Suspension Upgrades (Info)

Discussion in '2005 - 2014 Specific V6 Tech' started by NJstangpilot, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. There are lots of engine modification threads but a dearth of suspension, technology-related, information ones. There were some prior to the server crash which never returned. Bummer.

    Supposedly, there are numerous adjustments and modifications which will improve the handling of a car. Often, this is a “give-and-take” situation between agility and comfort, with tire wear and suspension component longevity sometimes being affected as well.

    The modifications I am aware of which will improve a car’s handling characteristics are:

    1) Install stiffer springs.
    2) Lower the car.
    3) Install better (and/or firmer) shocks/struts (oscillation dampeners).
    4) Install anti-roll bars.
    5) Install chassis stiffeners (strut tower braces, K-arms, stronger control arms/links, etc).
    6) Install wider (and/or lower-profile and/or softer compound) tires.
    7) Increase track(?) (wheels farther apart - L/R) w/ offset spacers or rims.
    8) Adjust alignments (Camber, Caster, Scrub Radius, Toe-In, etc).

    From my personal (general interest level) research on the subject, it seems as though the tires and springs have the greatest overall effect on the handling and agility. For sure, tires are a critical component since they represent the point of contact w/ the road. A Porsche 996 Turbo running on 215s won’t turn very well, regardless of it’s race-bred suspension.

    Springs are (typically) the 2nd most important component since they affect all aspects of the wheel and body movement(s). I know from riding a dirtbike (where the suspension is supremely critical) that the first order of business is getting the spring rate correct. After this, you “dial-in” the dampening (analogous to adjusting a car’s shocks/struts) to achieve proper control. In general, you want the damping to be *just* firm enough to prevent harsh bottoming during the hardest/sharpest/quickest turns and maneuvers you attempt.

    Increasing the dampening helps in slalom-like maneuvers where there are rapid side to side movements of the car (loading & unloading each side, rapidly). A skidpad situation (like a long, fast, sweeping exit ramp) isn’t affected much by the shocks since they only control the *rate* of compression, not the *force* resisting that compression. Thus, only the initial entry would be improved. Conversely, stiffer springs will help in both types of situations. However, better shocks can/will complement the springs by preventing you from going too high on the spring rate and making the ride very harsh.

    Lowering the car will lower the center of gravity and thus improve handling. But, lowering the car changes the tie-rod angle and alignment settings (caster, camber, etc) which then have to be adjusted by a competent tuner with proper equipment. You also lose some wheel travel by doing this. Tie-rod and roll bar adjustments may also need to be made for reliability and performance reasons.

    Increasing the track (tires farther apart) improves the stability and handling but may cause clearance issues with the fender unless “flares” are added to accommodate them. Anti-roll bars improve the roll characteristics of the car (duh), which is the tendency of the body to rotate/twist along its front-to-back axis during turns. They don’t affect the suspension when both wheels move together (such as over a speed bump). The V6 doesn’t come with a rear stabilizer bar (antiroll bar).

    Older Stangs were helped by chassis stiffeners that reduced the body’s flexing during turns, but the 2005 model is much stiffer stock than previous models, so I don’t think these mods will help as much. Finally, more negative camber (top of tire leaning in toward engine) will improve cornering at the expense of tire wear and possibly bushings as well. Also, a projection of the steering axis onto the ground, verses the tire contact patch, is the caster (forward/back dimension) and scrub radius (left/right dimension) respectively. Both affect the stability, handling and tire wear to an extent. (hopefully, I explained these terms correctly).

    Admittedly, this is a very basic synopsis of what I’ve read so far. I would love to hear other peoples experience and insight on suspension modifications. I can’t wait to get my Stang so that I can try new tires, then springs, then roll bar, and compare the results.

  2. great post! i dont have any info to add but i hope to soon
  3. this is by far one of the best post i've seen