’t have money for the shocks so I kept my old $13 Monroe Matic shocks. Pair with the stock uncut GT spec coils my car rode really soft. It was like riding in a Lincoln soft and floaty. I weigh 170 pounds and I could bottom out the suspension just by sitting on the front fender by the headlight. When I bought my Bilsteins originally I was going to buy the Street version. In a knee jerk talking with Shaun I uttered out Sport and not accidentally. While firm not bad. They cured a lot of problems but the springs were still too soft. I gave my brother a ride and he is on the larger side, I was bottomed out on the bump stops just sitting. I avoided buying the .620”, 600 pound springs from Shaun as I thought they’d he horrible. But finally push came to shove and bought them. I cut a half coil off and the car actually sits 1/4” higher now in front. My first drive I was totally shocked at how well they felt and how the car drove. Firm as in controlled but definitely not harsh or unpleasant. IMO at least on my car, the springs and shocks are very well matched to the suspension.

I don’t know what to say. It’s a hard thing to say spent $400+ on new shocks again. At least my experience has been great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Based on my experience, swapping out the Koni shocks for Bilstein shocks would likely give you a much better ride as well as better handling.
looks like $130 more for the bilstein shocks over KYB Gas a Just
Opentracker is showing a pair for $199
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,405 Posts
looks like $130 more for the bilstein shocks over KYB Gas a Just
Opentracker is showing a pair for $199
My take is to go with quality, factory style shocks, like Monroe, or go with Bilstein. I don't like the KYB or Koni shocks; on a Mustang anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
454 Posts
I’m a bit surprised, but no one has asked you to define “driver.” A proper recommendation cannot be made unless we know what you’re going to do with the car. Drive to Dairy Queen and the downtown “car show” on the weekends? Dive deep into turn 3 at the race track? Obviously those two scenarios require different suspension setups. The second question is: how original do you want to keep the car?
Answer these two questions first. Don’t get me wrong, everything stated so far is great advice. I’m still dealing with vagueness in my steering and deciding which direction to go (total rebuild or rack-n-pinion). The “problem” is that there are so many choices that you can go blind reading all the material. Add that everyone’s comments are subjective and not objective (for the most part). And I’m sure you’re like most of us, we don’t want to spend money and then decide we made a mistake or we’re not happy with the result and do something different.
In the end, there are many on this forum who will give you great advice, while all the time being happy to help you spend your money (just kidding).
Happy motoring and enjoy the ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,711 Posts
I’m a bit surprised, but no one has asked you to define “driver.” A proper recommendation cannot be made unless we know what you’re going to do with the car. Drive to Dairy Queen and the downtown “car show” on the weekends? Dive deep into turn 3 at the race track?
If you're wanting to "Dive deep into turn 3 at the race track" and you're asking for "driver" suspension advice, you're using the wrong terminology...

Allen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,389 Posts
thanks
Are the upper control arms prone to needing replaced on these cars?
Well, after 50 years, yes! :lol: They do not frequently need replacing though, if that's what you're asking.

Mine were last replaced in the very early 80s and needed replacing again a couple of years ago, so that should give you a good timeline. They needed replacing because the bushings had gotten all dried up and cracked and there was a lot of play in them there, not because they needed ball joints or anything. It was mostly an age factor rather than a wear factor.

Chock is the go-to guy for steering boxes, yes. But it may be that your box could improve a lot just with adjustment. If you've got the extra cash, I would still send it out to him for repair so it will be exactly perfect, instead of just "close enough". I don't like my steering "close enough" :)

For a full rebuild with driver-quality suspension and improved handling, I have two different things that I recommend to people based on what fits in their budget.

Option 1: Stock rebuild
- Shelby drop (free)
- 1-piece export brace ($80)
- Large front sway bar if not already present ($175)
- Monte carlo bar ($20)
- Moog UCA ($120/pair)
- Moog LCA ($50/pair)
- Eaton GT front coil springs ($200/pair)
- Eaton GT rear leaf springs ($300/pair)
- KYB or Monroe shocks on all 4 corners ($70)
- New strut rod bushings ($30)
- Stock spring perches ($50)

That choice gives you new serviceable everything, front and rear, and will tighten up your ride substantially. Less body flex due to the braces / sway bars, improved suspension geometry due to the Shelby drop, slightly firmer ride from the GT parts. All-in, that's about $1100.

Option Two: Slightly modified moderate performance rebuild
- Shelby drop (free)
- 1-piece export brace ($80)
- Large front sway bar if not already present ($175)
- Monte carlo bar ($20)
- Moog UCA ($120/pair) or, even better, Opentracker blueprinted UCAs ($225)
- Moog LCA ($50/pair)
- Eaton GT front coil springs ($200/pair)
- Eaton GT rear leaf springs ($300/pair)
- Bilstein shocks on all 4 corners ($400)
- Adjustable strut rods, either SoT or OT ($400/pair)
- Roller spring perches ($200/pair)

That choice gives you a combination of stock and updated stock parts. You still get the same reduced body flex / improved suspension geometry benefits. The Bilsteins give a nicer tighter ride, absorbing bumps without catapulting you into the air as the KYBs have been known to do (I never minded the KYBs but that might just be me). The adjustable strut rods improve a known issue with the early Mustangs - by eliminating the rubber bushing in the strut rod, they eliminate suspension deflection to one side or the other during hard braking and allow the car to stop in a straight line and handle more consistently. The roller perches allow better articulation of the suspension with less binding, causing it to stick to the road better without throwing you around on bumps. All-in, that setup runs $2100.

The second setup is what I run on my daily driver / road trip '66 fastback. I have put around 25,000 miles on it in the past 2 years so everything has been tested thoroughly and I am very happy with the setup. This car does not stay on the pavement and I beat on it pretty hard. But people who ride along seem to always comment on how smooth the suspension is, so I guess it must be pretty good.

While roller bearing everything is great and will really make your suspension nice, I could not be convinced that I needed to spend all the extra cash to get it to 100% perfect street handling - for me, suspension that is 90% of the way there but $1000+ cheaper is a good middle ground.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top