Improving fox-body ride quality. - Ford Mustang Forums : Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-27-2011, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Improving fox-body ride quality.

Guys, I have somewhat of a subjective question to ask. I would like to know if you think it's possible to make a fox-body ride as "nice" as the newer S197 stangs? I know this is very subjective, but I'm sure lots you of fox guys have ridden in (if not outright own) a newer S197 chassis stang. My wife has a 2007 GT vert, and it just rides so much nicer than any fox I've been in.

I'd like the fox to handle as well (if not better) than a stock S197 chassis and have the same (if not better) ride quality.

Am I smoking crack here or what?


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post #2 of 7 Old 09-27-2011, 02:44 PM
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This has been brought up a lot about fox and ride quality, in a word no. That sid the ride can be made better, but it won't happen with no name lowereing springs and autozone shocks and struts. You'll need to spend money, I prefer H&R springs and bilstien struts/shocks, but that's me. You'll have to figure out what you like, or are willing to spend.

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post #3 of 7 Old 09-28-2011, 11:56 AM
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In theory, going to a 3 link/TA setup with yield a very noticeable improvement in ride quality.

When experimenting with the PM3L, I found that the ride with H&R sport springs and bilstien shocks was vastly better than before the PM3L. Hence, that's a good place to start. Lots of compliance in the suspension but still pretty well dampened (rolled like nuts though, stiffer springs are recommended). Staying with all rubber bushing and such will help in that endeavor, but handling and performance will suffer accordingly. Since handling is a priority for you, you'd probably want to stick to urethane, IMO. Harsher but totally worth it.

I should note that while it is possible to get by with the PM3L and have it work pretty well, it is by no means ideal, and even with a good deal of work to get it to work for a while, the floorpan will give out after a while (few years maybe) anyways. I tried it with stock style control arms and wasted a lot of money doing it.

Another must have is subframe connectors. Anything to make the body more rigid will help. There are arguments if a strut tower brace has any real effect in the foxbody since the cowl isn't exactly strong compared to the actual strut towers, but I've heard some say it helps NVH. If you have a hatchback, you might also consider putting a rear strut brace, but I've basically never seen anything on people using one so not sure if it would be worth the trouble. A guy at the autox's has one in his hatchback Merkur, and he says it was basically pointless.

And while it hurts performance of the car, ADDING weight will at least academically, help ride quality. Increasing the ratio of sprung weight (you want more) vs unsprung weight (you want less) will yield a more compliant ride. Taking weight out of the sprung weight will also help (lighter suspension components and such, which is why modern high performance cars have a lot of aluminum suspension components). Lighter wheels and tires will also help a great, great deal, since big wheels and certain tires are very heavy. Name brands are the way to go for wheels, since Chinese knockoffs are usually heavy as a boat anchor.

Sound deadening will be your friend here also, since it adds sprung weight and removes noise. I'm no expert on the subject but I know you need sound blocking foam in addition to sound deadener for maximum effect. Opinions vary on brands and methods, so doing some research is a good idea.

I've no idea what to do to the front suspension. I've never ridden in a foxbody with an aftermarket k member/control arms.

From what I've read the S197 chassis is lightyears better in every way than the Foxbody. It's based on a Lincoln LS which was a rebadged Jaguar, so ride comfort was obviously a high priority in it's design, whereas the foxbody was designed in the late 70s to be a family sedan/wagon and was only okay when it was new. 20-30 years on, with minimal changes to the design over the life of it, the chassis is going to need quite a bit of work to be made comparable to a more modern car.

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post #4 of 7 Old 09-28-2011, 01:49 PM
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Am I smoking crack here or what?
The simple answer...yes.

Originally Posted by That89GTGuy View Post
Another must have is subframe connectors. Anything to make the body more rigid will help.
This is a big step to fix the #1 reason (to me), why the answer is NO.

Originally Posted by That89GTGuy View Post
From what I've read the S197 chassis is lightyears better in every way than the Foxbody.
IMHO, THIS is the main reason why the the Foxbody cannot compete in this arena. The PLATFORM is just so superior out of the box. You may get close to a ride quality or handling goal, but the compromises for either make the end result a conflict to have both in a Fox platform.

The aftermarket technology that is used to improve the Fox is not enough to offset the chassis tech in the S197. I'm sure most would agree that the '12 Boss 302 is the highlight of the S197, and the best handling Mustang ever produced, by far. My brother recently gave a friend a ride in his '12 Boss. Our friend has an '07 Shelby GT. His Shelby GT rides better than my '96, and he said the Boss rides better than his Shelby. Technology...amazing.

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post #5 of 7 Old 09-28-2011, 09:20 PM
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I have the Maximum Motorsports full kit on my 91 Fox with Bilstien Sports and the softest springs they offer to still work with a torque arm. With welded in jacking rails, along with all the other chassis stiffening parts Maximum offered, the ride quality is LIGHT YEARS better than factory, most of this being from the torque arm out back. Having said that, the Fox still does not ride as good as my 2008 GT. The S197 chassis is much more rigid, it is longer, and it is wider. All if this equates to a better ride, but it is also a LOT heavier than my Fox. My Fox feels twice as easy to drive at speed and around corners on the track.

Full tilt upgraded Fox to a stock Fox. No question = better.

Full tilt upgraded Fox to an S197. Not quite there, but much more fun!


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post #6 of 7 Old 09-29-2011, 11:10 AM
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If ever on my side of the state come take a ride in my 93. I tried for good handling and good ride (good on both not great on either). MM front with 275 coilovers 3 link rear with 200 coilovers, dynamat extreme everywhere and the big sound mat under the carpet. 17" wheels to maximize side wall while still fitting my brakes.
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-29-2011, 08:42 PM
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I have no idea how the s197 rides/handles (other than from reading). But I do know how my '01 Cobra 'Vert with IRS rides compared to my 86 GT 'Vert with PM3L in the back and C/Os in the front. Both have a lot of flex in the chassis so both have the full compliment of braces and such. Both run Bilsteins. The 86 rides as good and perhaps better than the Cobra. The 86 is more nimble despite its HP disadvantage. As pointed out above, removing the 86's rear suspension bind made a huge difference in ride quality/handling. When combined with the front C/Os the car was transformed. For the record, the 86 has 300# C/O fronts and H&R Super Race conventional rears (260-300# progressive) whereas the Cobra has H&R Super Sport conventionals front and rear. The 86's ride and handling may not match an s197, but it's nonetheless impressive given where it started.
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