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Author Topic: 5 Lug Conversion Tech Article  (Read 37013 times)
mighty mouse
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« on: December 06, 2006, 12:03:35 pm »

FOX BODY MUSTANG 5-LUG CONVERSION
USING SN95 FRONT SPINDLES
Written by: Nathan Moonen

Introduction

This article will detail the conversion of my 1986 Mustang GT from 4-lug to 5-lug for the purpose of mounting 17x8 wheels from a 2001 Bullitt Mustang (this also applies to 1998 Cobra wheels and the 17" 'Split 5-Spoke' style wheel).  I used the Sean Fitzpatrick article for reference. This conversion was done with cost kept to an absolute minimum. 

   It should be noted that if using wheels other than Ford OEM wheels it is cheaper and easier to use Ranger/Aerostar rotors from the same year vehcile you took the axles from for 79-86, 79-93 4cyl cars, or 1985 SVO/Lincoln Mark VII rotors for your 87-93 5.0 Mustangs.

    However, the 94-98 Mustang setup is much better and is also the basis for any big brake upgrades in the future (i.e. - Baer or Cobra brakes). Any knuckle-head that can replace his brakes can do this in their driveway - it just takes a little more time.

Parts List

Rear

   Axles  - Driver's side axles from an '83 to '92 4 cylinder or 3.0L V6 Ranger/Bronco II with a 7.5" rear end, or Aerostar passenger side axles from an 86 to 97 model (they should measure 29-5/32").
   Drums - Either side will work, just make sure they are 9" drums. (The Rangers were offered with 10" rears)
   -Junkyard axles run about $30 each and the drums will run about $10 each. 
   -Be sure to check the axles to make sure they are not bent or worn on the bearing surface and check the drums to ensure that they are smooth or can be turned to no more than the maximum diameter.
   Miscellaneous items for the rear include fresh gear oil, RTV gasket maker to seal the differential cover and one additional lug nut for each side.

Front

    For the front you will need one each left and right side spindles, hubs, rotors and calipers from either a '94 or '98 V6 or V8 Mustang. (Note - the spindle was moved out about 3/4" on the 96 to 98' Mustangs. This may cause the wheel to stick out too far and possibly cause interference problems with the wheel well lip on the fender in 87-90 5.0 Mustangs.  '79-86 and all 4cyl cars will be ok due to the shorter K-member).

   -If you have a '87-93 5.0 Mustang or plan on using those brake lines, make sure to grab the '94 Banjo Bolt that attaches the flexible brake line to the caliper. (For non-87-93 5.0 owners, if your '94 assemblies came with brake lines - the left (driver's) side line will bolt right up, the right (passenger) side line needs a 1/4 female x 3/16 male adaptor to work).

   -I was able to get the complete brake assemblies for under $300.00 on Ebay.
Miscellaneous parts (possibly) needed for the front include:
   1. Two lug nuts;
   2. (4) new cotter pins;
   3. (4) Copper washers for the Banjo Bolts;
   4. 1987 GT or 1994 Mustang front brake lines (79-86 and 87-93 4 cyl cars only);
   5. 1/4" female x 3/16" male brake line adaptor (1994 Mustang right brake line only);
   6. (6) Hardened ⅝ washers totaling 0.330"; and
   7. (2) Grade 5 or 8 5/8" x 2" bolt and nut.

Disassembly

Loosen the lugs, jack up the car and put it on jack stands (on the subframes - so the axle and front brake assemblies can hang down free).

Rear

Remove the wheels and drums. Drain the rear differential fluid by loosening the top three and removing the other cover bolts and pull the lower portion of the cover away to allow the fluid to drain out the bottom. Once empty remove the bolts and remove the cover. With the transmission in neutral rotate the rear differential until you see the small Pinion Rod Retaining Bolt. This bolt runs sideways into the differential. Remove this bolt and then slide out the Pinion Rod. Push the axles inward and the C-Clips should drop free (minor shaking or rotating may be necessary). With the C-Clips removed, the axles will slide right out. Be careful not to damage the axles bearings or seals when removing the axles.

Front

Start the front by disconnecting the flexible brake line from the caliper by removing the Banjo Bolt completely from the brake line. Have a cup or rag ready to catch the brake fluid (brake fluid will destroy paint - Be Careful!). Remove the two bolts holding the caliper to the spindle and remove the caliper. Remove the dust cap from the rotor and remove the cotter pin, bearing retaining nut and cap. Pull the rotor off. Place a floor jack under the lower control arm and raise the jack until it starts to compress the spring. On the tie rod end, remove the cotter pin and crown nut and separate the tie rod end from the spindle (you may have to hit the tie rod arm (not the stud) with a hammer to get it out). Remove the two bolts that secure the strut to the spindle. Keep the jack under the A-arm until you have bolted up the new units completely! On the ball joint, remove the cotter pin and crown nut and separate the spindle from the lower control arm. This can be stuck, so plan ahead and either buy or borrow a pitman arm puller.  Don?t use a pickle fork - you will only tear up the dust boot.  If you have a pre-87 5.0 or 4 cyl car remove the flex brake line (unbolt the hard line and pull the retaining clip).

