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1996-04 Mustang Spindle Tech

There are really two spindles that cover this time period: A 1996-98 spindle and a 1999-04 spindle. The only difference between the two spindle designs is that the 1999-04 spindle has more clearance in the area near the mounting ears for the brake caliper to allow installation of a different caliper.
For the purpose of discussing spindle swaps, the 1996-98 and 1999-04 spindles will be treated as one design.

Features

  • All 1996-04 Mustangs, regardless of engine, were fitted with the same spindle.
  • Design changes in 1996 were required to accommodate the 4.6L modular engine.
  • Most significant change from the 1994-95 spindle was due to the steering rack relocation. The larger modular engine required the steering rack be moved downward by one inch, to clear the oil pan. To maintain proper steering geometry with the new lower position of the steering rack, the steering arm on the spindle was also moved downward, by 0.960" (24.5mm), from the 1994-95 position.
  • The lower steering arm position makes the visual identification of this spindle, when compared to the 1994-95 spindle, very easy.
  • The vertical location of the steering arm has very important ramifications when swapping these spindles onto a pre-1996 Mustang. Read Warning: 1996-04 spindles & Stock pre-1996 K-members
  • Track width increased because this spindle moved the hub, and therefore the rotor, wheel, and tire, outboard of the 1994-95 position by 0.20" (5mm).
  • Hole for the outer tie-rod end was moved forward and outward from the 1994-95 location by a very small amount.
  • Tightening torque for the wheel-bearing nut changed during the 1996-04 years. Use the proper torque for the year of the spindle. Ford specifies that the nuts are one-time use.
  • New replacement hubs are the same for the years 1994-04, and ABS sensor rings now seem to be standard issue on all currently available hubs.
  • Starting in 1999, the Mustang GT was outfitted with a new dual-piston caliper sourced from PBR. This is not the same PBR caliper that was standard issue on the 1994-04 Cobra models.
  • Spindle was changed in 1999 to provide clearance for the PBR caliper on the Mustang GT. 1994-98 spindles require modification to fit the 1999-04 GT PBR caliper.
  • Easy to upgrade GT and V6 brakes to the Cobra model components because all 1996-04 Mustang models use the same spindle and hub.

Upgradingto Cobra brakes requires

Swapping spindles
1979-93 Mustang: Swapping to the 1994-04 Spindles
1994-95 Mustang: Swapping to the 1996-04 Spindles