The Ultimate Guide To Ford Performance Suspension Upgrades

You’re in luck if you’re a Ford owner looking to improve the performance of your vehicle’s suspension. In this ultimate guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about upgrading your Ford’s suspension to achieve a smoother ride, better handling, and enhanced overall driving experience. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced car enthusiast, this comprehensive guide will provide valuable insights, tips, and recommendations to help you navigate the world of Ford performance suspension upgrades with confidence and ease. Get ready to take your driving pleasure to the next level!

1. Understanding Suspension Systems

Having a good understanding of how suspension systems work is crucial when it comes to upgrading your Ford vehicle’s performance. The suspension system plays a vital role in providing a comfortable and stable ride, as well as enhancing the overall handling and control of your vehicle. By comprehending the types of suspension systems and their components, you can make informed decisions about the upgrades that best suit your needs.

1.1 Types of Suspension Systems

There are several types of suspension systems commonly found in vehicles, including Ford vehicles. The most popular types are:

  • Independent Suspension: This type of suspension system allows each wheel to move independently, minimizing the transfer of shock between wheels. It provides a smoother ride and better handling.

  • Dependent Suspension: Unlike independent suspension, dependent suspension connects the wheels on the same axle, causing the movement of one wheel to affect the other. This type of suspension is commonly found in trucks and heavy-duty vehicles.

  • MacPherson Strut Suspension: MacPherson strut suspension combines the functions of a shock absorber and a suspension component into one unit. It is a simple and compact suspension design, commonly used in front-wheel-drive vehicles.

  • Multi-link Suspension: This type of suspension system uses multiple links and arms to connect the wheel to the vehicle’s body. It offers better handling and stability, especially in high-performance vehicles.

1.2 Components of a Suspension System

A suspension system consists of various components that work together to provide a smooth and controlled ride. Some of the essential components include:

  • Springs: Springs are responsible for absorbing shock and supporting the weight of the vehicle. They come in different types, such as coil springs and leaf springs.

  • Shock Absorbers: Shock absorbers control the movement of the springs and dampen the impact of bumps and road irregularities. They help maintain stability and prevent excessive bouncing.

  • Struts: Struts are a combination of a shock absorber and a structural component. They provide support and help maintain proper alignment in MacPherson strut suspension systems.

  • Control Arms: Control arms connect the suspension to the vehicle’s frame and allow for vertical up and down movement of the wheels.

  • Sway Bars: Sway bars, also known as stabilizer bars, help minimize body roll when the vehicle corners or maneuvers. They provide additional stability and control.

  • Bushings: Bushings act as cushions between various suspension components, reducing noise and vibration. They also help maintain alignment and provide flexibility.

  • Caster/Camber Plates: Caster/camber plates allow for the adjustment of the wheel alignment angles, optimizing handling and tire wear.

  • Brakes: Although not directly part of the suspension system, upgrading brakes can be considered as part of overall performance enhancements for better control and stopping power.

Understanding these components will assist you in making informed decisions when it comes to upgrading your Ford vehicle’s suspension system.

2. Benefits of Upgrading Ford Performance Suspension

Upgrading your Ford vehicle’s suspension system can bring a host of benefits, both in terms of performance and overall driving experience. Here are some reasons why upgrading to a Ford performance suspension system might be the right choice for you:

2.1 Improved Handling and Steering Response

One of the primary benefits of upgrading your suspension system is improved handling and steering response. Ford performance suspension systems are designed to provide better control over your vehicle, allowing for more precise maneuvering and a smoother driving experience. Whether you’re tackling twisty roads or driving on the track, upgraded suspension components can significantly enhance your driving dynamics.

2.2 Enhanced Performance on Different Terrains

Another advantage of upgrading to a Ford performance suspension system is the enhanced performance on various terrains. Whether you’re driving on city streets, rough off-road trails, or snowy conditions, a performance suspension system can help absorb bumps and maintain stability, ensuring a comfortable and controlled ride.

2.3 Increased Stability and Control

Upgrading your suspension system can also result in increased stability and overall control of your vehicle. Performance suspension components, such as sway bars and control arms, can help reduce body roll during cornering, minimizing the chances of skidding or losing control. This added stability allows for safer and more confident driving.

