Hi Gang. I have a 68 base model 302 AT and I am restoring the car for things like the Hot Rod Power Tour and general grocery getting. I’m sticking with the 14X6" steel wheels, hubcaps and F-series equivalent radial tires. The motor has a mild street cam and Holley 1850 from a rebuild done not long ago before I got it. I have some help coming to town to do the front-end work. Wondering if I need to get a front-end kit like this one or if replacement ball joints etc are a better option?
I am also planning on getting this power front disc brake kit: Leed Brakes FC0002-3405A LEED Brakes Front Disc Brake Conversion Kits | Summit Racing
If I were you, I’d call Shaun at Streetortrack.com
Tell him exactly how you intend to use it, and he’ll find you the best solution for the money you intend to spend (including brakes!) I would very strongly suggest you avoid that Leeds kit, based on the type of booster they are using.
Shaun has done everything from “cheap” to “I don’t care how much it costs”, and he will genuinely help you. He’s a car guy, just like us, and he can tell you which budget solutions work, and which ones to avoid.
Presuming you stick with a stock type suspension setup with improvements, two huge things that many people overlook are the export brace to improve front end rigidity, and the other shocker:
These cars were built with bias ply tires, and also deliberately designed to understeer. Once you fix the geometry with better upper control arms, spindles, and/or the Shelby mod, it becomes even more important. Bias ply tires do not care much about caster. Radials need more. For manual steering, you’d want about 3-3.5 degrees of caster. For power steering a degree or two more.
More caster increases steering effort, but also greatly improves return-to-center and road feel. The only “catch” is that as you pull the bottom control arm forward (to tip the spindle back at the top and forward at the bottom) it will also pull your wheel and tire into the fender at the front. You can use shims, or just get upper control arms that are designed to allow for more caster, and have the top already tipped back a little more, centering the wheel up.
Hope this helps!
Thank you Grim. I sent Shaun a note and will post any feedback I get from him.
Lots of choices in front suspension pieces. Good idea to do chassis updates first. WCCC used to offer a kit with shock tower reinforcement plates, export brace, sheet metal plate to go between trunk/backseat and heavier front crossmember. For ball joints use Moog. For brake boosters use a OEM one that is rebuildable-most of the Chinese kit ones won’t last long. Opentracker Racing has some good stuff for stock suspension like roller bearing spring perch’s that work good for street. On rear shocks do your homework as the Cougar takes a different shock from Mustang due to longer springs regardless what parts sellers tell you. With the right pieces these old Cats can handle pretty good.
I’m personally a fan of Sbc upper control arms. They have a built in Shelby drop that requires no drilling, a tubular design, and 3 degrees of caster built in. Also has additional benefit of camber adjustment at the ball joint. I also like the lowers from global west.
Another vote for Shaun and Street or Track. I’ve got his stuff and have gotten to know him as well. He’s got a great reputation on VMF too.
The common & best choice was MOOG parts. Sadly they have stopped production of the parts we need for a great & economical choice.
Only avail now is cheap & poor quality “over seas” procured parts w/ similar part#s. They are now easily confused w/ the quality ones MOOG used to make.
Custom ones posted will work, but are no where near factory looking and the cost… well you decide.
With Holley buying Scott Drake out, the trend for cheap junk decorative parts continues. Buyer beware, they look good and will last till your tires wear out from the poor quality. Sad trend.
I’ll second the SPC upper control arms. I put a new set of the Scott Drake ones on when I rebuilt the front suspension, and had to rip them out because a bushing failed on one. I replaced with SPC, which improves suspension geometry with the built-in Shelby drop as well as using roller bearings and haven’t had a problem since.
Just curious, for those suggesting SPC arms, what makes them better or different from the global west arms? I just see the SPC arms are double the price of the global west and was curious. First I’ve actually heard of SPC.
Edit: Nevermind, I see that on the SPC site they are $911 per pair, but are only $300 each at CJ pony parts.
The biggest different from the global west uppers is the built in Shelby drop geometry. This feature requires no drilling on the shock tower as the Global West would require drilling in order to have the Shelby drop. There’s all kinds of benefits and articles that describe it on the internet if your curious, but it dramatically improves handling by changing the upper control arm location.
Thanks for the comments gang. I think I am going back with basically stock components. I am not doing a nut and bolt restoration however I want it to look as factory stock as possible. I am planning on ordering Moog replacement parts and refinishing the old upper control arms. I don’t want to try to press in the lowers so I’ll get new ones for that.
What’s odd is that the components all look good. I don’t know when the PO had them replaced but I suspect it was 30 years ago. I don’t know for sure just guessing. Perhaps I am chasing the wrong problem. Maybe the steering box is done. I will eventually replace everything that gets worn out so if that’s a primary culprit of sloppy steering then maybe I need to do that now.
I was dissatisfied with the Drake lower arm quality and didn’t install them. They were returned and went with with Moog CK series (CK-8123) for the lowers from Amazon. Here are the Drake, assumed original, and Moog, side by side.