TCP Mustang Weld In Front Clip – Raising the bar.

The classic Mustang chassis presents some unique challenges in terms of updating its suspension. The factory configuration has issues with camber gain, roll center height and migration, and bump steer, to name a few. The traditional fix has been with new parts that bolt into the existing factory structures. We can make some pretty impressive gains with this type of system but we`re still limited in the scope of the designs, and we still have to deal with the big, intrusive shock towers crowding the engine bay. Several companies have tried to solve this by making modular cross member systems that use Mustang II, C6 Corvette or 1st Gen Camaro spindles, along with tubular arms, etc. Some of them are pretty advanced looking designs but they share the same basic flaw. They attach to the existing factory sheet metal lower “frame rails”. Anyone who has ever had to repair or replace these areas due to collision or rust damage knows just how thin and flimsy these structures are. That`s because in the factory configuration, it is the upper A arms that are weight bearing. They hold up the front end of the car, and transfer much of the braking and cornering loads through the shock towers and into the inner fender and cowl structures. The lower A arm mounts and rails have very little vertical loading. Their loading comes almost entirely from braking and cornering forces on a horizontal plane. Much of this load is shared by the forward strut rod mounts which tie into both the rails and the radiator support, and the remainder is transfer rearward, through the rails, into the beefy torque box structures under the car, directly beneath the cowl. When a new suspension cross member is attached only to the lower rails, all of the cornering and braking forces, and all of the car’s weight loading, are transferred to only a short length of these lightweight sheet metal lower rail structures. Does that sound like a good idea? No, I don`t think so either. But, now, there is an alternative.

The new TCP/Chassisworks weld in front clip is available in two different formats. Both replace the flimsy OE sheet metal rails with heavy wall, properly designed frame rails. Both tie these rails into the original load bearing inner fender wells along their entire length, and replace the bulky shock towers with a shock tower delete panel / shear plate. This configuration ensures that vertical loads (primarily weight) are still being carried by the same structures the original shock towers bolted to, just as Ford engineers intended. The base kit welds to the firewall bulkhead at the rear. The total interface surface is about 8”x2” so it has a lot of weld surface for strength and rigidity. That said, the second model is the one that really floats my boat. It uses integral frame rails that replace and/or slide snuggly within the thin factory sheet metal rails all the way back through the torque box structures and beyond, to the transmission cross member. These are not add ons or braces, they are integrated into the structure of the car so seamlessly that they look like they were always there. It is a very elegant design. Add the TCP gConnector system and you have a full frame chassis from the front bumper to the rear spring mounts. This adds a tremendous degree of much needed rigidity to the entire chassis. For those going all out, these long rails are also an excellent place to tie in a roll cage and rocker bars for even more rigidity, and of course, safety.

The new clip is a modular unit that accepts A arms, spindles and steering racks from Chassisworks huge menu of components. It can be done as a more budget friendly build, with uncoated steel A arms, non-adjustable SS Series coil overs, and a manual rack. Or maybe you would prefer a full show unit, with polished stainless steel arms, powder coated ductile iron spindles, polished stainless button allen head hardware, and QS1 single adjustable coil overs? Want something more hardcore? Configure it with gStreet adjustable tubular arms, fast ratio power rack, splined end adjustable rate sway bar, and QS2 double adjustable coil overs. It can also be configured as a drag race front end, if so desired.

Then there is the top dog, their ultimate pro touring front end, the gStreet. This package comes with clean sheet designed billet aluminum spindles, severe duty hub/bearing packs and ball joints, and wide track long travel A arms that yield a hugely improved scrub radius, and allow the use of the best modern wheel configurations. This package pushes the bounds of what we thought was possible on classic cars. It hurls the design, geometry and performance limits light years ahead, into contention with the best new performance cars. Pair it with the versatile Chassisworks Glink rear suspension system for the street, or with the TCP torque arm system and QS4 quad adjustable remote reservoir coil overs for hardcore road course use.

All the suspension in the world is pretty useless without an engine to make it move, luckily the Chassisworks / TCP weld in front clip can accommodate everything from old school Ford small blocks, to late model Modular/Coyote motors and even LS- series engines with equal ease. The elimination of the intrusive shock towers means that even a wide Mod motor will drop in the car like it was made for it. Likewise it will accept nearly any transmission, manual or automatic, old or new.

If you`re looking to bring your classic Mustang up to speed with modern performance cars, the Chassisworks / TCP weld in front clip is hard to beat.

