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Merc IFS Upgrade - Fatman or Camaro?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by CharlieLed, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,460

    CharlieLed
    Member

    There seems to be some strong opinions one way or another regarding clips on 49-51 Mercs...I know there are some who say leave the OEM IFS alone but for the sake of this thread let's assume that a new clip is going to be installed. The GM clip is a proven solution but is the Fatman style frame stub with MII components a better way to go? Some of the considerations are cost, size, weight (both of the stub/IFS and the GVW that the IFS will handle), and availability. I have my own personal views on the issue but thought that I would throw it out to see what others could add...
     
  2. Hi!
    Joined: Oct 4, 2006
    Posts: 731

    Hi!
    Member
    from SoCal

    Not a fan of the fatman setup. Ive done MII with a custom TCI made wider center section and then made frame rails.
    I have never checked the width on a camaro stub/wb compared to the mercs original.
    If it matches WB width and im guessing its close to frame width, I like the camaro stub idea better for a few reasons.
     
  3. toadyoty
    Joined: Dec 5, 2011
    Posts: 20

    toadyoty
    Member
    from Warm Beach

    Dooooooooonnnnnnttttttt dooooo iiiiiiit
     
  4. George/Maine
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 949

    George/Maine
    Member

    If you didn,t know what was under there you would pick the Camaro,GM engine with powersteering,makes nice combo.
     

  5. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,460

    CharlieLed
    Member

    I have a buddy in my truck club who has a 55 F100 with a Nova clip...it seems to drive just fine, handles/tracks well. The only issue I have with it is the size and the clearance to the crossmember. I have a built 460/C6 combo and a 351W/AOD to choose from so crossmember clearance is an issue for me. I am not a big fan of SBCs in Fords but my buddy's truck does have a 351W with the Nova clip so I guess it is possible.
     
  6. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,086

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I had a rear steer Camaro/Nova under my 51 for a number of years with 72 Monte Carlo/Chevelle disk brakes.

    If you cut the Merc frame just behind the crossmember the rear steer subframe will slip between the frame rails and with a bit of trimming the back end of the subframe rails will tie into the Merc X member. I ran mine with a 350R Olds and turbo 350. The steering column lined up pretty well and the stock Merc core support sits on the subframe's front cross bar that the sway bar connects to an you just have to drill two holes to bolt it to the cross bar with a thin rubber pad under it.
     
  7. desotot
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,835

    desotot
    Member

    I have heard of the polished stainless control arms bending in the larger cars, so I went with a 1st gen subframe in my merc, my next merc is setup with a 2nd gen camaro subframe, not as neat but some say they are better.
     
  8. slddnmatt
    Joined: Mar 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,682

    slddnmatt
    Member

    I wasn't to happy with the fatman stub. It's a heavy chunk of metal. Are there other mustang II I would use probably. The biggest concern I always have is the widths. I have a 76xj clip that I'm going to use in my wifes merc, its right over 60.5" I think it was..
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  9. I've done both and driven both and can tell you this. The Nova unit will out drive the Fat Man 10 to 1 on curvy mountain roads (out where I live). With the Nova I can hit a 35 mph curve at 42-45 mph and go on around thinking I could have done that one faster. With the Fat Man M-2 style Junk same curves at 40 all of a sudden you know your in trouble and just hold on till it's over. Not Good. Not just once or twice but enough to know this M-2 stuff is Shit. This is on curves and a road I drive every day and know well. Give me the Nova any time.
    The Wizzard
     
  10. Charlie you have answered your own question as you state you are going to run a 460 or 351W Ford as they booth will fit best with a camaro clip plus it will easily handle the weight of a 460. I see you are not to far from my shop so if you want you can come by and take a look at one i am going right now that will have a 460 / C6.

