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post #1 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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help with picking new parts for 1988 convertible

Hello.

i have a 1988 mustang convertible. currently i have, tokico blue shocks and struts, ford racing "b" springs, boxed rear control arms with poly bushings all around, a home made strut tower brace,maximum motorsports full length sub frame connectors, dimpled and slotted rotors, turbo coupe rear, and lincoln 73mm calipers, stainless braided lines and clutch cable from maximum motorsports, hawk pads, 4 point bolt in roll bar (gonna add a diagonal brace, and harness bar, and probably weld it in this winter) and i have about 315 hp to the wheels.

couple Sundays ago, i did an HPDE and my pass rear lower control arm fell out of the body mount because the bolt came loose. I was looking to buy some upgrades this winter and wonder what you had for suggestions. the car isnt my daily, but if its nice out, i do like to drive it. it sees autocross or drag racing pretty much every week over the summer.

so with that in mind, what would you guys suggest be my purchases for the winter? ive got 500-1000$ i can easily spend. i would like the most bang for my buck. a few things i thought of, were sway bars, maybe new struts/coil over kit, panhard bar. one other option was new wheels/tires. i have ponies right now, with 225-50-16 continental dw tires. real nice and sticky, but i didnt know if swapping to a 17x9 with maybe a 245 all around would help. i can find em used, but its pretty pricey.

also, with turbo coupe rear, and 73mm calipers, what should i do for master cylinder and booster?
Thanks for the help people, sorry for the long post, but trying to avoid confusion

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post #2 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 09:08 PM
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I have an 86 vert. Tried the SVO 73 front caliper matched to the T/C rear caliper (45mm) and never did get the F/R bias correct. That front caliper is very big and should only be matched to the equally large 54mm SVO/Lincoln rear. With an improper balance, it is near impossable to get the F/R knee-point bias right. For better F/R brake balance, I recommend you sell the 73mm ones and replace with a stock 60mm calipers. Once that is done, the stock booster is fine unless it's failing. The 93 Cobra 1" bore M/C Ford used with exactly the recommended set-up: 60mm front calipers and the T/C 45mm rear calipers. Stopping distances should improve without front lock and possable flat-spotting tires (I assume you have an adjustable prop valve to set knee-point bias).

You can leave the bars as is until budget allows yet improve the overall handling and ride quality of the car. To do this, work on the rear suspension to eliminate the quadra bind. If a T/A and PHB is out of budget, consider the PHB alone with a poor man's 3 link (PM3L). Use rubber bushings for the PM3L unless you can fab-up one with rod-ends. Without the bind, the rear will ride and grip much better. Up front because the car is a vert use a STB. This helps tie-in the front part of the car to the back part which it not accomplished with just SFCs or even a 4-point bar. A G-load brace isn't a bad idea either; leave all of the stock vert bracing in place - it really needs this stuff. Also consider a C/O kit for the front. The "C" springs are giving you a front wheel rate of about 163# (and a somewhat harsh ride - at last mine did) with the rear averaging about 125#. You can improve front grip with a 300# C/O (wheel rate of 270#) at the same time you improve ride quality.

Together with the rear suspension mods, you will be amazed with the result. Then consider some better tires to take advantage of all this new-found grip. Good luck.


Last edited by qtrracer; 11-30-2011 at 09:16 PM. Reason: added stuff
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 10:25 PM
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If you can squeeze a TA and PHB along with a set of rear lca's into your budget, this is the way I'd go. I felt the amount of added rear grip and predicatability was the biggest improvement I made to my car. I'd keep watch of MM's deal of the day to look for reduced pricing for however long they keep doing it (last year I believe it ended at the end of December but can't remember, there's a thread on it in this forum section).

P.S. Once you do a TA, you may have to adjust your rear spring rate. I can't comment on how leaving the rear spring rate alone would effect everything so do your homework if you can't fit the spring rate change in your budget with the other parts or if you just don't want to spend the rear spring money until you upgrade the fronts too.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qtrracer View Post
I have an 86 vert. Tried the SVO 73 front caliper matched to the T/C rear caliper (45mm) and never did get the F/R bias correct. That front caliper is very big and should only be matched to the equally large 54mm SVO/Lincoln rear. With an improper balance, it is near impossable to get the F/R knee-point bias right. For better F/R brake balance, I recommend you sell the 73mm ones and replace with a stock 60mm calipers. Once that is done, the stock booster is fine unless it's failing. The 93 Cobra 1" bore M/C Ford used with exactly the recommended set-up: 60mm front calipers and the T/C 45mm rear calipers. Stopping distances should improve without front lock and possable flat-spotting tires (I assume you have an adjustable prop valve to set knee-point bias).

