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Improving the Ford Mustang's Suspension
Ford Mustang Wheelie Bars
Wheelie bars affect the launch,
according to adjustment. The shoe
polish on the wheels tells the crew
how hard each wheel is hitting the
track during launch, providing
valuable feedback for suspension
tuning.
The Mustang suspension uses a lower front A-arm supported with a coil spring anchored to the K-
member. A semi-McPherson strut links the spindle with the body shell and acts as a damper. At the
rear, the solid axle is suspended on coil springs with long lower links and angled upper links to
locate the axle laterally. The IRS used on the later-model Cobra’s uses unequal length A-arms with
coil springs mounted to a cast rear upright with locating links providing toe adjustment.  

The major shortcomings on the front suspension are the friction in the front struts created during
the cornering process. This can bind the front strut and limit the cornering forces that can be
generated. On the rear, the angled upper links don’t do a great job of laterally locating the axle.
The IRS has design issues that create substantial wheel hop under standing start launches.
Ford Mustang Offset Polyurethane Steering Rack Bushings Ford Mustang Offset urethane control arm bushings
Offset polyurethane steering-rack bushings raise
the rack on its mounting bolts, offsetting some of
the negative bumpsteer created when lowering
springs are installed.
Offset urethane control-arm bushings
reduce busing flex and increase front end
caster at the same time.
The first order of business in tuning the suspension system is to reduce bushing flex. Reducing the
compliance of the OEM rubber bushings helps keep the suspension links from deflecting at the
chassis attachment points under high acceleration, braking, and cornering loads. For street cars
that see some weekend warrior duty at the race track or drag strip, urethane front control-arm,
steering-rack, and rear control-arm bushings provide improved control with a harsher but still
acceptable ride on the street.

An additional benefit of replacing the front lower control-arm bushings with urethane bushings is
that we can choose offset bushings, which move the lower control arm forward in the chassis for
more caster. Increasing the front caster angle increases the negative camber on the front wheel
during cornering, providing a higher level of grip.
I favor caster angles in the five to seven degree range, and the offset lower control-arm bushings
are just one of the tools in our box of tricks to help us achieve this alignment setting. Some
manufacturers offer bushings with two or more different types (hardnesses) of urethane. One level
of hardness provides some ride comfort through road isolation, while a firmer material locates the
suspension member more precisely. These dual-hardness bushings are a great solution for street-
driven cars, where you don’t want a harsh-riding car, but you do want improved suspension control
and response.

In particular, changing the steering-rack bushings to urethane or even aluminum bushings has a
dramatic effect on steering response. Instead of a nano-second delay between turning the steering
wheel and getting a response at the front tires, you get instant response with the stiffer bushings. If
your car has lowering springs, you should choose offset steering-rack bushings. Offset rack
bushings move the rack up about 1/4 inch, realigning it with the steering arm. This restores the
original geometry, reducing the bump steer in the front suspension.
Ford Mustang CNC billet aluminum control arms Rear Control Arms
These CNC billet aluminum control arms
have adjustable spring perches so you
can raise or lower your rear end. This is
especially handy when swapping on a
different sized drag slick or corner-
weighting your Stang. They’re also much
stronger than the factory arms.
At the rear of the solid-axle Mustang, you can replace the upper and lower control-arm bushings
with urethane. This is a really good idea if the car is four or five years old or has high mileage on it.
OEM bushings deteriorate so slowly that often the driver doesn’t really realize how sloppy the
suspension has become. While replacing just the bushings is one option, and an economical one at
that, you could just replace your upper and lower arms with aftermarket units that come with
urethane bushings installed. Besides having new, stiffer bushings, boxed or tubular control arms
resist bending and twisting more than the stock arms, and some offer additional adjustability.
Several different types of aftermarket control arms are available, beginning with boxed steel arm,
moving through tubular aluminum arms, and ending up with fully CNC-machined billet arms. All
these types offer different benefits at different price points. The boxed steel arms are usually the
least expensive, but they may in fact be heavier than the stock arm that they replace. The extra
weight of a steel arm is not much of a detriment on a street car, but a road racer would prefer the
lighter unsprung weight of an aluminum arm. Hotchkiss, Maximum Motorsport, Mr. Gasket, and
other companies all sell steel control arms. The Mr. Gasket lower arm relocates the pickup points at
the axle attachment point, creating additional mechanical advantage for the lower arm, planting the
tire into the pavement under acceleration.
Steedaís steel boxed control 
arms
A type of lower control
arm is available for
every use and budget.
These are Steeda’s
steel boxed control
arms. They’re
affordable, stronger
than stock, and come
with polyurethane
bushings on both ends.
Steeda produces several types of rear lower control arms. Their lightweight aluminum tubular arms
come with a choice of busing types. This makes them a favorite for street / autocross / open-track
cars, and street / strip drag cars. Their newest lower arm is a lightweight billet CNC lower control
arm with an adjustable spring perch, allowing the owner to adjust ride height. I just love using that
piece since it makes adjusting the ride height on the car such a breeze. These billet Steeda lower
control arms are available with urethane bushings for street cars or solid heim joints for racecars.
Ford Mustang Adjustable upper control arms
Adjustable upper control arms allow
you to adjust your pinion angle. The
right pinion angle can give you a better
launch, more traction, or just keep
away any unwanted vibrations.
Upper rear control arms are available in fixed and adjustable versions from several manufacturers.
Adjustable-length upper control arms allow you to tune the pinion angle of the differential.
Changing the pinion angle changes the amount of bite the car has at the dragstrip or coming off
the corners of the road race circuit. Adjusting the pinion angle to between three and six degrees
down at the front of the differential causes the normal torque reaction in the driveline under
acceleration to plant the rear axle assembly hard towards the pavement, increasing the vertical
load on the tire and improving traction. Setting the pinion angle is best done on a drive-on hoist.
Unhooking the driveshaft from the differential lets you place an angle finder on the pinion flange,
measuring the pinion angle. From there, increasing or decreasing the length of the upper links
adjusts the pinion angle.

