Project S550 Mustang GT: Installing Airlift Suspension Digital V2

Project S550 Mustang GT: Installing Airlift Suspension Digital V2 

by Nathan Brummer

 

In planning the next phase of Project S550 Mustang GT, we began looking at suspension kits that would give the versatility of a comfortable daily diving experience and still provide a somewhat capable track setup. Before we move forward, it’s also important to revisit our goals with this project. This is NOT an all out performance track car, but rather a daily driver that we want to transform into a competitive street car. It’s something that will see light track day action, as well as something that we can show off at local car shows. Given this direction, this build will come to points where compromises are made for street-ability and comfort. While a race-spec coilover kit would be a great solution for the track, daily driving this kit would be less than desirable. Having made this mistake on previous daily drivers, we were determined not to do the same with this project!

            A lot of people can agree a lowered car looks great; to us, nothing can kill the looks of a car like unneeded fender gap. In lowering the car though, handling and ride comfort can suffer depending on the ways you achieve this. Compounding a lowered car with potholes, speed bumps and steep driveways can be extremely frustrating. In fact, with the new fascia we installed in the last update, we were already experiencing some of these issues and also started scraping on several steep driveways. When factoring all of this into the equation and searching the aftermarket for available kits, we landed on what we felt was the best solution and matched the goals of this project. Enter, Airlift Performance and their Digital V2 Kit. 

 

This is the Airlift Digital V2. It includes everything needed to install the kit into a S550 Mustang. In addition to the V2 Kit, Airlift also offers a 3P kit and a 3H kit. The 3H kit is their top of the line offering, which includes constant height monitoring that allows for anti-cross loading by adjusting at the right time to counteract shifts in weight. 

We arrived at this decision after coming across an interesting video that Airlift put together and posted on Youtube. The video “Air Suspension vs. Coilovers” compares their performance orientated air kits to a comparable coilover kit. They run the test back to back on three different models (one being an S197 Mustang). While we may have been a little skeptical that they won all three of the challenges- in our minds, even if they were competitive, it was worth considering. Add in the versatility of the kit being able to raise the car for steep obstacles, and it was a huge win. At this point, we were very intrigued by the kit and began talking with other owners. All of the owners that we chatted with said the same thing- they loved their kit. In fact, a couple owners regularly used their cars for club autocross events, and several others have gotten their cars deep into the 10’s while drag racing. All impressive testimonials when considering they also frequently daily drive these cars. At this point, we were sold and got in touch with Hypermotive. They had the kit in stock and got everything shipped at a great price the very next day.

            The kit we chose was was Airlift’s Digital V2 setup. It came with everything needed for installation. The front kit features monotube struts with 30 levels of adjustable dampening, spherical ball upper mounts, camber plates, and double bellow progressive rate springs. The struts have lower treaded mounts for tuning both ride height and, depending on air pressures, can translate to different spring rates. The rear kit is very similar but with separate monotube shocks and double bellow progressive rate springs. The shocks feature the same 30 levels of adjustable damping and have similar adjustable lower mounts as the fronts. 

 

Airlift includes camber plates as part of the kit.  
 

The Airlift front strut compared to the stock strut with the the Eibach Prokit spring installed. You can see the lower adjustable collar and the integrated air spring. 

 

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