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BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER.... A's, G's & E's


65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion

PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty 65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion

Post by PizzaChop Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:17 pm

The 1965 Falcon Van was purchased over 2 years ago in Spartanburg, SC and trailered home to Danielsville, GA where it "rested" in the barn (with other Fords) until I could find the time to start on it.  The previous owner was a self-employed plumber who intended to use it for business but had a dog house fire which destroyed those plans.  

An owner before him had installed an early 80s 302 with C4 and didn't modify the stock crossmember for the V-8, which had the engine sitting high in the dog house and probably contributed to conditions which led to the fire.

I've restored two Airstream travel trailers, two boats (I/O, outboard), and a 73 CJ-5 but never a van, although we did have a 1969 Ford Club Wagon growing up in the 70s.  (With 9 children of our own, we've owned (until very recently) a 15 passenger E-350 7.3 PSD for over 16 years but now that they've grown up....need to downsize.)

Having started the conversion, I'll try to share as much info as possible (and narrated pics) that will be helpful for others who may be on the fence about whether to do the conversion.  That includes sharing a few mistakes along the way, as much as I'd prefer to forget them.

Big thanks and shout out to Armyof6, who's IFS thread on this forum was very informative and insightful.   "Navyof11"  doesn't quite have the same ring to it (6 years USN) so I'll keep "pizzachop".  Smile

Below are pics from the day it came home.
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day110
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day1a10
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day1b10
PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Day One...Taking Inventory

Post by PizzaChop Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:00 pm

Once I had had the van safely home and off the trailer, I took stock of what I'd purchased.

Overall, I was pleased with my purchase and especially pleased that the interior trim pieces were included as well as some of the window rubber (I'm still not sure exactly how much).

I unloaded everything and took a few pics.
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day1e10
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day1f10
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day1c10 65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day1d10
PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Engine Crossmember V-8 Modification

Post by PizzaChop Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:15 pm

After having the van home for a few weeks, I did some research, joined a Facebook group and learned a few things.  

One of the first things I learned was that whoever swapped the 302 into my van did not modify it or purchase a modified crossmember from Vic (in CA). It was sitting too high and 1" spacer bars were bolted in between the crossmember mounting brackets and the van "frame".

While ordering a properly modified/manufactured crossmember was an option, with somewhat decent welding and fabricating skills, I was pretty sure I could make it.

I supported the engine and unbolted/removed the crossmember and took it inside.

Then I sw65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day1g10
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Unmodi10
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Crossm10
PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Engine Crossmember V-8 Modification (cont.)

Post by PizzaChop Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:25 pm

I cut off the crossmember mounting "perches" for motor mounts and re-attached the crossmember directly to the van "frame rails" (no spacer).

I then lowered the engine to what seemed to be the correct height based on the pics I'd seen of modified crossmembers for V-8 engines.  The yoke seems to wrap around the back of the oil pan sump nicely so I did the same.

I swapped  perches (left on right/right on left) bolted them to engine motor mounts (single bolt) and tack welded them onto the crossmember.  Then I removed the cross member, took it inside, and probably made a few very small adjustments for symmetry and re-fitted once more.

Once I was satisfied, I permanently welded them with the Lincoln AC-225 and re-installed.

Front of engine probably sits 3" lower and is no longer looks like a Jeep 258 (which does sit higher in front).
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Crossm11
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Crossm13
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Crossm12
PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Engine Crossmember V-8 Modification (cont.)

Post by PizzaChop Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:35 pm

I did have to replace the oil filter with a shorter version as a result of the crossmember blocking access to the larger one.  Not a big deal, and some relocate it altogether...but something to remember.

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Crossm14

The 302 now sits correctly (although the floor opening/dog house definitely needs enlarging).

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Engine10

Next up......IFS converson!
PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Re: 65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion

Post by PizzaChop Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:37 am

Fast forward (2-3 years) and I'm finally starting work on the van project.

Added concrete to center bay of barn and acquired a lift which will make the job a LOT easier! (unit is completely connected and securely fastened above the loft floor, I will hopefully anchor posts in concrete soon.  The lift cannot fall without taking the entire barn with it....which I don't believe will happen)

Found some vintage slotted mags on fb marketplace with good tires so the 80s Lincoln-Mercury turbos are gone (good riddance)

Time to remove the front axle.....65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day310
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day3a10 65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day3b10
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day3c10
PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Re: 65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion

Post by PizzaChop Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:46 am

Front axle removal was pretty straight forward.  Remove spring shackle bolts, brake lines, steering arm, shocks, and sway bar.  (can't really remember much else)

Easiest and most fun day I've had...65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day3d10
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day3e10
PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Re: 65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion

Post by PizzaChop Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:35 am

This post documents my first mistake.

IFS crossmember must be mounted so that the SPINDLE is centered in wheel well (height is taken into account but that will be covered later).

I determined AXLE CENTERLINE based on the original straight axle location, evidently missing the fact that the stock spindle is about 2" back from axle.

This obviously caused a problem once control arms were attached, spindles installed, and wheels mounted.

