Trying To Learn Suspension ..

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by billison, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. Ok. I plan to do an overhaul of my suspension this summer. The basic plan is to lower it ( it looks like a 4x4 right now) and smooth out the ride ( you feel every bump right now) .

    So I'm trying to learn what is what.

    Like with stocks/ struts. There are like 50/50 shocks... What do the numbers mean? I've seen tons of deals on adjustable shocks but not sure what is what. Bot sure what to look for when loweing, ( about a inch). I know I wanna avoid stock and stock replacements.

    Even if I just get some good links to read I'd be happy.
  2. And cc plates... Are do I need anything special?
  3. Best bet really is call upr and talk to them or message sharad Sharad people are going to say upr isnt as good as maximum but looking at my suspension which is all upr from k member to coilovers this is all well built stuff and relatively cheap. Hope this helps
    Sharad likes this.
  4. That's good input on brand choice. But I'm looking to understand the stuff more.
  5. The real way to understand it is to replace the stuff. That's how I learned. Start a thread, take some pictures, and let us guide you through it. For instance (paraphrasing) -

    Spring change on the front. If you look under that front tire well you'll see the A arm. That is all that's holding that spring in. To remove it you have to unbolt the one arm on the outside and carefully let the A arm down with a jack. Sometimes you gotta take a broom stick, stand to the side, and pop that spring out without killing yourself of course. You can change your front struts from there. Then bolt up the one bolt again on the outside, and unbolt the two bolts at the bottom of the A. Put your spring back in, carefully move it up and into place with your jack and bolt her up.

    The front has struts. The back has shocks and "quadra shocks". Those tiny black shocks on the back are bolted to your axle tube. The keep the car from hopping. With a good set of upper and lower control arms you can nix those. You can also turn them upside down and fit bigger tires. The regular back shocks unbolt from the trunk or hatch.

    The readings (ie 50/50) are to tell how much compression they give up and down if I recall? I can't remember but I think my old drag shocks were 80/20. They always equal to 100%.

    I'm no mechanic by any means so if you are feeling froggy, figure out what you want the car to do and let us help you.
  6. I'm not as worried about the actual process of changing them as much as picking out parts. Like with the numbered shocks.. What is good for street use.. Or do I want a good quality standard?

    Cc plates. I guess some can and can't use coil overs.
  7. you don't want drag shocks on a street driven car as they are meant to transfer the weight of the car to the rear on launch, not meant for curves, corners, potholes, and daily driving, Get a good set of struts like tokicos- either the blue non adjustable or white adjustables. same for the rear shocks. For springs, that will depend on what your purpose is- DD, corner carver or drag car. For rear A arms, the best setup is an adjustable A arm for the bottom from MM or Steeda and the stock upper A arms with poly bushings. If you have the money, a full coilover setup is superior to the stock spring and strut setup but is a few hundred dollars more. CC plates are a waste of money unless you plan on lowering the car.

    I would recommend going to the MM website and read up on their tech articles after you decide what purpose you are building the car for.
  8. Go here, and read every section of it, while you can. The site went down and the wayback machine may not keep it forever.

    Some basic things to understand about the Mustang's front suspension:
    - The camber curve sucks, and lowering the car makes it even worse.
    - The car NEEDS negative camber if you want it to corner. It needs negative camber to keep from wearing out the outside edges of the tires if it's lowered. Negative camber does not wear out the inside edges of the tires, incorrect toe settings do that, and camber just concentrates the wear.
    - The stock strut mounts allow all kinds of movement. c/c plates are almost a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have, if for no other reason than your alignment stays put as the car moves. GOOD ones also buy you an inch more compression travel, which is important in lowered cars.
    - You get. what. you pay for. with struts and shocks. People eventually find out they'd have saved money overall if they'd have just held out for the better, more expensive stuff like Koni or Bilstein instead of KYB.
    - Coilovers are the most foolproof way to get the ride quality and ride height you're looking for the first time. And they ride better for any given amount of stiffness at the wheel.
    - Many lowering springs are just for looks, and are not stiff enough. Many other ones are stiff, and get blamed for a bad ride when coupled with crappy struts
    - For a general-purpose car, you only sacrifice a little drag strip traction with a handling suspension, but you sacrifice the :poo: out of cornering capability with a drag suspension
    - K members are almost worth the effort and expense just for their better access to all things in and around the engine. And you'll never again lose a socket in the Bermuda Triangle.
    - Balljoints and A-arm bushings are often overlooked as sources of tire wear and poor ride quality
    - Some companies have actual engineers on their actual staff who actually design and model their products. Some companies use their customers as beta-testers. And some companies say "**** you" and copy what's popular.

