Suspension problems with 1997 Mustang GT - Ford Mustang Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011 Thread Starter
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Suspension problems with 1997 Mustang GT

Hello, this is my first posting. I own a 1997 Ford Mustang GT Convertible with a premium package in its time. I am downright proud of it.
I am having issues with my suspension system. This is my first ever Ford Mustang. I am learning pretty quick though. Here's what I have done to the car so far. I changed the coil springs because the car came in a slammed posture. Curb height was about 3 inches from its lowest point; the catalytic converters and the K-member. Now it sits about 3 inches higher. I installed Eibach Pro springs. Installed a new set of flowmaster exhausts, all shocks and struts were replaced with KYB standard equipment, camber/caster plate kit from Steeda, KYB axle dampers to further stabilize the rear axle. When I bought the car the clutch through out bearing s were gone; totally. I had to use a puller to pull the bearings off the input shaft. Luckily the shaft was not damaged. I replaced the entire clutch system to include installing a Steeda adjustable clutch cable.

Here is what I have assessed as problems.
1. Up Front:
The car was in a front right collision which is slightly visible only when the hood is raised. Albeit the right front strut tower is off by a fraction but compensated for with camber plates etc. At least that is what the mechanic tells me. The 2nd time we did an alignment the defect was not visible. He used pro racing alignment equipment-state of the art stuff fully digital. Very meticulous individual so I trust his analysis.
2. Suspension and Steering: Fault-I had excessive play in the steering causing difficulty to keep the car on the road at certain speeds.
Solution? Swapped the steering gear for a new re-manned one, and replaced the power steering pump. I still don't have reliable control at speeds at 70-80mph though the steering is tight. I do have a slight leak at the hydraulic booster. I believe that this is also affecting my braking system. Hard braking or uneven surfaces causes shift in steering.

After reading previous postings I discovered that because the car is lowered and after checking the the angle of the steering tie rod ends and the center of the car they are angled upward about 10 to 15 degrees. I plan on buying a set of bump stops to even them out. My front tires are showing some feathering on the out side edge after 2000 miles. I get some pull to the left. The caster angle is pretty strong and takes effort to brake it loose into turns.

Over all I really don't know what advice to ask for yet but any advice is welcome as I learn how to service this vehicle. I am an avid do-it-yourselfer so my experience will grow but I dont want to earn it by spending too much money through bad advice from automotive shops and stores that just want me to spend my money on useless solutions.

Thanks.

Las97gt

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011
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I would look into a tubular K member, and coilovers. Sounds like it may be a rack problem in your steering, or a problem in the hydroboost, as that would affect your steering and breaking.

I think that alone would fix any problems you are having. I too have a 97 and love the hell out of this car. Its been a better friend then anyone I know. I bumped a curb in mine years ago when it snowed and it tweaked my K just like you are discribing... ever so slightly. However with MM caster camber plates and wider tires, I fixed that (at least it doesn't pull and tires dont wear funny)

Good luck! Hope you find the information you are looking for!


1997 Mustang GT- DOHC, Termec T-45, LT Headers, Bassani O/R X, Tri-ax, 3.73s, JLT CAI, BAMA tune

1979 Mustang Ghia
2003 Mustang GT
1996 Volvo 850 T5



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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011
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K MEMBERS

STEERING RACKS

BUMPSTEER

Again, Good luck!

1997 Mustang GT- DOHC, Termec T-45, LT Headers, Bassani O/R X, Tri-ax, 3.73s, JLT CAI, BAMA tune

1979 Mustang Ghia
2003 Mustang GT
1996 Volvo 850 T5



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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011 Thread Starter
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Nicks79,


thanks for the encouragement.

Please excuse me if I am long winded. My car has issues and I am new to the mustang.
I agree with you on loving the car. I do. I enjoy dropping the top even today and enjoy having the owners of coupes and so forth look at me with envy. Sometimes I get a thumbs up. I especially enjoy crusing at 55-65 and have gawkers inspect my ride. Its especially nice when I dust two cars in a tick on the back roads if you get my meaning; safely of course. Overall I am quite gentle with it after all I have more issues than just suspension. Its hogging gas because it has mods that need tuning.

I bought the car as is minus the upgrades I listed just to get it to road worthiness. It got expensive real fast. Here's my take on the suspension and let me know what you think.

After much frustration and serious research on this forum and the web I found a solution and ignored the mechanics musing that he just removes the dampers and tosses them. Kinda like the little weight that hangs on the bottom of the rear axle differential. By the way what is that for?

I couldn't find an after market stock design axle damper (except Bilstein at ginormous costs) so I went for KYB dampers that I found at Advance Auto (little miniatures shocks; stiff as hell too the little things) to improve steering by reducing over/under drive from the rear end. It is a very close fit. Actually, a bad fit; it touches the rear shocks and has about 1/8 in clearance from my tires. I am musing about cutting the shield around the shaft (dampers) and reversing them to get the stock clearance.

After installing the dampers I find that goosing the car into turns could be dangerous; just yesterday I lifted the rear end(one wheel I think but felt like two) in a simple turn with a slight even dip in the road way; I swear my rear end was airborne. I attribute this to worn out bushings in the upper and lower control arms causing binding, and uneven excursion of the axle upward. When it returns to the roadway torque steer seems to come into play.

My steering is real stiff but I attribute it to the lower (I'd tell you what its called but I can't recall the correct terminology) center of the vehicle and the fact that I am using comp style camber/caster plates; the stock version on the right side were bad. It had a couple of the rivets busted and lifting on one corner.

Either way this one's a keeper. I'm not selling it. I've had many offers. Not selling though. I'm gonna conquer this baby and get it where I want it to be. But first the suspension must be right. I'll build up from there.

Stay in touch. I have a car to build.

