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Old 03-09-2017, 10:29 PM   #1
akeane01
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1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

hi,

I am putting a Mustang II front end on a 1954 C3100. There appears to be an clearance issue with the T bolts and how much movement the top arm has with the top shock mount with the parallel slots. The T bolt hole in the upper arm only allows the top ball joint to move towards the front on the Pass Side and towards the back on the drivers side. As you can see by the pic's the tbolt hole in the upper arm aligns itself with the slots moving the ball joint toward the front of the truck but when you try to push it to the back, those tbolt holes do not align with the slots anymore so you get very little if any caster adjustment in that direction as shown in the pics with the bolts on. Everyone including the guy I bought these from says thousands are sold this way... so what am I missing.. Thanks for the help..
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:10 PM   #2
Jemezcrusher
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

I am a bit concerned with mine too. Everything measures out fine but still look weird to the naked eye. I have heard that the upper needs to go back an inch rather than where they all say they should go. Guess when I get it together and take it to be aligned I will find out. May have to do some modifications at that point. Guess the slots could be welded up and modified as necessary.

May have to modify yours to solve the castor issue

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Old 03-10-2017, 12:36 AM   #3
MARTINSR
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

I don't understand why you would need to move it so far,that is a MILE of caster, many degrees. So why is it mounted to the frame in such a way where the caster would be so little that you would need to move it that far? It should be mounted to the frame closer to where the desired caster is, that way it doesn't take that much movement.

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Old 03-10-2017, 01:50 AM   #4
mr48chev
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

I've got to go with Martinsr on this. I couldn't understand why you had a caster issue when I saw the lead to the thread and when I opened it there is no caster issue,

This isn't a Ford transverse spring I beam front end that runs around 5 to 7 degrees of caster to track right..

A starting point of 2 to 2.5 degrees (actually you may not need that much) + caster with 1/2 degree + camber in the left wheel and 1/4 degree + camber in the right wheel and 1/8 toe in should be a good starting point for a truck that will track right running down the freeway at 70 MPH without an issue.
Note if you live in a country where you drive on the other side of the road the camber settings are reversed. The difference in camber between front wheels compensates for the crown "camber" of the road so the truck or anything else will drive straight down the road in the outside lane or the one next to it and you should be able to go hands off for a serious distance if it is set right.

You just don't ed a load of caster to have these rigs drive great with an MII front end under them.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:09 AM   #5
whitedog76
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

I've been looking to an IFS for my 54 also.

In all my research, the upper hat is welded slightly rearward of the centerline. This sets your caster angle.

Moving the A arm in and out sets your camber.

Rotating the A arm as such, can fine tune the caster and camber.

By the looks of it, yours is fine.

Is there a problem with the T bolts not holding?
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:37 AM   #6
jweb
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

I had the same problem when I upgraded to power steering my truck would dart all over the road. I took it in for an alignment at a local shop that has years of experience with hot rods. I was told they like to see 4 to 5 degrees of caster with power steering. With the Mustang II suspensions where the upper mount is welded to the side of the frame the control arm will hit before you get that much, not all Mustang II kits are designed that way. I found 2 options for fixing this problem:

Option 1 - I ordered 5/8" narrow upper control arms from JW Rod Garage. They don't list them on their website, I called and talked with Daryl the owner who was really helpful. I now have 4 degrees of caster and the truck drivers great.
http://www.jwrodgarage.com/

Option 2 - Adjustable upper arms, made by SPC performance. I think these would work well also
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sps-94800/overview/
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:56 AM   #7
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

it seems like there is ample room in the slotted area of the upper mount. maybe, like my 57 truck, you have miss matched parts from the supplier?
this is why, after it is already too late for me, I always advise guys to use the cross member that has the upper and lower control arm mounts already welded to the member at the manufacturer. that way the geometry is already engineered in before you get it and it is a matter of tacking it in at the rake angle you want and then assemble loosely to check.
maybe slide over to the heidt'ssite and check out their blurb "understanding independent front suspension" for some insight of how it should all look in relation to all the parts. it is somewhere in their catalogue. if you can't find it just call them and they will email it to you. they are really good that way. it is a great article with insights into bump steer etc if the parts are assembled out of geometry.
good luck. I know my TCI front end (I am pretty sure I was shipped the wrong crossmember) was a real bear to figure out. I borrowed a caster/camber alignment tool to check mine during/after assembly. like the one on longacre racing's website. $140 bucks to purchase.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:02 AM   #8
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

just as a side note, I had to modify my upper mount to get the geometry correct. lower control arm parallel to ground at ride height, upper control arm slightly angled down at the frame end-like 4 degrees? upper mount angled slightly down at the rear for antidive geometry (think, this is from memory). inner tie rods pivot point is inline with imaginary line drawn between upper and lower control arm pivot points when wheels are straight ahead (anti bumpsteer).
anybody else? am I wrong here?
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:07 AM   #9
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

hey whitedog, check out this unit from scott's hotrods. there are others like it as well. one piece crossmember with upper mounts already in place. they have bolt in units as well. upper arms are also adjustable for caster.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:08 AM   #10
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

sorry, pic cleared itself somehow.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:33 AM   #11
whitedog76
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

