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Old 07-20-2011, 03:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ride Height Adjustment

I've been doing searches on subject, but I don't see a step by step process, nor is there a good description in the build manual.
I've got the 88 GT donor standard rear-end, and the FFR supplied Bilsteins on the front with FFR tubular control arms on a 3.1 Kit.
Some posts say that it's set with the frame on 4 1/2" spacers, but I don't understand how it can be adjusted and measured without the wheels and tires mounted, and weighted (on the ground).
The fronts are straight-forward, but I guess my question is, how do you rotate the coil springs at the rear? And once set at the correct dimension, how will it remain where you set it? Does this process require a lot of trial and error?
Thanks,
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Trial an error, guess and by gaully. Measure, jack up, adjust, bounce, measure again. To adjust the rear, remove the weight from the spring and rotate
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I remember the wording in the manual is very poor for this. Rich is right, for the rear, remove the weight and twist the spring itself. Spring perch stays in place.

To release the weight in the rear:

-Raise rear of car by rear diff
-Lower frame onto jackstands (rear only, o.k.)
-Lower ther rear end just enough to “remove the weight” as rich put it
-Twist the spring accordingly

i hate bring it up and hijack your post, I think you will be very dissatisfied with the ride from the donor rear springs. A coiliver upgrade for the rear will be the best $400 or so you will ever spend.

But do it this way to just get yourself going.
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Jack front of car up, place 3 2x4's stacked on side across the bottom of both main frame rails (adds to roughly 4 1/2" height), loosen coil over adjustment and lower frame on to boards. Adjuster should be loose enough to turn by hand, turn it up until it is snug on bottom of spring (same on each side). Jack up car, remove boards repeat with rear (by turning coils in perches to adjust).



This will get you close to where you need to be and you can adjust from there. Don't forget to allow for the fact spring will settle up to about 1/4" from where you set them. The actual amount will vary based on a number of factors.

Most people prefer a little rake and run slightly higher rear ride height and a little lower in the front. I currently run about 3 7/8" front and 4 1/4" rear.

Sean
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Don't make it more complex then it needs to be. Keep in mind that in theory a spring is constant, so you can simply measure the ride height now, decide if it needs to go up and down, and then move the spring that amount on the spring perch. Left and right side should be pretty close to one another as well otherwise you are cross weighting the car which you dont want to do.
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Great Information

"And for this - we thank you"
Daniel Tosh

Eddie - When my wife is not looking, I will get the coil overs. Thanks,
Rich
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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there's more! Bilstein's have been known, and not known, to "settle" after a little driving!

Someday is correct, the rears are okay, the fronts are at least easier to re-adjust.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I set mine up high expecting it to settle. After it sat for months in the garage it didn't settle much and every time I jacked it up it liked to sit high again. Mine never settled until I started driving it. I then adjusted the coil overs one turn at a time and drove it some and remeasured it. After about 200 miles and several tweeks I think its about right.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Is the car finished? Got to be ready to rumble before you set ride height and then after you drive, check ride height. Lastly, set front alignment. For front alignment... adjust one parameter at time, drive, adjust, drive, etc. but only after the car is finished and ready for the road.

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Old 07-22-2011, 02:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Just to be sure....

I started checking the ride height on the rear this evening, and it appears that the cable strap that keeps things together "when airborne" is holding the spring compressed, and would need to be released to be able to turn the spring to raise ride height.
Concur? Does that sound right?
Thanks again,
Rich
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Sounds right. I had to on mine, also watch the rubber brake line. I had mine tight before I noticed. Even then there was some tension on the spring but I could turn it. One of those strap wrenches might come in handy to turn them. I switched to coilovers but haven't got on the road to see how the ride is. I will agree the ride with the coil springs is pretty stiff.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If you can swing it cost wise, get coil overs and be done with it. The ride will be much better, as will the handling.
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Are you still on the thread?

