Safety Mods "Travis Allen Smith"

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caveblazin
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Safety Mods "Travis Allen Smith"

Post #1 by caveblazin » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:27 am

So I just read about the Travis Allen Smith car crash on "Classic Inlines" website. It is very sad to hear about these types of things for sure. At the end of the article written by ??? he mentions if your building a classic car for your son or daughter to spend money on safety mods first. I completely and 110% agree with this idea because me and my daughter are currently working on a 66 Stang together. Here is my question FINALLY... What safety mods can I do for these older cars? We are getting the 3pt seat belts, front disc brakes but what else? If this is in the wrong section my apologies...

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1966Mustang
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Re: Safety Mods "Travis Allen Smith"

Post #2 by 1966Mustang » Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:42 pm

Yeah, that is an unfortunate article, but a topic that certainly should be on anyone's mind who is driving around in one of these cars. I believe that was written by our late great maintainer Mike Winterboer (AzCoupe).

Brakes, suspension, are all good upgrades to make. I'm pretty sure all of the new brake conversions come with power/vacuum assist, but double check. If switching to 5 lug all around, you can have your rear drums and axles drilled for a 5 lug pattern. My front disc conversion is from CSRP and was done a while ago. That kit was pretty good as it saved me from having to scrounge for granada spindles etc. There are probably better options now. http://www.discbrakeswap.com

For suspension, and evidently brakes - StreetOrTrack.com has some top quality stuff. I've installed their Bilstein Front Coil-Over kit. Even the suspension in the worst modern car is far better than what is in our 50+ year old cars - and this kit settles that problem. I do not know how it handles yet... still working on the rest of the car.

Gas Tank / Passenger Compartment divider behind the back seat. - When you get rear ended, there is a possibility that the gas tank can rupture shearing the top of the fuel tank and flood the passenger compartment with fuel.

Steering Shaft - These shafts basically turn into spears and don't crumple and will likely impale the driver. There are solutions for this.

Weakened firewall/unibody - the whole unibody structure after 50 years is likely pretty amoebic. All of these unintended wiggles and inputs change suspension geometry and can cause erratic handling in emergency maneuvers. All of the floor/torque box, suspension mounting points, frame rails need to be in solid condition. Adding subframe connectors and other suspension/firewall reinforcement/stiffening/positive locating devices are a good idea in a daily-driver.

I'm by no means an expert, but here are some items related to nighttime visibility:
High-Mount Brake Light or rear package tray with an integrated one.
LED Tail Lights
High output headlights see:
http://www.mustangandfords.com/how-to/p ... onversion/

It appears that reenmachine might have ceased operations. Check with your most favored mustang vendor as I'm sure there are other kits out there. I have seen schematics around for how to wire up modern headlamps. It is not fun driving down the Jersey Turnpike at night with candle flames lighting your way... and then with it starts raining having them flicker on and off because the cowl leaks onto the switch :D

Thanks,

Perry
'65 Mustang Coupe, C4, DUI, CompCams 260, Addco 1", StreetOrTrack Front Bilstein Coilover System, Bilstein Rear Shocks, 4-1/2 leaf springs.

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Re: Safety Mods "Travis Allen Smith"

Post #3 by pikesan » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:31 am

Old cars will NEVER be safe compared to newer cars. For the money you spend on your 'stang, you can get a used car with air bags and crumple zone design. (I'm an engineer for Nissan).

I struggle with the same questions as you.. for my son who's 16 and about to drive... and for MYSELF! I don't want to get hurt or die either.

Here's my opinion on your options:
1) Get a newer car. Try to find something with some style that you can still afford. Anything with a driver's side airbag, I think, would be much better. (but you have to make sure the brakes and stuff work on that car too! 8) )

2) Teach your son/daughter to drive like they're "invisible". Like on a motorcycle or in the 1927 Ford Roadster I owned, I told myself any accident is MY FAULT. I had to anticipate any dumb move someone might make near me and anticipate and react to any urgent situation around me as if nobody knew I was there. Cause... if they hit me, even as their fault, I would get seriously hurt and they'd be fine.