You can leave the bars as is until budget allows yet improve the overall handling and ride quality of the car. To do this, work on the rear suspension to eliminate the quadra bind. If a T/A and PHB is out of budget, consider the PHB alone with a poor man's 3 link (PM3L). Use rubber bushings for the PM3L unless you can fab-up one with rod-ends. Without the bind, the rear will ride and grip much better. Up front because the car is a vert use a STB. This helps tie-in the front part of the car to the back part which it not accomplished with just SFCs or even a 4-point bar. A G-load brace isn't a bad idea either; leave all of the stock vert bracing in place - it really needs this stuff. Also consider a C/O kit for the front. The "C" springs are giving you a front wheel rate of about 163# (and a somewhat harsh ride - at last mine did) with the rear averaging about 125#. You can improve front grip with a 300# C/O (wheel rate of 270#) at the same time you improve ride quality.

Together with the rear suspension mods, you will be amazed with the result. Then consider some better tires to take advantage of all this new-found grip. Good luck.
Thanks for the response. The calipers aren’t installed yet, just pulled em from a junk yard, guess ill sell em. Rear isn’t in either. So Ill get a cobra master cylinder, one from advance or autozone should work? My brake system is stock aside from stainless lines, pads and new hardware kit nonsense on drums, but im putting this turbo coupe rear in.
I have a strut tower brace already. I made it, and I actually have ford racing “B” springs. I never knew what pm3l was haha. So I guess ill do a panhard, front coil overs. And keep my rear b springs, along with pm3l.
My next main question is what do I do about control arms? Ive got generic boxed rear upper and lower. Poly bushings in both axle and body spots. When the bolt came out, damaged one busing on lower body side, so that needs to be replaced. I have my stock upper and lowers. Should I buy new lowers of some sort? Replace the one bad poly bushing with another? Re use one stock upper with a new rubber mount?
im not aiming for any certain class, as I just go for fun/no real classes where I race. Last time out tho, I did do better then a few wrx’s, an sti, a fiat and a 240 lol. And as far as tires, my conti dw’s are great, and probably most reasonable to run since I still drive on street.
Thanks again!
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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hmm. upon more research, aparently a pm3l is really rough on the upper control arm left. i might see if i can make one.

a buddy of mine and his buddy has some little fab business theyre trying to start off. they make some focus stuff, but open to anything. im having him look into making me a a control arm for me for a pm3l

Last edited by 88lxvert; 11-30-2011 at 11:27 PM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-01-2011, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 88lxvert View Post
Thanks for the response. The calipers aren’t installed yet, just pulled em from a junk yard, guess ill sell em. Rear isn’t in either. So Ill get a cobra master cylinder, one from advance or autozone should work? My brake system is stock aside from stainless lines, pads and new hardware kit nonsense on drums, but im putting this turbo coupe rear in.
I have a strut tower brace already. I made it, and I actually have ford racing “B” springs. I never knew what pm3l was haha. So I guess ill do a panhard, front coil overs. And keep my rear b springs, along with pm3l.
My next main question is what do I do about control arms? Ive got generic boxed rear upper and lower. Poly bushings in both axle and body spots. When the bolt came out, damaged one busing on lower body side, so that needs to be replaced. I have my stock upper and lowers. Should I buy new lowers of some sort? Replace the one bad poly bushing with another? Re use one stock upper with a new rubber mount?
im not aiming for any certain class, as I just go for fun/no real classes where I race. Last time out tho, I did do better then a few wrx’s, an sti, a fiat and a 240 lol. And as far as tires, my conti dw’s are great, and probably most reasonable to run since I still drive on street.
Thanks again!
Dude, you seriously don't want all that poly in the rear control arms, that stuff is for drag racing. Those control arms need to control side to side and axle wind up at the same time on a street/track car and all that polyurethane is just going to cause bind. In the LCA's you should have either spherical bushings at both ends or poly on one end and spherical on the other. For the uppers, you should use rubber bushings with the 4link w/PHB and rubber or spherical for the PM3L w/PHB.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-01-2011, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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alright, so say i buy these: Steeda 555-4103 - Steeda Spherical Upper Control Arm Bushings - Overview - SummitRacing.com
could i put one in each side of a lower arm, and have half poly and spherical? does it matter which side is which?
then for upper, have spherical on body side and rubber on axle side? with pm3l and panhard
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-01-2011, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 88lxvert View Post
alright, so say i buy these: Steeda 555-4103 - Steeda Spherical Upper Control Arm Bushings - Overview - SummitRacing.com
could i put one in each side of a lower arm, and have half poly and spherical? does it matter which side is which?
then for upper, have spherical on body side and rubber on axle side? with pm3l and panhard
Let's review what the rear suspension does. The 4-link lowers basically do one job: locate the axle front to rear and square to the front. Because there is some body roll and twisting, the bushings can be poly on the chassis end but sphirical on the axle end top avoid bind situations. If drag launches are in the mix, sphirical on both ends are better. The 4-link upper does two jobs - poorly: (i) controls axle rotation and (ii) locates the axle laterially. This twin function is the problem with Fox chassis 4-link. In order for it to do these two jobs, the uppers must twist and grown in length during axle articulation. Hence, the use of soft rubber bushings and the non-boxed arms. But even with soft bushings and twistable arms, there is a limit and that is when the famous bind and snap oversteer occurs.

