Installing A Mustang II Kit Part IV
Now come a couple very important tasks. Locating the strut rod mounting brackets and "C" notching the frame.
The instructions that came with this kit recommended using Pinto strut rods. I happened to have Mustang rods. There is a small difference in the angles of these two parts that can cause a problem. The Pinto strut rods are angled enough to allow the mounting bracket to sit directly under the frame while the Mustang brackets are not. Have no fear however because there are a couple solutions to this problem. First, if you have a good torch you can heat the Mustang strut rods and bend them to the proper angle, or you can do what I did.
First I temporarily installed the lower "A" arm in the crossmember with the strut rod bolted in place and the bracket installed on the strut rod. Then I marked the location where the strut rod-mounting bracket met the frame. In this case the center of the bracket was aligned directly under the outside edge of the frame. I marked this location and simply extended the bottom of the frame outboard about an inch and a half using some scrap 3/16" steel plate and added a vertical gusset for strength. This gives the strut rod bracket full contact with a solid mounting surface.
I am also a proponent of erring on the safe side. Over the years I've known some people who had problems with strut rod mounting brackets coming loose. This bracket takes a lot of shock stress and must be mounted securely. I always add an additional horizontal gusset over and above the one provided in the kit just to make sure the mounting is very strong. In this picture the gusset to the right was provided in the kit and I added the 3/16" steel plate piece to the left. Better safe than sorry.
Now is the time to cut out the "C" notches. These are required so the rack and pinion unit will clear the frame. First use a cut off wheel to remove the majority of the metal and a grinder to finish the shape so the "C" notch filler pieces that come in the kit will fit properly. In many installations "C" notches are not necessary and this step can be eliminated.
This picture shows the filler pieces welded in place. Done properly "C" notching won't significantly weaken the frame. In this case the only thing the frame does in front of the notches is hold up the radiator, front bumper and front sheet metal. All things considered this doesn't require much strength at all compared to the stress the rest of the frame is constantly subjected to.
Total time for these two tasks was a little over 2 1/2 hours. Not bad considering the extra fabrication that I did. If I had used Pinto strut rods it would have cut about an hour out of this process.
Total elapsed time to this point: 5 hours 10 minutes.
We're almost there.
On to Part V