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Rear Suspension Upgrades


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I picked up Precious yesterday after she got some new rear end support installed. First I had the stock upper and lower control arms replaced with a set of Granatelli Street control arms. The are adjustable, lighter and stronger. The shop had to fabricate a bracket to attach the brake ducts.

 

Next I had a Fays2 Watts link installed in place of the panhard rod. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, with our cars being lowered without a proper length panhard rod installed the rear end is slightly offet to the driver side. It was visually noticeable on my car with 10.5" wheels pushing right out to the fenders. The left rear was a little outside of the fender and the right side was just inside the fender. I measured and now the axle is centered.

 

The second reason, a watts links setup came highly recommended by fellow owners of Shelby GTs and GT500s. Especially for open track and autocross events. Both of which I hope to start enjoying soon. The owners report a watts link makes the car handle almost like it has an independent rear suspension. I didn't get a chance to find some twisties after picking up Precious but I will soon and report back. One thing I did experience, I came across a California typical uneven and angled surface change on the freeway. Asphalt to concrete. With the stock setup, I had become use to the rear end jumping a little bit. That didn't happen. The car just absorbed the bump and didn't move an inch.

 

As far as the choice of the Fays2 system. There are plenty of vendors (Saleen, Fays2, Lakewood, others) and price points out there. I picked the Fays2 because it wasn't too exspensive ($615) and I prefered their design of a frame attachment for the center link. The other typical design is having the center link attached on a replacement differential cover. To me that isn't what the differntial cover is designed to do and could cause possible problems of leaking and what not when you crack open the rear end. Thanks ThreeCobras for the thread and advice.

 

All is not perfect with Fays2 product. One problem, a customer service issue, was fixed and the other I have an idea but am going to run it by some people. First, the customer service issue. Apparently, the FRPP sway bar installed on our Shelby GTs is the only one that bends toward the differential cover. The other aftermarket sway bars apparently bend a different direction. This caused a clearance issue and Fays2 had to send a different frame. They knew about the issue with the FRPP sway bar but didn't have it on the website and didn't ask when I ordered. It then took a week to get the new part sent. All the while my car sat in an unhappy installer's shop. If you choose to do this make sure you tell them you have the Shelby GT. That might go for any of the vendors.

 

The second thing is the Fays2 watts link control arms have heims joints on the ends. My installer predicted and I discovered that at slow speeds over speed bumps, driveways and drainage gutters the suspension articulates, the heims move and make contact with bolts or bracketts. Of course their is a banging noise. I haven't heard it while driving on the street or freeways. I am going to check into a rubber or plastic type washer (thoughts?). I'll report back.

 

Sorry the post is long but I hope there is some useful information. Pictures below:

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....yes I have to do something about the rust.

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  • 3 months later...

Thanks for this information ShelbyPilot I had posted on the mod forum with questions about this very thing. The Fays2 looks very interesting, do I gather correctly that it should bolt up with no interferences as long as I get the right one? What was your thinking on the Granetalli pieces? I'm considering the Steeda billet lowers and chromolly upper. Did you go with spherical bearings, Urethane or both? If you went spherical how is the NVH? Do you know what your pinion angle was set to?

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S.P.

 

How are you getting along with this set up? Just curious as I am considering the Fays2 also.

 

Thanks

 

Brian

 

....I am an expert by no means. What I do know is that the watts link made a difference to the rear handling of my car. I am satisfied with the set up. I still have the click of the heims but only when slow over angled bumps.

 

I went with Granatelli mostly for cosmetic reasons. Seriously. I was originally going to simply replace the stock panhard bar with an adjustable. I had only found very exspensive watts links at that time. The Granatelli seemed to have similar attributes as the other companies. Urethane bushings, grease fittings, and adjustable upper and lower control arms. The added benefit was that the Granatelli panhard bar was finished in blue to match the FRPP. Then Three Cobras posted his thread about the Fays2. I made the decision to go that way and just kept the Granatelli upper and lowers.

