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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to get your opinions on shock choice. My car is my daily driver, but also sees fairly regular autocross use and some roadcourse type runs eventually. Currently I'm on stock 17s with 255/ 50s and BMR swaybars. I've been very happy with the balanced feel of this setup both on course and on the street.

Now at 60k, I'm starting to feel like it's time to replace the shocks. I'm trying to decide between the Tokico adjustables and the Bilstein non-adjustables.

How many of you guys set-and-forget your tokicos? is anyone running the bilsteins with stock ride height?

I prefer to concentrate on my driving on course, not fiddling with the settings. On the other hand, If I can gain something by tweaking the shocks on a mostly stock suspension, maybe it's worth it.

All right guys and gals, let's hear it.
 

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I have the Spec-Ds and I like them. with the adjustable it's nice to be able to soften up the ride and then go tight for autocross.
 

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I want to get your opinions on shock choice. My car is my daily driver, but also sees fairly regular autocross use and some roadcourse type runs eventually. Currently I'm on stock 17s with 255/ 50s and BMR swaybars. I've been very happy with the balanced feel of this setup both on course and on the street.

Now at 60k, I'm starting to feel like it's time to replace the shocks. I'm trying to decide between the Tokico adjustables and the Bilstein non-adjustables.

How many of you guys set-and-forget your tokicos? is anyone running the bilsteins with stock ride height?

I prefer to concentrate on my driving on course, not fiddling with the settings. On the other hand, If I can gain something by tweaking the shocks on a mostly stock suspension, maybe it's worth it.

All right guys and gals, let's hear it.
If you buy an adjustable shock don’t waste your money on ones that adjust compression and rebound with the same adjuster. Either get non adjustable shocks, rebound adjustable shocks or rebound and compression adjustable shocks. D-specs are gimmicks.
 

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I want to get your opinions on shock choice. My car is my daily driver, but also sees fairly regular autocross use and some roadcourse type runs eventually. Currently I'm on stock 17s with 255/ 50s and BMR swaybars. I've been very happy with the balanced feel of this setup both on course and on the street.

Now at 60k, I'm starting to feel like it's time to replace the shocks. I'm trying to decide between the Tokico adjustables and the Bilstein non-adjustables.

How many of you guys set-and-forget your tokicos? is anyone running the bilsteins with stock ride height?

I prefer to concentrate on my driving on course, not fiddling with the settings. On the other hand, If I can gain something by tweaking the shocks on a mostly stock suspension, maybe it's worth it.

All right guys and gals, let's hear it.
I have the Bilsteins front and rear struts/shocks nice firm ride over stock struts/shocks but I replaced the OEM ones at about 50K miles.
 

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It all depends on your skill level. Are you good enough to make those subtle adjustments without making things worse? Are you good enough to evaluate those adjustments to improve handeling?

I'm not. Last time I bought shocks for my street/track car, I bought non-adjustables. At my relativly low skill level, I figured I would just make things worse, and end up spending the day on a frustrating chase of the proper set up. So far, that has worked well.

There's no doubt that the shocks can be used to make subtle improvements in balance and handeling. But you need the data collection and the smarts to use it effectivly.
 

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What do you know that I want too. You have some diagrams of the internals?:scratchchin
Diagrams, I don’t need no stinkin’ diagrams.:gringreen

The only thing being adjusted inside the shock is a bleed port, that’s why it effects compression and rebound at the same time. I’m sure they “adjust”, but the changes you can make with them are worthless or come at the expense of something else. Anyone that works with suspension will agree that if they had an adjustable shock they would much rather have one that was rebound adjustable only opposed to compression and rebound at the same time. I have literally sat around with other suspension guys at the track while we laughed our A$$es off about how ridiculous D-specs are.

That’s ok though, some of the fastest guys in the world don’t understand how a suspension works either. That’s why there are suspension tuners.

 

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Diagrams, I don’t need no stinkin’ diagrams.:gringreen

The only thing being adjusted inside the shock is a bleed port, that’s why it effects compression and rebound at the same time. I’m sure they “adjust”, but the changes you can make with them are worthless or come at the expense of something else. Anyone that works with suspension will agree that if they had an adjustable shock they would much rather have one that was rebound adjustable only opposed to compression and rebound at the same time. I have literally sat around with other suspension guys at the track while we laughed our A$$es off about how ridiculous D-specs are.

That’s ok though, some of the fastest guys in the world don’t understand how a suspension works either. That’s why there are suspension tuners.
I guess I'm going to have to do some more research into shocks. :scratchchin
 

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I guess I'm going to have to do some more research into shocks. :scratchchin
They are not bad in the sense that they don't work. They are just bad in the sense you are paying for a useless feature.

Non adjustable shocks are perfectly good up to fast track day pace as long as they are purchased/picked correctly. They need to be matched to the spings and to an extent the swaybars. They need to work as a system.

Now to get on my soapbox

**READ THIS DAMN YOU!!!**

Almost no one understands how suspensions work as a system. They are very complicated to get working well but at the same time very basic in their job.

The single biggest misconception is that when someone says the word “suspension” most people get an image of a shock in their head and therefore by default think that shocks are “the” suspension. A suspensions job is to control load, it’s that simple. And shocks do NOT control load (for the most part, I have to paint in broad strokes here). What controls loads are springs and on cars swaybars (which are also springs). Your entire suspension works off of your springs. Springs are your suspension, they control the loads and dictate where the suspension is at any given moment. Shocks, to put it simplistically control springs. Springs represent 90% of your suspension. They are everything when it comes to how it works. Everything else in the system has a supporting role.

