Coilover suspensions are a great way to improve the handling and ride of your S550 Mustang. Though any coilover is going to provide a massive improvement, there are differences between the various coilover suspensions that are available, and one may make a better fit for your build.
One of the most popular reasons to get coilovers is that they give you the ability to lower your Mustang without using lowering springs. Lowering springs are an inexpensive way to lower your Mustang, but there’s only so low you can go with just springs. Coilovers can have a more drastic lowering effect, but it is possible to get coilovers and not substantially lower your car.
Coilovers, just like any lowering method, have a range for how low you can go while still maintaining ride quality. For most kits, you’ll be able to get a 1-2 inch drop without sacrificing ride quality. Other kits offer up to a 3-inch drop or more.
Just like lowering springs, coilovers use a stiffer spring, which means better cornering, while sacrificing comfort and creating a slightly harsher ride. For people who participate in “spirited” driving, this is an easy trade to make, but if you’re just a Sunday cruiser, then coilovers may not be the right choice for you because of their stiff feel.
When looking at shocks or coilovers, there are a couple of different tube options.
A twin-tube has two chambers. When under pressure, the fluid inside the tube changes chambers, which provides damping. Unfortunately, this means that fluid and gas can mix over time, which causes foaming and can reduce the ability of your shock to dampen and negatively impact ride quality.
Because monotube coilovers have a single valve, they exert pressure evenly and fluid and gas are never permitted to mix. This prevents aeration and fading.
In general, monotube coilovers are more durable, easier to install, have a faster response, and provide a better ride quality. It’s hard to make an argument for twin-tube shocks, other than that they tend to be cheaper.
Twin-tube coilovers only benefit is that they cost less, and even then, they don’t cost that much less. If you’re looking for coilovers that will improve your Mustang’s suspension, then a monotube design should be high on your list of “must-haves.”
One of the features that people are often the most excited about with coilovers is their level of adjustability. In addition to ride height, some coilovers provide several other adjustments.
Damping adjustment is a frequently spotted feature in coilovers, but not all damping adjustments are the same. Some adjust compression only, some adjust rebound only, and some adjust both.
Compression is best summarized as the force that the weight of your vehicle applies to the spring. Modifying compression changes how quickly weight can shift towards the wheel. Rebound is the force of the spring popping back up. By adjusting the rebound you adjust how quickly weight can be shifted away from the wheel.
For most people, the ride height is the most frequently used adjustment, but for track use the kind of fine-tuning necessary to affect performance may make altering the damper of your vehicle highly desirable.
Spring rate is an important factor when selecting a coilover set, but it shouldn’t be the only factor. Most coilover manufacturers do offer springs that are compatible with their system and can give you a stiffer spring rate or a softer one if you prefer.
What is important is to select a coilover set that’s designed to work with your vehicle’s weight. Like any spring, there’s a maximum amount of weight that a spring can handle before its durability will be negatively affected, but likewise, if you don’t reach at least the minimum weight, it’s likely that your vehicle won’t create the proper compression. Fortunately, it’s easy to find coilover sets that are rated perfectly for a Mustang at CJ’s.
Many enthusiasts opt to change the stance of their Mustang further during the coilover installation by using caster camber plates. This makes a lot of sense because doing it at the same time reduces the amount of work you’ll have to do substantially and gives you the full effect of your dream stance at once.