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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is the setup I'll be reviewing:
GT500 Shocks and Struts
GT500 Front Sway Bar(Same diameter as the OEM GT version, but a higher wall thickness)
FRPP GT500 Strut Mounts
Steeda Ultralite Lowering springs
Steeda Heavy Duty rear sway bar

First of all, I would like to thank Sqidd, who did a lot of valuable research and saved me huge amount of time with putting this setup together. Here are the links to two of the threads by Sqidd which I used heavily when making my decisions about this setup.
http://www.allfordmustangs.com/foru...gt500-suspension-parts-setup-conclusions.html

http://www.allfordmustangs.com/forums/2005-2010-mustang-gt-tech/232149-gt500-oem-spring-rates.html

The reason I decided to go with this setup is primarily the bang for the buck aspect. I was able to order all the GT500 parts from an ebay seller named Green Leaf Prime for around $150 shipped to my door. Pretty incredible deal consider I got the shocks, struts, front sway bar, stock GT500 springs, and the GT500 strut tower brace(though i think he threw this in by accident since it wasnt included in the auction... :D ).

My goal in this review is not to explain the technical aspects of it or the benifits of the whole setup over just lowering springs, Sqidd's writeup does this very well. I will however give a short and simple explanation of a few aspects that attracted me to it.:

**SKIP this section if you already have read Sqidds writeup or are just interested in the results and not the reasoning behind them**
The peices of a suspension system that most largely affect the way it works as a whole are the shock and the spring in each corner of the vehicle (and yes, the front uses struts, but struts are simply a shock that has been adapted to hold the spring and function as a structural component as well as provide the dampening which shocks are designed for). Each shock and spring is designed as a system to produce certain handling characteristics. In our cars stock form, the shocks and springs where designed to produce a relatively soft ride that would be comfortable for those who liked decent handling but would also want a car that had a very smooth ride. Personally, i found the suspension to be far to soft, with entirely to much body roll. So the first thing most people go for is higher rate lowering springs. The problem is that the shocks are designed to work well with the lower rate OEM springs. When you stiffen the springs by 50% (which the steeda ultralites do compared to stock), you begin to get to the edge or even well outside of the spring rates the shocks are designed to work well with. This can cause all kinds of bad handling characteristics. The upside is that the GT500 came sprung signifcantly stiffer than the GT to compensate for all that extra weight. When you look at GT500 spring rates, they are nearly the exact same as those of the Steeda Ultralites (190 lb/in front for the GT500 versus 195 lb/in for the Ultralites). This means that the shocks from the GT500 are practicaly designed to work with the Ultralites. On an even pickier note, the GT500 springs are linear rate, as are the Ultralites, so they match in that respect as well.

Now for the sway bars. Of course, the sway bars fuction to reduce the difference in suspension compression from side to side during cornering. In simple terms, they work against body role, making the car corner flatter and keeping a more even application of weight across the the inside and outside tires through, thus resulting in an increase in traction. The GT500 front sway bar is the same outer diameter as the GT, but has significantly thicker walls (as i confirmed by the fact that the GT500 unit is a good bit heavier than the GT sway bar). I did not get a GT500 rear sway bar in the package I bought, so I decided to go aftermarket. I chose to match the Diameter(the rear is solid, so you dont have to worry about wall thickness) of the rear sway bar I chose as closely as possible to that of the GT500 unit, to try and mimic the steering (under vs oversteer) balance that ford racing seemed to think was the most benificial. Thus I went with Steeda heavy duty unit. Ok, now on to the rest of the review.
***End long setup explanation***
The install:
I had planned from the beginning to do the install myself as this WAS a budget build for me. Overall the installation wasnt HORRIBLE, but i did it in the autoshop I work in at my college campus (see my profile for a little info about the race team I'm involved in if your interested) starting at 1 am so I could avoid any harassment from faculty or the other automotive teams about working on a personal car. Let me just say, that was a terrible idea. I was extremely tired and had a 9am deadline to adhere to, and this was my first serious work I had personally done on a car of mine yet. The install took all 8 hours, but I was obsessively careful about making sure I did everything correct. I'm sure an experienced person could rush through the whole process in 4 or 5 hours with relative easy. The rear install was much easier than the front, though I have a shaker 1000 sound system, so removing the right rear shock required removing the whole sub/amp assembly, which was a huge pain in the ass. On the front, the only thing that drove me up the walls was the sway bar links, which where damn near impossible to get to the correct torque spec with the way they are designed. Maybe i dont know some trick, but I ended up breaking 3 craftsman sockets and minorly rounding the hex on the strut connection on both sides. One thing though ***Make sure to have atleast a spare set of hands for the sway bars and Strut installs***. Getting the struts lined up with two people was still a pain in the ass, Im sure it would be downright impossible with just one person. Other than that, the install was fairly simple, Im sure anyone with basic mechanical knowledge and a fair level of attention to detail could do it without any serious issues.

