Time To Get Low
You’re at the point in your build where you’re ready to drop your Mustang an inch or two closer to the ground. Whether it’s solely for looks or handling, both are highly impacted by a set of lowering springs, coilovers or air ride.
The first step to determining what’s best to drop your Pony to the ground is a budget. Your most cost-friendly option will be a set of lowering springs along with a few supporting mods to make everything work. For more adjustment and customization, coilovers or an air ride system are your choices! Don’t get us wrong, lowering springs definitely offer some great handling attributes in comparison to stock suspension. But, if you’re looking for maximum adjustability on all levels, coilovers and air ride are worth the extra bucks for that luxury.
They function exactly as the title states - a set of springs that you use to replace your stock springs to lower the car a given amount. You can either use your stock shocks/struts or pick up a set of replacement shocks and struts that are specifically made for aftermarket suspension components. Either will work, but it’s ideal to replace your factory shocks and struts when adding springs for proper function of your system.
Tech Tip: If you get a new set of shocks and struts to accompany your new lowering springs, be sure to pick up a pair of new strut mounts so you can pre-assemble your new strut assembly. This will save you some serious time since you won’t have to tear into your factory strut assembly to swap springs out or use the OE strut mount with your new struts/springs.
In addition to shocks and struts, you’re going to want to pick up an adjustable panhard bar if you’re a Mustang with a solid rear axle. This is required anytime the car is raised or lowered due to the fact the rear axle will shift to either side. An adjustable panhard bar will allow you to ensure that your rear axle is square with the driveshaft and transmission for proper geometry. For 2015+ Mustangs with independent rear suspension, a panhard bar isn’t needed.
S550 GT Lowered On Coilovers
Lastly, you’ll want to look into picking up a set of caster camber plates or camber bolts to keep your front end in proper alignment. When lowering your car, it will knock your Mustang out of alignment, so getting it back in spec is important for safety and tire wear. If you’ve done any research up to this point, you are probably aware that camber bolts are a much more cost-efficient option than caster camber plates. This is due to the fact that the plates allow for much more customization than the bolts. The caster camber plates are installed in place of your strut mount and allow for full adjustability of your caster and camber.
The general rule of thumb with caster camber plates versus camber bolts when lowering a 2005-2014 S197 Mustang is that if you go any lower than a 1.5” drop, then you’ll need caster camber plates for proper alignment. Up until 1.5”, however, you’ll be fine with the camber bolts from Eibach.
You'll want to pick these items up to go in addition with your new lowering springs from CJ's!
- Adjustable Panhard Bar: To make sure your rear axle stays square with the rest of your driveline.
- Caster Camber Plates: To dial in your front end alignment after lowering.
- Camber Bolts: If caster camber plates are out of your budget, in most cases a set of camber bolts will suffice.
- Shocks & Struts: Also optional, but this will really help maximize the potential of your Mustang's new lower center of gravity.
Coilover vs Air Ride Kits
Ever since the introduction of Air Ride to the Mustang years back, the argument of static vs air has been hot amongst enthusiasts. Both coilover and air ride kits offer maximum adjustability for the user. So, whether your car is a street car or track car, these kits will be able to stiffen or soften up based on your needs. The difference is that air ride can do it at the push of a button using an air tank and system of air bags on each corner of the car.
It really comes down to what you’re looking to get out of your Mustang, and the overall price point that you’d like to spend. Air Ride is a bit more expensive than coilovers but the adjustability at the push of a button and the ability to air out at car shows definitely adds an ease and wow factor over coilovers. Most traditionalists will prefer the static nature of the coilover kits for maximum performance, but with the technology behind Air Lift and RideTech coilover kits, some say they’ve been able to keep up just as well!
Furthermore, Air Lift Suspension has done tests to prove that their air ride kits will put up just as good, if not better, times than a traditional coilover setup on a Mustang. It's crazy to think that something as complex and fluid as an air ride suspension system on your Mustang can stand up to a traditional coilover setup, but the technology is there -- so it really comes down to what direction you want to take your Mustang build. If you want maximum adjustability when it comes to your Mustang’s suspension system, then it’s definitely worth the upgrade from lowering springs to either a coilover or air ride kit - so be sure to check them out at CJ’s today!