Handling/ride improvment "project" - Page 2 - Forums at Modded Mustangs
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post #21 of 42 Old February 17th, 2017, 08:44 AM
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You can use the Bilstein HD struts with coilovers, just not as high of a spring rate. I think the max for the HDs are 325lbs, which is plenty for a street car. The MM Sport Bilsteins can handle 400lb springs in the front. I only run 350lb springs and open track my car on Koni single adjustables. The special MM valved struts are supposed to have thicker mounting ears for prevent bending which can happen under extreme circumstances. The Bilstein HDs are a good choice for a street car.

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post #22 of 42 Old February 23rd, 2017, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Whoop whoop! Christmas morning! I feel like I'm 10 years old again.

I've got a shop installing the SFC next Saturday and I'm hoping to have time to install the struts next Sunday.
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post #23 of 42 Old March 4th, 2017, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Just had my new subframe connectors installed and they are incredible! The whole car drives so much better in just about every way. I have only been able to drive it for a few minutes but it drives so well.

The suspension feels so much smoother
Brake dive has been reduced by a significant amount
Cornering is much more precise
The ride is better

Tomorrow the new Bilstein HD struts are going on!

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post #24 of 42 Old March 6th, 2017, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Got my new Bilstein HD's installed this weekend, and they were so easy to replace anyone could do it. I borrowed an air impact wrench and massive three foot torque wrench from a coworker. The torque wrench was way overkill but it made it really easy torquing the strut bolts to 145ft lb.

The struts are so nice, and the ride is so much smoother. You can tell the suspension is a lot tighter. The car bounces a bit more on the road, but the bone jarring bumps are completely gone, and the car handles so nicely! (It didn't help my old passenger strut was blown.) It goes where you point and the front end is so planted on turns. It's turning into a proper sports car. We replaced all the bushings/sprint isolators as well. The springs were a pain to get out/in and we had to get some spring compresses from Autozone and used a large pry bar with a lot of aggressive negotiation. I expected them them to just drop out but we lowered the control arm as low as it would go, even after removing the sway bar link and a brake line mount.

I think I might try some autocross this summer, but I'm worried about insurance. I have Geico and I have heard they consider autocross racing and I could loose my coverage if they find out. Anyone have any knowledge with this?

Next steps:
Bump steer kit
Rear struts

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post #25 of 42 Old March 6th, 2017, 05:18 PM
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Don't tell your insurance that you do any racing unless you want them to cover on-track accidents. Some insurance agencies are OK with it, some will jack your rates up or drop you if you tell them. Accidents are rare in autocross. If you do open track events, prepare to be self-insured. Don't race a car that you can't afford to lose.

You probably don't need a bumpsteer kit unless you're going to take the time to measure it. What springs are you using? Lowered how much?

Next time you need to remove the spring, put a jack under the ball joint, remove the strut to spindle bolts, loosen the control arm bolts, lower the jack slowly. Loosening the control arm bolts will allow the control arm to swing all the way down and the spring will come right out without any stored energy. Make sure you're removing the tie rod end from the spindle also.

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post #26 of 42 Old March 6th, 2017, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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I wouldn't do anything more than autocross. It's my DD and it feels like it has more potential and wants it's legs stretched a bit.

I have Eibach Pro springs and I think that is pretty close to a 2" drop. I realized the old struts were worthless and every time I hit a bump or braked the car would wander all over the road. Since I have installed the SFC and Bilsteins the brake dive is almost gone, but under really hard breaking it still wanders just a bit. I am certain it's bump steer because I have replaced just about everything upfront except the springs and k member. I suppose it could be alignment because I haven't had one since I replaced the steering rack and struts, but I don't really want to spend $70-80 on an alignment just to find out it didn't fix it and have to get another alignment after installing the bump steer kit.

We removed everything except for the tie rod.
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post #27 of 42 Old March 7th, 2017, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by dexdiman View Post
I wouldn't do anything more than autocross. It's my DD and it feels like it has more potential and wants it's legs stretched a bit.

