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Discussion Starter #1
I have read in some Mustang forums that setting the caster at 2 to 3 degrees positive caster is the best for my 67. They say to do this with stock type pieces one should add about .250 shims behind the front bolt of the upper arms. This compute? I have done the shelby drop mount. I still have the strut rod but are from a 68 to rid the extra joint of the 67s. Might go full adjustable if I have probs getting the settings I need.
 

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if you have the coin, and want a road course ready suspension, just bite the bullet and swap to full adjustable/roller suspension parts.
The stock stuff is really designed for old ladies and low production costs. It's absolutely not good at taking a beating.
 

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if you have the coin, and want a road course ready suspension, just bite the bullet and swap to full adjustable/roller suspension parts.
The stock stuff is really designed for old ladies and low production costs. It's absolutely not good at taking a beating.
Several vintage racers I know can get around a track pretty quickly with the weak little old lady suspension. :D


A 1/8" shim will give you about 1 degree of caster so .250 will give about 2+ degrees.
I've never added any more than a 1/8" shim but worth a try. If you try to attain a lot of +caster with the strut rod, you'll find that the tire will rub the front lower opening of the fender.

Hi performance alignment is not a "one size fits all" type of thing but what you settle into and works best for you and your type of driving.
Generally speaking, the more +caster you can get, the more stable your car will be at speed. The trade-off is hard low speed steering.

I would not go with a solid strut rod anchor if the car is still street driven. You need cushion for those potholes and curbs. On the other hand, soft strut rod bushings deflect under braking and cause "toe in" under heavy braking.

I suggest as a starting point;
Power steering, +4 caster
Manual, +3 caster
Camber, 0 to -1
1/16" toe in.

As a point of reference, my alignment settings on my racer are +3.5 caster, -2 camber left, -2.5 right. 1/16" toe out.
[URL=http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d21/Jafar278/?action=view&current=mittyrathbone.jpg]
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Several vintage racers I know can get around a track pretty quickly with the weak little old lady suspension. :D
Yeah, there's an exception to everything.

Specifically, the factory strut rods and the stamped non zerked stock upper A arm, as well as the lower A arm running out of range of motion after a Shelby drop (at full or near full compression) are what I'm getting at. And, after 40 years or so, it's possible that his car can be a mixture of low (advance auto) or high (moog) grade replacement parts, 1 or 2 original and worn parts, as well as already having a crack in a strut rod that's not visible to an inexperienced eye.

If you're gonna track your car, I think it's best, in light of all these variables, to just go ahead and get parts to do that. Yes, it can be done with the old lady parts, but it's not optimal or the safest option, especially if one is unfamiliar with how to inspect and setup a suspension (let alone how to adjust it at the track for conditions or material variables like tires). Going to the track and breaking parts, hitting a wall, getting the car back on the trailer, and going home before things even get started good is generally more expensive than just spending the cash ahead of time to have a boring weekend of the usual thrashing of mechanical/engine related problems in the pits to make your next start.

I'm just sayin'. An ounce of prevention...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Art that is what I was looking for. Most all my use will be autocross. While I would like to get to an open track day the likelihood is not there. But I have it as a goal. No competition just stretching the legs on the 'ole granny cougar!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Cougarshaman, I appreciate the feedback. I have (still working on it but nearly done) replaced all of the front and rear suspension and have upgraded everything. Midolyne bushings and KYB shocks greasable joints, sway bars front and rear etc. As in my reply to Art, I am not going wheel to wheel and will do some autocross and some drag strip ( looking for low 12s) . I did a lot if autocrossing some years ago and had built a 65 Fastback Shelby clone for that purpose. The stock style suspension did fairly well and I have upgrades on this Cougar that I did not on that Clone.
 

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Yeah, there's an exception to everything.

Specifically, the factory strut rods and the stamped non zerked stock upper A arm, as well as the lower A arm running out of range of motion after a Shelby drop (at full or near full compression) are what I'm getting at. And, after 40 years or so, it's possible that his car can be a mixture of low (advance auto) or high (moog) grade replacement parts, 1 or 2 original and worn parts, as well as already having a crack in a strut rod that's not visible to an inexperienced eye.

