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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
5link 5 link five link

Hopefully this FAQ either helps somebody w/ their 5link install, or convinces somebody to buy one (I know when I initially researched it there were almost no posts/pictures of it, other than people mentioning how much they enjoyed theirs....even now there's probably only a dozen or so pictures of it online that I can find on the forums)

I'll be assuming throughout this that this is a clean install - i.e., you havn't been running 3/4 link/IRS before, your differential is brand new and doesn't require draining, etc...

Gordon's manual is here -> http://www.levyracing.com/images/SupportDownloads/3-Link_Inst_Man.pdf

His has more technical info, but no pretty pretty pictures like me =) Also, from many talks with Gordon, I found that he's changed a few things in the install from the original manual - so hopefully this'll save you some time when you start wondering if you're missing hardware or if you missed some step along the way.


Notes:

- Test fit everything before bolting it up - you should know this, but there's probably others out there with the same automotive "knowledge" as myself, so never hurts to mention!!!

- If you can't figure something out, don't guess or give up ;phone Gordon - he's a wonderful source of information!

- It took my dad and I a total of 12-14hrs to do. We're as automotively challenged as it comes!. I spent a good 3-4hrs sloooooooowly grinding at the tranny u-joint post welds (see step #4 for details) because I REALLY did not want to grind off those welds. However, knowing they ~have to~ come off now, I could have shaved 3hrs right there by just getting over it and doing it and moving on. If I were to install one again from scratch, I think I could do it in 3-4hrs taking my time (install time, no adjustments!)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
0)The package

This basically shows the main components (minus mounting hardware) of the system. As you can see, they fit nicely on my make-shift sawhorse tabletop. This hopefully gives you an idea of what they look like to scale - I know my initial (wrong) assumtion was that the pieces were huge and very unwieldly. They arn't :)









All hardware comes in ziplock bags that Gordon labels - I can't thank him enough for this - I can't believe the number of times I've bought stuff and all the hardware is in one bag with no markings on it, or, alternatively, is in a labelled bag but it takes forever to inventory because *everything* is in that one bag *cough* Factory Five *cough*
 

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Discussion Starter #3
1) Install the Rear LCAs



a)Frame bracket

The front pickup point refers to the bracket on the frame. Here, long spacer goes on the inside, short one on the outside.



Driver side frame bracket:




Notes:
- Before installing pull the heims (black spinny things w/ eyeballs) all the way in - this makes adjusting more uniform later

- Torque to 70-90ftlbs

- When the system is finished, you're going to want the LCAs to be pretty parallel to the frame (the more parallel, the better)

- I had to grind my passenger side long spacer down just a hair - the distance on the passenger bracket vs the driver bracket was different (yaaay for Factory Five quality control :) )



b)Rear t-loc brackets

The rear refers to the axle t-loc bracket. Long spacer goes on the outside, short on the inside.



Driver t-loc axle bracket:


Passenger side bolted up completely - remember, the more parallel you can make it, the better




Notes:
- Before installing pull the heims (black spinny things w/ eyeballs) all the way in - this makes adjusting more uniform later

- Torque to 70-90ftlbs

- The arms will not be perfectly parallel to the ground - they will 'hang' down a little bit

- The holes on the t-loc bracket were too small and had to be enlarged to 1/2'' - you should already have this metal drill bit because, to install the t-loc bracket, you had to enlarge the holes for the short bolts to 1/2''

- I like to have plenty of nylock engagement. The bolt supplied will work, but I decided to go to my local bolt supply store and pick up 2 more, same dimension/grade/etc..., just 1/2'' longer for more nylock engagement.

- Use the bottom rear LCA holes on the t-loc bracket for better traction, top holes for better handling.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
2) Install differential cover

Remove the bolts holding the old differential cover and discard the bolts and the cover (both are useless now). Insert the cover (it only goes one way - the big bulgy side is on the driver side) and bolt it up.



You can see the groove where RTV sealent is placed in it:




Notes:
- I didn't get any mounting hardware for my diff. cover. (booo, hssss, hssss ;) ). I used my own 5/16'' bolts, 1'' in length, Grade 5. Torqued in at 15ftlbs.

- I used Permatex ultra black RTV gasket sealent #598B - applied it to the channel groove that is on the differential cover, as well as a smidgen around the surface of the differential case (after I cleaned it with brake cleaner). Better safe than sorry here since I didn't use a gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
3) Install 3rd member bracket (differential mount)



a) Aluminum bushings

Install the aluminum differential bushing ears. Push the bushings into the ears on the differential (they only go on 1 way =) ) and you're done.



b) 3rd member bracket

Install the 3rd member bracket onto the differential cover. Essentially it just slides into place, no force should be needed to get it to seta properly. Then, using the longer bolts, bolt the bracket to the differential ears. Using the shorter bolts, bolt the bracket to the new differential cover.



