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  • Thunderbird 1961-64

    Hi there, I' m from New Zealand, I' m bagging a ' 62 Thunderbird.

    I ordered an air over leaf for the rear, and SKW2023 ShockWaves (thunderbird 61-64 kit) for the front, from Suicide Doors - a great company to deal with.

    I went to install the ShockWaves only to find that they have the wrong mounts on the bottom - an eye mount instead of a threaded stud.

    I' ve since found that Ford changed the lower front shock mount from stud to eye in 1963, so SKW2023 bolts straight into 63-64 Birds, but not 61-62

    I just phoned Darren at Air Ride, I must say that he was very helpful and easy to deal with. He' s sending down a part SKW001 that adapts a eye to a stud so that I can install the SKW2023 in my car.

    Looking at the picture of the eye to stud adapter, it looks like it will cause the lower mount of the shockwave to be mounted around 1/2 inch to an inch higher on the suspension A arm, which I figure means that the front of the car will not go quite as low, by the same amount. I' m not sure what difference this will make until the shockwaves are mounted.

    Out back with the air over leaf I' m going to leave two leafs on the rear spring pack, and a local chassis shop is going to run a couple of countrol arms forward off the diff, to prevent wheel hop from axle wrap-up. These will use fabricated mounts welded to the diff axle housings and to the chassis. I' ll post some pics when it' s done.

    Also, thanks to UncleOtis63 (1963 Tbird) on this forum, I' ve been emailing him for advice an he' s been very helpful.

    Cheers
    Alistair

  • #2
    RE: Thunderbird 1961-64

    Alistair,
    I don' t think that the adapter will make much difference, the later style arm is on top of the arm as well. Let us know how it works out.

    Comment


    • #3
      RE: Thunderbird 1961-64

      Hi Darren,
      My wife just rang me at work to say that the eye to stud adapters have arrived. That' s only six days from America to New Zealand, you guys are total legends - thank you very much.
      I' ll rip out the front coils tonight and bolt up the Shockwaves and let you know how I get on. Thanks again for your help, very impressive.

      Comment


      • #4
        RE: Thunderbird 1961-64

        Update - removed front coils, fitted shockwaves that are part of the 61-66 Thunderbird kit, only to find that the car sits 1" higher than stock with teh Shockwaves fully deflated.

        It appears that Ford alss changed the top coli spring pocket in ' 63, so the shockwave is too long.

        Darren at Air Ride was very helpful, suggested I try shorter shiockwaves. I want maxium travel possible so decided to stick with teh Shockwaves I have.

        I' ve removed the lower shock and coil spring mount from the suspension arm, which leaves a good size opening in the arm. The plan is to mount the Shockwave from below the upper arm using a couple of fabricated ' L' shaped brakets that bolt to the top of the arm (using the factory shock mount holes) and extend down through the hole in the arm.

        The advantage of this is that I can pretty well set the bottom eye of the shockwave where I want, which determines the ride height.

        I' ll post an update once it' s sorted.

        Thanks for your help with this Darren.

        Comment


        • #5
          RE: Thunderbird 1961-64

          Keep us up to date.....thanks

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes, please update your progress. I have a 63 T-bird Conv. that I would like to do the same to.

            Thanks

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Darren and Brad

              Brad, you shouldn't have to modify your front end to fit the Shockwaves. I discovered that Ford changed the upper A-arm for '63, which is what Air Ride used to design the kit, so your convertible should fit no problem at all. However, if you wa t to get the car to lay frame then you could do what I did. Here is a bunch of pics.
              I've been busy with bodywork so haven't completed the rear air over leaf, will post pics when it's done.

              First three:

              We used the four holes for the '62's lower shock mount 'cup' to bolt up two L-shaped brackets so the Shockwave could be mounted down through the a-arm. The only hiccup is the adjusting knob clearance, we notched the arm, welded in a new reinforcing lip and by law here in New Zealand we had to have the weld X-rayed. I've since discovered that you can remove the adjusting knowb and use an allen key to adjust the shockwave, so this notch may have been unneccesary.
              Attached Files
              Last edited by Alistair Davidson; 09-23-2008, 05:44 PM.

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              • #8
                next four:

                Simple L-shaped brackets extend down through the upper A-arm, the Shockwave's bottom 'eye' mount bolts up between them. Three holes provides additional ride height adjustment
                Attached Files

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                • #9
                  next three:

                  the top aluminum part of the shockwave wouldn't fit inside the factory '62 bumpstop mount. By law here there has to be external bump stops set up so the car can still be driven if a bag fails, so new bump stop mounts were fabricated. Diffs R Us in NZ did this work.
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    next two:

                    The lower Shockwave mount. The two steel spacers centre the shockwave
                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      next one:

                      Front end back together, ready for the Shockwave. Note the Nolathane bump stop. I've since trimmed this down to make sure the car sits as low as possible while remaining driveable and without the Shockwave fully deflated - driving on a deflated Shockwave wrecks it.
                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by Alistair Davidson; 09-23-2008, 06:17 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Next four:

                        Various shots of the installed Shockwave. I've since found that the lower of the three holes in the mount brackets can't be used due to the arc that the a-arm moves through - at fully compressed the shockwave hits the edge of the opening in the a-arm. Modifing the shape of the L-brackets would fix this, but that's in the too hard basket as the car sits fine as it is.
                        Attached Files

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          next two

                          The lower Shockwave mounts clear the stock brake hose throughout the bag's travel.

                          The car sits as low as it can while still remaining moveable - it's a safety thing, should one of the bags or air lines/fittings fail.
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            next three:

                            Tank, compressor and valve install. Fitted it all under the parcel tray. Used a solenoid to power the two compressors, the valves and wiring are accessible from behind the rear seat.
                            Attached Files

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              last two, phew!

                              Switch panel: made it to replace the ash tray in the centre console, used panel steel, covered in high density foam then trimmed in vinyl that's dyed to match.
                              Two-way toggle switches are one for each corner, plus compressor on/off. The wiring is plugged in, and I have a matching plug on a perspex ten-switch switch box in case I want to do the up-downy thing while standing outside the car.
                              Attached Files

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