Reassembly

Rear


Slide the new axles into the housing tubes being careful not to damage the bearings or seals. Push the axles in as far as they will go and seat them with the spider gears in the differential. Replace the C-Clips on the axle ends and push the axles back outwards to lock them into place. Reinstall the pinion shaft. Reinstall the pinion shaft retaining bolt in the carrier and torque to 15-30 lb.ft.. Clean the differential housing cover, apply a 1/4 bead of RTV to the flange and reinstall the cover on the housing. Reinstall all bolts and torque in sequence to 25-35 lb.ft. Wait a few minutes and pump in new fluid. Replace the brake drums put on your new wheels.

Front

    Pre 87 5.0's and 4cyl cars only, attach the driver?s side flex brake line to the cars hard line.  You can use the 94/95 brake line on the driver?s side without an adaptor.  The right hand side needs a 1/4" female x 3/16" male brake line adaptor - or you can purchase a right side 1987 5.0 brake line.
   Place the spindle/hub assembly on the ball joint. Put on your spacer or washers (see below) and screw on the crown nut, but do not torque it yet.
   Spacer - The ball joint stud on the Fox cars is longer than the stud on the SN95 cars. So, in order to keep the cotter hole and crowns in line you need use a spacer.  I was able to obtain the height of the FRPP (M-2300-K kit) 0.330" spacer by stacking (3) thick Grade 8 5/8" hardened washers between the spindle and the crown nut.
            Fit the tie rod end onto the spindle and screw on the crown nut. Torque down the crown nut to 35-47 lb.ft., and install a new cotter pin. Then torque down the lower ball joint crown nut to 110-150 lb.ft., and install a new cotter pin.
   Attach the strut to the spindle with the two mounting bolts and nuts. On my 86 GT the spindle and strut did not line up correctly.  I needed strut spacers (that come with new struts, check with your parts store for measurements), and the bolt spacing was slightly different.  I was able to use one factory bolt and one hardened 2", 5/8" bolt, washers and nut to bolt the assemblies together.  Torque the nuts to 140-200 lb.ft.. Some manipulation will most likely be necessary with the floor jack at this point to attach the strut mounting bolts.
           With the spindle now installed, place the rotor on the hub and mount the loaded caliper on the spindle. Attach the caliper with the two mounting bolts and torque to 70-95 lb.ft.
           Using new copper washers, attach the flexible brake line to the caliper with the banjo bolt and torque the bolt tight (not to tight - that is a hollow bolt remember). Repeat procedure for opposite side.
          Once both sides are complete bleed the brake system (consult your repair manual for proper bleeding procedure.)
          Mount your new wheels and snug up the lug nuts. Remove the jack stands and lower the car. Torque the lug nuts to specification 85-105 lb.ft.

Finishing Up

Alignment

With the car on the ground and the steering wheel centered you will notice that both of the front wheels are pointing inward (toe-in). This is due to the different mounting points of the SN95 spindles. The toe needs to be adjusted out so the car can at least be driven to have the front end re-aligned (or have the car towed). Consult your repair manual for the proper procedure for adjusting the toe (basically loosen the tie rod end lock nut and rotate the adjustment until the wheel(s) point straight forward and then tighten the lock nut.)

Clearance
With the toe adjusted check clearances before driving the car.
Check the clearance of the tires to the fenders. If they are going to rub, then the fenders will have to be rolled to allow the proper clearance, or you can install a steering rack limiter to decrease the turning radius of the vehicle (Ford part number N804842-S). '91 to ?'3 5.0 Mustangs have a decreased turn radius from the factory so this may not be a problem.
Finally check the clearance of the brake lines to ensure that they will not rub the tires or wheels under any condition.
 
Impressions

With the installation of the SN95 spindles and brakes on the front of the car I have noticed improved handling and braking. The steering feels more precise and responsive especially on turn-in. One huge bonus is that the SN95 spindles seem to have completely cured the excessive bump-steer that I was experiencing. The car no longer wanders around the road following grooves or bumps. It just feels solid. This may not be the cure for everyone?s bump-steer but it helped in my case.
The improved design of the SN95 calipers provide more clamping force and less brake fade. A huge improvement over the stock Fox brakes.

Another positive result of this conversion is that you now have the basis for the addition of larger Cobra brakes or an aftermarket big brake kit such as Baer later on down the road. These kits require SN95 style spindle and hub assemblies to work on Fox body cars.
Total outlay for parts and labor (for the alignment) was just about $375 (not including new wheels). All in all it was a worthwhile conversion that I would certainly recommend to anyone considering converting to 5-lug on a budget. It will be more costly than simply using Mark VII rotors but not near as much as the FRPP M2300-K kit and will still give you improved braking and handling.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2009, 10:20:06 am by mighty mouse » Logged

1986 Mustang GT Convertible
Suspension and Differential by Team Z Motorsports
9.5 Deck Forged Stroker Shortblock by FordStrokers
Trick Flow High Ports and Super Vic EFI intake by Duane Busch