I do dig the Scott's IFS. I actually have something else brewing in my head for my build.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:49 PM   #12
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsraven View Post
sorry, pic cleared itself somehow.
If I had to do it again this would be my choice. You can see in this photo the upper arms are adjustable like the ones SPC makes. Looks like a really nice design.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:48 PM   #13
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR View Post
I don't understand why you would need to move it so far,that is a MILE of caster, many degrees. So why is it mounted to the frame in such a way where the caster would be so little that you would need to move it that far? It should be mounted to the frame closer to where the desired caster is, that way it doesn't take that much movement.

Brian
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr48chev View Post
I've got to go with Martinsr on this. I couldn't understand why you had a caster issue when I saw the lead to the thread and when I opened it there is no caster issue,

This isn't a Ford transverse spring I beam front end that runs around 5 to 7 degrees of caster to track right..

A starting point of 2 to 2.5 degrees (actually you may not need that much) + caster with 1/2 degree + camber in the left wheel and 1/4 degree + camber in the right wheel and 1/8 toe in should be a good starting point for a truck that will track right running down the freeway at 70 MPH without an issue.
Note if you live in a country where you drive on the other side of the road the camber settings are reversed. The difference in camber between front wheels compensates for the crown "camber" of the road so the truck or anything else will drive straight down the road in the outside lane or the one next to it and you should be able to go hands off for a serious distance if it is set right.

You just don't ed a load of caster to have these rigs drive great with an MII front end under them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jweb View Post
I was told they like to see 4 to 5 degrees of caster with power steering. With the Mustang II suspensions where the upper mount is welded to the side of the frame the control arm will hit before you get that much, not all Mustang II kits are designed that way.
Akeane01, Some good info from above members. I agree you shouldn't have any caster issue, but camber may be a problem. This is my reasoning, from your pics your upper spring mount ( I call top hat) is below the top of frame. In all the cars and trucks that I've installed MII, all had the top hat on top of frame. I'M NOT SAYING YOURS IS WRONG, JUST NEVER SEEN IT THIS WAY.

I've used Heidt's, TCI, Fatman, Speedway and Scotts. Here's a few pic on what I'm talking about.

Pic 1 and 2 showing location of top hat and top of frame.
Pic 3 is on my 50 pickup, you can see how close the upper arm is toward the frame, and very little diference in crossshaft on setting the caster. I run 4* on mine.
Pic 4 is the new TCI and Fatman design to use shims and no slots. This is a great ideal.
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:00 PM   #14
oldman3
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

Akeane01, in Pic 1 and 2 are of a 38 Chevy coupe currently in our shop, they had installed an original Mustant II crossmember about 15 years ago. You can see that they had to notch the frame to get the upper A arm to clear the frame.
This top hat was welded level with the frame. Top hat had much smaller amount of slot to adjust the caster an camer. They had no issues with how this set-up drove down the road. They did have us put on tubular uppper and lower control arms, and it will have coil/over shocks.

If you could give us more info on where you got your set-up, I'm sure we can get you headed in the right direction. There are great resources on here...Jim
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:15 PM   #15
akeane01
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

To All,,
thanks for the replies...

Design: The Top hat is welded to the side of the frame on this design because I wanted to keep the stock ride height.. I found someone who did that because it seemed like everyone else dropped the height 4-6".

Top Mount: I saw a couple of you say the top mount should be mounted a little to the back so the top ball joint would have positive caster. I saw there were a few giving caster degrees and assume this was positive caster?? I have the top and lower ball joint in line with the center of the subframe.. Maybe that is wrong.

Caster issue: a few said there was no issue but I my mind I would have thought I could twist the top arm to the front or to the back about the same amount. I cannot do that. It only goes one way. Now if I use round bolts instead of Tbolts, I could get more movement.

Tbolts: are these used just to prevent the bolt from turning? why are these used and why do you need those bolts that fit into the custom hole in the upper arm..

I will research more on your thoughts..

thanks for the help
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:28 PM   #16
Hampshire
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

I'm the one akeane01 got his idea from. I made a recommendation and he is using the same kit. He has modified his a little bit, but I'm not sure how or if that effects this installation. akeane01 has also contacted me on this.

Never having installed an aftermarket suspension, I had someone who does restorations & projects install mine for me & help me with other bits (I'm too old & aching to do all of this myself, anymore). So, without having done the "real" work, I'm not sure where I can advise him. My installer didn't have any serious problems, so I really didn't pay a huge amount of attention. I had one issue the day it was finished & got it's first alignment....the alignment shop set the caster (incorrectly) at zero/neutral & I had a 55mph vibration. To solve that, I went to another shop and - mr48chev says it best....

