Wayne Cook
June 25, 2010

Tech | Suspension Upgrade
As we go through our classic Ford cars, making them better, one of the departments many of us are concerned with is suspension. While the stock underpinnings are adequate for most things when in good repair, there is definitely a lot of room for improvement. A modern wheel and tire selection can make a huge difference in how your vehicle rides and handles, but for further improvement we often delve into suspension modifications. Even if left in a completely stock configuration, there is a lot that can be done to enhance the handling prowess of your classic Mustang or other special interest Ford. Many suspension companies now offer improved stock components that have additions like boxed control arms for increased rigidity or easily replaceable ball joints. Other stock component improvements include the replacement of rubber bushings with urethane units, while others might include heavy-duty versions of a stock part, such as antisway bars. Certainly the replacement of OE shock absorbers with more modern units such as those made by KYB, QA1, Koni, or others will offer improved suspension control.

When we decide to go beyond the parameters of the stock configuration, there are now so many choices that it can be bewildering which direction to choose. Much of your choice should be dictated by what you like to do with your car. Certainly a drag racing fan will have different requirements than someone who is interested in road racing. For example, while many drag racing fans will install 90/10 shocks and remove the front antisway bar to improve weight transfer, these modifications would be the last thing a road racer would want to do (and can be fairly dangerous to drive on the street).

For flat cornering, a larger-than-stock front antisway bar and shocks that control the wheel in both directions (both jounce and rebound) would be much more useful. Still others who are interested in more power in the form of a different engine would go yet another route, allowing the fit of said engine.

Many kits are now available to allow the removal of the original shock towers, thus enabling the installation of a larger-than-stock engine. In the creation of this article we talked to many different suspension manufacturers to get their takes on why these different selections work the way they do and the different advantages they offer. Let's take a look at some of the different suspension options out there and how they offer different advantages over other types of suspension, including the stock setup.

Align It In Time Many of us will choose to do our suspension upgrade project in the home garage with a floor jack and a set of jackstands. Keep in mind that once a front suspension swap is completed, you're going to need an alignment, no matter how careful you've been to retain the old settings. Matter of fact, most aftermarket suspensions come with suggested alignment specs to make use of the better handling inherent in the new suspension's design. In addition, remember that the drive to the alignment shop should be a short one and be done right away. If that's not possible then make arrangements to trailer the car to an alignment shop. Even 25 miles on a set of tires with the front end out of whack can be enough to badly damage a set of new tires; not to mention it's unsafe to drive with such poor alignment settings.

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