Priest of the Car Gods
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Rohnert Park, CA
iTrader: 0 reviews
If you're not competitively driving, I would recommend against adjustable dampers. To get the same quality of damping, you're paying 1.5-2x as much money for that adjustability.
For a non-track day, non-autocross car, you really don't need all that much beyond stock, and there are certainly diminishing returns. To give you an example, my last spring rate change which was very significant (100 #/in stiffer rears, front coilover conversion with effectively double the existing spring rate), was damn near imperceptible on the street. Only when I put the car on course was I able to see how dramatically different the handling dynamic was.
The other thing to keep in mind is just how transformative alignment specs can be. There's a huge difference in the handling feel between a Mustang running -.75 camber, +3 caster, and 1/8" of toe in and one running -2 camber, max available caster, and 1/16" of toe out. One's a street cruiser with some comfortable understeer, the other's one that bombs into corner entries and sticks though apexes. Why spend a ton of money on parts if you're not going to take advantage of what's already available to your chassis?
So, that all being said, I think the springs will be fine, I'd recommend different dampers (I really like Bilsteins, however I have heard the S197 versions aren't as good as the fox-chassis ones), and I would do the supporting mods for the lowering (Camber plates, adjustable panhard) even if you're not at the point where you "need" them. Yes, you'll spend more money that way, but the end result is much more what you want. Remember that the majority of people modifying these cars don't actually care about the results; they're typically going for aesthetics and/or bragging rights, and consequently there's a lot of cheaper parts and simpler advice that's geared for those people who don't care about function and results. I find that it's worth it to sift through those so that you don't end up rebuying parts and having to do multiple installs to get the results you're after.