The results:
First, the drop- The drop is not insane, infact it may not be noticable to people who dont know much about these cars. However, I believe it improves the stance and look of the car a great deal. Honestly, I would not go any lower. I still have to be careful going over speed bumps. If you go to fast, the suspension can compress enough when the front end comes down to scrape on the exhaust. But as long as I take things slow(like 2-5mph), I have yet to encounter a speedbump I cant get over without scraping. Extreme pavement angle changes (Really steep driveways, etc) are another thing. I have scraped the exhaust pretty hard one time entering a parking lot where the driveway had an outrageous uphill-to-downhill transition. Other than that though, the drop is about perfect for me personaly.

The handling-
Here is where the setup really shines. The difference is incredible. Before, i thought the car handled like a pig, soft and delayed suspension response with a massive amount of body roll. Now the car handles like I believe it should have from the factory. The suspension is stout, yet comfortable on all but the worst roads. In most situations, body roll is extremely minimal.

Whenever pushed to its limits though, the car does still exhibit a little more body roll that I would prefer.

**DISCLAIMER: When i say the suspensions limits, realize that I push my car EXTREMELY hard to reach the circumstances I am describing. To reach the point of pushing the cars limits, I took the car up to the Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina. This section of road has 318 curves in 11 miles, the majority of which have a recomended speed between 10 and 20 mph. I posted a map below just to give you an idea of how extreme these circumstances are. On my last run I averaged 43mph, while never going over 45 mph for more than a fraction of a second. I actually ran away from a sportbike (Yamaha R1) who tried his best to keep up. :nogrinner **

Anyways,the body roll is not necessarily an amount that I would think has a significantly negative impact on traction, but the transfer between 2 or 3 extremely tight corners can cause the body roll symptoms to make the car fill a bit piggish and imprecise. Also, I believe that if a driver was not extremely smooth, that that amount of weight transfer could cause a loss of traction if the driver where pushing the car to 90+% of the cars traction limits already. This actually happened to me a few times while on The Dragon, but it was only minor tail end stepout, so I could handle it without to much of a scare.

As far as the oversteer/understeer bias goes, the car is still very much biased towards understeer. However, it is not overwhelmingly so. If you take a corner at just enough speed to hear the front tires squeal as they tip toe the edge of about to slide, you can apply a resonable amount of throttle and get the backend to stepout in a nice controlled fashion. I played with it a could times, and WOW, powerslides are FAR easier to control than they where with the stock setup. With the stock setup, if you broke rear traction in a corner where you where already pushing the limit, it could be rather violent. Now the rear end just steps out nice and smoothly, almost like the throttle is temporarily converted into a linear car-slide-angle control. I played with it a little bit, and it is now WAY to much fun to brake the back end loose and do a nice little controlled powerslide as you exit a corner. I have the feeling I'm going to need a few sets of tires over the next year. Personaly, I think the car could use a slightly stiffer rear sway bar, but I am not at all afraid of non-throttle induced oversteer. I think for 95% of the people interested in this setup, the GT500 front sway bar and steeda heavy duty rear sway bar produce a perfect oversteer/understeer bias. It is just enough that the car starts to understeer (which is far easier to correct in general) at about 75-85% of rear traction usage. This means that your car wont just throw the backend out on you with no warning, yet you will still be very capable of throwing it out yourself if you so desire with just a press of the gas pedal. ONE THING though, for those of you who might push your car and dont already know this. DONT try to be extremely aggressive on rough roads. Our solid rear axle means the rear tires cannot adapt to bumps nearly as well as the front. This means that if you are pushing your car really hard and you hit a nice bump, the backend WILL swing out on you. And it will be violent and come out of nowhere. -Just a warning for those who haven't had this already happen to them.

Conclusions- This setup provides a incredible upgrade for the regular-aggressive street drivers. Trust me, You will not be disappointed. Your pony will no longer fear those curves and will be begging for a twisty road and some little tuner car to put to shame.

For those insane individuals such as myself who sometimes(or perhaps far to often) use the streets as a public racetrack and expect our cars to perform accordingly, there will be a very small amount of performance to be desired, but the upgrade will toss your car leagues ahead of where it was for a fraction of the cost of nearly any other comparable setup out there.

