Looking for track suspension advice - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2016, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Looking for track suspension advice

Good Morning, Sorry if this has been beaten like a dead horse, but I cant seem to find exactly what I am looking for. Locally I can not find a trust worthy "vintage mechanic" that knows how to set up suspension.

So my day dream is to have a street car, rides like a comfortable go cart (lol) that I can take to the occasional local autocross track day.

I have had this car 12 years, so here is the very quick run down.... Ford Racing 306 Crate engine, AOD w/2500 stall, Currie 9 inch 3.89 gears w/true track diff, 4 wheel discs, 17x8 235s and 17x7 215s, progressive rate coils, and 5 leaf mid eye leafs, bilsteins on all 4s. Global west strut and monte carlo bar, sub frame connectors.... In the garage, but not yet installed, Global west tublar uppers, and boxed stock lowers - and Hotchkis sway bar kit.

So heres the issure, I am throwing a ton of high quality parts, but the car still is not dialed in, and handles well, kind of lame. Any advice on what I am missing? Is there a local actual shop in the Tampa Bay area that can set this up for auto cross? Should I keep the shelby traction bars on with the rear sway bar, or is that not a good idea.

By all means I am not a newb, I just cant seem to figure this car out.....

Please, any help would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2016, 08:31 AM
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Welcome , you seem to have a decent parts list ,I didn't notice you say any thing about UCA drop or alignment specs ? What steering box do you have? 19:1(AKA slow:1) or 16:1 power or manual


Last edited by 2nd 66; 11-06-2016 at 08:43 AM.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2016, 09:23 AM
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Install the Global West upper with the 1.375" (IIRC) drop.
Correcting the camber curve is the single biggest think in my experience. Then align it to the aggressive side of the GW specs.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2016, 09:30 AM
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Install the Global West upper with the 1.375" (IIRC) drop.
Correcting the camber curve is the single biggest think in my experience. Then align it to the aggressive side of the GW specs.
Dothis + steering box you'll see big ++
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-06-2016, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiPalo View Post
Good Morning, Sorry if this has been beaten like a dead horse, but I cant seem to find exactly what I am looking for. Locally I can not find a trust worthy "vintage mechanic" that knows how to set up suspension.

So my day dream is to have a street car, rides like a comfortable go cart (lol) that I can take to the occasional local autocross track day.

I have had this car 12 years, so here is the very quick run down.... Ford Racing 306 Crate engine, AOD w/2500 stall, Currie 9 inch 3.89 gears w/true track diff, 4 wheel discs, 17x8 235s and 17x7 215s, progressive rate coils, and 5 leaf mid eye leafs, bilsteins on all 4s. Global west strut and monte carlo bar, sub frame connectors.... In the garage, but not yet installed, Global west tublar uppers, and boxed stock lowers - and Hotchkis sway bar kit.

So heres the issure, I am throwing a ton of high quality parts, but the car still is not dialed in, and handles well, kind of lame. Any advice on what I am missing? Is there a local actual shop in the Tampa Bay area that can set this up for auto cross? Should I keep the shelby traction bars on with the rear sway bar, or is that not a good idea.

By all means I am not a newb, I just cant seem to figure this car out.....

Please, any help would be appreciated.
There's nothing to really "figure out." Install the rest of the package and tune it.
Get rid of the progressive springs. My experience with them is that they flat out don't work.
You'll need some Moog 8534 front springs, trimmed for ride height in the front of your (unknown)
year Mustang. That will get you where you need to be there.
What mid-eye leafs are on there? What's the rate? How are they mounted? (GW bushing & shackle kit?)
The shelby rear traction things ARE NOT part of that balanced package. As such, they will not help you.
The rear sway bar could possibly help you at some autocross events; it is usually not needed at open
track events and can be detrimental on the street.
My suspicion is that you will have an oversteer tendency with Bilsteins in the rear.

You'll need an 8" rim in the front with a 225 series tire. You literally can't get enough rubber on the
front to stem the vintage Mustang tendency to push.

That'll get you started in the right direction.
I unfortunately don't know anyone in the Tampa Bay area to help you set up. I've been out of that
part of the biz for a long time.....

PM sent too.

ex-Global West GM
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Last edited by GT289; 11-06-2016 at 10:00 AM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-07-2016, 12:25 AM
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Gt289- I was just looking for bilsteins for my rear. I thought that was they way to go. What is your thoughts on why not? Or do you mean just with his set up?

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-07-2016, 10:59 AM
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The ratio of bump to rebound is "wrong" on most shocks for use on the rear
of the Mustang for handling. Bump is generally a higher number and rebound
is lower to enable carrying back seat passengers with the pathetic factory
rear spring rate. Rather than a 70:30 rear shock, you would select a 30:70
for handling. It keeps the live rear axle from being massively upset by
bumps/uneven road surfaces.....
You're protected from crashing the rear with the higher 150# rear spring set
that GW uses but need the "backwards" ratio shock for proper control.
Bottom line- you'd need to check the rear Bilsteins to see what the ratio is.
The correct rear shock is a big deal on those cars because of how light the
back is. Selection of the wrong rear shock or the wrong settings on a double
adjustable rear REALLY detracts from the overall performance of their suspension
package. (you would be very surprised by truly how far off and how disappointing
the car feels on the track)

ex-Global West GM
1991-1995
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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That was a huge help and I wish I would have talked with you a few years and a couple grand ago..... ha
The mustang is a 66. Rear springs are a mid eye 5 leaf, its been a while, so I have to find the spring rate on the receipt. Ill change the front springs like you suggested, but im stuck with the Bilsteins. I like them alot, but also I have never had the car on a track.

