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Discussion Starter #1
Finally got back to driving my Mustang for a bit, and first thing I notice is how much the darn thing rolls and weight shifts. After driving both my Fiesta ST and '85 RX7, I feel like I need to stiffen up the suspension a bit. I'll be hopefully building an '87 5.0 for it soon and first step is getting rid of the old and maybe original steering box for a new box or Unisteer rack and pinon kit. Not sure what to do next though, as my dad and I spent some time last summer rebuilding the front suspension with new stock everything (those springs were a beach to get in!), but skipping the roller perches and polly bushings.

With the motor out, definitely want to do a Shelby drop and stiffer roll bar. I'm on the fence for if I should consider coil-overs or just slightly stiffer front springs and new shocks all around (currently Bilsteens that are roughly 5 years old). I think weight transition under braking is one thing I want to minimize. Rear end is a 4 or 4 1/2 leaf if I remember right.

Any suggestions for "cheap"? Or just suggestions in general lol. Mainly looking for a responsive "modern feel" setup.
 

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Dimples
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Arming drop -it’s free
Keep your shocks
Bigger away bar
Stiffer cool springs

That would be the short budget list. Beyond that, improved spring perches and strut rods should be the next step.
 

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Spammer Hammer
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Cheap as in a couple hundred a pop or everything under $2K cheap?
Think of a progression so you aren't doing hard stuff twice. I piecemealed mine and enjoyed how each part added to the driving experience, a few EZ pieces still to go.
Do the springs along with the drop, 580# or better. You can skimp on shocks until later. "Fine tune" the UCA while they'tre off for cheap. The spring perches have some low $$ upgrade options for the DIY guy that saves hundreds over the "best"
Monte Carlo bar and export brace combine to feel better than the best sway bar alone for about the same $$ so i think you can save some and do they sway bar much later. One of those easy standalone projects.
Money well spent and "cheap" in the grand scheme is the ZRay cross member and also adjustable strut rods. Both stand alone jobs for later if you want and they can be done for 1/2 price or less if you can fab/weld on your own.
 

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Talk to @Shaun at Street or Track. He’s an honest guy who will shoot you straight.
 

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I can tell you the biggest differences I noticed in handling was after installing an export brace and rear sway bar. Pleasantly shocked after those two fairly cheap upgrades. Probably the two things that helped the most with driving feel and noticeable right away. Of course they were the two last things I did.

I also have the Unisteer power rack and pinion unit. Turning radius is that of a battleship but definitely a huge improvement handling-wise over the stock manual harpoon steering box.
 

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Gee, I get to be the one to say talk to Chock (Chockostang) for the steering box. :cool:
Do a search here both for him (sounds like a great guy, he's a member) and for the pros and cons of a rack/pinion. Mostly cons, but some people like it. It's not a good upgrade normally, and so many interested don't realise the Mustang already has IFS.
Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Gee, I get to be the one to say talk to Chock (Chockostang) for the steering box. :cool:
Do a search here both for him (sounds like a great guy, he's a member) and for the pros and cons of a rack/pinion. Mostly cons, but some people like it. It's not a good upgrade normally, and so many interested don't realise the Mustang already has IFS.
Russ
He's the one who rebuilds old boxes, correct? Depends on cost, she's been in an accident once and I think someone in the past sent a jack through the floor board too, so not concerned with originality (unless they're OEM parts). Don't see how someone could say the Mustang doesn't have IFS, it's antiquated engineering, but IFS none the less.

Talk to @Shaun at Street or Track. He’s an honest guy who will shoot you straight.
I'll check it out, along with Open Track. Did see Street or Tracks Bilstein setup that looks nice. $2500 is a bit much until the motor is done though.

I also have the Unisteer power rack and pinion unit. Turning radius is that of a battleship but definitely a huge improvement handling-wise over the stock manual harpoon steering box.
Manual? If so, how's the steering effort?

Cheap as in a couple hundred a pop or everything under $2K cheap?
Think of a progression so you aren't doing hard stuff twice. I piecemealed mine and enjoyed how each part added to the driving experience, a few EZ pieces still to go.
Do the springs along with the drop, 580# or better. You can skimp on shocks until later. "Fine tune" the UCA while they'tre off for cheap. The spring perches have some low $$ upgrade options for the DIY guy that saves hundreds over the "best"
Monte Carlo bar and export brace combine to feel better than the best sway bar alone for about the same $$ so i think you can save some and do they sway bar much later. One of those easy standalone projects.
Money well spent and "cheap" in the grand scheme is the ZRay cross member and also adjustable strut rods. Both stand alone jobs for later if you want and they can be done for 1/2 price or less if you can fab/weld on your own.
Probably a few hundred for now lol. I do have a Monte Carlo bar only with the stock "export brace", may look into something beefier later on. Springs are must though and I agree with knocking everything else out while in there. What exactly do you mean by "fine tune" the UCA though, besides the drop?
 

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What exactly do you mean by "fine tune" the UCA though, besides the drop?
I think its Dazecars.com that details the tricks like rotating the shaft to get free +caster and midolyn bushing in the spring perch for $20, the next best thing to $300 roller perches.
For the guy with more time than $$ to blow. You basically take a new UCA apart check and massage the fat threads and put it back together "perfectly," which if fiddly, so that it has smooth and easy movement. I think opentrcker gets ~$200 for this and sells them as Blueprinted Cheater. - Limited Supply - (Blueprinted) Early Style "Cheater" 65-66 Upper Control Arms - Opentracker Racing Products
 

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Manual? If so, how's the steering effort?


