Tunnel Cover, Brakes, Seat Belts

   Posted by: kdavis

I had a particularly busy weekend this weekend with family and work obligations, so as far as the car went, I didn’t get that much done. However, I did actually get a couple things finished up, so that was good.

Seat Belts:

I managed to get the is not a huge deal, but it did need to be done before I do the final installation on the seats. One thing I did that might help keep the belts looking nicer until I get things finished is that I taped over anything white, all of the sewn labels, with blue tape. That way my grimy hands won’t get them all stained.

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Transmission Tunnel Cover:

Last week, I was able to get the vinyl all glued onto the main part of the transmission tunnel cover so this week was pretty fast. All I had to do was glue and wrap the sides of the vinyl. Unfortunately, I actually realized that this was not so good. A stupid mistake that I made was not predrilling the transmission tunnel cover before I glued the vinyl. What that means is that instead of a pretty easy “just stick to screw through the vinyl and through the cover on the side,” now becomes a more dangerous job. For the vinyl, that is. I now have to also drill through the vinyl. I did pick up some self tapping black anodized screws, which should simplify the job.

I’ll just need to mark the screw locations, and use the screws without pre-drilling. I’m hoping that it all goes through the vinyl well and cleanly. The screws will make it little bit easier should I ever have to remove the tunnel to get into the transmission. I also was able to get things mounted in the cover like my start switch, the heater switch, and the switches for the heated seats. All that I have left to do on that is to get the LED mounted for my alarm, add the shift boot, and get it all hard mounted.

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Brakes:

Last week, I repainted my brake calipers red. Originally, the brake calipers were a Chevy orange to match the orange paint scheme I was going to go with, but now that I’ve switched over to a black paint scheme, I want a kind do the super car peekaboo red look.

I got those all finished up this week made sure that the bleeding screws were appropriately placed in the upright position (a little trick I picked on the forum,) and I got those things all remounted, the wheels back on, and the brakes all re-bled. I originally had some leaks, but thanks to new crush washers, so far so good. One note on bleeding those brakes using one of those one-man brake breed bleeder set ups: at least in my case. I didn’t realize on the one side was the fitting popped out and squirted brake fluid all over the shop. So, just word of warning with that there is quite a bit about pressure on those so if you use one of those just just can’t be aware of that, and watch the pushing force you use.

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The SAI Kit really made a big difference in the front end alignment. I was able to notice right away, in terms of the angles, so this next week I’ll be able to get the rear end aligned, the pinion angle set, and all of that cleaned up. I also will do the initial front end alignment on it so that I can get things all buttoned up and ready to go to the DMV.

This week, I’m going to be getting the seat heaters installed into the seats so that I’ll be ready to get those drilled out and mounted to the frame. Then, the only thing left from there is to get the body put on, get the lights in, and go to get it registered.

SAI Kit Install, Parking Brake, Calipers

   Posted by: kdavis

Had a good day in the shop today, and managed to get some decent amount of work completed. A majority of the day was spent on the SAI kit install, but since I want to include a full install guideline with pics, I’ll post that information later in the blog entry. I also spent some time customizing my parking brake installation, repainting my brake calipers, and also putting the vinyl on the transmission tunnel cover.

Parking Brake:

The parking brake setup from the standard kit leaves a lot to be desired overall, but it gets the job done, and I decided, at least for now, to just use the standard setup, more or less. The 2 basic issues with the parking brake are that you can’t really actuate it from the driver’s seat when you’re fully buckled in (I haven’t verified this yet), and the way that the cables run from the rear brakes to the lever is a little wacky (it runs under the 4″ tube). I also had an issue with the T handle on the cable assembly hitting the mounting bracket, and a bit of an issue with the main spring itself.

The T handle issue was pretty straight forward. Due to the way the cables run, the “approach angle” of the cables caused the T handle to make contact with the bracket and the lower bolt, which would, in most cases, actually prevent the handle from actuating the parking brake. I addressed the issue by simply making a small bracket that I attached to the lower mounting bolt on the parking brake bracket so that it forces the cable to be offset by about an inch and a half, effectively holding the T handle away from the bracket and bolts. Although I haven’t fully tested it, this seems to be a viable solution, and since I had already made the bracket for another purpose that I didn’t use, it didn’t take much time at all to adjust it for this purpose.