To fix this, the two jobs need to be seperated. One approach is the T/A (controls rotation) and PHB (controls lateral movement); a Watts-link can be used in place of the PHB for lateral control. Or one can go with a true 3-link (as in the s195 cars) or the PM3L like I run which is a converted stock arm or fabed link (I have the latter) - it goes on the PS. The Steeda 5-link also does the seperation thing but with a different design.

If you use a stock arm for the PM3L you have to monitor the bushings very carefully as they self destroy over time. If you use a link like mine, not just any combo can be used. I wouldn't recommend the Steeda bushings in the link. If you have access to Mathis Mustang Perfomance Handbook 2, he has some upper arm desgns that have been used as a PM3L (mine for example) which provide adiquate clearance at the axle end.
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-01-2011, 10:21 PM
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hmm. upon more research, aparently a pm3l is really rough on the upper control arm left. i might see if i can make one.

a buddy of mine and his buddy has some little fab business theyre trying to start off. they make some focus stuff, but open to anything. im having him look into making me a a control arm for me for a pm3l
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-01-2011, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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jeez. you guys are all so knowledgeable. im getting confused as what to get. but i think im getting it.
i dont care about noise or vibrations, so i think i will get maximum motorsports or similiar rod end control arms(unless i can somehow swap out the bushings in my current arms...) (i drag, and autox/hpde) a panhard, upper axle spherical bushings, and an upper arm with spherical.

im going to do front coil overs too, any suggestions for a good spring rate? what about rear springs?

thanks again everyone.

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post #11 of 11 Old 12-02-2011, 05:46 PM
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Springs and dampers have to be matched in order to get the best results. Some argue that adjustability is a good thing to have on a multiple venue car like yours (street, drag, OT). Given your range of venues, Koni would be my choice. If money allows, then doube adjustables as opposed to single - but at least single. Single adjustable Konis can accomodate a C/O spring rate range from 275# to 375# according to MMs web site (Koni Single-Adjustable Strut, 1987-93 V8 Mustang [8741-1121S] : Maximum Motorsports, the Latemodel Mustang Performance Suspension Leader!). Once you settle on the front rate, then depending on your rear suspension set-up (e.g., T/A/PHB) a rear rate can be determined.

As a point of reference, my car (86 GT Vert) only does two venues - street 85% and Autocross 15%. So I chose Bilsteins (front C/O range is 250# - 325#) 'cause I don't want to mess with damper adjustability (some say it's a black art anyway). I have 300# C/Os up front and H&R Super Race (260-300# progressive) conventionals (with MM height adjustable LCAs) in the rear. I went down in sta-bar size in front and put a medium sized adjustable sta-bar in the rear just in case I need more rear rate. This combination (remember I have a PM3L w/ PHB and no rear bind) provides an outstanding street ride and competent handling manners on street compound tires.
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