Top-down view of 3rd member bracket bolted to differential ears (w/ aluminum bushings in) :


Another view of 3rd member bracket bolting to differential ears (w/ aluminum bushings in) :


3rd member bracket bolted to differential cover




Notes
- Torque everything to 70-80 ft-lbs

- Do you see that little orange thing in the last picture above (lower right hand corner)? This is where a vent should be installed in the axle (E.g., http://www.breezeautomotive.com/details.php?prod_id=407 ). Would be nice if some Ford manual or the build manual or something told me this, as opposed to a random thread on the forums I just happened to read!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
4) Install the 3rd link chassis mount



a) Trial fitting

The chassis mount just slides between the two tranny u-joint 'posts'. The directions mention to measure for the center, but this is for older cobras that did not have these u-joint posts.
Unforunately, atleast on mine, the weld on the inside of the tranny posts (both sides) prevented the plate from sitting flush against the frame - it was really, really, really gapped, and initially I couldn't even slide the plate between these two posts. I ended up having to grind off the weld on each side of the tranny u-joint posts. Maybe you'll have better luck than I did getting yours to fit properly. For me, it came down to either the 3rd link chassis mount was getting ground, or the tranny posts weld - and given the tranny post isn't as critical a piece (I hope!!!!), it got cut.

Once you're satisfied with the placement (and have ground off the weld if necessary), do a light grinding around where the plate will sit for better weld contact (you'll be welding this piece onto the chassis later on)



Tranny u-joint posts w/ inside weld ground off




b) Installation of chassis mount

First use your half inch drill bit to reem the 4 holes on the chassis mount and the face plate.

Position the chassis mount and make certain it is straight and to to your liking - remember, you don't want the front end (closest to steering wheel) poking beyond the crossbeam, because of the aluminum. Once you have it to your satisfaction (and make certain it is mating smoothly to the bottom of the crossbeam - if it isn't, back to the grinder!), clamp it in place with a vice clamp.


(For this part I'll be referencing the "template" below). What I found the best way to drill it and get it properly centered (it sounds harder than it is, atleast for me it was!) was to first drill hole (1) from the bottom up (chassis mount still clamped in place). Drill the hole all the way through both sides. Remove the vice clamp, remove the chassis mount, place the face plate over the hole, then put a bolt through it, put the chassis mount back (and bolt through the chassis mount) and vice clamp back. Examine and make certain both the chassis mount and the face plate are straight and to your liking (if they arn't, jiggle it around or enlarge the hole slightly). Now, from the top down, drill hole (2). Your drill, if straight, should go all the way down and through the chassis mount hole. Now bolt this in place, remove the vice clamp and drill the remaining 2 holes all the way through (either down to up or up to down, your choice if room permits)



(next 3 pictures are using temporary bolts - I wanted to hold in the chassis plate finger tight for now, these are not the final bolts used)
"Template" (refer to 3rd paragraph above for description of numbering)


Top-down view of face plate/chassis mount


Bottom up view of face plate/chassis mount - you can see how close the plate sits between the tranny posts; now imagine trying to wedge it in there with the weld there! Ain't happening! (atleast on mine)




Notes:
- Torque to 70-80ft -lbs
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
5) Install 3rd link



a) Chassis mount

This hooks the 3rd link chassis mount and the 3rd member bracket together, at the top. Use the 2 1/2'' spacers on the 3rd member bracket, and use the 2 supplied gold washers and 2 1/4'' spacers at the chassis mount. Don't forget to buy 2 more washers to replace the ones you're using as spacers. These go under the nut head.




3link installed into chassis mount, note the use of 1 gold washer and 1 1/4'' spacer between the eyeball (heim should be all the way in initially - it is not in this picture)




Notes:
- For initial adjustments, have the heims pulled all the way in (in the above picture it is NOT all the way in, as you can see thread showing by the eyeball)

- I wonder why Gordon didn't just give us 4 1/2'' spacers? =)

- Torque to 50-60 ft-lbs

- Use the bottom hole on the chassis mount for the 3rd link initially - usually the lower the hole, the better the traction. The higher the hole, the better the handling.



b) Coilovers
If you havn't hooked up your coilovers yet, now is the time to do so. Remember, shock body up (atleast with Levy Koni's and Levy Wilwoods). Also, use the 2 medium sized spacers Factory Five gives you at the top shock mount, and use one medium spacer, on the bottom t-loc brackets, at the front, and one smalllll spacer at the rear (i.e., the medium sized spacer goes to the side closest to the engine, the teeny tinnnnnnnny spacer goes on the side closest to the gas tank). If you're a Canadian, FFR no longer supplies them, so either cut your own or beg a fellow forum member for their extras (thanks DanB for yours; greatly appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!)



