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post #76 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

The more I think about it...the more I like the idea of mounting the front spring eye centered in the frame. I have some 4" square tubing, and some .250" thick plate that's the right width to put inside for a just over 3" ID for the springs and caltracs. The idea is to cut one face out of the square tubing, which will be the bottom of the bracket. Shape it to fit the frame cutout, box it, and weld it in.

Basically this:



Would look like this (excuse the VERY rough sketch!):



I think it would be relatively easy, and there would be no compromise of structural integrity. About the only drawback is that I'd have to modify later subframe connectors to fit, lol.

~These are just some of the drawbacks we...as guys who like to go mach 10 with our hair on fire and these little motors screaming at rpms that make other guys cry...have to deal with.~
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post #77 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

LOL Dennis!! I was posting while you posted...but yes, your picture would be even easier to pull off. Just replace the rail entirely with the square tubing, and weld one straight line.

I like it, and yes I would absolutely love more pictures. Anything you felt was pertinent. You could post it here, or email it to me if you preferred, whichever you like. The email is cris at blackbulletracing dot com. I live literally a mile from Valley Steel, and I get this scrap plate and tubing for $0.50/lb. That chunk of tubing would be literally $6.

I definitely appreciate it.

On a side note, this is almost exactly what I was picturing for the rear shackles:


~These are just some of the drawbacks we...as guys who like to go mach 10 with our hair on fire and these little motors screaming at rpms that make other guys cry...have to deal with.~

Last edited by Is1BadFord; 05-01-2014 at 03:45 PM.
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post #78 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 03:43 PM
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

Forgot to mention that I like the slider mount that you pictured. Nice!

Spring at the center of frame ends up being a 3" inward spring move so it may not be what you want.

Personally Chris, if I was going through the motions of cutting and welding a new front perch, I'd move the springs in the full 3" from the get-go as its pretty much the same amount of work. The exceptions are that you would also need to relocate the spring perches on the rear housing to accommodate the relocation and you need to use a different shock or modify the u bolt perch because the travel is less and the shock will bottom out.

Then, if you wish somewhere down the road for bigger meats, you could finish the mini-tub by relocating the inner wheel wells and notching the frame right behind the axle. That is the route I had to take with my smaller wheel welled 65'.

Here are some pertinent pics and you can take from them what you want. Some of these are mine and some are collected from other sources, but they all started with the Heidt's 3" spring perch kit.

Crites relocation kit:



They come with no instructions and its up to the installer to do it as he pleases. That will explain why there are so many variations found on the web. In hindsight, it would be better to build it from scratch as the Caltracs added their own set of issues that needed addressed.

Mopar offset shackles:





























Not really fond of the look of the shackles. At first I didn't think the shackles were strong enough and put undue forces on the rear frame, but they are primarily there to carry the weight of the car. Its the front spring perch that takes all the abuse. I've abused mine for several years now and have had no issues with them or the frame rail. I did sleeve the aluminum bushings where the bolt rides to keep the shackles "loose." I also need the height that the perches offered so that the racing slicks could clear above the wheel well.

Also note how that nice slider bracket you sourced would work just about perfectly in place of the funky looking shackle.

I still use the factory gas tank in the factory location, although I did do a little pipe and hammer clearancing on the LH tank side for added spring clearance:



Also, you can check out GYDYUP's build thread for photos and discussion. Its on his 67' Stang so it would be even more similar to your Cougar:

https://www.fordmuscleforums.com/must...-mini-tub.html

Dennis

65' Stang Street/Strip. Dart 434W NA, Victor heads, G101A 4 Spd, 4:56 rear gear, on 93 octane pushing 3550lbs. [email protected]

Last edited by dennis111; 05-02-2014 at 04:55 AM.
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post #79 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

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Originally Posted by dennis111 View Post
Spring at the center of frame ends up being a 3" inward spring move so it may not be what you want.

