We bet you’ll never hear someone say they want to go slower in their Mustang — or any sports car, for that matter — because why would they? Built for speed and precision, Mustangs are ideal for cornering on the racetrack and cruising down the highway. At Late Model Restoration, we are Mustang drivers and enthusiasts like you, so we know speed is the ultimate addiction. We put loads of effort into helping you make your ride quicker and smoother to get the most out of your Mustang.
While the stock suspension in a vehicle is good for the average driver, it leaves a ton of open-ended opportunities for Mustang enthusiasts and gearheads. You can lower the suspension of your car an inch or two closer to the ground, either for looks or handling. Whatever the reasoning, you can choose between springs, coil overs or air ride systems.
By boosting your suspension, you’ll make your Mustang faster. However, you must contemplate several aspects such as budget and customization. You never want to cut corners when it comes to rebuilding a suspension. How stiff and adjustable do you want it to be? That depends on whether you’re cruising down the road or racing on a track.
Before we dive into the specifics about lowering your ride, it’s vital to understand several components. For example, camber is a term that relates to how your car’s tires lean when you look at them from the front. They can either lean in, out or be vertical. Negative camber can enhance your Mustang’s cornering capabilities, which helps the outside tires get a better grip, while positive camber is where the upper end of the tires bend out further than the bottom.
A positive camber is detrimental to your vehicles, so try to avoid it. The third type is zero camber, which is a vertical alignment. When you lower your car, you must change the camber of your wheels because it can affect the wear and tear.
Caster is a term that describes the relationship between the true vertical position and the steering axis of your Mustang. Strut A is the steering axis, and a higher angle gives you more stability at high speeds. You can enhance the camber angle as you turn the wheel, which results in more grip.
Toe-in and toe-out is the relationship between the vehicle’s tires in regards to the direction they point. Toe-in means the tires point inward toward each other, and toe-out refers to the tires pointing apart from one another. When you adjust your Mustang to have a small amount of toe-in, it boosts speed stability because of tires naturally toe-out with increased speed. It also helps the tires not to rub during tight turns.
Alignment is a process that involves the altercation of the camber, caster and toe angle of your vehicle. You always want to ensure you have set your car the right way. The “right way” depends on your situation, meaning you can refer to factory specs or other settings intended for racing to support your car’s suspension performance.
Lowering your Mustang isn’t a quick and easy upgrade. We know you want to get on the pavement as quickly as possible and make every adjustment, but there are three techniques you can choose from — springs, coil overs or air ride suspension.
While lowering springs are the most cost-effective solution, coil overs and an air ride system offer more customization and adjustment abilities. Regardless of the option you choose, each will deliver incredible handling attributes, as opposed to the stock suspension on your Mustang.
When you opt to replace your original stock springs with an aftermarket version, you have the freedom to lower your car to a specific height, anywhere between half an inch to two inches. A lowering spring transfers the weight of your Mustang, better-improving the balance and enhancing the car’s handling during turns and cornering. The spring set you choose will determine how low you want your car. Springs lower the center of gravity and even boost your ride’s aesthetics by giving you a fierce look. Mustang lowering springs are often more versatile compared to original shocks and struts, and offer adjustable ride height for more precision and improved ride quality. It’s also vital to replace struts and shocks when you swap the springs because they will help with the proper functioning of the system and even add extra handling and performance attributes.
A coil over replaces the springs in your Mustang, and while you can often still use the current struts and shocks, they may not be compatible. Coil overs have a design that’s compact and lightweight that slides over the current shocks or struts that rests on two spring perches. The solution then screws onto the threaded sleeve. As a result, your suspension responds to a variety of driving conditions, which boosts your ride’s stability and predictability.
Also known as air ride, air suspension removes the springs, struts, and shocks to replace your Mustang’s factory springs. It uses airbags with regulated airflow and is perfect for car shows because you can adjust the height of your vehicle as necessary, even to extreme lowering levels.
The system lowers the center of gravity if you’re racing, and you can raise the front of your ride to drive over bumps and high edges. Most come with a manual controller that allows you to alter the pressure and height. Air suspension occurs with the push of a button by using an air tank and airbags. Although it’s pricier compared to springs and coil overs, the convenience, ease of use and adjustability with the push of a button adds the “wow” factor, especially at car shows.
If you want extra luxury, spend a few more dollars on an air ride. Both coil overs and air ride kits give you accessibility to make modifications. You can stiffen or soften the suspension based on your needs, whether you’re driving your Mustang on the streets or track.
When you’re trying to decide between springs, coil overs, and air ride, it comes down to personal preference, what you want to get out of your Mustang and your budget. It can also be helpful to look at the benefits and downfalls of each.