If you're gonna track your car, I think it's best, in light of all these variables, to just go ahead and get parts to do that. Yes, it can be done with the old lady parts, but it's not optimal or the safest option, especially if one is unfamiliar with how to inspect and setup a suspension (let alone how to adjust it at the track for conditions or material variables like tires). Going to the track and breaking parts, hitting a wall, getting the car back on the trailer, and going home before things even get started good is generally more expensive than just spending the cash ahead of time to have a boring weekend of the usual thrashing of mechanical/engine related problems in the pits to make your next start.

I'm just sayin'. An ounce of prevention...
I'm not saying it's OK to go to the track with worn out suspension, what I am saying is that 90% of the tubular/coil-over/full roller/rack&pinion/anodized bling is eye-candy and while it will make the feel of the car and ride slightly better, it won't get you around the track any faster.
 

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I'm not saying it's OK to go to the track with worn out suspension, what I am saying is that 90% of the tubular/coil-over/full roller/rack&pinion/anodized bling is eye-candy and while it will make the feel of the car and ride slightly better, it won't get you around the track any faster.
Yeah, I know you're not saying go to the track with worn out suspension.
 

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I would agree with Art on this stuff Cougarshaman....although all the bling looks good, it mostly just ads weight and doesn't really do anything to improve the handling, it doesn't change geometry or suspension pickup points so what would be the use? I ran my Cougar for the first couple of years on stock control arms that I boxed myself, Shelby drop, Pro Motorsports negative wedge kit, lower control arm eccentric kit and their bumpsteer kit. It did fine but the wedge kit tended to destroy upper balljoints. I ended up going with the Maier Racing upper and lower control arms, kept the eccentric kit, used the Maier Delrin strut rod bushing kit (very slick), and a manual rack from TCP. My suspension alignment specs have changed a hundred times and it all depends on your driving style and what your comfortable with. My alignment specs you might not like but here goes....3 degrees positive caster, 3 degrees negative camber and 1/16th toe out. I came up with all this after 70 something track days, talking to every race guy I know and taking tire temps and watching tread wear etc...it all depends on how much track time you're going to do with it vs. street time. In any case, the two most important things to consider with our old cars are to get rid of the upper control arm shims (that will eventually crack the shock towers), and if you're using the stock upper arms at least go with the negative wedge kit (the Shelby drop puts a severe angle on the upper ball joint).
If there's anything else you need, let me know...spring rates, setups, panhard bars, shocks, etc...I've made lots of mistakes so I guess you could say I have lots of experience road racing Cougars! Lol...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Please tell me about this negative wedge kit and the install. Does this kit get you the 3 degrees on the castor? I am going to pass on that much camber whereas not too good for street driving and tire wear.
 

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Please tell me about this negative wedge kit and the install. Does this kit get you the 3 degrees on the castor? I am going to pass on that much camber whereas not too good for street driving and tire wear.
The negative wedge kit allows you to drop the upper control arm (instead of the 1"-"Shelby drop) 1 3/4". The "wedge" corrects the ball joint angle when the upper control arm is dropped the 1 3/4".
But no, the negative wedge kit will do nothing for the caster. The negative wedge kit allows the tire to remain flat to the track surface during cornering, or negative camber gain.
My uppers are dropped the 1 3/4" but instead of using a wedge, I modify the upper control arm.
Modified left, stock right
 

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I would agree with Art on this stuff Cougarshaman....although all the bling looks good, it mostly just ads weight and doesn't really do anything to improve the handling, it doesn't change geometry or suspension pickup points so what would be the use?
Yeah, in my head I was reading it as "I have a street car that I want to track sometimes" when he wasn't saying that at all.
Carry on. My bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Art, thanks for the explanation. I looked at the pic of the a frame mod. Did you weld a different upper ball joint mount on or just reposition the original? I have been looking at the shock tower build up info and have the boss chassis book coming. You do that on yours too?
 

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Art, thanks for the explanation. I looked at the pic of the a frame mod. Did you weld a different upper ball joint mount on or just reposition the original? I have been looking at the shock tower build up info and have the boss chassis book coming. You do that on yours too?
Where you see the triangular gusset in my photo, I cut out a pie slice so I could bend the end of the upper control arm down ten degrees (IIRC), then rewelded and braced.
If you didn't use a wedge or modify the upper control arm, the ball joint would bind at full compression (with the 1 3/4" drop).
Not familiar with the Boss chassis book or shock tower build up.
 