I have Eibach Pro springs and I think that is pretty close to a 2" drop. I realized the old struts were worthless and every time I hit a bump or braked the car would wander all over the road. Since I have installed the SFC and Bilsteins the brake dive is almost gone, but under really hard breaking it still wanders just a bit. I am certain it's bump steer because I have replaced just about everything upfront except the springs and k member. I suppose it could be alignment because I haven't had one since I replaced the steering rack and struts, but I don't really want to spend $70-80 on an alignment just to find out it didn't fix it and have to get another alignment after installing the bump steer kit.

We removed everything except for the tie rod.
MM and UPR Bump Steer kits are ~$120 or so. Another option is offset rack bushing. The general consensus I have seen is one or the other is sufficient. I went with both, but the car has no engine in it so IDK how it drives as it sits.

That said, if you notice the issue when you are braking I doubt it is bumpsteer. Bumpsteer is when you hit an uneven part of road and the car wants to move right or left due to the un-even surface and the altered geometry of a lowered car. IMO sounds like you need an alignment (and would make sense after doing suspension work). However, if you are thinking of the bump steer anyways, go ahead and do the bumpsteer then align just to be safe.

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post #28 of 42 Old March 7th, 2017, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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I have read that brake dive causes bump steer issues as well, but I also know bump steer is very difficult to determine and the issues detailed by the bump steer kit could be lots of other problems. The thing I keep going back to is the wandering used to be way worse, but as I have started replacing things it has gotten better. Now the car only wanders under braking. I'm running out of things to replace and considering I know everything upfront is good I'm thinking it could be bump steer issues.

I will get an alignment first to see if that fixes the issue. If it does then I save ~$150 on a bump steer kit. If not then I'm out ~$70.

MM's definition of bump steer:
What is "bumpsteer"?

Changes in the steering angle of the tires caused solely by vertical motion of the suspension.
Excessive bumpsteer makes the car feel unstable and unpredictable because it will abruptly change direction without any input from the driver.
Bumpsteer can be caused by anything that causes the suspension to move vertically; bumps in the road, body roll, brake dive, etc.
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post #29 of 42 Old March 7th, 2017, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dexdiman View Post
I have read that brake dive causes bump steer issues as well, but I also know bump steer is very difficult to determine and the issues detailed by the bump steer kit could be lots of other problems. The thing I keep going back to is the wandering used to be way worse, but as I have started replacing things it has gotten better. Now the car only wanders under braking. I'm running out of things to replace and considering I know everything upfront is good I'm thinking it could be bump steer issues.

I will get an alignment first to see if that fixes the issue. If it does then I save ~$150 on a bump steer kit. If not then I'm out ~$70.

MM's definition of bump steer:
What is "bumpsteer"?

Changes in the steering angle of the tires caused solely by vertical motion of the suspension.
Excessive bumpsteer makes the car feel unstable and unpredictable because it will abruptly change direction without any input from the driver.
Bumpsteer can be caused by anything that causes the suspension to move vertically; bumps in the road, body roll, brake dive, etc.
Gotcha! Good luck man. I did my full suspension (lowering springs, shocks/struts, caster camber plates, FLSFC, sway bars, adjustable UCA/LCA) and noticed a very nice difference from stock. my car was in the same boat as you, had a blown shock and a blown strut. Also, my isos were messed up, so I replaced them.

Car drove pretty well with just an alignment and no bumpsteer kit, noticeable bumpsteer at times, but easily handled. I think you will be pretty alright with just an alignment.

I have the front end apart again, so figured I would do bumpsteer and offset rack bushings while replacing the K-member and A-arms, and going to coilovers so I don't have to take it apart again haha.

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post #30 of 42 Old March 7th, 2017, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Derfdog15 View Post
Gotcha! Good luck man. I did my full suspension (lowering springs, shocks/struts, caster camber plates, FLSFC, sway bars, adjustable UCA/LCA) and noticed a very nice difference from stock. my car was in the same boat as you, had a blown shock and a blown strut. Also, my isos were messed up, so I replaced them.

Car drove pretty well with just an alignment and no bumpsteer kit, noticeable bumpsteer at times, but easily handled. I think you will be pretty alright with just an alignment.

I have the front end apart again, so figured I would do bumpsteer and offset rack bushings while replacing the K-member and A-arms, and going to coilovers so I don't have to take it apart again haha.
Nice! I'm noticing a big difference on each step, and I'm excited it's really starting to tighten up. I'm about half way through this project and it's already handling way better than it ever has. Once I get the front end finished (alignment and\or bump steer kit) I'm going to start working on the rear and CA's are on my list to replace.

