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Falcon shock towers

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Mike51Merc, May 13, 2012.

  1. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,832

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    I'm tearing apart the new project--- motor and trans are out and nose is off. The car has alot of negative camber with no weight on the front end and there are already a fair amount of shims on the upper control arms. I'm concerned that it will be worse after the weight is put back on. There is also some bad metal/bondo repair on the tops of the inner fender/shock tower area.

    I've read that negative camber can be the result of the shock towers leaning outward. I'm concerned that maybe the bad metal repair has solidified a bad alignment scenario.

    What's a fair distance between the shock towers (shock top to shock top)?

    Also, what is the best/safest method of removing the coil springs on this car?
     
  2. Last question first - BUY A MANUAL!!

    These cars show neg camber with weight off, it's probably normal. At any rate, never judge alignment until the car has proper weight on suspension.

    Shims on the 'A' arm are normal. The factory designs these so that there are always shims on the arm, so that alignment can be done.

    I could give you the dimension you request easily enough, but is your car the same year as mine?? I do not know, you didn't say...

    Cosmo
     
  3. 65COMET
    Joined: Apr 10, 2007
    Posts: 3,086

    65COMET
    Member

    The shock towers can not lean out or in unless the braces are cut out and the car has been driven over pot holes or very rough terrain.Were the fenders caved in?Is the brace there? Are the front subframes straight?Is the lower part of the tower severly rusted out?Negative camber while unloaded is normal,shims on the upper control arms are normal,that is how you align the front end! ROY.
     
  4. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 2,284

    Kerrynzl
    Member

    The upper A-arms on these Fords are shorter than the lowers so they pivot on a smaller radius.
    At full droop the Arc of the uppers will induce quite a bit of negative camber.
    Fairlanes, and Stangs have the same feature [ it is normal ]

    I've made a puller from a piece of threaded rod welded to an old shock base, I bolt it in place of the shock in the tower , then unbolt the upper A-arm then slowly unwind the nut on the threaded rod to release the spring [ weld 2 nuts on top of each other to increase the amount of threads ]
    You can also use this to re-install the upper A-arm
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
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  5. The shock towers o these cars are known to collapse inward with high miles and abuse, never seen a car go outward though! We have seen it many times when going to fit headers, especially in the more prevalent Mustangs. The diagonal braces are supposed to keep this from happening - but they can be insufficient after 50 years.

    As for the negative camber with out the motor - that is totally normal for these cars as others have stated.
     
  6. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?
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    Here is the spring puller I made that is just like the one Kerrynzl above discribed. I used 1/2" threaded rod stock and a couple pieces of 1/2" aluminum I turned on the lathe.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,832

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    Thanks for your help, guys. Seemed strange to me to have so much negative camber without any load, I was expecting more positive camber without load. We'll see how she shapes up.
     
  8. those cars had a very strange camber curve stock along with a ton of wheel travel. very negative at full droop, slightly positive at rest and then more positive at full bump. Had to do with the upper arm being a bunch shorter than the lower
     
  9. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 2,284

    Kerrynzl
    Member

    A good improvement is to redrill the upper A-Arm holes about 1" lower [ this is an old proven Shelby trick ] that corrects the geometry under bodyroll at high cornering speeds.
    It's a real "no brainer" that is easily to undo [especially if you have a spring puller]

    On our race cars we would redrill them 1-3/4" lower but you need to put wedges under the outer ball-joint to stop them binding under full compression
    Global West make tubular A-arms that already have the Ball-Joint Wedged.

    Google "Negative Wedge Kit"




    here's a pic pirated off the web

    [​IMG]
     
  10. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?
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    And, here is a a template for making that modification. 1" down, 1/8" back, made from 3/8" plate.
     

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  11. 35 Dodge Hot Rod
    Joined: Nov 29, 2007
    Posts: 181

    35 Dodge Hot Rod
    Member
    from Mecca

    Haven't any of you ever put a monte carlo bar in a ford? You almost always have to jack the car up and use some coercion to get one in. Even with 4 decades of normal driving, these shock towers tend to sag inwards. One of the best improvements when you're putting a Ford with shock towers back together is to install a monte carlo bar, then set up the front end. You'll feel how much more solid the car is when driving.
     
  12. mcnally351
    Joined: Apr 12, 2011
    Posts: 423

    mcnally351
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    from boston

    ^^ x2 I got mine from dearborn classics catalog. pretty cheap. Mac sells em too
     
  13. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,832

    Mike51Merc
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    I'm debating whether to install an MII suspension or just strengthen the towers with Export and Monte bars up top and a crossmember below.
     