Now seems like a good time to get the coil-overs - spending commission that will get paid on my mid-Sept. paycheck.
Do they come from FFR, or are there better deals?
Thanks,
Rich
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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this is one of the only things i chime in about regarding someone spending more money, but it's really worth it so i push the rear coilovers.

https://factoryfiveparts.com/product...cat=255&page=2

Vintage Performance Motorcars (see rear coilover kit)

here are two options. and since you are at the beginning of your build, we want to be sure you have the retrofitted/upgraded front Bilsteins. there was a recall way back when due to broken shocks. many of us sent them out for upgrade, a few just got the FFR Koni's.

before FFR discontinued them i think they sent out a bunch that were retrofitted from Bilstein.

sorry to sound like a broken record if you heard this before, but it's very important.

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Old 07-22-2011, 08:36 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canuck1 View Post
Jack front of car up, place 3 2x4's stacked on side across the bottom of both main frame rails (adds to roughly 4 1/2" height), Sean
This doesn;'t always work well. By placing a board under the frame, you're artifically leveling and holding the rear. That doesn't take in to account left or right side bias.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Someday I Suppose View Post
Don't make it more complex then it needs to be. Keep in mind that in theory a spring is constant, so you can simply measure the ride height now, decide if it needs to go up and down, and then move the spring that amount on the spring perch. Left and right side should be pretty close to one another as well otherwise you are cross weighting the car which you dont want to do.
That doesn't work in the front. The front springs are mounted at an angle, and have an aspect ratio of (I think) 1.6. A 1" change in the spring coller will not equal a 1" change in ride height. with a solid axle rear, that might work; I don't think they're mounted at an angle, and the aspect ratio is 1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NiceGuyEddie View Post
there's more! Bilstein's have been known, and not known, to "settle" after a little driving!

Someday is correct, the rears are okay, the fronts are at least easier to re-adjust.
.
Quality springs and shocks don't settle. The rest of the suspension usually does, but not the springs and shocks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by retownsendjr View Post
I started checking the ride height on the rear this evening, and it appears that the cable strap that keeps things together "when airborne" is holding the spring compressed, and would need to be released to be able to turn the spring to raise ride height.
Concur? Does that sound right?
Thanks again,
Rich
If the cable is holding the springs compressed, that's a real problem. The rear of the car is going to jerk and bang every time the suspension unloads enough to hit the end of the cable. You have something installed incorrectly somewhere.

Ever see a dog suddenly reach the end of his chain? That's a bad thing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by retownsendjr View Post
Now seems like a good time to get the coil-overs - spending commission that will get paid on my mid-Sept. paycheck.
Do they come from FFR, or are there better deals?
Thanks,
Rich
The Koni's from FFR have been designed specifically for the FFR; they are quite good and the price isn't too bad, either. If you're going to be racing AND you know what you're doing, the DA's from Gordon will be a better option - although quite expensive.



proper adjustment of the ride is really pretty simple. It's realy easy to get the ride height where you want it, but really screw up the cross weights. That makes for a very ill handeling car that's noticable on the street in normal driving. But, it's also pretty easy to set the ride height where you want it and get the cross weights close enough for street use - all without using scales.

Raise the front tires off the ground. Loose the set screw on the top coller. spin the coller to the right, so it unloads the spring completly. Now spin it the other way so the coller just touches the spring. Do the same on the other side.

Drop the tires back on to the ground. Fold up a heavy duty hefty bag, and plce it under each front tire. That acts like a toe plate, and will allow the tires to move around and set the suspension. Bounce up and down on the front end a couple time to settle the tires and suspension (not the springs, they won't settle).

Check ride height. Raise or lower the spring coller as needed. Turn the spring coller the exact same amount on each side.

Check ride height again. Adjust as necessary. Do the rear the same way if you can. Go back and check the front again.

By move the paired spring collers the exact same amount, you'll get the ride heights pretty darn close to each other. More importantly, you'll get the corner weights really close. On my car I only had to make small adjustments when it was on the scales.
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Ride height adjustment

Despite my strongly held "use the donor stuff" philosophical approach I woul recommend switching to the coilovers. I had drive shaft bottoming problems that were difficult to adjust my way out of: coilovers solved the problem instantly. The Mustang progressive rate springs seemed to me to compress too quickly on sharp bumps, leading to the D/S binding on bump problem.
By removing the heavy spring towers, quad shocks and mustang springs you also save about 25 lbs with the FFR coilover assembly.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:55 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Coil-overs are a great improvement and help fix a lot of suspension/ride related issues. Provided they are in the 'budget'.