2.4 Reduced Body Roll and Improved Cornering

Upgrading your Ford vehicle’s suspension can significantly reduce body roll, especially during aggressive cornering. Performance suspension components, like sway bars and coilover systems, provide better weight distribution and optimize tire grip, resulting in improved cornering capabilities. This upgrade can make your driving experience more enjoyable and exciting.

2.5 Better Traction and Braking

A high-performance suspension system can also enhance traction and braking capabilities. By upgrading to components such as shock absorbers and springs, you can improve the weight distribution of your vehicle, ensuring better traction and grip on the road. Additionally, upgraded braking systems in conjunction with suspension upgrades can provide shorter stopping distances and improved overall braking performance.

By upgrading your Ford vehicle’s suspension system, you can experience improved handling, enhanced performance on different terrains, increased stability and control, reduced body roll, and better traction and braking.

The Ultimate Guide To Ford Performance Suspension Upgrades

3. Types of Suspension Upgrades

When it comes to upgrading your Ford vehicle’s suspension, there are various options to choose from. Depending on your driving preferences and goals, you can select the most suitable upgrades from the following:

3.1 Lowering Kits

Lowering kits are designed to reduce the ride height of your vehicle, resulting in a lower center of gravity. This upgrade improves handling and enhances the appearance of your Ford vehicle. Lowering kits usually include springs, shocks, and other components to ensure proper suspension geometry and maintain ride quality.

3.2 Coilover Suspension Systems

Coilover suspension systems offer flexibility in ride height adjustment while providing improved handling characteristics. They combine coil springs and shock absorbers into one unit, allowing for precise tuning according to your driving preferences. Coilovers offer a wide range of adjustability, making them popular among enthusiasts who want to fine-tune their suspension setup.

3.3 Shock Absorbers

Upgrading to high-performance shock absorbers can significantly improve your vehicle’s ride quality, handling, and control. Performance shocks provide better dampening, reduce body roll, and enhance overall stability. They are available in various designs, including monotube and twin-tube, each offering different benefits.

3.4 Sway Bars

Sway bars, also known as stabilizer bars, are designed to reduce body roll during cornering, enhancing stability and control. Upgrading to performance sway bars allows for better weight distribution and improved handling characteristics. They are available in different thicknesses and stiffness levels to suit different driving preferences.

3.5 Control Arms

Control arms play a vital role in connecting the suspension components to the vehicle’s frame. Upgrading to performance control arms can provide better suspension geometry, improved handling, and enhanced overall control. They are typically made of lightweight and durable materials, allowing for precise and predictable suspension movement.

3.6 Bushings

Upgrading to high-quality performance bushings can help reduce noise and vibration while improving overall suspension responsiveness. Performance bushings provide better control and stability, enhancing the driving experience. They are available in various materials, including polyurethane and solid delrin, each offering different levels of performance and durability.

3.7 Strut Tower Braces

Strut tower braces are designed to connect the strut towers, providing additional rigidity to the front suspension. This upgrade improves overall handling and minimizes flex during cornering. Installing a strut tower brace can effectively reduce body roll and enhance the responsiveness of your vehicle.

3.8 Caster/Camber Plates

Caster/camber plates allow for fine-tuning of the wheel alignment angles, optimizing handling and tire wear. By adjusting the caster and camber angles, you can improve steering response, cornering ability, and overall stability. Caster/camber plates are essential for achieving proper suspension alignment after lowering your vehicle or installing coilovers.

3.9 Spring Upgrades

Upgrading to performance springs can transform your vehicle’s handling characteristics and ride quality. Performance springs provide better control, reduce body roll, and enhance overall responsiveness. They are available in various spring rates and lowering heights, allowing you to customize your suspension setup according to your preferences.

3.10 Big Brake Kits

Although not directly related to the suspension system, upgrading to a big brake kit can greatly improve your vehicle’s stopping power and overall performance. Big brake kits provide larger rotors, calipers, and performance brake pads, allowing for increased braking force and shorter stopping distances. This upgrade complements suspension upgrades, especially for enthusiasts who want the best possible performance on the track or during aggressive driving.

Selecting the right combination of suspension upgrades based on your driving preferences and goals will help you achieve the desired performance improvements in your Ford vehicle.

4. Factors to Consider Before Upgrading

Before diving into the world of suspension upgrades for your Ford vehicle, there are several important factors to consider. These factors will help guide your decisions and ensure that you choose the most suitable upgrades for your specific needs.