 

I had the whole thing installed at a performance shop. Actually, I have little confidence they actually have the right pinion angle. I am going to have to find somebody to check it for me.

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....I am an expert by no means. What I do know is that the watts link made a difference to the rear handling of my car. I am satisfied with the set up. I still have the click of the heims but only when slow over angled bumps.

 

I went with Granatelli mostly for cosmetic reasons. Seriously. I was originally going to simply replace the stock panhard bar with an adjustable. I had only found very exspensive watts links at that time. The Granatelli seemed to have similar attributes as the other companies. Urethane bushings, grease fittings, and adjustable upper and lower control arms. The added benefit was that the Granatelli panhard bar was finished in blue to match the FRPP. Then Three Cobras posted his thread about the Fays2. I made the decision to go that way and just kept the Granatelli upper and lowers.

 

I had the whole thing installed at a performance shop. Actually, I have little confidence they actually have the right pinion angle. I am going to have to find somebody to check it for me.

 

Where did you get the watts link? I'm also thinking about this set up but I just saw the new shelby catalog. Now they have shelby adjustable panhard bar so I might just get that one.

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Where did you get the watts link? I'm also thinking about this set up but I just saw the new shelby catalog. Now they have shelby adjustable panhard bar so I might just get that one.

I ordered it direct:

http://www.fays2.net/index.html

 

If you are buying one for the Shelby GT make sure you tell Jim it is for the Shelby GT. It comes with a different frame because of our sway bar.

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  • 3 months later...
All is not perfect with Fays2 product. One problem, a customer service issue, was fixed and the other I have an idea but am going to run it by some people. First, the customer service issue. Apparently, the FRPP sway bar installed on our Shelby GTs is the only one that bends toward the differential cover. The other aftermarket sway bars apparently bend a different direction. This caused a clearance issue and Fays2 had to send a different frame. They knew about the issue with the FRPP sway bar but didn't have it on the website and didn't ask when I ordered. It then took a week to get the new part sent. All the while my car sat in an unhappy installer's shop. If you choose to do this make sure you tell them you have the Shelby GT. That might go for any of the vendors.

 

The second thing is the Fays2 watts link control arms have heims joints on the ends. My installer predicted and I discovered that at slow speeds over speed bumps, driveways and drainage gutters the suspension articulates, the heims move and make contact with bolts or bracketts. Of course their is a banging noise. I haven't heard it while driving on the street or freeways. I am going to check into a rubber or plastic type washer (thoughts?). I'll report back.

 

I wanted to update and correct the above information. Thanks to Lulu and his knowledge, I installed the standard Fays2 watts link frame. I also talked with Jim Fay about this. It appears that the more compact Shelby GT frame isn't needed. The only clearance issue occurs if the suspension is fully unloaded, wheels off the ground. Putting the standard frame on allows the center link to be mounted lower. This is important because of the Shelby GTs lowered stance. The driver's side watts control arm would contact the exhaust pipe with the old frame on good size dips on open roads or freeway. The standard frame allows more clearance and after a good test drive I think that clearance issue is gone.

 

Second, I complained about clicks from the heims on the end of the watts control arms. This is going to fall under the "if you want it done right do it yourself file." I took my car to a performance shop to install my suspension pieces. I just didn't want to be on my back on concrete. However, not one thing was installed correctly. The watts link set up was way off. The watts control arms were not parrallel to the axle (important). More importantly to the clicks and noises, none of the other lower control arms and frame bolts were torqued to specificationss. I torqued everything and noises are gone.

 

Before I was 90% happy with the Fays2 watts link. I would have recommended it because of the handling but with a caution about noise. Now that things are installed and tighten properly, I recommend it 100%. Jim Fay is also great with customer support. He called me yesterday to see how things went.

