Mustang MonthlyHow To Chassis Suspension
Fox Handling Upgrades, Part 4 - Torque Arm Package
In our final installment we improve traction and stability with a torque arm package from Maximum Motorsports
Fox-body and SN-95 Mustangs have always struggled with traction issues, even with the trendy Ford-engineered Quadra-Shock rear suspension. What they have long needed has been a solid traction-enhancing system that maximizes tire contact patch and stability under demanding wide-open-throttle drag and road racing conditions. Maximum Motorsports spends a lot of time studying and refining its suspension and traction enhancing systems to make the most of your Mustang’s power. All the power in the world is pointless if it doesn’t reach the pavement and yield a spine-decalcifying launch and momentum.
Maximum Motorsports’ Torque Arm Suspension System has been around for a long time and proven very successful for Mustang owners who want real traction from a traction system. It turns your Mustang’s four-link rear suspension into a three-link, making your Mustang more stable under hard acceleration. What’s more, you can get into this high-tech traction system for under $800. What you get for your hard-earned dollars is maximum hook up, better launch, no wheel hop, improved cornering, better handling in all kinds of weather, and a system virtually invisible from any angle.
Maximum Motorsports suggests building your rear suspension system with stiffer spring rates along with brute Maximum Motorsports’ lower control arms, which are designed to articulate freely without binding. You’re also going to want the adjustable rear sway bar in order to maximize rear suspension performance. Adjustable coilover shocks are optimum if you want the most from your Mustang’s handling.
We have installed Maximum Motorsports subframe connectors to give this Fox plenty of platform rigidity. It is impossible to install the torque arm without them and they must be welded to the chassis with deep penetration. Torque arm brackets are welded to the subframe connectors. What’s more, your Mustang must have a Panhard bar or Watts link suspension, which complements the torque arm and keeps things stable.
Here’s what you’re going to need to install your Maximum Motorsports torque arm.
- 3⁄8- and 1⁄2-inch drive ratchets
- 150-plus lb-ft torque wrench
- 15⁄16-inch socket
- 9⁄16-inch socket
- 9⁄16-inch open-end wrench
- 14mm socket
- 13mm socket
- 10mm socket
- Rubber mallet
- Pinion angle gauge
- MIG or TIG welder
Support the vehicle with jackstands beneath the axle tubes so it sits as it would on the tires and wheels. Maximum Motorsports tells us the vehicle must be within ¼ inch of proper ride height when you install the torque arm.
1. The Maximum Motorsports Torque Arm Suspension System (PN MMTA 1 and 2) fits neatly between nearly any Mustang dual exhaust system and just below the driveshaft. When properly installed, it is flush with the exhaust system and cannot be seen. Previous installments covered the addition of Maximum’s rear control arms, Panhard bar, and subframe connectors, all visible here.
2. This is the Maximum Motorsports torque arm, which comes in a package with the Panhard bar we’ve installed recently in Mustang Monthly. This torque arm is designed for the 8.8-inch rear axle and Fox/SN-95 platform. Both are easy to install in your home garage. The Maximum Motorsports torque arm bolts to the rear axle in place of the stock vibration damper and connects to a special crossmember. You must have proper specification subframe connectors installed before you can install the torque arm.
3. The factory vibration damper is removed along with the nut plate positioned above the differential. You will not need to retain this piece.
4. The factory rebound bumper for the pinion is removed from the chassis using a 10mm socket.
5. Upper control arms are removed next. You won’t need them; however it’s always a good idea to keep them on the shelf.
6. Disconnect the H-pipe at the mufflers as shown. This frees the mufflers up and allows room for installation of the torque arm assembly.
7. Next, remove the transmission mount and crossmember to free the H- or X-pipe.
8. Remove the H-pipe in order to drop the transmission crossmember and mount.
9. Maximum Motorsports’ torque arm is positioned and supported. This torque arm offers unequalled stability. Exhaust system clearances must be checked because no two exhaust systems are the same.
10. The torque arm is supported with a screw jack. In your garage or driveway, a floor or bottle jack will get the job done.
11. U-bolts provided with the kit secure the axle and torque arm. Don’t tighten these U-bolts until the torque arm is completely installed.
12. Differential bolts are lined up but not secured. They’re tightened upon completion of installation along with the U-bolts.
13. Torque arm bushings are assembled and lubricated before installation. Use gloves for this step because the water-resistant Teflon lubricant is nearly impossible to wash off.
14. The bushing assembly is installed as shown and seated. Silicone lube provided in the kit is used as shown before the crossmember is installed.
15. The torque arm bushing is tightened and torqued to 229 lb-ft to seat the urethane bushings. Then, loosen and re-torque to 154 lb-ft to finish seating the bushings.
16. The new crossmember is seated and secured at the torque arm in preparation for welding.
17. The L-brackets are properly located and welded to the Maximum Motorsports subframe connectors.
18. Differential bolts are fitted with bevel washers and installed through the centersection and torque arm.
19. Differential pinion angle is checked with this angle gauge and adjusted via shims provided with the kit. You want pinion angle to be the same as transmission slip yoke angle. For every shim you add, that’s ½ degree of angle. You want no more than 3 degrees pinion and slip yoke angle. Bolts are then torqued to 47 lb-ft. Axle U-bolts are torqued to 33 lb-ft with legs evenly positioned.
20. Exhaust system and transmission mount/crossmember are reinstalled to wrap the installation.
21. This fully adjustable Maximum Motorsports rear sway bar allows you the freedom to suspension tune as you wish. Installation is easy.