Quote:
A starting point of 2 to 2.5 degrees (actually you may not need that much) + caster with 1/2 degree + camber in the left wheel and 1/4 degree + camber in the right wheel and 1/8 toe in should be a good starting point for a truck that will track right running down the freeway at 70 MPH without an issue.
...this was after getting exactly the same advice from another shop (who I knew and should have consulted). Anyway, as said above, another alignment set caster to 2-2.5 degrees and it is smooth to well beyond 70. The shop I use now has commented that the FE is easy to work with & adjust. It's been aligned twice more as I made some running modifications for ride/handling.

Quote:
In all the cars and trucks that I've installed MII, all had the top hat on top of frame. I'M NOT SAYING YOURS IS WRONG, JUST NEVER SEEN IT THIS WAY.
oldman3 - this system has been around for a while. Over the years, the 4-5" drop with a narrow track has more less become the standard. I am maybe the least qualified on this thread to talk about suspension, but I seriously doubt that the differences you mention are any part of the problem. This system was designed by Jim Weimer. He was an early innovator in Mustang II systems. When Jim passed away, the design went to JW Rod Garage. They, in turn sell parts of this (like the hats and cross member) to Gayle Richards. He then builds a similar system to slightly different specs. Gayle origially worked for/with Jim Weimer for many years. So, you can see there is a lot of history in use & development. All then name brands are very cool, but there are others out there, too who have been at it for quite a while and have a following.

Nice to see everyone chime in. I know the OP appreciates all your help/advice.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:21 AM   #17
oldman3
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

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Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
oldman3 - this system has been around for a while. Over the years, the 4-5" drop with a narrow track has more less become the standard. I am maybe the least qualified on this thread to talk about suspension, but I seriously doubt that the differences you mention are any part of the problem. This system was designed by Jim Weimer. He was an early innovator in Mustang II systems. When Jim passed away, the design went to JW Rod Garage. They, in turn sell parts of this (like the hats and cross member) to Gayle Richards. He then builds a similar system to slightly different specs. Gayle origially worked for/with Jim Weimer for many years. So, you can see there is a lot of history in use & development. All then name brands are very cool, but there are others out there, too who have been at it for quite a while and have a following.

Nice to see everyone chime in. I know the OP appreciates all your help/advice.
Thank you so much for all the additional info on this set-up. I know a Gayle Bridges (of Gayleco in Arkansas) that makes front ends, is this the same guy. I've installed two of his units in cars. I've purchased several items from JW Rod garage. One customer choice Gaylco front end over JW Rod Garage, which are both good units. You are correct there are several talented engineers out there making kits, and I know very little compared to them...Jim
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:02 AM   #18
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
this system has been around for a while. Over the years, the 4-5" drop with a narrow track has more less become the standard. I am maybe the least qualified on this thread to talk about suspension, but I seriously doubt that the differences you mention are any part of the problem. This system was designed by Jim Weimer. He was an early innovator in Mustang II systems. When Jim passed away, the design went to JW Rod Garage. They, in turn sell parts of this (like the hats and cross member) to Gayle Richards. He then builds a similar system to slightly different specs. Gayle origially worked for/with Jim Weimer for many years. So, you can see there is a lot of history in use & development. All then name brands are very cool, but there are others out there, too who have been at it for quite a while and have a following.

Nice to see everyone chime in. I know the OP appreciates all your help/advice.
I have one of the Jim Weimer crossmembers also, I bought it just before the company was sold to Daryl the current owner. Initially it was fine with manual steering and the caster set to 2.5 degrees. When I did my LS swap I also added power steering, that's when I started to have the drivability issues. Daryl at JW Rod garage was really helpful, sent me 2 different sets of upper arms to help me get it right.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:33 AM   #19
Hampshire
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

Quote:
Thank you so much for all the additional info on this set-up. I know a Gayle Bridges (of Gayleco in Arkansas) that makes front ends, is this the same guy. I've installed two of his units in cars. I've purchased several items from JW Rod garage. One customer choice Gaylco front end over JW Rod Garage, which are both good units. You are correct there are several talented engineers out there making kits, and I know very little compared to them...Jim
...that's the guy! The system is for a near stock hight (2-3" drop) and it adds 1.5" to the track. The result ( with the Gaylco sway bar & springs/shocks) is terrific handling. I live in the hills of Western Mass near Vt. The roads are very curvy, no stop lights & few stop signs. Lot of friends I grew up with here did oval track ( and some still do), so go "go cart" handling and stick shifts are very popular.

Last edited by Hampshire; 03-11-2017 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:28 PM   #20
akeane01
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Re: 1954 Truck, Mustang II, Caster Issue

Gents,

here is what I think needs to happen. Another guy at work had the same issue with another front end design. We modified the Tbolts so the interface with the Top mount is a round bolt while keeping the traditional top mount hole in the mid section of the bolt to keep them from twisting.. I have movement in both directions now. I still think its an issue on mine and some other designs..
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