Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsHow To Chassis Suspension
2007 Ford Mustang GT - Steeda Suspension Install
Lowering an S197 Mustang GT for the proper look and performance on the street and strip.
Image is everything and achieving the right stance with your Mustang is important. Sure there are performance advantages with lowering a vehicle's center of gravity, but getting the right look goes a long way, too. And when you can achieve both, it's a win-win.
But how low do you go? Of course, the choice is yours and the aftermarket has plenty of options to meet the most extreme needs to the mildest desires. This month, we take an '07 Mustang GT and lower it on the milder side to give it a better stance, and hopefully a little better performance.
We are aiming for a mild stance adjustment because this S197 is a daily driver, and we don't want to diminish the ride quality. Like everything else, there are compromises, and slamming your Stang on the ground can certainly affect ride quality negatively due to a reduction in suspension travel and the super-stiff springs. Normally, the shorter springs used to lower the car tend to be stiffer, thus making the ride harder, but with a properly matched set of dampers and alignment to match, you'll still be rolling with an appropriate ride quality.
The big advantage comes when you are putting the car through turns and/or hard braking, as it keeps the body more level and offers better cornering performance. Our test car isn't used for road racing or autocross events, but more street performance with some drag racing thrown in the mix. The biggest challenge for us was to find a set of springs that offered a lowered stance, but could also handle the pothole-ridden streets of New York, where your author resides. We turned to Steeda Autosports for direction in navigating through its suspension packages.
Scott Boda of Steeda was armed with our intentions of a better look, without a reduction in ride quality. He recommended Steeda Sport Springs, designed to lower the car approximately 1 inch in the front and 1.25 inches in the rear. We did inform Boda of our intentions to do some drag racing, and noted that we wanted to add rear trailing arms (otherwise known as control arms) and a stiffer Panhard bar. He cautioned that if we were serious about drag racing, then he would stick with the softer stock springs. The vehicle's ability to transfer weight to the back tires when on the dragstrip would be hampered with stiffer-than-stock-springs and a lower ride height.
This Mustang is more of a time-trial hero than drag-racing legend, so we made the decision to go for the better look with the lowering springs. In fact, most S197 Stangs (especially ones with an automatic transmission) can hook really well with just good tires, so lowering the car should have no affect on strip performance.
The S197 features a three-link suspension with a single upper arm and two lower control arms. A Panhard bar helps prevent lateral movement of the housing. Adding stronger control arms with stiffer bushings helps rigidity in the suspension department, and thus better performance on the street and strip.
Steeda has nearly a dozen options when it comes to rear trailing arms and Panhard bars. It offers arms made of mild steel, chromoly, and even billet-aluminum, and then you can add in adjustable and non- adjustable options, along with bushing and solid mounts. As a quick overview of the choices—bushing-style control arms will offer the best ride since the bushing helps negate the road noise and feel rather than transferring it through the car like a solid-mounted (Heim-joint) set of arms. Adjustable control arms allows for pinion angle/instant center adjustments for optimum traction.