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Old 10-01-2011, 09:31 PM
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Kyle Brazier
Mustang II front end swap ?'s

I just got my 1958 F-100 running and driving good so now it's time to upgrade the suspension.
-What I Have: 1958 F-100 with 351 W I rebuilt last year (est. ~400 hp) with a cruise-o-matic transmission and old Straight Axle not made for fast driving or good handling.
-What I want: a suspension that will perform as well as the motor in a way that I won't be afraid to stomp the pedal.

I've been throwing around the idea of buying a Mustang II front end and beefing it up, then changing out the old straight axle this Summer break. I am thinking this will be the most cost effective way of achieving my goal of having a truck that looks like a stock 1958 Ford but performs like a curve-straightening, fast-driving beast.

I was wanting to know what you guys think. What is/are the best ways of achieving this goal. Am I on the right track? How do I go about building a strong front suspension? And what is the process of changing the straight axle front suspension over to this Mustang II front end? Thank ya'll for reading this and I appreciate your response(s).

Last edited by fast58; 10-01-2011 at 09:34 PM. Reason: clarity issues
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:50 PM
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Welcome. I don't know much about the "later" model trucks in this forum, but the basic concept I'm getting ready to mention surely holds true for those trucks as well I'm sure. I just finished the bulk of a MII installation on a 50 F1 that is still in pieces. Do not let anybody fool you, the MII kit WILL drop the front end quite a bit even with the "stock" spindles. So be warned of that.

Otherwise, don't jump into that unless you're really sure. A good set of kingpins, alignment, etc. will do wonders sometimes. I'm just telling you what I wish somebody had told me. With that being said, I would probably do the same thing again on that 50 (not the truck in my avatar). But I wish somebody had warned me of the drastic front end drop. Was much more than even what I anticipated.

Where are you? Post your location and pictures. Again, welcome!
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:07 PM
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The stock front end will handle fine, when overhauled properly, but it will never perform like an IFS. There are numerous kits available on the aftermarket, and yes, you are on the right track if you are wanting suspension performance, and handling to complement the power and performance of the engine. Personally, I go through JW Rod garage for all my MII kits. They have an excellent selection, stellar customer service, and their product is as good as any other on the market, but not as expensive. They price theirs in the realm of reality, not the realm of a "name." The other best upgrade you can make, is a dual circuit braking system, since these old trucks will lose all their brakes if a wheel cylinder blows out suddenly. At least with a dual circuit, you'll have an end still working. The MII kits are very simple to install, but you do have to make sure your measurements are accurate, and you have everything plumbed, and square. You can go coil springs suspension, coil-over shock suspension, and air suspension with an MII kit. You can run a manual, or power rack and pinion as opposed to the old worm, and roller. The disk brakes can be ran manual, or power. The MII kit will lower the front of the vehicle no matter what, so keep that in mind. The kits from JW Rod Garage come with boxing plates included in the kit, if they are needed for a particular application. You will need to modify your steering column, by using u-joints, but that isn't difficult either. The alignment is also far more adjustable with an IFS kit versus the straight axle too. Personally, with a 400+ hp motor, I would go an IFS over straight axle, if it were me, just for the fact that it's more agile that way, and will respond to the power better.
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:07 PM
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Kyle Brazier
I am in Southern Middle TN. A little place called Normandy, about ten minutes south of Bonnaroo town AKA Manchester, TN. Although I am currently studying to be a Mechanical Engineer at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. I will try to upload a few photos but I'm not too sure how. Also I am wanting a high performing front suspension and if lowering it several inches is necessary to do so, then so be it. Thanks again for the replies.
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:38 PM
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Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