Another issue I wanted to take care of was how closely the parking brake handle sits against the transmission tunnel. This was made worse by the fact that I elected to replace the existing mustang black handle with one from Mike Everson, which is polished aluminum for a nicer look. It’s a larger diameter, and also round instead of flat on that side, so as it was, it was pretty much hitting the tunnel, even before I add insulation and carpet. The fix here was equally as easy, just requiring that I enlarged/elongated the mounting holes in the parking brake bracket so I could just slide the whole assembly over away from the tunnel. Doing so did cause the assembly itself (the ratcheting wheel) to hit the bracket, so I had to also take my sawzall and notch the bracket for clearance. Moving the assembly over also improved the alignment of the parking brake cables.

There seem to be several ways to address the spring tension in the stock mustang parking brake, from cutting the spring completely, to some others. I discovered that the stock setup on mine at least (1990) was so tight that it was sort of binding. Rather than cut the spring, I decided that I could just change how much “preload” was placed on the spring and the T handle. I did this by pulling the spring tight and locking it in place with a nail, then completely removing the cable assembly, releasing some of the tension, and reattaching the cable again, effectively making it “one rotation less” of preload. It lengthened the cable by 3-4″.

Pics:

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Calipers:

When I originally painted the brake calipers, I was all about the orange car, so the calipers were painted Chevy engine orange, which has a little bit of red tint to it. Now that I’m going with a black color instead, a peek-a-boo red (ala super car) is a way better color. Since I had to remove the front calipers anyway as part of the SAI kit install, I figured I would also remove the rears and repaint them all. They turned out pretty nice, actually.

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SAI Kit Install:

Most of my day was spent doing the SAI Kit install from Whitby’s. The purpose of the SAI kit is to correct an inherent flaw in the Steering Axis of Inclination in the front suspension of the car, which causes the steering and overall handling to be less than it can be. The kit from Whitby’s changes the overall setup of the upper control arm, and effectively changes the angles in the independent front suspension.

The kit comes with a copy of a ffcars.com forum post that’s a fairly long and detailed post, but it lacks pictures and also is a little difficult to follow. I’m going to simply take that post and insert some pics and add my own notes and emphasis (found in parentheses.) The original post can be found here.


Thanks for purchasing the FFR Front Suspension Optimization Kit commonly referred to the SAI Kit. The kit optimizes the front suspension geometry for better performance and steering feel on both track and street. It does this by bringing specific geometries inline with know standards.

• Lowers the SAI(Steering Axis Inclination) from 18+ degrees, to approximately 9 degrees. This will reduce camber loss during turn-in increasing front-end grip and reducing the need for negative static camber. In addition, it will have a positive effect on steering feel.

• Lowers the Roll Center from approx 5” to approximately 3.5” to better match the 3 Link and IRS rear suspension options. This will increase front end grip and reduce jacking.

• Brings Caster Trail inline with standard one piece SLA spindles increasing steering linearity and reduce steering twitchiness at freeway speeds.

Installation instructions.

1) Place vehicle on jack stands securely, do not attempt this installation on a jack or a poorly supported vehicle. Some of the installation requires high torque values and could cause the vehicle to fall. (I can attest to the high torque needed, at least 1 at 150ftlbs. I actually put my car on the lift, which makes the install that much easier.)

2 Remove new parts from packaging and verify the parts are correct. The most important are the two upper control arm relocation mounts (UCARM) and the SIA adapters. The parts are different side to side and should be mirror images of each other. In short 2 each brackets and SIA adaptors, 2 short and 2 long 5/8ths bolt, 2 5/8ths lock nuts, 4 each ½ inch short and long bolts, 4 lock nuts. Assorted washers. (The brackets and UCARMS are marked L and R).

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3 Remove the front wheels and store under the vehicle.