    Some basic things to understand about the Mustang's rear suspension:
    - The stock rear suspension is prone to "snap oversteer", meaning all is hunky-dory as you're sailing through a corner...until it isn't, and the next thing you know, you're going backwards. I dealt with this for so many years, and got so good at it, it took me a whole 'nother season of track-driving to un-learn it and instead learn to trust the torque arm/panhard bar setup I put in it.
    - It is a compromise design, hailed for its low cost and its packaging. But it's a compromise. The converging upper control arms do two jobs: They control the rotation of the axle housing, AND the lateral location of the axle. Those are two separate jobs, but because they have to do both, they do neither as well as they could.
    - Those upper arms have to change virtual length as the suspension articulates. The stiffer the bushings you put in it, the more it resists this, which leads to....
    - If you read enough about it, you'll come across a term called "bind". Some people overstate it, some people dismiss it altogether., but it is a very real phenomenon and it refers not to any kind of friction in the system, but to the fact that various types of bushings in various configurations in the rear end actually add to the spring rate as the suspension compresses.
    - Drag racers have made the 4-link work unbelievably well for their needs. Their needs. If you're into carving corners, there are far better options available.
    - a Panhard Bar or Watts Link locate the axle laterally so the uppers no longer have to. But the uppers will be defining one Roll Center (the geometric point that the body pivots over the axle on) and the PHB/Watts will be defining another. There can be only one, and the one defined by the PHB/Watts will win. Net result is more strain on the uppers and in some cases some squirrelly handling.
    - Solution: Adding a torque arm, eliminating the uppers altogether, or coming up with a 3rd link (single upper link), or a "poor man's 3-link", which is simply removing one of the uppers. Yes, it works.
    - Ditto the front suspension about range of companies, capabilities, and corporate values.
  9. That's a good read.

    To be clear. It's just a cruiser. No track time of any kind. I'm going for looks and well.. My shocks suck.
  10. 50/50 shocks are drag shocks. You don't want those for a cruiser. I like Strange Engineering 10-way adjustable shocks and struts for a street cruiser. They have 10 different settings and you can adjust them by hand, no tools required- just pull over, turn the knobs, and you're back on the road two minutes later. There are better choices for road racing or drag racing, but for a street cruiser, these are very versatile dampeners.

    When it comes to caster camber plates, for your car I'd recommend plates like these:

    ^^they give you plenty of adjustability, and their polyurethane bushings get rid of the steering slop which comes from the huge rubber bushings that the factory strut mounts have.

    For lowering the car, I'll recommend these springs:

    They'll drop the car an inch and a half, but still have a decent ride. Again, you could go with stiffer springs for road racing or softer springs for drag racing, but these are a great choice for a street cruiser.

    It's important to note that the car will look and handle better with the setup I've recommended, but when you lower the car (like you said you want to do), you'll feel the road more. I mention this because you complained that you feel every bump now. Upgrading your suspension won't make it ride any smoother (like a Lincoln or a Caddy), but it'll have more grip and that makes the car easier to drive at speed.
  11. You can lower the car OR you can have the smooth ride. With less suspension travel, the spring rats will be higher to prevent bottoming out. If you want a smooth ride get the stock bushings replaced, use good shocks and the stock springs. Use tall tires to fill up the wheel wells, large rims optional.
    Other upgrades are in the name of handling and will sacrifice ride at least a bit. Most of us are OK with that.
  12. If it's just looks you want, i suggest the eibach pro lowering springs, ES isolators (they make a big difference) and some CC plates.

