Dear Welder Series… 1960 Falcon Pro Touring Front Suspension

Dear Welder Series…
I’m looking for a complete Mustang II front suspension with a hub to hub measurement of at least 62″, with an ultimate preference of 64″. I only see 60″ on your website. Do you have one, or can you possibly fabricate one? I want to use coil-over springs. Thanks in advance!

Dear Mark…
Mark, the widest track width we make, as standard, is 60-1/2”. We could make a custom kit to your specifications. This would let you use Mustang II spindles and aftermarket control arms.

What are you building?

Thanks for asking about this. I’ll have more thoughts for you after I find out what you are building.

Paul Horton

Dear Welder Series…
Hi Paul!  Thanks for responding. 

I was actually considering aftermarket control arms but have no idea which ones to use. 

I am building a 1960 Falcon Pro-Touring car. It will be flared 4″ per side to allow a wider track. I already have a complete 2015 Mustang IRS with a 64″ hub to hub measurement. Rear tires are 315/30/18 on 18×11 rims. Front are 275/35/18 on 18×9.5s. See attached pictures. 

I am interested in a fixture welded crossmember like what you offer so that I know the geometry of the front suspension will be correct. I believe I can adapt a later model Mustang rack & pinion by using extended tie rod adjustment sleeves, but I have been unable to locate any setup that comes close to the track width I desire. Additionally, I prefer to use a coil over front suspension, either with springs or possibly airbags. (Currently undecided)

Any help and direction you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I am ready to purchase if I can find the right match. 

Thanks again,
Mark

Dear Mark…
Hey, Mark, this looks great!  

What material do you plan to use for the front frame clip? (Have you started building the frame yet?)

What is the diameter of the front tires on your wheels?

Ridetech has beefy, American-made Mustang II control arms that can be used with either coil-overs or ShockWaves. Heidt’s also has quality MII arms.

I’m looking forward to working with you on this build.

Paul Horton

Dear Welder Series…
Thank you for the compliments. This will be my most ambitious project. I think I can do it with the right parts and technical help.  

Frame:  I am planning on a 2×3 mild steel, mandrel bent frame, .120 to .134 wall thickness. I plan to incorporate a full SCCA style roll cage, but with a street style interior and one, low door bar per side. It will be a street car with the ability to participate in hill climbs and track day events. The 2×3 “should” suffice given that it will be strengthened by the cage (1.75″ DOM) that will be tied in at multiple points, so a heavier 2×4 frame wont be necessary I think. The car will be completely gutted prior to fabrication, removing all the floors, firewall, and other bulk heads. New ones will be fabricated once the frame and cage are in place. (I have the skill set, tools, and experience to do this) I project the car will have a curb weight of <2800 lbs, a weight bias around 52/48, corner near 1G, with 400 or so RWHP. It should have a low CG as well.   

The front tires are 25.6 inches in diameter, according to BFG. I rough calculated the scrub angle using specs for MII spindles from Wilwood and my wheel offset, and it’s within the desired range. My single greatest “fear” is fabricating the front suspension. I want it to be perfectly square. I have foregone the idea of fabricating one myself, opting to find a weld-in unit with most of the geometry and mounting points predetermined. The IRS I purchased will be incorporated as a modular unit into the custom frame with relative ease. I am hoping to find a front SLA that will be as simple.  

Optimally, I would hope to find a front suspension that is adjustable, especially for camber. I hope to run .75 to 1 degree camber for the street, with the ability to adjust to as much as 3.5 degrees for competitive events. I would like some anti-dive geometry. I don’t know if all this is possible.  

To your knowledge, does Ridetech or Heidts make longer than stock control arms?  

THANK YOU for your in depth responses. It’s encouraging.        

Mark

Dear Mark…
Congrats on the cover shot, Mark. Oct/92… You were just a kid then…

I agree with you on the 2×3 frame rails and cage. Have you considered using our frame curves? 

https://www.welderseries.com/Frame-Curves

Check out the thumbnails on that page…

Do you plan to use Wilwood stock height or dropped spindles?

I don’t know if longer than stock arms are available. Grant Schwartz has made MII lowers and could probably make custom uppers. Maybe even adjustable uppers to help with your camber range.  http://schwartzwelding.com/ This will be something to consider before we get into designing a crossmember.

Paul

Dear Welder Series…
I’m not sure I’ve said “Thank You” enough. 

The car will sit pretty low. Frame height will be about 4″ from bottom to pavement. I assumed I’d need dropped spindles to accomplish this. 

I’m going to look at the links you provided. I’ll most likely have more questions. 

Mark.

Dear Mark…
Even if the frame is 4” clear in the center, you would probably have a kickup at the firewall. The stock spindles provide more ground clearance under the crossmember. The dropped spindles provide more oil pan clearance. We can work with either. The front end, and lots of other parts, are easier to work with if the rails, ahead of the firewall, are level and parallel.

Paul

Dear Welder Series…
It is going to be a feat to get the Coyote 4-Cam motor to fit under a stock hood. I don’t want to modify the hood if possible. That said, I am more interested in achieving as much room from the top of the cross-member to the bottom of the hood, so I suppose the drop spindles are my best option. I am not too worried about clearance under the cross-member, as long as it is reasonable. Speed bumps would be easily negotiated but man-hole covers could be a problem (laughing)  

Coyote Engines have a fairly shallow sump on the oil pan, and Canton makes aftermarket pans that are even more shallow. If need be, I can fabricate a skid plate but I think it’ll be alright.  

