Welcome back to the buildup of our '93 Cobra project car, appropriately named "Stolen Goods." No, it wasn't stolen, though judging from the condition and the price we paid, we did get a steal of a deal, picking it up for a mere pittance.
This month, we plan to finish up the Maximum Motorsports Road & Track suspension we began installing in the February issue. We also need to sling the newly built 8.8 rear axle beneath the Cobra. We've already received mail on this project-some suggesting we should return the car to stock, but other than using the story as a restoration guide, it wouldn't be much fun. Of course, we realize the potential value of the Cobra, so we won't do anything to it that we can't restore back to stock in the future.
In keeping the suspension setup relatively simple, we installed Maximum Motorsports' Road & Track Box, which utilizes the factory-style coil spring arrangement coupled with matched Bilstein struts and shocks, along with a host of other components that tighten up the suspension and make it work more efficiently.
Up front, we installed Maximum's coil spring and Bilstein strut setup along with caster/camber plates, aluminum steering rack bushings, a solid steering shaft, and urethane antiroll bar bushings and end links.
Bridging the gap between the front and rear components are Maximum's full-length subframe connectors that we welded in for superior chassis support. Yeah, yeah, we know the car has 1,331 miles on the chassis, and we want to keep it riding that way. Once you start working a car hard and throwing excessive amounts of power and torque load at it, the chassis can flex, and we wanted to practice some preventative maintenance in order to keep the snake straight.
The rear suspension of the car starts off with Maximum Motorsports' ride-height-adjustable, heavy-duty lower control arms and coil springs matched with Bilstein shocks. "These new Road & Track springs are made to our specifications," says MM's Chuck Schwynoch. "They are similar to H&R's Race springs. They are a nice com-promise, suitable for a daily driven performance car, and for open-track use."
MM's heavy-duty rear lower control arms utilize specially designed, three-piece urethane bushings at the chassis end and high-quality Teflon-lined spherical bearings at the axle end.
According to Maximum Motorsports, the rubber bushings of the stock control arms prevent the rear axle from maintaining its correct position under the chassis, leading to instability from rear steer. Most aftermarket rear control arms use hard, two-piece urethane bushings, Delrin bushings, or steel bushings, but these do not allow the angularity needed for the Mustang's suspension to articulate freely. This results in suspension bind that causes the rear tires to easily break loose. Poor traction and handling ensue, but this binding also causes damage to the torque boxes. Control-arm deflection, as a result of flexible bushings, is also the primary cause of wheelhop.
The axle package from Reider...
The axle package from Reider Racing includes everything we need to assemble our 8.8. The Zexel Torsen differential retails for $596.95, while the master bearing kit is $88.00. The 3.55:1 ring-and-pinion we opted for sells for $159.95, and the Alloy axle shafts go for $209.95.
After realizing we did not...
After realizing we did not have the bearing caps for the 8.8 that we received when we purchased the car, the folks at HP Performance called up nearby salvage yard, Rusty Acres, which had a rebuildable unit delivered to us in a short time. The axle assembly was seemingly untouched, housing a stock Traction-Lok and 2.73:1 ring-and-pinion setup.
Disassembly starts with the...
Disassembly starts with the rear cover removal and draining of the nasty diff fluid. Try not to get it on your clothes, as the smell is permanent. Remove the center pin bolt and then the center pin itself. Push the axle shafts in and remove the C-clips to slide the axle shafts out of the housing. With the shafts out, unbolt the bearing caps (mark the caps as to their orientation to the housing when you take them off) and remove the differential, followed by the pinion gear.