Here are a few pics of the housing in place. I fabricated the air bag and shock mounts a few weeks ago and I decided to build my own anti-roll bar which is tacked in place. I also placed a couple of poly bump stops just behind the bags.
Finally arrived at about 43'' for the rear end width. I machined two aluminum sleeves to fit in the bearing bores of the carrier. They have a hole bored in them that is .001 larger than the 1.125 ground tool steel bar that I'm using to alighn the axle bearings to the carrier bearing centerline.
The sleeves also had to be split so, they would clamp down on the steel bar when I tightened the bearing caps. Fortuately, on the ford 9" you can slide your hand in the front carrier through the pinion hole to tighten the caps ( small are hands needed here).
I wanted to use the rear disc brakes from the firebird doner car so, I machined my own axle bearing housings from 1 1/2" thick steel plate. The picture shows the bearing housings before they were finished and, you can see the extended portion where the caliper mounts will bolt on. I left the bearing bores about .040 undersize because, I didn't know how well this set up would hold when I weld the housings in place.
The picture shows the bearing housing held in place. I machined another aluminum sleeve to fit the bearing bore and just slip over the tool steel rod. This felt like a strong fixture but, after welding I discovered that they both mover off center .010 to .030. I was lucky I left enough material to fix this and even luckier that I have a friend that let me use his horizontal boring machine to finish the axle bearing bores.
In the last photo, I used the same steel bar setup to establish the centerline before finishing the bores. It was a learning experience but turned out well.
I again put the front end together yesterday with the new tubular upper control arms and was pleased with the clearance I gained between my A/C compressor and the arm, but I still have a problem with front camber. Even with the upper control arms adjusted all the way inward I'm still just over a degree off from achieving zero camber.
I'm not sure how I'm going to fix this problem or why I have it in the first place. Im using a stock mustang II cross member, so the control arm mount locations haven't been altered. Perhaps the lower arms are just a bit short, because I had the same problem with the stock upper arms.
Tested the front air bags yesterday, they work well, but I'll have to trim the spring hats a bit more to gain clearance so the bags don't rub. Also, the air ride retrofit kit must not be intended for a stock cross member, because I had to alter almost every piece to get a correct bag angle and install height.
Sorry about the pictures, I think I need a better camera.
I'm sure some of you have also experienced this problem. When I started to fabricate the frame motor mount plates, I realized the left side was going to be a problem, because the mount was directly in the path of the steering shaft to the front mounted rack.
To gain more clearance, I fabricated a bracket from two pieces of 3/16 flat plate. One side mounts where the original motor mount bolted to the block, and the other to the available holes at the front of the block.
This arrangement moved the motor mount about 3 inches forward and helped tremendously. Now I should have no trouble accessing the input shaft to the rack.
Started fabricating the rear mounts a few weeks ago. The lower mounts and control arms weren't to difficult, but the uppers will be a bit more of a challenge.
I clamped a length of 2x3 to the frame and clamped a piece of 1/8" flat stock to the 2x3 to bolt the control arm to. Then I tacked another piece of 1/8 to the top of the differential so the control arm would be at a 45 degree angle.
With this set up, I can place a floor jack under the rear end and move it through It's range of motion and adjust the location of the 2x3 tubing and the length of the control arm until I can go through the full range of motion with minimal change of pinion angle.
I lengthened the lower arms by 2 inches after the first try, because the rear end swings fore ward as well as down when you raise the body and tire removal would have been difficult.
Oh well, the extra 2 inches of wheel base cant hurt. Right?