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Technical 1960 Ford Falcon steering

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by lowandslow60, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. lowandslow60
    Joined: Mar 8, 2014
    Posts: 13

    lowandslow60

    I am the proud new owner of a Falcon with original 144. It has cut coil springs with spacers up front. Previous owner lowered it too much and used spacers to compensate. (I will fix eventually).

    Question is: at low speeds and have the steering wheel cranked, it feels like the front end is going to collapse! Creekin and (clicking a bit). I know the ball joints need replaced, but is this normal on this car, or are these hacked springs causing some of this? ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1396291918.958506.jpg


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  2. TBUCKETMILLER
    Joined: Jul 27, 2010
    Posts: 50

    TBUCKETMILLER
    Member

    On my 65 Ranchero the front springs have been cut and the front suspension is worn and tired but it does not make noise like your describing. I would put it up on a rack and take a look at what is going on. I know if the front suspension geometery is off it can create all sorts of issues.
     
  3. fiftyv8
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 4,857

    fiftyv8
    Member
    from CO & WA

    I got a 64 Falcon and without touching the front springs, I just moved the top arm 1" as per the Karel Shelby modification and that alone lowers the front nicely.

    I've not used one, but I've had thoughts of installing a after market rack and pinion setup in place of the tired old stock steering.
    I believe that would be a serious plus for driving comfort.
     
  4. RetroSpeed
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 130

    RetroSpeed
    Member

    467349d693c1584b5434bbba609df2b9.jpg You should definitely check the upper and lower ball joints for binding and excessive wear. As springs are relatvely inexpensive, I would replace the cut coils and rebuild the front suspension for safety's sake and peace of mind.

    When I converted to a five lug suspension on my 1963 Ranchero project, I performed the Shelby Drop and cut two coils from the front springs for the static drop pictured. The wheels are 13 x 5.5 Cragars mounted on 5.20 13 Coker tires so clearance is not an issue with the lowered stance.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
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  5. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,440

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    Lowered that far, you might be reaching the maximum travel of the ball joints, or even stopping them out (binding, potentially fatal).

    Also, at that height, and depending on the alignment, the control arms may be hitting the shock towers, just above where they bolt on (not good).

    If you still have bump stops, you are probably on them. If you don't, you will likely hit the control arms on the shock tower outers (not good).

    You should plan on a full suspension rebuild, with new springs.
     
  6. Check for "frame" cracks at all suspension attachment points, also at the cowl to shock tower braces. Good chance you need a complete front end overhaul.
     
  7. 2 things to look at:

    Check the spring perches to see if the bushings are shot.

    Check the upper control arm bushings, usually you see a trail of rust coming from where the bushings go into the arm. Moog (and others by now) have a retrofit arm kit that uses a new style shaft with press in bushings. These replace those old style screw-in ones.

    Bob
     
  8. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,429

    sunbeam
    Member

    Shock travel?
     
  9. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,440

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    I haven't seen the replacement arms for '60-early '61. They have a different, smaller ball joints than the later cars. If you want to use the later ones, you need to swap spindles, or ream the ball joint tapers bigger.

    I have '64 6-drum spindles on my '60.
     
  10. lowandslow60
    Joined: Mar 8, 2014
    Posts: 13

    lowandslow60

    Thanks everyone for your replies. The Shelby drop sounds like a good upgrade, but will I have to convert to 5 lug? I like the ride height it currently has. (I think it's probably 3" drop.)

    Is there literature out there on how to do a complete front end overhaul, with the Shelby drop? What components would I be replacing? Thanks again.


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  11. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,440

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    The Shelby drop is a bit of a misnomer. It lowers the upper control arm attachment point. The actual vehicle drop is about 5/8". The purpose is to change the camber curve of the front suspension, when cornering, not to lower the car.

    Google it. You have to drill 4 carefully located holes. Nothing else need be done.

    You are lower that 3" down now. Mine is 3" below stock, and is above that.
     
  12. finn
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 621

    finn
    Member

    Creaking is the upper shaft bushings in my experience. Ball joints make a clunking sound. Jack it up and put a bar between all the joints and pivot points. When you find movement, trace it to the source.

    Get rid of those hack job springs right away. Looks dangerous to me
     
  13. lowandslow60
    Joined: Mar 8, 2014
    Posts: 13

    lowandslow60

    Yeah the springs need to go. I found some custom built springs on deerborn classics but I only see 3" drop max. Gimpyshotrods, do you have a picture of your car with 3" drop that I can see to compare? Thanks.


