5.0 Explorer Swap in 66-keeping it distributorless

wicked93gs

10 Year Member
Sep 30, 2006
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Nashville TN
If you do decide to do the Arning drop, I have a SoT drop template you can have if you ever make it up near Nashville, to me its a pretty easy mod that is all upside....unless you are worried about drilling a couple of holes in the shock tower.
 
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MARKDTN

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Apr 5, 2019
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It runs! Last night I put the timing cover back on and buttoned it up. Filled it up with water and antifreeze and started it. Seems to run fine. Not much oil pressure on the gauge, I'll do another post about that. Found out my BMW temperature switch for the fans is not working, so I ordered another. There is a check engine light on constantly so I need to put the scanner on it tonight and see what it is. Since it is always on, I expect it is something simple. But I ran it probably 12-15 minutes and it seems to idle OK and no strange noises. Got to get it to the exhaust shop next.
 

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MARKDTN

Member
Apr 5, 2019
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Chattanooga, TN
If you do decide to do the Arning drop, I have a SoT drop template you can have if you ever make it up near Nashville, to me its a pretty easy mod that is all upside....unless you are worried about drilling a couple of holes in the shock tower.
I appreciate the offer. I have a template. I just have to decide if I want to go that way. I have Granada brakes (and Borgeson steering box). I hear very conflicting things about the drop and Granada spindles. I want a driver car, not a race car. I don't care about cornering at speed. I want to cruise along and not worry if I have to brake hard. That is what I am struggling with. I THINK that the Borgeson box helps because it uses manual steering tie rods with no adapters instead of the oddly bent p/s rods. Any advice on this is appreciated. May need to do a separate post on this. Thanks!
 

MARKDTN

Member
Apr 5, 2019
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More room in front of the engine than I would have expected.
Yes, the Explorer setup is a real space saver. BUT it ties you in with 1 alternator (it's a good one), 1 p/s pump (also good but big), and n/o A/C (unless 2000ish Crown Vic top outlet compressor can be used). The rear outlet Explorer compressor will be all in the shock tower. That is probably the biggest downside to that setup. You could probably run a clutch fan if you wanted. You can drill the timing cover for a front sump dipstick. And the Cougar/Contour fans are low profile as well.
 

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wicked93gs

10 Year Member
Sep 30, 2006
1,031
135
93
Nashville TN
I appreciate the offer. I have a template. I just have to decide if I want to go that way. I have Granada brakes (and Borgeson steering box). I hear very conflicting things about the drop and Granada spindles. I want a driver car, not a race car. I don't care about cornering at speed. I want to cruise along and not worry if I have to brake hard. That is what I am struggling with. I THINK that the Borgeson box helps because it uses manual steering tie rods with no adapters instead of the oddly bent p/s rods. Any advice on this is appreciated. May need to do a separate post on this. Thanks!
Why would the Arning drop affect your braking? It doesn't change the anti-dive angle...braking hard is part of handling....don't think I have ever heard anything negative about the Arning drop in regards to braking...this was after all used on Shelby mustangs of the day....you certainly don't worry about braking hard in a GT350...kinda what they are built for. As for Granada spindles....that is a different subject entirely...they have the same steering arm geometry as 67+ spindles...meaning that bump-steer issues in lowered cars without some type of bump steer kit can be an issue...it also limits you on brake choices...not a lot of performance pads for Granada brakes...but that shouldn't matter to you if handling isn't your priority, they are more than good enough for any regular street use you put them to. I know of several people autocrossing and road racing still using the Granada setup. Not ideal, but in general good enough.
 

MARKDTN

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Apr 5, 2019
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Why would the Arning drop affect your braking? It doesn't change the anti-dive angle...braking hard is part of handling....don't think I have ever heard anything negative about the Arning drop in regards to braking...this was after all used on Shelby mustangs of the day....you certainly don't worry about braking hard in a GT350...kinda what they are built for. As for Granada spindles....that is a different subject entirely...they have the same steering arm geometry as 67+ spindles...meaning that bump-steer issues in lowered cars without some type of bump steer kit can be an issue...it also limits you on brake choices...not a lot of performance pads for Granada brakes...but that shouldn't matter to you if handling isn't your priority, they are more than good enough for any regular street use you put them to. I know of several people autocrossing and road racing still using the Granada setup. Not ideal, but in general good enough.

Everything I read on Granada swap/Shelby drop on early cars is negative. Bump steer. Ill handling. One guy that said it was unstable from a high speed stop. But I have not found anything on the combination of Granada spindles, Borgeson steering box, and Shelby/Arning drop though. Everything in the front suspension is new except the upper control arm bushings so I could do that too "while it was out". I think Borgeson steering should be less prone to bump steer than manual steering or factory ram power steering. I think I want to drive it to the exhaust shop (about a mile) and see how it acts. Then decide if I need to do the drop and maybe also cut a little out of the front spring. The front end was high compared to the back when I rolled it into the garage last time. But it didn't have hood, nose, fenders, radiator, etc. (still no fenders or hood). Maybe the weight of what is missing will help it level out but I don't see how. The rear is on stands under the axle housing so the rear springs are compressed but the front is on stands under the frame so the springs are extended. I want a safe, driver car. I intend to ship it West and drive Route 66 next Summer. I don't need handling and braking issues 1000 miles from home. I guess I could throw more money at it and buy Mustang spindles, but I'm way past worth, tired of spending money on it, and I'm ready to drive somewhere. I have new rotors, USA bearings, rebuilt calipers, etc. so I hate to throw all that away and start again. But I will if it is unsafe.
 