Hey Bob C...

He's trying to adjust the ride height on his Mustang coil-spring suspended 4-link rear roadster, not win LeMans... at least not right away!

The three x 2x4 trick is one they use at Build School to get things close enough to drive the car without too many issues etc. (that's the old Build School MK III in my photo above). It isn't intended to emulate race car suspension tuning.

Sean
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:07 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Hey Bob C...

He's trying to adjust the ride height on his Mustang coil-spring suspended 4-link rear roadster, not win LeMans... at least not right away!

The three x 2x4 trick is one they use at Build School to get things close enough to drive the car without too many issues etc. (that's the old Build School MK III in my photo above). It isn't intended to emulate race car suspension tuning.

Sean
You're right, it's not a race car. That's why I didn't suggest that he get the car on scales, calculate the suspension frequency, etc. On a street car, a good balance and a moderate suspension tune makes for a fine driving machine that's a real joy in any situation.

Don't you think Ford does the same thing? They have computer programs that simulate weight and balance so they can move stuff around to meet whatever requirements they're after.

I tried the board trick - and that didn't work out so well for me. First I put a board under th rear, and adjusted the front. Then put a board under the front and adjusted the rear. then with all four tires on the ground I made fine adjustments to get it just perfect. A very tedious and time consuming process, but the ride heights were perfect.

When I put it on the scales, it was all wrong. It was so far off, I was too far lost to adjust it properly. Too frustrating. So I started all over again, and did it the way I described above. Corner ride heights were not perfect, but within 3/16" of each other. Not perfect, but pretty close.

When I put it on the scales, the cross weights were pretty darned close, something like 2.5-3.0%. It didn't take me long to make the adjustments to get the balance perfect. proper balance is more important than perfect ride heights.
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:02 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Cowan View Post
...proper balance is more important than perfect ride heights.
As usual Bob speaks the truth...listen to him!

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Old 07-23-2011, 02:34 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Pictures of the rear set-up

Bob,
Attached are pictures of the way it's assembled.
Not crazy about the idea of something not put together correctly.
Do you see where the strap is distended?
Anything look amiss?
Thanks,
Rich
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 100_2504.jpg (177.5 KB, 148 views)
File Type: jpg 100_2503.jpg (167.4 KB, 122 views)
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:55 PM   #21 (permalink)
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No that looks correct. The strap is there to keep the rear end from dropping all the way down when you jack the car from the frame and to keep it from doing the same in a hard turn. To adjust the springs you will need to remove the strap, then replace when finished.
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:10 PM   #22 (permalink)
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It appears the strap is mounted exactly the way FFR intended. BUT, is it properly installed? The strap should be just short enough to keep the axle from hanging on the shock, or allowing the spring to come fully unloaded.

I would unbolt the strap and use a jack to find out just how far that is. Then I would drill a new hole in the upper bracket to to match tha proper distance.

The thing we have to remember is this is not a snap tite model. You have to understand exactly how things are supposed to work, and what they're supposed to do. Then you have to check and see if they actually do that. Most things fit exactly the way they're supposed to, and do exactly what they're supposed to. But every now and then you come across something that doesn't, and needs a little massaging. I think it took me quite a while to figure this out.
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Old 09-20-2014, 02:27 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Cowan View Post
This doesn;'t always work well. By placing a board under the frame, you're artifically leveling and holding the rear. That doesn't take in to account left or right side bias.



That doesn't work in the front. The front springs are mounted at an angle, and have an aspect ratio of (I think) 1.6. A 1" change in the spring coller will not equal a 1" change in ride height. with a solid axle rear, that might work; I don't think they're mounted at an angle, and the aspect ratio is 1.



Quality springs and shocks don't settle. The rest of the suspension usually does, but not the springs and shocks.



If the cable is holding the springs compressed, that's a real problem. The rear of the car is going to jerk and bang every time the suspension unloads enough to hit the end of the cable. You have something installed incorrectly somewhere.

Ever see a dog suddenly reach the end of his chain? That's a bad thing.




