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Old 12-23-2002, 03:56 PM
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Post Mustang 2 susp. strong enough?

I am looking into changing my front suspension on my 54 chevy panel. right now I have a 1966 chevy 1/2 ton sus. notched into the frame and dropped spindles. [Done 10 years ago] I have been putting up with bump steer and tire wear for quite a while. I'm getting to old for this kind of aggravation and am wanting something that works better and gives a smoother ride. What is the Must. 2 setup like? Is it stiff? How is the steering? This type of front susp. also looks alittle weak!?!?
Another thing I see is a pretty steep price to put under of these things under my truck.
Another choice is a camaro graft [I feel I am capable to do it] but want other input. Ain't nothing like asking questions and opinions.
Has anyone done anything with the Dodge Dakota type suspension?
If I can stay away from the all the glitter and sparkley stuff [I'm a rat rodder & biker from along time ago] and use doner stuff I think IMHO I will be better off financially.
I was reading the back messages on this site looking for info on this topic but didn't see much on the questions I have above.
I'm sure there is someone who has been down the same path I am on now and can guide me the right way or at least make me feel less lost and confused.
Thanks, Dennis

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Old 12-23-2002, 05:25 PM
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Hey Dennis - I've got a 53 Chevy Hardtop that had the same problem. Last winter I decided to do something serious about it. After doing days of homework on the subject and talking it over with several different people, I went with Heidt's Mustang II set up with 11 inch GM rotors, Chevelle calipers and Heidt's tubular A-arms. I juiced up the power rack with an old rebuilt Saginaw "teardrop" pump. Chassis Engineering, Fatman, and TCI all make Mustang II style spring towers and crosmember kit designed to weld right to your frame rails. If you decide to go this route, I suggest that you go with the full lower a-frame package and not with the stamped out control arm and strut, budget kit. I probably should have went with the drop spindles because I had to cut a coil afterwards to get it slammed the way I liked it. Anyway, the whole kit and kabootle ran about $2000 with shipping. The front end shop made very minor adjusments after I eyeballed the alignment, it fell right into spec.

2 1/2 turns lock to lock now, and no bumpsteer. It also allowed me to move my motor down and back for better weight distribution - shortened the drive line 3". I had Quickor Engineering build me a sway bar and it now corners great. The chrome tilt Ididit column and Borgesen double-D shaft and joints were another grand on top of that, but well worth the money.

I've heard good and bad things about sub frames and "clips." A work freind of mine put a Suburban sub-frame in his 57 panel. He says He'll never do that again. He had to rework the body clip and bumper mounts and the whole Marianne!

With all the neat front ends stuff out there today I'd go with one of the above for sure.

Just my two cents worth.... Hope I could be of some help.
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Old 12-23-2002, 07:52 PM
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IMHO a Pinto/Mustang II based suspension is way too light duty for for your application.

The cars were cheap, and short wheelbased. They are light (2700-2800 lbs MAX).

There has been much discussion about the Pinto/Mustang II on this forum and others.

Check this out:
http://www.hotrodders.com/cgibin/ubb/18/000592

When in doubt .....make it stout!
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Old 12-23-2002, 08:29 PM
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If you are asking this question...... you must have serious doubts about the strenght of the Pinto/Mustang II yourself? ? ?

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Old 12-24-2002, 04:53 AM
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I'd go with the mustang.I put a mustang under a 41 Plymouth coupe years ago.It was a stock crossmember and never had any problems.The after market ones are a lot stronger.I've done several and no problems.If you read up on the mustang front end you will find that the 4's & 6's in the mustangs were centered over the cross members.Most streetrods the motor will set mostly behind the crossmember.There's not as much weight on it as you might think.
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Old 12-24-2002, 05:11 AM
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The Mustang unit is plenty strong enough to handle your truck. I put a Heidts unit (stock control arms and strut rods) under my big block powered pro-street car 6 years ago and have had no problems. I have also installed one in my hemi powered 53 Chevy pickup that will be on the road sometime next summer.

The Mustang unit was designed to have the engine mounted almost directly over the crossmember and not behind it like in most street rods. This makes it more than strong enough for our applications. Those who have had failures (as in the link provided in an earlier post) used the strut rod eliminator kits without any additional bracing. Although the strut rods are ugly, they are functional and stronger (IMHO) than the units with eliminators.

By the way, you can install Heidts unit in one day (once the frame is clean and ready to go) and if you do a little swap meet shopping, use stock Mustang control arms, big GM brakes, and even with a power rack you can come in at about $1000. I did.

