November 15, 2013

Project 47, Chapter 3: Front Independence

I decided to remove the stock front end and install a Mustang II with disc brakes from TCI (Total Cost Involved – Ontario, CA). The reason I went with disc brakes was for two reasons. First, I had an incident with an old ’51 Chevy car I had where I lost my brakes on the freeway. The master brake cylinder failed and it was a newly installed piece. Therefore, I opt to go with a dual reservoir for safety. Second, I originally was going to install a V8 350 engine but as of Oct 2013, I have decided otherwise and use an inline 6. The Mustang II was set up with V8 motor mounts and I will eventually remove them to accept a 261cui truck engine. More on that later.

Removal of the front end was easy after the engine is removed. It’s held on by bolts and slides right off. I had cleaned off the front frame rails with a wire brush to get it prepped for welding. In 2005, I didn’t have a clue how to MIG weld, so, I asked my Uncle Mike to assist. He did a great job! A few months after he helped me, I took about a year of welding at the local community college. I’ve also included some images of the stock rear end for reference images. Maybe you can use them? At that time, I knew I was going to ditch the leaf spring set-up and go with a 4-link rear suspension. Originally, I was going to use airbags but after winning an online raffle with ProHopper, I ended up winning a complete 2-pump set up. At that time, I decided to sell the airbags. I feel the 4-link provides minimal binding with optimal ride performance, even with a hydraulic suspension set-up. In my humble opinion, using hydraulics on leaf springs will fatigue the leaf springs ultimately fracturing them after a period of use. Again, this is just my opinion! More on the rear suspension at a later chapter. The top hats were welded onto the frame rails. The front axle line had to be located and used as a reference. The instructions TCI provide are great and easy to follow. Their customer support is great. Also, I removed the stock transmission crossmember pad because at the time, I was going to use an automatic transmission (350TH or 700R4). I used a Walton Fabrication crossmember and it too was of great quality. Todd Walton, from Walton Fabrication in Upland, CA, specializes in mods for your car/truck. He is great people and is always a great resource. Find him on Facebook!

I spent time sandblasting the entire frame. The intent was to use the POR15 system to brush paint the entire frame plus 4-link components. I followed the instructions from POR15 to the T but unfortunately, the quality of the paint was poor. I made sure I top coated it with their Hard Nose paint and even covered it to keep it away from direct sunlight. It ended up blistering and wrinkling. Never again. I will take the frame to get powder coating sometime soon.


Enough talk…let’s see some images!