The Koni's from FFR have been designed specifically for the FFR; they are quite good and the price isn't too bad, either. If you're going to be racing AND you know what you're doing, the DA's from Gordon will be a better option - although quite expensive.



proper adjustment of the ride is really pretty simple. It's realy easy to get the ride height where you want it, but really screw up the cross weights. That makes for a very ill handeling car that's noticable on the street in normal driving. But, it's also pretty easy to set the ride height where you want it and get the cross weights close enough for street use - all without using scales.

Raise the front tires off the ground. Loose the set screw on the top coller. spin the coller to the right, so it unloads the spring completly. Now spin it the other way so the coller just touches the spring. Do the same on the other side.

Drop the tires back on to the ground. Fold up a heavy duty hefty bag, and plce it under each front tire. That acts like a toe plate, and will allow the tires to move around and set the suspension. Bounce up and down on the front end a couple time to settle the tires and suspension (not the springs, they won't settle).

Check ride height. Raise or lower the spring coller as needed. Turn the spring coller the exact same amount on each side.

Check ride height again. Adjust as necessary. Do the rear the same way if you can. Go back and check the front again.

By move the paired spring collers the exact same amount, you'll get the ride heights pretty darn close to each other. More importantly, you'll get the corner weights really close. On my car I only had to make small adjustments when it was on the scales.
Hi Bob,

I know this is a bit old. But I am now at this stage. I have a question here please;

When I raise the car. Turn the coller to just touch the springs on both sides. I lowered the car and measured the hieght on both sides. What if the hieght on the left side is different than the height on the right side. What to do? I mean do I take the average or how do I adjust giving that I have to turn the coller the same on each side? Hope I explained it right.

Thanks
Hakeem
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:14 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Hi Bob,

I know this is a bit old. But I am now at this stage. I have a question here please;

When I raise the car. Turn the coller to just touch the springs on both sides. I lowered the car and measured the hieght on both sides. What if the hieght on the left side is different than the height on the right side. What to do? I mean do I take the average or how do I adjust giving that I have to turn the coller the same on each side? Hope I explained it right.

Thanks
Hakeem
I'm not sure that Bob's looking at this so I'll try and answer for him. You want the ride height left to right to be even when you do initial collar adjustment. Is the ride height uneven due to the jack not being centered, or is it due to the other end of the car not being even? Regardless, you have 2 ways to correct the issue. Say you are adjusting the front first. You can either temporarily adjust the rear to even up the front with your current jack location, or move the jack a bit to get it level. Once you get the front level and an initial collar adjustment, you can then level the rear to an initial setting. Once everything is level left to right, your corner weights will be very close. You can then proceed to adjusting the actual height of the front or rear in the even increments described earlier. I hope this clarifies.
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:41 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Unless you have the capability to measure corner weights you just have to trust that FFR built the frame properly. Jack the car so the suspension is hanging loose. I start by turning the adjuster collar so they just contact the springs. Then I count how many threads are showing beyond the collars. I adjust each a little until I have the same count left and right. The count may be different front to rear but should be the same left to right. Drop the car on the ground and measure floor to frame tubes. About 4 inches front and 4.5 inches rear is a good start point. If you don't get those heights jack up and let the suspension hang. At this time put some kind of easily visable mark on the collar. Figure whether it will be easiest to see w/ the mark to the side, front, or rear. From now on make all adjustments in full turns, one, two or three at a time depending on your guess as to how far you need to move the height. Don't worry about being exact at this point because the car will settle as you drive it. I would probably set it about 1/4 inch higher than the above so it may settle close to the above numbers. BTW, if your collars have those little set screws to keep them from rotating, unscrew them and throw them in the trash. Even the plastic tipped versions, all they can do is booger up the threads and make future adjustments more difficult. There is absolutely no tendency for these collars to move on their own.
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Old Yesterday, 04:20 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeinatlanta View Post
I'm not sure that Bob's looking at this so I'll try and answer for him. You want the ride height left to right to be even when you do initial collar adjustment. Is the ride height uneven due to the jack not being centered, or is it due to the other end of the car not being even? Regardless, you have 2 ways to correct the issue. Say you are adjusting the front first. You can either temporarily adjust the rear to even up the front with your current jack location, or move the jack a bit to get it level. Once you get the front level and an initial collar adjustment, you can then level the rear to an initial setting. Once everything is level left to right, your corner weights will be very close. You can then proceed to adjusting the actual height of the front or rear in the even increments described earlier. I hope this clarifies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigS View Post
Unless you have the capability to measure corner weights you just have to trust that FFR built the frame properly. Jack the car so the suspension is hanging loose. I start by turning the adjuster collar so they just contact the springs. Then I count how many threads are showing beyond the collars. I adjust each a little until I have the same count left and right. The count may be different front to rear but should be the same left to right. Drop the car on the ground and measure floor to frame tubes. About 4 inches front and 4.5 inches rear is a good start point. If you don't get those heights jack up and let the suspension hang. At this time put some kind of easily visable mark on the collar. Figure whether it will be easiest to see w/ the mark to the side, front, or rear. From now on make all adjustments in full turns, one, two or three at a time depending on your guess as to how far you need to move the height. Don't worry about being exact at this point because the car will settle as you drive it. I would probably set it about 1/4 inch higher than the above so it may settle close to the above numbers. BTW, if your collars have those little set screws to keep them from rotating, unscrew them and throw them in the trash. Even the plastic tipped versions, all they can do is booger up the threads and make future adjustments more difficult. There is absolutely no tendency for these collars to move on their own.
Mike & CraigS

