Project Mustang 5.0: Optimizing Weight Transfer and Roll Steer


I previously had a Brand-X panhard bar that had seen better days.  It featured OEM-quality rubber bushings, which are good for ride compliance, but not performance.  The first step in properly centering the rear axle was to remove that tired piece of equipment (obviously).  Here's a comparison of the old panhard bar's rubber bushings with Whiteline's.

You can definitely see how much better-designed Whiteline's bushings are.

Removing and replacing the Panhard bar is pretty simple; it is simply held on with two heavy-duty bolts.  We liberally applied Whiteline's supplied EZY Grease to the bushings and bolted it in.  The bar is tubular steel, threaded at each end.  One end is reverse-threaded, which allows you to easily adjust the length of the bar by simply rotating it.  Each end of the bar has a hexagonal shape to allow the use of an open-ended wrench for super-easy adjustment.

Here's the bar on the chassis.  You can see the threaded ends, the hexagonal shape to allow easy adjustment, and the jam nuts to prevent unwanted movement.

Once the bar was installed on the car, we needed to adjust it.  To do this, we first loosed up the jam nuts on each side.  We then made a plumb line out of some string and an old O2 sensor bung and measured the distance from the fenders to the wheel hubs.

Measuring the distance from a plumb line hung from the fender and the center of each wheel is the best way to get the axle centered.

So while a friend stood next to the car with the plumb line and ruler, I was underneath the rear end with my open ended wrench, slowly turning the panhard bar until the axle was centered.  Once it was, we tightened the jam nuts at either end and moved on to the control arms.

Here is a picture of one of the stock control arms at the lowered ride height.  You can see that it slopes upwards towards the axle.

I didn't have access to a four-post lift, so it was difficult to get a good picture of the stock control arms at ride height. 

The lower control arms must be swapped out one side at a time.  The first step was to put the rear axle on jack stands and remove the wheels.  This gives you a good look at the stock control arms and how they're mounted.

Mustang parking brake cable
That line going through the control arm is the parking brake cable.

Once the wheel is off, the lower control arm is removed by first disconnecting that parking brake cable from the rear brake, sliding it out of the slot, and then simply unbolting the control arm at both ends. 

Whiteline's Lower Control Arms are also tubular 4130 chromoly steel and are adjustable just like the panhard bar.  The tubular construction is much more rigid than the OEM stamped pieces, and the bushings are also much more rigid.

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