4.1 Vehicle Usage and Goals

First and foremost, you need to consider how you use your Ford vehicle and what goals you have in mind. Are you primarily using your vehicle for daily commuting, or do you frequently participate in track events or off-road adventures? Understanding your vehicle’s purpose will help determine the type of suspension upgrades that align with your specific needs.

4.2 Budget and Cost

Another crucial factor to consider is your budget. Suspension upgrades can vary significantly in cost, depending on the specific components and brands you choose. It’s essential to establish a budget and determine how much you’re willing to spend on your suspension upgrades. This will help you narrow down your options and make informed decisions.

4.3 Compatibility with Other Modifications

If you have already made other modifications to your Ford vehicle, it’s essential to ensure that any suspension upgrades you choose are compatible with those modifications. For example, if you have aftermarket wheels or tires, you need to ensure that the chosen suspension upgrades accommodate those specific sizes.

4.4 Professional Installation or DIY

Consider whether you have the necessary skills, knowledge, and tools to install the suspension upgrades yourself or if you would prefer professional installation. Some suspension upgrades require specialized equipment or expertise, making professional installation the recommended choice. However, simpler upgrades, such as installing sway bars or control arms, can often be completed with basic tools and mechanical skills.

4.5 Warranty and Support

Research the warranty and support offered by the manufacturers or vendors of the suspension components you’re considering. Having warranty coverage and access to technical support can provide peace of mind and assistance in case any issues arise after installation. It’s important to understand what is included in the warranty and the process for making a claim, should the need arise.

By carefully considering these factors, you can ensure that your suspension upgrades align with your vehicle usage, budget, compatibility with other modifications, installation preferences, and warranty requirements.

The Ultimate Guide To Ford Performance Suspension Upgrades

5. Step-by-Step Guide to Install Suspension Upgrades

If you have decided to install suspension upgrades yourself, following a step-by-step guide will ensure a smooth and successful installation process. While the specific steps may vary depending on the suspension components you’re installing, the following general guide will give you an idea of the process involved:

5.1 Safety Precautions

Before beginning any work on your vehicle, make sure to take appropriate safety precautions. Park your vehicle on a level surface, engage the parking brake, and chock the wheels to prevent any unintentional movement. Use jacks or ramps to elevate your vehicle securely, ensuring stability throughout the installation process.

5.2 Tools and Equipment Needed

Collect all the necessary tools and equipment needed for the installation. This may include various wrenches, sockets, torque wrenches, pry bars, jack stands, a hydraulic jack or floor jack, and safety goggles. Refer to the specific instructions provided by the suspension component manufacturer for the exact tools required.

5.3 Preparing the Vehicle

Start by removing any obstacles or components that may interfere with the installation process. Depending on the suspension components being installed, this may involve removing wheels, tires, or other adjacent parts to gain access to the areas where the upgrades will be installed. Pay attention to any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer for disassembly.

5.4 Removing Old Suspension Components

Remove the old suspension components according to the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer. This may involve disconnecting and removing springs, shock absorbers, control arms, or other relevant components. Ensure that the vehicle is properly supported during this process and use caution when working with potentially compressed springs.

5.5 Installing New Suspension Upgrades

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the new suspension components. This may involve assembling and installing springs, shock absorbers, control arms, sway bars, or other relevant upgrades. Tighten all fasteners to the recommended torque specifications, ensuring proper alignment and fitment. If necessary, consult the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific adjustments or procedures required during installation.

5.6 Adjusting and Aligning the Suspension

After installing the new suspension components, perform any necessary adjustments to ensure proper alignment and fitment. This may involve adjusting ride height, aligning caster and camber angles, or adjusting sway bar stiffness. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended adjustments and alignment procedures specific to the suspension upgrades you have installed.

5.7 Testing and Fine-Tuning

Once the installation and adjustments are complete, perform a thorough test of the suspension upgrades. Take your vehicle for a test drive, paying attention to any changes in handling, ride comfort, or stability. Fine-tune any adjustments if necessary, ensuring that the suspension upgrades are providing the desired performance improvements.

By following these steps and referring to the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer, you can successfully install suspension upgrades on your Ford vehicle.

(Continued…)