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Discussion Starter #41
If you havent ordered endlinks for your sway bar yet def go TZT... hes got a group buy up on em right now. He installed mine about a week ago and I love em... the fronts are more noticeably beefed up than the rears but both are a huge upgrade from the crappy stockers :rofl:

Edit* Also priced well 8) Good luck with the coug... I'm workin on mine too lol :tongue:
If you look closely at the pics in post #39, youll see that I now have solid endlinks bolted into the control arm instead of the craptastic bushing-in-hole design.
Sadly, they arent installed yet due to my schedule being quite hectic the last couple weeks, but once they are in, I should have pretty much the stiffest rear end around. (only lacking a RSTB)
 

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Discussion Starter #42 (Edited)
Finished installing all my new pieces:biggrin:

out with the old...
no rear end.jpg old rear end.jpg
In with the new!
new rear end bottom.jpg
Installed the correct rear strut mounts, reinforced and powdercoated subframe, new control arms with solid endlinks, new solid toe-arms, and new trailing arms with Poly bushings.

The job went pretty smooth for the most part. There was a hairy moment when I thought I was going to break a subframe bolt but liquid wrench came to the rescue once again. I did end up breaking two socket extensions though:( I just pulled the entire rear end assembly out the side once I got the P side wheel off and strut assembly out. Assembled all the new parts on the bench and slid them back in the same way. A 15 mm deepwell socket made a perfect alignment tool for properly positioning the subframe. From there it was just a matter of bolting all the free ends of all the arms back up! The easiest order for doing this turned out to be Control arm - trailing arm - toe arm - endlinks. I had hopes of doing a tape-measure alignment before I hit the road but ran out of time.

Have only driven it 15 miles from the shop to home with a couple hundred pounds of tools and parts in the trunk, and a severely F'd up alignment so I havent had a chance to "test" out the new mods yet. With just that little bit of careful driving though, it is obvious that this has radically changed the car once again. Cant wait to beat it through some turns:evil: Hopefully get an alignment tomorow (and thoroughly check out my bad tire) then go for a drive:)
 

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Very cool! It sounds like your hard work has paid off so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #44 (Edited)
Heres what I think I need to buy. Your input is more than welcome.

Definitely need:
Struts (Probably Koni, but maybe BAT. Depends on what I do about springs)
upper bearings (Both front and rear?) (dealer item?)

Probably need (pending inspection):
Ball joints (available anywhere)
Tie rod ends (available anywhere)

Want:
New rear sway bar (Addco bar from shox.com)

Undecided:
BAT springs. (Understand I need 99-00 rear spring seats if I get springs)

I will check my sway bar bushings and endlinks when I get under there, but their only a year old.

Any other parts I should be buying?
So heres my final answer to my own question...Items in bold were necessary for the original job of strut replacement only.

Front:
Koni struts (shox.com)
Mevotech strut mounts with bearings (rock auto)
Dorman control arms (one from Rock auto, one from Summit)
Four M10x75 bolts (boltdepot.com)
Four M12x75 bolts (boltdepot.com)
- If replacing the control arms, make sure you have new bolts on-hand, at least for the D side

Rear:
Ford strut mounts (fordparts.com) Part #YS8Z18198AA
Koni struts (shox.com)
Poly trailing arm bushings (energysuspensionparts.com)
Subframe (bought from Aircougar, reinforced by Aircougar, powdercoated locally)
Trailing arms, factory but freshly painted (Aircougar)
Control arms with solidly mounted adjustable endlinks (arms from Aircougar, Fab work by my dad, new poly bushings from Speedwaymotors.com)
Toe arms (Dad)
7/8" (22.225 mm) ADDCO swaybar (shox.com)
Poly swaybar bushings (included with the bar)
Stainless swaybar brackets (my own fab)
Zirc fittings installed at the poly bushing locations (hardware store)
 

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None of it's going to do you any good at all without some decent tires on there, man.

I was really truly surprised at how much of a difference the urethane trailing arm bushings made on my car. I installed those a couple of weeks ago, and it was NOTICEABLY more responsive to inputs in corners. And with these new max-performance summer tires, it's become a really amazingly fun car to drive - all over again.
 

