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Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang

Posted 2/20/2020 by Taylor Ward

FOLLOW: mustang , lowering springs

Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang - Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang


Jump To: Terms To Know | Lowering Methods | Pros & Cons | Is Firmer Better? | Avantages To Lowering | Supporting Suspension Mods | Suspension Geometry | Various Height Options | Lowering Tips | LMR Products For Sale | Related FAQs


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.

Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang - Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang

Terms to Know Before Making Adjustments

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.



The Various Methods of Lowering

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.

  1. Lowering Springs
  2. 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.

  3. Coil Overs
  4. 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.

  5. Air Suspension
  6. 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.



Pros and Cons of Each Technique

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:

  • Adjust ride height at each wheel
  • Reduce body roll and nose-diving
  • Increase handling performance
  • Work with a balance between performance and comfort

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.

Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang - Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang

Why a Firmer Ride Is Better

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.



The Advantages of Lowering Your Mustang

Throughout this guide, you will notice dozens of benefits that result from you lowering your car. But the three most significant pros include:

  • Boosted stance
  • Enhanced traction
  • Improved aesthetics
  • Superior handling

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.



Types of Supporting Suspension Modifications to Consider When Lowering Your Mustang

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.



What You Need to Know About Suspension Geometry

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.

Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang - Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang

Various Height Options to Choose

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.

  1. Standard Lowering Springs keep your ride similar to how it was before while enhancing the appearance of your car. If you want to alter the look of your Mustang for a sleeker look, and won’t be participating in road racing, standard lowering springs are your best bet.

  2. Competition springs favor components such as performance and handling instead of ride quality. If your Mustang experiences a lot of track time, they are ideal, although they will be harsher in smoothness compared to other springs.

  3. Drag springs are best suited for the track and allow the suspension of your Mustang to have a broader range of movement. They have a softer spring rate and let the weight of the car transfer to the back wheels, which helps it grab power from the ground.

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.



Tips to Apply When Lowering Your Mustang

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.

  1. Do the job right the first time. Everyone knows it’s not cheap to update your ride with all the best features, but choosing the right suspension solutions the first time can save you in the long haul. You won’t have to buy components for a second or third time, so plan and decide the ultimate goal. Paying more money upfront could save you thousands down the road.

  2. Invest in solid and adjustable parts for your rear suspension setup. Although the original suspension system isn’t lacking in quality and comfort, it’s not necessarily up to par for ultimate racetrack performance. Always rely on solid bushings because they won’t deflect like urethane or rubber. Solid bushings along with heim joints don’t absorb energy, which means they transfer more power to the ground. If you’re looking for straight-line acceleration and traction, you must make the proper adjustments in your front and rear suspension when lowering.

  3. Invest in anti-roll bars. Anti-roll bars will improve how your Mustang handles while flying down the track. The parts reduce body roll upon launching your car caused by rotational forces and torque. The bar plants both rear tires to the surface evenly, but is not designed for street use. You can reconnect and disconnect the part during certain situations for convenience.

  4. Lighten your front suspension. Transferring weight to rear tires goes a long way when you want to improve traction. The best way to do so on a stock suspension Mustang is to swap out the K-member and A-arms for a tubular and lightweight version. You can also install an adjustable coil over kit. An aftermarket front suspension is all about weight transfer. Getting rid of the factory shocks can remove a significant amount of weight. If you use an adjustable coil over and shocks for weight transfer, it can shed between 60 and 80 pounds of rolling weight off your Mustang. You can also achieve ideal spring length and rate for controlling the front-end weight and rise transfer of the car’s rear suspension, along with the correct height adjustments and corner pre-load.

  5. Select the right shocks and struts. Each shock and strut plays a vital role in stock suspension when you need adjustability. Opting for a single adjustable strut will assist you in controlling the rise of the front end, but you can also change it to be very stiff. Shocks and struts are must-haves for your Mustang if you’re looking for high performance. Investing in the right ones will help your engine use every bit of horsepower and accomplish it sooner than before.

  6. Pick the appropriate springs. There are two types of springs — shock-type and coil overs. Coil overs are best if you want traction and straight-line acceleration. They allow for height adjustments, and you can also put in the optimum spring rate and length to get the exact weight transfer. Today, the industry is transitioning away from lighter and longer springs. As mentioned before, it all depends on what you want. Do you want to enhance handling or get a sweet look when you lower your Mustang? With dozens of different options to choose from, springs for your Mustang go around the shocks and struts to offer more control over your car — especially as you burn rubber off the start line or are making a turn. You have a choice between progressive or linear spring rates — progressive is ideal for daily driving, while linear is better for racing.

  7. Don’t forget about your torque boxes. Remember to check your torque boxes and fix them when needed. Check for cracks and other signs of wear. They play a significant part in helping your Mustang’s suspension system work. While all rotational energy transfers through torque boxes, they also contribute strength to the chassis of your vehicle. The component can even increase torque and horsepower. When you lower your Mustang, the torque boxes take the brunt of hard launches and take on a lot of stress from the axle. You can select a small box you can weld or larger ones that tie into the frame rail. Bolt-on or welded options are at your disposal, but welding will increase strength.

  8. Make sure your front and rear suspensions are square. The quickest way to do so is via a process called triangulation. The front and rear suspensions are centered on your vehicle. First, make multiple centerlines, with one of them being 24 to 30 inches in front of the axle to serve as a reference point. Complete the triangulation process by measuring the right rear lower control arm bolt to the center point, then perform the same process on the left side. Make appropriate adjustments to the upper and lower control arms plus the left and right sides.

  9. Strip weight off your Mustang. Even though it’s easier said than done, a little bit goes a long way. When you reduce the weight of your car, it will run quicker and handle better. Take away unnecessary components like wiring, sound deadeners, insulation, and others.
Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang - Choosing The Right Lowering Solution For Your Mustang

Products from Late Model Restoration for Your Ford 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.


Related FAQs

Are Coil Overs Or Lowering Springs Better?
  • Coil overs are better for the track and lowering springs are better for everyday driving use.
How Many Different Lowering Methods Are There?
  • There are 3 different lowering methods which are lowering springs, coil overs, and air suspension.
What Does Camber Mean?
  • Camber is defined by how your car's tires lean when you look at them from the front.