4 Remove the cotter pins from the upper ball joint and remove the nut. A 7/8ths thin wall socket should be the right size. (I actually removed the nut and cotter pin, but then put the nut partially back on for step 5.)

5 While prying up on the upper control arm with a pry bar hit the old IFS bracket several times with a hammer. This should save the boot and separate the ball joint from the IFS bracket. Do not hit the stud on the ball joint; all that will do is damage the ball joint stud. If the parts will not separate use a ball joint separator and as a last resort use a pickle fork (this will ruin the boot). (This prying method was a complete failure for me, I could not get the parts separated. I also didn’t want to risk damaging the boot itself. Contrary to what the instructions warn, I actually DID hit the stud on the ball joint. However, I did so by using the nut on the end of it to keep from damaging the threads, and rather than hitting it directly with a hammer, I used the “jacking pole” from my engine hoist (a floor jack pole would also work) to hit the nut. A few good whacks with a hammer, and the stud/ball joint came right out.)

6 Tie a rag around the ball joint to keep the boot on the ball joint and to keep the grease off of everything else. (This wasn’t necessary for me since I had yet to grease the ball joints.)

7 Take care to not stretch/ruin the brake hoses. If the spindle is falling away from the car and putting stress on the hose remove the caliper and hang it with a zip tie, bungee cord or wire. (This wasn’t an issue for me since I had taken the brakes completely off of the car.)

8 Remove the two bolts holding the upper control arm to the frame. ¾ inch wrench and socket will remove them. These will be tight and will take a little force to undo.

9 The control arm is now loose and can be left resting on the lower control arm or shock/spring.

10 The upper control arm relocation mounts (UCARM) are different. There are two even holes and two offset holes. The offset holes go outboard and the even holes go onto (from above) the old upper control arm mounts. The offset hole lowers the front of the upper control compared to the factory location. The outboard rear holes are very close to the frame. Mock up the mounts with the bolts. Short bolts in from the top and long from inboard to outboard. Mark the frame so it can be notched to clear the bolt. An alternative is to remove a small (very small) edge of the rear mounting bolt so it will clear the frame.
(It’s possible they have update the design since this was written, but the TOP of the bracket was already notched to it cleared the welds on the frame. I actually followed a little different procedure here:
a) Once the UCARM is unbolted, I found it best to attach the new kit bracket to it (using the longer bolts in the kit) before attaching the whole thing to the frame.
b) On my car, the “rear” side of the bracket, caused the bolt to make contact with the mounting frame of the car. To solve this, I used a grinder to cut out about a 1/8″ x 1″ section of the frame so the bolt would clear and the upper holes of the bracket would line up.
c) After shooting a little rustoleum spray paint where I cut the frame, I used the shorter bolts to attach the upper bolts and nuts for the bracket

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11 All of the bolts need to be installed in the UCARM including the control arm or it will not clear the shock/spring. Start with the outer bolts and mount the control arm to the UCARM and then the UCARM to the frame. (The third hand you keep in the toolbox will come in handy for this step.) Again, the shorter bolts go in from the top and the longer control arm bolts go from the inside of the car outboard to hold the control arm. Washers can be used as needed. Remember the front hole of the UCAM should be the lower of the two holes in relation to each other. Note: The front of the control arm is still higher than the rear. (See above for different steps here that I followed.)

12 In order to get the maximum range of motion, it may be best to flip your upper control arm over so that the angle of the ball joint mount is reversed top to bottom changing the angel of the ball joint. Note: If you swap your control arms right to left in addition to flipping them, your alignment will be closer to your final setting. It’s best to check it your range of motion before tightening everything up. Do this by marking your spring location and then loosening your spring perch. Jack the suspension up so that the lower control arm is approx level. Turn the steering from lock to lock and check for any ball joint binding or other clearance issues. One place to watch for is the brake to upper control arm ball joint area. Repeat this by measuring the center of the hub and then jacking the suspension up approx 2.5 to 3” Do the same, but at 2” of droop. If all is good you can proceed. If there are clearance issues, this will be the time to address them. Some may need to clearance a bit off the upper control arm ball joint mount. There is a rib of material that goes around the ball joint mount that may require clearancing depending on your brake setup. You will be asked to check this one more time at the end of the installation.

