Well, the "old school" part applies more to the parts I'm using than anything, at least the majority of them anyway. Typically a Fox Mustang destined for track use these days would get a tubular crossmember and control arms, coilover shocks, and a torque arm or three-link rear suspension. My goal is to have a car that outwardly looks very tame and low-key, and has the appearance that it could have been put together in the late 80s ... sort of a "day two" build like the guys talk about doing with older musclecars. There are a few pieces that I'm cheating with as far as fitting in to that time period, but nothing that will stand out cosmetically.
Took a break for a bit this afternoon, then got back at it for a few hours tonight. Bolted in the new crossmember for a trial fit.
Started assembling the suspension on one side, I wanted to see how everything was going to go together. The Global West "McCaster" original style caster / camber plates on top:
Maximum Motorsports revalved Bilstein front struts:
Loosely bolted together with the SN95 spindle and control arm. To be more correct to the theme of the buildup I should be using a Fox spindle with a 5-log SVO rotor, but I wanted to keep my options open for brake upgrades at a later point. The SN95 arms are pretty close in dimensions to the 87-88 Thunderbird arms that would be more period correct. I'm using 03 Cobra arms with the upgraded bushings, and the discontinued Ford Motorsport extended height ball joints I got a good deal on, Steeda still sells the same ones.
Fitted up the SN95 rack & pinion (03 Cobra) using the nice Maximum Motorsport aluminium rack mount bushings made specifically for stock crossmembers.
Screwed the outer tie rod on, I'm trying 86-95 Taurus pieces. I've seen them mentioned as being a decent alternative to a bump steer kit on a Fox with SN95 spindles and rack. I've purposely left the coil spring out so that I could run the suspension through its travel. Looked pretty good as I moved it up and down, my untrained eye didn't see any bump steer movement in the spindle. The control arm and tie rod look to be fairly level with one another.
Stuck the hub & bearing and a rotor on the spindle so that I could try on one of the wheels for real this time, a little bit of inspiration again to keep moving forward.
The nice weather is supposed to continue this week here in southern Ontario, so hopefully I can get some more done, as long as I don't overdo it.
Well, the past few weeks have been tough due to reasons I don't need to disclose here, so I didn't get back to the car until today. My friends Stu Kynoch and Rob Lawson dropped by to assist, it was great to have them both here to do some wrenching. Previously Rob had come by with some plumb bobs so that we could check the chassis squareness with the new front crossmember in place ... it was out by 1/16" on the diagonal one way, which is about as good as a Fox is going to get! LOL
Here's Stu working away at the rear brake lines. We needed to shorten the original Fox hard lines to mate up with the SN95 disc flex hoses. I was going to use the adapter fittings that I had got from Maximum Motorsports, but figured that if we had to cut the lines anyway, might as well get the proper size fittings before doing the new double flares. Stu even remembered to put the nuts on the lines before he made the flares! LOL The MM fittings can be used at the connection along the right side of the firewall where the adjustable prop valve will go in.
Rear axle assembly all put together, and ready to go under the car ... a nice tidy job on the lines by Stu:
Stu brought along his beautiful 3 year old chocolate lab Daisy, she acted as official shop dog for the day:
I put Rob to work at the back of the car, here he is mocking up the MM panhard bar to mark the holes to be drilled:
In the meantime I was fiddling around with some stuff at the front of the car, Rob had the bright idea to use the sleeves off the original rear shocks as dust boots for the Bilstein front struts, they are a perfect fit, and don't interfere with the underside of the upper mount like the SN95 strut boots I was trying to use initially.
Rob got the panhard bar roughed in, then had to head home to look after his critters. So Stu and I rolled the axle assembly on some wheel dollies to the back of the car, and started to put it in to place:
For now it is in loosely, using an old set of Mustang SVO lower control arms (round front bushing instead of the big squishy oval bushing the later Foxes used) with Energy Suspension urethane bushings, and a pair of the Ford Racing upper arms.
As usual, I had to bolt a wheel on to get a look at it ... hangs pretty low of course with no shocks to limit the travel:
A friend gave me a barely used Walker cat-back system, it just has OE replacement mufflers, so I will get those swapped out for the Dynomax mufflers I have waiting. This is an older 2-1/4" system with the polished LX style tips, no longer available in that size from Walker. I purposely wanted the 2-1/4" to keep the sound level down a bit, and because that was all you could get until about 1992 or so.
And finally, another recent score off the Corral classifieds, a nice condition old school Ford Motorsport M-7213-A leather shift knob for $40.
These were similar to the original Mustang SVO knobs, but with a little Ford oval logo on it. A bit of nostalgia for me, because I had the same one on my 87 years ago.
So a bit more progress, but I can't really do a proper full assembly on the front suspension until the engine is in place ... I get the feeling that if I try to position the 1000 lb. springs with a floor jack under the control arms and an empty engine bay, it will only lift the car off the jack stands. The engine needs to have a few more external bits put on before it is ready to drop in. Stu has a MIG welder that he can bring down, we have a 220A outlet in this shop, but at the opposite end to where the car is ... so we might try to roll it over to that area to be able to do a bit of seam welding of the chassis before everything gets bolted in.
We got a bit more done on the car today, not a bunch, but it continues in the right direction anyway.
My buddy Stu Kynoch came by again, this time with his younger brother James. In the morning we checked out a local collector car auction, I had some passes for it through the dealership. Some neat stuff there, nothing spectacular.