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I wanted to update and correct the above information. Thanks to Lulu and his knowledge, I installed the standard Fays2 watts link frame. I also talked with Jim Fay about this. It appears that the more compact Shelby GT frame isn't needed. The only clearance issue occurs if the suspension is fully unloaded, wheels off the ground. Putting the standard frame on allows the center link to be mounted lower. This is important because of the Shelby GTs lowered stance. The driver's side watts control arm would contact the exhaust pipe with the old frame on good size dips on open roads or freeway. The standard frame allows more clearance and after a good test drive I think that clearance issue is gone.

 

Second, I complained about clicks from the heims on the end of the watts control arms. This is going to fall under the "if you want it done right do it yourself file." I took my car to a performance shop to install my suspension pieces. I just didn't want to be on my back on concrete. However, not one thing was installed correctly. The watts link set up was way off. The watts control arms were not parrallel to the axle (important). More importantly to the clicks and noises, none of the other lower control arms and frame bolts were torqued to specificationss. I torqued everything and noises are gone.

 

Before I was 90% happy with the Fays2 watts link. I would have recommended it because of the handling but with a caution about noise. Now that things are installed and tighten properly, I recommend it 100%. Jim Fay is also great with customer support. He called me yesterday to see how things went.

 

Chris, I watched one of these units being installed at Tasca last week on a GT500. It is a high quality piece. I am still debating which way to go on this. With the Snow here this week, and more on the way, I think I still have a little time left to decide. :banghead:

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Next I had a Fays2 Watts link installed in place of the panhard rod. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, with our cars being lowered without a proper length panhard rod installed the rear end is slightly offet to the driver side. It was visually noticeable on my car with 10.5" wheels pushing right out to the fenders. The left rear was a little outside of the fender and the right side was just inside the fender. I measured and now the axle is centered.

 

 

I see things like this and I can't help but post. If the rear wheels are not aligned up with the front wheels then wouldn't we be seeing excessive tire wear? I don't have any tire wear issues with my car. 8000 miles and they look great.

 

So are you saying when I go to bigger wheels that my driver's side wheel is going to stick outside the fender while the passenger's is inside the fender? That :banghead: sux!!

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I see things like this and I can't help but post. If the rear wheels are not aligned up with the front wheels then wouldn't we be seeing excessive tire wear? I don't have any tire wear issues with my car. 8000 miles and they look great.

 

So are you saying when I go to bigger wheels that my driver's side wheel is going to stick outside the fender while the passenger's is inside the fender? That :banghead: sux!!

If you use a plumb line and a ruler or tape measue, you will probably find that your wheels are already offset. It is just the nature of a lowered car with a pan hard rod. You can fix cheap with an adjustable pan hard rod or spend some moe money and help the handling with a watts link.

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My experience with Watts links goes back to Marauders. Full size sedan/4500 pounds, and one put down 500+ RWHP and RWTQ. It was lowered 1.5" from stock profile, which was already 1.0" lower than other Panther frame cars (CV/CVPI/Gran Marquis).

 

No panhard bar, just Watts links, and they proved to be very important in centering the rear axle, and building control at high speed and in the twisties.

 

IMHO...This mod, in concert with improved upper and lower control arms, is an AAA+ improvement for the SGT.

 

I suggest a four wheel alignment after the install.

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If not too much trouble, could one of you guys tell me where to set the plum and what to measure. I was thinking I could just tape measure both rear wheels and see how far they are from the outside of the fender. If what you say is true then there should be a noticeable difference. I will confirm when I get home from work today.

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If not too much trouble, could one of you guys tell me where to set the plum and what to measure. I was thinking I could just tape measure both rear wheels and see how far they are from the outside of the fender. If what you say is true then there should be a noticeable difference. I will confirm when I get home from work today.

Prolly a dozen ways to do it, but the simple and quick way to peek at it, is to drop a plum line from the center of the wheel well (just tape a weighted string to the outside of the fender) then measure across from the string to the outside sidewall of the rear tires. This ought to give you a hint.

 

Another easy and quick way is to make yourself a small water box on dry pavement with a garden hose, and slowly idle through it. Stop and check your tire tracks. If the rear end is off center, you should be able to see it. Both tire tracks will be leave a wider track than your actual tire contact.