  14. 65COMET
    Joined: Apr 10, 2007
    Posts: 3,086

    65COMET
    Member

    The Mustang Two opens a whole new can of worms! You need to remount your engine up and forward,add a double hump pan and oil pump pickup.Make steering shaft modifications,if you run a stick you are forced to use either a cable or hydrolic clutch actuator,reinforce your front subframes,plus they look like crap from the front with all that junk hanging down and are expensive! JMO,ROY.
     
  15. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,832

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    I hear you Roy. I already have the pan and pickup and I'm eventually going from a C4 to a T5. I'm just saying that if the cost of fixing up the old system comes close to an MII, then I'll go MII.
     
  16. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?
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    And they have much better geometry, and they kill the huge spring towers in the engine compartment, and personally I put cable cltches in these things anyway, and because the steering linkage clearence is better a 250 six fits lots better... I do have to agree about the stuff hanging down though.
     
  17. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 2,284

    Kerrynzl
    Member


    Why re-invent the wheel?

    The basic Falcon platform was manufactured right through to about 1988 [ Aussie Falcon ] and similar to Fairlanes and Mustangs.

    The Road Racing crowd have these front ends well and truly sorted out, so if you ask the right questions you won't even need to do "trial and error"
    These front end are cheap to modify and get right first time.

    The biggest mistake in suspension is the wrong choice of springs [ rating ] so you need to be real honest to yourself with intended usage.

    The upper A-Arm on a Falcon has a 2:1 motion ratio from the spring so the wheel rate [ lb / in ] needs to be multiplied by 4 [ motion ratio squared ]

    A 150 lb /in wheel rate of a street Falcon with a V8 needs a 600 lb / in spring but when you need a wheel rate of 300 lb /in [ for road racing ] it jumps up to 1200 lb /in springs
    That is why a Monte Carlo bar [ strut brace ] is needed , to anchor the spring towers due to high spring rates.
     
  18. The Mustang II front end does NOT have better geometry than an original Falcon / Mustang that has the upper A Arm relocated. The camber curve is no where near as favorable and the wheel travel is less overall. The MII has much shorter A Arms than the original Arms and I'm pretty sure a shorter spindle as well.
    On top of that, removing the shock towers and diagonal braces weakens the front sub frame structure and induces more flex to the entire front end. You can test this yourself by corner jacking the front sub frame rail after putting in a MII and seeing how much twist there is.
    I sold a 62 Ranchero to a Ford Engineer and he told me that some of his Ford Buddies had suffered broken windshields after doing MII conversions on convertibles that were pushed hard on an autocross situation. They did a structural finite analysis and found that the cowl was twisting due to the weakness of the front frame section. They had to add roll cage style down bars from the firewall to the frame rails (Similar to what the Nova Guys have to do) and then triangulate those in order to get back to original strength. The original design counted on the shock towers and the triangulated braces to "Bridge" the front end.

    If you look back at the drag race cars of the 60's that ran he FE motors, when they cut the shock towers for clearance, they didn't leave them open, they boxed them back in, many times with thicker than original metal!
     
  19. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?
    Member

    Hotroddon, With all due respect I will revisit my statement about the Mustang II having better geometry than the original Falcon/Mustang suspension. That has always been my impression of this front end. Possibly chalk it up to having installed and tuned lots of Mustang IIs over the years, and putting lots of miles on basically just one '62 Falcon, and now one Maverick. I however HAVE driven a few Mustang IIs installed in Falcons for short bits that have come through Elpolacko's shop and a couple others, and was left the impression that they in my mind handled much better than my '62 ever did, even after it was freshly rebuilt and competently aligned. I also wouldn't consider a modification of this sort without the down bars after taking the structural integrity of the shock towers out.

    So with my personal fleet, here is the rundown: The girlfriend's '62 wagon has a Shelby modded stock rebuilt front end dropped a couple of inches, The little Ranchero is getting the same, But the next build of my '62 coupe is getting the MustangII and down bars to aid in clearing all the turbo stuff that will be hung on the side of the 250. I have the front springs out of the Ranchero right now. If I can get some time free in the next day or two I'll run it through it's suspension travel and plot the camber curve best I can. Now I'm curious....
     
  20. the "Stock" camber curve is not conducive to good handling, especially with Radial tires (remember it was designed with Bias ply in mind, and the old school of thought that understeer is "Safer". The Shelby drop, when done correctly (and there are various schools of thought on how much drop AND how much Back, not to mention Falcons being Different than Mustangs). I believe you will find that a properly set up OE style front end (in other words wit the drop) will be favorable over the MII, only getting a little wacky at the end of travel, which is a ton more than the MII has to begin with (and a lot more than you need for a street car).
    It will be interesting to see what you get.
     
  21. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,911

    need louvers ?
    Member

    Makes a good case for using my Shelby template that I showed above again! Plot it before and after. Unfortunately, since I wrote the above, I've had two more calls with hoods to louver coming in. The blessing/curse of being busy! I'll take it!
     

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