Afterward we came back to my place to phaff about on the car for a while. Before digging in to the Mustang, Stu and James went at my 66 T-Bird for a bit. I had picked it up about 2 months ago, hadn't done much with it yet, waiting for the warmer weather and clean roads to start driving. Brake lights weren't working at all, and they are tied in to the sequential turn signals. Stu is very good with electrical stuff, so he got at the relays for the circuit that are mounted in the trunk, and prone to corrosion. Sure enough, they looked pretty nasty, and probably not salvageable. I'll have to order some replacements for those. They also removed the taillights completely, Stu is going to sandblast the bodies of them, and shoot some silver paint on the reflectors that have turned black.
Moving over to the Mustang, I figured that we should get the porno red interior out before the roll bar goes in. I still need to pick up a grey interior panel set, but that is no problem to source from a local friend who has a business parting out and repairing Mustangs.
James on one side and Stu on the other, wrestling with the interior panels, trying to remember where all the little screws go through, ignore all the stuff in the hatch area left by the previous owner:
While they worked on that, I got the LX taillights swapped in, so much better than the cheese-grater GT lights:
A bit later in the day Rob Lawson came by to finish up the panhard bar installation he had started last weekend.
We got that all in place and torqued down, very solid installation. I'm impressed with the quality of the engineering and fabrication of the Maximum Motorsports PHB, a nice piece for sure. While we were in there Rob noticed that the axle snubbers on the frame rails are going to interfere with the brake line routing we did for the rear discs, so those lines will have to be rejigged a bit to make room, not a big deal.
On Saturday I was across to the other side of Toronto, Pickering to be exact, to pick up the MM 4-point roll bar that I had on order through DaSilva Racing. Unpacked it and set it up, looks to be a nice sturdy unit as well.
Started to throw a bit of paint on it, using some Krylon appliance epoxy that I had for some other bits. Was able to get most of it covered with a thin base coat with what was left in the can, so another full can should be plenty to give it a few more coats. Came out not too glossy, and should be a tough finish. If it stays sunny this week I can put some more paint on it, and leave it out in the greenhouse to bake dry.
Those taillights look so much better. Coming along great.
Not much progress until this weekend. Stu and Rob came by again today to pitch in. Stu had been working on the brake light circuit on the 66 T-Bird I picked up a few months ago, which is tied in to the sequential signals. With some resoldered wires and a new relay, they are operational. He had also cleaned up the housings for the taillamps, repaired some of the sockets that were corroded, and repainted the reflector surfaces. His brother James is refinishing a set of used lenses to replace my cracked originals, so once that is done, I can get it screwed back together, then over to the shop for a safety check and get the ownership transferred.
Stu's chocolate lab Daisy came along today, she seems to like sitting in the T-Bird. I'll have to take her out for a ride in it once it is going.
We were just finishing that up when Rob came over. So we moved over to the Mustang, the main challenge for today was getting the Maximum Motorsports roll bar completely fitted and bolted in. Rob had been over briefly a few weekends ago and we had a few of the holes drilled as a starting point.
Interior panels out to access the wheelwells for the rear tubes ... the red interior is being replaced with grey panels, other than the headliner, which I dyed grey, and will probably do the same with the carpet.
A shot of the floor so that I can gloat about how solid this car is:
Roll bar mocked up in place:
Mounts snugly in the corners after we scraped away the excess seam sealer:
Rear supports fit nicely to the wheelwells:
Rob drilling the rest of the holes for the rear bar supports:
Stu working on the dash, I have a tilt column to swap in. He also got the booster and master cylinder off, they are going to be replaced by SN95 pieces. The brake lines came apart with no trouble using standard wrenches. Sure is nice not to be dealing with rusty crap, Stu and I have had enough of that collectively. While we're at it, we can also swap in the cluster with the 140 mph Ford Motorsport speedo that I picked up a while back.
Rob and Stu getting the main hoop bolted down:
The backup plates inside the wheelwell, again nice fit and quality from MM:
We discovered a few small spots where daylight was visible between the edge of the floorpan and the wheelwell on the right side, the seam sealer had been applied poorly at the factory. So before we went any further we used some outdoor caulking to close that up. Further evidence that the car has not seen any salty winters, if it had, those holes would have been shag-nasty for sure.
A couple of weekends ago Stu's brother James had helped me strip the grey interior bits from a car at Mustang Specialteaz, the local Mustang parts emporium. So before the roll bar rear supports got bolted in to place, we trimmed the panels to fit and set them in place. So much better than the porno red!
Roll bar now bolted down, and painted with some Rustoleum appliance epoxy, quick drying with a tough finish. Looking more like a track day car now:
Stu also reshaped the rear brake lines that were going to interfere with the axle bump stops, so the rear suspension can be squared away now ... basically just needs the springs popped in, and everything snugged up at ride height.
Next weekend hopefully we can get the booster / master cylinder install done, and when the column goes back in we can go with the hybrid MM steering shaft I have to hook up to the SN95 rack. Then I can get all of the front suspension tightened up, other than the springs which have to wait for the engine install.
I had my SHO out running when I was instructing at the first event of the season a few weeks ago. Poor car, it sat all winter, I just topped up the oil and coolant, bolted on the track wheels and tires, and wailed on it again. It's not long for this world, the Mustang needs to get done sooner rather than later before the SHO decides that it has had enough of constantly seeing 7,000 rpm. LOL
Looking good Ed. I wish I was this far along on my 65, unfortunately I have afew rust issues to deal with first. Is that the Autopower roll bar that they carry or thier own? Looks like a nice unit.
Last edited by Greezy; 05-21-2012 at 06:26 PM.
That is the bar sold under their brand name, not sure if they are manufactured in-house or if they contract someone else to do it. They do also sell Autopower products, just the full bolt-in cages though I believe. I had actually considered one of those, but after speaking with a few people that had them, I decided to start with the sturdier MM 4-point bar for lapping days, and then I can build forward off that if I go vintage racing.