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First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

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  • First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

    We finally got started on the suspension. (Fitting that motor in there took a while) We had the a few days to myself in the garage. Well...here's what We got,
    First, We measured and marked where the diff sat in its original location


    We then removed all of the stock rear suspension, and cut out the rear bed floor.



    The original front leaf spring mount was weak and of an odd design, so it needed to be removed. It was a real pain to get out as it was welded from the inside.


    As you can see, once it was removed there were plenty of holes to fill and tears to patch. We filled all the tears and holes and finished them before proceeding.


    Then We tacked in the first of the side plates


    Then the inner plate and the 2 x 3 tubing


    Then We cut the tacks, removed it from the vehicle and welded it all up. We added gussets, and a tie-in to the floor board and test fit it back in the vehicle.



    We got all the bushings and bolts needed and cut out the arms.

    We cut out the tears in the framerails that were caused by removing the old front spring eye mounts and patched them.





    We made sure that the DOM bushing sleeve was square and tacked it in.


    We welded in the sleeve and then capped the front of the arm.


    the finished bushing mount.


    finishing up.








    here are the finished arms and mounts.


    We held the mount up against the frame rails, and outlined the 9/16 hole for the bushing bolt. We used a Square to draw a line down the frame rail through the center of the hole along the bottom and up the other side. We measured from the center of the hole to the bottom of the frame rail, and duplicated this measurement on the other side. We drilled two small pilot holes, as the rockers were in the way to drill a straight hole on the outside of the frame rails.


    We used a 3/4" hole saw from the inboard side, and cut through both pilot holes completely through the frame.


    Here is the final cut.
    You can see the patch I had to weld into the frame to repair the tear caused by the removal of the origional leaf spring mounts
    oops! I don't have as much finesse as i would like with an air chisel!!


    Then We inserted the sleeve through the hole, and bolted the mount in place using the bushing sleeve as well. This made sure the sleeve would be aligned with the holes in the mounts and that once we welded it, we would be able to put the bolts back in later. Then we tacked the sleeve and to place.




    Then final weld both sides, cut off the excess length, and grind flush.



    We did another pass with a welder and the grinder and then coated the area with weld through primer.
    We made a plate for the inboard side, as the plate for the other side is part of the mount. We sprayed the back of this plate also in weld through primer. We drilled and dressed some plug weld holes in the plate as well.

    We ran a bolt through the plate, and the mount to keep the holes aligned and welded it into place




    As of now it's all installed, and we're ready to mock up the rear end. Got to clean the grease off of the thing and cut off all the old perches. We'll probably get to that this Saturday. And then I have to make up my mind on those wheels and tires...


  • #2

    Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

    Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

    nice job. i really like the time you took to do this write up.

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

      Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

      You do nice work.

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

        Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

        Thank Y'all for the vote of confidence. I put that up for two reasons. no.1 is that I looked everywhere searched and couldn't find any info on how to do that. I would have been very stoked to have found that before I started on this, and if this can help someone else trying to do the same thing... then awesome. Which brings us to no. 2. Since I am making it up as I go, having some input from engineering types and other minds checking my ideas makes me feel a bit better about them. Suspension failure is not an option!
        Peace

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

          Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

          Falc -
          I'm confused (not uncommon). You said you were working on airbags, then showed all these pics of suspension. Eventually, will you run side-impact bags or just the front impact ones? Do they tie to the suspension? Safety is GOOD. Maybe a hybrid drivetrain as well?

          Now that I've harassed you, I have to say it looks great. I'm no engineer, but stouter is better, and this looks stouter. Good Job!

          Dan

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

            Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

            Funny you should mention the hybrid drivetrain!!! I almost went that route. :o A buddy of mine picked up two Priuses (? does it matter)
            for three grand. Both of them had under 5K miles on them. One of them the front was smashed in from rear ending someone, the other one was T-boned. He took the front clip off of the T-boned car and fixed the one with the smashed snout. The left overs were available for next to free. I spent three weeks photographing, thinking, measuring and planning. Mechanically, it was pretty tricky, but doable, but electrically and electronically forget about it. Anyhow, the goal was to have a car that we could keep and work on anywhere easily. yeah right!! When I stumbled across the Aussie OHC cross flows, it was like yeah... that's more like it. I ditched the EFI (it wouldn't fit) and went with the trusty four barrel. It was just funny that you brought that up, as it was actually considered.



            It didn't really help that the strut's mounting point was actually higher than the fender either!!
            Go ahead and laugh it's okay. This may also be appropriate for the stupid car things thread ;D

            Comment


            • #7

              Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

              Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

              nicely done falcon - I think we went to the same school of over building -

              where did you get the lengths for the lower arm? I'm a bit confused here never having done an air bag conversion.

              am I correct in determining that you are removing the leaf springs all together, and fabrication a set of "lower control arms" that will located the rear axle (fore and aft) and also be the lower mount for the airbags to the body? Or - will the bags be mounted on the axle supporting the body?

              Will you have any springs at all - or just the bags?

              Are you going to have a panhard rod or similar to control the side to side location of the rear axle?

              9" or 8"?
              There's always something new to learn.

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                where did you get the lengths for the lower arm?
                am I correct in determining that you are removing the leaf springs all together, and fabrication a set of "lower control arms" that will located the rear axle (fore and aft) and also be the lower mount for the airbags to the body? Or - will the bags be mounted on the axle supporting the body?

