| Question: Is there an easy way
to take the front suspension and steering parts off my 65 Mustang? I have beat on
the threaded part sticking through the spindle until it is so mushroomed over that even if
it did come off, it will never fit through the hole. My friend says he has a special tool
to use to take the suspension apart. Do you know what tool he means? Do you know where I
can get one? Thanks for any help you can give me on this.
- Bob J. via the internet
Every month customers contact me with a
question concerning how to take the front suspension off of their Classic Mustang
something like the one above. In actuality, getting the front suspension and steering
parts off your classic Mustang and many other classic Ford cars and trucks for that
matter, is very simple; provided you know the trick of the trade!
What is this trick? Simple. Get a bigger hammer! And I'm totally
serious. To answer the question above, yes, there is an easy way to take the front
suspension and steering parts off your 65 Mustang. A very simple way. You simply
"shock" the parts apart. In all my years of playing with Mustangs, this method
has never failed me.
So what do I mean by shocking them apart? Let me explain. Ford designed
the Mustangs' front upper and lower ball joints, tie rod ends, pitman arms, and other
attaching points with tapered studs and holes. When connected together, the tapered stud
is pulled up into the tapered hole to the proper point and then, no matter how tight you
tighten the nut, the shaft can not go through the hole any further. A special castle nut
is used and a cotter pin is inserted through the nut and stud so that the nut can't loosen
up and come off the stud. (Later model Mustangs don't use the castle nut and cotter pin.
They use a nylon lock nut). This tapered fit works extremely well. Now that we've put it
together, let's take it apart.
Here's where the trick of the trade becomes important and where the
term "shocking it apart" comes into play. Since the stud has been forced into
the tapered hole, taking the nut off does not let the two parts just fall apart. They are
still being forcibly held together. To shock the two parts apart, a very forceful hammer
blow, or a series of blows, on the part holding the stud will shock them and let the two
parts simply fall apart! Yes, it's that simple but with one varying degree. The tighter
the nut was torqued, the harder the parts are to get apart. So hit it few times, HARD, and
if it's still being stubborn, hit it again, HARDER! Just repeat this process until the
parts come apart. I know what you're thinking. No, I've never seen or heard of anyone
breaking the part they're hitting. Of course, using a little penetrating oil such as
Liquid Wrench can't hurt although I've found that on the Mustangs here in California that
it just creates a mess. Use it if you want to.
Over the years, I've seen products and tools that are designed to take
suspension components apart. But this is the simplest method I have found and there are no
special tools needed, except for maybe a bigger hammer. I keep a short handle 5lb sledge
in my tool box and it has never failed me. What is very important to remember is to make
sure that you only hit the part that is holding the stud and that you never hit the stud
or the nut. I know that when you're laying on your back on the garage floor, trying to get
the correct angle to hit the right piece, it can be very tempting to try to drive the stud
out of the hole. But don't do it. Most times you'll damage the stud and have to replace
the part you're trying to remove. Especially if your only wanting to clean and detail the
parts you're taking off the car.
Follow along with me as I show you exactly how to "Shock" and
then watch as the parts "Fall" off your classic Mustang.
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