13 Remove the two factory bolts from the IFS bracket from FFR. These are the factory Ford spindle mount bolts and will not be reused. (I found it easier to do this up near step 8 and 9)

14 The new IFS bracket goes onto the rear of the spindle. The ball joint hole is to the rear of the spindle also. The dog leg, or elbow on the IFS bracket needs to point to the inside of the car. Refer to the pictures to make sure you have the correct IFS bracket on each side of the car. Temporarily install the new IFS bracket by using the new 5/8s bolts to mount the IFS bracket. Put the shorter upper bolt in finger tight and just slide the longer lower bolt in far enough to hold it in place, do not install the nut yet. Note: make sure your upper brake bracket bolt is installed before installing the new IFS bracket. (I missed this in the list and had to disassemble it. The “dogleg” statement here confused me. The brackets are marked L and R, so you can’t mess up the sides. The proper way to install it though is to have the L shape so that it “points” to the tire.)

15 Remove the rag and reinstall the upper control arm back into the new IFS bracket. Make sure to put the cotter pin hole where it can be reached. Tap (smack pretty hard) the control arm with a dead blow hammer to ‘set’ the ball joint into the new IFS bracket. Slide the lower IFS bolt out far enough to allow access to the ball joint stud. Install the castle nut and torque to the recommended torque of 60 ft-lb’s. Install the cotter pin after the torque spec is met.

16 Now install the IFS bolts for the final time. The upper should be thread locked in place. The lower should use the locking nut. Both should be torqued to approx 150 ft-lb’s. (I also had to “jack” the lower control arm so that I could get everything aligned with the bolts, this may or may not be necessary for you, I only did it on one side.)

17 Tighten all the upper control arm bolts to the UCAM and the UCAM to the frame. The torque on these bolts is 50 ft-lb’s.

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18 The following is very important please read and understand the importance of these steps. Mark the current spring collar location and loosen the spring perch as far as possible. Using a floor jack with care not to break the grease fitting off, move the suspension through its travel while looking for interference and checking ball joint angle. If the angle is a problem (not likely) the cup can be reversed. The cup is welded on one side and bolted on the other. Now is also the time to turn the steering wheel through its full arc. Do this at both the compression and droop positions of the spindle. Depending on which brakes and/or spindles are on the car there may be interference with the bleeder screw. This is especially noticeable on the driver side with the ball joint cup mounting bolt. Remember the cup is welded on one side and bolted on the other. The interference will be at the bolt. Finding the interference now is better than breaking the bleeder and having no brakes!!!! Other cups are available without the angle so the bolts can both be on the front.

19 The alignment on the car has changed dramatically. Check the toe in and take the car to the alignment shop ASAP. The new SIA brackets allow for better caster and camber curves so we recommend the same 1 degree of camber for street cars and closer to 2.5 degrees for auto cross cars running radial tires. Caster should be between 3.5 and 4 degrees and up to 5 degrees caster is fine with power steering. (I have not yet finished 18 and 19 steps.)


Once my calipers dry, I can reassemble the front end and get the car aligned, and check the items in steps 18 and 19. Once the car is aligned, only a few small steps remain before I can get it registered and out ready to enjoy the nice weather when it comes.

Wheel Mockups

   Posted by: kdavis

I did up some mockups of some different wheel choices for an orange car. I figured I’d go ahead and post those here for others who might want to see them.

The wheels are from AmericanMuscle.com, and they are the FR500 series 17×9 and 17×10.5.

I also did up one with the Team III Vintage Pin-Drive Bolt-ons. They are pretty pricey for me though, but I like the look.

It seems the most popular combo is with those wheel sizes with 255/40/17 in the front, and 315/35/17 in the back. This would be for the 17′s, 15′s might be different.

Chrome FR500



Black FR500


Black FR500 with Black Side Pipes

Anthracite FR500



Team III Pin Drive Bolt-On

Silver Car with Anthracite Bullitt’s