                Will you have any springs at all - or just the bags?

                Are you going to have a panhard rod or similar to control the side to side location of the rear axle?

                9" or 8"?
                here is how my thinking on this goes, as I have never done it before either ;) if you detect flaws in my thinking please let me know :-)
                I made the arms as long as I could to make the arc that the rear axle travels vertically in not as extreme. I figured it would be less likely to bind with the pan hard Rod. I know how to set up a pan hard Rod for a road racing car, but I'm not sure on the angles for this application, as there will be quite a bit more suspension travel. A guy from the late-model truck scene stopped by my shop one day while I was out working and mentioned something about a 20° angle. I'm not sure what plane that needs to be on though.
                I am going to mount the bags at the rear of the arms, just behind the axle to give an even smoother ride. (Important when road vibrations irritate damaged nerves, especially on long trips)
                the diff is out of a Ford Ranger, which I believe is a 7 3/4". It is even narrower than the falcon rear, which in turn is quite a bit narrower than a Mustang diff. That should allow for cool wheel options.
                The bags are the springs and have 7 inches of travel. I'm not sure if ride height is supposed to be in the middle of travel or somewhere different. I've got to mockup the diff so that keeps my head busy for a bit. And I still have to make the pan hard rod as well.

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                  Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                  Understood

                  Sounds like you've been studying a suspension book, I think Jeff Smith has a good one, I have it somewhere in a box I'll find someday.

                  This is getting hilarious - I have a 7.5" rear in the ranger with the 351C in front of it - I will be throwing it in the old van before it goes for scrap - I need an 8.8 for the ranger -- there's another part you could've had free.... oh well.

                  I can't help much with the panhard rod set up - never done one.
                  Will the panhard rod be located behind the axle?
                  There's always something new to learn.

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                    Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                    Well, I finally made a bit more progress. I cut off all the spot welds and removed the rest of the floor exposing the frame rails. They are in mint condition:D . I was kind of worried since the floor was rusted through in a few spots.
                    I cut out the spare tire area, made a frame and mounted the air tank.



                    Next up...drop a plumb line and center the diff.


                    Then I mocked up a pan hard rod using a broom handle. I am not quite sure where to put it. The first idea is to put it over the axle so there's plenty of room behind the axle for the airbags...
                    here's how it would sit aired down.


                    and at ride height.


                    i'm not real sure on that yet, but now i can get the wheels and tires:D
                    then it will start to look like a car again!!

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                      Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                      IMHO, if possible, the Panard bar should be level at normal ride height, if there will be such a thing, that would give you the least "bump steer" of the rear axle. 8) Have you considered a Watts link though, instead of a Panard bar?

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                        Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                        There will be a “normal” ride height. If the Rod is parallel there, it hits the diff when it's aired down (being mounted over the top of the diff and all). I will see if I could move it rear-ward a bit so it will clear. I did check into the Watts link system, but it even requires more room. Still on the drawing board on this one so all ideas are considered and welcome :-)
                        (not to mention that I've never done anything like this before...)

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                          Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                          Falcon
                          I'm going way out on a limb here and have never done this before myself...
                          - how hard would it be given your desire to locate your panhard rod in front of the axle, and air bags behind....

                          to put a fox body mustang like set of upper control arms on the top of the axle to locate it side to side?

                          it would certainly require custom mounts to the body / subframe but you're doing that anyway.

                          By locating an arm at equal / opposite angles on each side of the differential housing - you're staying away from your drive shaft and pinion, as well as staying away from the air bags in the rear, there would be some pivoting of the axle changing the pinion angle through the travel of the axle from "in the weeds" to normal driving height - but I'm not sure how any system would avoid that.

                          There's always something new to learn.

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                            Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                            hmmmm, interesting. I've never really looked very close at a Fox body set up as I have never owned one. I will definitely check that out. Also, I've had come into question my choice of a Ford Ranger 7.75 rear end. Some people say they're strong, some people say dude, you got to go with an 8 inch.(Which unfortunately are a little bit wider) This would be totally coming down to the wire, but there still is some time to change the plan. It seems like people on this board would know a lot about which parts break :-)
                            any thoughts??

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                              Re: First tech thread!!! (Airbags on a falcon)

                              well, again, it's a damned shame we live so far apart.
                              I know where there is a pile of fox 8.8 rear ends cheap but with the shear popularity of those axles, I can't imagine it would be hard to find one.
                              As I recall, the '94 and up mustangs had 5 lug axles and some had disc brakes, it was later that they all got rear disc, but they also got wider.

                              I don't know how much it costs to shorten an axle - but with all the parts available for the fox 8.8 axle, it sure would be a tempting choice if I were you, they are already set up for upper and lower arms, and there are a pleathora of aftermarket arms available - however, I had good luck just boxing stock arms and putting in urethane bushings. In fact, I have a set of solid non adjustable tubular bars in my shop I'd sell you very reasonably if you were interested.

                              I'm sure someone here has one of these axles around and could give you the width from wheel face to wheel face - and you can go from there.

                              There is also a company making "battle boxes" that are replacement heavier gauged control arm mounts designed to strengthen the mounts in the body of the fox cars - they might be usefull as a starting point for fabbing your own - but may not be worth the expense - a google search should find them for you.

                              Good luck!
                              There's always something new to learn.

                              Comment

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