Thanks for the info! I will through the screws lol.
Now my car is (when hanging loose) Front; DS: 16.5 turn PS: 15.5 Turn. REAR; DS:21 Turns PS: 20 Turns.

I did make all front 15 and the rear 20. when I drop the car will measure heights and adjust.

Now two questions please;

1) why the driver side is 1 turn higher? is there a sound reason?

2) what if I have cross weight scale, how should I set the height? I am trying to find one here. I know there should be someone who does have cross scale. because a lot of people go drifting so someone should know how to do it!

Thanks
Hakeem
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Old Yesterday, 09:19 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Ok, I found this one from Bob. it sums it up. easy to understand too;

Setting Ride Height

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Old Today, 02:20 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Rear coil-overs

Quote:
Originally Posted by NiceGuyEddie View Post
I remember the wording in the manual is very poor for this. Rich is right, for the rear, remove the weight and twist the spring itself. Spring perch stays in place.

To release the weight in the rear:

-Raise rear of car by rear diff
-Lower frame onto jackstands (rear only, o.k.)
-Lower ther rear end just enough to “remove the weight” as rich put it
-Twist the spring accordingly

i hate bring it up and hijack your post, I think you will be very dissatisfied with the ride from the donor rear springs. A coiliver upgrade for the rear will be the best $400 or so you will ever spend.

But do it this way to just get yourself going.
I have been driving my MK1 since 2001 with the Cut Mustang springs, with no problems. This year, at the open house, they had, brand new, in the box, at their "scratch and dent" sale, Bilstein rear coil-overs for $99. The change over was relatively simple. In fact, my triangular weldments, for mounting the top of the shocks was already drilled with the 1/2" holes. The difference, that I see with the coil-overs, is the ride is quite stiffer. I like the way it feels better than the Mustang springs, and it makes setting ride height much easier. If you wanted to do this change, you might call FFR and see if they had any left from the sale, and get a good deal on them. They had quite a few of them.

Ergie
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Old Today, 03:22 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Semi-off topic but something that is bothering me. At its lowest point, wherever that is, what is the clearance of the side pipe to the ground when the car is at the correct ride height ?
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Old Today, 03:56 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEAR-AvHISTORY View Post
Semi-off topic but something that is bothering me. At its lowest point, wherever that is, what is the clearance of the side pipe to the ground when the car is at the correct ride height ?
That's about an impossible question to answer for several reasons.

There are multiple ride heights within the range of correct.
Production variables within factory five
Different motors, motor mounts, headers, heads, header brand.
The list goes on, but also some pipes may drag the ground in aggressive cornering when set to the same height as another that doesn't due to bars, springs, suspension geometry, etc.
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