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Old 08-01-2009, 06:43 PM
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Default Mustang 2 on a type 1 beetle pan

After Warren had brought up a mustang 2 front end on a type 1 chassis, I started looking around.

In the photos you can see the mustang 2 front end is a very nice modular piece. Probably why its been used in many a kit car, and street rods over the years.
Looking at the pans nose mount (see picture) it looks very easy to fabricate up a mounting plate adapter to weld to the mustang 2 center section so the mustang 2 front end will fit in place just like the stock VW on did.

If there's a width issue, simply (carefully) cutting the necessary center material out of the mustang 2 front end would give the proper width. Then welding it back together.

The only real trick would be the mounting plate, it would have to be welded and reinforced so that its placement was perfectly aligned front to back, and top to bottom same as the stock VW unit was.
Over all, it seems this could be done if you had some fabricating/welding skills, and good attention to detail.
This adaption looks to me to be fairly straight forward.

Possible cutting of the underside of the body might be needed. But if proper care was given to replace the material to keep structural integrity it should be fine. heres a pic of the mustang 2's front end measurements. Tthe track width will be about 56-1/2"

What do you guys think?
Attached Thumbnails
Mustang 2 on a type 1 beetle pan-mustang2-front-end.jpg   Mustang 2 on a type 1 beetle pan-stock-bug-pan-front-suspension.jpg   Mustang 2 on a type 1 beetle pan-mii_pivots.jpg  

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Last edited by ydeardorff; 08-01-2009 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:47 PM
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Thanks for posting those photos. They show the raw materials and possibilities.

But those photos are also from a very good angle to show why this modification is NOT as easy as an adapter plate.

Overall, the modification is possible. And I personally plan to do it some day. So I'm a big fan of the idea.

But just so there isn't any misleading info: Please, everybody know that this is not an easy modification and that you can't just use/make an adapter. Like Yaughn pointed out, you will have to get creative and modify the front of the Bug chassis a bit.

The problem is that the front beam of the Bug suspension is considerably in FRONT of the centerline of the wheels (by several inches -- see photos). It's almost as if the stock Bug front suspension begins totally in FRONT of the front hubs and then the trailing arms trail backwards several inches to the hub.

And in the Bug front end, the ties rods for the steering are BEHIND where the front beam mounts to the frame.

In the Mustang II front, the main beam is almost in a direct line with the centerline of the wheels -- and the steering is in FRONT of this. What this means is that the Mustang front beam CANNOT be adapted to the stock mounting points on the frame head. Two things can't be in the same place at the same time. If you put the Mustang front end in front of the frame head, it would be many inches too far forward.

Could you weld the Mustang beam with a forward bubble in it to "reach forward" to the stock mount points on the frame head? Well....no. The rack and pinion is there, and it cannot be moved further forward without totally upsetting all the very nice work Ford has done for us regarding steering geometry.

I've put a lot of thought time into this possible modification, and the only way for it to work would be to keep the Mustang II front end pretty much like it is in that picture (except having it narrowed a little, like Yaughn said), and then CUT BACK THE BOTTOM OF THE BUG FRAME HEAD A FEW INCHES and then modify it as necessary to tie into the Mustang front end.

Now, the good news is that doing so isn't all that impossibly hard. With an angle grinder and about 2 hours, I could have the frame head notched back the necessary several inches. Then I'd do away with any thoughts of bolt points and would just weld the Mustang II front beam right into the big notch-back I'd just made (after measuring and jigging everything VERY carefully.) You'd have to do some careful experiments to determine the vertical position of the Mustang front as well, keeping in mind that it must be the right height WITH the weight of the car on it, which make it rather hard to mock-up. You probably would also have to weld in some diagonal elements to stiffen up the shock towers, but that's not all that hard.

But the pay-off would be HUGE. You'd get a rock-solid (handling wise), modern front suspension with nice rack-and-pinion steering. And yes, it would be heavier than the Bug suspension, but I kinda like that. If the car has a heavier-than-stock rear do to a water-cooled engine, etc., it might be nice to have a dash more weight up front, low, between the front wheels.

This is a modification that I've NEVER seen done, and it would be a cool one. I can't take credit for the idea, though, because I had the idea while looking at one of Dave Aliberti's fully custom Sterling chassis at Carlisle last year. He had a Mustang II front on the front of his rear-engine Sterling space frame chassis.