SPC lower A arms – Setting Ride Height

SPC Lower A Arm Ride Height Adjustment SPC Lower A arms have a modular lower spring seats that allow ride height adjustments to be made while using standard format springs. Various combinations of spacers and seats will yield different ride heights.
-All of the ride height numbers below are in reference to the lower A arms only. Other modifications such as lowering springs, drop spindles, tall lower ball joints etc. will also alter the ride height of the car and their effect is cumulative so be sure to take them into account when setting your desired ride height!
-To adjust ride height simply add or subtract spring pocket components from kits #94346 (5”OD) or #95332 (5 ½”OD). These kits each include 4 spacers, two per side. They are also available in 2 spacers kits, 94348 (5”OD) and 95338 (5 ½”OD). The thickness of each spacer changes the ride height roughly 2:1. (¼” thick spacer changes ride height ½”) Spacers can also be used in asymmetrical combination side to side to correct a car that doesn`t sit level.
-To get the baseline ride height of OE stock lower A arms, first remove the provided aluminum helical spring seat. Then re-install it on top of two flat steel spring shims per side.
**Component configurations for lowering the car are as follows.** These formats are handy for lowering an otherwise stock car or for accommodating tall drag springs.
-To lower the car ½” use only one ¼” steel spring spacer per side, with the helical aluminum seats.
-To lower the car1” use no ¼” steel spring spacers, only the helical aluminum seat.
**Component configurations for lifting the car are as follows.** These formats are primarily problem solvers for cars that are too low.
-To lift the car ½” use the aluminum helical seat with three (3) ¼” thick steel shims.
-To lift the car 1” use the helical aluminum seats with four (4) ¼” thick steel shims.
-Additional lift can be provided with SPC aluminum upper spring seat inserts from 3/8” to 1” thickness (5”OD), #1102-1106 and ½” to 1” (5 1/2”OD), #1621 to 1627. These also have a roughly 2:1 height ratio. Beyond this, you probably have the wrong springs for your application.

What`s the Deal with A arms?

We get a LOT of calls asking about various different A arms and which one is “best”. We also get a LOT of calls from people who bought A arms without doing their homework and now have some alignment, travel and/ or fitment issues. So how do you know which A arms are “best” for your application? Read on.

For starters let`s get one thing straight, the A arms are the cart, not the horse. A arms don`t define the suspension geometry, they only connect the pickup points that do. That means no big geometry improvements or performance gains are possible by simply changing the stock arms out for aftermarket ones. There`s a lot of misleading advertising to the contrary but that doesn`t make it so. That is not to say that A arms aren`t important. Just try and drive the car without them. 😉 I just want to make their purpose clear,for our applications they are a potential alignment aid but they are also part of the puzzle to fix geometry issues. Let me explain, if we do things to modify or correct the geometry on our cars it changes the locations of the critical pickup points of the suspension. As I mentioned before those points are connected to the chassis by the A arms. So if we make any meaningful changes in the geometry we must also change the A arms to match. This means changing the overall length, the offset fore/aft and the mounting angle of the ball joint plates to suit the new geometry, arcs of motion and travel. So without changing the A arms to new designs we really can`t correct the geometry.

Now it should be pretty easy to see that all A arms are NOT created equally and they are not at all interchangeable! I get a lot of calls from guys who bought a product or products to change the geometry and then bought “some tubular A arms” to use with them. Then they realize they can`t align the car, or the upper ball joints are almost out of travel already at ride height etc. etc. Bummer. Just because the arms look racy doesn`t mean they were designed to work with the new geometry that has been created. No matter what brand they are or how good the quality may be, if they weren`t designed with that geometry in mind they won`t fit or work properly. It`s like trying to run a flat tappet cam from a 1st Gen small block in an LS3. It`s a cam, it may even be a good high performance cam but it isn`t made to work with roller lifters or an LS block. There`s nothing wrong with the cam or the motor they just don`t work together.

Things get even more interesting with some of the super low cost “just as good as” A arms found in discount catalogs, auction sites and probably some bicycle flea makets.
Cue PT Barnum voice: Step right up ladies and gents, what we have here is a set of upper and lower tubular A arms for less than the normal cost of uppers alone. Hand crafted somewhere they won`t admit by “skilled craftsman” sitting in the dirt they`re just the thing to make your car handle like a dream and make your hair grow at the same time. Buy today and get a free bottle of Wonder Tonic!

You get the picture. C`mon, we`re all grown ups here right? We know there `s no such thing as a free lunch. If you pay for crap you will receive what you paid for. Most of the time these arms don`t fit properly, they are very poor quality, and cause frequent alignment issues. On top of that we have folks trying to use them with tall spindles or tall ball joints and thinking they`ll work just because they look “tooby”. Yeah, good luck with that. Now the guy has a big pile of cool looking parts that don`t work together and a car he can`t drive. Don`t be that guy.

To recap, A arms are necessary but they are not and cannot be a “magic bullet”. They compliment (or not) the suspension geometry of the car they do not define it. When doing suspension modifications it is very important to buy a cohesive package with geometry correction components and matching A arms together. Note that not all “packages” are matched components even when sold together. Hint: If a manufacturer is using the same A arms for geometry corrected packages and non geometry corrected packages, then one of them (usually the corrected one) is wrong. The same arms simply do not work well for both. If you`re putting your own “package” together do your suspension geometry mods first and then make sure you use A arms intended to be run with that particular modified geometry. Failure to do so will cause a lot of grief and likely cost much more money in the long run. Get parts that are all designed to work together and it`s a thing of beauty.