I anticipated a “kick-up” in the frame at the firewall. I’m just not sure I can calculate how much until I mock up the body at the desired ride height. I’m having trouble with the math. If I have a 25.6 tire, I will have a 12.8 radius so the spindle will be 12.8 from the pavement. Now factor the 2″ dropped spindle and….Then what? I figured I would purchase your cross-member, mock it up with blocks inside the body at desired ride height, and start measuring. Past that, it is beyond me to figure it out. The rails should easily be level at the cross-member since I plan on setting the engine as far back as possible, with leg room after the firewall as the ultimate determining factor.   

Please be mindful that as of this email, I have been using a Stanley Tape Measure for rough guesses to see if the project is viable. With this Neanderthal-like method, I haven’t encountered a road block so far. It “should” work. This coming from a guy who shoehorned a Ford 302 into a Triumph TR7 using the same process. (it actually fit well, my own version of a TR8)

Dear Mark…
Hi, Mark.  You might find it interesting to go through the installation sheets for the coil-over MII kit here. Notice that we suggest the spindle height will be 1/2” lower than the tire radius. In this case, 12.8 – .5 = 12-1/4”.

Using dropped spindles only means that the control arm pivot points will be lower by 2”. The crossmember, upper towers, and coil-over mounts will all work fine by following the steps in the document. It will help with frame design to walk through the instructions thinking about details. Like rack bellows clearance and clearance for the upper control arm. These points are covered early in the installation sheets.

Since you want a wider track width, we can look after that with the crossmember or you can look after it with longer control arms.

Your tape measure will be fine to use.

Let me know if the installation sheets generate questions.

Paul

Dear Paul…
I’ll view them in depth when I get home. I probably will have a few questions.

I’m guessing that the “H” measurement, when subtracting 1/2″ is to allow for the tire to settle and create the contact patch? If so; smart! I would’ve neglected to consider that.   

Those certainly are detailed instructions. It is encouraging that my thought process is basically in keeping with the instructions. While there is a myriad of factors to consider, I think my project will be easier than trying to adapt to an existing sub-frame or chassis. Here’s my plan;

1. Mock up the (gutted) body at desired ride height 

2. Position my IRS assembly/sub-frame with wheels and tires within the body. 

3. Mock up and position the front suspension with wheels and tires, paying particular attention to control arm angles.  

4. Once everything is in position, take multiple, repeated measurements to determine frame shape and dimensions.  

5. Inner fender aprons, firewall, bulkheads, etc, will all be fabricated AFTER the frame, suspension, and roll cage are in place. Animating the suspension and steering during the construction of the inner fenders will assure they are fabricated with no clearance issues.    

In short, I was going to let the suspension (front and rear) dictate the shape/drop of the frame: not the frame shape dictating the position of suspension. Does that make sense?     

Yes, I would prefer to use stock dimension control arms. If you could design a wider cross-member to accommodate my desired hub width of 64″ for use with readily available control arms, that would be perfect. I shouldn’t have a restriction on the width of front frame rails.  

Your thoughts please!

Mark

Dear Mark…
We can design a front crossmember to give you the track width that you want, Mark. Here are some items to add to your plan:

>  Have the wheels and tires that will be used. (I think you do have them…)

>  Get the spindles, brake kit & control arms that will be used.

>  Mock up those parts both sides, with the tires in the spot they will live in. The thing I’m looking for is the lower control arm pivot point center to center dimension. So you really only have to assemble the wheels & tires on the spindles using the new hubs and then put the lower control arms (LCA) on the spindles. Level the LCAs and give me the pivot point dimension. For a 64” track width this should be about 30”. 56-1/2” track has LCA centers at 22-1/4”.

With that LCA c-c, I can design a MII crossmember and suggest some frame dimensions for height and width.

Paul

Dear Welder Series…
Paul, before I start ordering, these control arms will work with your cross-members, right? http://www.ridetech.com/store/mustang-ii-strongarms-shockwave-front-lower.html

Dear Mark…
These are RideTech arms. The arms for 1974 – 78 Mustangs can be used with our kit.

Good choice.

Paul

Dear Welder Series…
I didn’t know if all the M2 arms were dimensionally the same. I’ll order them.

Dear Mark…
These are as good as you can get, in my opinion, Mark. Good choice.

Paul

Dear Welder Series…
I received my LCAs last night. They came with substantial steel sleeves (between the poly bushings) and gussets to weld to the cross-member. I was curious if your cross-members have provisions for both bushings on each LCA, or if I would have to utilize the supplied sleeve?  

If I must utilize the sleeve, how do I know the proper position and angle, etc?

Dear Mark…
Thanks for this note, Mark. I am out of town until next week and just saw your email.

If there are 2 bushings with each arm, one should fit inside the crossmember and one behind it. Drill the 1/2″ holes to 5/8″ for the LCA bolts and assemble and tack the bushings in place. Remove the arms and finish welding.

If each arm has a 1 piece bushing, drill the front hole in the crossmember to 5/8″ and open up the rear hole to the bushing size. This can be done by using a step drill. It can also be done by tacking a plate inside the rear crossmember hole, accurately center punching and then using a hole saw to get the hole opened up.

Or, part off the spacer so 1 piece can go inside the crossmember and 1 piece behind. Use the 2-piece suggestions above.

I am 95% sure that the front of the arms mount on the front face of the crossmember. Confirm that with RideTech.  It they don’t, please get back to me.

Paul Horton

Dear Welder Series…
I just finished mocking up the front suspension. I measured several different times to assure accuracy, and I’m confident the LCA mounting holes will need to be 31″ apart on center. 

So if you’re able to fabricate a crossmember with those dimensions, I’m ready to order a WELDED unit for (Ride Tech) coil overs.

Could you please provide an estimate with shipping? 

Mark

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