I think we drive old cars for the thrill, nostalgia and STYLE. It's FUN!! Is that worth it to you? (I sold my roadster when it wasn't.)

Good luck!
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Re: Safety Mods "Travis Allen Smith"

Post #4 by ags290 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:33 pm

I fully agree that no amount of safety mods will make your 1966 as safe as a modern car. The items mentioned are all good things to address. I went through the same issues that you are facing with my now 18 year old son when he was 15 and we built an early 65 Mustang for him as a daily driver.

We kept the drum brakes but went through them front to back. I kept the proportioning valve, but every other component was replaced with Raybestos or Wagoner pieces. New drums, shoes, hardware, springs, wheel cylinders, adjusters, hoses, steel lines and a dual reservoir master cylinder. Total cost was under $400.00. You can evaluate what you have, but for Dad's piece of mind I wanted new parts for him. The dual reservoir master cylinder is a must and a cheap mod. You can look on any of the Mustang Forums (I prefer VMF) and find a parts list. This was the first thing that we did to make sure everything was working correctly and as close to when it was new as we could. The car stops straight and at a respectable distance. As safe as modern brakes? No way, but a thorough understanding of the system and its limitations was gained.

Next we replaced upper and lower control arms, front and rear springs, shocks all the way around, strut rod bushings, inner and outer tie rod ends and sleeves and rebuilt the power steering control valve. We used Moog for the control arms and tie rods, AC Delco for the steering valve kit, Monroe Shocks, and the springs came from a local Mustang supplier. When we removed the steering gear box to have it rebuilt by Chockostang ( Chuck is a great guy and does tremendous work) I made sure that my son saw the "spear of death" that is the steering gearbox input shaft and understood how it got its name. Aligned the vehicle with as much caster as we could shim into it and at that point we had a car with the correct ride height, and steering that was tight and drove straight as an arrow. As responsive as modern car? Again, No way, but it operates as close to new as we could make it and a healthy dose of respect for what is directly in front of the driver.

Next we did the shoulder belts and installed a new fuel tank and a tank armor plate from Chris Ingrassia.

Do all of these make the car as safe as late model econo box like all of his friends drive? No, however all of the sweat equity and understanding of the limitations of the car have made him a much safer driver. That is the best safety modification you can make is to modify the drivers behavior.
Kevin
Early 1965 Mustang with a 170

caveblazin
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Re: Safety Mods "Travis Allen Smith"

Post #5 by caveblazin » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:05 pm

ags290 wrote:I fully agree that no amount of safety mods will make your 1966 as safe as a modern car. The items mentioned are all good things to address. I went through the same issues that you are facing with my now 18 year old son when he was 15 and we built an early 65 Mustang for him as a daily driver.

We kept the drum brakes but went through them front to back. I kept the proportioning valve, but every other component was replaced with Raybestos or Wagoner pieces. New drums, shoes, hardware, springs, wheel cylinders, adjusters, hoses, steel lines and a dual reservoir master cylinder. Total cost was under $400.00. You can evaluate what you have, but for Dad's piece of mind I wanted new parts for him. The dual reservoir master cylinder is a must and a cheap mod. You can look on any of the Mustang Forums (I prefer VMF) and find a parts list. This was the first thing that we did to make sure everything was working correctly and as close to when it was new as we could. The car stops straight and at a respectable distance. As safe as modern brakes? No way, but a thorough understanding of the system and its limitations was gained.

Next we replaced upper and lower control arms, front and rear springs, shocks all the way around, strut rod bushings, inner and outer tie rod ends and sleeves and rebuilt the power steering control valve. We used Moog for the control arms and tie rods, AC Delco for the steering valve kit, Monroe Shocks, and the springs came from a local Mustang supplier. When we removed the steering gear box to have it rebuilt by Chockostang ( Chuck is a great guy and does tremendous work) I made sure that my son saw the "spear of death" that is the steering gearbox input shaft and understood how it got its name. Aligned the vehicle with as much caster as we could shim into it and at that point we had a car with the correct ride height, and steering that was tight and drove straight as an arrow. As responsive as modern car? Again, No way, but it operates as close to new as we could make it and a healthy dose of respect for what is directly in front of the driver.

