Staying true to the ‘budget’ track car theme, we skipped expensive coilovers and upgraded our S197 Mustang with track-capable springs, shocks, and swaybars from Steeda.
In Part 6, we tackled the geometry of the S197 platform. Now we are finishing up the suspension by finding the least expensive way to make a Mustang handle well and be track-capable without breaking the bank.
You don’t need a ‘racecar for the street’ with coilovers and 500lb+ spring rates to make a Mustang handle well on track. Heck, the new 2020 Shelby GT500 that I worked on (as a development driver) is faster on track than most supercars, and it doesn’t have spring rates anywhere near that stiff. And that’s a 4,000+lb car with 305 width Cup 2 front tires on it!
But I digress, Steeda’s Pro-Action Mustang Suspension with Sport Lowering Springs package is a complete suspension system that includes springs, swaybars, and shocks for less than the price (often ½ to 1/3 the price) of most coilovers. This package delivers track-capable performance while maintaining excellent ride quality that you can live with everyday without the suspension beating you up or creaking, squeaking, and clanking over bumps.
The Sport Lowering Springs lower the car 1” in the front and 1.25” in the rear. The adjustable front swaybar is 27% stiffer than stock with a diameter of 1 3/8” while the rear swaybar is increased to 1.25” in diameter in the rear. With a lower ride height, slightly stiffer front swaybar, and a raised front roll center from the Steeda Lower Control Arms with X11 Extended Ball Joints (discussed in Part 6), we should have enough front roll resistance to prevent the front of the car from rolling too much and overheating the outer edge of our front tires on track.
The stock front springs and shocks had to go. Only 7 bolts hold the front shocks on the car. 2 at the base of the shock, 4 at the top hat, and 1 swaybar end link.
With the shock removed, we used a spring compressor to remove the top hat. While the potential energy of the preloaded spring can be dangerous, I’ve been doing this since I was 16 years old in the grass for my Spec Miata and I’ve never had any issues. Using some logic and patience has never made this a scary procedure, and I think the drama surrounding them is overblown and unnecessary if you don’t do stupid things.
Once the top hat and spring were removed, we removed the stock bumpstop.
This is an important step! We then cut the bumpstop in half, at the ridge in order to increase the amount of suspension travel in compression before hitting the bumpstop.
Since the replacement Steeda shocks are the same size as stock, they have the same amount of travel as stock. Our new lowering springs will reduce our compression travel by 1” (because the car will sit 1” lower) so cutting the bumpstop down will ensure we have the same amount of available travel before hitting the bump stop. This will greatly improve ride quality and grip vs hitting the bumpstop frequently if we don’t cut it down.
Page 1 – Front OEM Spring/Shock Removal
Page 2 – Front Steeda Spring/Shock Install
Page 3 – Rear OEM Spring/Shock Removal
Page 4 – Rear Steeda Spring/Shock Install, Steeda Swaybars
Page 5 – Front Swaybar and Radiator Support Brace Removal
Page 6 – Front Steeda Swaybar and Radiator Support Brace Install, Rear Swaybar
Page 7 – Rear Steeda Swaybar Install
Page 8 – Street Review, Bumpsteer Kit, New Steeda Suspension Package