Anyway, one more time: The Mustang II front suspension CANNOT be adapted to the stock mount points by just an adapter plate. Unfortunately.Yaughn, thanks for starting this thread. After you and I talked the other day, it inspired me to do some research as well, and I learned some interesting things about some of the nice after-market Mustang II front end kits our there. Specifically, I found one company in particular that will make almost any width Mustang II front that you want. More importantly, they make a compelling argument for why NOT to use some of their competitor's products. They feel that there is a right way and a wrong way to change the length of the tie rods. They swear that their kit maintains the correct geometry whereas other kits don't. You can read up on what they say and decide for yourself. I, for one, will probably buy from these guys if/when I attempt the swap. They seem to really know what they're doing.


Mustang II front from HotRodSuperstore

Q and A about Mustang II fronts




Here are a few more sources that look promising:


Mustang II IFS front suspension, Hub to Hub IFS, tubular control arms, crossmembers

Authentic is the perfection in street rod suspension systems, street rod frames, chassis, rearends, parts and accessories designed and manufactured by Jim Messler of Messler Products Company

Mustang II IFS Kits

Zig's Street Rod - Engine Mounts & Crossmembers

Buy Heidt's Mustang II IFS Crossmember Kits at RJay's Speed Shop!



...Actually, there are tons of web sites offering such cross-member kits. Just do a Google search for "Mustang II front suspension kit" and set aside an hour or two for reading. Some offer a narrowed kit (which is necessary). Some don't. Some offer everything hub-to-hub. Some have very raw kits. I assume some do it right, and some to it incorrectly. All of them seem to be pretty darn expensive. But what you are buying is good handling. How much would you pay for a Sterling with no weirdness whatsoever to its steering?



And here is one Specifically for you, Yaughn. I know you're interested in an adjustable height front that can be raised when parking over bumps and gullies. How cool is this!? A Mustang II front kit with adjustable air shocks.

Progressive Automotive, mustang II IFS 2 front suspensions


All of the above is very tempting. God that would handle well! And if you were clever about how to tie into the Mustang front end, it MIGHT free up some useful space between the front wall (where your feet are) and the front suspension, which used to be effectively useless space because the Bug tie rods zig-zagged through that space.

Hmmm. Very tempting.

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Old 08-01-2009, 09:11 PM
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I want to add one thing/disclaimer: Although I have hundreds of hours of experience with the Bug chassis part of the equation, I have never actually had a Mustang II kit sitting in my shop for a direct mock-up. One thing that is unresolved in my mind is how LOW the Mustang cross-member is. If it happened to be low enough to fit mostly UNDER the stock frame head, this would add some interesting possibilities for mounting.

By careful examination of various photos of the Mustang kit, I am 95% sure that you would have to notch out the bottom of the frame head. And I am 99% sure that you would have to grind a nice chunk out of the frame head to run the steering column to the rack, which is in FRONT of the front beam in the Mustang.

Man. Now I wish I had a Mustang kit out back in the shop right now. I can sure tell you that I'm not willing to spend $1800++ on an experiment, though. I wonder if I'd learn anything from a stock Mustang beam cut out of a car from a junk yard. Hmmm...or maybe just buy the raw cross-member from one of these companies. (But the problem with that is that it wouldn't tell me anything about the height of the suspension in its entirety.)

(No. BAD me. Stop spending money!)
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:34 PM
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I know the look your referring to warren!. Its the look when I tell the wife I want to drop a 3500 dollar motor in a sterling, or a 1500 dollar transmission. Imagine the look if I added a 2 thousand dollar front end to the bill.

Eh em, dog, move over....

I think that if we communicated with some of these companies providing them with info they might make these units for a direct bolt on, or weld on version. I mean imagine the amount of people in the VW community whom would love an upgrade like this! where there's a need, there money to be made by anyone whom would make these!

The trick is letting them see a response of people whom would want this.

It may be something to toss up on samba, or volkswap to check for responses.

I also saw the rear set of the wheels and had already thought about having to tuck the beam under the frame head nose a little. If a unit could be purchased that was already the right width, Id happily figure out the rest of the steering gadgets. I was planning on running a newer car steering rack anyways.

Great post though!

Last edited by ydeardorff; 08-01-2009 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:59 PM
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I'm actually a little bit surprised that none of the Bug guys have developed a kit like we're talking about. The Sterling community is tiny, but the overall Bug community is still quite large and active. No one would get rich from such a kit, but there would definitely be a niche market for it.

Absence of the kit make me wonder what we're overlooking. It might be as simple as the fact that the would-be developers already know that you'd have to chop up the frame head a little. It's very easy to sell a bolt-on upgrade. It's substantially harder to sell a challenging weld-on upgrade.

Or perhaps it is simply a modification that has been overlooked. I know that the shop AirKewld likes custom stuff like this. It certainly would be convenient if they wanted to develop it. I don't think I'll count on that, though.

