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Thread: Monroe Handler

  1. #1
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    Default Monroe Handler

    Backstory: I owned a 76 Cobra II in high school 25+ years ago. My situation allowed me to buy another in 2005 and I turned it into a nice driver with typical bolt ons. I've always lusted after a Monroe Handler Mustang IIs and the opportunity to buy one popped up on eBay in late 2010. I was somewhat familiar with this particular car as the owner had registered himself on the forums at MustangII.net and posted pictures.





    The owner ended up listing the car on eBay and I purchased the car in late 2010 never having never seen it in person. I knew before I bought it I didn't like the wheels and my plan was to part out my existing Mustang II, keeping the parts I wanted for the new car and selling the rest. From the pictures I thought it looked pretty good but my love for all things Handler clouded my vision and I didn't vet the car nearly as well as I should have (18" wheels with stock 9" brakes, exhaust tubing roll bar, was supposed to be a King Cobra and wasn't, etc, etc, the list is almost endless)

    Long story short, the car wasn't as nearly as nice in person as it was described to me and as shown in the pictures. The front subframe and floor were damaged and I didn't the realize the extent of the damage until after my other Mustang was gone. In frustration, anger and disappointment, I ended up stripping the car I bought on eBay, cutting it up and scrapping it having driven it only 3 miles. Oddly though, it felt good.





    Fast forwarding to today, I have a replacement Cobra II shell now that I am building and adding the Monroe handler body salvaged from the eBay car. I am a couple hours drive to the SORC in Nebraska and the Mid-American Motorplex near Omaha. A few of my co-workers also auto-x regularly and Thunder Valley dragway is less than an hour away. This car is being built to run at these events and have tried to find the overlap in all of their various rules and regulations. I don't expect to be competitive (at first if ever) but I do want to have fun and increase my skills. The car will also be driven on the street (Power Tour maybe someday) but not daily driven. Although I'll take it to car shows, I'm not building it to show, I want to run this hard and I want the limit to be me, not the car. I expect it will end up in a blurry area somewhere between street fighter and pro-touring.


    I've read all of the info I can find on Alcino's Mustang II and he was able to do a lot with his driving skill, continual tweaks / tuning and a set of sticky tires. The more I read on this site and others though, it is readily apparent that, out of the box, the Mustang II has a number of shortcomings that don't really make it ideally suited for my intended usage. The tires and brakes are small, the control arms are too short and have poor geometry, the weight distribution is poor and the uni-body has a lot of flex. The car I love is the car I love though so some changes are in order. Nothing is really off the table except that whatever I do, I don't want to change the wheelbase, the Monroe Handler body and I'd like to keep the crossbreeding of parts from other makes to a minimum. Nothing against any of the others; I used to own a Camaro in fact. I like all cars and things mechanical, but I bleed blue. My budget is not unlimited but my situation changed again recently and I should be able to build the car I've always wanted, even though it will take several years.


    I have been a mechanical designer for almost 20 years, use 3D CAD software and can design just about anything for this that I need to. I'm not the most experienced fabricator but I should gain much needed experience with this project. I think I have a pretty good handle on the rear suspension and have designed a 3-link and bought components from Fays, Spohn & Ridetech (sorry Monroe, I don't think you have anything to offer this Handler except the name)








    It is looking more and more like the car wants to have a full frame. It will cause a few problems and delay things a bit, but overall, should be an improvement. I don't really have any concerns about designing and building the frame but the front suspension has me a bit worried. The Wilwood Pro spindle looks better than the stock spindle but also has a few shortcomings from my understanding. When I get to that point, I would appreciate any advice on front suspension geometry and design anyone can offer. I have the weight distribution on a stock Mustang II but don't have an exact CG height. I'm building in as much adjustability as I can into both the front and rear suspension and expect that once I get the car on the road, things may have to be redone.


    In addition to the members of MustangII.net, I have pulled a great deal of inspiration from many of the projects here on this forum, most notably:



    $5000 budget Mustang: http://www.pro-touring.com/showthrea...budget-Mustang


    Project BLUEprint, 1965 Falcon: http://www.pro-touring.com/showthrea...nt-1965-Falcon


    1967 Mustang Coupe, Project "Code Blue": http://www.pro-touring.com/showthrea...Code-Blue-quot





    All of you folks really do ground breaking work here, thank you.



