Coil Over Kit Installation on the Front of my 86 Mustang

   For those who have not seen a coil-over kit, here are some pictures of mine and a few comments about the installation. I used the Maximum Motorsports units.  they come with very good instructions.

   If you can remove a strut, you can do the installation.  Except you need to have enough fortitude to do some banging on the strut.  In the case of my Koni's, I had to remove a small spot welded plate used during the assembly of the strut to allow the threaded sleeve to fit.  A couple of whacks did the job, then a short stint with a file to dress up a few bits and the sleeve will fit nicely down over the strut, as shown below. 

    On the right, the major pieces, on the left the same items fitted to a (modified) strut.  A word of caution.  When mocked up, don't grab the spring to move the assembly.  The strut will drop out the bottom and head for your toe.  Don't ask how I know. Also, pieces will go everywhere.

   After greasing and assembling the pieces, you will need to slide them back in place and check for clearance issues. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.   I had no problems.

   I played around a bit with the adjustment to get close to the appropriate ride height/tire clearance.  It looks pretty close here.  Below on the left you can see that my lower arm is much more horizontal.  Ditto with the steering arm.

Then I discovered what everyone meant about using "helper springs".  When your strut is long (when fully extended) the spring will be loose when you jack up the front end to change tires, etc.  During normal driving, this will not be an issue typically.  

   But when you jack up the front end to remove the wheels, the front suspension goes into full droop, the struts extend all the way, and since the system was not matched (strut full extended length to coil spring length) the springs will come off the top perch and be free.

   I did not want this to happen as it exposes the bearings at the top plate, and I would have to worry about making sure the coils realign with the top plate when lowering the car (plus what about any shop that gets to work/inspect the car.  brrrr..I worry...)

  I used 10 inch free length springs.  12 inch springs might have avoided this and kept the springs in contact both top and bottom.  I don't know.  I could have my struts shortened so their free length was not as long (ouch.  $$). or I could buy some "helper springs", which I did.  They are small springs that keep the coil over spring from coming free of the top plate. See the pic to the left.

  After talking with other users and Maximum Motorsports, MM recommends an alignment sleeve to keep the helper and the coilover springs aligned, and to put the helper at the top.  I'm got an email in to Hypercoil asking about the device.  I expect it is a tube about 1/2 inch long with a shelf in the center to "mate" the two pieces together, keeping them aligned.  we'll check the piece before I make a decision on where to put them, top or bottom...

    However, for now, you can see below on the left the helper spring is fully compressed.  It acts like a spacer.  On the right you can see how they are helping hold the coil spring up against the top.  I like it.  A note of caution here.  If you have your rotor in place to check fitment,  remove it before you start playing around with the adjustment.  There is a possibility that it will slide off the studs and head for your foot.  Don't ask.......

    One thing about this installation is that the information to do the installation and select the parts are not available all in one place.  I've gathered bits from various sources such as web pages and email lists.  Part of doing the job.

Alignment Piece concerns