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Old 06-04-2014, 02:00 PM   #1
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I have the worst suspension ever.

My car is only one year old and it sounds like a 85 Cadillac. It creaks and groans during braking, acceleration and turning. It only has 25k miles on it!! One year old! And it's not like I go off-roading in it, I'm that driver that crawls over speed bumps and holes. I so much as cringe when I hit a little pothole on the interstate that was unavoidable. It's not that I'm babying it...which I am...because I'm trying to make this car LAST, without putting unnecessary money into repairs if I can avoid them by not driving like a moron.

But here I am, looking for new struts and shocks and wondering what could have caused this. My best guess is the SR performance lowering springs, the only suspension mod I've done. Maybe the increased compression were too much for the OEM shocks and struts and wore em out quickly...and maybe 6 trips to California and back didn't help, and if anyone knows what I'm talking about, the Grapevine on the 5 is brutal for suspension wary drivers like myself.

Anybody else who swapped springs without changing struts and shocks experienced this? Or maybe anyone who knows this situation better and knows something I don't and could tell me exactly what's going on?
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:29 PM   #2
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You didn't upgrade any other part of your suspension besides just the springs? You really need supporting suspension mods when you lower your car like a pan hard bar, control arms and so on or you run the risk of having things like this happen.
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Old 06-04-2014, 04:29 PM   #3
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Besides springs, I've put in cam bolts for alignment and strut tower brace. I've researched and found that with the 1.5" drop the SR springs make, wasn't required, but recommended advert from long term problems down the road. When I read that I thought, oh, well then that'll give me some time to save up for some real quality suspension parts instead of buying mid-grade parts just to replace what they recommend that needs replacing. If I'm gonna buy parts, I'm buying top notch quality.
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:37 PM   #4
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With an 1.5" drop, you definitely need supporting mods like shocks, struts, and an adjustable panhard bar. An adjustable UCA and LCA relocation brackets are also highly recommended. With that drop, you're changing the geometry of your suspension as well as putting more stress on certain components. Suspension is something you really want to do as much as possible at the same time to prevent excessive wear.

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Old 06-05-2014, 08:00 AM   #5
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Put the stock springs back in, your problems should go away if nothing was damaged from running improperly lowered for as long as you have. Or get everything else you need to finish it up.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:29 AM   #6
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Looks like back to stock ride hight for me then.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:35 AM   #7
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Well, you pretty much answered your own question. Lowering it wore out your shocks and struts faster, plus the long trips didnt help them. I'd buy a new set of both along with an adjustable panhard bar...idk where you read you wouldnt need one but that is false. Go outside and look at your rear tires, I guarentee one side is sticking out further than the other. Hopefully that will fix it and if not, well i guess it's lesson learned.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:33 AM   #8
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I herby change the topic of this thread from "I have.." to "I've created.."
Lesson. Learned.
I just hope that by putting the stock springs back on won't make my problem worse. It shouldn't though, right?
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:55 AM   #9
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Stock shocks and struts shouldn't be blown out that fast with that drop. I've heard of many people getting 20-30k miles on them. An absolute MUST though is an adjustable panhard bar. It's cheap and will make a huge difference. I had the SR springs on mine and could instantly tell that my rear end had shifted. Threw in a BMR adj. bar and it's golden now. No squeaks, no rattles, nothing.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:15 PM   #10
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Yeah its not like the 04-below cars that had a horribad suspension, the S197 actually comes with a pretty decent 3 link right from the factory. However, one must take into account the panhard bar when lowering these cars and it seems there is a lot of bad info out there especially from those who are either just recycling it or assuming the S197 is the same as the SN95.

When you lower anything with a panhard bar and leave the stock bar in, the panhard bar is going to push the axle sideways because the attachment points are trying to move closer the lower the car goes but can't. This is going to create all sorts of alignment and wear problems and can tear up your control arm mounts too over time. This is why you can't just throw a set of springs or cut the factory springs in the 05-up cars. Gots to do it right the first time which, in the long run, is going to save more money than doing it half assed.

At any rate, sounds like the OP got some bad info and it happens to us all. Hell, I've been working on these cars for around 15 years now and I just got hung up on what is a 95% bolt in transmission swap because that other 5% was an unknown and info recyclers got me and I always preach to triple check info (I did, 3 ppl were idiots lol). Just take it as a learning experience and next time it won't happen or you can help someone else avoid the same issue.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:18 PM   #11
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My son did a 1.5 inch drop front and back, he did have all the upper and lower control arms not the pan hard bar.the back was okay but he had problems with alignment problems .He finally got the alignment fixed, dropping your car will change alot.

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Old 06-05-2014, 12:21 PM   #12
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Stock shocks and struts shouldn't be blown out that fast with that drop. I've heard of many people getting 20-30k miles on them. An absolute MUST though is an adjustable panhard bar. It's cheap and will make a huge difference. I had the SR springs on mine and could instantly tell that my rear end had shifted. Threw in a BMR adj. bar and it's golden now. No squeaks, no rattles, nothing.

