Our primary business is around the 1965-70 Ford Mustangs. We manufacture the fiberglass and currently design and build the prototypes of all the suspension. After racing everything from Go Karts in Europe, USAC Sprint Cars & midgets and most importantly, Mustangs for more than 46 years on all levels we believe we have solid solutions for our customers looking to do something extra to their Mustang! …..Charles Maier
Maier Racing Inc has been in business here in Hayward from the early 1970’s, established in San Leandro, CA in 1969. We have been here on Meekland Ave since 1984. While numerous businesses now sell parts that were “ORIGINALLY DESIGNED” and made here at Maier Racing/Hayward; we appreciate the loyal customers that buy their suspension and fiberglass parts from the source. You may be able to find an “E” kit from some group in the mid-west that copied our kit, and now selling it for 1/2 the price. They do not likely have any idea where the original parts came from or how they go together. We have roughly 400 Molds and masters here to cover the range of Mustang cars we support. As far as the suspension goes; MRE has been selling suspension kits for Mustangs from the early 1970’s as well. For example, the leaf springs were originally developed as the 4 1/2 leaf spring here, refined over 40 years. The panhard rod kits, sub frame connectors and the shock tower braces were originally designed and developed here in the 1980’s & 90’s. So, people (other businesses) can make claims that they are the originators of the design(s), but, having a closer look, you will find they are just selling a copy.
FYI… Nearly every mold we have, we can make fiberglass or carbon fiber parts. Be sure to call in for pricing and details.
1) How do I set up my car for “Spirited driving”… I am not going to RACE but, I want to have fun with the car.???
Here is a short list of components that we would suggest you focus on.
-Your best value dollar for dollar is going to be with the biggest (good) tire and wheel combination you can fit. Flares will often help but if they are not for you, get the MOST you can under that car. Use good rubber, Bridgestone RE 11, or Falken Azenis. 18″ x 8″ – 12″ if possible.
-Great springs and shocks. Don’t go cheap here! We have spent a huge amount of time figuring out our leaf springs and shocks. We sell the 600lbs front coils and the 165 lbs rear leafs. We recommend dropping the car at least 1” if not a little more. Do the Shelby drop on the front Upper A arm. We can guide you on this if needed. We sell the Bilstein front and rear steal body shocks for a realistic price. These are valved (designed) to be used with our springs. Our springs (rear leafs) are 4 1/2 leafs, mid eye wrap in the front eye and we recommend using the polyurethane front bushings. We can say that it will knock out at least 90% of any wheel hop issues you may have. Some folks ask about traction bars… In 30 years I have not seen a car leave Maier Racing with a set of traction bars. THROW them out- Save your money, they are used to cover up cheap springs and shocks that don’t perform.
-Good sway bars, bushings and NEW rubber where you can is key for a solid platform. We recommend that most people buy the 1 1/8” front sway bar with the polyurethane bushing kit. Rear sway bars have their place but I would put them down the list of priorities if you are on a budget.
-Quality upper and lower control arms are important if you are pushing the limits. We do NOT sell stock replacement upper and lower control arms. We sell modified arms or our own design intended to be used in abusive conditions. We offer the coil over kit and the modified stock arms. The modified kit is slightly cheaper than the full coil over kit. Details about them will be covered later.
Highly recommend.. the chassis stiffening kit! Any or all that you can. The Sub-frame connectors, Shock tower brace and the NEW Z brace are all components that fit in easy/simple locations. The car you are working on is roughly 50 years old! If you are going to plan to push the car a bit, it will need support to deal with the handling, power options today, the braking, the great rubber that the cars can really stick to the road. All the aftermarket components put the frame to the test and frankly beyond what the car was originally capable of; support it. Our sub-frame connectors are intended to be welded in. The holes in the brackets are for welding locations. The shock tower brace is a bolt on product. The Z brace is only for lowered cars. It will interfere with the drive shaft on cars that are stock height. Exhaust may also need to be tucked up tighter on some cars using the Z brace. The Z brace has 4 tabs to be welded into the Maier Sub-frame connectors. The 3 individual aluminum tubes are adjustable and removable for getting to the transmission and or the exhaust.
2) I want a 3 link or 4 link or extreme rear suspension like you sold in the Blue car…?
Maier Racing no longer sells the “extreme rear suspension” we once did in 2012, 2013 & 2014 period. It was a learning process for us. The kit was $8,500+/- and then another $4,000 for the install. We sold 5 kits a year or so. Yes it was cool, yet it came at a price. Most of our customers are not able or willing to spend $12-15,000 on the rear suspension. While there are a few companies in this market (Mustangs 1965-70 Pro Tour) that make 3 link or 4 link suspension kits. We are not offering that route for our customers. Our view is that a 3 link or 4 link suspension is still ideal “IF”… “IF”… it is proven and sorted out. Keep in mind, if a company offers a 3 or 4 link rear suspension, they are selling (out of a catalog) -it is a kit that they are trying to offer you that is “universal”. That means they have not developed it around YOUR Tires, Power plant, Transmission, etc…. Even bigger, it is not always sold in conjunction with the front suspension. The front and the back of the car work together. Which means you will need to install it and tweak with it to get it right. Buyer be aware..
