'67 base 289 Cougar tramlining (tracking ruts, lane and pavement divisions, etc)

I’ve got a '67 with stock suspension other than lowering the car (Shelby mod to raise the front control arm mounting point) and a rear Addco Sway bar. I had a set of 16" tires on my FFR Cobra that I decided to no longer use on the Cobra since I went to R compound for my daily driving. The Cougar has 225/50 16 Bridgestone RE 71s up front, and 255/50 16s in the rear.

I’ve gotten tired of the tramlining - (front tire size and stiffness I’m sure). The alignment is fine with a good bit of caster, and it moves around a bit on anything other than a nice flat lane.

No luck yet in looking for some higher profile skinnier used fronts to try on (e.g. 215/65 x 16"), but my other option is to roll back to 15" wheels and go with higher profile. I’d rather not spend the money though because that puts my in new wheels at $130 each plus plus. Unfortunately in the day when I bought the 16s I could not get desired offset so I use spacers to properly position the fronts and rears (not ideal but it works well from that perspective).

Has anyone had success with 16" wheels and tires - no tramlining? If so, please advise tire make model and size. I’ve decided to use the car more (will be installing AC this spring) so it will be mostly driven locally. The tramlining is quite annoying.

Please advise any success with 16" or 15 x 7 wheels and tire sizes (225/60?) that track nice and strait without following every groove in the road. Thanks!

I have 16x7 Grand Marquis sport package wheels with 225/60-16 Falken tires, previously had Continentals on the same wheels. There have been no handling or steering issues.

My car has pretty much the stock suspension setup with the original front springs, new rear springs, 15/16" front anti roll bar and a 3/4" Hellwig rear bar. KYB shocks all the way around.

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It sounds like you do have a good understanding of the issues in play here, but my bet is on alignment issues. Just a hair too much or too little toe is usually what makes this happen. Is it possible that your strut rod donuts are worn, and things are just moving around a bit while the car is driving? Toe out would be my bet, as that tends to go ‘straight ahead’ without being darty, but it also does try to follow every little rut and line.

Too much toe-in makes you feel like it wants to turn constantly, and is eager for you to help it choose a direction.

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I’ve been an alignment nut all my life - and I have a local guy who is excellent. I’m an engineer that raced cars, so we understand all about alignment and have recommended custom setups for folks over the years. The alignment was recently done as well as any older bushings replaced. The front end is as tight as this technology allows. I run slight toe-in (generally the factory specs, car dependent). We even put a person in the car when we aligned it since normally I drive alone - this way we align it to ensure no changes when I sit inside.

From the same shop previous owner (recently retired - we raced together) - tramlining is not uncommon for the older cars that came with the vintage geometries and you put larger size wheels with stiff (short) sidewalls on them.

Again, no ruts or lane pavement material changes, the car drives and tracks nicely.

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Thanks, sfhess - I was hpping that size would work, but if needed I’d go with the taller sidewall height as I discussed.
Perhaps I’ll try and find some used or takeoff tires in your size and put them on the front to test.
Any other experience?

Sounds like I was trying to teach my grandpa to chew cheese there, as they say!


Sorry it wasn’t a miracle quick “AHA!” solution. I got nothing, brother. =)

Wonder if the spacers aren’t giving you the correct offset. I have 17" x 8" with zero offset on the 69 and no tramlining

no bother, Grim - I appreciate the suggestions. I always try and balance the amount of detail and background I provide in a request. I don’t want to come across as one of those beating his chest all the time!

leonbray - I’ve wondered the same. I tended to discount that as a cause since the overall effect of the spacers is to get the center of the wheel where it is to properly be (in other words - offset was too far inboard, corrected by spacers to put it back outboard to get the wheel where it’s supposed to be).

Sfhess is yours a 69 or 70?

Does anyone know if the '69 (and later) front end geometry is significantly different than the '67 '68?

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Altho a dozen yrs ago , i had a 68 392 coupe…took it to a alignment shop in roseville. He alligned it as a 2005 crown vic.Unbeliveable change. At that time i had the 68 , our 67 with rack and my 47,plymouth all alligned with 2005 crown vic…try it

Yes, the later spindles were not only beefier, but they also included more built-in caster. It was part of their advertising for “radial tuned suspension” though they weren’t specific about what that meant, in their ads. '67-'68 was just the latest rendition of the old '65 Mustang (and earlier Falcon) stuff. At least they made a little more room with the shock towers!

I may play it safe and go with 15" x 7" at the correct offset. I found a set of wheels I like at a decent price.

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Well - after seeing very very few 15" tire choices out there, back to considering 16".

By total happenstance, my bud in the business (just retired) ended up with a set of factory 2006 Mustang 16" wheels and tires that he has absolutely no use for. They were left over from his business, so he put them in his home garage. Looking at the offset, it appears they are just essentially the same as mine (but mine are 16 x 8 wide). So, I borrowed 2 of them this morning and bolted them on the front. They fit like a glove with my spacers.

What a world of difference. I’m assuming it’s all in the tires - his were the size I was looking to try out (225/65/16) vs. the old stiff 225/55/16 RE 71s that I had on my Cobra before.