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  14. I've done the replacements on later Mustangs, Comets & Falcons which were all '64 and up.

    The regular old shaft & bushing installation is pretty straight forward providing the end caps are tightened correctly.

    Bob
     
  15. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,789

    Mike51Merc
    Member

  16. The suspension type used on your Falcon (and just about every Ford unibody except the Pinto/M2 into the late 70s) is generally a pretty reliable set-up. But it does have it's issues...

    The 'creaking' is likely the upper control arm pivots, which used metal-on-metal pivots and is known for noise if not greased once in a while. Ford installed 'plugs' instead of zerk fittings on these (your early car may not have the plugs) and installing zerks and greasing these will usually fix that.

    Excessive lowering will put the upper ball joint at a 'bad' angle (leading to binding/excessive wear/failure), the aftermarket offered 'wedge' ball joint spacers to help correct this but not for the early Falcon smaller joints. Aftermarket 'performance' upper arms for the later cars have this built-in.

    Swapping to later-year parts will give you more options, but you will need the matching later spindles.

    Do check for cracks around all the suspension attachment points as Ford used pretty light-gauge metal for the 'frame' on the six-cylinder cars until '66 (same thickness as the exterior sheetmetal).
     
  17. If the a-arms are OG, they may not even have the plugs in the end caps. We used to have a kit (drill & 1/4-28 tap, IIRC) one place that I worked at.

    The bugaboo with that was, there is no access to drill the holes. I've seen the shock tower inner walls torched out or air chiseled to gain access. Real shops took the whole thing apart, installed new shafts & caps and the supplied 90 degree grease fittings.

    Bob
     
  18. lowandslow60
    Joined: Mar 8, 2014
    Posts: 13

    lowandslow60

    Great. Thank you everyone for your replies. Hopefully in the next couple weeks I can get this project started. I think my plan going forward is to do the Shelby drop, and replace hacked coil springs with 3" drop coil springs. Also will be replacing ball joints and try to upgrade as I go.

    Does someone have a picture of an early Falcon with a 3" drop? Thanks.


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  19. Yeah, if there's no plugs the upper arms pretty much have to come out...

    And yep, Ford's cheaping out with plugs instead of zerks caused untold numbers of these cars to have butchered shock towers. I ran into some that even with the plugs you still couldn't get a 90 degree zerk in there without at least prying/bashing the towers for clearance...
     
  20. fiftyv8
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 4,857

    fiftyv8
    Member
    from CO & WA

    My comment is a little outside my knowledge base with these cars so take it for what it is worth and if it applies at least consider it.

    From my limited experience I believe that your early model did not come with an under engine cross member, which in models that did come with this cross member they were a bolt in item from factory.

    Because they were bolt they were known to be left out during engine swaps and the like.

    Maybe it is worth checking to see if you have this cross member fitted and if not consider acquiring and installing one.

    I am lead to belive that a car that does not have one is prone to a lot of slop and move ment in the fender frame area and in your case if everything is bottomed out or stressed this will definitely be doing some nasty stuff to your vehicle.

    Maybe somebody else can confirm my thoughts...
     
  21. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,440

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    My '60 has one. It was built at the San Jose/Milpitas plant. The father of a former coworker was on the Falcon line for the first few years. He says they all got the brace.
     
  22. My wife's '60 Falcon has the brace , The '61 Comet I'm doing some work on also has one .



    .
     
  23. fiftyv8
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 4,857

    fiftyv8
    Member
    from CO & WA

    Seems I was wrong then, I was lead to believe the early 6 cylinder models did not get one.

    Anyways since it was a removable item it is worth checking to see if one is still on tne car we are discussing.

    Obviously, even with the brace, the Mustangs needed a Monte Carlo bar overhead as well when racing to stiffen up that whole front...
     
  24. I've seen lots of Falcons and Comets without the brace, I'd say that most of my experience was with 6-cylinder cars.

    Bob
     
  25. Veach
    Joined: Jun 1, 2012
    Posts: 1,081

    Veach
    Member

    Lots of good info on this subject at Falconearlybirds.com with pictures showing the difference between the V8 and 6
     
  26. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,440

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    They all got the brace at the factory, from day one. If it is now missing, it was taken off later in life.

    It must be there. If you don't have one, you need to get one.
     
  27. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,602

    62rebel
    Member

    manual trans cars had to have it, as the clutch return assist spring attached to it. many people ditched them doing V8/auto swaps because they interfered with the (usually) Chevy oil pan.... i actually have a spare one among my dwindling store of Falcon stuff.
     

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