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Discussion Starter #46 (Edited)
Yeah, tires are next for sure. Just need a little time to save up. My current ones (Michelin Primacy MXV4 w/ 52k) still do very well on dry pavement, but have significantly degraded in the last 6 months on wet roads. I have probably 4/32 left right now but the leaking issue is a problem, as is the wet traction. Looking at these ones:
Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Hopefully get the tires before summer is over, then FSVT wheels after that.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Two new shoes today...Conti's as previously advertised.
Alignment is done. All systems are go! Ive got a great road planned for Saturday morning...I havent been in this great of a mood since the day I finished installing the new rear end! Cant wait to get out there and drive this thing!
The tech at Sears was deeply concerned about how out of whack my alignment was! She showed me the "before" numbers and thought I was some kind of idiot when I didnt care about how bad they were. Her response was actually kind of comical when I just shrugged and said "eh. That was expected." I had to explain that I just got done replacing 95% of the hardware in my entire suspension!

Oddly enough, the car drives much better now:rofl:
 

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Great news, I can't wait to read your first test drive review!
 

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So heres my final answer to my own question...Items in bold were necessary for the original job of strut replacement only.

Front:
Koni struts (shox.com)
Mevotech strut mounts with bearings (rock auto)
Dorman control arms (one from Rock auto, one from Summit)
Four M10x75 bolts (boltdepot.com)
Four M12x75 bolts (boltdepot.com)
- If replacing the control arms, make sure you have new bolts on-hand, at least for the D side

Rear:
Ford strut mounts (fordparts.com)
Koni struts (shox.com)
Poly trailing arm bushings (energysuspensionparts.com)
Subframe (bought from Aircougar, reinforced by Aircougar, powdercoated locally)
Trailing arms, factory but freshly painted (Aircougar)
Control arms with solidly mounted adjustable endlinks (arms from Aircougar, Fab work by my dad, new poly bushings from Speedwaymotors.com)
Toe arms (Dad)
7/8" (22.225 mm) ADDCO swaybar (shox.com)
Poly swaybar bushings (included with the bar)
Stainless swaybar brackets (my own fab)
Zirc fittings installed at the poly bushing locations (hardware store)
What year model strut mounts did you purchase, because I could swear I read on here a long time ago that the 2002 cougars had to use older ones for the rear I thought? Trying to figure this out cause I need to order mounts today for mine. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #50
My car is an 01...I used the 01 rear strut mounts from Ford. You only need the older model rear mounts IF you are using an aftermarket spring. I stuck with my stock 01 springs thus no problem.
 

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To retrofit aftermarket springs to an 01-02 Cougar, you need 99-00 strut mounts AND ALSO the 99-00 spring seats, or "hats" - the steel tops that hold the springs in place in the strut mounts.
 

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You do need the 99/00 spring seats, or "hats," as B3NN3TT mentioned, for aftermarket springs on the 01/02.

But I am fairly confident saying the actual strut mounts are the same - I ended up using the 99/00 mounts when we did my Eibach springs because I'd wire brushed and painted them beforehand - but other than that they didn't look any different to my naked eye than the 01/02 mounts that came off.

You might want new strut mounts anyway, just to replace worn parts, depending on your mileage, at which point might as well get the 99/00 just to be safe.
 

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Thanks everyone that helps a lot and yes I will be placing my eibach springs as well, mine as well while I'm in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Discovered my ball joints are shot...less than a year. I was warned about the Dormans.

Intend to install Moogs onto my old arms and reinstall them. I already removed the old ball joints in anticipation of this coming up.
 

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Man. A couple of years and several autocross sessions on my Dorman control arms; no issues here.
 

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Mine are as well. I sent one back under warranty, same thing. No more dorman for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
For posterity's sake, I'm at about 249K miles now and one of front Koni's has disintegrated.
9 1/2 years and 130Kish miles.

Would I spend the money on adjustable's for a street car again? Maybe.
I definitely appreciated the ability to stiffen up the front end, but I'm not sure I ever really got any value out of the rear.
 

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What's even out there for our cars? I got one of the last sets of BAT euro kits and one strut blew after a year. So I need to replace everything since my old Koni's are on the back and the new BATs are on the front. Very unsettled ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #59 (Edited)
I'm just going with KYB's on this car. They get good reviews and this car is probably within six months of retirement anyway.

For my project car, I have BAT's on the front and Koni's on the rear as well but its only been around the block a couple times so I cant say how that combination will work out for me.

I'm really starting to think we may need to figure out some custom options soon.
Koni has some strut inserts that allow you to cut the old strut apart and use the body with a Koni insert inside of it. I haven't checked to see if any of their sizes work but that might be an option. I still have my original Motorcraft's in my basement that I could cut up and measure if I'm ever feeling motivated to do so.
Or maybe we can find a way to modify the struts or knuckles from a different car?
 
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