Suspension for an 85 Colony Park.

Discussion in 'Station Wagon Lounge' started by louie25, May 19, 2022.

  1. louie25

    louie25 Member

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    Hello Everyone. I am looking to upgrade the front and rear suspension on my CP. I would like to make it a bit more modern and take away all of the bulky control arms and find something that is a bit more modern. Does anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    Ya know, Ford/Lincoln/Mercury stayed with the short/long arm front suspension through to the end of production in 2011, and changed to a Watts link rear starting in the early 2000s to 2011, and the four-link setup from 1979 to the early 2000s, and when properly maintained, they work beautifully. I just rebuilt my friend's '87 Grand Marq front suspension last Summer; it went from wandering star to a tight ship. All the parts are available and relatively inexpensive; you just need the basic tools and a couple special ones to make the replacements and then a front end alignment.
     
  3. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    The only other change Ford did to the Panther chassis when they installed the Watts link rear, was change from the recirculating ball steering gearbox to the rack and pinion design.
     
  4. louie25

    louie25 Member

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    What did you rebuild it with? do you have a place where I can get it all at once?
     
  5. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    I'm not 100% sure where my friend bought everything, but you might want to start with Amazon and RockAuto. There are no 'special' wagon-only parts that I know of, on the front or rear suspension, except perhaps springs. But those are ordered according to your wagon's specific build. On the front, you need two each of the following:

    Upper ball joints
    Lower ball joints
    Outer tie rods
    Inner tie rods
    Sway bar frame bushings
    Sway bar end link kits

    Then you need two pairs each side of upper A-arm bushings and lower A-arm bushings, one Pitman arm and one idler arm.

    Rear axle, you only need two pair of upper link bushings and two pair of lower link bushings. There is one modification you can do for the rear axle: source a P72-spec rear sway bar, and the hardware for installation. I'm not sure if there are any rubber bushings that would need to be replaced on it, but if there are, it's likely they would be on the axle attachment hardware.
     
  6. KevinVarnes

    KevinVarnes Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure which bulky control arms you want to get rid of. You need something to connect the wheels to the frame. I have been out of the Panther scene for a long time. Ford did a minor update of the front suspension in '92 when they went to the aero body style and also went to 4 wheel disc brakes across the board after that. The Watts link rearend came in '98 and then the aforementioned big front end change in '03.

    I completely rebuilt the front end on my car probably 20 years ago, but I drive it so infrequently it probably has less than 5000 miles on it since. I went with Bilstein shocks all around and stock replacement bushings and ball joints. I think the biggest change I made to how the car drove was installing a '97+ steering box. It went from pinky steer to actually being able to feel feedback from the road. If you search on crownvic.net you can probably find my original post on it. It isn't a drop in replacement, but it isn't hard to do.
     
  7. louie25

    louie25 Member

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    I was wondering if there were lighter ones maybe tubular I could find. The upper and lower control arms that come from the factory are hideous. Just looking to modernize it a little. I dont want to delete the as I am very aware that you need something to hold the wheels to the car.
     
  8. louie25

    louie25 Member

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    Thank you for this advise. I will look into getting the shopping list and figuring out what I need to replace them. I just had the engine refreshed and painted I am about to spritz up the bay this is part of my project. I want it all to look good. No fun having a pretty engine and the rest looks like trash.
     
  9. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    Well just remember that it's not looks that get you from Point A to Point B.
     
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  10. KevinVarnes

    KevinVarnes Well-Known Member

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    I highly doubt anybody is making tubular control arms for the older Panthers. I honestly don't even remember being able to see the control arms on my car. I know the grease fittings for the upper control arm bearings are accessed from the bottom/through the wheel well.

    I would also be careful about upgrading the rear suspension control arms. The Ford quadra-bind needs some flex in the arms or it will bind up. The system is pretty similar to the fox Mustang rear suspension. There is some good tech info on that on Maximum Motorsports website. https://www.maximummotorsports.com/tech_rear_susp_rlca.aspx
     
  11. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    No need. When you pull the arms from the frame, simply wash and paint them, or, if you want a more lasting finish, have them powder-coated.
     
  12. KevinVarnes

    KevinVarnes Well-Known Member

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    There was also a "big brake" upgrade which I think just entailed upgrading some of the front end parts and using later model brakes which were apparently bigger. Do your own research. as I have not done this to my car. I think the formula was: '92-97 upper control arms, '92-02 upper ball joints, and '98-02 lower ball joints in the stock lower control arms. Lincolnmania on crownvic.net was one of the first people I am aware of that did that. He may be on grandmarq.net as well under the same user name.
     

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