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  1. #1
    FEP Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Default Subframe connector guidance

    Starting the mock up of my full length subframe connectors. Pretty big project for a first timer and pretty intimidating if I must say. Anyways I got them mocked up and took some picks to get your advice. I'm thinking i might have to bend them a bit cause the gap seems to be bigger than a 1/8 at the front. Hopefully you can make it out from pics. What some methods to bending these things.? Dont really have access to a press so need some other ideas. Other than that how does it look so far? Thanks guys.

    Drivers side
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    85 Gt

  2. #2
    FEP Power Member mcb82gt's Avatar
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    Make a relief cut where needed on bottom side, then press the connector up with a jack and hold there, and then reweld the relief cut.
    Mike

    Now stang-less.

    88 Cougar 5.0

  3. #3

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    Many of these frame rails get pretty hammered over the decades and are not very parallel anymore. I have not had any so bad that a floor jack couldn't get the gap close enough to weld. Get the car off those blocks and the extra weight will help you. People who think the car needs to be all level and measured square do not live in the real world when it comes time to installing these. Ive installed 20-30 sets over the years. Just get em flush to the frame rails and burn em in hot. A 110v welder may struggle if it's not maxed out to at least 135amps. A 220v welder will make a better job of it. The car will always feel great when it's done.

    I stopped buying the coated connectors as it annoyed me that I needed to grind off all the paint and the welding would burn off more during installation. It all needs to be painted again afterwards with paint better than parts store spray paint and undercoating if you want to do it right.
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  4. #4
    FEP Member Hans's Avatar
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    Would the gaps close if you put the jack under the connectors and lift until you unload the wheels somewhat?
    Not done it myself yet, but since the reason for using SFC is body flex it might reduce the gaps.
    Goodluck,
    Hans.

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  5. #5
    FEP Member Hans's Avatar
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    Shoot, Zap beat me at replying.
    Really interested myself since plan to do this soon.


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  6. #6
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    I had the same problem when I did mine, plus my car was worse on the driver's rear section in vs. out. I had to make a relief cut and reweld it, plus use a floor jack to hold it tight before welding. This is my video, and shows both, which may help you with what can work. Mine have been on the car for 3 years with no issues.


  7. #7
    FEP Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zap's 85 GT View Post
    Many of these frame rails get pretty hammered over the decades and are not very parallel anymore. I have not had any so bad that a floor jack couldn't get the gap close enough to weld. Get the car off those blocks and the extra weight will help you. People who think the car needs to be all level and measured square do not live in the real world when it comes time to installing these. Ive installed 20-30 sets over the years. Just get em flush to the frame rails and burn em in hot. A 110v welder may struggle if it's not maxed out to at least 135amps. A 220v welder will make a better job of it. The car will always feel great when it's done.

    I stopped buying the coated connectors as it annoyed me that I needed to grind off all the paint and the welding would burn off more during installation. It all needs to be painted again afterwards with paint better than parts store spray paint and undercoating if you want to do it right.
    Thanks for the advice Zap. Makes me less worried that I dont have to be as picky with levels and alignment. One thing I did notice is at the back of the sfc I can line the last inch or so up so it flush with the rail but as it starts to go towards the front the sfc ends up sitting inside the rail if that makes sense. In other words it does not sit flush with rail all the way to the front. Is that a big deal? Also you mentioned getting the car off the blocks. Are you not supposed to have the suspension loaded when you put these in? Either a drive on lift or sitting on cribbing blocks?
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    85 Gt

  8. #8
    FEP Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basin Motorsports View Post
    I had the same problem when I did mine, plus my car was worse on the driver's rear section in vs. out. I had to make a relief cut and reweld it, plus use a floor jack to hold it tight before welding. This is my video, and shows both, which may help you with what can work. Mine have been on the car for 3 years with no issues.

    Thanks man, I actually watched your video yesterday. It did help although it could of went into more detail for newbs like me but that's just my opinion lol but I did learn something from watching it.
    Last edited by Sask84gt; 02-10-2020 at 08:09 PM.
    Mustangs
    84.5 Gt T-top
    85 Gt

  9. #9
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    I had a similar problem, when I put them on my car. The front subframe had been improperly jacked at some point. I used the competition engineering torque box plates to give a flat spot on the rear to weld to. This also helped out the gap up front. I thought I had some pictures of when I installed mine, but haven't found them. Here's the one's that I bought:

    https://www.summitracing.com/parts/c...0aApgZEALw_wcB

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sask84gt View Post
    Thanks man, I actually watched your video yesterday. It did help although it could of went into more detail for newbs like me but that's just my opinion lol but I did learn something from watching it.
    The video was already pretty long, but if you have any additional questions you're in the right place to ask them. The SFC are a much better tolerance of fit vs. the car you're putting them most likely. Just do your best, measure twice, cut once (if required), and tack them on before you finish weld them. Best case it that the SFC aren't under any extra forces to make them fit. That can take a lot of work, so just do your best. They will make a difference in the feel of the car.

  11. #11

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    We used a 110V flux wire feed welder from Harbor Freight to burn the subframe connectors in on my sons 86GT. It worked very well and produced a professional looking result.

    The garage floor at my dads is flat and level so we used it as our reference point. We used four identical jack stands making sure we placed the front and rear pairs in the same place to make sure there wasn’t lateral twist in the car

    we put the connectors in as well as we could on one end and tacked them then used a jack to force them into place then welded them up

    The car felt like a brick on wheels when it was done

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sask84gt View Post
    Also you mentioned getting the car off the blocks. Are you not supposed to have the suspension loaded when you put these in? Either a drive on lift or sitting on cribbing blocks?
    The MM instructions say "The car’s weight must be on the tires or supported with jack stands positioned on the rear axle housing and k-member." Yet in the pictures in the instructions it clearly shows the car being on a drive on lift.

    Overthink it all you want. Ive found it doesn't really matter as long as the install welds are sound. Ive installed many sets of the non full-length connectors too and the methods and results are the same. Having the K-member supported gives you more weight to jack up the subframes to get them flush to the car before welding. If they are not aligned lengthwise with the cars subframes then your car probably is a bit twisted from a accident or something. I have never seen any that have not lined up in that regard.
    Black 1985 GT: 408w, in the 6's in the 1/8 mile
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    Grabber Yellow 1973 Mustang Mach 1: 351c, toploader
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  13. #13
    FEP Senior Member Patrick Olsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zap's 85 GT View Post
    The MM instructions say "The car’s weight must be on the tires or supported with jack stands positioned on the rear axle housing and k-member." Yet in the pictures in the instructions it clearly shows the car being on a drive on lift.
    If the car is on a drive-on lift, then the car's weight is on the tires.
    '89 GT convertible - not a four-eye
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen View Post
    If the car is on a drive-on lift, then the car's weight is on the tires.
    Aah. That's where speed reading will get ya.
    Black 1985 GT: 408w, in the 6's in the 1/8 mile
    Color TBD 1988 LX 5.0 Coupe 5-speed: Rear defrost only option
    Grabber Yellow 1973 Mustang Mach 1: 351c, toploader
    Black 2012 5.0 GT, 6-speed, Brembo brakes, 3.73's
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  15. #15
    FEP Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen View Post
    If the car is on a drive-on lift, then the car's weight is on the tires.
    Yup, same as if its sitting on cribbing.
    Mustangs
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    85 Gt

  16. #16

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    There is no reason to cut the subframe connectors. If they do not sit flush with the bottom of the car, just change the bend angle. In the side view, the connectors are bent into a slight Z shape. Since they are rectangular tubing, when they are bent, one of the walls collapses. To fix this, we have welded a reinforcement plate at one of the bend points. If you need to change the angle, just bend the connector at the other bend point, the one without the reinforcement plate welded on. After installation, the loose reinforcement plates must be welded over the collapsed section of tubing.

    Before this plate is welded on, this connectors will bend fairly easily. You can clamp them to a work bench and hang off of the end of them. Put the bend point at the edge of the workbench.

    You don't want to force the subframe connectors up against the car with a jack. If you do that, you are applying a permanent deformation to the chassis. Try to minimize this as much as possible.

    It is impossible to get the subframe connectors to line up on the sides at the front and back. The front and rear frame rails on a Mustang are different widths apart. If we wanted the connectors to line up perfectly side to side at the front and back, we would have to also put a Z bend into them in the top view.
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  17. #17
    FEP Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hidley View Post
    There is no reason to cut the subframe connectors. If they do not sit flush with the bottom of the car, just change the bend angle. In the side view, the connectors are bent into a slight Z shape. Since they are rectangular tubing, when they are bent, one of the walls collapses. To fix this, we have welded a reinforcement plate at one of the bend points. If you need to change the angle, just bend the connector at the other bend point, the one without the reinforcement plate welded on. After installation, the loose reinforcement plates must be welded over the collapsed section of tubing.

    Before this plate is welded on, this connectors will bend fairly easily. You can clamp them to a work bench and hang off of the end of them. Put the bend point at the edge of the workbench.

    You don't want to force the subframe connectors up against the car with a jack. If you do that, you are applying a permanent deformation to the chassis. Try to minimize this as much as possible.

    It is impossible to get the subframe connectors to line up on the sides at the front and back. The front and rear frame rails on a Mustang are different widths apart. If we wanted the connectors to line up perfectly side to side at the front and back, we would have to also put a Z bend into them in the top view.
    Thanks for replying Jack. So it looks like I need to bend both sfc up about 1/8- 1/4 inch on the front. So your saying I should be bending at the bend point where the reinforcement plates get welding on? Problem is I will be bending against the slight bend manufacturing put it in. Does this sound right? Thanks
    Mustangs
    84.5 Gt T-top
    85 Gt

  18. #18

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    Yes and yes. You are just adjusting the angle of the bend that we put in.
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  19. #19
    FEP Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hidley View Post
    Yes and yes. You are just adjusting the angle of the bend that we put in.
    Ok thanks, I do have access to a press at work so I should be able to use that to press down on top which will bend front and rear up. Also, looks like my seat bracket on the passenger side will need some modifications. The bolts wont slide far enough in the bracket slots towards door to allow sfc to mount. Must of been off when we welded floor pan in. Any tips for doing this?
    Mustangs
    84.5 Gt T-top
    85 Gt

  20. #20

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    That's quite unusual. We make the slots quite long and the lateral position of the frame rails in the car is good and can not easily change.

    When test fitting the seat braces for extending the slots, make sure that the front and rear of the subframe connectors is in the correct location. Clamp the connector in place, then measure from the side of the connector out to the center of the bolt hole in the floor pan. Then transfer this measurement to the seat brace, so you can know how much more to slot it.
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  21. #21
    FEP Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hidley View Post
    That's quite unusual. We make the slots quite long and the lateral position of the frame rails in the car is good and can not easily change.

    When test fitting the seat braces for extending the slots, make sure that the front and rear of the subframe connectors is in the correct location. Clamp the connector in place, then measure from the side of the connector out to the center of the bolt hole in the floor pan. Then transfer this measurement to the seat brace, so you can know how much more to slot it.
    Ok thanks. Drivers side fit fine so I'm assuming when we welded in the new floor pan we were off a bit from factory measurements. We thought we were bang on but I guess not. Pretty sure I'm going to have to cap the end of bracket to give a little more metal to work with. Watched a video on youtube earlier from house of dula where he had to do the same thing.
    Mustangs
    84.5 Gt T-top
    85 Gt

  22. #22

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    I didn't realize that you installed a new floorpan. In that case, I would start by installing the seats, to make sure that they are straight in the car and in the correct location. Check that the rear bolt holes and front studs all line up with the seats. If they don't you might be able to move the doubler plate for the rear seat bolts over. This would allow everything to line up and might make it so you don't have to modify the seat brace.
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  23. #23
    FEP Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Ok. When we got floor pan in and seat plates mounted we did put the seat in to make sure it fit and it seemed everything was fine. At least nothing noticable by sitting in it.
    Mustangs
    84.5 Gt T-top
    85 Gt

  24. #24
    FEP Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    So I cant for the life of me get these things to sit flush with my frame rails. They sit flush with the back but in the middle and front they sit off the rail. I've tried bending them, widening the plates in the middle, jacking up at different points( right under seat brackets). Its like something is stopping it from going up that last 1/4 inch. Getting pretty frustrated to be honest. The pictures are with a jack pushing up at middle point just to the point of suspension starting to go up.
    First picks are jacking at seat bracket just to the point of lifting car.
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    These are jacking up at middle to the point of lifting car.
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    This is just holding it up tight with just my hand
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    Mustangs
    84.5 Gt T-top
    85 Gt

  25. #25

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    Is it binding on the tabs? As in, they're pinched in and maybe just need to be fitted?

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