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Discussion Starter #1
Some of you may have noticed that I have been missing for a couple years. Most of that is due to my job requiring me to travel a lot, and when I get home, there's always a project waiting to be done, so the cars go to the bottom of the list. I haven't been able to work on the Daytona for a couple years, but finally have it back into the garage. With the virus keeping me from traveling, I finally have time to work on it.

For years, I have wanted to upgrade the tires and wheels to something more current, which would allow me to also upgrade to bigger brakes, without breaking the bank. This is going to be my track day car, but also a fun street car. The main post is at:

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If you've never looked into a Quick-Jack car lift, I highly recommend them. They make raising and lowering really easy and seem to be really stable. I have the 7000 lb version and have used it to lift my Titan, with no issues.

The Daytona came with the standard 205-60R15 tires, as the Laser. Years ago, I upgraded the Laser to aftermarket wheels, which I really liked, but wished that I had wider tires. When I took it to the track, I bought a cheap set of tires, in 215-60R15 size, which tended to rub a bit, but worked OK, as long as you didn't turn them to full lock. At the time, I figured that I was out of luck, in the upgrade department. I have since learned that 15" tires are pretty much going away, so I decided to dive into this again.

I first had to decide on a tire wheel size. Doing a lot of research, I learned that the SCCA Miatas are required to run 225/45R17s, and there are a lot of used ones out there, which will keep track day tire cost down.

I first needed to figure out if they would fit under the Daytona. Normally, I would go to the U-Pull It yard and buy a used one, but decided to take a chance and bought a set of these, off eBay, for under $300, delivered:
FEDERAL SS-595 TIRE 225/45R17 (4) NEW TIRES 225/45/17
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The next problem is finding wheels and big brakes. The biggest issue is the bolt pattern. The Laser/Daytonas use 5x100mm lug spacing, which is hard to find big brakes for. I had heard that the wheel bearing hubs, from a Grand Caravan will bolt up to the front spindle, with a 5x114.3mm spacing, which is 4-1/2". That moves us into Mustang territory, which will give endless options.

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I went to RockAuto and found that Durago sells PN 295-13074, for '89-'95 Grand Caravans, for $40 each.

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They bolt right in and use the same splines as the original axle shafts. The main difference is the size of the centering area, which are 2.9". That will come into play later. I also like that the lugs are longer, and use the same threads as the old hubs.

Of course changing the front will also require changing the rear, which is a different animal. I found that the Caravan came in an AWD version, which were used on Grand Caravans from '91-'95. Raybestos sells PN 712125 for $174, which is pricey, but gets rid of the wheel bearing/spindle setup.

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I know, since it won't have a driveshaft inside it, I will need to fabricate a dummy setup to keep it compressed. That shouldn't be an issue. One benefit is that the new setup isn't as long as the old. This should allow me to fabricate a new mount to the rear axle mounting plate.

For the front struts, I am using Rich Bryant's BC Coilover Neon setup, which is much shorter than the original Daytona/Laser struts. This will require that I make a custom strut mounting plate, which I am currently having waterjetted. More on that later.

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Excuse the rust, but this has been sitting outside for over a year. I guess powdercoating doesn't stop rust.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I decided to buy some Mustang 13" front and 12" back rotors, to see how they would fit. It did not go well. The Mustang front rotor hit the ears, where the front caliper bracket mounted.

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I also tried the rear rotor, which fit better, but weighed as much as 2 fronts combined. Fortunately, RockAuto has a great return policy, as long as everything is still like new.

I next decided to look for something that would be a common vehicle, and a better fit. I stumbled upon 2003-2011 Crown Victorias, which were very popular, and easy to find in the U-Pull It yards. They used slotted 12" front rotors and 11.6" rears, which also have internal e-brakes. That's an inch larger than my existing rotors.

After a trip to the U-Pull It yard, on 4/16, on a 30° day, with snow blowing so hard that you couldn't see more than 100 yards, I managed to score some gold. Ironically, this has been one of the mildest Syracuse winters, in history. Spring might start in June.

I also grabbed a 17x8" wheel, which I had a new tire mounted onto.

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Here are the tire measurements, as pictured left to right:

205-60R15 215-60R15 225-45R17
Diameter = 24.7" 25.2" 25.0"
Width = 8.1" 8.5" 8.9"
Sidewall = 4.8" 5.1" 4.0"
Circum. = 77.5" 79.0" 78.4"
Revs/Mile = 817 802 808

Since I knew that the 215-60R15 would work, but rub, I figured that the 17" had a chance, as long as it wasn't too wide. The 15" tires had almost rubbed against the struts.

