Why You Need To Upgrade Your Mustang Suspension System
What Difference Does an Upgraded Mustang Suspension Make?
Mustang suspension upgrades make a huge difference. Look, stock is fine, especially as a daily driver. Ford made some solid changes to the S550, so the 2021 Mustang GT suspension is much better off the line than previous generations. But for drag racing or serious track driving of any kind? No way — you need some aftermarket upgrades. The bottom line is that you'll get improved performance, specifically when it comes to speed for both straight-line driving and corner carving. We'll dig into the specifics below.
Aspects of Mustang Suspension Systems
The following are some key aspects of Mustang suspension systems that you should understand as you start making modifications.
When you're looking at your car head-on, camber is the way the top of the tire leans — either in (negative camber), out (positive camber) or perfectly straight/vertical (zero camber).
- Negative Camber: A slight amount of negative camber is good for cornering, providing more grip; lowering your ride creates more, which will eventually require camber plates.
- Positive Camber: You must avoid positive camber completely; it is disastrous for handling.
- Zero Camber: If you're racing on a flat track, zero camber is best.
The caster describes the steering axis and its correlation with a perfectly vertical position. On a Mustang suspension, that's the strut. The caster can alter the camber when you turn the wheel to offer additional grip. When the caster angle is higher, you'll get more stability at high speeds (but heavier steering at low speeds).
Toe-In vs. Toe-Out
Your Mustang's "toe angle" also relates to how the tires point — but in this case, it's from a top-down perspective.
- Toe-In means the tops of the tires are pointing in toward the car's center.
- Toe-Out means the tops of the tires are directed outward, away from the center.
- Zero Toe means they're perfectly straight.
A bit of toe-in can aid with stability when you hit high speeds (since increasing speeds tend to cause toe-out), but too much is a problem. Some older Mustangs have issues with excessive toe-in, particularly New Edge models. K-members can offer some help with this if you're willing to commit to a complete Mustang suspension overhaul.
How Alignment Factors In
Proper alignment means getting the right settings (at least as outlined in the stock schematic) for your camber, caster and toe angle — the camber and caster will be aligned at the front shock while the toe angle is changed via the steering tie rods. For racing performance, however, you'll need to have your alignment set more aggressively (as mentioned above) to give your Mustang suspension the boost it needs. This includes the use of caster/camber plates and a K-member to allow for custom settings, along with a balanced front end.
Mustang Rear Suspension: IRS vs. LRA
Knowing what type of Mustang rear suspension is best for you will help you get the best performance.
Independent Rear Suspension
Independent rear suspension means that the rear wheels are independent of each other, giving you better handling. They're more predictable and smoother, with a better grip, making this the type of Mustang rear suspension best for track racing.
Live Rear Axle Suspension
Live rear axle suspension systems are much more common. That doesn't mean they're worse — in fact, they tend to perform better for drag racing due to improved straight-line acceleration. They're also more cost-effective and can withstand high horsepower better with stock components. If you're making adjustments, though, an independent rear suspension system may be the way to go.
Best Mustang Suspension Upgrades
In addition to the stock parts that come on your Mustang's suspension, the following aftermarket parts comprise some of the best modifications you can make:
- Air lift suspension kit
- Coil over kit
- Watts link kit
- Caster camber kit
We'll take a closer look at a couple of these below.
Air Lift Suspension Kits
An air lift suspension kit will replace your stock shocks, struts and springs. Instead, your pony will get an airbag that uses pneumatic controls and an air spring. This lets you lower your Mustang by up to five inches while raising the suspension.
Coil Over Kits
A coil over kit also takes the place of your stock shocks, struts and springs, instead giving you a single unit that lowers your ride by a predetermined amount (rather than being adjustable). While that might make you susceptible to bumps and potholes, it'll give you a ton of handling precision. This is an easy Mustang performance upgrade to make, too, and a great way to start customizing your suspension.
Make Every Mustang Modification at Lethal Performance
When you're ready to modify your Mustang GT, Lethal Performance is ready to give you the kick in the ass you need. We have all the best Mustang suspension upgrades for numerous generations just waiting for you. Power up your pony at Lethal Performance today.