Okay I figured out how to post pics. These were taken last Sunday 9-25-2011. It has a long way to go, but it has came a long way too.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:22 AM
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:03 AM
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:02 PM
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My vote is for a Mustang II IFS. Advantages: rack and pinion steering, disc brakes, no bump steer. I have it in my 52 F1 after running stock for a couple of years. No comparison in handling and braking. That's my 2 cents.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:09 PM
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Reducing the front tire width will also improve steering response. Wide tires on a steer axle create a heavy, and akward feel in the characteristics of a vehicle. Unless you're on a race course, like NASCAR, narrower steer tires add to the agility, and response of the front end. Personally, after seeing the truck, I would go with an IFS, and lower the front stance. I think you would be far happier with the feel of the front end, and the overall response of the vehicle.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:41 PM
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This is tho one thing that I want to do as I can afford it, maybe someday...
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:46 PM
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Kyle Brazier
What all will I need to do in the change over process? Maybe someone that has done it before could tell me the ins and outs of the whole process. And the rack and pinion is one of the main reasons I even want to change it over, not to mention all the +'s that go with it.
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:24 PM
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Well, the process is pretty basic. Read the hell out of the instructions that come with it. You will end up setting the frame on jack stands, front and rear. Making sure it's level side to side, and front to rear. Most require removing the engine, unless it's mounted at a front, and rear mount. For me, I start by removing the entire front end sheet metal, this makes it easier to get in there, and get stuff done. I then remove the engine/tranny. After wards, I remove all four wheels/tires, and level the truck, on a concrete floor side to side, and front to rear on jack stands. After that, I plumb mark the front axle center line at the spring pin, not the spindle, since there is no way to get the steering exactly straight without a laser alignment tool. After I mark axle center, on the frame side, and on the floor, I remove the suspension in its entirety. Then, the kit will have a center crossmember, and you line its center with the center line you placed on the frame, and floor. Make sure it's level in the frame, and square side to side, front to back, and dead center (within a 32nd, or 64th is fine, but center on center is best). After that, you tack it in place, but DO NOT finish weld it yet. Make sure everything is still square after tacking, and then proceed. Usually, you can add a boxin plate after the cross member is tacked in, or before, it doesn't matter. You would then tack in place the upper suspension "hats". Again, they are marked center, and align their marks with your already marked centers. Most "hats" come preangled for anti-dive, and I think it's tall to the front, but your instructions will clarify. After those oare tacked in place, I try to moack up the lower arms, and upper arms, and loosely fit the spindles to get an idea of how everything will look together. At this point, you can loosely install a fender, and mae sure you like where the tire sits in the fender well. If you want it moved, now is the time to do that, by cutting your tacks, and moving the assembly front to rear, but make sure you're still keeping everything square. After you like it, you finsish weld the hats, and crossmember per your particular instructions, and proceed with the final assembly. And then you reassemble the truck....voila, that's it, get it aligned (after you finish the steering column to rack attachment, of course).
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:51 PM
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Seems pretty straight forward. Much measuring, thinking, and a little welding. By the way the front end I'm planning on using is actually out of a Mustang II from 1977. One of my old high school teachers has one for $150 ready to haul home. I figured I can buy that and then rebuild it to save some cash. Will this change the process of the actual installation process? Also what are some ideas of how to go about rebuilding it to make it perform the way I want it to? I have good experience in almost every other aspect of building up a vehicle, but I've never dealt with front suspension so all suggestions are very welcomed.
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fast58 View Post
Seems pretty straight forward. Much measuring, thinking, and a little welding. By the way the front end I'm planning on using is actually out of a Mustang II from 1977. One of my old high school teachers has one for $150 ready to haul home. I figured I can buy that and then rebuild it to save some cash. Will this change the process of the actual installation process? Also what are some ideas of how to go about rebuilding it to make it perform the way I want it to? I have good experience in almost every other aspect of building up a vehicle, but I've never dealt with front suspension so all suggestions are very welcomed.
Personally, when I hear of people wanting to ru an original MII suspension, I turn the other way. That front end was designed with a 4cylinder engine in mind. I wouldn't even, ever consider using a real MII car suspension in a truck, and consider cruising down the highway. I don't like it, they look like crap, and and involve more cutting, measuring, and re-engineering than it's worth in the long run. They, in my opinion, look like a a redneck hack, and wack scab job, and I've never seen one that looks good, or even safe, and reliable, in my opinion. You can if you want, it's you truck, but I will never do it. The aftermarket kits are affordable enough, in my opinion, that they make scabbing a MII not even worth it. By the time you get the thing, and replace the arms, schocks, springs, rack, rod ends, bushings, and go through all the trouble of slicing, with expert precision, you will have spent nearly as much as buying a ready to install kit, that come with everything hub to hub.
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:20 PM
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That makes sense. I was just reading a post that a guy put up about how he has a 65 F-100 and he is in the process of putting a '06 Crown Vic front suspension under his truck. His posts make it seem like a straight-forward exchange plus the Crown Vic has a bolt-in cross member. This seems easier, and relatively cheap. What do you think?
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:20 PM
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