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shockfall.jpg (68175 bytes)

By Ron Bramlett
Photos by Michael Wallace
(From Restomod Daze, Vol. 1, No. 1, May 2003)

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    Question: Is there an easy way to take the front suspension and steering parts off my ‘65 Mustang? I have beat on the threaded part sticking through the spindle until it is so mushroomed over that even if it did come off, it will never fit through the hole. My friend says he has a special tool to use to take the suspension apart. Do you know what tool he means? Do you know where I can get one? Thanks for any help you can give me on this.
      - Bob J. via the internet

   Every month customers contact me with a question concerning how to take the front suspension off of their Classic Mustang something like the one above. In actuality, getting the front suspension and steering parts off your classic Mustang and many other classic Ford cars and trucks for that matter, is very simple; provided you know the trick of the trade!
    What is this trick? Simple. Get a bigger hammer! And I'm totally serious. To answer the question above, yes, there is an easy way to take the front suspension and steering parts off your ‘65 Mustang. A very simple way. You simply "shock" the parts apart. In all my years of playing with Mustangs, this method has never failed me.
    So what do I mean by shocking them apart? Let me explain. Ford designed the Mustangs' front upper and lower ball joints, tie rod ends, pitman arms, and other attaching points with tapered studs and holes. When connected together, the tapered stud is pulled up into the tapered hole to the proper point and then, no matter how tight you tighten the nut, the shaft can not go through the hole any further. A special castle nut is used and a cotter pin is inserted through the nut and stud so that the nut can't loosen up and come off the stud. (Later model Mustangs don't use the castle nut and cotter pin. They use a nylon lock nut). This tapered fit works extremely well. Now that we've put it together, let's take it apart.
    Here's where the trick of the trade becomes important and where the term "shocking it apart" comes into play. Since the stud has been forced into the tapered hole, taking the nut off does not let the two parts just fall apart. They are still being forcibly held together. To shock the two parts apart, a very forceful hammer blow, or a series of blows, on the part holding the stud will shock them and let the two parts simply fall apart! Yes, it's that simple but with one varying degree. The tighter the nut was torqued, the harder the parts are to get apart. So hit it few times, HARD, and if it's still being stubborn, hit it again, HARDER! Just repeat this process until the parts come apart. I know what you're thinking. No, I've never seen or heard of anyone breaking the part they're hitting. Of course, using a little penetrating oil such as Liquid Wrench can't hurt although I've found that on the Mustangs here in California that it just creates a mess. Use it if you want to.
   Over the years, I've seen products and tools that are designed to take suspension components apart. But this is the simplest method I have found and there are no special tools needed, except for maybe a bigger hammer. I keep a short handle 5lb sledge in my tool box and it has never failed me. What is very important to remember is to make sure that you only hit the part that is holding the stud and that you never hit the stud or the nut. I know that when you're laying on your back on the garage floor, trying to get the correct angle to hit the right piece, it can be very tempting to try to drive the stud out of the hole. But don't do it. Most times you'll damage the stud and have to replace the part you're trying to remove. Especially if your only wanting to clean and detail the parts you're taking off the car.
    Follow along with me as I show you exactly how to "Shock" and then watch as the parts "Fall" off your classic Mustang.     (Continued on Page 2)

-Ron
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