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Merc IFS Upgrade - Fatman or Camaro?

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

  1. I am not aware of Wizzards experinces with a MII in his merc. I personally will not install a MII in a 49/51 merc any more even without bags as they are unable to handel well but the weigh is not a big issue. The issue with a MII is they have real basis static geometry combined with very short A-arms. The camaro, nova, volarie and jag all have advanced dynamic geometry. The camaro & nova have the longest A-arms and the 2nd gen's has a real advanced race proved dynamic geometry that just works. I know this is totally confusing if you donot under stand suspension geometry but when all the hype, smoke & mirrors are gone i think not to many would still install a MII under a 49/51 merc.

    You must of talked to Matt, he use to worked with me. One of my customers bought that stage 5 Fatman stub but decided to install a camaro clip in his merc after i showed him the differences. You are welcome to come by and take a look for yourself.
     
  2. I will most likely piss a few people off by this but i donot recomend baging the stock suspension piered. I know there will be a few that will say they have done it and it works and so have i done many. For the most bang for your buck i would be installing a 2nd gen camaro clip yourself. If you are not up to installing a clip yourself the next best would be a set of my ball jointed stock arms that use 1st gen camaro spindles and disc brakes but you still have that low stock crossmember to worry about. If money not an big issue you could have a clip installed for you or you might want to check out my newest air ride kit that is a weld in crossmember that uses a blend of 1st & 2nd gen camaro parts with advanced dynamic geometry that is also 1.5" narrower that the stock merc
     
  3. Vlopez22
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 171

    Vlopez22
    Member

    wow man I do not know what to do, stock and bag it or use camaro clip and bag it dont know, but thanks for the great advice EXK
     
  4. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,460

    CharlieLed
    Member

    OK, so I know a little about physics and suspension design so I understand how the length of an a-arm can impact the performance of a suspension...the longer the a-arm, the longer the arc and the flatter the deflection of the ball joint. I also understand why the upper a-arm has to be shorter than the lower to allow for negative camber during cornering. I also know that the arms, upper and lower, are not parallel...upper angles down more than the lower to add to the stability and to control where the negative camber begins when the spindle rises. The arms are also angled back to improve nosedive under heavy braking.
    Here's my dilemma...anecdotal data goes only so far, if the MII geometry is off then it should be able to be proven how the GM geometry improves on the MII. I doubt that anyone has the engineering drawings at their fingertips to compare but it seems like it would be a good exercise to measure both and come up with a rationale that supports the "MII doesn't work in a Merc" statement. I haven't spoken with Mercury Charlie about this topic but I know that he builds Merc frames using the Heidt's IFS...maybe he has it figured out.
     
  5. George/Maine
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 949

    George/Maine
    Member

    Im no engineer but the Camaro lower a arm is angled back no strut rod and much better design,and a big sway bar.MII most are at right angle and easy to fit any car.
    Throw the numbers out and drive one and see.
     
  6. enfieldjoe
    Joined: Jun 5, 2009
    Posts: 839

    enfieldjoe
    Member
    from Eustis, FL

    I have a Fatman Fab MII in my 51 Merc. All this arm-chair engineering sure has me worried that maybe the Fatman Fab clip is not superior to GM and going to drive like a tank? Time will tell when I start driving my Merc...this year?

    SlddMatt built my chassis. I will add my driving impression as soon as my Merc is on the road.

    Probably put a 2nd gen GM clip in my 50 Merc. Then I can have a side-to-side drive-off.
     
  7. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,460

    CharlieLed
    Member

    So here's a few pics of my 50 Merc IFS. The first pic from the front shows that the design follows what I wrote previously. The second top view shows how the entire a-arm setup angles back with the upper and lower staying in the same plane. I am not sure why the a-arms are angled back but I beleive that it may be as simple as this design puts the pivot points on the crossmember more forward and allows more room for the engine.
    George, there are many aftermarket MII IFS products on the market today...I don't believe that any of them use strut rods any longer. Thicker anti-sway bars for most any IFS are readily available as well.
    I am thinking that if the angle on the a-arms is merely for clearance in the crossmember then a smaller, non-hydroformed, non-mass-produced crossmember may not need the extra room provided through this angling. It would also make the crossmember stronger since all the forces applied to the crossmember would be in line with the a-arms/wheels.
    Does anybody else know of a better reason why the a-arms are angled back?
     

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  8. Hi!
    Joined: Oct 4, 2006
    Posts: 731

    Hi!
    Member
    from SoCal

    The Fatman setups are bulky, tires rubbed the front bumper brackets, front core support didnt align with thier bracket, no anti dive in thier setup, they align ruff without some clearencing in the upper hat. Just a few things.
    MII are a good front end for a small light car with a short wheelbase. They can be made to work well if you know how to set the crossmember up.
    The GM stuff wont look as pretty, but drive good.
     