Personally Chris, if I was going through the motions of cutting and welding a new front perch, I'd move the springs in the full 3" from the get-go as its pretty much the same amount of work. The exceptions are that you would also need to relocate the spring perches on the rear housing to accommodate the relocation and you need to use a different shock or modify the u bolt perch because the travel is less and the shock will bottom out.

Then, if you wish somewhere down the road for bigger meats, you could finish the mini-tub by relocating the inner wheel wells and notching the frame right behind the axle. That is the route I had to take with my smaller wheel welled 65'.

Those pictures are awesome Dennis. That's very much how I pictured doing the work, but its still nice to see it in progress.

On the relocation...if I want to use the stock perches on the 8.8, I need the springs to be 39.5" wide. Factory spring width is 43". That's 1.75" per side. I actually measured from the center of the spring eye, to the center of the frame, and got 2.75" (close enough to your 3" measurement...I'll put a picture below). What I think I will do, is go ahead and offset the front the full 2.75" with the new piece of tubing, but I'll run two .250" plates on the inside (remember, it's 3.50" ID tubing), and none on the outside...and just tack them on the bottom to keep them from moving around (and keep them removable...which will allow me .500" total lateral adjustability in the spring eye). On the rear, I'll run something like 1.25" offset (I'll have to calculate it out), instead of the full 1.75". This will keep the spring pad centered over the axle, and keep the front spring toe in at a reasonable 1" per side. I've read elsewhere that many vehicles from the late 60's and early 70's had a good bit more (as much as 3") built in...and know for a fact that early Camaro's had substantially offset springs front to rear.

My one concern with this, will be whether this will cause any kind of binding issue with the caltracs. I'll be sure keep the rear mounted with rubber mounts to allow some deflection which should help...but honestly I don't think I'll know for sure until I mount it up. Worst case if it does bind, I'll simply move the spring perches on the axle inboard a bit and call it done.


Center to center from the spring to the frame.


Piece of 4", .250" wall square tubing. I think if I do it right, I could make two serviceable units from this one piece.

~These are just some of the drawbacks we...as guys who like to go mach 10 with our hair on fire and these little motors screaming at rpms that make other guys cry...have to deal with.~

Last edited by Is1BadFord; 05-01-2014 at 05:23 PM.
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post #80 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

I just glanced through that thread you linked Dennis, and while my Caltracs are the newer style with the spring stop held in with c-clips, I think I'm going to leave out the two .250" thick spacers and just use washers at the spring eye. This should eliminate any binding in the 3.50" ID tubing section, and still give me the full .500" lateral adjustment of the front spring position..

~These are just some of the drawbacks we...as guys who like to go mach 10 with our hair on fire and these little motors screaming at rpms that make other guys cry...have to deal with.~
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post #81 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

Annnd for another reply!

I shamelessly edited one of your pictures Dennis, to show what I plan on doing with the 4" square tube. Basically I'll leave 4-5" uncut at the bottom and top, and draw a diagonal between them. I'll then split that lower part, and heat/bend them out straight to make the lower ears you see in my edited version of your photo. Overall that will give me about 4" total adjustment if I space them evenly over the roughly 6" surface (I just drew circles in there for bolt holes so you could visualize the spring mounting points). In addition, I can simply butt the subframe connector up to the back side of it, which braces both the spring eye, and ties the rear subframe to the front very solidly.



Having messed with this kind of thing before, do you guys see anything I might be missing?

~These are just some of the drawbacks we...as guys who like to go mach 10 with our hair on fire and these little motors screaming at rpms that make other guys cry...have to deal with.~
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post #82 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 06:56 PM
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

As far as strength and adjustability goes, that looks good. It will be well supported on the lower end when connected to the subframe connector. I doubt if you need the whole thing to be 1/4" if you are concerned about weight. Perhaps just a few inches of the adjustable uprights and the rest of the perch could be 1/8".

