Independent Front Suspension (IFS) FAQ’s
Are you thinking about upgrading your Independent Front Suspension? Purchasing any product for your ride normally takes some questioning and that mindset is especially true when upgrading any part of your vehicles suspension.
We here at Fatman Fabrication take these questions very seriously because a better-informed customer is a knowledgeable customer who takes the time to get to know how a product like ours can actually benefit them for stopping power, safety, ride comfort and so much more!
Our customers are some of the best out there because when they contact us they are asking these very same questions, so we thought we would share some most asked questions we get on our Independent Front Suspension (IFS) Kits.
Why Should I Use A Mustang II IFS?
Although a MII won’t be best for every car and truck, they’re often the best choice for the applications we list. Subframes can be less expensive, but are much more time consuming and difficult, and often present problems with too wide a track width, and difficult bumper and sheetmetal remounting. The worst thing about a subframe is that you’ve “Burned your Bridges” – you cannot update the suspension again. Remember all the Corvair IFS that got replaced with Mustang II – a subframe cuts off your options along with your frame!
Why Aren’t You The Cheapest Kit Out There?
In the end, the whole is the sum of the parts. The easiest way to be the cheapest is to cut corners on cost and quality. Ball joints, brakes, bearings, etc. can be bought in several quality/price levels. We avoid the cheapest stuff – you still get what you pay for! Our Power rack & pinions and brake calipers are sourced in the U.S. from major re-builders and, we employ skilled American craftsmen using American equipment paid an American wage. That ensures your parts being produced with skill and concern for quality. Your safety and satisfaction are our primary concern, one we take seriously.
What Drop Will I Get?
Since tire diameter directly affects ride height, you need to know that our standard kits put the spindle center at the same height as the bottom of the frame. Some competitor’s kits sit 11/2” higher! Measure the distance from the bottom of the frame, to the lower control arm bolt to compare – ours is 31/2”. Our Ultra-Low kits put the spindle center 11/2”above the frame bottom. You will have a 1” plus or minus latitude in height with your final spring trim, so by changing tire diameter and spring trim, you can generally get a 2” to 5” drop with our standard kit, and another 11/2” with Ultra-Low Kits. We feel it’s best to get the right stance with the right kit – not excessively cut springs or drop spindles.
What Springs Will I Need?
It’s a matter of total weight and weight distribution due to engine position. Assuming a small block V-8 is used, light cars with the motor mounts 4”-6” behind the axle center line (’33-’34 Ford and ’34-’35 Chevy) usually need 4 cyl. springs. Heavier cars (’35-’54) usually have the engine mounted further forward, and generally need V-6 springs, with a ½= coil cut to get the lower arms level, if necessary. Big blocks, 50’s pickups, and the larger fat fender cars usually require V-8 springs. Excessively heavy cars with Hemis, 460’s, and pickups into the 60’s and 70’s often need springs from an ’82-’93 5.0 Mustang, which are about 1” taller and 15% higher rate than MII V-8, but still fit MII mountings. The basic rule is to get the lower arms level with full weight loaded.
Is The MII Strong Enough?
The ball joint and tie rod end studs are actually larger than those on a subframe, and are the same size used on full size Fords! You should always upgrade to larger brakes on any application.
Should I Use Power Or Manual Steering?
For most pre-’36 applications, we prefer the manual, since it’s slower ratio makes for better road feel and steers easier than most people expect. Extreme U-Joint angles can greatly increase effort, so try to minimize them. We now use and recommend ’79-‘93 Mustang power racks, which are less sensitive than ’74-’78 versions. Pump pressure is not an issue, and they’re easier to find. Power racks are most often used on big block installations, and 50’s pickups and cars. On stock or widened kits, either power or manual can be used.