Las97Gt
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011 Thread Starter
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Nicks79,

How does hydroboost work. No manuals on it that I can find. my K- member is fine. It is well beaten though from the H&R lowering kit I removed. Heck, the car hit everything on the road it used to make sparks fly.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011
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Makes sparks fly? You are driving a 97!

They hydroboost uses pressure from the power steering pump to aid in brake pressure as well as your power steering. The fact that it is leaking isn't good, as they are banjo fittings and should never leak. I would investigate the hard lines to see if someone had replaced any of it and if they are flared into the male connectors off the firewall portion of the hydroboost. Lots of people actually ditch the hydroboost for a vacuum assisted braking setup like in the 94-95 cars, and go with manual steering. Flaming river does a great job with both conversions.

If I were you and going to keep the hydroboost setup, I would drain all the fluid and see what condition everything is in. The thing about a leak is not only does it let fluid out, it lets moisture in, and could cause a lot of the problems with the steering you are encountering, as well as the braking, as you know water doesn't compress.

I would start there, and make sure to get some pics up of the beast, I would love to see another clean 97 on the forum, and Im sure everyone else would too!

Ill PM you my info if you need anything
thanks!!!

1997 Mustang GT- DOHC, Termec T-45, LT Headers, Bassani O/R X, Tri-ax, 3.73s, JLT CAI, BAMA tune

1979 Mustang Ghia
2003 Mustang GT
1996 Volvo 850 T5



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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by las97gt View Post
Nicks79,


thanks for the encouragement.

Please excuse me if I am long winded. My car has issues and I am new to the mustang.
I agree with you on loving the car. I do. I enjoy dropping the top even today and enjoy having the owners of coupes and so forth look at me with envy. Sometimes I get a thumbs up. I especially enjoy crusing at 55-65 and have gawkers inspect my ride. Its especially nice when I dust two cars in a tick on the back roads if you get my meaning; safely of course. Overall I am quite gentle with it after all I have more issues than just suspension. Its hogging gas because it has mods that need tuning.

I bought the car as is minus the upgrades I listed just to get it to road worthiness. It got expensive real fast. Here's my take on the suspension and let me know what you think.

After much frustration and serious research on this forum and the web I found a solution and ignored the mechanics musing that he just removes the dampers and tosses them. Kinda like the little weight that hangs on the bottom of the rear axle differential. By the way what is that for?

I couldn't find an after market stock design axle damper (except Bilstein at ginormous costs) so I went for KYB dampers that I found at Advance Auto (little miniatures shocks; stiff as hell too the little things) to improve steering by reducing over/under drive from the rear end. It is a very close fit. Actually, a bad fit; it touches the rear shocks and has about 1/8 in clearance from my tires. I am musing about cutting the shield around the shaft (dampers) and reversing them to get the stock clearance.

After installing the dampers I find that goosing the car into turns could be dangerous; just yesterday I lifted the rear end(one wheel I think but felt like two) in a simple turn with a slight even dip in the road way; I swear my rear end was airborne. I attribute this to worn out bushings in the upper and lower control arms causing binding, and uneven excursion of the axle upward. When it returns to the roadway torque steer seems to come into play.

My steering is real stiff but I attribute it to the lower (I'd tell you what its called but I can't recall the correct terminology) center of the vehicle and the fact that I am using comp style camber/caster plates; the stock version on the right side were bad. It had a couple of the rivets busted and lifting on one corner.

Either way this one's a keeper. I'm not selling it. I've had many offers. Not selling though. I'm gonna conquer this baby and get it where I want it to be. But first the suspension must be right. I'll build up from there.

Stay in touch. I have a car to build.

Las97Gt


I wonder if your 97 has a "rag-joint" in the steering shaft like the older foxes did. Those are notorious for causing slopping steering.

Also, as far as the rear control arm issue, if your '97 still has the factory upper and lower control arms, they are most certainly worn out. (regardless of mileage) For a street car, I'd recommend UPR's Elite control arms 79-98 Mustang Elite Chrome Moly Urethane Control Arm Suspension Kit They are tubular chrome-moly with polyurethane bushings and they have a lifetime guarantee, for only $199.


Like us at Facebook.com/TeamUPR
Follow us on Instagram @uprproducts
Ask me about the discount on UPR Products for AFM members!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011
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Nope no rag joint, however the worm gear... LOL no really there is none of that in the system. Its prolly a loss of pressure or non constant pressure causing the problems

1997 Mustang GT- DOHC, Termec T-45, LT Headers, Bassani O/R X, Tri-ax, 3.73s, JLT CAI, BAMA tune

1979 Mustang Ghia
2003 Mustang GT
1996 Volvo 850 T5



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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2011
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There are 2 basic problems with the mustang suspension: Design and Quality.

FRONT:
. Replace the A arm bushings with urethane ones. Prothane has a good kit
. Get a Steeda Bump steer kit, this will help align geometry with the lowered front.
. Replace sway bar end links with shorter ones, to compensate for the lowering. Get some with urethane bushings

REAR
. Rear Lower Control ARMS, but not any basic urethane equipped LCA kit.
Steeda 3 piece urethane LCAs are GOOD, other arms use SINGLE piece bushings, these can BIND the LCA mounting points.
Best ARMS will use Urethane (or harder compound) on one side and SPHERICAL bearings. One name comes to mind Maximum Motorsports LCAs. LCAs with adjustable spring perches are great to even out the rear end height.
. With good LCAs drop those axle dampers, they just complicate the rear end geometry by adding more complexity.
. Keep the STOCK uppers, just replace the bushings with NEW RUBBER ones NO URETHANE HERE...else BINDING.

The above im sure will correct the problems and IMPROVE the handling substantially without being too tough on the wallet.

Rob Hernandez, AFM co-Founder.
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