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If you remember, I mentioned that the center part of the Caravan hub is 2.9" in diameter. The 17" wheel's center opening was 2.75, so I had to drill it out to 3". That will be an important spec when choosing new wheels.

These are pics of the front rotor comparison. The old 11.1's on the left, and 12's on the right.


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Remember the center opening? It was a problem. Sorry about the blurry pics, but it was hard to hold the parts and the camera at the same time.

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The rotor was hitting the knuckle's ears.

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It also wasn't able to seat against the hub, because the center hole was too small.
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Fortunately, I was able to adapt a 1/4" thick wheel spacer that I had from another car project.
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The rear spacing came out perfect.
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That center spacing also aligned.

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Another plus is that, with the rotor's center almost flush with the hub center, the wheel's center diameter won't matter. Once I find the correct wheel, I can make an adapter to fit inside the hub's center, allowing the axle nut to lock it down, and center the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK, back to the tires. At first, I was trying to shove the wheel as far up as possible. I used the 215-60R15 tires, since they are slightly taller than the 17's. I soon realized that there was a problem.

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Even if you could go higher, before the tire rubs, you also have to pay attention to how high the axle will be. With the wheel all the way up, the axle would hit the frame, since I run a one piece axle. The two piece might go higher, but I'm happy with my heavy duty one piece Driveshaft Shop axles.

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One word of caution. I have a new rack and pinion, with the plastic shipping plugs on the hydraulic ports. When I tried to turn the hubs back and forth, I had resistance, until I turned too far and blew fluid out the steering shaft. I hope I haven't destroyed the seal, but probably have.

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This pic shows how high the control arm had to go before the strut bottomed out. The strut tower plate was only 1/4" thick, so this has allowed me to make a thicker plate that will be 1-1/2" thick, lowering the height of the control arm, and axle rise. I'm waiting on the new plates, but will do a write up when they arrive. I'm confident this is another win/win scenario.

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That pic is of the driver's side. You can see that I am moving the inner bolt hole to where it will allow a longer slot, in the plate. Moving the hole will also allow me to extend the strut slots for more inner movement. Making the plate thicker will also allow me clearance for the top of the strut to slide under the existing tower. I am also adding a 4th hole, just to ensure that everything gets locked down tight.

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I don't have pics of the rear wheels, but I did do a quick check. There is way more room than I will ever need, even on the right side. I was concerned that the fuel filler tube might hit, but it isn't even close.

One reason I hate doing these write ups is because these have taken me 4 hours to do. At least now I have the time to work on them. I look forward to the comments.
 

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I hope dropping the strut mount down 1 1/2" will give you the clearance the axle needs on that passenger side. Are all these parts from the 1990+ revised front suspension?(k-frame,control arms, knuckles)
 

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Please keep us posted on your progress. Great idea using caravan hubs, I have heard of this but decided not to pull the trigger. I am glad its working out for you.
We are in Utica NY and run a 88 Daytona Shelby Z at Lemons.
Put 17" rims on last year, installed 90-93 front suspension.
Finished swapping over to electronic power steering, next are the poor brakes!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'd like to get together sometime and compare notes, when this virus shutdown is over. I'm actually in Utica often, for business. I'll PM you my contact info.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I thought that I would post some updates, even though I'm still not done with the brake/suspension mods. I have settled on my tires and wheels.

Before choosing what to buy, I went to the You-Pull-It yard and bought some Crown Vic wheels and rotors. That allowed me to get the correct wheel offset.

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These are Proline 17x7", with 40mm offset. They have 2 bolt patterns, but I only need the 4.5"/114.3mm, to match the Caravan hub bolt pattern and Ford rotors. The wheels aren't my first choice, but I managed to find them at Pep Boys for only $67 each.

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The rotors are Raybestos R-300 High Performance 12" vented rotors. With the 1/4" spacer, behind the rotor, the outside of the tire just about touches the inner fender, when straight. I need to keep the wheels as far out, as possible, to allow inner clearance when turning. Too close and they will hit the inner wheel well.

The strut tower plates came back from the waterjetter's. I ended up getting them 1-1/4" thick, which came out perfect. Now, with the strut fully collapsed, the tire just clears the top of the wheel well.

