Classic Ford Mustang Restoration Improvements - Street Survival Guide
Here's How To Live With (And Enjoy) Your Mustang On The Street
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Front-end alignment affects handling and tire wear. When you're out there doing the freeway-warrior bit, front-end alignment is especially critical to tire longevity. For daily driving, you want a minimum amount of negative camber for a nice balance of cornering and good tire wear. Negative camber is key to handling, but too much can be hard on tires. Toe is crucial to how your steering wheel will return to center after a turn. Sluggish return is a sign there's neutral toe or a pinch of toe-out. Aggressive return is a sign of too much toe-in. Your front-end alignment specialist will know what's best for your application. Never accept sluggish performance or a Mustang that wanders all over the road, as both are signs of a bad alignment.
Silence, Please ...
Automobiles have come a long way in terms of cabin noise thanks to sound-deadening materials and aerodynamics. There's not much you can do about aerodynamics in a classic Mustang, but you can make a huge difference by installing sound-deadening materials and fine-tuning the weatherstripping. When you install the right sound-deadening materials, you eliminate much of the road boom. And when you install new weatherstripping and adjust your doors and windows properly, you eliminate wind and road noise.
Stop The Drip
Bendix power steering in '65-'70 Mustangs is notorious for leakage and sloppy performance. It leaks primarily due to misrouted hoses, hoses that are too long or too short, damaged fittings, unserviceable control valves and rams, and distorted pump housings. Many times, power-steering pressure hoses leak because the line fittings aren't tight enough. They also leak due to damaged mating surfaces.
Whenever you are building Bendix power steering-or any other type of power steering-closely examine all fittings and mating surfaces. Small nicks at the mating surfaces can bite you because power-steering fluid pressure reaches 1,800 psi (pounds per square inch). Fittings not tightened properly will leak. Damaged mating surfaces, no matter how minute, will leak. Misrouted hoses can chafe and burst, possibly starting a fire.
Read your Ford Shop Manual and route power-steering hoses properly. Pay close attention to installation of control-valve pressure hoses. Getting them backwards is dangerous because hydraulic pressure will violently yank the steering wheel right out of your hands.
Power-steering pump housings (Ford Thompson pumps only) should be inspected for distortion and potential leakage points. When in doubt, find another housing. Install a new lubricated O-ring, and use power-steering fluid, not automatic-transmission fluid because it has friction modifiers that can harm power-steering system seals.
In the steering gear, sector-shaft adjustment is important to stability and driving comfort. Opt for a new or remanufactured steering gear when play cannot be adjusted out.
Remain Cool And Calm
Daily drivers need cooling system capacity for all kinds of extremes. At the minimum, your Mustang needs a high-capacity, four-row radiator with plenty of fan. We see some with both engine-driven fans and electric fans; this is overkill and unnecessary. All you need is plenty of cooling capacity, a high-flow water pump and fan, and the four-row core radiator just mentioned.
High-flow electric fans get the job done nicely when you have the right one. Getting power to them from the ignition switch isn't hard either. You want an electric fan to be completely automatic: thermostatically controlled and "on" when you turn on the ignition. We suggest the use of a relay and circuit protection via a circuit breaker as well.
If you're going to run an engine fan, opt for a thermostatic clutch fan and shroud for maximum cooling. A thermostatic clutch fan engages only as needed, saving fuel and power. The shroud increases air velocity through the radiator. Fan blade tips should always be halfway out of the shroud for best results. And clean the radiator fins periodically. Bug and dirt buildup reduces cooling capacity.
Speed Of Light
Install Halogen headlights and replace your headlight switch. Halogen headlights illuminate the road better than conventional sealed beams. Once installed, a headlight alignment is recommended.
We suggest headlight-switch replacement every five to seven years because headlight-switch circuit breakers are prone to failure, especially if you drive your Mustang frequently. Dirty and corroded contacts get hot from resistance, causing the circuit breaker to cycle the headlights off and on. A new switch every five to seven years is great prevention.