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wicked93gs

10 Year Member
Sep 30, 2006
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Nashville TN
The Arning drop improves handling by adding negative camber...there is no doubt about this...the car will stick to the road better and go around a track faster...this is why Shelby did the mod after all. That isn't to say that people do the drop, then do a camber alignment that does not take advantage of it....and bump-steer makes for a miserable handling experience on anything other than perfectly flat roads. Try to keep in mind that "handling" is also highly subjective and what people really mean is "confidence inspiring". Take 2 cars...a vintage mustang with all the fancy SOT bits, 3 link coilovers in back, coilovers up front, etc etc and a modern Roush mustang....Shawn from SoT routinely beats Roush mustangs around the track...his car "handles" better, but from a subjective standpoint it would certainly be a lot less confidence inspiring in the turns, it would feel less predictable and controlled.

I think most of what you are reading is coming from the fact people are running lowered cars with Granada spindles...Granada spindles have the incorrect steering geometry for 65-66 cars. It exacerbates the bump-steer even the correct 65-66 spindles have when lowered. Bump-steer on lowered cars is not a phenomenon restricted to vintage mustangs...it happens with all lowered cars...You can buy bump-steer kits for anything from Camaros to Miatas....its just another issue to address when modifying your suspension.

CPP has a "Granada" front brake kit with the correct geometry for 65-66:
https://www.classicperform.com/Catalog/Sec-2-Ford-section.pdf

If you do lower your car, or have granada(or 67+) spindles or some combination thereof, a bump steer kit needs to be on the shopping list...even factory cars have been known to have bump steer issues:

 
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MARKDTN

Member
Apr 5, 2019
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This is great to know! I think I will go ahead and do the Shelby drop and then align the car. If I don't like it, I can do the bump steer kit. And If I don't like that I can change spindles. When I bought the Granada spindles in 2003ish they were the way to go, but now not so much. Now I have rotors and bearings and calipers for them so I feel like I have to try them.
 

wicked93gs

10 Year Member
Sep 30, 2006
1,031
135
93
Nashville TN
This is great to know! I think I will go ahead and do the Shelby drop and then align the car. If I don't like it, I can do the bump steer kit. And If I don't like that I can change spindles. When I bought the Granada spindles in 2003ish they were the way to go, but now not so much. Now I have rotors and bearings and calipers for them so I feel like I have to try them.

Its not like you can's just put the UCAs back in the upper holes if you dont like the result...a lot of people leave both sets of holes there. I personally welded the originals up, but that was only because the car was on the rotisserie anyway.
 

MARKDTN

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Apr 5, 2019
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Chattanooga, TN
Update-car moved on it's own for the first time since about 1985! Friday night buttoned up a bunch of little detail items. Had something I had to do Saturday morning, but after lunch I fired it up and backed out of the garage. Getting a cam position sensor code that I will have to deal with on an Explorer site. Taking it to the exhaust shop on Thursday. Everything seems to be working like it should. I put it on ramps in the driveway which gives me a different view-before I had it on jack stands so I couldn't get right under the engine on a creeper. I think I will remove the Explorer oil filter adapter and go back to a normal FL1A filter. There is plenty of room. Also, if I had it to do again I might pull the cross brace and drag link under the oil pan and install the Explorer engine with it's pan on and swap it in the car. I just don't like working under an engine and transmission supported on a hoist; much rather it be bolted in the car. I don't think I realized how accessible the oil pan can be. So still not showing much oil pressure, I will get a real mechanical gauge and check it soon. Also fuel level not doing much either. I put 4.5 gallons in so it should be over 1/4 now. The gauge pegs if you ground the wire at the tank. I will pull the sender and check it (thankfully on top on an EFI conversion tank). After that I tried hanging fenders on the car. They have been off since 1985 (hit a deer and parked). I noticed that the front and back ends line up with holes, but the middle ones do not. I will create a new post on this. I assume I porta-power the shock towers out to get the holes to line up?
 

MARKDTN

Member
Apr 5, 2019
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Probably the last update unless something changes that requires it. Since the last update I figured out oil pressure (poor ground through teflon tape on sender). I figured out fuel level (must use a non-linear sending unit with stock gauge or a different linear gauge). Figured out cam sensor code (it was the cam sensor). Porta-powered the fenders apart to fit a modified MonteCarlo bar to clear the coilpacks, p/s reservoir, and have a place for the air intake tube to go. Did a Shelby drop. Got exhaust (Arvinode sounds great!). Saturday I painted front sheetmetal and by the end of the day, put the hood on. I am thrilled to report that the stock hood clears the intake, throttle body (without elbow), coils, and p/s reservoir without cutting or moving anything and without relocating/remote mounting the IAC. So all I have left is the hang the front end, have it aligned, and finish the interior.
 

MARKDTN

Member
Apr 5, 2019
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Chattanooga, TN
Here is a photo of the engine in. You can see what has to be done with the MonteCarlo bar to clear everything. Still have some tidying up to do, but it is in and driveable.
 

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