The typical customer of Maier Racing is interested in spirited driving, auto crossing and track days. Roughly 5% of our customers have open ended budgets. Of that 5% that have open budgets, most of them don’t work on their own cars. They have another shop do the work. Most of those shops do not know much about suspension and set up. They know how to follow instructions and install kits. 90% of the people that work on Pro Touring cars do not know how to set up a car… They know how to buy and fabricate parts. I can say this openly because I/we have been in this group for many years (Charles Maier). I have been involved in Racing my entire life, literally and I have learned a lot. I know that it is smart to start with a good baseline and modify (eyes wide open) 1 thing at a time. I have had “many” late night beers, brain storming the greatest ideas for the car. At the end of the day, if you want a package that works, go with simple and predictable.
We sell the 165 leafs, a simple panhard rod kit that is easy to install and basically 2 -3 shock options. For the rear of the car, we offer packages in the range of $1,200 to $2,000 (shocks being the biggest variable). Bilstein steel body gas shocks at $100/each are recommended for 200-300hp. From 300-500 hp is a discussion/reviewing the end result/goal. From 500hp on… Our view is you MUST spend money on quality shocks. This means a minimum of $325 each shock. This is for a “non adjustable” good quality rear shock.
The leaf spring set up works. We have it running on cars with 750+ horse power. The basic design has been working in the Ford Mustang for 50 years. Our package has been tested for more than 35 years, modified and adjusted to work in numerous conditions. It may not be the answer for ALL cars and ALL cases but this is great value!! Call us for more details as needed.
3) Should I buy a panhard rod kit? What does it do?
If you are on a budget you can avoid it initially. It really depends on your end result. If you plan to autocross or do track days, I would plan on getting it. If you are a weekend warrior on a budget, you can get it eventually. The kit is designed to mount from the rear end housing to the frame (both sides). It sets the “roll center” of the rear end of the car. During cornering the chassis wants to roll and the panhard rod kit maintains the chassis over the top of the rear end housing. The panhard bar is adjustable and if you raise it or lower it you can manipulate the over or under-steer of the car by adjusting the “roll center”. Up will be loose, down will tighten the nature of the car’s performance. Tight means the car will push more in the corner. Loose means the car will over steer more (in the back end, sliding out). Our current kit, May 2015, was designed this past 6 months in conjunction with Chris Alston aka Total Control Products. We took our 2 versions that we have been selling for 15 years or so to him and said, let’s make this better! This kit is designed to be installed with some welding. There is flexibility in the design so it fits most chassis from 1964-1970. Our older kits had fixed mounting points that required being hammered on to fit. The rear sway bar is a total bolt on unit. Our older design required welding to the rear end housing. It is offered with 2 spring plates that are much more substantial than than the stock plates. The shock plates also have Big eyes for tie downs for towing. 2 1/2” exhaust is acceptable in most cars.
4) Should I buy a rear sway bar?
If you have the NEW panhard rod kit, we offer a sway bar to go with that. Rear sway bars are helpful. That said, we have found that you can not say the rear sway bar is good and helpful in ALL cases! For example, if you are auto-crossing on a loose asphalt surface or wet weather, I would recommend disconnecting the sway bar. If you are competing on a concrete surface with a lot of grip, use the sway bar, it will likely be helpful.
5) I have a 196-X Mustang and I want to fit the biggest tire and wheel under it. What are my options?
With flares you can get almost all you want. That said, in the PRO Touring scene, many people are going for the stock appearance look. For the 1965-70 Mustangs we offer a relatively NEW 2 1/4” front fender that has the flare built in by pulling out the front fender in conjunction with the lip of the flare. They LOOK REALLY stock in appearance and require a keen eye to tell that they are “not stock” fenders! In most cases the limiting factor now becomes the spindle height; getting the wheel inboard over the upper ball joint. It is realistic to go for a 18” x 10” 275 in the front. We sell a fiberglass rear flare to match for the 1965-66 cars. We do not have a perfect match for the rears (yet) 1967-70. That said, the 65 rear flare can be modified to work or rolling the back metal flare is often done; as we did on the Blue coup here at the shop. In the rear, the car can be mini tubed. Meaning, take the inner wheel well inboard as far as you can, go close as possible to the leaf spring. Detroit Speed sells a nice kit for this. Detroit Speed, in Mooresville NC. In most cases the 18” x 275” is also realistic for the rear, varies year to year.