Hey, gotta ask, why don't you want to use the Mustang rack-and-pinion? I don't have ANY personal experience with it, but it should rock for a Sterling. You might be able to find one that's a tiny bit lighter. Are you thinking about weight, or are you worried about the Mustang rack itself?
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:06 PM
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I wasn't planning initially on the mustang 2 front end but adding a different cars rack and pinion and making custom rack mounts for it. But if something develops, Ill surely add that to my shopping list.

The mustang 2 steering rack could be used, however with the mod, to the bug chassis it would have to be probably relocated, given the rear set the front end would have to have. I think it would interfere with the input shaft for the steering column.

But by the looks of it, it might just eek by, and actually fit in a small gap that might be able to be created. No way to know until one were to mock it up and check things in person though.

Last edited by ydeardorff; 08-01-2009 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 08-02-2009, 12:51 AM
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I love the idea of a unequal A-Arm front suspension. Plus the Mustang II after market is huge and well understood. But ( and this a big butt) the modification needed to install would be a lot. When I start to draw out what it takes to do this and the money involved, I keep coming back to just getting a full tube chassis.
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Old 08-02-2009, 12:58 AM
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Is that doing to mod yourself, or hiring it out? The front end is around 2K but I wonder how much of a mod it is. I have done work similar this on aircraft parts. The only thing it did take was alot of time.
Id love a tube chassis myself, but the cost is so up there, I cant justify it.
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brastic View Post
I love the idea of a unequal A-Arm front suspension. Plus the Mustang II after market is huge and well understood. But ( and this a big butt) the modification needed to install would be a lot. When I start to draw out what it takes to do this and the money involved, I keep coming back to just getting a full tube chassis.
Yep, I keep coming back to the same decision-making dilemma, myself. Rather than re-invent the wheel (in terms of spending a lot of money to end up with ONLY a new front end), I'd be very tempted to pick up one of Dave's new chassis. On the other hand, there is about an $8000 difference between those two options. Drat.

I think that I might try this for my blue car because I already have a heavily customized chassis on that car and I just want to fix the front end, which I'm guessing is going to be the weak link if I don't find some solution.

And you're right, Shane, it certainly isn't one of the easier modifications. On the other hand, the Mustang II front is so beautifully modular that "all" you have to do is to cut up the frame head enough to weld it into the correct position. I would definitely be nervous about getting everything aligned correctly, but in terms of the fabrication/welding, that's the stuff I love to do. (Don't make me sand anything or do bodywork, though, or I'll throw a big hissy fit!) And it you can get the beam square and at the right height, the rest of the suspension geometry should be 'automatically' just about perfect. So like you said, Yaughn, I *think* it would just boil down to spending $2000 and then investing some time. I just wish I had a way to dabble with a mock-up without having to spend the $2000 first.

Yaughn, for clarification, were you thinking of trying to use rack-and-pinion with the otherwise VW front suspension? I've always wondered if that could be done. I know that the big hurdle there would be the fact that the horns for the tie rods are on the rear corners of the spidle, so the rack would have to likewise be aft to the front beam. But the center tunnel is in the way, so you'd either have to keep it up high OR do something creative like cut a 3" "tunnel" sideways through the center tunnel to let the rack pass through it. I don't think there are any factors that would make that impossible. If I'm going to go cutting up my frame head like that, I want to end up with the other benefits of the Mustang front.

I know that the guys who run buggies/sandrails very often use rack-and-pinion setups. The difference is that they DON'T have and interference with the center tunnel. So I guess the next logical thought is that you could weld up a modification to the stoch chassis -- or a whole new space frame chassis -- to get around this problem. But now we're back around to buying or building a whole new space frame chassis.

Ugh.

I think the reality is that we either have to live with a fresh-but-otherwise-stock Bug front end -- which isn't so bad -- or resolve to doing a WHOLE lot of modifications.

Does anyone know from any other VW forums whether people have bee able to use a rack-and-pinion running it up high above the center tunnel? I can't imaging this working very well, simply due to the geometry of things. From what I can tell, the only "improvements" that can be easily made is to get a fresh bug steering box and maybe new ball joints and bushings. Beyond that, there doesn't seem to be much we can do for steering.

(hee-heee-heee...except to graft in that Mustang front!)
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:51 PM
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What about the pinto front end in the other topic? they use them in drag racing so theyve got to be solid too. Although the mustang 2 looks very nice. I dont see it being all that hard, albeit, its more than likely more than a week long mod. Probably would be faster with a buddy helping though.
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