I didn't think you needed offset bushings and bump steer. I thought you could get one or the other... I have also heard offset bushings can compromise the stiffness of the rack because one side of the bushing is much smaller.
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post #31 of 42 Old March 7th, 2017, 05:32 PM
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Last time I had my wife's car aligned, I took it to Firestone because they did a good job on my Tacoma. I wasn't sure if it needed to be aligned, but I had just bought new tires for it and didn't want any issues. They said they would put it on the rack and check, if it doesn't need an alignment then it'd only cost $20. If it does need an alignment then I'd be full price. The alignment was still in spec so I was out $20 but I knew it was good to go.

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post #32 of 42 Old March 8th, 2017, 10:58 AM
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I didn't think you needed offset bushings and bump steer. I thought you could get one or the other... I have also heard offset bushings can compromise the stiffness of the rack because one side of the bushing is much smaller.
Yeah doing both is a bit of overkill, but the rack bushings are cheap so I figured screw it, its not even close to a DD car.
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post #33 of 42 Old March 8th, 2017, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Last time I had my wife's car aligned, I took it to Firestone because they did a good job on my Tacoma. I wasn't sure if it needed to be aligned, but I had just bought new tires for it and didn't want any issues. They said they would put it on the rack and check, if it doesn't need an alignment then it'd only cost $20. If it does need an alignment then I'd be full price. The alignment was still in spec so I was out $20 but I knew it was good to go.
I know my car needs an alignment, but I have been putting it off until I finish the front end. So, it's probably a good idea to get one before a bump steer kit just to make sure 100% if I need one or not. I'll be getting that done this weekend.
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post #34 of 42 Old March 16th, 2017, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Got the alignment done a couple days ago and the car drives straight but it is still pulling under braking and on rough roads. If I brake on a smooth road the car tracks straight but if I hit a rut or bump then the car gets pulled left or right. I took the car into a good tire shop to get an alignment, but maybe I need to take it into a shop that specializes in lowered cars and discuss it over with someone.
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post #35 of 42 Old March 26th, 2017, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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I went back to the tire shop and they had a guy that specialized in lowered cars. I talked to him and he said my front control arms and tie rods are at a pretty steep angle, and that was throwing off my entire front suspension affecting my roll center. That would explain why the steering is really twitchy. He suggested new ball joints and a bump steer kit to help realign the control arms and tie rods. I see Steeda makes ball joints and bump steer kits for lowered mustangs, but is there anything else I could do or are those really the only products to fix this issue?
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post #36 of 42 Old March 27th, 2017, 01:25 AM
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Steeda X2 balljoints (same as Ford M-3050-S, just more expensive) will raise the front roll center and improve the camber curve on a lowered car. A bumpsteer kit is required with these balljoints.

And sure, there's other products to correct front suspension geometry on a lowered car. A MM k-member with its higher front control arm pickup points is a great option. Just note that tubular A-arms and a coilover kit are required as well. Or better yet, an Agent 47 or Griggs Racing SLA. Price increasing respectively.
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post #37 of 42 Old March 28th, 2017, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Steeda X2 balljoints (same as Ford M-3050-S, just more expensive) will raise the front roll center and improve the camber curve on a lowered car. A bumpsteer kit is required with these balljoints.

And sure, there's other products to correct front suspension geometry on a lowered car. A MM k-member with its higher front control arm pickup points is a great option. Just note that tubular A-arms and a coilover kit are required as well. Or better yet, an Agent 47 or Griggs Racing SLA. Price increasing respectively.
Thanks for the clarification and info. A new k-member is probably the best and more permanent option moving forward but the cost is more than I am wanting to invest right now. It's something I'll eventually do just not right now. For now I'll get a bump steer kit and ball joints. I wasn't able to find the Ford joints, it seems like they aren't made anymore because they are either sold out or unavailable at just about every store I looked at.
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post #38 of 42 Old March 28th, 2017, 07:51 PM
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Thanks for the clarification and info. A new k-member is probably the best and more permanent option moving forward but the cost is more than I am wanting to invest right now. It's something I'll eventually do just not right now. For now I'll get a bump steer kit and ball joints. I wasn't able to find the Ford joints, it seems like they aren't made anymore because they are either sold out or unavailable at just about every store I looked at.
I have the Steeda X2 ball joints and recommend them. However, I would skip the bump steer kit and just get Moog grease-able tie rod ends. Unless you have a suspension shop capable of aligning and bump steering the front end correctly for you, those kits are a waste of money. Not to mention, will effect the handling in an unpredictable manner if not set up correctly.

