5.0 Mustang & Super FordsHow To Chassis Suspension
Install Subframe Connectors
Another Aid In The Battle For Traction
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Subframe connectors are an important component in the battle for traction with a Mustang, but many people dont understand how something that stiffens the chassis can possibly help the car launch, so heres the deal. The stiffer the chassis is, the more effectively the rear suspension can do its job and put the power to the ground. Thats one of the big reasons why tube-chassied cars launch so hard and straight. All that tubing provides an incredibly rigid frame, so there is no chassis flex to upset the suspension. The suspension links can do their work without having to overcome the force of a twisting chassis doing the funky chicken with the geometry.
For really healthy street Mustangs with street radials, a stiff chassis doesnt matter much for traction, because youre not going to get the car to hook anyway. Any kind of power at all, transferred through hard street radials, on an unprepped surface (no rubber down like at a dragstrip), is going to result in lots of tire spin. But subframe connectors still serve a major purpose in a street application. They make the car feel more stable, more surefooted in the corners, and they reduce body flex that leads to creaks, rattles, and stress cracks in body panels.
Now that weve convinced you that your Mustang needs subframe connectors, the next question is probably weld-in or bolt-in? Bolt-in connectors do a good job of stiffening things up, but not as good a job as if you weld them in place. Anytime theres a bolt holding something together, theres a bit of movement between the parts, regardless of how tight youve got it. With a welded seam, there is no movement. Thats why nearly every connector manufacturer and chassis builder highly recommends welding the connectors in, even if they are a bolt-in design.
We installed a set of Kenny Brown Double Cross subframe connectors in our 87 coupe in under an hour, and then drove the car to a muffler shop to have them welded in place. The subs cost $109, and the welder charged us $20 to run the beads. The end result is difficult to measure with actual numbers, and were hesitant to bring up that seat-of-the-pants cliché so common to some magazine stories, but they really did produce a noticeable difference in handling. Our coupe always exhibited a weird waggle in high-speed turns, kind of like the rear suspension was loose, but its no longer there. Now, its time to address the rest of the suspension. Hello, Kenny ?