Ill have to get sticky 215's for my rims, and the traction bars will stay off.

Its a good start, thanks for the advice.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 08:04 PM
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[QUOTE=GT289;8541281]The ratio of bump to rebound is "wrong" on most shocks for use on the rear
of the Mustang for handling. Bump is generally a higher number and rebound
is lower to enable carrying back seat passengers with the pathetic factory
rear spring rate. Rather than a 70:30 rear shock, you would select a 30:70
for handling. It keeps the live rear axle from being massively upset by
bumps/uneven road surfaces.....
You're protected from crashing the rear with the higher 150# rear spring set
that GW uses but need the "backwards" ratio shock for proper control.
Bottom line- you'd need to check the rear Bilsteins to see what the ratio is.
The correct rear shock is a big deal on those cars because of how light the
back is. Selection of the wrong rear shock or the wrong settings on a double
adjustable rear REALLY detracts from the overall performance of their suspension
package. (you would be very surprised by truly how far off and how disappointing
the car feels on the track)

ex-Global West GM
1991-/QUOTE]

Right on thx. I think on the speedway site I can order a set of Bilsteins with custom calving for the same as the off the shelf price. Cmon black friday!

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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2nd 66. I have the Unisteer power rack and pinion, and have the UCA's off at the moment so I can do the GW spec drop.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiPalo View Post
2nd 66. I have the Unisteer power rack and pinion, and have the UCA's off at the moment so I can do the GW spec drop.
Not sure about your unisteer but I've seen mention of some rack systems doing funky thing to the steering radius

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-09-2016, 05:35 PM
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I have Street or Track Bilsteins on a few cars and really like their custom tune. Just a consideration. Or get a set of White KYBs! JK

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukesportsman View Post
I have Street or Track Bilsteins on a few cars and really like their custom tune. Just a consideration. Or get a set of White KYBs! JK
KYB = Yuk. Monroe is another horrible deal but at least doesn't pretend to be "performance"
oriented.

ex-Global West GM
1991-1995

As the drill sergeant said, "I taught you everything you know. I didn't teach you everything I know."

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2016, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiPalo View Post
Good Morning,
So heres the issure, I am throwing a ton of high quality parts, but the car still is not dialed in, and handles well, kind of lame. Any advice on what I am missing?
I think you have hit the nail on the head. Throwing parts at is a different activity from Sorting it all out. The piece you are missing is seat time. IMHO throw everything you have on it and go drive the pi$$ out of it on an autocross course or track for a season. First step is get the tire pressures correct using the indicators on the sides of the tires. Nothing can be dialed till tire pressures are right. In order to really understand your car you need to get it on the edge of traction and Autocross is the only safe place to do so without killing someone, notably yourself. At the edge of traction you can see which end lets go first, how she turns in, how she rides on the bloody edge and what happens when she lets loose. From there we dial in...

Again, IMHO we rarely discuss the value of a well sorted out car and the process it takes to sort one. For instance, just imagine all the variables in the entire parts list you have, you could valve shocks one way, tire pressures the other and never know what is making your car push. So in your case, go to the track, get your pressures right then pick one thing and dial it in. Nothing like 20 minutes of the same corners over and over again to get to know your car

I was at Sears Point one Sunday and got passed by an insane 66 Shelby like I was standing still. I went to see the guy in the pitts and he told me he could tell my car was not set up right just by following me. So, he said, bring your car over and he set my konis (fronts on high, rears in the middle) and taught me how to read my tires to get the pressures correct and did his best to set them in the right direction. Next round on the track I was dumbfounded - I felt like I was driving his car till he lapped me the second time :0) We got the tires right for my last session and Whahoo - I had the time of my life, my car scared the daylights out of me how fast I could go into turn one at the end of the straight - she just hung in there, went a little faster each time and she showed no sign of letting loose - frankly, I never got the nerve to stay on the throttle long enough to see where she would let loose. It took me two more track days to find that edge on turn one, talk about an adrenaline rush!

For others reading this that are still trying to figure out how to start modding suspension, my recommendation after 17 years of sorting a mixed bag o parts, go to one expert e.g. Opentracker, Shawn, Mike Meier... and let them set up your car because they have "sorted" out their system and can tell you exactly how to adjust the variables to give you a great baseline to start with. Then you are way ahead in the game and are just fine tuning (after of course you get your tire pressures right)...

Throwing parts at it is a total crap shoot till you have a baseline and know specifically what behavior you want to modify on your baby - that's where some folks here can really help...

Good Luck,

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2016, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
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Ill change the front springs like you suggested, but im stuck with the Bilsteins. I like them alot, but also I have never had the car on a track.
That's unfortunate on the Bilsteins in the rear. I would be greatly surprised if they
worked out with "unknown rate" mid-eye rear 5 leafs.

Honestly, I've got no dog in this fight. I don't work for GW anymore. I don't get a
paycheck or kickback for how many people I turn on to their parts.
With their stuff, it's a recipe. It's either setup "right" and hauls ***** or setup "wrong"
(mismatched stuff) and it drives like crap.
It really IS THAT EASY. And they really are that impressive. My '66 was a 1g car back
in 1990. A chimpanzee could drive it fast.....
(here I am being chased by a Monster Miata, who caught up to me in the pits and said
"that's like driving a big go-cart" after following me a few laps)
I can only imagine what the GW coil over setups are like. They'd probably leave me for
dead on the track.

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1991-1995
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As the drill sergeant said, "I taught you everything you know. I didn't teach you everything I know."

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."
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