6) What size tires and wheels are on the Blue coup (home page car)?
315 x 18 all four corners
7) How is that size wheel possible?
Shortened the front spindle to get the wheel inboard over the upper ball joint. In the back it was mini tubed as the car uses coil overs in the back, no leaf spring interference. Prior to these 2 modifications it was running the 18 x 275 on all 4 corners.
8) I am thinking about using TRACTION BARS…..
In more than 20 years we have not sent a car out of here with Traction Bars. Keep in mind we are preparing cars for auto-crossing, track days/road courses and vintage racing as well as spirited street driving. We do not normally set up cars here for drag racing suspensions. Traction bars for these applications (in “most” cases of 1965-70 Ford Mustangs) are installed to cover for a component that is not working properly or up for the task. Essentially a Band-Aide! If you are drag racing and that is your sole agenda, they may or may not work. Our experiences for drag racing tell us a good set of leaf springs with great shocks are the key. The biggest down side to Traction bars is that Traction bars limit the rotation of the suspension travel. Ideally we want the suspension to freely go through it’s range of travel at a controlled rate. The shocks control the rate in which things move. There should be not components that inhibit this range of motion. If the leaf spring is fatigued (old) and you are putting 400 horsepower through the rear-end, the leafs will no doubt struggle and wheel hop will ensue. Our Maier Racing 165L (1″ lower than standard ride height) are very well tested and developed. You can buy springs for 1/2 the price but our leafs eliminate wheel hop in 90% of the case with the help of our Bilstein rear shocks and new bushings.
9) My car wheel hops, why and what can I do to address it?
Wheel hop is normally when the acceleration or the braking is too aggressive for the tired leaf springs or the wrong leaf spring or bad shocks. NEW shocks or springs can be ill mannered. Many people sell a 4 1/2 leaf spring and still have issues. The design can just be wrong for performance driving. If the spring is not stable under hard acceleration it will not do it’s job. If the shocks are cheap and not designed to handle 300-500+ Hp, they will not maintain the balance of the power coming from the drive line to the tire. Keep in mind the rubber and power used in these cars in 2015 is far better than the tire and power these cars came with in the 60’s. Again, quality shocks and springs will handle 90% of any wheel hop issues. Our springs are NOT cheap but they work. We have a ton of R&D and experience getting these springs right. The Bilstein shocks are great value for $100 each. We sold thousands of Koni twin tube shocks in the 70’s & 80’s… The technology in these Bilsteins are a considerable graduation from the technology used 20+ years ago. So in most cars $750 for leafs, shocks and some bushings will get you 90% there.
NEW information on power plants in excess of 600+ HP.. We have been developing an upgrade for folks that have serious power trains of 600-800 HP. We are using an aluminum body, Integra rear shock that has the bayonet mount on the top and “eyelet” mount on the bottom. We had to customize the spring plates to make them work but the change was simple. We plan to offer this kit soon on the website. If you want it now, it is possible; just email or call in and we’ll get you rolling. It may require limited fabrication on your end but it is worth it. We have a customer now in Arizona that has a 750 HP big block in his 1967 NB…….. no wheel hop or tire shake. It is “not” big money and not intricate.
10) Fiberglass parts or metal parts?
Well, we have been making Fiberglass parts from 1971. This does not mean that we have it all figured out today but we have made thousands of parts and designs as we currently offer parts from roughly 400 molds. 80% of our offering is to fit 1965-1970 Ford Mustangs. We offer Fox body parts, flares for 94-98 and 99-04. We have 2 body kit options 2005-09. We bond fiberglass to metal parts regularly. The materials can work together. That said, some parts work better than others. Rear flares for the quarters are the best bonded parts. Big surface area to bond and temperature changes are limited there. Hoods are not the greatest for bonding fiberglass to metal. Some of our customers want us to make fiberglass hoods with metal inner frames. This location of the car goes through a lot of heating up and cooling down. The materials don’t normally live well when the heat and cooling varies so much. Metal/steel does not expand much. Fiberglass moves much more comparatively speaking. From 70F to 200F steel may grow .001″ or less. Fiberglass may grow as much as .010″ from 70F- 200F. Imagine the entire hood expanding and contracting each day in this heat range; it will eventually have issues.
11) Bonding fiberglass
We get calls all the time about fiberglass, asking “can it hold together or remain bonded well over time?” The answer is YES, and it is like a good paint job… Are you using the right materials? Is the preparation done well, right? The surfaces must be cleaned right (Acetone is good). Are the surfaces scuffed well for a good mechanical bond? Make sure the resin has plenty of pot life (time to work with it before it set’s up and turns solid). For specific questions, call in and we will do our best to guide and manage expectations.