I'd rather be a fool who is loyal to his friends than a POS that jumps ship to save face. We were wrong in the end, but nobody can ever call us disloyal. I can live with that.
knucklefux
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2006, 12:41:56 pm »

umm...shouldn't this go in the tech articles section?
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mighty mouse
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2006, 01:03:57 pm »

ummm. . .. I am kickin that around. . . the tech article section is for Engine tech . . . not chassis/brakes.  I just thought someone might find it interesting/useful.
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1986 Mustang GT Convertible
Suspension and Differential by Team Z Motorsports
9.5 Deck Forged Stroker Shortblock by FordStrokers
Trick Flow High Ports and Super Vic EFI intake by Duane Busch

I'd rather be a fool who is loyal to his friends than a POS that jumps ship to save face. We were wrong in the end, but nobody can ever call us disloyal. I can live with that.
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2006, 01:13:22 pm »

fair enough.  just seemed appropriate to put it there.

there have been lots of ??'s about 5 lug convos lately...
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2006, 10:24:39 am »

Nicely done sir, lol.  I am contemplating doing the conversion myself, maybe next winter?  Thanks MM!

                                                                                                                                 -Matt 

p.s.  Did you take any pictures?
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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2006, 08:30:54 pm »

If you have a Fox body - Fairmont/Zephyr/Cougar you should use Ranger front rotors and Aerostar passenger side axle shafts and drums. We did this on an 80' Fairmont and an 81' Granada GLX.
Fast, cheap and easy using all Ford parts.
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2007, 01:08:47 pm »

BTW you can use a 7.5" rear out of a 94-95 v6 car for a 5 lug disc brake conv. I picked one up at one junk yard for pennies on the dollar not too long ago. It was complete from disc to dis. Axles are the same size as the 8.8" and it came with all the necessary brackets and hardware. On a side note axles are approximately .75" longer than fox axles for the ABS rings.
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BigBonomi
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2007, 05:04:14 pm »

Nice "how too" article MM.    A friend is doing this conversion now, so I printed your article to help him out..  Lots of good info..

Thanks for taking the time.. 
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scotth
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2007, 11:55:00 am »

Awesome! I've read numerous how-tos on this, but none this concise! Thanks for posting!

Just an addition, if your LCA bushings or balljoints are shot like mine were, fox length control arms with SN-95 ball joints already installed are widely available (Summit, etc.) so you don't have to run spacers on the ball joint to attach them to the spindles.  They aren't that expensive either once you add in the new bushings, ball joints and labor to press them in and out (if you don't have a press...  even if you do have a press, the stamped control arms are easy to bend and hard to hold in place to do this)
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2007, 01:18:25 pm »

79-86  5.0 and all 4cyl cars can use older ranger rotors to go 5 lug
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2007, 06:18:27 pm »

question. im using pbr front cali's on my fox.. anyone know the size of wheel im going to be limited to. im searching the web and have seen alot of peeps run 17's but i dont know that for a fact. thanx for any help. Bob
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mighty mouse
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2007, 10:01:13 pm »

question. im using pbr front cali's on my fox.. anyone know the size of wheel im going to be limited to. im searching the web and have seen alot of peeps run 17's but i dont know that for a fact. thanx for any help. Bob

What size rotors and # of pistons in the caliper?
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1986 Mustang GT Convertible
Suspension and Differential by Team Z Motorsports
9.5 Deck Forged Stroker Shortblock by FordStrokers
Trick Flow High Ports and Super Vic EFI intake by Duane Busch

I'd rather be a fool who is loyal to his friends than a POS that jumps ship to save face. We were wrong in the end, but nobody can ever call us disloyal. I can live with that.
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2007, 10:20:32 pm »

there dual piston, stock 11" rotor. what im wanting to do is run some prostars 15x5 up front. and i think i found out ill need a 3/8 spacer. which is not really the route i was wanting to go. but..
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« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2008, 04:26:23 pm »

FOX BODY MUSTANG 5-LUG CONVERSION

Introduction
   It should be noted that if using wheels other than Ford OEM wheels it is cheaper and easier to use Ranger/Aerostar rotors from the same year vehcile you took the axles from for 79-86, 79-93 4cyl cars, or 1985 SVO/Lincoln Mark VII rotors for your 87-93 5.0 Mustangs.
    I know this is an old post but if I may ask a couple questions for clarification.
    First does this meen that on my '81 Mustang I can simply put the rotors on my spindles? This seems to good to be true Wonder, Ponder
    Second will the axle swap work on a 7.5?
   
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mighty mouse
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« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2008, 05:15:42 pm »

I have never monkeyed with an 81 - but yes.  You should be able to do this.

Yes - the 7.5" rear uses the same axles.
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1986 Mustang GT Convertible
Suspension and Differential by Team Z Motorsports
9.5 Deck Forged Stroker Shortblock by FordStrokers
Trick Flow High Ports and Super Vic EFI intake by Duane Busch

I'd rather be a fool who is loyal to his friends than a POS that jumps ship to save face. We were wrong in the end, but nobody can ever call us disloyal. I can live with that.
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