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Old 11-10-2008, 02:27 PM
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66 Mustang front end change

Hey guys,
I just acquired a 66' Mustang (for free i might add!!) and I'd like to drop a BB V-8 (351M, 428CJ...) and I've been told I'd need to upgrade to a Mustang II front end. Can anyone confirm or deny this for a guy??? Also, if this is true where can I find more info on how to go about swapping out the front end setups. Thanks in advance for helping out a relative rookie in this game we play.

-Gearhead

"Drive It Like Ya Stole It"

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Old 11-10-2008, 04:15 PM
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You should be able to stuff a 351 Cleveland or a 351W in there with no shock tower modification. A 390 or a 429-460 won't fit without some working over the shock towers or removing them completely. In 67 Ford widened the bay to accommodate a FE big block, so you missed the mark by a year.
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntx_gearhead
Hey guys,
I just acquired a 66' Mustang (for free i might add!!) and I'd like to drop a BB V-8 (351M, 428CJ...) and I've been told I'd need to upgrade to a Mustang II front end. Can anyone confirm or deny this for a guy??? Also, if this is true where can I find more info on how to go about swapping out the front end setups. Thanks in advance for helping out a relative rookie in this game we play.

-Gearhead

"Drive It Like Ya Stole It"
http://www.heidts.com/index.cfm?ptyp...e=cat&start=49



this'll help.
btw, i'm doing a 69 american right now using a nova/MII setup.
very similar to the horseys...
if you haven't done much welding/fab work,do yourself a favor and get some help.
not trying to belittle you, just being realistic...
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:37 AM
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awesome guys thanks for the help! i had heard also i could cram a 351W into the bay with no problem... but i'm worried about the suspension being able to take a corner and not roll over on me with the extra HP this thing will be cranking out. i seen heidt's has a "superride" suspension pkg. has anyone used this setup and if so does it improve the handling of the car? thanks again for the help, and by the way, no offense taken... there's no room of foolish pride when you dont have all the knowledge to do the entire job by yourself. so thanks for the heads up!

-Gearhead
"Drive it like ya stole it"
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:55 AM
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The Heidt's Superride is a decent front suspension, but with some updates the original can perform just as well if not better. You will need to upgrade to some good springs and dampeners as well as installing a larger anti-roll bar. But before you do all of that replace all the a-arm bushings, ball joints etc with some quality units. Check out some of the stuff Shelby was doing to make the suspension perform in those older Mustangs, he had them working real well.
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Old 11-11-2008, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aosborn
The Heidt's Superride is a decent front suspension, but with some updates the original can perform just as well if not better. You will need to upgrade to some good springs and dampeners as well as installing a larger anti-roll bar. But before you do all of that replace all the a-arm bushings, ball joints etc with some quality units. Check out some of the stuff Shelby was doing to make the suspension perform in those older Mustangs, he had them working real well.
thats awesome advice and thanks but ive been looking the better part of the day and i havent found jack squat... what upgrades could i do to make the original more stout? if i can improve the handling of the original i might go with a 351W and get the HP im looking for that way... speaking of 351W how much room do i have to swap stuff like spark plugs, headers and stuff like that? again sorry for all the questions but im really ignorant to ford's and this is my first mustang. so thanks again for all your help

-Gearhead
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:49 PM
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Check out Rod & Custom Motorsports. I've got their kit in my Maverick, all kinds of room!

Russ
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:57 PM
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Check out the link below for some general tips on improving that front end.

http://www.carmemories.com/cgi-bin/v...erience_id=120
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Old 11-11-2008, 11:55 PM
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The 351 Windsor should fit in there like the car was made for it. Those cars always tended to be a bit snug down in the spark plug changing area with anything except a straight six.

Suspension and steering pieces from Shelby or similar pieces from another vendor would be the way to go. Shelby built his car building reputation on these Mustangs and their ability to handle after his company got done with them.

There should be enough information floating around on the net and in books to help you. A quick search found this one http://www.amazon.com/Shelby-Mustang...6472641&sr=8-3 and they have some used ones for a reasonable price.
From reading the table of contents it appears to have some real information and content instead of just being a coffee table picture book.
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:09 PM
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That same suspension was basically the same from 1965-1973 with minor changes along the way. During that time the stock suspension handled Boss 302's, Boss 351's, 428CJ's, and even Boss 429's. The suspension can "handle" engine power. There is certainly room for improvement in handling though. Many companies offer neat stuff for handling/strength improvements. National Parts Depot sells lots of stuff for old Mustangs, including performance parts. They have an online catalog too.
Some names of performance suspension parts people are (priced low to high):Opentracker, Global West, Total Control (Chris Alston), and Griggs. Most parts they sell are a bolt-on deal so you don't have to destroy and reweld critical parts of your car to use them. While you window shop, some improved braking systems should catch your eye too.
A guy named MustangSteve sells interesting BIG front brake swaps. Ultrastang sells some neat swap kits for rear disk brakes. Both guys try to make use of Ford parts as much as possible. Both of them and Opentracker all started out just making stuff for their own cars and are still pretty small operators. They use and believe in their products and have a quite a few happy customers. You can pay a lot more elsewhere and get less for your money. But then you can pay more for a kit from somebody like Baer brakes and get excellent stuff. Whatever suits you and your budget..
I've yet to hear of a single person using an MII swap on an opentrack or autocross vintage Mustang. I've seen MII swaps used on purely show or cruising cars though.
There are forums like the "Vintage-Mustang Forum" where about anything you can think of to ask about an old Mustang has likely already been not only asked but discussed several times over.

