Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
February 1, 2007

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

If you saw project Stolen Goods, MM&FF's latest project vehicle, on the January '07 cover, you may have noticed that it was perched on jackstands while exposing its rusty suspension and brakes.

When we bought the car, it didn't even have any suspension pieces, so we cobbled up a four-cylinder rearend and some GT spindles and struts we had lying around to make it mobile. In fact. the coil springs that were in it had two coils cut off of each one just so we could set them in without a struggle.

There still are no shocks in the rear, which had the back end bucking all over the place during the move to its new home. Obviously, this was a temporary solution, and this month, we plan to kick off the project by installing a properly performing suspension.

Our plan for Stolen Goods is to exceed the performance level of both the standard '93 Cobra as well as its race-ready brother, the "R" model. That's a pretty tough standard to beat, but one we thought easily accomplished with help from the folks at Maximum Motorsports in San Luis Obispo, California.

Looking for an exceptional suspension setup for the Fox Mustang that doesn't compromise ride quality is not the easiest thing to find, but MM's Chuck Schwynoch offered just what we needed.

The Maximum Motorsports Road & Track Box is a complete package of goods that takes you beyond the average spring and shock upgrade, but stops short of the track-only setup to ensure a comfortable ride to and from your destination, whether it's to the track or to the grocery store. The Road & Track Box includes a laundry list of components that upgrade most all of the stock suspension components.

"The Sport Box is a basic, budget-minded setup that uses Tokico struts and shocks," Schwynoch says. This is a kit that is designed for the average enthusiast looking to lower his/her car and maybe increase its handling and high-speed stability. Since we plan to flog project Stolen Goods at our local autocross as well as open track events, we needed something a bit more than just your basic package.

"The Road & Track kit is as far as you want to go with a street car," Schwynoch says. "Whereas the Maximum Grip box brings big changes to the front suspension geometry with coilovers, the Road & Track Box is primarily for those not wanting to change the stock-style suspension design." That's just what we were looking for.

Install the new bushings and tighten the bolts.

Adding to the Road & Track Box, Schwynoch also specified Maximum's adjustable rear lower control arms replete with NASCAR-style "weight jack" bolts so we could adjust ride height as need be. He also specified Maximum Motorsports' torque arm to complement the Panhard bar that comes in the Road & Track Box.

"The Mustang four-link came from the '78 Fairmont, and its design was fairly compromised to begin with," Schwynoch says. "It doesn't do anything exceptionally well; in fact, body roll should be controlled by the springs and sway bars, not the control arms as is the case with this setup. The four-link has a tendency to bind up, and when the tires break loose, the handling can be unpredictable. The popularity of the Mustang unfortunately showcases all of its deficiencies due to its old engineering."

The team at Maximum Motorsports took its shop car and set out to design a more current suspension setup for the Fox, and they ended up with a Panhard bar/torque arm setup. "We tried a three-link design during development, but found the torque arm to have noticeably better traction than the three-link with the Panhard bar," Schwynoch says.

In Part 1 of our suspension buildup, we're installing all of the front-end components, as well as the subframe connectors. This includes MM's progressive-rate coil springs, Bilstein struts, urethane sway bar mounts and end links, as well as caster/camber plates and aluminum steering rack bushings, to name a few items.

The full-length subframe connectors will keep our low-mileage Pony's chassis nice and stiff so that the suspension components can do their jobs properly and efficiently. Next month, we plan to tackle the rear of the car by installing the Panhard bar and new adjustable lower control arms, along with our newly built rear-axle assembly.

The torque arm is something we plan to hold off on until we near the end of the project. We'd like to get some seat time with the four-link/Panhard bar setup before we install the torque arm. That way we can give it a more in-depth evaluation, and return to you with the best feedback possible about the change in performance.

That said, check out how we renovated the business end of our snake, and be sure to check in with us next month as we follow up with the rear suspension and get ready to make this project a roller.

Mmfp_0702_05_z 1993_ford_mustang_suspension Bushings
Rubber bushings-and to a lesser extent urethane ones-allow the steering rack to move around too much, even before any steering input begins to move the tires. This results in a slower steering response. Solidly mounting the rack with Maximum Motorsport's aluminum bushings eliminates rack movement and improves steering response. It also improves turn-in characteristics, allowing the car to maintain a more precise line through the corner, while requiring fewer steering corrections.
Mmfp_0702_06_z 1993_ford_mustang_suspension Steering_rack_bushings
To install the steering-rack bushings, unbolt the rack bolts and remove the factory rubber bushings. Slide the crush sleeves out of the K-member and cut them to length.
Mmfp_0702_08_z 1993_ford_mustang_suspension Caster_and_camber_plate
Caster/camber plates should be considered an essential item. Once you go through the trouble of modifying your suspension for better performance, the factory adjustments, or lack thereof, are pretty much useless. The Maximum Motorsports setup uses two plates that sandwich a Teflon-lined spherical bearing and several spacers at the top of the shock tower. Once installed, it is evident just how little adjustment you had and how much you have afterward. Follow the directions carefully as the plates are to be oriented in a certain manner; the plate spacers as well as the strut spacers also are specifically located.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery