North American Turbocoupe Organization



A bunch of strut questions.
Walsted Offline
Posting Freak
#1
Judging from what I have seen on other posts, I think it is time for new struts and mounts on the 86 TC. The front is real spongy, and when I bounce on the front bumper, I can see the tops of the struts move toward and away from each other about an inch each, and the car gets a couple of extra bounces. One bump lasts for many bounces while driving. Also, I am getting a lot of wear on the outside of the left front tire. No clunking noise, at least not since I fixed the brakes and anti-sway bar bushings.

I don't plan on going with high-performance struts or mounts, just something that will be inexpensive, and reduce the bouncing and uneven tire wear. Gabriel and Monroe seem to be the common struts in the lower price ranges. Does anyone have any experience with either of these, or other struts in the low price ranges? Is there any difference between the 2.3T, 3.8, and 5.0 Tbird struts?

As for mounts, what are my options? Any preferences? I've seen them listed on the Autozone and O'Reilly sites for about $30. What are some better options? What is the difference between strut mounts and caster/camber plates?

When it comes time for the installation, will I need anything other than a floor jack, a couple of stands, and a good selection of sockets? Is this the type of job one can do by oneselve without a lot of risk?

The car has stock springs as far as I can tell, and the current struts are black with no labeling. No suspension mods, and the tires are 205/70R14 until I can get the struts fixed and get newer tires without worring about excessive wear. The front end does look a bit higher than the rear, but I don't know if that matters.

Thanks for the help.

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Mike Walsted - NATO member
1986 5-speed TurboCoupe and 1985 5-speed XR7

[This message has been edited by Walsted (edited 11-02-2002).]
Mike Walsted - Sold my 1986 5-speed TurboCoupe
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Grant Offline
Member
#2
I have Gabriels (from AutoZone, where I work) on my 83 TC, and thay have been great. I had Monroes (from Advance Auto Parts) on my 91 Mustang GT and they were great too. Either will work fine. As for doing the job, you'll need to jack up the car, support it with jackstands, then use the jack to hold up the control arm (or use another jack...I use my big 3-ton jack for lifting the car and a smaller floor jack for things like holding parts up). If you don't have access to an impact wrench and don't know anyone to let you borrow one, you'll need a beefy 1/2" drive or better breaker bar and an extension to get the 2 bolts holding the bottom of the strut to the spindle off. Impacts just make things soo much easier [Image: smile.gif] Anyway, support the control arm w/ a jack, and take out the 2 bolts at the bottom (you can take the top nut off first if you'd like), then pull out the strut (you may have to lower the control arm slightly to get it out-- DON'T try to do this without supporting the arm, because if you do, the arm will sling down [likely breaking your brake lines] and the spring will fly into your head or some other nearby object). Hope this helps you. Good luck with it. Later

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83 TC : full 3" exhaust, 17" 93 cobra wheels, many mods awaiting install once the engine's back in Smile
83 TC : full 3" exhaust, 17" 93 cobra wheels, many mods awaiting install once the engine's back in Smile
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Chuck W Offline
Posting Freak
#3
If your upper mounts are moving that much..replace them....they're shot. The replacement strut mounts will be cheaper than a set a caster/camber plates. The added caster though will help some with tire wear, but aren't essential. The replacement TRW or Moog upper strut mounts are like the ones used in the Mustangs from 83-02 with the cup and bushing style. The factory TBIrd ones are not repairable and mostly rubber...which is why they wear out. If the replacement ones don't come with poly bushings..some do...I have a set you can have for the cost of shipping if you decide to go that route.

If you're going to replace the upper mounts..which you should considering their condition..you can just take the strut/upper mount out as a unit.

Since yours is an 86 with the 10" brakes and the wider strut attachment point, just purchase a good set of struts as recommended. If you had the later 11" setup with the narrower strut attachment flange, you could make use of take-offs from a newer Mustang (I've got like 3-4 sets in my garage ; ) ), but since you don't you need to buy them.

As said, and should be re-emphasized, support the control arm with the jack. You can do the job with the brake caliper attached..but to avoid any damage to the line I would just remove it from the spindle and hang it out of the way.

Good luck with it.

Chuck

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Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental..
83 Pseudo-Coupe, 87 Ranger (soon to be 2.3T), 84 XR7 (Yes it will live again!), and 62 Mercury Monterey (old n slo)
NATO Member since the beginning!!!
83 TC Clone, 85 Mercury LTS, 97 Volvo 850 T5 Turbo, 78 Volvo 240, 93 F150
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Pete D Offline
Administrator
#4
I'll second the motion on impact wrenches to the bottom strut mount bolts. On the 88s the torque spec on those is around 150. I don't think I would have gotten mine loose without impact sockets and air gun. Might be worth while to pay some body to break them loose then torque lighter so you can drive it home to finish the job.

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NATO Member. it's not a vice, it's an obsession
"The nice thing about each new day is nobody ever used it before" Barnaby Jones
88 TC X 2, 86 SVO, mods list at
http://www.turbotbird.com/showroom/pd_88tc.htm
Pete Dunham


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Walsted Offline
Posting Freak
#5
Okay, I bought the struts and mounts (Gabriel) from Autozone, and will probably install them tomorrow if my neighbor who owes me some help and has an impact wrench isn't busy.

The instructions with the mounts say to install like the picture on the back, and on the back is the same thing in French and Spanish, with no picture on either side. It is easy to figure out how some of the parts are going to be assembled, and through process of elimination the others can be guessed. Just to make sure, though, does this sound right? (listed from bottom to top)
  • *Strut on the bottom.
    *Cup-like thing that has a rubber coating, installed with the concave side down.
    *Mount part with three bolts pointing up.
    *Rubber gasket.
    *Ball-shaped rubber bushing.
    *Long metal sleeve inserted between the rubber ball shaped bushing and the top bolt on the strut.
    *Big washer looking thing to compress the rubber ball like thing.
    *Big nut on the strut, and three nuts on the mount part to hold it on.

That leaves me with two parts left over. One is a smaller metal sleeve, about 1/2 inch high instead of two inches like the other sleeve, and another round rubber part, probably a bushing, that would make a W if cut in half. The small metal sleeve fits in the base of the W rubber bushing. My guess is that the W bushing and ball bushing are interchangeable, and that is also the differences in the sleeves.

Is this right?

Thanks.

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Mike Walsted - NATO member
1986 5-speed TurboCoupe and 1985 5-speed XR7
Mike Walsted - Sold my 1986 5-speed TurboCoupe
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Chuck W Offline
Posting Freak
#6
Well, I'm not sure about the "cup-like thing with the rubber coating..BUT here's what I think:
First install the "mount" into the strut tower, studs up..then assemble as follows:
1. strut
2. "w" shaped bushing is a bump stop..put it on and just slide down
3. 1/2" sleeve
4. cup-like thing
Insert this from the bottom.

From the top..
-slide bigger sleeve into ball-like bushing and slide onto strut shaft.
-install big washer and nut and tighten.

Now that I think of it..the cup-like thing you won't need if you just reuse your stock dust "boots". What the cup-like thing does is take of the space of the stock dust boot top..with is a cup-like thing with rubber coating and a boot attached to it. [Image: biggrin.gif]

Hope this helps
Chuck

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Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental..
83 Pseudo-Coupe, 87 Ranger (soon to be 2.3T), 84 XR7 (Yes it will live again!), and 62 Mercury Monterey (old n slo)
NATO Member since the beginning!!!
83 TC Clone, 85 Mercury LTS, 97 Volvo 850 T5 Turbo, 78 Volvo 240, 93 F150
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Walsted Offline
Posting Freak
#7
Which way should the W shaped bushing face, as in, should the W shape be right-side up or upside down?

Thanks for the help.
Mike Walsted - Sold my 1986 5-speed TurboCoupe
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Walsted Offline
Posting Freak
#8
Finished! Big difference in the ride. The driver's side strut was dead, as in no resistance, no rebound. Made it real easy to remove.

Thanks for the help.

Mike.

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Mike Walsted - NATO member
1986 5-speed TurboCoupe and 1985 5-speed XR7
Mike Walsted - Sold my 1986 5-speed TurboCoupe
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