    (to be continued)


  2. #2
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    Default

    3d renderings look pretty good. I look forward to seeing updates (pictures)

  3. #3
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    Looking forward to this one!
    Joe Hinds

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by feeble View Post
    ......Long story short, the car wasn't as nearly as nice in person as it was described to me and as shown in the pictures....
    I hear of that happening far too often. It's good to see you have recovered from it.
    If I remember correctly, was the Monroe Handler not built in a series of Hot Rod articles as a give-away prize of some sort? I seem to remember yellow paint too. Lots of yellow paint. lol

    Ken
    If there is a hard way to do something, I'll find it!
    My other car is a Vega.

  5. #5
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    Yes, they were rather awash in yellow. I'll probably stick with a dark color.

    Got the coil overs this week and a CAD file for them from Ride Tech. Thanks go out to Darren and Beth for their help.

    The 9" center section (TT, 4.11, 31 spline) and the rest of the Del-Sphere joints arrived this week also. That is probably about it for parts for a while. I need to determine if I can put a full frame under this car they way I want given my available resources so will be taking some more time to lay things out. I don't want to cut on the car or buy more parts until I'm sure. All of this head scratching and design time should pay off during the build.

    Weekend CAD money shot. Designed the shock mounts and got started on the frame. One of the rear legs of roll bar will mount to the 6 x 6 plate above the shock.



    All of the parts are cut for the rotisserie, so some progress is being made on that front.

    On the car itself, not much to report but I did get it leveled side to side and front to back to facilitate accurate measurements. As it sits today, I have a long way to go:


  6. #6
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    Glad to see you are making progress on your project. The Handler shall live again!

    I lusted after that car for years...it looked really good in pics and had a nice spce sheet too.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the vote of confidence. Right now I am trying to determine what factors need to be considered as I am working through this front suspension and steering design. Like any design, all of it is a compromise and finding the right balance of nominal values (and range and granularity of adjustment on either side of nominal) is proving tricky as this is new to me.

    I have a lot to learn and the experience of the members of this forum is proving invaluable during this process.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryce View Post
    Nice CAD!
    What he said.. The fun part is trying to make it look that good in the real world .
    Craig
    1968 Torino GT 4.6L S/C T56 IRS x2
    www.twintorino.com

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SVTforme View Post
    The fun part is trying to make it look that good in the real world .
    I get to do that everyday. hehehe

  11. #11
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    Nice job on the design work. I'm a mechanical designer myself, are you using Solidworks? Sure makes life easier when you need something made. Good luck with the build.

  12. #12
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    I had a 76 notch in HS as well (briefly, lol) Never was a huge fan of it, but I like the way the pics of the Handler you bought looked. Interested to see this progress.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tincup View Post
    are you using Solidworks?
    I use Inventor.


    Nothing to report on the chassis or front suspension, I am still tinkering with the basics and getting parts modeled up so I can do the design.

    I did get the dual quad top to my Clevor (Boss 302) EFI tunnel ram base this week. The engine is a long ways off but I am slowly collecting parts. Not sure if I'm going to put duad throttle bodies on top or modify the intake top to have a single throttle body in the front. Both ideas appeal to me for different reasons. I haven't completely ruled out a Coyote swap yet either.





    Does a street fighter / pro-touring style 70s car with a 70s body kit "fit" well with a 70s intake w/ EFI sticking through the hood or is it too much? Or is too much just right?

  14. #14
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    I got the front wheels and 275/40R17 tire set on my CAD model for 1/2" of fender clearance. The 13" Cobra brake rotor and early Mustang drum brake hub are modeled up with the Wilwood Pro Spindle. I have a 15:1 manual rack and have set the scrub radius at about 1/2" which means I will need a 65mm offset to the wheel. So much for using cheap Cobra R knock off wheels. I guess this is one of the reasons why you folks end up using wheels with such deep backspacing huh?


  15. #15
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    Not much to report except more CAD screen shots. The design continues to be refined and is slowly evolving into something that passes my gut check and that I will be able to mostly build in my garage. I had thought at one time about farming the frame rails out to Art Morrison but decided to keep it home built as much as my skill set and available tools would allow.



    The roll bar is still dummied in a but a little bit closer to reality as it ties in nicely with the rear shock mounts.

    Said this before, but I *think* the rear is done except for the anti-roll bar and housing pivot for the 3rd link. I keep finding little things to improve it but at some point I just have to quit screwing with it. All of the joints are fully articulated in the model so I should be able to do a kinematics study using the tools built into my CAD software.





