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Speed Secret 1: Setting Front Suspension Toe for Better Cornering and Handling
Setting Your Front Suspension for Better Cornering and Handling
I'm starting my Speed Secrets Series off with a couple of related questions that continuously come up in Kenny Brown Tech sessions. Where do I set the Toe? What is Bump Steer?
TECH TIP: Setting the Toe on Your Mustang for Performance Handling
An often asked question is "do I need Toe-In or Toe-Out?"
Most alignment specs for front end alignment call for Toe-In, meaning the tires are pointed in slightly at the front to help the car track straight. If the Toe was zero, the car would have a tendency to drift or even a have little wheel wobble in some cases - the higher the speed the worse this would get. Toe-In, and what I prefer - Toe-Out - both help the car track better.
I set up all my Mustangs with Toe-Out for good reason. From racing, I learned that Toe-Out on the front wheels help the car turn-in and corner much better plus adds high-speed steering stability. On the road, a little Toe-Out helps the car run straight, turn and corner better as well. I set my Mustangs up with around1/16" total Toe-Out, or on an alignment machine -.25 to -.30. In later Tech Tips, I'll be sharing with you more on my front-end alignment specs for street, track and race.
TECH TIP: Correcting Bump-Steer
Along those same lines, we recently had someone ask for help as his Mustang's steering became unstable going around corners over bumps. What he experienced is called Bump-Steer.
What is Bump Steer?
Bump-Steer is the term for the tendency of the front wheels to change the Toe setting when going over bumps; in essence "steering" the car in an unwanted direction. Lowering a Mustang tends to make this worse so I HIGHLY RECOMMEND adding a Bump Steer Kit to your "to do" list if you have lowered your Mustang or plan to lower your Mustang.
There are two styles of bump-steer kits:
1) The race styles with spherical rod-ends with a handful of shims and
2) the original equipment (O.E.) replacement style with a longer shank.
The rod-end type (that I use for competition) is precise, but they need attention, maintenance and may become noisy on the street. On a race car we used to work for hours changing the shims on the tie rod ends to take out bump steer. Now, I do the calculations in my computer with my suspension geometry program.
For most weekend track day guys, with the spherical rod-end style there is still the task of spending time shimming and re-shimming until you get rod-end height close enough to take the bump-steer out. Then there is the maintenance and the potential for noise from some kits on the street.
To keep it simple, I use an original equipment replacement style Bump-Steer Correcting Tie-Rod End for all my street-performance and track-day Mustangs that I build. My Bump Steer Kit is available for all 05-'14 Mustangs. These are a MUST for lowered Mustangs and Track Day cars.
For Fox and SN-95 Mustangs, unfortunately we do not offer the OE style bump-Steer kits - yet (as of 3/2014), only the competition rod-end style. However, we do offer off-set steering rack bushings that allow you to adjust the rack instead of the tie rod ends. The '96-'04 Mustang spindles have better bump-steer.
The good news is with my OE style Bump Steer Kit you don't have to do any of the shimming, calculating or figuring as I have already done it you. All you have to do is install a set of my Kenny Brown Bump-Steer Tie Rod Ends, set the toe and away you go.
Our OE style Bump Steer Kits are a direct replacement for the ones on your car as "OE Style" would indicate and they are OE quality as well.
The difference is the shank is longer, to a pre-calculated length, moving the ball of the tie-rod end downward and closer into plane with the lower control arm, correcting bump-steer.
I explain this in more detail in this short video where I show the difference between a Mustang with and with-out the Bump-Steer Tie Rod ends.
If you have or are you going to lower your 2005 to 2014 Mustang, a set of Bump-Steer correcting tie rod ends are an easy and cost-effective way to further improve how your Mustang drives and handles.
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