All in all, the setup is honestly almost perfect for me. I live in Atlanta, and our streets are mostly terrible. The setup is stiff enough to satisfy my suspension demands 95% of the time, yet is still soft enough that driving on the bad roads is not unbearable (I honestly don't hardly notice the stiffness except on rare occasions)

Where to go from here- Being as crazy of a driver as I am, I believe I will eventually continue on with the suspension mods, after I get the engine up a few more horses. First for me will be rear lower control arms and rear lower control arm relocation brackets. Our cars are known to act like there is a monstrous jackhammer going crazy in the trunk when we spin the tires just a little bit. The LCA will help with this. However, when we lower out cars, we throw the LCA out of its intended alignment. Instead of the LCA being parallel with the ground, the axle side mount is now above the chassis mount. This means that when you floor it, the axle is pushing on the car at an angle to the LCA. The effect is that this angle causes a downward force to be exerted on the body of the car in addition to the forward force the LCA would typicaly exert. Physics dictates that there is a reaction here, this reaction is that a small, yet significant, upward force is exerted on the rear axle. This causes a slight decrease in rear traction upon hard launch. The relocation bracket solves this issue by moving the LCA mount point so that the chassis and axle mounts are again parallel.

Beyond this, there is the obvious upgrade to adjustable shocks. The ability is to go from a stiffer to softer setup is something I would definitely prefer, But the amount a fully adjustable setup would cost means that this option is put on the shelf for now. Perhaps in a year or two I will re-examine it. But until then, I could not ask for a better setup for the money. Hell, even I have a hard time finding things about the handling to complain about.

(Pictures- For some reason I can upload pictures at the moment, but I will figure out what the problem is and get them up in the next day or two. )
 

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Thanks for the info. I was wondering how this setup was working out for people. I'll be ordering mine soon.
 

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Thanks for a conclusion on this setup :bigthumbsup Just wondering, did you do the install of the shocks/struts yourself or have a shop do it? I'm not much of a mechanic but I'm willing to learn to do things myself
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for a conclusion on this setup :bigthumbsup Just wondering, did you do the install of the shocks/struts yourself or have a shop do it? I'm not much of a mechanic but I'm willing to learn to do things myself
Yep, I even wrote some about it in the first post. :bigthumbsup Probably should have bolded that too...

Yah, I did. The shocks and struts werent bad. and Like i said, this is the first major surgery I've actually done on my own car, and there where only a few hickups in the process. I would suggest giving yourself a good full day to do it if its your first serious work just so that you can take your time and do things right and be able to take a couple breaks.

One big thing though, Buy the FRPP GT500 spec front strut mounts and a pair of the nuts that hold the strut mount to the strut. It makes things way easier because then you dont have to compress the springs in the stock struts to get the strut mounts and nuts off to put on the new set. Apparently that is the biggest pain in the a** about the front, and I was very glad that I planned ahead so i could skip that step.
 

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I did this setup too, although I used FRPP K springs instead of the Steeda's. I know this isn't the optimal spring rate for the GT500 dampers, but I really wanted the 1.5" drop. In fact, I would have gone with the 1.7"/1.9" H&R Super Sports, but the spring rates are unfortunately too aggressive.

Anyway, the swap is stupid easy. I think there are only two things to remember... 1) Don't let the calipers just hang. Tie them up so their weight isn't pulling on the brake lines. 2) Don't tighten the shock bolts while the axle is hanging.

Other than that, it should all explain itself as you go. I'd never looked at any modern suspension before and my friend and I changed it all out in a few hours without instructions, using just hand tools.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
errr.... I would pickup the install directions off of the shop manual listed in this forum. Torque specs are very important. Can't just tighten things to "tight" and expect all to go well long term.
 

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Went with the same exact kit OldComeNew went with and I'm as satisfied as he is. Well...almost. I didn't get the GT500 front sway bar and I wish I did. I have a little bit more body roll to get rid of. Anyway, congrats on the kit. Just got back from the alignment shop and they didn't need to use my camber bolts.:bigthumbsup It feels a lot better now.
 

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errr.... I would pickup the install directions off of the shop manual listed in this forum. Torque specs are very important. Can't just tighten things to "tight" and expect all to go well long term.

Ah, yes... forgot to mention bolt torque. Okay, THREE things to remember! :bigthumbsup
 

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Ah, yes... forgot to mention bolt torque. Okay, THREE things to remember! :bigthumbsup
I use the German torque spec for that stuff. Goodandtighten.:D
 

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That's a torque spec?

Seriously, I knew an old German machinist who used that term whenever he saw a young hot chick :)
 

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and you though this thread was dead...