Something to think about. Since the leaf spring acts like the upper bar of a 4 link and the Caltrac bar is the bottom bar, I doubt if you will ever need to drop the front down much more than an inch lower than stock or else the IC will be in the ground--especially with shorter shackles or sliders. I have experimented with this by drilling a hole about an inch higher in the Caltrac Ubolt shackle's uprights. Now even with my extended shackles, my Caltrac bar is level-to-being slightly downward at the front. Having it there has helped me on unprepped tracks by further softening the hit. Much more and it will be much too soft and more preload will be needed for a stronger hit. (Ssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh--I got that tip from an accomplished hardcore Caltrac stick car racer who works at a full on race chassis shop. Even better, I proved that it works. )

Dennis

65' Stang Street/Strip. Dart 434W NA, Victor heads, G101A 4 Spd, 4:56 rear gear, on 93 octane pushing 3550lbs. [email protected]

Last edited by dennis111; 05-01-2014 at 07:08 PM.
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post #83 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

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Originally Posted by dennis111 View Post
As far as strength and adjustability goes, that looks good.

If you think of the leaf spring as the upper bar of a 4 link and the Caltrac is the bottom bar, I doubt if you will ever need to drop the front down much more than an inch lower than stock or else the IC will be in the ground--especially with shorter shackles or sliders. I have experimented with this by drilling a hole about an inch higher in the Caltrac Ubolt shackle. Now even with my extended shackles, my Caltrac bar is level-to-being slightly downward at the front. Having it there has helped me on unprepped tracks by further softening the hit. Much more and it will be much too soft and more preload will be needed for a stronger hit. (Ssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh--I got that tip from an accomplished hardcore Caltrac stick car racer who works at a full on race chassis shop, and it works for me.)
Good deal, lol. And I'll be sure to note the tip. To be honest, this will likely be the most powerful street/strip car Ive owned/run myself, and being a stick...it's going to be a rough learning curve. Mid/high 10's in a fox body is a pretty simple deal. Getting the dirt track tires to move it right was fun, but again...bolt ons and a home made adjustable clutch made all the difference. Leaf spring cars, particularly nearly 50yr old ones...are a whole other world when you put even 500hp to them, as you know. Add another 150-200hp to the mix, and things get sort of silly. That's why I'm building in as much stiffness and adjustability as I can from the start. Well, that, and I actually want the thing to go forward instead of making a ton of noise while delivering time slips worthy of a Nissan Sentra.

~These are just some of the drawbacks we...as guys who like to go mach 10 with our hair on fire and these little motors screaming at rpms that make other guys cry...have to deal with.~
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post #84 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-01-2014, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

Finally picked up some gas for my welder today...I think I've got a ground issue as my welds aren't laying down very cleanly. Still, I got enough penetration to get my control arms welded up. When my strut rod tabs get here tomorrow I'll weld those on also. Going to try to straighten out whatever's causing the thing to weld all wonky first though.

Anyhow, here's a couple pictures.



The arms were originally straight if you recall. I basically just cut a wedge shaped piece out of the top, bent it up, and welded it back closed. Hopefully I got enough angle on it. My static measurements look pretty decent though...so I'm confident it'll work.

Anyhow, I'm going to go ahead and paint up the axle tomorrow also, since I've pretty much committed to relocating the springs, which means I won't have to cut anything up. I'll also weld the strut locating tab to the LCA's as I mentioned, and hopefully I'll have the LCA's mocked up so I can start getting some measurements on the tubing lengths I'll need for the steering, and the strut rods. I'm going with pre-made chromoly swedged tubing...with 1/2" rod ends for the strut rods, and 5/8" for the outer tie rods. I should be able to thread the inner portion of the Mustang II rack to screw right into the swedged tube.

More to come tomorrow!

~These are just some of the drawbacks we...as guys who like to go mach 10 with our hair on fire and these little motors screaming at rpms that make other guys cry...have to deal with.~
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post #85 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 01:10 PM
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

What welder are you using Chris? Using a extension cord?
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post #86 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

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What welder are you using Chris? Using a extension cord?
It's a Blue-Point 110 mig, plugged into the wall. This house was built privately though (believe meI've considered rewirung the thing a hundred times), so it could very well be something in the power being supplied. I hadn't thought of that.