  9. George/Maine
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 949

    George/Maine
    Member

    The angled back lower a arms move in 2 directions caster and camber.The MII lower moves up and down only camber.That is the biggest difference.How can anybody compair a Musatng II ,Pinto, to a Camaro frontend.
    They can fit MII frontends eaiser to a lot of cars more money and only have to design the width.
    Camaro will drive the same no matter whats it in.
    I put a 77 Camaro Frontend in a 52 Chevy car and was like driving a sports car. AS most people here will say its better.
     
  10. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,188

    19Fordy
    Member

    Easier to steer and to abtain the best Ackerman steering principle?
     
  11. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,188

    19Fordy
    Member

    Here's a Merc with a 1979 (front steer) Trans Am sub frame, Heidt's narrowed control arms and dropped spindles. Also has air bags.
     

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

    CharlieLed
    Member

    Damn, that's a nice looking setup...and an excellent job on the welding. Are there any advantages/disadvantages to the front steer? I have seen these front ends in both front and rear configurations but haven't heard any opinions on which was better.

    I read this article some time ago and couldn't find it right away but have since found it with a Google search http://www.rodandcustommagazine.com/techarticles/135_0401_independent_front_suspension/index.html
    Some interesting discussion with some of the bigger names in the industry.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  13. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,460

    CharlieLed
    Member

    Just got back from a visit to Extreme Kustoms...thanks Rick for taking the time to show me around! Lots of good work going on there at Rick's shop, learned a lot about what works and what doesn't.
     
  14. I found with the front steer model you can't run a stock core support or Rad. The steering box is in the way. With the rear steer unit no issue with stock core support. Also it's easier to mount the front bumper back where it belongs. You also don't need to modify the front splash pan for the steering box.
    The Wizzard
     
  15. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,188

    19Fordy
    Member

    Thanks for the good words.That article you listed the link for is very interesting. The author says, " Since the Camaro is front steer,any attempt to change the set up will radically alter the car's Ackerman Angle, which can make the car highly unstable at any speed." Does the author mean that it is not adviable to use a front steer Camaro subframe or does he mean that you CAN use the front steer Camaro subframe so long as you don't alter it? I am not an expert but I would like to explore this a little more as lots of folks use front steer camaro clips. I used the front steer bescause I wanted to avoid having the headers on the 354 hemi from hitting the power steering box. A cross flow radiator (without the original radiator support) was used to solve the radiator "fit" problem. If you are using a Chevy small block or other small black engine you could use the rear steer subframe. That would would seemingly result in less of an "Ackerman Angle" problem as suggested in the article. It would be interesting to actually put the car on a lift and use string to check out the Ackerman Angle with front steer. Perhaps other more knowledgable HAMBERs can offer more info. on this. The car is still being built and has not been driven.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  16. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,460

    CharlieLed
    Member

    Here's an article from an RC site that explains the Ackerman Principle fairly well. I believe that one of the reasons that the statement was made about altering the Camaro front steer is that the angle that the pitman arm makes with respect to the tie rods is critical in ensuring that the inside wheel on any turn is positioned at a greater angle than the outside wheel.
    http://www.rctek.com/technical/handling/ackerman_steering_principle.html
    The Rod & Custom magazine article was written by people who are promoting the MII setups, I think that they were making the point that the Camaro front steer arrangement caused some problems with mounting in non-Camaro automobiles and IF one were to modify the steering setup to accomodate these "other" cars that you should be very careful. Or you could just buy THEIR product and life will be good...
     
  17. George/Maine
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 949

    George/Maine
    Member

    I have only installed one ,and what I noticed you should put a level on clip and keep that when welding.My 52 chevy car I had trouble with alignment because it was tipped and chevy engine mounts were off.I didn,t have any handling problems and what I used was a 1968 Camaro Raditor It was the smallest it could find.
     
  18. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,460

    CharlieLed
    Member

    Well I found a 78 Camaro clip today so I think that I have made my decision on an IFS. I have already gotten a 96 MKVIII IRS setup and have upgraded it with Cobra components and air bags. I am now at the point where it seems ridiculous to cut up the stock Merc frame to add the front clip and the IRS setup so I am working out the dimensions for a complete custom frame. Art Morrison and others who build aftermarket frames are using 4x4 3/16ths square tubing for the main rails so I think that that will be the way I go as well. If all goes well this should make for a good technical post...
     
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