The advantages of implementing springs involve superior balance, handling, and adjustability. Benefits of coil overs include being able to do the following:
Coil overs are a top-of-the-line suspension upgrade that’s a responsive setup where you can adjust ride height while shaving weight off your Mustang. The downfall of a coil over is that it’s more expensive compared to springs, and not all come with compatible caster and camber plates. If you’re wondering which type of coil over kit is best, it’s still all about personal preference. Each one is specific for each Mustang and its application. It also depends on how stiff or soft you want the suspension to be.
The con of an airlift system is that it’s by far the most expensive modification, but it offers superior adjustability, versatility and ride quality with the push of a button.
A firm suspension is what you expect — it’s more rigid with a less smooth feeling, meaning you sense most bumps. However, while the quality of the ride may not be ideal, you’re receiving better handling, which is why firmer is better than smoother. High-performing sports cars like your Mustang have a stiff suspension that enables you to have better handling while cornering at higher speeds. It helps your vehicle stay on the pavement, too.
Throughout this guide, you will notice dozens of benefits that result from you lowering your car. But the three most significant pros include:
Modifying your Mustang with a lowering system comes with few drawbacks. Whether you choose springs, coil overs or airlifts, your ride will be able to burst off the line quicker, and you will have better control over your car. A stiffer ride means you can launch and corner better while experiencing only a few more bumps than before.
Some alterations you perform on your Mustang are a one-and-done deal. You install what you need, then you’re back on the road. But when you’re implementing a lowering system, there is always room for more improvement.
Shocks and struts help your vehicle turn and are the pieces that hold it up. Struts are in the front, while shocks are in the back, encased by springs. As said before, when you upgrade your springs, replace your shocks and struts too, because you will want to keep your Mustang balanced. Each match particular springs, so make sure to purchase ones that are compatible. The purpose of a spring is to support your car, and the goal of shocks and struts is to regulate the rebound to prevent poor handling.
If you invest in new shocks and struts when you replace your original springs, make sure to get mounts and pre-assemble the new strut components to save time. Choosing the right kind depends on how you use your car and your budget. There are mono-tube or twin-tube designs, as well as flexible options that allow you to alter the suspension as needed, which is ideal for racing. Stiffer settings on your shocks and struts are excellent on the track, while softer is better for regular driving.
You may also need an adjustable panhard bar if your Mustang has a solid rear axle. It will shift to the right or left when it’s lowered or raised. The bar will help ensure the axle is square with the driveshaft, as well as the transmission. But if your Mustang is from 2015 and up, it will have an independent rear suspension that won’t require a panhard bar.
A final consideration is to pick up caster camber plates or choose the more affordable solution of camber bolts. The plates allow for more adjustability and customization and can replace the strut mount. They also help with the proper alignment of your car’s front suspension. Because the lowering process will knock your Mustang out of alignment, it’s crucial to realign it for safety reasons and tire wear.
Understanding Mustang suspension geometry is crucial if you want to install the best lowering system for your car. The factory suspension in your vehicle either has an instant center that never intersects, or it has one that’s behind the axle that isn’t ideal for drag racing. You must achieve an optimum instant center after you install springs, coil overs or an airlift system. The key component in making your stock suspension hook well and run at top speeds is to have an instant center. It’s the point where the upper and lower control arm intersect.
Working with suspension geometry is the difference between beating your opponents and being stuck behind like everyone else. The most common thing racers do is install bigger tires and lower their Mustang, but this process shifts the geometry. The instant center moves from behind the rear axle to in front, which is not the ideal position. When changes in the instant center occur, it can lead to instability and inconsistencies when you reach higher speeds.
Be aware of suspension geometry when adjusting the height of your car. If you’re adding on aftermarket rear ends, consider housings that will let you use more mounting points for lower control arms.
Like everything when it comes to your car, nothing is a one-style-fits-all type of deal. You work hard to make your Mustang look unique and select appropriate adjustments that will improve speed, steering, and a million other aspects — and choosing how low you want your vehicle to ride is no different. The lower you place your car, the more vital the rate becomes, because your Mustang has less suspension to absorb harsh impacts. But when you invest in the right spring, it will lessen how stiff your ride is. Consider which of the following spring rates is best for your needs.
You can also choose between linear and progressive springs. The linear version has a rate that rises in a linear way that’s predictable. The spring rate increases as the spring compresses. It’s standard for road and drag racing cars because you can predict how the suspension will react. Progressive springs are not linear, which means they are softer in the beginning and more rigid as the spring compresses further. They are ideal for street riding and can maintain ride quality.
We know it’s difficult to remain patient because all you want to do is strap yourself in and fly down the racetrack. But instead of rushing to get things done, consider the following advice so you can get the most out of your Mustang.
At Late Model Restoration, we offer suspension components with Mustang owners and enthusiasts in mind. We are an industry leader when it comes to our superior knowledge, as our company has more than 300 years of combined Mustang ownership. We relate with you on a personal level and provide one-on-one communication to support you, whether you want to lower your car or make other improvements. Late Model Restoration professionals engage in current trends and enjoy keeping you updated too.View our products today and get started with your lowering project! You can contact us online to speak with a rep for additional info.