Koni's installed:




Notes:
- Torque upper mount 50-60 ft-lbs

- Torque lower mount bolt to 60-70 ft-lbs



c) 3rd member mount

Connect the 3rd link to the 3rd member mount (on the differential) - use the 2 1/2'' bushings supplied. Also, don't forget to buy another washer to put under the nut (as you used the supplied washers as spacers at the chassis mount!)

When you're finished, the arm should be as parallel as possible



Finished connection


Another shot - it looks kind of crooked but it isn't - my frame is crooked and I'm standing crooked trying to compensate, haha.




Notes:
- Heim joints all the way in again

- Torque to 50-60 ft-lbs



d) Adjustments

Gordon says to place a magnetic protactor on the pinion and set pinion angle to -1degree (manual says -2degree, but he says they changed it). Then adjust the 3rd link to change the degrees. With all the heims in, I found mine to be at approximately -1degree. I figured I could obsess over this all day, but fact is it may change with the tranny/driveshaft in (or may not, i know nothing about drivetrains!) so I figured for now I'm leaving it as is.

Just as a note, this is an install faq - I have no fricken clue what the adjustments do to the 5link yet. I'm waiting until I have my drivetrain in and I can go vroom-vroom to see what the adjustments are phsyically doing to the car's handling, as opposed to guessing that I know what they're doing (this is why I said to leave the heims all the way in on the 3rd link and the rear LCAs when installing - makes adjustments more uniform and easier later on, atleast imho).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
6)Watt's Lever



a)Install Watt's Lever

Install it into the 3rd hole from the TOP (4th hole from the BOTTOM) on the 3rd member mount. It should basically go (from trunk towards engine) bolt head, washer, spacer, watt's lever, spacer, 3rd member mount, nut.







Notes
- Torque to 50 ft-lbs

- I thought initially that the holes had to be enlarged for the bolt - they don't, it's just a tight fit, but the bolt will fit fine.

- The manual has a picture w/ the Watt's lever in the 3rd hole from the BOTTOM. However, everybody I see on the forums has theirs in the 4th hole from the BOTTOM, so that's what I did =)



b)Install Watt's Links

Install the 2 remaining watt's links into the watt's lever. The order, from engine going towards trunk, should be bolt head, watt's lever, watt's link, washer, nut. Note that I did not say spacer anywhere in there - Gordon's directions say to place a supplied spacer between the watt's lever and the watt's link; however, when I called him he says he now just mounts the link flush on against the lever.



You'll have to tilt it sideways in order to get the bolts in (that's just dirt on the arm, the coating isn't damaged fyi) :




Notes
- Torque to 50 ft-lbs

- Use the shorter bolts here; the longer bolts will be used to connect the Watt's links to the Watt's chassis mount

- Remember, no spacers here, they're used where the watt's links connect to the watt's mount
 

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Discussion Starter #9
7)Watt's Chassis Mount



a)Test fit

Take your watt's mount and mount it on the frame. It should be approximately 14 1/2'' behind the cockpit crossbeam. If you can do this successfully, skip to (b) Installation. Otherwise, keep reading.

There was no way the watt's mount was fitting for me, because of this crossbeam that ran between the two trunk beams. It prevented the Watt's mount from mating to the frame properly.







Chop off the offending appendage from the frame - it's okay, it doesn't look that important!







Now your Watt's mount should fit onto the frame. Yaaaaay!!! =)



b)Initial Mount Fitment

Ream out holes in the Watt's mount where the face plate bolts will attach to (2 on each side).

Slide the watt's mount up from just infront of the gas tank and pull it forward; I found it useful to apply a bit of grease to the rectangular ends. After sliding it on as much as possible (remember, you want to basically slide it following the chassis' natural path) I then whacked it with a rubber mallet to get it to move forward somemore, then secured each side with a vice clamps. Measuring from the cockpit crossbeam, it should be approximately 14 1/2''.



c)Watt's Links

Install the Watt's links INTO the watt's mount (i.e., they are physically inside the watt's mount drop-down pieces). For initial settings you want them to be as parallel as possible. Since I placed the Watt's lever into the 4th from the BOTTOM hole on the 3rd member mount, I had to use the 2nd from the BOTTOM holes on each side of the Watt's mount in order to achieve being perpendicular to the frame. Use the supplied spacers here (i.e., it goes bolt head, watt's mount, spacer, watt's link, spacer, watt's mount, washer, nut).


