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  #1  
Old 04-23-2014, 01:34 PM
newbird59 newbird59 is offline
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Default Front Suspension Rebuild/Replacement

Hey guys,

Before I finish up my engine and transmission rebuild, I would like to think about what I want to do for my front end suspension. Do you guys think that the stock suspension is pretty good? I haven't heard of anyone doing any custom work on our birds so I'm not sure if there is a better alternative to replacing stock parts.

Also, I was wondering if anyone knows if there is a rebuild kit for our tbirds (If that's the best option). I know I have seen a few kits in catalogs and on eBay but I was more interested in what you guys would recommend for a complete rebuild. Are all parts included in these "kits" that I see?? Would it be best to buy everything separately?


Thanks for your time guys!

David
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  #2  
Old 04-23-2014, 03:05 PM
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DKheld DKheld is offline
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For a classic driver I think the stock suspension is fine (upgraded with front disc brakes of course). The basic A-arm coil spring design is still in use today.

I bought my kit from Kanter. I really liked it but realized recently when I had the engine out that the rubber bushings are starting to crack. Although it has been a little over 10 years since I rebuilt mine - the bushings that I replaced were around 40 years old. I was expecting these new ones to last that long but I guess they will not. And the fact that my car is garaged in the winter and not driven as a daily driver makes the quality seem even worse. They could have changed their bushing compound between then and now - something I would ask if you consider their kit.

On the British cars I restore everyone has switched to polyurethane bushings (and have been for over 10 years). The rubber bushings are still available for show cars.

If someone makes poly bushings for the TBird I would consider those first.

If the upper and lower ball joints are original you will have to grind off the rivets to replace them. Not a big deal but the quality of the bolts to re-install vary. I replaced my lower ball joints and bought new grade 8 bolts and nuts - didn't trust what came in the kit. Replaced the ball joints to see if I could solve a clearance issue with my Granada spindles - not because the ones from Kanter went bad. Also had a machine shop press out the old bushings in the A-arms and re-install the new ones. You can do it yourself with a good press but made things easier for me to have the machine shop do it.

Here's a link to the kit from Kanter.
http://www.kanter.com///productdetai...at=39&Prc=182#

Might be cheaper to build the kit yourself using Rock Auto etc. I would see what the warranty is on the bushings if you go with the stock rubber style.

Good luck - let us know how it goes.
Eric
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  #3  
Old 04-23-2014, 03:19 PM
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jopizz jopizz is offline
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One upgrade I would recommend is the heavy duty front sway bar. The factory one is way too small. The stock springs and shocks are fine for normal driving. The lower ball joints are a little hard to find in a name brand. I bought one of the ball joint kits on Ebay. They seem fine for occasional use.

John
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  #4  
Old 04-23-2014, 04:46 PM
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yellow98cobra yellow98cobra is offline
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I just bought the Kanter deluxe kit ($339.00) last week and also bought the inner Tie rods and the adjusting sleeves. for a total of $485.00 they were offering free shipping. Rock did not have all of the pieces and the T bird parts houses kits were not as complete, for the same money.
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:17 PM
newbird59 newbird59 is offline
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Awesome. I think this kit from Kanter looks pretty **** complete to me. I'll see about getting this kit soon.

Is it smart to replace the inner tie rods and adjusting sleeves? Or should these only be replaced if the old ones are bad or can be rebuilt? I don't know much about these parts but they don't look too great on my car...the guy had a massive leak and it's caked full of dirt/grime.

Anyone take a different approach or know of other options when doing the front suspension? I'm sure I'm going to go with the Kanter lot but I wonder what other mods are out there

Btw...my tbird is going to have a 429 with a C-6 tranny. Not sure if the changes the game up a little.

Thanks for the input so far!

David
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  #6  
Old 04-23-2014, 05:20 PM
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partsetal partsetal is offline
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What we're seeing is the transition to off-shore manufactured steering components. Kanter was first down this road and now that the NOS and NORS parts are drying up all that is available are of off-shore manufacture. The inner tie rod ends, once difficult to find, now complete an off-shore package of all components for the Squarebird. I hear spotty reports of early failures, but none that would establish a pattern.
Carl
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  #7  
Old 04-23-2014, 05:28 PM
steven l kraemer steven l kraemer is offline
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Cool front end

used drop n stop,kanters on the 58 in 2001. 9000 miles later no problems. you know how i feel about that swaybar. steve reg.#85
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  #8  
Old 04-23-2014, 07:39 PM
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Dakota Boy Dakota Boy is offline
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Newbird59-

I have a 460 and a C6 in my car. Manual steering box, not power steering.

I rebuilt my front end about three winters ago. I believe I got the majority of the parts from Kanter. (I mustve, because they still send me catalogs...)

I re-used the coil springs. They measured within spec. when I had them off the car.
My car was an A/C car from the factory, so I believe my springs were a bit heavier for that reason....and you know that 385-series engine is a heavy beast.

I still have the heavier front sway bar on my wish list, but haven't pulled the trigger yet.
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  #9  
Old 04-23-2014, 08:06 PM
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I'm with partsetal, most bushings are made in India. I have no love for Kanter, either. Call the parts houses and ask if they have American bushings. These bushings were used in millions of different Ford, Edsel, Mercury and Lincoln cars, so they are very available.

The kit that comes from Kanter has parts you probably don't need. You can use most of your OEM parts over again. Remember, "A" arms do not pivot on bolts, the bolts are held tight with teeth on the ends of the bushing sleeves. The only part that moves is the rubber.

The rubber can be hyper-extended to fail early. Proper adjustment and final tightening needs to be done when the car is LEVEL. If you tighten your bushings when the suspension is hanging, that causes stroke that the bushings were not made for. Follow your Shop Manual.

Stabilizer bars are a must, both front AND rear, especially if you go with a 429. Don't buy anything skinnier than 1-1/8" diameter for the front and make sure your mounts have good steel to hang on to.

When I do this job, I do it all together. Take lots of pictures and MARK your parts as you disassemble. For example, my '55 upper bushing pivot rod is not symmetrical. So, I get my steel stamps out and punch RF on the front of the RH side. That way I know which end is up and which end goes forward. I'm still using my originals. Bushings usually go for about $8 each. You need 8. I changed mine in my driveway with a 2" pipe nipple and a big hammer, with the "A" arms out.

90% of this job is de-rusting and cleaning parts, getting them ready to go back in. Some of our guys powder coated their "A" arms.

The original "A" arms are so long you won't need (and can't use) a spring compressor. Nothing on the market beats them. Again, follow your Shop Manual.

Buy Scarebird disk brake brackets to fit on your OEM spindles. They use S-10 calipers and pads on Mustang rotors so the cast iron parts are available everywhere. For a booster/master combination, use a two-stage 8" booster and a dual master. I got mine through Old Irish Dave on eBay, and I love them. He sells MBM components.

Hope this helps. If you have questions, ask. - Dave
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  #10  
Old 04-23-2014, 09:38 PM
Tbird1044 Tbird1044 is offline
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A squarebird friend changed his motor mounts about 2 years ago, with mounts made in India, and he now had to change them again because they cracked and failed. I have heard some others also say they have had problems with rubber items from India. If I could find U.S. products, I would definitely spend the extra $$ as I'm getting to old for reworks.
Nyles
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