Did you have any problems with your struts?
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by StolenSinner09 View Post
Did you have any problems with your struts?
Not yet. I lowered it back in early April. I also just added BMR lower control arms with relocation brackets. My rear end was hopping all over the place on launches after I lowered it, but from a roll it would dead hook thanks to the panhard bar. I do plan on getting either some Strange or Lakewood drag shocks in the very near future though. Probably Strange since they have them for cars lowered 1-1.5".

Is the front knocking at all over bumps? If that's the case, check the mounts and make sure the top nut is on tight. Had that happen on my last car a week after I installed coil overs.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:54 PM   #14
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I guess knocking would be a way to describe it, but yes, when I go over a speed bump or a dip, I can hear them creaking. The first thing I checked was the four mounting nuts. I noticed that they had moved since I reinstalled them after the spring swap. I tightened them up and even threw on a tower brace but I still hear them. I've yet to check the center nut but I'll tighten it up and see if that works.

But the pandhard bar sounds like what I need to eliminate my shock groan from braking and accelerating from a stop.
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:01 PM   #15
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Have you measured to see how much the rear end shifted?
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:06 PM   #16
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No, I don't even know where to measure from for that, but I know looking a the back of the car, it shifted to the left
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:21 PM   #17
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It will always shift to the left because the panhard bar top mount is on the right of the car. You lower it and it cuts down the angle of the panhard bar which pushes the rear out to the left.
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:36 PM   #18
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StolenSinner09,

Is the ride a lot more bouncy than when the springs were first installed? I'm really surprised the struts/shocks have worn out and such little miles. The 11-14 Mustangs struts/shocks usually have on problem with a 1.5" drop, as far as longevity. Of course, upgraded shocks and struts will improve handling and stiffen up the ride though.

I have a feeling the creaks and groans you're hearing are from the factory strut mounts, not the actual struts and shocks. Sometimes customers have issues with the stock strut mounts and noises like this after the install lowering springs. The best way to never deal with it again is to pick up a set of Caster/Camber plates.

Lastly, you'll absolutely need an adjustable panhard bar, as these guys have already mentioned. It's the only way to center the rear axle back under the car.

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Old 06-05-2014, 01:53 PM   #19
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Besides the panhard bar and caster plates, is there anything else I should concern? My main priority right now is to get my suspension to where it can be maintained with what stock parts I have until I am able to afford to upgrade other components.

If these parts are all I need to fix my current issues, then that's just the help I was looking for. But if I need other parts, I need to know, because right now, I'm debating to either put stock springs back on, or get the quick bolt-on's, and I'm on a budget.

I just don't want to make a decision and find out that the other way would have been the better route to take.
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:55 PM   #20
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I also what to thank all the input and help from everyone on this thread. Suspension is not my strongest trait when it comes to cars, but I've learned a lot from this topic. Thank you.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:19 PM   #21
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Go for the cheaper important stuff first then. Panhard bar, hands down.

To measure the shift, get a yard stick or some large straight-edge and put it against the rim or fenderwell, measure the gap (or lack thereof) between the two horizontally, not vertically. The instructions you get in the panhard bar will be more specific, but doing it before will give you an idea of what happens when lowering these cars.

You may not need the camber/caster plates, and they're a big purchase for those of us on a budget. Double check the mounts to make sure they're tight and secured properly. If that's the case, get an alignment if you haven't already. If they can't get it dialed in, buy camber bolts. They're like, $30 I think.

I was the same way, never paid any attention to suspension stuff. I had the HEMI posi-trac view of "How does it work? I don't know, it just does." After I dropped $1200 coil overs into my last car, only to find out it basically exploded everything else in the suspension (tie rods, ball joints, wheel bearings)...I started paying attention to suspension lol.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:10 PM   #22
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Panhard bar it is then! Thanks!
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:40 PM   #23
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Panhard bar it is then! Thanks!
Make sure you get an adjustable panhard bar so it can be adjusted to exactly the setting you need.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:51 PM   #24
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BMR Adjustable Panhard Bar. Then after that before you throw the springs back on you also need an adjustable UCA with the bracket. Go BMR for that also, or Hotchkis
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:53 PM   #25
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BMR Adjustable Panhard Bar. Then after that before you throw the springs back on you also need an adjustable UCA with the bracket. Go BMR for that also, or Hotchkis

Alright, thanks for the knowledge
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:11 PM   #26
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BMR Adjustable Panhard Bar. Then after that before you throw the springs back on you also need an adjustable UCA with the bracket. Go BMR for that also, or Hotchkis
Uca isn't necessary for a drop like that. Pinion angle should be fine even with a one piece driveshaft. Granted it's a great upgrade, this dude's on a budget.

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