Last edited by GypsyR; 11-13-2008 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:59 PM
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As the years progressed, Mustang engine bays got 2" wider, then 2" wider again. A W in a 65-6 is tight but has been done.

Don't get excited about the Shelby suspension stuff. All he did was copy what was already being done on the rally Falcons that raced in Europe. Such as the upper control arm drop and pitman/idler arm changes. Guilstrand copied the same stuff for the Camaros. Note that Guilstrand never said he invented it, only that he used the idea on the Camaros, and as he noted = he was suprised they named the modification after him (since the Falcons invented it in 61-2).
Shelby in the TA series had limitations as to the types of modifications that could be done legally, and that is what dictated the mods. Just because Shelby did them does not mean that they are the best thing that could have been done. He was operating within the rules limitations. If you note the rear end traction bar changes from 65 to 66, you will note the 66 underride bars worked better than the 65 design. Either way stops wheel hop but NEITHER way plants the tires.
Early Mustangs need serious upgrading in the front suspensions. Getting rid of the shock tower suspension is a quantum leap in the right direction if you want a serious handling vehicle AND room for a big engine.

JMO

Last edited by ScoTFrenzel; 11-16-2008 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 11-16-2008, 07:15 PM
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ScoTFrenzel, what would you recommend for a front suspension?
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:05 PM
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First thing you want to make sure of is Connecticut emissions laws. Will the Mustang with an engine swap be legal there? Don't assume anything. Check with one of the inspection officers at the testing station. In person, not on the phone. Whatever he/she tells you, write it down along with his/her name and direct phone number.

Assuming the swap is lawful, the next thing to do is assess your capabilities, tools and a suitable location to do the work. Engine swaps are not for the faint of heart, because in the end, every part of the car will be affected and you must have or must acquire the expertise and tools to do the job(s) properly.

Not to say that you'll need high-dollar equipment, because I could do it properly and make it aesthetically pleasing with a MIG, cutting torch, Sawzall and a good 4" hand grinder, along with the usual assortment of hand tools and files. But then, I've been doin' this stuff for 50 years, just like many others on this board. If you haven't the tools or expertise and are incapable of attaining them, then some or most of the work will have to be farmed out to professionals. Look out wallet!!!

Simplest and cheapest would be a small block infusion, keeping the '66 front suspension intact but replacing the stock pieces with upgraded components. I might consider using a late model Mustang 5.0 with a stroker kit in it to increase displacement to 347. If you've never tried to change spark plugs on a larger motor swap in an early Mustang, then you're in for a real treat. You can grow to hate the car in a short period of time. Of course, you've been given links to cutting out the shock towers and installing an MII front suspension. If you feel confident that you could pull this off, then go for it and plan on a 351W, 390FE, 428FE or whatever. If not, consider the 5.0 swap. Whatever motor you decide on, make provision for headers. Headers over stock type exhaust manifolds can be good for 50 hp.

I'd use a boneyard core with the trans attached, pre-fuel injection unless you also want to deal with computers and electronically-controlled transmissions. The '66 could be a very fun little car with a 5.0/5-spd.

After you've figured out the motor/trans, you'll have to turn your attention to the differential. You probably have an 8" open-differential unit out back. This means that the diff will have to be upgraded with a Traction-Lok or similar unit. Otherwise, all the power will go up in smoke turning the right rear tire. I've used an air shock on the right rear only to pre-load the right rear tire instead of using a Traction-Lok, but that's another story. The 8" would probably work ok with the 5.0 or 351W, but for a larger motor, you may need to upgrade to a 9" diff. You can get wrapped around some 9" info here....
http://www.kevinstang.com/Ninecase.htm

Dismiss from your mind the idea of using a 351M or 400M. Take two aspirin and lay down until the notion passes. Either of these hunks will make for miserable handling due to their weight and there are few speed parts available. Ford Motor Company had to drop the static compression ratio under 8.0:1 to prevent detonation on pump gas with these turds.

Last edited by techinspector1; 11-16-2008 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aosborn
ScoTFrenzel, what would you recommend for a front suspension?
The MII type suspensions have excellent geometry. Purchasing a kit is expensive and following the proper installation rules is simple and usually hassle free. Just remember the sheet metal that replaces the shock tower carries a lot of the load back to the firewall.
Literally many thousands have been done.

In the rear I like the coil over /single center torque arm set up with the solid rear axle.
Fatmans makes a good coil over set up for the rear that does well using tapered leaves for the locating links/torque arms.

Definitely add sub frame connectors to tie everything together. All these unibody cars are pretty flexible. Lots of them show cracks at the C pillar/quarter panel area.

added************

At least use polyurethane bushings in the rear (and front) and eliminate any leaf spring isolators between the spring and axle.

Last edited by ScoTFrenzel; 11-23-2008 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:27 AM
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main reason to use a Mustang II is to have a much better than the yuch original PS system or just to have PS....

even with the quicker PS ratio steering box or the "quick steer" arm you don't really need PS with a 302...

what the car desperately needs is torque boxes added....

351W is taller so you are limited on intake/carb/air cleaner choices but it is a direct bolt in

there are atleast 50 excellent Mustang restore and rodding sites to give you A to Z details on anything/everything....

all the Mustang magazines tech sections articles are on line....
click on the "PERFORMANCE" magazines section selection link on this link....
http://www.simautomotive.com/

Last edited by red65mustang; 11-23-2008 at 11:33 AM.
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