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Advice on '97 GT Suspension Rebuild

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Advice on '97 GT Suspension Rebuild

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Old 08-31-2006, 08:33 PM
  #1  
Blatwurst
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Default Advice on '97 GT Suspension Rebuild

Greetings,

I'm looking to rebuild the suspension on my '97 GT. My purpose is looks and day-to-day handling. I hardly ever encounter a speed bump, and am thinking of taking my chances and going pretty low...I'd like the tires to just barely not touch the fenders.

I've tried to ingest the information on this site (this site ROCKS as a resource, btw!), but I still have questions...

1) THE BIGGIE...I like the current offset of my front wheels, but I've always thought that the backs were inset too much. I'd like them to stick out another 1" to 1.5" to match the front. Can I find the right rims to do this, or do I have to use spacers? In general, how do I know what the offset will be of a set of wheels? Wheel ads don't seem to say. Some wheel ads say that a wheel is specific to '99-'05 Stangs, while others say '94-'05. Are the offsets different between these year ranges, or not? Can wheels generally be ordered in various offsets? Any recommendation for a wheel supplier that can help me sort this all out? I'm currently thinking 18" or 20" Bullitts...wider in the back (for that supercharger I may get some day!).

2) What are the pros and cons of 18" vs 20" in terms of ride and handling vs comfort. 20"s sure look sweet, but am I going to like the ride?

3) Which spring set is best for a more extreme (roughly 2.5" drop)?

4) I don't think I need adjustablility on struts/shocks. I just want a little more stiffness to match the new springs. What should I get? (What's the deal with the Fox Body option? That's the early 90's Stang, right? Are those just shorter?)

4) What other parts will I need to replace/upgrade when I drop this much? Should I go with stiffer (eurothane) bushings?

5) I've seen some mention replacing control arms. Why?

X) I could ask about tires, but I'll leave that for another day.

I will be very appreciative of any help I can get from you mod veterans out there. If anyone can really take me under their wing here, so to speak, I'd be happy to find a way to return the favor with $ or otherwise (wanna' come see San Francisco and the beautiful Northern California coast?!?)

Mucho TIA,

Steve
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:34 PM
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red2k1gt
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Default RE: Advice on '97 GT Suspension Rebuild

How much money are you looking to spend? From what Ive heard bilstein is the best all around but is also one of the most expensive.
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:44 PM
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Blatwurst
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Default RE: Advice on '97 GT Suspension Rebuild

Was hoping to keep the price down on struts/shocks since I don't need to adjust for drag/track. I just want good daily driving performance. It seems that some folks have stuck with their stock struts or gone with fairly stock replacements (like the Fox Body option), and been pretty happy. Would rather do this if possible.
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:57 PM
  #4  
Deannostang
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Default RE: Advice on '97 GT Suspension Rebuild

I have a '98 GT and lowered it with Steeda sport springs. It dropped it about 1 to 1 1/2 inches and left a really nice rake in the car's profile.

https://mustangforums.com/photosearc...filter=&page=1

At the same time I installed Tokico "blue" struts and rear shocks with KYB quads. The combination makes the car handle like it is on rails. Good time to do it all when springs are out of the car as you have the suspension all apart anyway. No need for caster/chamber plates either. Straight alignment is fine, which, you definitely will need after you get it all back together again. Any lower and you will definitely need CC plates and possibly other mods as well. I did also install rear upper control arms that further enhanced my rearend's handlling characteristics.

Tires, wheels, etc. are your call as long as you like the look. Be careful on suspension rubbing with large, tire/wheel combos. May need wheel spacers to make clearances. I know some have taken their quad shocks out just to make room for their new tire/wheel combos. I am not 100% positive, but I believe clearance is what "deep dish" rims are all about. If you go with monster tires, you will most definitely need a set of those kind of rims. Here is one site that sells quality machined wheel spacers if you feel you would like/need them: www.maximummotorsports.com

Good luck with your choices. Enjoy your Stang!
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Old 08-31-2006, 09:53 PM
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Blatwurst
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Default RE: Advice on '97 GT Suspension Rebuild

Ok, I've looked at some more wheel ads, and have found some offset information. What does the offset measure exactly? That is, how do I use that information to know where my tires will sit in relation to my fenders?

There's also a "backspace" measurement. What's that?
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Old 08-31-2006, 10:21 PM
  #6  
Blatwurst
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Default RE: Advice on '97 GT Suspension Rebuild

I just found a good site to answer my question about offset/backspace. Here's the link:

http://www.rsracing.com/tech-wheel.html

To summarize:

offset = distance from wheel mounting surface to centerline of wheel, with positive offset meaning mounting surface is outboard of centerline (ie: closer to outer rim of wheel)

backspace = distance from mounting surface to inner rim of wheel

If you have the wheel width, you can compute one of these from the other.

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