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Discussion Starter #1
I have been thinking about this for a long time since I got the car around 5 months or so ago. Does weight really play that big of a role? My Camry weighs only 3,000 but it is far far less sporty and worn out. Is there other things wrong with my car or does this thing just not handle? I see some guys track this thing. There has to be something wrong with my car. Is it just because that its new to me and I am not used to my Thunderbird's dynamics?
 

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Does your Camry have better handling than your Bird? Apparently it does.

Does your Camry have better handling than our Birds ? Nope. 馃槀
 

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You would be surprised that a 25+ year old car might not handle as good as a newer one, when you're using 25+ year old rubber in the suspension?

Let that Camry get 25+ years old and it'll handle like crap.

RwP
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Does your Camry have better handling than your Bird? Apparently it does.

Does your Camry have better handling than our Birds ? Nope. 馃槀
Oof, well I replaced the lower control arms and the previous owner replaced the uppers. Is there anything I can do to get it to stop understeering? It understeers more than a fwd car that is around the same age!

You would be surprised that a 25+ year old car might not handle as good as a newer one, when you're using 25+ year old rubber in the suspension?

Let that Camry get 25+ years old and it'll handle like crap.

RwP
My Camry is a 2001 base model and has 250,000 miles. I drove that thing hard for at least 10,000 miles. The thing is dog slow but faster around a corner even though it is really worn out. My Thunderbird is a 1996 V8. It is not the sport but that still should be faster in the curves. It doesnt make any sense.
 

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Strut rod bushings (frame and arm sides), front LCA bushings, steering rack bushings, sway bar bushings, sway bar links, shocks/struts plus mounting points for them, springs, full rear suspension rebuild.

Also, these cars are heavy. I think most of the guys who weighed mostly stock cars said they were around 3900 lbs. And they are mostly nose heavy. So they will inherently under steer. You have to move weight to the back, like the battery, or start lightening up the car.

PBR calipers will save 16lb un sprung weight over stock calipers, for instance. Combined, not each.

Edit*
Tires also play a crazy role. So make sure you good rubber, not some off brand like Touring Pro or Prometer.
 

The Parts Guy
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What have you done to improve your MN12 with regard to handling? Post a printout of your current alignment.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Non-sport LXs claim to fame is ride quality, not high speed handling. SCs and Sports handle substantially better, and there鈥檚 room for improvement with some aftermarket mods.

There鈥檚 a reason we鈥檙e constantly looking for shock options and debating the things that improve them or not. These cars have some real deficiencies(weight and balance) but the bones are pretty good, the fun is the challenge to defy expectations

I agree with wile and racecougar, alignment, tires and brakes make an incredible difference in handling, more than most components do.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What have you done to improve your MN12 with regard to handling? Post a printout of your current alignment.
Only all of the front control arms where replaced. My car is currently down. I can quickly throw the radiator back in to take it to get aligned. That is probably my issue. I lined up the lower control arms to where they were supposed to be myself. I did the best I could but I am still new to working on cars.

Is converting it to a Sport a big thing? Is there a tech article here on that?
 

The Parts Guy
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If you replaced the front LCA's and didn't had the car aligned afterward, I'm sure it does indeed handle poorly.
 

The Parts Guy
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As far as recommended specs go, this is what I would suggest:

Front:
Camber: Negative 0.8-1.3 You can go further, but you'll start wearing the insides of the tires. I typically prefer mine at ~ -0.8-1.0.
Caster: Positive 5.0-6.0
Toe: Positive .05-.15 On a autocross car, you can go slightly negative, but you'll give up stability at speed. I keep mine at ~ +0.1.
Cross Camber: As close to zero as possible.
Cross Caster: 0 to -0.3 Going negative helps on crowned roads, but will cause a slight drift to the left otherwise.
Total Toe: Positive 0.1-0.3 Once again, this is for a car you'll be driving on the street. If it's an autocross car, a little negative toe will help on turn in.

Rear:
Camber: Negative 0.5-1.0 Same as the front, you can go further, but you'll start wearing the insides of the tires. Also keep in mind that as the rear squats, the camber will tend to go further negative. I like mine set at ~ -0.5.
Toe: Zero to +0.15 I'd lean toward +0.1 on both sides with Delrin LCA bushings and toward zero with the stock LCA bushings, as they'll allow an increase in toe when under power.
Cross Camber: Same as front. Keep it close to zero.
Total Toe: 0-0.3


These settings have worked well for me as an all-purpose alignment (drag racing, corner carving, and highway cruising) on this chassis without any real adverse effects on tire wear. If the intended use was autocross-type events only, drag racing only, etc., I'd set things a bit differently. These are just my recommendations.
 

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Only all of the front control arms where replaced. My car is currently down. I can quickly throw the radiator back in to take it to get aligned. That is probably my issue. I lined up the lower control arms to where they were supposed to be myself. I did the best I could but I am still new to working on cars.

Is converting it to a Sport a big thing? Is there a tech article here on that?
Replace the rest of the rubber up there, and do the rubber in the back.

Do inner and outer tie rods in the front.

Get it 4 wheel aligned.

Use some new shocks (KYBs if you can find them! There's not a really good top of the line handling shock ready to rock and roll on our cars, alas) all around too.

Tell us what it handles like then.

RwP
 
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When you replace LCA's, you should always make a mark on the concentric washer and frame to at least make a half-assed attempt to getting it correct. You can get it pretty darn close if you're careful. Otherwise, you can tear up a set of tires in short order if you don't go directly to the alignment shop.

Al
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I did make a mark on that washer. I guess I just didnt do a good job or something. I dont see how I could have messed that up. Everything should be all good in that area when I use @racecougar 's specs. He is doing exactly what I want so that makes it convenient.

Use some new shocks (KYBs if you can find them! There's not a really good top of the line handling shock ready to rock and roll on our cars, alas) all around too.

Tell us what it handles like then.

RwP
I will check those out. Yeah, I was reading other threads about the struggle. I still want to keep this thing and make my own brackets if I have to as I learn.
 

The Parts Guy
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I did make a mark on that washer. I guess I just didnt do a good job or something. I dont see how I could have messed that up. Everything should be all good in that area when I use @racecougar 's specs. He is doing exactly what I want so that makes it convenient.
Even if you line that mark up perfectly, you won't get the alignment exactly back to where it was. It needs to actually be aligned afterward.
 

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I did make a mark on that washer. I guess I just didnt do a good job or something. I dont see how I could have messed that up. Everything should be all good in that area when I use @racecougar 's specs. He is doing exactly what I want so that makes it convenient.


I will check those out. Yeah, I was reading other threads about the struggle. I still want to keep this thing and make my own brackets if I have to as I learn.
Well, if the bushings were out, then you're still out.

And the new bushings may not have had the exact same location.

Yes, you need to get it aligned afterwards. This is news?

You can do most of it yourself - XR7-4.6 has done so. (I'm lazy; I've got a guy who knows how to align both the MN12 and my 1988 Dakota, so I let him do it!)

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I have already aligned it to the best of my ability before I joined this forum. I am just new with working on cars. I would say a shop will have all the equipment to dial in the settings I want on that car. I did it by eye because I didnt have any levels. It was a pain and apparently I got it wrong. Its the solution that makes the most sense to me. I am just going to take it in and if I need to do it again I will try it again myself. But right now I cant do .1 degree increments by eye.
 
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