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My '70 Cougar is setup with 1/8" toe, .5 camber, +2 caster and works well on a mostly street driven car that sees some autocross use and open track. The tires have worn evenly during track days with temperatures consistent across the tire. I have stock upper control arms that were bent in a jig and boxed by Cougar Bill and Maier racing lowers. I also have the adjustable strut rods with spherical ends, roller spring perches, shelby drop, 600 lb coils, global west mid-eye leaf springs, adjustable koni's, 1" front sway, adjustable rear stam bar, and a bunch of other small mods that don't come to mind right now. The car was always very predictable on the track. Though, now that I am used to my race car, the Cougar feels sort of soft when driving it ;)

I have found that how well a car does at the track really depends on the skill level of the driver. I've been at Shelby Conventions Open Track sessions in my heavy / relatively under powered Cougar where I blew by 500 hp Shelby Mustangs because the driver had little to no experience on track. I've also been passed like I was standing still by relatively stock Miata's with capable drivers. Get lots of instruction and soak it all in!

There is no reason that you can't have a street driven Cougar that is very capable during track days. Listen to guys like Arty and Cougar68. They know what they are talking about. Good luck!
 

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Jim, I love your Cougar and Pinto, did I already mention that? My friend and I just bought a massive collection of high performance Pinto stuff from this guy in Redwood City, CA that land speed raced Pintos. Motors, tranny's, pistons, a mechanical Hilborn injection setup for a 2.0!? Plus a super clean Pinto wagon. I know I'm getting distracted from getting the Cougar back on the track....I just can't help it! It's a disease I know...
 

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Jim, I love your Cougar and Pinto, did I already mention that? My friend and I just bought a massive collection of high performance Pinto stuff from this guy in Redwood City, CA that land speed raced Pintos. Motors, tranny's, pistons, a mechanical Hilborn injection setup for a 2.0!? Plus a super clean Pinto wagon. I know I'm getting distracted from getting the Cougar back on the track....I just can't help it! It's a disease I know...
Wow, sounds like lost treasure, what a find! My poor Cougar has really suffered since I bought the Pinto. Vintage road racing is just so addictive. The race car gets most of the attention. And, your former Pinto is part of what inspired me to purchase my Vintage Road race Pinto!

Wouldn't it be fun if we could somehow one day get all of our Cougars on a road course at the same time? I've only been to one open track day in my Cougar where there was another on track. It was Ralph Pagington's, and both of our cars broke. LOL!
 

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I have found that how well a car does at the track really depends on the skill level of the driver. I've been at Shelby Conventions Open Track sessions in my heavy / relatively under powered Cougar where I blew by 500 hp Shelby Mustangs because the driver had little to no experience on track. I've also been passed like I was standing still by relatively stock Miata's with capable drivers. Get lots of instruction and soak it all in!
Agree 100%
If you're interested in autocross or open track, hook up with a local SCCA or NASA chapter. You can learn high performance driving from the experts.
 

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Same here guys, went by lots of folks in the Pinto when it had a warmed up 2.0 in it....shocked a lot of folks in Vettes and Evo's. Learning HOW to drive is way more important than a fast car.
Man Jim, I'd love to get all of us together for a track day. The racing is addictive. We've had a couple here and there, all have come and never seen them again...One original Trans Am Cougar that Jerry at ABC Mustangs in Hayward owns that super cool. But he rarely gets it out.
Initial count on the parts score.....2 fully built race 2.0 liters on alcohol, 2 blocks, 6 heads, 4 boxes of forged pistons, 3 cranks, tons of rods, 2 complete Hilborn Injection setups for a Pinto, about a dozen cams, headers, flywheels, clutches, a couple of Mallory distributors and a dozen or so boxes of just "stuff"....and the wagon. Yikes. At least I'll have enough stuff to get the Cortina close to being done.
 

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I have a similar set to Jim's 70, a good baseline would be to get the Boss302 transam chasis manual, my 67 was raced for 16 years in texas with much sucess before I went to moutain bike racing in 95.
 
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