    The lower shock mount is single shear but the Ride Tech shocks will take up to a 5/8" bolt, so I decided to go that route for extra margin of safety

    Still working on modeling up purchased components for the front suspension and steering so I can determine pivot points, control arms, etc.. Looks like I am going with the Wilwood Pro Spindle and Afco upper ball joints that are .20" taller than the standard Moog K772 ball joint that would normally be used on a Mustang II with tubular control arms. I will try to keep the factory location pivot points on the frame if the results are good.



    When I get the front and rear suspension designed, I'd like to post the specs and dimensions for review by the group to make sure I didn't do anything too out of line. Is that OK?

  16. #16
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    Can't wait to read more! I've been lurking here for ages but man, this project is what finally got me to register, just so I could post about how excellent it is.

    I remember using Inventor for FIRST robotics in high school. This really makes me want to start CADing components for my car

  17. #17
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    Very cool!
    There are 2 factors in Autocross, Tires and the loose nut behind the wheel.

    Paul Grala
    69 Mach 1 project (For Sale)
    78 Cobra
    87 GT
    98 Expedition

  18. #18
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    Thanks guys. Spent some time getting the rotisserie finished up and am still working the frame and suspension design. Not much to update on the car itself except that it is mounted up and I pulled the suspension and rear end out. Hope to start opening up the rear quarters this weekend.


  19. #19
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    I'm doing layouts on the front suspension and trying to make my front wheel decision so I can get a little further on the design. I'm itching to get this phase wrapped up so I can start building. Current CAD shot:






    As I think out loud working through this, I'm hoping some of you can offer advice.

    Constraints:

    • Wheels: 17 x 9 / 10.5 or 17 x 9.5 / 11 combo (not yet purchased)
    • Tires: 275/40r17 & 315/34r17 (not yet purchased)
    • Suspension & Steering: 2" drop Wilwood Mustang II Pro Spindle, Howe ball joints, Custom fabbed control arms with some SPC components, 15:1 manual rack.
    • Brakes: 2000 Cobra R Brembos. I also have a set of Cobra PBR calipers I could use. Using them would be somewhat of a letdown now that I have the Brembos. I've looked at the Wilwood brake kits that mate with the Pro Spindle but didn't like that they move the wheel mounting surface out by ~0.6"



    To help improve the Mustang II front suspension geometry, a goal is to maximinize the lower control arm length. Also like to reduce the scrub radius as much as possible to make the steering easier with the manual rack. Additionally, I need 50mm of caliper clearance for the Brembos. Minimizing the damage to my wallet is also a consideration.

    I have looked at the Enkei RPF1 (http://www.enkei.com/rpf1.shtml#) because it does fit the Brembos but rejected it because it only goes up to 10" wide for the rear and so would not be a good match for the 315/35r17 rear tire.

    The options that do have matching rear wheels are:

    '95 Cobra R - 17 x 9 +24mm offset:

    Comments: really cheap, readily available and fit the Brembos but with the shortest control arm (but still ~1.75" longer than a stock Mustang II) and largest scrub radius @ 2.13"

    '95 Cobra R - 17 x 9 +45mm, designed for SN197 cars

    Comments: cheap, limited availability, may not fit the Brembos if the same casting was used as the +24mm wheel above and just machined with a deeper 45mm offset, best compromise of price, control arm length and scrub radius @ 1.31". I am trying to find out more info but details are scarce. I ordered one to check it out but was sent the 24mm offset version.

    Fikse Split 5 - 17 x 9.5 +44mm - http://www.fikse.com/2010/profil.html

    Comments: not so cheap @ ~$800 per wheel compared to the Cobra wheels, will fit the Brembos, best compromise of control arm length and scrub radius @ 1.35" but not price.

    Some custom forged 3 piece work of art - 17 x 9.5 +65mm

    Comments - Highest price, Brembo fitment should not be a problem, least compromise on control arm length and smallest scrub radius @ 0.5"


    Given the above criteria and choices, what would you choose and why? In the real world, with a manual rack and 275 front tires, how much is a scrub radius of .5" / 1.3" / 2.1" going to matter? Am I crazy trying to use a manual rack with that size of tire no matter the scrub radius? "Wanna play? Gotta pay." and that's just the way it is?

    Any other thoughts? I may be missing something obvious.

    Thanks for your input.

  20. #20
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    I would say stick with the power steering, I really hated driving my brothers 66 fastback around the autocross course with manual steering. I could never get any faster, just felt like I was fighting the car all the time. And his wheels are 16x8
    There are 2 factors in Autocross, Tires and the loose nut behind the wheel.

    Paul Grala
    69 Mach 1 project (For Sale)
    78 Cobra
    87 GT
    98 Expedition

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