Tech Tips

Mustang Subframe Connectors-The Solution

  • On August 24th 2017
  • By GForce Performance Products

TECH TALK / STRAIGHT TALK: Southside Machine SSM-1402 frame connectors for the 79-04 Mustang are marketed as “subframe connectors”, but they are truly far beyond a simple frame connector. Far beyond in design, and far beyond in performance. Read on to learn the features of these connectors that will TOTALLY CHANGE AND IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE HANDLING OF YOUR MUSTANG.
Typical subframe connectors are designed to overlap the front subframe by a few inches, then overlap the rear subframe by a few inches as well. This type of connector is attached by either a bolt-on method, or by welding. Let’s discuss these two methods and the aspects of each.
• Bolt-on is a relatively simple method that allows a mechanic with basic tools to complete the installation. The downside to this method is that by product design you are drilling through the side of the vehicle subframe with a clearance size drill bit, allowing the installation of the assembly hardware. This allows for movement between the assembled components and the bolts used to attach them. This movement will increase as the vehicle chassis is put through the stresses of hard launches or cornering in an autocross course. Even the stresses of creeping over typical road conditions like a set of uneven tracks at a railroad crossing will twist and torque the drilled and bolted assembly, weakening the connection more every time the car is driven.
• The welding method is better than the bolt-on, given that the weld is properly applied. And this is a HUGE gray area, as to whether it is properly welded. MANY home installers that think that they can weld, are not nearly as good as they believe themselves to be, and consequently their welding efforts are doing more harm than good. (Just because someone can make it stick together doesn’t mean its right!) A weld that is too cold will not provide a bond of any strength, and a weld too hot will undercut and temper weaken all components including the steel of the factory subframe.
So as you can see; both installation methods of a traditional subframe connector have negative aspects. But let’s take it further yet! Consider that you are looking to install a subframe connector on a car that may be 30 years old. There is already 30 years chassis twist and flex, 30 years of rust, and 30 years of typical use, and possibly even abuse. Have you ever noticed the impression of a floor jack in the bottom of your subframe? The fact is that your subframe was never as strong as the frame on your grandfather’s old Buick, and time has not done any favors for its integrity either. Hence the need for some added strength for your performance vehicle; but how? Do you want to attach to the ends of a factory subframe that was never intended to support a frame attachment? It simply doesn’t make sense! Traditional frame connectors are so suspect in their function that some manufacturers try to compensate for this lack of structural integrity by connecting an additional bracket to the bolts that hold the seats to the floorpan! “Talk about treating a symptom rather than the disease…..”
THE REAL SOLUTION: The Southside Machine frame connectors are far more than all others in that we are not connecting the subframes at all. In fact we are bypassing the subframes and are basically bridging from the back of the vehicle’s K-Member, all the way to the lower torque box at the rear of the vehicle. This is done with a simple bolt-in assembly, that utilizes the factory hole locations! Our Southside Machine SSM-1402 includes replacement high strength bolts to attach to the K-Member chassis mount, and then ties to the rear axle torque box. “Bridging Strong Point to Strong Point!” “Strength to Strength!” No drilling! No welding! No clearance holes to elongate! No inadequate welds to weaken your chassis! Southside Machine’s SSM-1402 products are like no other, tying the chassis together with a bridging frame assembly that provides a TRACK PROVEN PERFORMANCE ADVANTAGE!