Dual-purpose cars or cars used primarily at the track should use adjustable upper control arms with
a spherical bushing that transmits all of the force to the tire right away. Replacement bushings are
also available for the upper bushing located on the top of the differential. These are available in
both urethane and spherical. I like using the Steeda spherical end on all drag race, road race, and
hard-core street cars. I also recommend a spherical bushing on the body end of the upper link for
drag cars, but a urethane bushing for road race, open track, and street cars that need a little bit of
give.
Cars that see extreme track use benefit from having plates welded in at the chassis attachment
points for the upper and lower control arms. This prevents the bolt holes from becoming ovaled out
through repeated use and stress. Mig-welding a mild steel plate with a drilled and reamed hole in
the center is very little work for the added benefit and peace of mind. The angled upper control
arms also locate the rear axle laterally, and reducing suspension bushing flex and slop around the
mounting holes means locating the axle more firmly, reducing rear steer as the car rolls during
cornering.

A quick note on installation techniques: Do not torque the fasteners on the front and rear control
arms unless the car is resting on its wheels on a drive-on hoist. Tightening these fasteners in any
other position preloads the bushings, adding additional suspension friction.
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This has been a sample page from

High Performance Mustang Builders Guide High-Performance Mustang Builder's Guide
1994-2004
by Sean Hyland
High-performance ‘94-‘04 Mustangs represent the high-water
mark for late- model Mustang enthusiasts. From the ’94-’95s with
the 5.0L, through the ‘96-‘04 models with the 2- and 4-valve 4.6
Ls, to the Bullitt, Mach 1, and factory supercharged ’03-‘04
Cobras – never before has such a range of highly modifiable
performance cars been available. These Mustangs were amazing
performers straight from the factory, but they can be even better
with the right combination of performance parts.
Regardless of which ’94-’04 Mustang you start with, the availability
of high- performance parts is unparalleled. You can build your
Mustang for drag racing, road racing, or improved street
performance – and High- Performance Mustang Builder’s Guide
1994-2004 will show you how! Author Sean Hyland uses over 300
photos to explain how to upgrade your Mustang’s engine,
suspension, chassis, transmission, rear end, brakes, and body.
There’s even a special chapter on getting active in various forms
of organized racing.

Sean Hyland is the proprietor of Sean Hyland Motorsport, which
builds and supports internationally competitive Mustangs for road
racing, drag racing, and everything in between. Sean recently did
a complete Mustang build-up for Speed Channel’s Sports Car
Revolution and is also the author of the bestselling title How to
Build Max-Performance 4.6-Liter Ford Engines.
Click below to view sample
pages from each chapter.
Chap. 1 - Chassis
Chap. 2 -
Wheels and Tires
Chap. 3 -
Suspension
Chap. 4 -
Brakes
Chap. 5 -
3.8 Engines
Chap. 6 -
4.6 Modular Engines
Chap. 7 -
Transmissions
Chap. 8 -
Rear Axles
Chap. 9 -
Aerodynamics
Chap. 10 -
Safety Equipment
Chap. 11 -
Get Involved!
Chap. 12 -
Project Cars
8-1/2 x 11"
Sftbd.
144 pgs.
300+ B/W photos
Item: SA106P
Price: $22.95
Click here to buy now!
This is a great book
that any Mustang
enthusiast will enjoy!


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How to Build Performance 4.6 Liter Ford Engines
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Building 4.6 & 5.4 Ford Horsepower on the Dyno
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Building 4.6 & 5.4 Ford Horsepower on the Dyno
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