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The black areas are where I used dry erase marker to indicate where the tire rubbed, at all wheel positions. By hammering at the rubbed areas, I was able to get full left and right lock, without any major interference. The passenger side didn't need nearly as much hammering as the driver's side, pictured.

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I plan to repaint the wheel wells, probably with a pickup bed liner coating, for more durability.

At full compression, the front axles shouldn't have a clearance issue, like I was worried about.

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One concern I still have is how much angle the lower control arm arcs. At the bottom of the stroke, it only angles down a little bit. I've read that the best setups have the same angle at the fully extended, as at the fully compressed. I don't know how much difference it makes, but am hoping to find a longer lower ball joint, now that there is more clearance inside the wheel.

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I move one of the tower bolts to allow me to position the top of the strut further to the rear, to give more caster angle. One advantage of the thick plate is that all of the bolts will slide below the top of the tower. On my laser, I had to cut away some of the tower, for clearance.

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Discussion Starter #8
Now for the rear. Initially, I dreaded the rear more than the front, because of the inner e-brake setup. I wasn't sure if I could fit the shoes inside the drum and Caravan rear 4wd hub, and if there was enough room to fit the wheel and tire.

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Caravan 4wd rear hub, on left, and stock Daytona rear hub.

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As you can see, the 4wd hub, on the left, is massive, compared to the stock rear spindle setup.

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This is the old front hub, on the left, and Caravan front hub, on the right.

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After getting the parts, I now realize that, instead of having to use the larger rear hub, which costs almost $200, I can get away with using front hubs, at both ends, for under $50 each. They will also be much easier to find, if I need to replace them.

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Now, I just need to make the rest of the parts. I have a design being cut, and hope to get them back this week.
 

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Have you ever thought any about fully aluminum trailing assemblies and backing plate/caliper bracket? I have put a lot of thought into them. For L body.

I know, as if an L body needs to be any lighter. :LOL:

For my purposes it would be for drag racing, but I want to know your thoughts about whether it would increase the response in the rear suspension enough to be worth doing for your purposes.(SCCA and road racing)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
To be honest, I did start to go there, but soon realized that I didn't need add another design element that will cause even more delays. Besides, I don't have much expertise with rear suspension designs, and a failure could be catastrophic.

So far, the rear mods, that I've seen, have been for drag racing. If someone has a good design, that will make a real improvement, I am willing to think about it.

It reminds me of the fuel cell, that I almost went with. I did the research, and almost bought one, before the wife brought me to my senses. The brakes, hubs, and wheels make sense, because they will improve performance and allow me to make other mods that more popular vehicles have access to.
 

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I now have the rest of the waterjetted parts, which are mostly for the rear brakes. I did a quick mock up and it looks promising.

As you can see, the Crown Vic's rear rotor has a wide area for the shoes to rest. This makes the positioning more forgiving.

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The front hubs look like they have enough space for the shoes to mount.

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I made a mounting plate, for the shoes to rest on. The hub's 4 bolts will allow it to retain all of the components. Everything will be bolted up.

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I made the plate thick enough to allow clearance for the backing plate, which clears the rotor by 1/8".

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To mount the hub/brake assembly to the rear axle, I will use an adapter block, which will bolt to the hub, using 4 holes, and the axle, using the spindle's original 4 holes.

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One bonus is that I should be able to offset the hub to where the spindle mounted to the axle. The problem is that I'm not sure what height I will need, but there's more than enough clearance to make it any height that I desire.

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An unknown is how much strength the block will have, if the bolt patterns are too far apart. The farther apart they are, the easier the design will be, but strength is important. I wanted to go with steel, but just couldn't tolerate the extra weight.

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This is how the brake shoes will locate.

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Everything but the hub is from a Crown Vic.

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That's it for now. I no longer have the excuse of waiting for parts, so I guess it's time to get serious. I've found that it's a lot easier to post pics in small stages, instead of waiting to do large updates, so I'll try to post more often.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Today's Update:
I spent some time mocking up the rear axle hub setup. I'm one of those engineers who likes to see how the parts fit together, instead of being able to conceptualize them in my head.

I had planned to use the 1" aluminum blocks as offset spacers, but now realize that it probably wasn't going to hold up.

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I also couldn't decide on how much offset to use for the height. I finally decided to put the hubs at the same location as the original spindles.