Based on my newfound knowledge, I determined correct axle/spindle centerline to be 8-1/2" forward of engine crossmember mounting bracket and 25-1/4" aft of the front leaf spring shackle bracket (in case you don't have the "big six" crossmember)

Note that the picture is taken after the fact. I've already notched the van frame rail to accommodate the "slip in " subframe and upper control arm cross bolt.

(I don't think I took any pictures of the wheel sitting 2-1/2" forward in wheel well and if I did, I probably deleted them.)65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Day3f10

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PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Pre-notching Van Frame/Removing Axle Bumpers

Post by PizzaChop Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:15 am

In hindsight, given the amount of frame rail removed by notching, this process may not have been necessary.  (but I didn't know that at the time).

The axle bump stop bracket is secured to van frame rail with about 5 spotwelds per side and rather than destroy the frame rail, I figured I'd use the plasma cutter and "surgically" remove them.

They came off relatively easily.  But again, given how much notching was required, not sure it was really necessary.

Probably worth pointing out that my plan was a slightly lowered stance in front (1") with standard spindles (not drop spindles) so there was no wheel well or floor cutting necessary to accommodate shock towers/upper control arms.

If a person wanted to "slam" the front end, the original van rails would probably have to be cut out completely.65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Spotwe11
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Spotwe12
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Spotwe10

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PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Crossmember Mock-up

Post by PizzaChop Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:15 am

Before doing any major damage, I tacked some channel together to simulate a subframe and C-clamped it to the inside of the van frame rails just to get an idea of where everything would sit.

Standard Mustang2 IFS geometry has lower control arm pivot hole 3-1/2" below axle spindle centerline so determining correct crossmember mounting height involves knowing your overall wheel/tire diameter divided by two minus 3.5" and that is how far the pivot hole should be from the ground.  (Maybe add 1/4" to ground to hole distance to account for tire flattening under load)

In my case, I think it was around 9" (14" wheels on 70R tires).

(Follow the crossmember installation instructions from manufacturer.)

I set the crossmember so that lower pivot holes were prescribed distance from ground and then lowered the van down onto jack stands to desired ride height, which for me was a slightly lowered front stance (maybe an inch lower).  This gave me an idea of where the cross member/subframe would be mounted.

Since I purchased my crossmember on ebay with no documentation, I followed a chart from a Heidt's guide in determining dimensions for 60.5" track width crossmember and for whatever reason, the 37.5" shock tower hole mounting position did not result in plumb spindles once all was assembled so I had to re-locate shock towers outward about 5/8" on both sides. (I will address this in more detail in a later post.)

This could have been avoided had I assembled the entire IFS on the bench with spindles mounted and control arms level.  But I began work before the control arms arrived, trusting measurements that in the end didn't work for me.

Much gnashing of teeth over that one....65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Crossm16
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Crossm17
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Crossm15


Last edited by PizzaChop on Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:56 am; edited 1 time in total

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jrdunn96
jrdunn96

Number of posts : 663
Location : Cashion, OK
Age : 59
Registration date : 2016-01-01

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Re: 65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion

Post by jrdunn96 Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:27 am

I, for one appreciate you documenting your mistakes as well as progress. I learn as much if not more from mistakes (my own or someone else's) as successes. JM2C.

Thanks,
Jim

PizzaChop likes this post

PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Re: 65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion

Post by PizzaChop Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:17 am

jrdunn96 wrote:I, for one appreciate you documenting your mistakes as well as progress.  I learn as much if not more from mistakes (my own or someone else's) as successes.  JM2C.

Thanks,
Jim

I agree....much better to learn from others' mistakes! Laughing

I was born in Ponca City BTW
PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Frame Notching for Cross-shafts/Subframe Insert

Post by PizzaChop Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:39 am

Definitely no turning back after this step.

Once the subframe height was determined, I notched the "frame" to accommodate upper arm cross shafts and to provide an opening to insert subframe mounting "L" brackets.

My original notch (based on incorrect axle centerline determination) had to be moved aft, all the way to 3/8" from engine crossmember mount.

Realistically, the notch need only be 15" to accommodate the horizontal length of the "L" bracket (to be inserted into "frame") and this will also provide at least 12" for cross shafts/alignment bolts).  

Cross shaft nut clearance is important and I found that in moving my entire IFS aft 2.5"(to correct axle centerline), driver side cross shaft nut was restricted by vertical length of "L" bracket...so I had to make a modification to the face of it.



From the front (lower control arm pivot hole approx 9.5" from ground)
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Crossm23
From the passenger side
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Crossm24
From the inside looking out at passenger side65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Framen12


Last edited by PizzaChop on Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:51 am; edited 1 time in total
PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Subframe Rear Inserts ("L" brackets)

Post by PizzaChop Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:05 am

When notching the van's "frame" rail, the inside of the frame rail caught my attention and it seemed like the most efficient way to mount a rear subframe attachment was to insert it into the frame rail.......so that's what I did.

