When I posted my initial impression of using my 1968 Mustang as a daily driver I mentioned the car’s handling leaving a lot to be desired. The Mustang was professionally restored by a reputable shop fifteen or so years ago, was rarely driven, and garaged until I bought it a few months ago.Though the parts had not seen many miles, time had taken a toll. Once I got under the car for a closer inspection it became evident the Mustang’s handling woes were due mainly to dry rotted suspension bushings.
Since that discovery I’ve been working on rehabbing the Mustang’s front suspension little by little, as time allows. I already replaced the strut rod bushings with OE type rubber bushings. I also upgraded to a 1″ sway bar with poly bushings and had the car realigned with Open Tracker Racing’s street performance alignment specs.
Next I took a look at the worn spring perches. There are several spring perch options to consider. Early Mustangs were built on Ford Falcon architecture, which utilize the same suspension setup. Early Falcons were originally equipped with bronze bushings and grease fittings in the spring perches. As a cost cutting measure for mass production of the Mustang, Ford replaced the bronze bushing with a hard rubber pivot. Perches with the rubber pivot are not as forgiving as bronze bushings and bind, causing undesirable handling characteristics at the limit.
Many restorers replace their spring perches with the OE type rubber perches. These are fine for a show car or casual driver, but there are much better options for those of us who like to drive hard. For a few more dollars you can get perches with bronze bushings, as Ford originally intended. And for a bit more than that you go with roller spring perches, which utilize roller bearings in place of rubber or bronze, allowing full range of motion.
To install your roller spring perches;
- Set your car safely on jack stands with the front wheels removed.
- Remove the shock absorber – two nuts on the bottom and two bolts on top.
- Remove the nuts holding the shock cap on, and gently remove the shock and cap.
- Lower an internal spring compressor tool inside the coil spring. I modified mine to work better with old Mustangs and similar cars (see photos).
- Securely set the lower compressor jaw into the spring, two coils up from the bottom. If your compressor has an offset jaw, make sure the long jaw grabs the lower part of the coil.
- Slowly turn the screw on the compressor to compress the coil spring. BE CAREFUL WITH COIL SPRINGS! A coil spring decompressing unexpectedly can seriously injure or kill you.
- Once the spring is decompressed enough to relieve all pressure on the spring perch you can remove the two bolts securing the perch to the control arm and remove the perch. Then bolt your new perch on tightly.
- Now you’re going to set the spring in the perch. The end of the coil should end up against the tab in the back of the perch when everything is decompressed and the suspension is loaded. It helps to have a second set of hands for this step – one person to guide the spring and one to either decompress the spring from the top or to raise the suspension with a jack under the lower control arm. Remember to show those compressed coils respect.
- The rest of the job is reassembly in reverse order.
Though I’ve only put a few miles on the roller spring perches, they do make a noticeable difference in the way the car handles. It’s clearly more confident and predictable on fast exit ramps and over uneven pavement.
There are several online sources for roller spring perches, but I have to say the quality of the perches I got from Open Tracker Racing is great, as is the customer service. John Dinkel at OTR is a Mustang racer, enthusiast, and wealth of knowledge, and seems genuinely happy to offer advice and talk Mustangs whether you’re buying parts from him or not. Highly recommended.
For this post we installed roller perches on our 1968 Mustang coupe. The same or similar installation would be expected for 1964-1973 Mustangs as well as similar year Mercury Cougars and Ford Falcons.