Good Luck

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Old 12-24-2002, 12:46 PM
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Deuce Roadster - Your post was interesting and informative. I tried to look at the "Failure" photos but the site had moved. To where, who knows. I agree with you that the stock Pinto/MustangII front end is inherently weak. Several modifications have been made lately to stiffen them up. As far as the rack goes yes, going with longer outer tierods, for a wider stance, isn't the thing to do. They now go with late T-Bird power racks to solve that problem. As far as the integrity of the upper spring perches and crossmembers goes, they're only as good as the installer.

Most of the latest Mustang II style streetrod front-ends have been beefed up considerably. You have to pay attention to detail when buying one of them, and even more when installing one. Hanging the engine out over the unsprung part of ANY front end isn't exceptable, that's part of the beauty of this design. It allows the fabricator the ability to get the engine down and back without sacrificing ride height or drivability. The spindles shocks and rack are just about all that remains on a good Mustang II based retrofit. Heidt is still working on making that silk purse from a sow's ear... Right now, I think they're further along with the game than anyone else.

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Old 12-24-2002, 07:18 PM
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Some improvements have been made in the Pinto/Mustang II suspensions by aftermarket suppliers, but Dennis Holschlag is NOT going to use a kit $$$.

A 1954 Panel is a heavy vechicle. It must weigh almost 1 amd 1/2 times as much as a Pinto or a Mustang II. It is a truck.....it came with 6 lug wheels....for a reason. THE REASON is that it is heavy. Pinto/Mustang II's came with 4 lugs, 9" brakes and a light duty rack. I believe FOMOCO made the rest of the stuff to match.

All the smoke and mirrors cannot make the heavy go away no matter where the engine is. Pinto/Mustang II kits will work in light cars (33-34 Fords ect).


Read the original post..... by Dennis Holschlag again.......please.
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Old 12-25-2002, 04:56 AM
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Sorry to disagree with you but your statements show you don't have a thorough understanding of the Mustang II suspension.

The overall weight of the vehicle is important but not as important as the weight distribution. On the Mustang II the engine is mounted directly over the centerline of the front suspension crossmember. In the case of the Mach I (302 w/air) I bought new in 76 this suspension easily handled the 500+ lbs. the motor weighed and the 60/40 weight distribution it created.

In a modern street rod the motor is generally mounted with the front crank pulley directly over the crossmember. This shifts the weight distribution drastically, which lowers the amount of weight the front suspension has to carry. That's why in most cases street rods with the Mustang II front suspension have to use the 4 cylinder springs instead of the V6 or V8 springs. There simply isn't as much weight on the front suspension as most people think. When you install the V6 springs with this system you usually have to cut coils to get the suspension to sit level. The V8 springs are way too stiff to support the 454 (in the coupe to the right) or the early hemi in my 53 Chevy pickup.

Properly installed and maintained the Mustang II suspension will handle all but the most extreme cases. In the cases of the very small minority who have had failures, these failures were most often the result of poor installation and/or using strut rod eliminator kits without proper strengthening of the crossmember. If the system is installed as Ford designed it, it works very well.

Since Dennis likes to do things himself, there's no reason, if he chooses a Mustang II suspension, that he couldn't graft an original crossmember to his frame. It's been done that way many times and works just as well as an aftermarket kit. It's a bit more work but some people like it that way.

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[ December 25, 2002: Message edited by: Centerline ]</p>
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Old 12-25-2002, 07:16 AM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Centerline:
[QB]Sorry to disagree with you but your statements show you don't have a thorough understanding of the Mustang II suspension.

The overall weight of the vehicle is important but not as important as the weight distribution.
--------------------------------------------------
WRONG AGAIN....... the overall weight matters the most. What happens when you slam on the brakes to miss a pot hole....Then hit it? Weight distribution can be moved around or changed....overall weight can't. 60/40 on a 4400 lbs vechicle still means 2500 lbs on the front. A figure that matches the total weight of a Mustang II.
--------------------------------------------------
In a modern street rod the motor is generally mounted with the front crank pulley directly over the crossmember. This shifts the weight distribution drastically, which lowers the amount of weight the front suspension has to carry.
--------------------------------------------------
True but most modiflied cars are a lot heavier than the donor and the weight on the rodded front end is close to 100% of the donor vechicles total weight. Rodders are using a lot heavier motor than the 4-6- or V8 that came in the donor. Plus air and other stuff.


A 54 panel is a "extreme case"

I have seen Pinto/Mustang II arms bend because of the weight and stress.

Here is a deal like the panel can be....

Man had a 35 Buick 4 door. Wanted to street rod it. Bought a "kit" from a well known supplier who sells kits for 'everything'. He puts the kit in. Plus a 455 Buick, 400 Turbo, the long heavy factory Buick air coniditioning compressor, cast iron manifolds ect. He takes it to the front end shop and has it aligned. 4000 miles later the alignment is gone. Goes to another shop (dissatisflied with the 1st shop's work). Has it aligned. 3000 miles later, the alignment is gone. Takes the Buick to the BEST place in town. Has to have a appointment they are so busy. They cannot align it. The bottom A arms are bent. The strut rod bracket on the frame now has cracks in the welds...not yet broken...

He puts tublar arms on BUT it only has 500 miles on it so the jury is still out. He wants to sell it. He is afraid of it. He hauled it to GoodGuys to sell it. He hauled it home. It sits in the shed ....a lot.

Pinto/Mustang II's work....... but not on vechicles that are too heavy.

You guys do what you want...... I cannot change your minds....and likewise...you will not change mind.

Have a nice and safe day

By the way.....I have a Pinto/Mustang II front end for my 40 Ford coupe...... I am NOT anti IFS.


[ December 25, 2002: Message edited by: Deuce Roadster ]</p>
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Old 12-25-2002, 10:23 AM
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Dennis; This may bring up a bit of controversity over looks, but it sounds to me that you are looking for something that is basically trouble free, and will give you a good ride, have you ever considered going with a aspen/volare cross torsion bar front suspension, they are not really a good looking set-up but will cary the load, are height adjustable, and give a good ride, come stock with a disc. brakes set that will stop your panel, and a complete front assembly can usually be picked up for under $200. just a thought.
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Old 12-25-2002, 10:58 AM
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For whatever reason, early Volkswagens came with six lugs too... I sure wouldn't want one of those front ends under my street rod, even if they DID turn on a dime.
'62 Nova six and four cylinder cars had four lugs, just like the Pinto's and Mustang II's. They chose to run the same rear center section in ALL their cars, even the early big blocks, to 62, had 17 spline rear axles just like the little 4 banger Nova's did and GM got away with that "weak" rear end deal, for years. Talk about Nova overkill...

Old panel trucks were designed for rough roads, heavy loads and lots of abuse. I went back over Dennis' post and I see nothing to indicate he's building a utility vehicle to load up with concrete blocks or something like that... He says he's a "Rat Rodder," so I assume he's going with a RAT motor. There are thousands of satisfied people running various alterations of the Mustang II style IFS, big motors and all. What's better is certainly moot. I've seen some frame graft jobs I wouldn't tow around the block. I'm sure the same can be said for the way some people install Mustang II front ends also. I've got a 3400 LB car with Mustang II front suspension and I mostly like it. The only two things I don't like about it are, with tubular control arms, the shocks serve as upper spring travel limits and the rack serves as turn stops. (easily fixed) I've had one tire off the ground more then once, and after numerous thorough inspections I've found zero defects.

I can live with that.

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Old 12-25-2002, 12:35 PM
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Centerline said: "In a modern street rod the motor is generally mounted with the front crank pulley directly over the crossmember. This shifts the weight distribution drastically, which lowers the amount of weight the front suspension has to carry. That's why in most cases street rods with the Mustang II front suspension have to use the 4 cylinder springs instead of the V6 or V8 springs. There simply isn't as much weight on the front suspension as most people think. When you install the V6 springs with this system you usually have to cut coils to get the suspension to sit level."

That's it, in a nutshell my friend.... Springs have no intelligence, just good memory - they wouldn't lie if they could.
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Old 12-25-2002, 12:42 PM
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1) Rat rodder is a term that some people use to describe a style of rod building not a BigBlock Chevy user. I may be wrong. Dennis is one who prides himself of building his ride without "kits" and aftermarket pieces. A rat rodder.

2) When Chevrolet went from a 4 or 6 to the V8, they also changed the suspension, wheel pattern and brakes. They beefed up the suspension for V8 power and the use of it.

3) The 55-64 Chevrolet rear end center section was used in a Nova and was a bit of overkill for a 4/6 cylinder. I would NOT suggest that he not use one under his panel. They are strong enough. When the REAL Big Block came out ( 396 )..they had to go up a notch and create the 12 bolt.

4) 10 years ago Dennis put another truck front end under his panel. He must of been planning on using his truck..as a truck.

5) I totally agreed that ALL suspension changes can only turn out as good as the skill of the installler, regardless of the the suspension used.

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Old 12-25-2002, 02:21 PM
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Deuce,

I understand your arguments but I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on the Mustang II subject. :p

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