    Over the years i have installed just about every suspension setup's in 49/51 mercs you can come up with but the 2nd gen camaro has proven to be the one that works, Thats my honest opion. I have installed every MII avail from Fatman, Kuggel, Heidit, Morrison and others but always was despleased. I have even removed a few nova & camaro clips for customers who insisted on going to a Hi Tech MII and after have had to remove the MII to reinstall a clip or they were so disapointed with the results they offed there merc.

    Heres my choices listed in order best first is the 2nd gen Camaro, 1st gen Camaro/Nova, Volaire, Jag. Sorry but no MII's worked for me but if you must go with one Kuggel or Heidit has made a good atempt. The rest make for good boat ancor meterial. If you want to add bags to the mix i personally only recomend the 1st or 2nd GM clip period.
     
  11. Have followed this thread for a while. Have a 50 Custom that needs some front susp work. right front frame was damaged in the mid 50s and was crudely repaired and the right rear spring hanger was badly damaged with a poor attempt to straighten. I have a stock and a clipped frame that was under a full custom in the Eugene/Springfield area years ago that was removed/replaced with an orig. The frame has been clipped with a 1st gen Camaro or Nova, dont know which or if they are even different. It has disc brakes that are marked 68 Camaro and it is a rear steer clip. The frame still has the 56? Olds rear end with 3in lowering blocks, etc. Frame is straight, cant find any accident damage to it. The very front horns are somewhat crudely attached for the bumper but an easy fix. Just got a fresh Cad 390 for it, will have a 700R4 OD on it. So now am anxious to get started on the Merc again. Am ready to sand blast it, rebuild the front susp, paint and install it. Here are some pics of it, so anyone having any coments, good or bad, please do so. The other frame I have is a virgin, uncut, so can use it if need to. Thanx in advance. Davey
     

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  12. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 6,015

    Dreddybear
    Member

    i'm one of the "I'd rather cut my arm off rather than get rid rid of the original stuff" guys but if you absolutely have to do it I would use the GM setup.
     
  13. I also prefer keeping the stock Merc susp,but at least with the MII set-ups you can raise the mounting points to get it lower and keep the alignment geometry.
     
  14. Vlopez22
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 171

    Vlopez22
    Member

    Hello I'm having the same problem for my 1951 Merc, dont know if I should add the mustang 2 or Camaro front clip or keep it original and just add disc brakes and powder coat it and I'm going to do a frame off, your help will be greatly appreciated thanks.
     
  15. I have a complete '50 frame I am gonna swap out,someday,for my Merc. My Merc was clipped with a 68-69 T-bird clip,which is like a larger MII set-up. I hate it but it's what I have for now. I'm keeping my power brakes but will upgrade to front discs. You can actually get them lower with the stock Mercury stuff AND still drive them! Mine was set up really bad!
    Vlopez22,I highly recommend keeping the Merc stuff and upgrading to discs. The set-up slddnmatt put on Bill's Merc is awesome! He has pic's of the frame before he put the body back on. It's bagged though.
     
  16. Vlopez22
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 171

    Vlopez22
    Member

    Thanks Bad Bob this is my first build and learning as I go,The HAMB is awesome great people and very helpful, I also want to bagged it and looking everywhere, is there anything you recommend and not too pricey.
     
  17. choppedmerc
    Joined: Feb 18, 2009
    Posts: 95

    choppedmerc
    Member
    from Spokane

    A question for EXK. have you ever narrowed a 2nd gen camaro clip? Just thinking then you would not have to buy the narrowed A-arms. I am up in the air on what to do with my own merc. I will run airbags and set the frame about 1" off the ground.
     
  18. The only guy I recommend for doing a bag set-up is Paunch,The Bagman. He's in Anaheim right near Anaheim Stadium. Very reasonable too.
     
  19. Vlopez22
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 171

    Vlopez22
    Member

    Thanks Bad Bob, what about just to buy the complete custom air suspension kit, I'm looking around I have a guy whos going to installed it from San Fernando Valley, I just need to buy the complete kit.
     