A very rough way to get the concept of the order of importance is to imagine these two scenarios.

Take your shocks out of your car but not the springs. Now go drive it. Of course it will be a mess but you will be able to drive it and actually wouldn’t even be noticed if it was doing a steady 75mph on a flat road. Now do the opposite and remove the springs and leave the shocks in there. The car would be borderline undriveable. The only load transfer (accelerating, stopping, turning) or bump control would be left up to the rubber bumpers and the flex in the tires. There would literally be situations where the car would try and chuck you off the road because of not being able to control the above or the suspension geometry would be so far off of ideal that over anything short of almost zero load it wouldn’t even steer.

A good suspension is built on springs. The biggest gains/losses you will get with suspension is with a simple spring swap. At the race track we spend far more time “adjusting” suspensions by using differing rate springs then by using the “adjustments” available with the shocks. A day of testing may consist of 10 spring swaps but only a few clicks here and a few clicks there and those clicks for the most part are being done to control the different rate springs.

The “street” level suspension modder is in the Stone Age compared to what is out there and that is mostly the fault of the manufacturers. They have created a reality that suits them, and they can because almost no one understands how the system is supposed to work.

Setting up springs and shocks for a street or track day car is the easiest thing in the world but no one does it correctly.

First you pick spring rates based on the loads the wheels will be seeing. The load number is made up of how fast it will be going, how much traction it has, how much the car weighs and what it will be primarily used for (daily driving, occasional test and tune, drag racing, Sunday back road corner carving, track days, etc).

Secondly you would pick a shock to control the rate of that spring, which keep in mind does not change. Shocks with adjustments are for applications where you will be using multiple spring rates (adjust for each spring), prevailing conditions (big temperature swings), surface changes to a small degree and if you are getting down to some serious fine line tuning the “clickers” can be used to slightly adjust the cars characteristics. But you could never even get close to doing the testing you would need to do to get that data on the street.

The bottom line is that if you have the correct springs and shocks to control those springs you have all you could possibly need for any street driven car no matter how insane you are.

I am a prime example of this. When I buy something I buy the best or very close to it or I don’t buy. I also drive like a completely irresponsible idiot on the street. I push corner speeds far past what I should be (probably explains the two times I spun the car off the road so far). I am not short on money. And lastly I am a suspension tuner/builder and engineer that has access to the BEST suspension components available at deep deep discounts and I chose to purchase the FRRP Handling Pac because it suited my needs.

My track/race bikes have anywhere from $3,500-$15,000 (retail) in suspension mods and I hardly race anymore. But, I still ride hard enough to use what I have purchased. Don’t you think that I would have put more money into my cars suspension if I thought I needed it or even just wanted too? I’m obviously not shy about spending money on suspension. And this is by no means a slam on anyone but if I don’t feel I need a more complex suspension setup on my car no one reading this (unless they are on the track with there car a LOT) does either. 99.9% of this board, if shown a video of how stupid fast I drive on the street would jump all over me for how completely irresponsible I am and that I shouldn’t even be allowed behind the wheel for fear of people getting killed. That being said, do those 99.9% need a more complex setup than I am running? Obviously the answer is no.

I can’t believe I have to spend so much time trying to talk people out of buying stuff they don’t need when everyone here (except maybe PLstang;)) has a laser sharp focus and will spend weeks shopping for the lowest possible price on their mods. It makes no sense.

God I hope someone reads this and at least thinks about it for a second. If not I just wasted a bunch of time…..again.
 

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I read it, and I agree with most of it. Except for the part about how you drive......

THe rest of it is right on. Adjustable shocks are a nice gimmick, and they sell well. But for a very few Mustang drivers, they do nothing except make the wallet lighter.
 

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I don't think you waisted your time. Some may but i appreciate refresher.

I do think it will open some eyes on how it should work.
 

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It may be a lost cause, but still waiting for Sportpix to chime in.:scratchchin
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Excellent. I hoped this would engender a lively discussion. I actually kind of felt that way about the dspec already, a single adjustment sems pointless if you are really trying to "tune" anything. I also know that I probably won't do the data tracking to effectively tune the things. I think my best bet is Bilsteins, and when I start really sorting the system out further with springs and so on, I can have the shocks revalved by someone that actually knows what they're doing. There are a couple of those gus in Atlanta, pretty close.

Thanks for the info and opinions. It's funny sqidd, I have a very good friend that sounds just like you, except he works on airplanes instead of suspension and races Miatas instead of Mustangs.:gringreen
 

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I read it Sqidd. Thanks for the info! I'm getting ready to go buy springs and shocks this summer... You saved me a bunch of searching, reading and thinking. I appreciate it, and it's why I read this and other Mustang forums :)
 

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Im running lowering springs with stock shocks/struts.... and imo they perform just fine... altho i will replace them with ford racing shock/struts or the steeda ones when time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Next question (I hope someone is still watching this thread) - what parts do I need to replace when doing the shocks? I know some of the bushings or some such are single use only.... Somebody gimme a direction....

Thx!
 

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Next question (I hope someone is still watching this thread) - what parts do I need to replace when doing the shocks? I know some of the bushings or some such are single use only.... Somebody gimme a direction....

Thx!
You'll need to replace the front strut mounts.
 
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