ShadowSix None
July 27, 2010 10:59 p.m.

So I've been lurking here since a dull stretch in my last Iraq tour and now I've got a legitimate post:

I may come into possession of an '86 Mustang GT in the near future and I'm looking for some info. What're the good forums? What's the state of the art in grassroots handling and suspension fixes? The car has subframe connectors and I'd say about a 2" drop. Can I autoX this thing? My points of reference are MR2's, Civics, CRX's, miatae, etc. Is this just a bad idea for some reason I don't know of?

TIA,

Joe

lewbud
lewbud Reader
July 28, 2010 12:08 a.m.

Joe,

If you buy that four eyed Fox, welcome to the Mustang family (I have a 03 GT). Yes, you can autocross it, although I don't know what the suspension mods will do to you classwise. When it comes to racing, the Mustang can be whatever you want it to be, and do it fairly well (and fairly cheaply). Sounds like the previous owner did you a favor with the subs, as the Fox chassis is somewhat flexible. Are they welded or bolted in? If done correctly, the drop will also help if not, well there are fixes for that. For suspension mods and fixes Maximum Motorsports, Steeda, and Griggs Racing are the top three. There's plenty of Mustang knowledge here, in fact GRM did a Mustang project car several years ago. Check with them and see if those issues are still available, if not let me know I've got them. As for forums I lurk over at Stangnet when I can't find the answer anywhere else.

Will HalfDork
July 28, 2010 6:06 a.m.

Corral.net.

ShadowSix New Reader
July 28, 2010 9:16 a.m.
lewbud wrote: Joe, If you buy that four eyed Fox, welcome to the Mustang family (I have a 03 GT). Yes, you can autocross it, although I don't know what the suspension mods will do to you classwise. When it comes to racing, the Mustang can be whatever you want it to be, and do it fairly well (and fairly cheaply). Sounds like the previous owner did you a favor with the subs, as the Fox chassis is somewhat flexible. Are they welded or bolted in? If done correctly, the drop will also help if not, well there are fixes for that. For suspension mods and fixes Maximum Motorsports, Steeda, and Griggs Racing are the top three. There's plenty of Mustang knowledge here, in fact GRM did a Mustang project car several years ago. Check with them and see if those issues are still available, if not let me know I've got them. As for forums I lurk over at Stangnet when I can't find the answer anywhere else.

I'm not sure if the subframe connectors are bolted or welded, how can I tell if the car was lowered correctly? It looks like quite a drop from the photos.

lewbud
lewbud Reader
July 28, 2010 11:31 a.m.

I'd talk to the owner of the car and see if he did the work, or if the owner before him did it. See if he used a lowering kit from a reputable manufacturer, drop spindles or just cut the coils. On a drop that drastic, see if he used a bumpsteer kit to bring everything back in line. I'm really hoping the good Reverend Dexter (or someone else) jumps in here cause I'm slowly getting in over my head.

chknhwk Reader
July 31, 2010 6:37 a.m.

The biggest improvements I made to my mustang (98 cobra - pretty much the same chassis and suspension) was rear lower control arms and a panhard bar, both from maximum motorsports. The stock rear on those years mustangs was the for link rear and subsequent rear end lift under braking and rear end deflection - which the lca's and panhard bar are designed to help control.

Platinum90 SuperDork
July 31, 2010 8:25 a.m.

subframe connectors will help a lot. if it has not been done, get a bumpsteer kit and C/C plates. The rear suspension has to be completely rehauled as it is the major shortcoming of the car. Any of the top three make really nice 5 link rear hookups that fix the problem...for the most part.

If you want to get serious about it, CP is a really good place to run a fox,

paul
paul Reader
July 31, 2010 8:54 a.m.

Besides getting the rear axle under control, increasing front grip will give the biggest improvements, since the fox & sn95 chassis has horrible camber curves.

Best improvements I mads to my 96 cobra were springs/shocks (especially the shocks), rear lower control arms, and camber/caster plates.

Apexcarver SuperDork
July 31, 2010 9:11 a.m.

Classwise you can go FS and get murdered by the new shelbys or bullets, STU and get killed by rally monsters, ESP and be a bit short on power to the newer ones, or CP and go hog crazy building a trans-am car out of it.

STU and ESP are similar, so you can use STU as a stepping stone (Rcomps are biggest difference)

Find out what the springs are, if they arent H&R or something like that, throw them away they are weak. Probably go ground control coilovers (weight jack type setup) if you have to go new.

Get caster-camber plates.

As far as shocks, save your money and go Bilstien or Koni, others just arent that good unless you spend a lot more.

Swaybars, I run a BIG front bar (35mm if memory serves), it sounds backwards, but it helps limit front camber loss.

If you have time/$$ go poly bushings in the front, but dont upgrade the upper rears, they will bind (factory replacement only good choice)

Rear suspension, you can go MM lowers (watch the rules with bushing materials) and add a MM PHB, OR get the steeda 5-link (which alters the geometry, but costs something like $1200) which I see as the best solution.

LSD, your going to rebuild every once in a while (depends on how much you run it, I have heard of several times a year to every 2 for serious autocrossers) with the stock traction loc, its just not up to autocross abuse. There is an alternative packing order for the clutches that you can use that tightens it up. I went to an Auburn, but have been having problems related to the install.