  20. rusty rocket
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 4,189

    rusty rocket
    Member

    Use the gm stub they fit well, tie in with the x member, and disk brake. I put one under my 51 and it fit like a glove. The merc frame is taller than the stub so you can put the stub in high or low to get the ride hight you want.
     
  21. There's a place on the internet that sells complete set-ups but I don't remember what they're called. They have kits for ever kind of vehicle. You can just google "Air bag Kits" and he comes up.
     
  22. Why would you want to ? The 2nd gen camaro is only 1.25" wider that the stock mercury at the wheel flange to wheel flange or .75" per side. With wheels that have the proper back spacing you will not have a tire to fender issue.
     
  23. Bob you are incorrect. The stock mercury crossmember is the lowest part of the frame buy about 3/8" so if you drive your car real low you better be on the look out for raised objects like man hole covers and rail road tracks. When i install a clip or stub i make sure the crossmember and all the steering is above the bottom of the frame rails and with a camaro or nova i set them no less than 1" above.
     
  24. enfieldjoe
    Joined: Jun 5, 2009
    Posts: 839

    enfieldjoe
    Member
    from Eustis, FL

    I have the chassis from my 51 Merc. Want to update it for my 50 Merc because that chassis has heavy rust and pitting, but no frame damage.

    Should I update the stock front suspension, or install a 2nd Gen Camaro clip? Can't you buy the 2nd gen clip new? Not going to "bag" this chassis. What is recommended for the rear suspension? (Don't mean to hijack this thread with my questions.)
     

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  25. desotot
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,835

    desotot
    Member

    EXK is right , the stock merc front crossmember is crazy low relative to the rest of the frame. A shoebox ford is better than a merc in that respect. G.M. sub is the best value for the buck.
     
  26. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,460

    CharlieLed
    Member

    Erik,
    I went up to your find your shop some time ago and either I had the wrong address or I drove past it. I talked to a guy (says he does mostly motorcycle work) that took a Fatman stub system in trade from you and was looking to sell/trade it on ebay. I figured that if you let go of the Fatman unit that you were probably not real fond of them. Is the Fatman frame stub really that heavy...heavier than the Camaro clip?

    I have a Volare IFS in my 56 F100 which drives real well...well that is after I rebuilt it with polyurethane bushings and a beefy anti-sway bar. The Volare IFS has really short shocks though, not much travel. Many of the F100 guys have removed the Volare IFS in favor of the MII setup...Heidts, TCI, etc.

    I am a little concerned about Wizzard's accounts of his Merc with the MII IFS...is this a geometry issue or component issue? Would a heavier sway bar setup have cured the handling problem?
     
  27. slddnmatt
    Joined: Mar 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,682

    slddnmatt
    Member

    The crossmember on the fatman stub is 3/8" thick, alittle over kill in my book. My front rims on my merc are reversed and offset to accomodate deeper style hubcaps. Which puts it about the width of the JAG and genII camaros. I have to be careful when I turn in certain situations but unless you do the narrowed arms you can limit yourself on hubcap choices with offset wheels. Do what works for you and what's in your budget..
     
  28. Vlopez22
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 171

    Vlopez22
    Member

    Exk thanks for the adivse, what kind of disc brakes should I upgrade to and any advise for the air bags, what kind and where to get a great price to for the complete "air bag kit"
     
  29. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,460

    CharlieLed
    Member

    3/8 inch...wow. I would have though that 3/16ths would be more than sufficient given that it is a four sided member...no wonder people are saying that it is so heavy. I have seen this frame stub and was wondering what made it worth so much money, seems like you could fabricate one fairly easily and go with a Paul Horton Welders series crossmember.
     
  30. Dog Dish Deluxe
    Joined: Dec 23, 2011
    Posts: 778

    Dog Dish Deluxe
    BANNED
    from MO.

    Don't ruin a perfectly good car by putting that crap under it. But, if given the choice I would go with the GM stuff for sure, Gm spent way more time and money developing, testing and perfecting those components than any aftermarket company.
     

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