I also decided to orient the hub mount to be narrow side to side, which is 90° to how I had planned to orient it. I'm not sure if it makes a difference strength wise, but it allows for a narrower setup.

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I will be welding a 5/8" thick steel plate around the spindle mount, then drill 4 new holes, to bolt up the hub and spacer assembly.

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I'll add spacers between the hub and mount, to space the tires. They will also be used for caliper mounts.

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Note that, at the bottom, the torsion rod extends out about 3/16", so I will have to clear that.

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Instead of the 1" block, I will use another 3/8" spacer between the backing plate and the spindle mount. It spaces the hub about 1/16" away from the mount. I'm not sure if the tires will be spaced out far enough, but I can always add more spacers. I'm sure that they won't need to be closer.

After I get the parts cut, I'll weld the horseshoe adapter onto the spindle mount, smooth the face, and drill the through holes, to secure the setup. Note that I'll still retain the stock spindle holes, in case this fails and I have to go back. That's my security blanket.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
One thing I forgot to mention, before someone else brings it up, is that this project is not practical. It is going to cost way more than the vehicle is worth. I know that. I enjoy the engineering and wrenching part, more than I do the driving side.

I used to build car models, when I was a kid. Now, I get to play with the real thing, and have something different. Mustangs are everywhere, but Lasers and Daytonas are something different, and getting rarer each year.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Now for the latest update. I've done some work on the front brakes. I decided to buy some 6 piston Wilwood calipers, to work with the larger rotors. I must say that they are much massive, but only weigh about half of the stock 11" calipers.

I decided on the Wilwoods, because they were the only company that allows you to spec their calipers by what you need, instead of asking for year, make, and model, which are of no help.

I must say that I am a fan of red calipers, but decided to go with black, since it will blend better with the color schemes that I have planned.

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When I first sat the caliper in place, I was shocked by how much rotor is unused, between the hub and caliper. After looking at other calipers, and cars, I found that their calipers aren't any deeper. The difference is that there hubs are larger, so you don't see the extra rotor face.

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Even when I tried the Mustang factory calipers, they weren't as deep as the Crown Vic's. I guess it will just go unused.

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I got lucky on the mounting hole locations. They are not on the same plane and I was going to use a 3/4" plate and mill off 3/8", but then realized that I can use 2 plates, 3/8" thick, to make the caliper bracket mount flat onto the hub.

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I mocked up a bracket, out of plastic, to make sure my CAD drawing was correct. This plate is 3/8" thick. The other plate will also be 3/8" thick, and will only have the two large bolts going through it. It will be sandwiched between this bracket and the hub.

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This is pretty much how it will look, from the passenger side. With the larger wheels, there's plenty of room for a 14" caliper, but that's not happening.

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Discussion Starter #18
One issue that bothered me was that, when the front suspension was completely compressed, the tires would just rub the inside of the fender, just before they rubbed the frame. It wasn't a big deal, but I decided to look into how much it would cost to get a fender roller. It turns out, the are on eBay for only $50.

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This is a pic of how the inner lips looked, before rolling. The black marks are from the tire rubbing, during fitment.

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I had watched some YouTube videos and it didn't look that hard. One thing I learned was that you need to cut the inner lip at the front and rear, or the fender will deform.

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Above is the driver's side looking back. Below is the top, looking up.

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Above and below are after I have rolled the inner lip straight up. Since I didn't need to roll the entire lip, which is flat, each side took less than a half hour to do.

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This pic doesn't do a good job of showing it, but the tire now clears by almost 1/2".

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I'll have to touch up the paint, where I made the cuts, but that's nothing compared to where I had to hammer the frame and inner wheel wells.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I know these updates are coming fast, but I keep doing a little each day. The latest project was to make backing plates for the front rotors.

There is enough space to sandwich it between the hub's mounting plate and the caliper mount.

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I used the same plates that I designed for the rears. They are flat 1/16" steel.

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The mounting ears are not flush with the hub's machined face, so I have to cut away the backing plate, to avoid them.

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Now, it's a matter of waiting for the parts to be cut. Hopefully, they will be done before the weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It's taken a couple weeks to get my parts back, but I have been making progress. The front calipers are now mounted. This pic shows two plates, but the inner one has been replaced by one half as thick. I'll post the dimensions later.

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The calipers and pads only open about 1/8" wider than the rotors, but the rotors spin freely.

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You can see where the pads actually contact the rotors.

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