The Low Down – Installing an H & R suspension for Improved Handling and Looks

June 8th, 2010

This is our 2008 sporting the Sport Tuning wheels and Dunlop tires from Tire Rack. The body is at factory ride height and clearly has excessive space between the body and the top of the tire.

The new Mustang is an excellent platform for performance, with great power and terrific looks. But let’s face it, the suspension is a compromise between ground clearance and a cushy ride for the masses. If you add performance tires and wheels to the mix, it only goes to further prove the need for a better suspension.

The folks at Tire Rack were instrumental in getting us the new Dunlop performance tires and Suspension Tuning 20-inch wheels for our 2008 Mustang, but clearly there was a need to enhance the suspension to match the nearly 3 inches of daylight between the edge of the fender well and the top of the tire. The key was to select a suspension that offered not only better handling, but also decent road manners and ride height adjustability. The H & R suspension does all that and comes in a wide variety of styles.

Our “street” system included new shocks for the rear, struts for the front and springs and sway bars both front and back. It is important to find a system that has matching components so that spring rates are right, front and back and for the vehicle itself. When Ford designed their system, they did so with comfort and handling in mind. The same goes for H & R, which has a terrific name in the performance suspension business. They can be ordered through Tire Rack along with tires and wheels that will deliver the best combination to fit your style of driving.

Ernie and Eugene Vargas of Westech Performance installed the suspension, which took about 90 minutes. Then it was over to Big John’s Performance for suspension realignment, a critical part of the swap.

The ride with the new pieces in place is considerably stiffer than the stock system, but not objectionable from out performance perspective.  Cornering is greatly enhanced and the overall look of the car went from poor to cool. The system offers complete adjustability of ride height with very little effort. Both front and back can be adjusted with tools supplied with the kit, which is pretty amazing when you consider that only a few years back you had to remove and cut coils from the springs to adjust ride and ride height.

Follow along as we show you the steps involved. For the most part only a few basic tools are required along with a rented spring compressor to take apart the front struts to use the original factory pieces. This is easily a driveway modification that anyone can tackle. Just remember to head to the alignment shop when you are done, if you don’t want any unnecessary wear to those expensive tires.


Tire Rack


www.tirerackcom (http://www NULL.tirerackcom/)

H & R Springs

888.827.8881 (http://www NULL.hrsprings

Street Performance coil-over suspension

P/N 51656

Sway Bars

Front P/N 70655

Rear P/N 71655

Westech Performance


Big John’s Tire & Wheel


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