~These are just some of the drawbacks we...as guys who like to go mach 10 with our hair on fire and these little motors screaming at rpms that make other guys cry...have to deal with.~
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post #87 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

Well, I got my rotors and pads, strut rod brackets, and all of my rod ends from Speedway as well (fastest shipping EVER) today. I'm still having some trouble with my welder...it's intermittently shorting the arc, then catches up. The inconsistency made it really difficult to get a clean bead, but I'm still positive I got good penetration and that it'll hold.

Anyhow, here's a few pictures of what I got done:






First I welded the strut rod brackets to the LCA's. They're actually lower coilover mounts (much like the ones I ground off the top). They work nicely for my purposes though. You can see better the angle that I fabbed into the LCA as well.


I'm not really one for bling lol, but they ARE a bit lighter than stock, came with good ceramic pads, and they actually cost me less than stock replacement rotors and pads would have.



This is the drop steering adapter from Speedway. It's a VERY nice piece, and even without the extra aluminum piece I ordered, it probably would have been fine. That support piece gives me a substantial comfort cushion though, which is nice. For those of you that didn't know, it seems that a Mustang II/Pinto tie rod (that's the application for these drop adapters) is the same shank size, taper, and length as a SN95. I thought that was interesting.


And this is the result of all the hard work. This is the LCA at full droop, with the LCA rod end mounted in what's very nearly the position they will be when I'm done (remember those little holes next to my white locate marks in my previous pictures?). My cross bolts for the LCA mount fit through them perfectly. Here you see the reason for the huge angle on the end of the LCA. Without it the ball joint would bind before the strut hit full extension. Too much of that and I'm positive it would snap.


All in all, I'm pretty confident that this setup will work well. All of my measurements have worked out as I hoped they would, which is a good sign lol. Tomorrow I hope to get my passenger side caught up to the driver's side. At that point I'll get some measurements for my swedged tubes...5/8" for the steering arms, and 1/2" for the strut rods. I may end up ordering some 5/8" rod ends with 1/2" swivels though, to replace the strut rods. I'm pretty sure the 1/2" swedged tube is strong enough (it's actually 5/8" tube with 1/2" ends), but I kind of don't like the look of the shank on the 1/2" rod end.

Anyhow, that's that for today. It's nice to finally see this front end starting to come together!

~These are just some of the drawbacks we...as guys who like to go mach 10 with our hair on fire and these little motors screaming at rpms that make other guys cry...have to deal with.~
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post #88 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-03-2014, 12:23 AM
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

Just looking at your picture, won't the shorter lower control arm cause a lot more camber change through it's motion?

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post #89 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-03-2014, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

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Just looking at your picture, won't the shorter lower control arm cause a lot more camber change through it's motion?

Roger
Yes, but I'm starting with a downward sloping control arm at ride height...and full bump is right at the point where the ball joint is at the level point in the arc. It will never go into positive camber...so I'm not hugely worried about camber changes. Additionally, from my understanding a Macpherson strut doesn't experience a ton of camber change anyhow, as the 'upper' control arm is basically the strut top.

~These are just some of the drawbacks we...as guys who like to go mach 10 with our hair on fire and these little motors screaming at rpms that make other guys cry...have to deal with.~
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post #90 of 124 (permalink) Old 05-03-2014, 08:21 AM
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Re: 68 Cougar XR-7 Build

Like the way you moved the rear springs for tire clearence. I would recommend bracing to the shackles in the rear. The weld spot might have weaken the metal at that middle point and brace it to prevent bending.
Also could you post pics of your fuel pump/filter setup? I'm building a 68 Cougar for the Silver State Classic out here and Nevada. I have to start a the 95 MPH class and work up to the 150MPH class.
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