Camber Hell: Monroe struts poor quality

'89 Mustang 5.0 ...
I went to replace the front struts and got the standard replacement parts (Monroe brand, blue color) from Advance. To fit my spindles I had to use the (included) 2 spacer plates
between the strut mount and spindle. This should have been the first redflag, that and the fact that the part seems to be intended to fit everything from '78 Fairmont/Zephyr up through T-Birds, Cougars, LTDs, Marquis, Continentals, MarkVII, in addition to the Mustang/Capris from '79 on.
After the mounting bolts were installed there is a very sloppy (lack of) fit between the spindle and strut. I can't believe this setup will hold alignment (camber).
Anyone else see such poor fit on struts ?
The counter guy said as long as it's torqued properly it will be safe, and that a (even partially) installed part can't be refunded. Even the more expensive Monroe part uses the spacer adapters.
rd
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wrote:

I put bilsteins on my car and my dad's mustang (97 & 99) and the fit was perfect without shims or any other nonsense. I've done my car's front's twice as the 1st pair of bilsteins wore out after about 80K miles. Didn't need an alignment until after I had replaced the struts for the second time and replaced the drivers side tie rod for the second time. And all that needed to be adjusted was toe as far as I can tell.
However I've heard of some cars where slop in the bolt holes between the spindle and strut is used to adjust camber (and caster?). So will it work? Probably, but you probably now need to align the front end. It's obvious that they are just using the same parts (including pieces of the strut assemblies) for as many cars as possible since mustangs have a tight bolt fit with adjustments made at the top of the strut with the camber/caster plates (aftermarket or factory).
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RD Jones wrote:

On Apr 17, 12:17 am, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Brent P) wrote:

The OE struts (E9ZC-BA, Made in Japan) wore out after almost 250k. There's no way the caster will be anywhere near correct except by an extreme miracle of coincidence.
I'm also concerned that with so much slop in the fit and the weight of the V8 if I hit a pothole the camber will get knocked out. Is 150-180 ft- lbs of torque on the spindle bolts enough to hold it ?

I doubt if a '78 Fairmont has as high a performance suspension as the 'special handling' suspension on the V8 Mustang. Part of the selling point on the late '80s car was the yearly improvements made on the underpinnings such as revalving the shocks (struts). I understand the need for replacement parts to be generic in nature, but even Monroe's better part (black) uses the wimpy spacer plates. I wonder if a good used part from the Pull-A-Part yard would as good or better for my use.
Where should I tighten them down at ? all the way positive ? Which way will it get knocked out under use ? There's seriously about 10 degrees of play before being torqued down.
rd
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RD Jones wrote:

I installed Monroe struts on my 84 Mark VII (also a Fox chassis). The alignment was spot on after installation. No alignment issues, but they seem to transmit a lot of road noise into the body. I spent a little more for Gabriels on my daughters 88. They're much better, IMHO. Ya gets what ya pays for.
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I put the same part (Monroe "blue") on the teenager's '02 V6 Mustang. The part fit reasonably well and did not have the el-cheapo spacer plates.

Yeah ... the reason for my rant.
I'm restoring the '89 on a tight budget, but if I knew the junky fit the Monroe's would provide I would have found a better brand. The over $100 each KYB's Advance has are probably out of my reach for now.
rd
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My comment is concerning your last paragraph only. If the part doesnt' properly fit, it's defective for your application. There's no way a national chain will say otherwise if you press the issue. I've always had very good service from Advance, and go out of my way to deal with them if I can. Try talking to someone else, perhaps within the same store, or even up the food chain a bit. Ask to talk to a district manager, or a customer service line if they have one.
CJB
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I'll persue it further with Advance, and I've also attempted to contact Monroe's tech assistance dept. Nothing back yet.
Tnx, rd
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On the T-Bird boards I frequent, there's several threads about swapping spindles and such for brake upgrades, and notations that Birds, Stangs, etc have different mounting pads on the spindles. The Mustangs pad is about 3/4" thick, while T-Birds are 1".
Many aftermarket struts are made with the wide opening, to fit either one, so spacers are included. If you don't have enough spacers, big washers can also be used. You might have to file one edge flat to make them fit.
There is some slop in the holes, but if you're worried about it, let the spindle drop all the way, then lift it all the way, then hold it mid-way between those points as you snug down the bolts, then torque them all the way down. It won't slip. Have the alignment checked afterwards.
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update: Advance has replied to my emails that 'customer satisfaction is important.etc.' but has not actually contacted me to attempt to resolve the issue yet.
Monroe tech support has not responded at all either by email or phone.
I have invited both Advance and Monroe to join the discussion here...

Correct that the pad is 3/4" on the '89 just as it is on the '02. The Monroe replacement for the '02 fit properly without the need for spacers. If a good one from the '02 worked on the '89 I would have used it but the body length is not the same.
Why not supply a correctly fitting replacement for the '89 ? Surely a high performance Mustang should not get the same part as a '78 Fairmont ...

Obviously the part can be made to work, but this is the type of process I'd like to reserve as a last resort.
It's now Friday afternoon and my weekend is shot because I can't get decent parts for one of the most common models of Mustang on the road. Darn !
rd
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