We might be getting a little...
We might be getting a little ahead of ourselves here, but Patti's Mustang is sitting just right on its new TCP suspension, Wilwood brakes, and 16-inch polished Torque Thrust IIs. Stay tuned for future articles in the series on TCP's g-Bar four-link rear suspension, shock tower bracing kit, Wilwood brake upgrades, and more.
Last month, we embarked on an "over the shoulder" project with Total Control Products (TCP). They're building up Patti Rieger's '65 Mustang coupe with a plethora of TCP, VariShock, and Chassisworks items to give Patti, who is Chassisworks' general manager, one fine handling Mustang when the dust settles. For those of you who didn't see last month's story, we watched as the techs at TCP installed their excellent power rack-and-pinion steering setup on Patti's coupe. This month we're moving forward with the installation of TCP's front coilover suspension kit. The front suspension kit is a complete bolt-in suspension upgrade that features tubular control arms, coilover shocks for adjustable ride height and handling, lower center of gravity, and more.
Here's a studio shot of the...
Here's a studio shot of the TCP suspension fully assembled off the car. You can easily see the beefy steel tubing used for the control arms and strut rod brace, not to mention the billet cross shaft, billet shock mount, and more. This system has been in use for more than 10 years with hundreds of thousands of real-world miles and constantly evolving development. The system can use stock V-8 spindles or the optional TCP spindle (TCP SPND-01).
So why use the TCP coilover kit? Well, you can start with the fact that the whole kit bolts to existing suspension mounting points. What this means is basic handtools will get the job done and not a single hole needs to be drilled in the body anywhere (though a few holes do get enlarged for stronger fasteners). The coilover kit allows for more precise suspension travel via spherical-bearing ends, versus the stock pliable rubber bushings or even aftermarket urethane bushings.
A closer look at just the...
A closer look at just the lower control arm shows one of the key features of the TCP's better ride and handling. By relocating the spring mount from the middle of the upper arm to the spindle end of the lower arm, a lighter and lower spring rate spring can be used to improve suspension control without transmitting a harsh ride into the chassis like the short, stiff stock spring did on the upper arm.
Of course we can't ignore the most important part of the namesake product, and that's the coilover shocks themselves. With a coilover shock, you combine the shock and spring into one component where you can easily adjust ride height, spring rate, shock jounce and rebound to dial the car in for the best handling no matter vehicle weight, engine output, tire width, or traction. While the coilover setup shipped with the kit is a great baseline, if you really want your Mustang to shine, you'll take the time to properly tune the suspension. Take lots of notes and make one change at a time and see what it does for the handling of the car. With a little track time, or even a favorite twisty road, you'll soon be able to dial in your suspension to best use all of that horsepower and tire you've got under your classic Mustang.
To begin the tear-down of...
To begin the tear-down of the stock suspension, the upper shock mounts are removed first. Remove the three retaining nuts from the mount and the two bolts from the shock end (per side) to remove the mount. If your car has an export brace, it will need to be temporarily removed for the work.
Raise and support your vehicle...
Raise and support your vehicle safely and remove the front tires. Next, you'll need to remove the outer shock tower reinforcements (don't throw them away, you'll need to reinstall them later), and then carefully remove the springs with the proper spring compressor.
At this point, the upper and...
At this point, the upper and lower control arms, spindles and brakes, and strut rods can be removed from the vehicle. We'll be upgrading the brakes as well in this project, but know that you can reinstall your spindles/brakes to the TCP control arms.
Before you head back up top...
Before you head back up top for engine compartment work, grab a chisel or large flat blade screwdriver and remove the soft metal sleeve found in the strut rod mounting holes.
In keeping with our first story that we published in our Jan. '11 issue, we're tracking the total cost of this Mustang's suspension and braking upgrades. To date, the investment has been $2,966 for the power rack-and-pinion conversion and associated options/upgrades. This month we add on our front suspension installation:
|TCP Coilover Suspension||TCP COLVF-08||$2,485|
|Dropped "no-drill" Pivot Shaft ||Option||$60|
|Quickset 2 Double Adjustable Shocks||Option||$200|
|Bumpsteer Inner and Outer Kit||TCP TIER-14||$269|