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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to see who can comment about this.. Can I use a Mustang II steering rack in my original frame? I'm aware my original steering goes behind the engine crossmember and part of what I need is the steering to be in front of the crossmember to accommodate a rear sump 4.6 L engine...

Also I'm wanting disc brakes, I've done the conversion before using Montego spindles from the '70's but that was on a stock setup with the steering linkage behind wheel center, can I get this to work by simply using the same spindles and flipping them?

I'm not opposed to ending up fabbing my own tie rods either, nor is it beyond my skill set to analyze steering and suspension geometry for bump steer, proper steer angle, etc.

I'm just looking to see if anyone's done some thing similar as a starting point.
 

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I've done this. I used late 70s front steer Ranchero spindles. I also used a Mustang rack. This was a bad idea. I made it work, but it was a chore.

First off the steering arms on the Ranchero spindles were too high, and also too long. this made the tie rods go uphill to the spindles, and a 40 acre turning radius. I shortened the steering arms to 5.5" and reversed the taper so the tie rod ends came up from the bottom.

The second problem was the rack set too far in front of the axle centerline and really screwed up the Ackerman when turning. I fixed it by cutting the front crossmember back and boxing to get the rack in a straight line.

If I was going to do another one I would use 5 lug Dodge Dakota spindles and rack. They look much more compatible. The steering arms match the rack, and the rack can be mounted closer to the axle centerline without as much cutting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was out looking at my front frame on my station wagon, which the engine is out so it gives an easier view of the situation... I see that a front mounted steering rack wouldn't just swap in, so I'm thinking either I look at a front subframe or I just scrap the idea and get 70's disc brake spindles and call it a day... I know the latter is the smart choice, I don't always go with what is smart, so it's not really a discussion I'm looking for - I'll either decide on my own or not.

For the sake of discussion, let's say I have a 1978 Pinto candidate in my junkyard of choice, and I wanted to get a subframe for my '56 Mercury and I can probably get that for $200 and the cost of acetylene and oxygen... and any hospital bills associated with straining my back, heat stroke and/or heart attack... What should I bring with me and what should I know ahead of time?
 

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A cell phone with 911 dialed in ready to go.....Seriously, the front suspension on those cars is fine. It just needs a little "tweaking" to be better. Get a Borgeson kit for the steering upgrade, new bushings for the control arms, a much stiffer front sway bar and a disc brake kit for the original spindles. Take a little off the coil springs (remember 1" off the coil is 2" drop) to lower the ride height a touch and move on.

The MII stock front cross member will be no where near to working. The sheet metal frame rails on the MII are 39" wide on the outside. (I know this because the frame spacing on 36 - 39 Chevys is 39".) The sheet metal is not strong enough cut and weld without serious integrity loss.

Fat Man sells a frame stub and suspension for your car. The instructions are "idiot proof", an experienced welder would be good to have available. The kit includes what ever type engine mounts needed, rack and pinion steering and tubular control arms.
 

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Have you looked into using a Crown Vic front subframe? There are kits to put these in 50's/60's Ford trucks...

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Alright, well my question was mostly geared to what I should focus on with my junk yard trip... an ambulance, once it actually reached the junk yard (which itself is probably at least a 15 minute drive) would probably take 30 minutes to find me... I've been going to this junkyard since I was a teen in the '80's and I spent 30 minutes trying to find my way out last time.

That said I'll shift my focus to just grabbing some 70's disc brake front spindles, I've got a few candidates spotted. It has been suggested my plan (on my station wagon) to use a truck manual trans might not be the best, I did pick up a NP 435 but left the bell housing, clutch, flywheel etc. behind so I need to get that.

I might also scan any Ford Rangers in the yard to see if I might get lucky enough to find an LSD 8.8 rear axle.

Have you looked into using a Crown Vic front subframe? There are kits to put these in 50's/60's Ford trucks...

Russ
I'm actually using a 2000 Grand Marquis as my donor on the engine, and if the front subframe was a good fit I would be going that route, but on the passenger cars it's a wider track width, so not good for my project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
… which brings me back full circle to the reason I came to consider MII front, my modular engine I'd like to use has rear sump, plus my '56 came with steering gear cut off at the tie rods so I'm pretty much starting from a clean slate. I think I actually have enough original parts around I could just put in stock original steering. But I'd take a good upgrade I can acquire while exploring my favorite salvage yard.
 

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Look, this is gonna take some serious fab work either route you go. Might as well get a much heavier-rated bolt-in front crossmember with 4.6L motor mounts, large disc brakes, and parts-store availability. Since you have access to a C-V, what are the widths of the cradle between the rails and your '56 front rails? I can't imagine full size car rails being that much different than an F-100...

Russ
 

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There are a couple of kits out there that let you use the Mll front end parts.

This one is $250. On sale for $229 and comes in 4 different widths (small charge for extra widths). They have a coilover style available for $218.

If I didn't have money tied up in some front end parts for my project I would really consider going this route myself.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The problem starts with track width. 2000 GM has a 63.4 inch front track width, 1956 Mercury has a 59.5 inch track width. It means even if I shorten the crossmember I can't just plug in the steering rack, I'm into redesigning steering geometry.

The panther platform frame makes a 90 degree turn at the firewall and goes out to the rocker panels, so it becomes necessary to cut it off ahead of that... I'll add some pictures but the truck frame is pretty straight, the pass car frame is a bit more curvy, and I'm pretty sure it's really more narrow in the engine compartment. Sure, the block is the same, but the passenger car and truck platforms in 1955 are mostly unrelated.

There are a couple of kits out there that let you use the Mll front end parts.

This one is $250. On sale for $229 and comes in 4 different widths (small charge for extra widths). They have a coilover style available for $218.

If I didn't have money tied up in some front end parts for my project I would really consider going this route myself.

I like it, I might just get that and if it doesn't work out I wouldn't feel too bad, but I'm gathering I get that and cut and splice into my frame, then I can take everything else off my junkyard donor and pull a few rabbits out of a hat and I've got a front end that might do what I need? Or a gateway drug into a world of spending on MII aftermarket. Either way, sounds fun.
 

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Yep, it all depends on the look you want to end up with really. It looks to me that you could get stock Mll stuff from anywhere and bolt it on. The only downside of wrecking yard stuff that has wearables is the fact that you really should replace all of those wear pieces. Sometimes you can get new pieces with bushings, ball joints, etc for the same kind of money that you would end up spending on wrecking yard stuff. Probably best bet might be a Mll donor car but I can't remember the last time I ever saw one sitting around.
 

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Here's another one I found. Your price is the lower one.

 
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