The money you save from the bump steer kit can be put towards an alignment. The best thing you can do for your car after ball joints.

EDIT: Just read that you already did the alignment. Questions. Do you have camber caster plates? What alignment settings did you/the shop use? How sure are you that you have Eibach Pro Kits? I see that your springs are red. I had Pro Kits in two different cars and there were black. Red springs tell me that those are Sportlines, which are too low and soft in my opinion.

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Last edited by macuser27; March 28th, 2017 at 07:57 PM. Reason: Questions to help the progress of the handling project.
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post #39 of 42 Old March 29th, 2017, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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I have the Steeda X2 ball joints and recommend them. However, I would skip the bump steer kit and just get Moog grease-able tie rod ends. Unless you have a suspension shop capable of aligning and bump steering the front end correctly for you, those kits are a waste of money. Not to mention, will effect the handling in an unpredictable manner if not set up correctly.

The money you save from the bump steer kit can be put towards an alignment. The best thing you can do for your car after ball joints.

EDIT: Just read that you already did the alignment. Questions. Do you have camber caster plates? What alignment settings did you/the shop use? How sure are you that you have Eibach Pro Kits? I see that your springs are red. I had Pro Kits in two different cars and there were black. Red springs tell me that those are Sportlines, which are too low and soft in my opinion.
I have read, just about everywhere, that Steeda ball joints require a bump steer kit. Wouldn't that throw the tie rod and control arm out of alignment of each other? I don't know exactly which tie rods are there but about a year ago I had them replaced and when I installed new struts I noticed they were Moog, and they also have a nipple for grease. Is that what your talking about? Or is there a specific kind? I do have CC plates, and they asked me if I wanted anything special with the alignment but I just told them to align it within spec. Nothing special.

When I replaced my struts I also replaced the spring isolators and noticed Sportline stamped on the springs. For the longest time I thought they were Pro.

Last edited by dexdiman; March 29th, 2017 at 11:37 AM.
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post #40 of 42 Old March 29th, 2017, 07:54 PM
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I have read, just about everywhere, that Steeda ball joints require a bump steer kit. Wouldn't that throw the tie rod and control arm out of alignment of each other? I don't know exactly which tie rods are there but about a year ago I had them replaced and when I installed new struts I noticed they were Moog, and they also have a nipple for grease. Is that what your talking about? Or is there a specific kind? I do have CC plates, and they asked me if I wanted anything special with the alignment but I just told them to align it within spec. Nothing special.

When I replaced my struts I also replaced the spring isolators and noticed Sportline stamped on the springs. For the longest time I thought they were Pro.
Recommended but not required. You'll only want a bump steer kit if you get, bump steer (they should have called it an anti-bump steer kit in my opinion).

And yes, sounds like you already have tie rod ends with grease fittings, so you're good there.

Those Sportlines are most likely the root of your handling issue. They lower the car too much as it brings down the roll center below the car. That's probably why your front control arms and tie rods are at that steep angle. I bet the stance looks good though. Unfortunately, stance and handling do not really go hand in hand.

Now that we have all the information, my recommendation is to swap out those Sportlines for H&R Race Springs if you're not going coil overs. They don't lower too much and have a spring rate that your Bilsteins will handle, which makes for a nice riding and better handling Mustang.

Since you have CC plates, you can get a better alignment than stock. I hope those CC plates are Maximum Motorsports' as they give back an inch of travel after lowering so you're not bottoming out the strut.

Regardless, max out the caster. Set camber between -1 and -1.5. Zero out the toe or 0.15 toe-in.

I have mine set to 5 degrees caster, -1.5 camber, and 0.15 toe-in for street driving and when I do open track, I add more negative camber (approximately -2.5 or -3 degrees, which also causes the the tires to toe-out which is what you want on track). I mark the CC plates after the alignment shop sets the street setting, so I can set it back when I'm done with the track event.

Hope that helps! Corner ponies FTW.

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