Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
August 1, 2000

Step By Step

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1. Here are the components that make up Level 4, save for the Chassis Stiffening Kit, which we’ll have for you next month. The TracKit Plus rear suspension package is included with Level 3, and the caster/camber plates make up Level 4’s Caster Plus. Rear lowering springs are not needed with the kit because the relocated shock mounts lower the rear in conjunction with the front.
2. Koni or Bilstein shocks and struts are even included in Level 1. We chose Koni yellow adjustable shocks and struts for our LX. They’re three-way adjustable so you can fine-tune your suspension to your liking.
3. Starting at the front, loosen the steering rack in order to install the urethane rack bushings. Idle Wild Racing’s Joe Bonczek has made a white mark where the rack and column meet so he can put them back together in the same spot.
4. Replace the factory rack bushings with the Kenny Brown units and reinstall the rack in place.
5. Kenny Brown also includes urethane sway bar bushings. The urethane bushings do not deflect like the factory units. Urethane bushings go a long way in improving handling at the front.
6. To replace the springs and install the new shocks and caster/camber plates, first place a floor jack under the front suspension to support it so the front spring doesn’t fly out and bust up your kneecaps (important). What Bonczek does is take a strap and connect one end to the spring and the other end to a secure point on the other side of the car, say the K-frame. When everything is disconnected, he then lowers the jack and the strap doesn’t allow the spring to fly out.
7. Comparing the factory front spring to the Kenny Brown spring you can see how the car is lowered at the front. The spring is quite a bit stiffer than the factory one, but you can adjust the included Koni strut’s dampening to your liking.
8. Remove the factory strut mount and install the caster/camber plates. Hold the lower piece while threading the upper’s attaching nuts. Install the new strut and reinstall the front suspension. It’s important to have your car aligned as soon as you finish installing the complete system.
9. Moving to the rear, the backing plates must be removed to gain clearance for drilling the required holes in the control-arm brackets. To remove the backing plates the axles must be removed too. The axles are removed by taking the rear cover off and removing the pinion bolt and C-clips.
10. This vent plug is removed to free up the brake line. We’re not going to open up the brake-fluid system, but this will allow us to move the brake line around. When we’re finished, this will make it easier to refill the axle with fluid.
11. With both shocks disconnected, we can remove the rear springs. This will give us more range of motion with which to move the rear axle. Both the upper and lower spring pads were in bad shape, so we replaced them with Energy Suspension items before reinstalling them. Notice we have also removed the quad shock. Kenny Brown recommended we simply pitch them in the trash. The TracKit will do the job of the quad shocks and more.
12. With the Kenny Brown brackets in place, use the middle mounting hole (and factory lower control arm mounting hole) as a guide and drill new holes for the lower control arms and bracket-mounting holes. Start with a small drill bit and work your way up to a 1/2-inch bit for the holes.
13. Once the holes are drilled, the Kenny Brown brackets can be firmly attached. Notice we have also installed the rear Koni shocks. The shock on the driver side will attach to the Kenny Brown bracket.
14. At this point, we reinstalled the rearend cover and refilled it with new fluid. Now we can install the TracKit Plus Panhard bar chassis bracket.
15. The Panhard bar attaches on the passenger side of the car, with a leg of the bar attaching to the spare-tire well. There are three mounting points for the Panhard bar. The mounting bracket uses the quad-shock bolt location. You must drill two holes through the trunk floor; the hole most guys use to run a nitrous line is also used to mount the bar. When firmly attached at all points the bar is rigid.
16. Notice the hole where most use for nitrous lines is opened up for one of the mounting points. You can use a plug to cover up the hole. The other two nuts and bolts are through holes we just drilled.
17. Here is where the leg of the Panhard bar is attached to the spare-tire well. Holes must be drilled for the nuts and bolts. The easiest way is to drill the middle hole and firmly attach the nut and bolt, then drill the rest of the holes and attach the necessary hardware.
18. This is where the leg is attached in the spare-tire well. One of the washers had to be modified in order to properly attach all the hardware.
19. Once everything is firmly attached, the Panhard rod can be installed. The rod should be as level as possible when the chassis is loaded. Meaning, the weight of the car needs to be on the rear axle in order to arrive at this point. The Panhard rod should not be under any kind of load when it’s finally attached. Here, Idle Wild Racing’s Dan Flowers adjusts the rod so it’s not under any kind of load before we set the car on the ground for final assembly.

Products included in the AGS system Level 4 lowered our 1993 LX more than 1 inch all the way around. Next up in the suspension department will be Kenny Brown’s Chassis Stiffening kit and upper and lower control arms, which will bring the suspension up to Level-5 status. The Kenny Brown components substantially improved the handling characteristics of our coupe. Horse Sense: Roll center is the point at which the back of the car rotates around in cornering

The late-model Mustang wasn’t blessed with an option box marked "handling prowess," especially the Fox-bodied LX models. It’s not that a stock-suspensioned Mustang wouldn’t be able to out-corner an SUV, but there’s never been an option box for a Panhard bar, sport springs, or caster/camber plates. Manufacturers like Griggs Racing, Kenny Brown Performance, HP Motorsports, and Barts Works, saw the potential was there to create products that would make the late-model Mustang a real terror and automotive giant killer. And let’s not forget the improvement realized with just the addition of a set of performance springs from Eibach or FRPP. From full-race kits to entry-level-type street/handling kits with shocks and struts mixed with a Panhard bar at the rear, it didn’t take long for the handling junkies to have every product bolted or welded onto their Mustang.

While most handling kits are obviously geared for open track, for our 1993 LX project car we wanted a kit that would do everything well. We didn’t want to get beat up on the street, but we wanted crisp handling characteristics for those times when we want to let our hair down. We also wanted a kit that didn’t shriek at the sight of a dragstrip. We think we found the happy medium with Kenny Brown Performance. With five different levels of AGS (Advanced Geometry Suspension) systems available, Kenny Brown’s systems allow the diversity we sought.

Available in different levels of performance, each kit performs a specific function. Furthermore, you don’t have to remove the previously installed kit as you step up to the next level of performance. On our LX project car, we will have the Level 5 system when all is said and done. At this juncture, we’re installing Level 3, which includes Kenny Brown’s TracKit Plus and Level 4’s Caster Plus system complete with caster/camber plates.

In this installation, we’re showing you everything except the Chassis Stiffening Kit, which includes a strut tower brace, a four-point lower chassis brace, and subframe connectors. The Chassis Stiffening Kit will be brought to these pages next month. Until then, we’ll show you how to install the TracKit Plus, Koni struts and shocks, and the Caster Plus caster/camber plates, as installed by Dan Flowers and Joe Bonczek at Idle Wild Racing in Largo, Florida. Just adding these components substantially improved the handling of our LX coupe. Now we’re ready to go show Paul Gentilozzi, Brian Simo, and Boris Said the fast way around the track and down the dragstrip (well, maybe not), and drive home without bruised kidneys.