When considering performance upgrades for your Ford Mustang, one aspect to evaluate is the spindles.
Many Mustang enthusiasts debate between the 94-95 spindles and the 96-98 spindles. This article will focus on the differences and benefits of these two spindle options to help you make an informed decision.
The 94-95 Mustang spindles feature the same part as the 1995 GT and Cobra spindles. These spindles are known for their compatibility with various Fox Body models, providing an easy upgrade path.
On the other hand, the 96-98 spindles offer better suspension geometry and push the wheel out 8mm more per side compared to their 94-95 counterparts. This characteristic leads to improved bump-steer performance and allows for a wider selection of wheels.
Diving deeper into these two spindle types will provide a clear understanding of the one that suits your Mustang’s needs perfectly.
94-95 Mustang Spindles Overview
Spindles connect the front wheels of a vehicle to its suspension system. They play a key role in steering and handling. The 94-95 Mustang spindles support a 5-lug hub and rotor configuration. These spindles feature a low-friction ball joint design, improving efficiency for smooth operation.
The 1994-1995 Mustangs were a part of Ford’s fourth-generation lineup, referred to as the “SN95″ platform. Notable models from this period include the Mustang Cobra, GT, and V6 variations.
All 1994-95 Mustangs, regardless of the engine, were equipped with the same spindle design. With 94-95 spindles, the front track width increases by 0.120″ (3.1mm) per side, compared to a 0.320” (8.1mm) increase with the 1996-04 spindles. This helps maintain better tire-to-fender clearance.
96-04 Mustang Spindles Comparison
The 96-04 Mustang spindles offer improved suspension geometry compared to the 94/95 spindles. Additionally, the steering arm position on the 96-04 design is different, enhancing steering response.
The 94-98 GT/V6 96-04 models have a single-piston caliper and a larger 11” rotor, while the 99-04 GT/V6 versions feature dual-piston calipers with the same rotor size. Cobras from 94-04 have dual-piston calipers and a 13” rotor for improved cooling during spirited driving.
The 96-04 spindles have 8mm more track width per side as compared to the 94/95 spindles. This makes the 96-04 spindles more compatible with the wider MM K-member and modern suspension components. When upgrading, make sure to use the correct spindle for your Mustang model.
Why to Upgrade Mustang Spindles?
Upgrading to 94-95 or 96-98 Mustang spindles can improve your braking performance. These spindles support the use of larger brake calipers, such as PBR calipers, providing more stopping power. The newer spindles also accommodate wider and curved brake rotors for better heat dissipation.
Suspension Geometry Improvements
Improved suspension geometry is another benefit of upgrading Mustang spindles. The 96-98 spindles, in particular, offer better bump steer characteristics due to the revised steering arm where the tie rod attaches. This reduces the need for a separate bump steer kit.
The 94-95 spindles also improve the suspension but may not offer the same level of bump steer improvement as the 96-98 spindles. Remember, updating struts may also be necessary when upgrading spindles.
Benefits of SN95 Spindles
SN95 spindles are popular upgrades for Fox Body Mustang owners. Upgrading to SN95 spindles provides better wheel options for a 5-lug conversion. The spindles come from the 94-98 Mustang models, but there are differences between the years.
The 94-95 spindles are similar to Fox spindles in wheel placement. The 96+ spindles place the wheels 8mm farther out per side. This improves the visual stance of your Mustang. It helps achieve a more aggressive look.
One advantage of the wider wheel placement is better traction. A wider tire footprint increases grip on the road. It results in better handling and stability. Upgrading to SN95 spindles is a great way to enhance your Mustang’s performance.
Some Mustang owners experienced no rubbing issues with 245/45/17 tires on 96+ spindles. Improved tire clearance means less chance of damage. It allows you to safely run wider and more aggressive wheels and tires on your Fox Body Mustang.
Installation and Compatibility
Tools and Parts Required
Before you start the installation process, gather all the necessary tools and parts. You will need:
- A set of 94-95 or 96-04 Mustang spindles, depending on your preference
- Compatible brake rotors and calipers
- Outer tie-rod ends specific to the chosen spindle year range
- A strut that is compatible with the spindle
- Basic hand tools, such as wrenches and a socket set
- Jack and jack stands, for safely lifting and supporting the vehicle
- First, make sure your Mustang is parked on a level surface and properly supported by jack stands.
- Remove the front wheels to access the suspension components.
- Disconnect the outer tie-rod end from the spindle, taking care not to damage the threads on the tie-rod end.
- Remove the brake caliper and rotor from the spindle, and store them in a safe place.
- Disconnect the strut from the spindle, and remove the spindle from the vehicle. Be cautious of any tension from the strut spring during this process.
- Install the chosen spindle (either 94-95 or 96-04) onto the strut, ensuring a secure and proper fit.
- Reinstall the brake rotor and caliper onto the new spindle, making sure they are compatible with the spindle’s year range.
- Reconnect the outer tie-rod end to the spindle, and tighten to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Once everything is installed and properly tightened, reinstall the wheels and lower the vehicle back onto the ground.
- Always check for any unusual noises or alignment issues after driving your Mustang GT or V8 for the first time following this spindle swap.
Using Older Spindles in Modern Mustangs
If you’re a Mustang enthusiast, you might be reviving an older thread or starting a new one on whether to use 94-95 or 96-04 spindles in your car. It’s important to understand the differences between these spindles and how they affect your Mustang’s performance.
The 94-95 spindles have a track width increase of 0.120″ (3.1mm) per side, while the 96-04 spindles increase it by 0.320″ (8.1mm) per side. This difference affects the clearance between the tire and the fender, which can lead to rubbing issues.
When considering a 5-lug conversion, keep in mind that the 94-95 spindles from V6 and V8 Mustangs can be used on a Foxbody Mustang, but the 96-98 spindles can’t. Therefore, it’s essential to verify compatibility before attempting any modifications.
Spindle Maintenance Tips
When working with spindles, it is essential to pay attention to their maintenance.
Inspect your fender and suspension geometry
Regularly inspect your fender and suspension geometry for any wear or damage. Make sure that your drill is in good condition for proper handling of spindles. Also consider the differences between 94-95 and 96 Mustang spindles, including offset and specific parts required.
Take note of spindle pics for a visual representation of the various components involved. If you’re working with a Fox3 or 1979-93 Mustang model, be cautious of the spindle compatibility. Check the condition of the K-member, ball joint, and mounting boss before any spindle replacement.
Ensure proper alignment
When dealing with the hub and strut tower, ensure proper alignment to maintain correct negative camber. Make sure front control arms are secure, and pads are in good condition. Regularly inspect hoses and fluid bolts, as well as the master cylinder and steering rack for any irregularities.
Understand steering geometry
Lastly, it’s crucial to understand how steering geometry affects performance. When upgrading to a PBR caliper or Cobra model, carry out adequate research on the1994-04 spindles that would be most suitable for your specific brake upgrade.
Understanding the differences between the 94-95 and 96-98 Mustang spindles is crucial when considering performance upgrades for your Ford Mustang. The 94-95 spindles offer compatibility with various Fox Body models and provide an easy upgrade path.
On the other hand, the 96-98 spindles offer improved suspension geometry and push the wheels out further, leading to better bump-steer performance and a wider selection of wheels.
Investing in either set of spindles can enhance your Mustang’s braking performance and improve suspension geometry, ultimately enhancing overall handling and stability.