    Just be advised, suspension has a domino effect, each time you do one part, it exposes the next weak link. Before you know it, you have replaced all of it.

    For shocks, i like koni red adjustables, they are a fair price and you can feel the setting changes.

    My preference for parts is Maximum motorsports, not the cheapest parts out there, but you can bet you only will have to do it once. I speak as someone that has had many suspension parts.
  13. Ok, a few basic coil over questions.

    Looking at some of the kits I've seen, it might not be as expensive as I thought.

    1. Not all cc plates will accept them right?
    2 . The kits that come without the struts can use any quality strut?
    3. I'm hearing mixed reviews on using them in the rear...
  14. Also, I see different weight springs for the cool overs... Do the weights equal the stiffness? And what is best for what?

  15. 1. Nope, not all CC plates will work with coil overs. I know for a fact the MAC CC plates specifically say NOT to use them with coil overs. Get the MM ones and don't look back.
    2. NO... not all kits can use just any strut/shock. Confirm before hand what will and won't work.
    3. If you're still using the standard 4 link rear configuration, coilovers might help some but you really will need lower control arms with good poly bushings and new upper RUBBER bushings as well.
    4. The spring rate needs to be matched to the damper (shock/strut) to get the most out of the combo. If you just throw parts together and the spring rate doesn't match the damper valving, you will be very disappointed. Your best bet is to call Maximum Motorsports and tell them about your car and what you want it to do. Then they will tell you what spring rates and dampers you should get to maximize your results for the least money.

    As for the racelandus kit, it doesn't mention if the dampers are matched to the spring rates, or even what they are... At a minimum call them first and get that info or you can be the guinea pig for everyone else on here.. :D
  16. What about the length of the spring? I've seen 12-14 inch springs.

    Do the dampners have weights like the springs?

    Thanks for helping, like I said above, I never learned this stuff.
  17. From the MM website:

    Lots of good info here.
    MM Mustang Coil-Over Conversion FAQs

    Q. How do I compare a Mustang front coil-over spring rate to a conventional Mustang spring in the stock location?
    A. The spring rates must be converted into wheel rates. The wheel rate is the spring rate measured at the wheel. The conversion is done through the use of what's called the motion ratio. For a stock Fox Mustang front suspension, the wheel rate is 25% of the stock location spring's rate. For example, an 800 lb/in stock location spring has a wheel rate of 200 lb/in. For a coil-over suspension, the wheel rate is approximately 90% of the coil-over spring's rate. For example, a front coil-over spring rated at 350 lb/in would result in a wheel rate of about 315 lbs/in. Note: The exact motion ratio conversion of the wheel rate for a front coil-over suspension is determined by the angle of the strut. That angle is the result of the camber and caster settings, and by the SAI (Steering Axis Inclination).
    Q. How do I compare a Mustang rear coil-over spring rate to a conventional spring in the stock location on my solid axle equipped Mustang?
    A. As with Mustang front spring rates, rear spring rates must be converted into wheel rates. The wheel rate for the rear of a Mustang with a solid axle is approximately 50% of the stock location spring's rate. For example, a 200 lb/in stock location spring has a wheel rate of 100 lb/in. For a rear coil-over suspension, the wheel rate is approximately 110% of the coil-over spring rate (because the spring is actually behind the centerline of the Mustang's solid axle). Also, because the shocks are mounted more outboard than the stock spring location, the rolling rate of the suspension is mildly increased. This helps to reduce understeer.
    Q. How do I compare a Mustang rear coil-over spring rate to a conventional spring in the stock location on my independent rear suspension (IRS) equipped Mustang?
    A. The wheel rate for the rear of a Mustang with IRS is approximately 33% of the spring rate in the stock location. For example, a 600 lb/in stock location spring has a wheel rate of 198 lb/in. For a coil-over suspension, the wheel rate is approximately 50% of the coil-over spring rate.
    Q. Why does a coil-over spring with a higher wheel rate ride better than a conventional spring with a lower wheel rate?
    A. Although the front coil-over spring in the above example increases the wheel rate by over 60%, the ride quality will actually improve. A conventional spring located on the Mustang's front control arm contributes to ride harshness because of friction in the control arm bushings and ball joints. A Mustang front coil-over kit eliminates this friction by applying the spring force directly to the spindle and upper strut mount. Coil-over springs are also much lighter than a conventional Mustang spring. The resulting reduction in unsprung weight allows the suspension to more easily follow bumps in the road. Rear coil-over conversions provide a similar improvement in ride quality, although it's not as dramatic of a difference as the front kits.
    Q. What are my options for adjusting ride height?
    A. Ride height can be easily adjusted by changing the position of the lower spring perch (The spring perch is raised or lowered by rotating it on the threaded sleeve). The 5" to 6" range of adjustment on the MM Coil-Over conversion kit is more than adequate when the correct spring is chosen for your Mustang's application.
    Q. I've been told that if I use a stiff enough spring for racing, my suspension will never bottom and I don't need bumpstops.
    A. If you are running a spring that stiff, you will be hurting your car's ability to absorb bumps (large or small), which reduces your Mustang's overall cornering grip. To quote Carroll Smith in Engineer to Win, "If you are not USING the bump stops, you are running stiffer springs than you need and are therefore giving away some cornering power." If some type of compressible bump stop is not even installed on the car, eventually a bump will be encountered that is large enough to bottom out something else in the suspension, resulting in loss of control and damage to the vehicle.
    Q. Why does Maximum Motorsports have different kinds of Mustang front and rear coil-over kits?
    A. The dimensions and construction features of each manufacturer's strut and shock housings are not the same. This requires subtle changes to many components.
    Q.What are the benefits of switching to a coil-over front suspension?
    A. Better handling and better ride quality! When the spring is in the stock location on the control arm, the minimum spring rate for performance handling is 700 lbs/in. Better handling can be had with higher spring rates, but ride quality begins to suffer with rates over 850 lbs/in. A coil-over kit allows the use of wheel rates that are much higher than those obtained with an 850 lbs/in spring in the stock location. This will dramatically reduce body roll and brake dive. Other benefits include easily adjustable ride height, the ability to fine tune corner weights, ease of bumpsteer measurement, less weight, and a wide selection of available spring rates.
    Q. What springs are available from Maximum Motorsports?
    A. Standard 2.5" inside diameter coil-over springs are available in 25 lb/in increments between 175 lb/in and 600 lb/in, and in several standard free lengths. The wide range of springs available means that coil-over suspension systems are easily tuned by swapping springs to balance your Mustang's handling.
    Q. Are there any disadvantages of running a coil-over suspension on my Mustang?
    A1. There may be tire and wheel clearance issues, depending on the wheel size, back spacing, and tire size. For example, our Mustang coil-over conversion kit will not interfere with a 275/40/17 tire on a 17X9 Cobra wheel on an 1987 Mustang with 1995 spindles. The Konig Villain wheels will require a ¼" wheel spacer for clearance.
    A2. Because the upper spring perch lowers the point where the bumpstop contacts the chassis, all non-Bilstein coil-over conversions will reduce the amount of available bump travel (no matter what others tell you). We have seen other kits that reduced the available bump travel by over one inch. To maximize bump travel, Maximum Motorsports carefully designed the upper spring perch assembly — it provides over ½" more travel than most other kits. Also, our exclusive bumpstop helps regain some of the lost travel because it is shorter and softer than conventional Mustang bumpstops. Don't be tempted to regain bump travel by not using bumpstops. Damage to your Mustang, caster/camber plate, or strut will occur when the suspension bottoms.
  18. I called race land . It's a newer kit. Just released in the last year. It's made to street use. The springs and dampners are all made in house. They are releasing a cc plate for the kit soon.

    I've not found reviews on this kit yet. But all the reviews on their other kits are very good. The only negative things I've found seemed to be the normal elitest saying it wasn't good enough. So it's a maybe

  19. Did they give you the spring rates for it and say if the dampers are matched to it? I'm not coming from an elitist stance, I'm just saying that all reputable suspension companies would advertise that information and freely give it out as well as recommend to you what rates are best for your application. Just because it's cheaper, doesn't mean it isn't good... but being new to the scene they do have to prove their worth against other companies that are already established.