 

Keep in mind that there is left-right movement in the live axle on the stock control arm mounts, and what you measure today, may be different tomorrow, after a few hard turns. For me, the numbers aren't important, it's the shifting I don't like, and why you need to consider a U/L control arm upgrade if you are going to do any performance driving.

 

Keep us posted?

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Guys I measured mine just now and my driver's side wheel is about 3/4 of an inch further to the left than the passenger wheel.

 

Driver side = 3/4 of an inch from the outside of the fender

 

Passenger side = 1.5 inches from the outside of the fender

 

 

This would make it off center by about 1/3" or something I guess. I'm just pissed because this will look like crap if I got with bigger tires on the back. My method was kinda rudimentary way to do it but I have no doubt you guys are right. ShelbyPilot's offset was the same side as mine.

 

Driver's side

driver1.jpg

 

Passenger's side

passenger1.jpg

passenger1.jpg

driver1.jpg

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Guys I measured mine just now and my driver's side wheel is about 3/4 of an inch further to the left than the passenger wheel.

 

Driver side = 3/4 of an inch from the outside of the fender

 

Passenger side = 1.5 inches from the outside of the fender

 

 

This would make it off center by about 1/3" or something I guess. I'm just pissed because this will look like crap if I got with bigger tires on the back. My method was kinda rudimentary way to do it but I have no doubt you guys are right. ShelbyPilot's offset was the same side as mine.

 

Driver's side

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Passenger's side

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Easily taken care of with an adjustable pan hard rod or watts link.

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I installed a custom made Watts Link on my #358 and the handling is fantastic. I ran my Shelby stock except for the watts until recently when I installed 20" wheels with Nittos. It now is great fun to drive on a race track because of the improved balance of the car, improves braking into corners and allows me to get on the gas sooner coming out of the corners.

 

I have run six open tracks in 9 months and enjoy driving my Shelby with these modifications.

 

I encourage all Shelby owners to exercise their Shelbys as much as possible (in a safe environment on a race track).

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I installed a custom made Watts Link on my #358 and the handling is fantastic. I ran my Shelby stock except for the watts until recently when I installed 20" wheels with Nittos. It now is great fun to drive on a race track because of the improved balance of the car, improves braking into corners and allows me to get on the gas sooner coming out of the corners.

 

I have run six open tracks in 9 months and enjoy driving my Shelby with these modifications.

 

I encourage all Shelby owners to exercise their Shelbys as much as possible (in a safe environment on a race track).

 

 

I ordered the Fays watts today myself......

 

By the way, your car looks SWEET.

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I installed a custom made Watts Link on my #358 and the handling is fantastic. I ran my Shelby stock except for the watts until recently when I installed 20" wheels with Nittos.

Yours is the first car I have seen with 20" Bullitt type wheels. I was wondering what they would look like and they look great -- particularly on a black car. Thanks for the Watts Link information. If you ever have under the car photos, I would love to see them. Jim

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I installed a custom made Watts Link on my #358 and the handling is fantastic. I ran my Shelby stock except for the watts until recently when I installed 20" wheels with Nittos. It now is great fun to drive on a race track because of the improved balance of the car, improves braking into corners and allows me to get on the gas sooner coming out of the corners.

 

I have run six open tracks in 9 months and enjoy driving my Shelby with these modifications.

 

I encourage all Shelby owners to exercise their Shelbys as much as possible (in a safe environment on a race track).

Are you running the stock brakes? I've been on the track two time and mine are shot.

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I wanted to update and correct the above information. Thanks to Lulu and his knowledge, I installed the standard Fays2 watts link frame. I also talked with Jim Fay about this. It appears that the more compact Shelby GT frame isn't needed. The only clearance issue occurs if the suspension is fully unloaded, wheels off the ground. Putting the standard frame on allows the center link to be mounted lower. This is important because of the Shelby GTs lowered stance. The driver's side watts control arm would contact the exhaust pipe with the old frame on good size dips on open roads or freeway. The standard frame allows more clearance and after a good test drive I think that clearance issue is gone.