Mine has an AOD but steering effort is minimal. Low speed steering is easily accomplished with one hand whereas with 17" wheels and manual steering trying to turn the wheel at lower than 5 mph took both hands and quite a bit of effort. That alone made the conversion worth it for me.
 

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Every performance part brings something to the table. You don't need to do everything at once. @BlakeTX summed it up well. Do the simple cheap stuff first. The Arning drop will make a huge difference and it's free outside the cost of a drill bit, 17/32". Keep your Bilsteins, 1" front bar and do what ever you can to stiffen the unibody up.

The next step in buying performance suspension parts I'd suggest adjustable struts from Street or Track. Doing away with the rubber biscuits on the struts you now get a far more stable and predictable suspension operation. Stability all over improved especially under braking. Another advantage is being able to add slightly more caster and easier to fine tune. With stock lower arms you don't want to add too much more caster with the struts, it'll overwork the bushing.

Lowering the upper control arm raises the front roll center. It's a imaginary set of lines of each side that run through the upper and lower ball joints and control arms that intersect from each side. What this does is inherently makes the car want to corner flatter and feel more stable. My other comment, learn to do your own alignment. You will be able to better fine tune your car which is equally important as buying any performance suspension part. With leaf springs you really don't need a rear sway bar like a rear axle with coil springs. They are as different as night and day. Leaf springs have natural anti roll properties. They were not and do not like being twisted front to back which happens as the body leans. Any leaf sprung rear axle with them is more for fine tuning and are usually very small in diameter. Take your time in learning how your suspension works and you'll only be buying parts once.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Manual? If so, how's the steering effort?


Mine has an AOD but steering effort is minimal. Low speed steering is easily accomplished with one hand whereas with 17" wheels and manual steering trying to turn the wheel at lower than 5 mph took both hands and quite a bit of effort. That alone made the conversion worth it for me.
Sorry, meant manual steering :p. Sounds nice though. Would love power steering, but already have a/c and find the compressor bracket and hoses to the condenser alone are annoying.
Every performance part brings something to the table. You don't need to do everything at once. @BlakeTX summed it up well. Do the simple cheap stuff first. The Arning drop will make a huge difference and it's free outside the cost of a drill bit, 17/32". Keep your Bilsteins, 1" front bar and do what ever you can to stiffen the unibody up.

The next step in buying performance suspension parts I'd suggest adjustable struts from Street or Track. Doing away with the rubber biscuits on the struts you now get a far more stable and predictable suspension operation. Stability all over improved especially under braking. Another advantage is being able to add slightly more caster and easier to fine tune. With stock lower arms you don't want to add too much more caster with the struts, it'll overwork the bushing.

Lowering the upper control arm raises the front roll center. It's a imaginary set of lines of each side that run through the upper and lower ball joints and control arms that intersect from each side. What this does is inherently makes the car want to corner flatter and feel more stable. My other comment, learn to do your own alignment. You will be able to better fine tune your car which is equally important as buying any performance suspension part. With leaf springs you really don't need a rear sway bar like a rear axle with coil springs. They are as different as night and day. Leaf springs have natural anti roll properties. They were not and do not like being twisted front to back which happens as the body leans. Any leaf sprung rear axle with them is more for fine tuning and are usually very small in diameter. Take your time in learning how your suspension works and you'll only be buying parts once.
Not planning on much now, mainly want to see what the Shelby drop feels like with stiffer springs (I think mine are stock replacement springs below 300#). I have noticed the tendency to wander over bumps with the stock strut rods, and thinking of replacing them at some point. Not looking for a track weapon (yet?), just something that feels sportier and tighter. I've done my fair share of OEM spec alignments, but never wandered outside that. Did my own after replacing everything, what a pain with those shims!

And I will say, never understood roll bars on leaf rear ends, aside from dedicated track use.
 

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My suspension needed a total overhaul. I also found my factory power steering -while trouble free and not leaking - a little vague, with some play in each direction before imput was transferred to the wheels. Was contemplating a borgeson or a call to chockostang, but decided to first address the suspension and see how the steering behaved after that.

I decided to rip off the band aid and went with the Street or Track coilovers. Not cheap but oh-my-gawd what a difference!
Shelby drop, coilovers with bilstein street, 1 1/8 sway bar up front. Matching bilsteins in rear with the one inch drop leafs in back.

The car has a MUCH more modern feel. In comparison to my newer mustangs that Ive owned, it reminds me of my old 2002 Mustang GT. Modern sporting feel, firm but not harsh at all. Not floaty.

I have 17s and had occasional rubbing over bumps and tight turns out of the driveway. Thats gone.
And the steering is now much more responsive. So much so that its off the upgrade list. It aint broke, so Ill throw that money at something else.

I just did this upgrade in December, and have put 500 miles on the car in the last month. Yeah Im happy :)
Here's a pic so you can see the stance.

I highly recommend the Street or Track setup. Shaun was a pleasure to work with.

742783
 
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