Next we did the shoulder belts and installed a new fuel tank and a tank armor plate from Chris Ingrassia.

Do all of these make the car as safe as late model econo box like all of his friends drive? No, however all of the sweat equity and understanding of the limitations of the car have made him a much safer driver. That is the best safety modification you can make is to modify the drivers behavior.

Great info thank you so much!! Exactly what did you do to correct the "speak of death" This is some great info you are ALL passing. I'm greatly appreciative..

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Re: Safety Mods "Travis Allen Smith"

Post #6 by mustang6 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:09 am

There are a few different ways to get away from the 65-66 long shaft "spear of death" steering box.

Image

In the old days guys would adapt the 67-70 short shaft boxes (with their respective collapsible columns). These days you can buy specially made/modified short shaft 65-66 boxes and even rack&pinion coversions:

manual steering (also works with OEM power assisted steering)
http://www.cjponyparts.com/flaming-rive ... /FR14971Q/

Image

integral power steering (much improved design over original power assist)
http://www.cjponyparts.com/borgeson-pow ... 66/p/SB18/

Image

rack & pinion conversions (manual & power)
http://www.mustangandfords.com/parts/mu ... ion-guide/
http://forums.vintage-mustang.com/mod-c ... racks.html


Column choices for any of the above are many, from modified originals to total aftermarket.

Image
Image


Some guys sell a separate shaft that will work with your existing column but since they are not a collapsible design shaft I don't know that they are that much better than original.

Image
Scott

68 Mustang 200 ci, 250-2V head, H/W 5200, Dual Headers, Comp Cams 252H, DSII w/ MSD 6AL, T-5, V8 suspension.

65 Ranchero 200 ci, late 170 head, Autolite 1101, 3.03 3 speed, Maverick 8" 4 lug rear with 3.55 gears.

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Re: Safety Mods "Travis Allen Smith"

Post #7 by caveblazin » Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:27 am

mustang6 wrote:There are a few different ways to get away from the 65-66 long shaft "spear of death" steering box.

Image

In the old days guys would adapt the 67-70 short shaft boxes (with their respective collapsible columns). These days you can buy specially made/modified short shaft 65-66 boxes and even rack&pinion coversions:

manual steering (also works with OEM power assisted steering)
http://www.cjponyparts.com/flaming-rive ... /FR14971Q/

Image

integral power steering (much improved design over original power assist)
http://www.cjponyparts.com/borgeson-pow ... 66/p/SB18/

Image

rack & pinion conversions (manual & power)
http://www.mustangandfords.com/parts/mu ... ion-guide/
http://forums.vintage-mustang.com/mod-c ... racks.html


Column choices for any of the above are many, from modified originals to total aftermarket.

Image
Image


Some guys sell a separate shaft that will work with your existing column but since they are not a collapsible design shaft I don't know that they are that much better than original.

Image


GREAT INFO!! Exactly what I need to get things started... I'm really liking the steeroids setup...

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Re: Safety Mods "Travis Allen Smith"

Post #8 by rbohm » Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:40 am

you can spend a ton of money making a vintage car, any vintage car, as safe or safer than a current modern car, but once you have added the full roll cage, chassis upgrades, etc. you have what is basically a race car.

as noted vintage cars will never be as safe as modern cars are, but there are things you can do to mitigate issues, most of them are described in this thread.

but the very best piece of safety equipment is nothing you can add to your car, its in the space between ones ears. paying attention to what is going on around you, anticipating others doing stupid things and being ready to counteract those things, etc. can do far more to prevent you from having to use the safety devices in cars than anything else.

so add the tank armor, upgrade the suspension and brakes, stiffen up the chassis with subframe connectors, export braces, and other reinforcement items, use your safety belts, three point belts at least, and what ever else you feel necessary, but remember to exercise your mind as well.

one more thing, dont drive beyond your abilities and capabilities. understand the limits of your body, how fatigue affects you both physically and mentally, and note how what you eat and when you eat affects your ability to drive. some foods make you sleepy and that isnt good for driving. turkey for instance has a tendency to slow you down, so even though it a healthy meat for you to eat, not while you are driving.
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