Hello everyone.... Heres the story. Me and the miss go to a car show, her in her modified 07 GT/CS vert and me in 07 Stock GT500 vert. We meet a guy with a 07 super snake with 600 miles on it. He sells me all his 300 mile take offs.
The Wheel and Brembos are on the GT/CS the next day. Ya see where this is heading ....
So I'm going to stick all the suspension parts on like this and your other threads say.
So question is rear sway bars.
GT/CS vert, has small sway bar white hangers. (Smaller than GT coupe)
GT500 has medium sway bar Black hangers (Stock GT bars Smaller then GT500 coupe)
The Takeoffs Large sway bars grey hangers (Stock GT500 Coupe)

So since the factory always puts a size smaller on the Verts do I...
Try the Gray hangers on the GT/CS vert or trade the gray large bars for the stock coupe black set.

I've laid out what I have and the bends all match. They will fit around the verts extra bracing.

And what was the conscious on the springs for a vert? Sport or Ultralites.

Thanks!
 

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How do you think a stock 2010 GT500 Suspension (shocks/struts/springs and sway bars) would handle when installed on a 2012 GT convertible ?

I maybe able to do this transplant on a real tight budget, and curious to see what kind of drop i would get out of it? ... or would it be a rise as the GT500 coupe is heavier than my GT convertible ?

HHmmmm...

:?:
 

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The struts / shocks / sway bars should be good; but the springs proably will not -- remember the GT500 engine is significantly heavier, so the front springs are stiffer, so if you put them in a regular GT the front will ride high. Other springs like the Steeda Sports or Ultra-lites are probably a better choice.
 

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I found a set of 09 gt500 shocks/struts, springs and sway bars locally with less than 1000 miles. Not sure if he has the strut mounts or not, but got him down tol $175 local pickup...after refering him to this thread!... not a bad price with being able to inspect first.

He also has a set of eibach sportlines for sale. Pn: 4.10135. Not sure bout these springs though. Can't I just shave down the stock springs? I think the sportlines may drop too much.

Help...
 

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I found a set of 09 gt500 shocks/struts, springs and sway bars locally with less than 1000 miles. Not sure if he has the strut mounts or not, but got him down tol $175 local pickup...after refering him to this thread!... not a bad price with being able to inspect first.

. . ....
That is an EXCELLENT price! I just paid $325 for the same thing (less the springs which I did not want anyway) ; since Green Leaf Prime does not have the stuff any more that didin't do me any good in the negotiations. I do think I overpaid a little, but still a lot less than the equivalent new stuff would cost.

I don't think you want those springs though . . . I don't think they are any lower than stock, and the front will be too stiff and make the nose ride high.
 

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That is an EXCELLENT price! I just paid $325 for the same thing (less the springs which I did not want anyway) ; since Green Leaf Prime does not have the stuff any more that didin't do me any good in the negotiations. I do think I overpaid a little, but still a lot less than the equivalent new stuff would cost.

I don't think you want those springs though . . . I don't think they are any lower than stock, and the front will be too stiff and make the nose ride high.

Thanks for the reply,, I have been skooled on those springs to... Thanks.

I don't think the mounts are included, what are the differences in the gt500 strut mount and gt? Can I use mine? or just order the damn things for $84 pair? Also thinking of shaving a little off the stock gt500 springs to drop it about 1" or so.. otherwise they are going in the trash anyway.

Last but not least attempt to hijack this thread, but will v6 springs work in front for drag strip weight transfer.. only for the track? I have spring compressors and have changed more than I care to remember.. lol
 

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Thanks for the reply,, I have been skooled on those springs to... Thanks.

I don't think the mounts are included, what are the differences in the gt500 strut mount and gt? Can I use mine? or just order the damn things for $84 pair? Also thinking of shaving a little off the stock gt500 springs to drop it about 1" or so.. otherwise they are going in the trash anyway.

Last but not least attempt to hijack this thread, but will v6 springs work in front for drag strip weight transfer.. only for the track? I have spring compressors and have changed more than I care to remember.. lol
Don't worry about hijacking the thread ; I think there is a rule that says that it is OK to hijack resurrected threads that were started over a year ago, it's sort of like a statute of limitations ;)

About the mounts, I have read that the "earlier" years GT stock mounts will start popping soon after you install stiffer springs and struts due to the higher loads; supposedly this is improved in "later" years but I'm not sure where they draw the line.

I'm not sure about shaving the springs; isn't the last coil bent special to touch the previous coil at the end? Dunno about the V6 springs . . .
 

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Yeah, I have been told by those that tried that the springs are a nogo..however, I am goung to keep the stock gt stuff and convert those to v6 springs for the dragstrip.. and remove the swaybar for that purpose.. hopefully hook better:kooky: for cheap!

You are sot on about the gt mounts and gt500 springs. That won't work either
 

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May be somewhere in the thread and missed it, but the steeda ultralight are for the GT, NOT GT500 right?
 
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