That list with some allowed motor play would make a fun STU/SP car

paul
paul Reader
July 31, 2010 1:39 p.m.

Hey apexcarver, got a swaybar question!

With that 35mm front bar, do you get the tire rubbing on the bar close to full-lock?...

The_Jed Reader
July 31, 2010 7:17 p.m.

If you want the car to handle I would swap out the springs for some with at MOST a 1.5" drop (preferably less depending on the rate) from stock height along with properly valved struts and springs, of course. Plus eleventy billion on the C/C plates, they made the biggest difference on my Mustangs.

I second Apexcarver's advice, the front suspension needs high spring and sway bar rates. I would also add a panhard bar and a bit of anti-squat to the rear, if it is allowed in the class you are aiming for. I have read great things about Steeda's original 5-link if you have the option of scrapping the original 4-link. Back when I trolled the CMC boards the hot setup was 900 lb/in front springs, 200-250 lb/in rears, the stock front sway bar and the rear bar removed with Bilsteins at all 4 corners.

I wish I still had a Mustang...

FLATLINE New Reader
July 31, 2010 8:43 p.m.

Ive got the plans for a torque arm. I know people running them and Best mod for the rear end ive seen. 50 bucks in material..... email me at tracksunlimited@yahoo.com and i will forward them to whoever wants them. Gene Youngs 94 gt will pick the inside front tire up of the ground under accel out of corners. He swears by it. Took him two afternoons to build it. Saved A BUNCH of cash!!

Thing is that a nice 4 eyed fox GT is EXTREMELY hard to find. They in most cases bring very good money!

info

Apexcarver SuperDork
Aug. 1, 2010 12:47 p.m.
paul wrote: Hey apexcarver, got a swaybar question! With that 35mm front bar, do you get the tire rubbing on the bar close to full-lock?...

with the 17x8 street wheels, no

with the 17x9 ('03 cobra wheels) race rubber, yes

the cars that came with 17x9's had rack limiters that I havent gotten around to installing yet, so its not too big of an issue. IIRC steeda has them and its less then $5 to get the parts.

Apexcarver SuperDork
Aug. 1, 2010 12:58 p.m.

The problem with the torque arm is SCCA autocross rules, you go straight to street mod (or worse, cant remember)

The way all of the torque arms are mounted are to a bar that goes in between subframe connectors, which is a nono per the rules. Now, they would be legal if you attached to the floorpan, BUT the floorpan cant take the load and tears and fails.

Hence, 5-link seems to be the best solution. there are 2 flavors, the original that requires side exit exhaust or turndowns, or the new one that works with tailpipes, the original is the better of the 2.

BTW, mustangs need lots of camber. I maxed my caster and was able to get 2.5 and its still not enough. 3 is about where you want to be. (I plan on changing)

in regards to lowering.. if the LCAs are not parallel to the ground at rideheight, you are generally too low as roll camber loss gets bad.

Mustangs from 79 to 04 are all the same basic chassis design, which is the same as a 78 ford fairmont. You can coax them into being fast, but they are a big lesson in compromises.

pres589 HalfDork
Aug. 1, 2010 1:17 p.m.

2.5 degrees of negative camber on the street sounds like a tire eater. Am I correct?

Aug. 1, 2010 4:51 p.m.

Apexcarver covered everything I would've said about suspension and then some.

One thing I would definitely recommend right off the bat is an aftermarket shifter (assuming this is a T5 car). Mustang T5s (and T45s) don't have internal shift stops, so an aftermarket shifter is a MUST if you're going to do any sort of agressive driving.

I had a tri-ax in my Cobra, and I forgot just how bad the stock shifter is in comparison (just did a 5-speed swap in my 5.0 and used the Cobra's stock shifter). The big three seem to be the Steeda Tri-ax, Pro 5.0, and MGW; most of the guys I know prefer the MGW, but it doesn't use the stock-style shift lever attachment, so you're stuck with a drag-style shorty handle. With the tri-ax, I know you can still use the stock shift lever, though I do recommend getting some solid bushings to get rid of the rubber lever isolator that comes with it.

Aug. 2, 2010 1:17 a.m.

www.foureyedpride.com

I have been running a fox mustang in CMC for a few years. The reason for the high spring rates is the rules dictate stock sway bars.

Alot of the CMC guys swear by the PHB and the other half hate having a PHB on the back.

I dont run one.

ShadowSix New Reader
Aug. 20, 2010 10:02 p.m.

Well, tragically, predictably, the craiglister involved in this Fox-body deal couldn't get his crap together and the deal fell through.
Is now a bad time to reveal that I also like Camaros?

Thanks,

Joe

lewbud
lewbud Reader
Aug. 22, 2010 1:46 p.m.
ShadowSix wrote: Well, tragically, predictably, the craiglister involved in this Fox-body deal couldn't get his crap together and the deal fell through. Is now a bad time to reveal that I also like Camaros? Thanks, Joe

Bummer about 4eyes. About the Camaros, yes it is. (Although I would rock one of the 70's big mouth Camaros)

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