View Full Version : Conventional spring/strut set up vs. coilvers?

07-07-2004, 07:23 AM
Here's the situation. I'm in the process of building an '87 Mustang for autox and open track use. This car will NOT be street legal, so I don't have to worry about street driveabilitly. But this is a definite budget build up as much as possible, so I can't afford to go crazy buying new parts. The Mustang suspension is very similar to the FFR, though the Mustang is heavier, so I'll ask your advice.

Can someone, in simple terms, explain the difference between coilovers and conventional strut/spring set up. I have a basic understanding of the physical set up differences, but am not clear on the functional difference. And my budget will allow me to choose between two set ups. Which one will work better for autox/open track? I know it's a simplistic question, but I'm new at trying to work on my car and understand this stuff for myself.

1. Steeda race springs, 750/850 lb progressive front, 300lb rear. Tokico Illumina 5 way adjustable rear shocks. Koni double adjustable struts up front.

2. Griggs coil over springs, 425 up front, 225 in the rear (I think). Koni yellows in the back and Tokico Illumina 5 way up front.

Thanks for your input.


07-07-2004, 08:41 AM
Im sure alot of people here can give you some great advice. Here is my .02.

First off, if you are going to get conventional springs, I would recommend the H&R springs. I personally feel that progressive rate springs should not be used in any form of racing.

As far as coilovers go, there are many advantages to them, but I would first ask, are you using them for competition in Auto-x, if so, you might want to check with your sanctioning body about that. They often place you in a very advanced skill class (like prepared or modified). That alone might help you decide on your choice. If you just want to tear it up, then coilovers are great.

For startes, coilovers weight much less than conventional springs. They also provide for a better, more effecient spring geometry, which will be a better match for the wheel rate. Which is basically why the # rate of a coilover is significantly less than its conventional counterpart. Coilovers also provide a better feel for the handling and a significantly better ride in comfort (not talking like a Cadi here) in that they are not as harsh for the same wheel rate. Other advantages to coilover, when it comes to racing (or even going back and forth from street to race), is that you can get different rates of coils and change them fairly easily to adjust for what you need. You can also adjust the ride height of coilovers on the fly. This also allows you to dial in the car properly by doing corner weight adjustments to it. Coil overs in can be seen in many mustangs as the ideal setup for racing.

The cons of coilovers are that they are more $$$, they are noisier, and like I said before, they might hinder your competition goals.

I would highly recommend Maximum Motorsports for coil-overs.


07-07-2004, 09:12 AM
I agree with Firme on what he said, especially about reading the Sanction Body"s rulebook first (the same goes for roll cage)
In addition, consider these points:
- I would not mix shock brands front to rear due to different valving
- are you sensitive enough to dial in a 5 way shock? I would be tempted to
stay with a 2 way adjustable - Koni, KW, KYB, etc. easier to set up.
- for a live axle car, I would start with about 800 lbs/in. front, and about
250 lbs/in. rear, (do not use progressive) and adjust from there. Hyperco
and H&R do good springs, I would not use Eibach

You might check the setups that KB offer. :)

07-07-2004, 09:23 AM
Thanks for the responses. Here's my background and goals.

I've got about 3 years autox experience (though I haven't run in about a year), and run 4 open track events. So I'm not a total newbie, but certainly very much on the beginners side of the scale. I probably don't have enough skill/experience to fine tune a multiadjustable shock. I run with a group who probably can help me with that...and by the way, they were the ones who pointed me to this website and said you guys can help me with specific Mustang questions. My goal is not to run competitive autox or SCCA or NASA with the car. I know it's not the goal of most racers, but my goals are: a) be safe and; b) have FUN!:woot: I realize nowhere in the near future will I be able to afford to play with the top dogs, so I won't try to get in their way. I just want to go "play". If I'm not the fastest car on the track, of course I'll want to get faster, but to me it's still better than sitting on the sidelines dreaming of it.

I guess if I buy this Griggs coilover package for sale, I could always replace the front or rear shocks/struts to make the brands match. Sounds like most people think the coilovers are a better way to go. I don't know that the Tokicos are adjustable 5 ways, I think they have 5 settings of the same adjustment. Sorry for the mistype.

If you've got any more input or suggestions, I'd love to hear it. Thanks so much for your help.


07-07-2004, 11:16 AM
doh, forgot to even mention shocks/struts.

If you don't really want to mess with adjustments too much, I have seen people have awesome results with these http://www.maximummotorsports.com/MMbilstein.asp

Also, with coil-overs, you will need some BEEFY Camber / Caster plates, not only for alighnment, but also for added mount point support. I personally prefer a 4 bolt vs a 3 bolt (4bolts connecting it to the strut tower instead of 3)
here are some good ones.


07-07-2004, 11:26 AM
You can put coilovers on your car and still be competitive at autox. I went from conventional springs to Griggs coilovers on my 93 GT and won my regional street modified class for the year. I was giving many guys headaches...including those with WRX's, Talon's, and M3's.

The only classes you can compete in with coilovers (on a Mustang) are street modified and c-prepared.

Going to coilovers was a good move for me. I loved every minute of them. I would suggest like other's have, that you stay with one shock/strut company instead of mixing/matching. I would try to stay with Koni or Bilstein if you're going to do coilovers, since they make quality, reliable products. I had the S/A's with coilover setup and they worked great. :thumbsup:

07-07-2004, 11:33 AM
With the fox chassis, you will actually use a 3-bolt design. The 4-bolt is designed for the SN-95 cars.

As Firme stated, the MM CC plates are good...considered to be the best by many Mustang owners. :)

07-07-2004, 11:57 AM
I just purchased a set of Steeda aluminum caster/camber plates, they have the 3 bolt design.

Here's where I am with the suspension. Before I came across the offer for the Griggs coilover set up, and not knowing enough about mix/match, I had bought a set of Tokico Illumina adjustables for the rear. I was going to run those with a set of stiff springs and Koni double adjustables up front. I already commited to buy the rear Tokicos. Now if I buy this Griggs set up, I'll wind up having 2 sets of rear shocks (one Tokico and one Koni yellow), and I'll have the Tokico Illuminas up front. I can either use all my Tokicos for a set of 4, and try to sell the Koni yellows. Or I can try to sell the Tokico rears for as much as I can and get a set of Koni (double adjustables?) up front. The Koni route will likely cost a bunch more. With my limited experience, is it worth it? I'm trying to keep from going nuts with the budget, got a :baby: at home I need to keep fed and clothed.

I'm sure autox will put me in some modified class, but I don't really care. I only run about 1/3 of their events normally (haven't gotten to any this year so far), so I'm not running for points. Just fun.


07-07-2004, 02:09 PM
I just purchased a set of Steeda aluminum caster/camber plates, they have the 3 bolt design.

:retard: I forgot you had a foxbody, like SIUNARA said the 4 bolts are 94 n up

07-07-2004, 10:33 PM
I wouldn't say that Tokico's are bad, but the Koni's are just that much better. They will last longer which is something to consider. Using Tokico's now may end up costing you more if you end up having to get a Bilstein or Koni later on down the road. Just something to think about. :)

07-08-2004, 09:40 AM
Also, Koni's are re-buildable/re-valveable at their facility in Kentucky - turn around usually less than 1 week..and, under normal circumstances, both Bilstein and Koni have lifetime warranty.........;)