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Slick Trick for Measuring Ride Height
Submitted by bgrissom on Tue, 05/08/2012 - 15:35
Before changing springs on your Mustang always measure the starting ride height so you have something to compare to when new springs are installed. The easiest and quickest way that I use is measuring from the ground to the bottom lip of the wheel wells through the center of the wheel. If you do this and discover that no two corners on your car are the same, you just found out why adjustable coil-over struts are just so darn handy.
How Low Should You Go…
That is a question I get asked a lot. After all Mustangs really do look hot low to the ground especially at the track. First you have to remember that cars are designed around a specific ride height by the factory. Most of the time lowering a car with sport springs 1” – 1 ½” will help handling by increasing spring rate. It also lowers the center of gravity and most of the time will still live within or close to OE-intended suspension geometry. It varies from car to car, but my rule of thumb is to only lower a Mustang 1 ½” and if it's a street car all it needs is a proper alignment.
Lowering a car 2” or more without additional adjustments, typically puts A-arms, ball joints and the like into movement angularities that destroy any resemblance of handling and correct geometry. The result – you're fighting the laws of physics and you lose the fight because the car “pushes like a pig”. For more aggressive driving, for track or street, with ride heights lower than 2”, I measure the suspension points and run them through my computer to plot out what's happening during key driving events. Then I evaluate the package for the intended use and driver skill level and work on moving a few or all the points around to get the geometry I'm looking for. It' all about putting as much of the tire's contact patch on the road/track as possible and more contact patch = more grip = more speed = more driver smiles.