 

Second, I complained about clicks from the heims on the end of the watts control arms. This is going to fall under the "if you want it done right do it yourself file." I took my car to a performance shop to install my suspension pieces. I just didn't want to be on my back on concrete. However, not one thing was installed correctly. The watts link set up was way off. The watts control arms were not parrallel to the axle (important). More importantly to the clicks and noises, none of the other lower control arms and frame bolts were torqued to specificationss. I torqued everything and noises are gone.

 

Before I was 90% happy with the Fays2 watts link. I would have recommended it because of the handling but with a caution about noise. Now that things are installed and tighten properly, I

recommend it 100%. Jim Fay is also great with customer support. He called me yesterday to see how things went.

 

Chris, I'm considering this set up for my car. Just to recap, your set up is the Fays2 watts link and the Fays upper and lower control arms? Are the control arms adjustable of fixed? Did you add anything else to the set up? If I got this set up would I need the adjustable caster/camber plates I see out there now, I think from Maximum Motorsports? I'm assuming you had the car 4 wheel aligned when done. Do you know what the alignment settings are or leave it up to the professionals?

 

I also noticed on my car the other day the passenger side looked slightly higher than the drivers side from the rear. I measured and the car is a good 1/2 an inch lower on the passenger side. I think this may have been addressed once before in the old Shelby forum but is this an issue and if yes what should I have a suspension/alignment shop check? Thanks for your help. Anybody else please chime in too.

Dave

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I do have the Fays2 watts link. My control arms are from Granatelli. They are adjustable. I chose Granatelli originally for cosmetic reasons. I was going to install their adjustable pan hard rod which was the only one powder coated blue. I returned the pan hard rod and kept the control arms. There may be other brands out there that are better. I probably would have went with the Shelby (just for the name) control arms if they had been available at the time.

 

I did nothing else to the rear or front. I may change out the front sway bar end links. They still have the stock ones on and they appear less robust then the FRPP ones on the rear. I may also put a bump steer kit on eventually.

 

The camber isn't effected by the rear changes. I did have a professional alignment done after the installation. First they corrected the thrust angle by aligning the axle using the lower control arms. Then one of the front wheels had to be adjusted for toe. The front camber on my car was and is still at -1.5. That is within the Ford Specified limits. According to the computer at the alignment shop.

 

Somebody did have a problem with the car sitting higher on one side but I don't remember what the out come was.

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Chris, I finally pulled the trigger. I ordered Jim's system today. I also called CHE performance and ordered the upper and lower adjustable arms and upper bracket. Had to have them match in color of course so I'm having them done in red powder coat. I'll report back when I've completed the install.

 

Roger

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i saw that lakewood has a watts link for $450 or so that is bolt in also any word on if this one is good bad or otherwise?

 

751_WattsLink.jpg

 

I have seen this set up. I preferred the Fays2 due to the additional "heft" and engineering R&D they did on their units. I know that they sent one to Shelby Autos for installation on a SSnake.

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Chris, I finally pulled the trigger. I ordered Jim's system today. I also called CHE performance and ordered the upper and lower adjustable arms and upper bracket. Had to have them match in color of course so I'm having them done in red powder coat. I'll report back when I've completed the install.

 

Roger

 

Good Luck, If you are doing it yourself, think about investing in a digital torpedo level and make sure you torque everything to specs. If you need the Ford specs for the control arms and mounting the watts frame let me know I have a link fo you.

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I added 18 X 10 wheels w 285/40-18 tires on the rear. I also put a Steeda adjustable panhard bar in place of the stock bar and centered the rear. The panhard R&R took about 30 minutes from jack up to final adjustment. Very easy mod. Great alternative to the watts link if you don't want or need that mod. Without the adjustable panhard the car looks terrible with big tires. I'm sure there is a handling improvment just getting everything centered as it was designed.

 

Rich

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