The original "L" brackets in the first pic were based on the incorrect axle centerline so I had to modify them to work with the correct axle position later.

The horizontal section (including vertical) was about 16"....which can be inserted up into notched frame and then slid aft (over engine mounting bracket)

Once modified (vertical "L" length rotated 90 degrees), the "L" bracket is probably 14" long, with 12" fully inserted into frame and secured with two 3/8"bolts from the bottom, thru the van frame rail, into a backing plate with 3/8" nut welded inside the "L" bracket.

Hopefully the pictures will explain better.

(Note: The removable aspect of this subframe has proven valuable as I have had to remove/install, repeat ad nauseum. It will remove for rotisserie but welded in place for good once bodywork/paint is finished.)

Original "L" bracket design (disregard incorrect axle centerline 11" )
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion L_brac11


"L" bracket modified (to move axle centerline back 2.5")
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Lbrack14

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Lbrack13


Modified "L" brackets installation/bolted in
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Lbrack11

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jrdunn96
jrdunn96

Number of posts : 663
Location : Cashion, OK
Age : 59
Registration date : 2016-01-01

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Re: 65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion

Post by jrdunn96 Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:54 pm

PizzaChop wrote:
jrdunn96 wrote:I, for one appreciate you documenting your mistakes as well as progress.  I learn as much if not more from mistakes (my own or someone else's) as successes.  JM2C.

Thanks,
Jim

I agree....much better to learn from others' mistakes!   Laughing

I was born in Ponca City BTW

Well, a big Oklahoma HOWDY! to you. (Sorry, I don't see a redneck emoji.)

Jim

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PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty IFS Control Arms Mounting

Post by PizzaChop Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:22 am

Almost like Christmas in February when my control arms arrived from Full Tilt Streetrods.

I ordered the standard set up for coil springs (coilover or airbags were an option), some shocks, and a SBF engine mounting kit.  (I ended up returning the engine mounting kit as my "subframe inside of frame" method will allow me to use the existing engine crossmember support.

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Contro12

With the crossmember on the bench, I mounted the control arms to make sure everything fit and I did have to cut off about 1/4' of the rear lower pivot bushing for a snug fit of the control arms.  I failed to do a very basic but important check at this point which is:

MOUNT SPINDLES AND VERIFY THAT THEY ARE PLUMB  (WITH CROSSMEMBER/CONTROL ARMS LEVEL AND CROSS SHAFTS AT MID-SLOT ON TOWER   (Some wailing and gnashing of teeth over this a few days later)

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Contro13

Once satisfied with fit, I disassembled, reattached subframe to van, and reinstalled the control arms onto the crossmember so I could lower van until control arms were level to determine if desired ride height had been achieved.
.
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Contro14

Once wheels were mounted, I realized immediately that the axle/spindle centerline was too far forward and my entire subframe would have to be moved rearward about 2.5"....which was pretty much all I could do without completely re-engineering the subframe rails/mounting points with "L" brackets.  (This was a dark day. ) Sad

Rather than relocate the crossmember and shock towers 2.5" back on subframe rails (cutting/grinding/welding) I chose to remove approximately 3" from the rear of the subframe rails and modify the "L" brackets, rotating the vertical section (which bolts to subframe rail) 90 degrees, allowing the subframe rail to mount further back which produced an acceptable/spindle centerline.

I did not take any pictures of the wheel sitting forward in the wheel well or rubbing the front edge of the fender well.  (Too traumatizing)  I yanked the wheels off and immediately set to corrective action.

But the bolt up design was proving its usefulness as I quickly removed the six 3/8" bolts attaching the subframe to the van.   Very Happy

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PizzaChop
PizzaChop

Number of posts : 16
Location : Danielsville, GA
Registration date : 2017-11-21

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Empty Correcting Axle/spindle centerline (L bracket modificaion)

Post by PizzaChop Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:45 am

After a good cry (not really...but sure felt like it), I set to work modifying the "L" brackets to allow the entire subframe to move rearward 2.5".

(I did consider removing and relocating the crossmember and shock towers for about 5 minutes until logic/reasoning set in and I realized shortening subframe rails and shifting rearward would be a lot easier...especially considering that crossmember/shock towers were already firmly welded in place and level/plumb, etc.) (Had a surprise coming on that
soon!)  

As depicted above in a previous post, I cut the vertical leg off the "L" bracket and re-oriented it 90 degrees, which required notching so that the subframe rail could slip back 2.5"

The pictures show the outside and inside view of modified "L" bracket as mounted to van.  The subframe rail front mounting bracket had to be moved forward to reach the original sway bar mounts and this will require some subframe extension/reinforcement/gusseting which will be done at a later date.
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion L_brac12
65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion L_brac13

I welded mounting brackets (angles) on the lower vertical section and installed backing plates (3/8" nut welded)  inside the subframe rail so the subframe could be easily installed/removed with 3/8" body bolts.  (I had no idea how important the EZ-install/remove function would be at that point)

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Backin10

65 Falcon Van Mustang2 IFS Conversion Backin11

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