Watt's link inside watt's chassis mount.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
d)Tweaking

Before drilling our holes through the frame, we want to tweak the Watt's mount to make certain it is square in the chassis. Here are some general guidelines I found helpful

- Make certain the distance from the crossbeam to the Watt's mount is roughly 14 1/2'' (mine ended up being 14 3/4'' because I couldn't move it forward anymore ; Gordon said this was okay!)


- Make certain the distance from the crossbeam to the Watt's mount is roughly equal on both sides

- Make certain the top of the Watt's mount is level


- Make certain the sides of the Watt's mounts are level


- Make certain the Watt's links are sitting as perpendicular as possible to the Watt's chassis mount drop-down posts, and as parallel to the ground as possible.




Notes:
- Try to get the alignment as perfect as possible (i.e., as square as possible in the chassis); however, realize that it may be next to impossible to achieve absolute perfection - i.e., one side may sit forward 1/32'' more than the other. I played around with it for several hours and got it to the point where it was as perfect as I could make it (hey, shouldn't I be spending most of my time managing clients' monies and analyzing financial markets? Ssssssh, don't tell anybody =) )
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
e)Installation

It will be important during installation to make certain that the mount remains level and doesn't slide around. I suppose you could mark the holes, remove the watt's mount, drill, then place it back, but I didn't want to do that incase I messed something up.

Using the below diagram, here's what I did: With the conditions met (see (d) Tweaking above), I drilled number 1 all the way through. Then I drilled number 2 all the way through. I secured these to the frame. Made certain all the conditions were still met (I ended up having to tweak the mount slightly to get it back to the conditions being met) then drilled number 3 and finally 4. Then I went back and "fixed" up the holes as necessary (e.g., when drilling number 2, I ended up driving the drill down instead of forwards, so I had to enlarge the outside frame hole to get the bolt and nut to sit flush). Very few touch ups were required here, but your mileage may vary depending on how skilled/lucky you were with the drill. Mount the backing plates and make certain everything fits nicely.

Once you're finished and are satisfied, don't forget to grind the mating area of the Watt's chassis mount to welding.



Diagram of drilling (and watt's mount installed into frame)




Notes
- Torque bolts to 70-80 ft-lbs

- On my cobra there was some mount welded to the outside passenger side of the frame. As a result, there was no way the backing plate would sit flush to the frame, so I had to add 2 washers to move the backing plate out a little bit to make it level across the entire plane. See picture (nb - all hardware on the watt's mount is temporary hardware for initial fitment, not the hardware Gordon supplies) :

 

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Discussion Starter #12
8)Initial adjustment

As I'm too automotive-stupid ( =) ) to figure out what the adjustments are doing to the 5link, I won't be doing any adjustments until the drivetrain is in and I can see what the handling is like. However, I did adjust the LCAs. Measure from the closest fixed chassis point to the centerline of the axle. Then twist the LCAs to make the distance equal, and hand-tighten the locking nut for now. If you're able to make more adjustments and know that they are proper and doing what you want, then chances are you don't need to follow this guide and will be able to figure out Gordon's manual w/o any calls to him ;)



Rough measurement
 

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Discussion Starter #13
9)Wrap up pictures

5link viewed above from driver side


5link standing from above


5link from behind


5link from driver side, low view
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
10)What you still have to do

- (optional) Remove pieces for powdercoating

- Adjust the suspension to your desired handling characteristics~~~~~~~

- Get the rear aligned on a computer alignment rack

- Adjusting pinion angle as necessary

- Set ride height and make certain Watt's links are as parallel as possible

- Weld the 3rd link chassis mount and the Watt's chassis mount!

- Make adjustments as needed to your system

- Enjoy your 5link and polished aluminum panels. What - you didn't polish them yet - shame on you ;)




- Fill the differential up with approximately 1 1/2quarts of gear oil and 1 bottle of Ford Racing friction modifier. If you're doing everything with brand new parts, wait until you're ready to go-kart. At that point, fill it up and immediately drive in a complete circle in each direction to get all the parts lubed up before their first heat buildup. (thanks for the tip Cobra_NJ!)





That's it. Thanks for all the installation help Gordon! I don't know anybody whom I could call on a saturday and sunday afternoon (and thursday, and friday, and monday!!!!!) for help who wouldn't chew my ass out......there is a good reason all my money goes to Levy Racing!

Now if only Factory Five would write their manuals like this post, I'd be done already!!!!

Hi Gordon :wave: ; looks like I won't have anything to call you over for a while now! Oh well, I'm certain I'll be able to find stuff to break that I'll need your advice on still!!!!!! :lol:


- EFNFAST (Alex M.)
 

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Five link

That is some very fine workmanship. First class product. Mark
 

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Absolutely Awesome

Gee my build is going to be way over my estimates. Great job.
 
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