Most of this happened over the last few months since the last update. I've been lax on updates, but living up to the thread title a lot of these projects I'd start, move onto another and come around again to finish, which I can't imagine is satisfying to those of you reading through all of this expecting satisfactory conclusions lol
So to start in no particular order, I posted a teaser way the hell back showing my steering rack removed. Well, I had no particular idea what I was going to do there, I actually came very close to doing manual steering, but common sense told me otherwise and I decided to pursue one of my fantasy swaps
I'm not sure how many of you know the significance of SPR ZM but this is a take-off low mile 03-04 Cobra Rack, the second best (first being 00 Cobra R) rack designed for SN95s, with a much stiffer torsion bar and better internal valving. A stiffer torsion bar in the pinion naturally reduces Assist by requiring more steering input to provide assist to the rack, and being a firmer link between the pinion and U joint provides more road feel. Neither of these benefits are possible by simply depowering the stock rack, whether it be by EVO or pump deletion.
These racks are a bit hit or miss when it comes to remans depending on who you talk to. Cardone lists a SPR ZM rack at Rockauto, but you may get a rack with the correct body with the code, but the guts inside can be from any number of SN95 Mustangs. All Cardone promises you are the rack limiters that 03-04 Cobras have(not necessary for us, see below). I rolled the dice and went used for about the same cost just to be 100% sure. All I needed to do to mate it to the MN12 was change the bushings/sleeves to the MN12/Pinto style and use the MN12 tie rod ends - inners are exactly the same, MOOG EV127 - and the steering coupler is different - triangle shaped rather than splined (I will be posting a future update showing my changes there)
These are the rack limiters. They're simply slipped over the rack gear and stop the tie rod ends from hitting the main stops integral to the rack housing.
Ooh, what is that shiny object lurking in the background? Perhaps another view is in order.
Oh yes, some of my finest sculpture to date, I don't mind saying.
So I had this wild desire to use a Mustang midpipe assembly, because everyone says they don't fit. Well they don't, but it nearly does! And as you can guess the nearly is the factory stamped transmission crossmember. After thinking up all sorts of ways to modify it, I started googling looking for ideas and found this:
X factor by American Powertrain, which are made for muscle cars with modern transmissions. I saw that they were made out of T6061 T6 aluminum, and then it occurred to me "hey I used that stuff for my K member spacers, I can make that!" And make it I did
I basically made a cardboard template traced onto paper set up to hug the floor and mount directly to the frame without bushings(which killed two birds with one stone, my old ones were dry rotted). I forget the exact measurements but I used 1/2" T6061 T6, which seems to be thicker than the X factor but I'm not an engineer so overkill is the name of the game!
Suffice to say proper tools(a mill and/or a CNC machine) would have been a tad easier and maybe less messy, but I made due.
Since both sides are identical in dimension I bolted them together during the process
Once cut out came smoothing with my grinder(s)
Checking it lines up in the car
Next is the channel aluminum(also 6061 T6, 1/4" wall)
Going together like a beefy erector set
All this work to clear this damn pipe!
Painted and assembled with grade 8 hardware.
But wait there's more!
I had a good amount of scraps leftover, and to kill two birds with one stone I decided to make me a pair of rear caliper relocation brackets to finally use the Cobra Rotors I've had sitting around for several years.
While I was working on the back of the car taking dimensions for these I came to the quick realization that this 100K mile IRS was shot, toe comp boots were gone, UCAs had no resistance in them etc. I've been waiting for an opportunity to install my Mark VIII LCAs as well so, "when in Rome".
I finally practiced what I preached, going with Prothane LCA bushings and energy suspension knuckle bushings, and deleting the toe compensators.
Started with the knuckles, I wanted to add grease fittings and felt I should document it since there a few hacks worth sharing.
I use pieces of my harmonic balancer puller for everything, bushing removal is one of them. The energy suspension lower bushings are one piece and need assistance to install, so I put them in the same way. Slowly squeeze until the tip fully penetrates.
Btw I left the tap in the hole so the bushing won't squeeze through and tear when it passes by.
Once it eventually bottomed out on my puller, so to get it the rest of the way I used a C clamp and an old pulley on the other end.
Now with all the good suggestions to add grease fittings to these, grease distribution is often ignored. The bushings all have horizontal slats cut in already, but there's no way to distribute it. So what I did was cut a channel below the fitting into the sleeves with my expensive lathe
Same with the control arms, I cut wider deeper channels in these since the sleeves are much thicker, I don't want to cut so much material that they squash when torqued.
LCA and spindle bushing removal I used the balancer puller with 2-1/4" and 2-1/2" exhaust pipe sections. This is my legitimate pick for favorite tool, because it's been more useful for the dollar than anything else I own.
Grease holes being drilled and tapped
Bushings ready to go. The washers are to fill the gaps in the subframe when installed since the sleeves are longer than the bushings
Ok, not done done
Updates aplenty to come!