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Thread: Upper Control Arms & Improving Your 1994-2004 Mustang’s Suspension.......

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    Post Upper Control Arms & Improving Your 1994-2004 Mustang’s Suspension.......

    Upper Control Arms & Improving Your 1994-2004 Mustang’s Suspension
    Written By: Stanley Sadowski

    Find out how much 1999-2004 Mustangs benefit from a set of upper and lower rear control arms. The SN95 Mustang is a great chassis that can handle some serious power, but one area that is in severe need of an upgrade are the upper and lower rear control arms.

    What are Mustang Upper Control Arms?

    The upper control arms are an essential part to the 4-link rear suspension of your 1994-2004 SN95 Mustang. They bolt up to the upper part of the differential housing and connect to the body. Their main purpose is to support the up and down movement of the rear axle. Under normal driving conditions the factory control are okay, but if you enjoy taking turns, occasionally hitting the track, or just want that extra piece of mind on the road then upgrading the Mustang’s upper control arms is highly recommended.

    What issues do aftermarket upper control arms fix?

    Fixs arc of travel
    Prevents binding
    Allows more control
    Increases launch-ability

    When you take a hard turn the stock upper control arms are notorious for binding which makes handling unpredictable. Binding is when the rear axle winds up or twists unaccordingly to the body of the car. This also prevents your tires from achieving complete traction. This is also a leading cause of snap over-steering. Snap over-steering occurs when the vehicle transfers weight during a turn and unexpectedly snaps in the opposite direction due to binding. It's extremely hard for a driver to correct, not to mention highly dangerous. Upgrading to a good set of upper control arms will give you faster launches, lower 60 foot times, improve handling, and tighten up the rear suspension by preventing snap over steer.

    What Mustang aftermarket upper control arms are out there?

    When in the market for a new set of upper control arms there are a decent amount of options out there. Adjustable upper control arms can be very helpful. They allow you to adjust your pinion angle in a matter of minutes which is important to a racing enthusiast. There are also a couple different styles of bushing and ends.

    Rubber vs Poly-Urethane Bushings

    While the metal construction itself is stronger in aftermarket upper control arms, the bushings used are not too much of an improvement. Rubber and poly-urethane bushings still allow the rear end to bind under harsh conditions, but they will add some comfort and predictability to your Mustang.

    What are spherical ends?

    Instead of using a big bushing, spherical ends (also referred to as Heim joints) use a small metal ball that pivots inside the joint. This allows the control arm to move multiple directions simultaneously. This style end also eliminates some of the rear axle binding. Spherical ends are recommended to someone looking to get the most out of their Mustang at the track. All of these designs are adjustable as well.

    Alternatives to Mustang aftermarket upper control arms?

    To truly get the most out of your Mustang’s suspension, I would recommend going a step above a new set of upper control arms. A panhard bar or a watts link are two designs that answer many of the problems associated with a 4-link rear suspension by providing added stiffness and support. Panhard bars didn’t come standard on Mustangs until the year 2005, but were introduced to prevent many of the issues Mustang owners had complained about in previous model years.

    Both of these designs center the rear axle with the middle of the car to help prevent axle binding or unwanted lateral movement. Considering the poor design of the factory lower control arms, a panhard bar or a watts link will reduce body roll and give you added traction when cornering.
    In the Garage: 2011 Mustang GT, Auto, 4.10 gears, CAI, LT's, X-Pipe, HP Tuners, nGAUGE, some suspension parts and a small diet

  2. #2
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    When an aftermarket performance suspension company such as Maximum Motorsports offers a "stock" replacement for the upper control arms, I tend to believe they were not able to improve upon the performance of the OEM arms. Neither did DECH.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximum Motorsports
    These Ford rear upper control arms are direct replacements for the 1979-2004 Mustang (non-IRS) control arms. They will restore performance lost to old and deteriorating rubber bushings. These control arms have the stiffest rubber bushings available, and are much stiffer than what came originally on the Fox chassis Mustangs. Although Ford Racing Performance Parts claims their bushings to be "twice as stiff" as stock, our testing has shown that while they are much stiffer than Fox chassis bushings, they are identical to the 1994-04 bushings.

    We performed extensive testing of rear upper control arm bushing materials during the development of our Panhard Bar. When retaining the original four-link suspension, the best compromise between resistance to suspension bind, best control of axle position, best ride quality, and least potential damage to the chassis, is to retain rubber bushings in the rear upper control arms. This is especially important when adding a Panhard Bar. The compliance of a rubber-bushed upper control arm is required when a Panhard bar is added to the Mustang four-link suspension.

    When installed on a 1979-93 Mustang, these control arms, with their stiffer rubber bushings, help limit axle wind-up and side-to-side motion, but will not damage your Mustang's upper control arm mounting points (torque boxes) as a standard urethane-bushed upper control arm would. See our extended technical information about bushing material choices in our Rear Lower Control Arm tech section.

    While for 1994-04 cars these control arms offer no improvement in performance, as they do on Fox chassis cars, they are a great value when replacing arms with damaged or aged bushings. Because rubber deteriorates simply from age, after several years the control arms are ready for replacement. High horsepower cars and those used for track events tend to damage bushings before they can degrade from age. These replacement control arms, along with the axle end bushings, are a great way to bring back or upgrade the performance of your Mustang.

    While a heim joint does offer rotation to the joint, it does not offer any flex/compression. I still believe rubber is the best bushing for the upper arms of a 4-link setup.

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