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Old 04-10-2016, 05:45 PM   #1
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Lowering questions from suspension mod newb

I'll be adding 20" inch wheels and tires soon (14 GT base) and I may end up wanting to lower some. I have never been a fan of lowering and don't want to change my ride quality or Winter driving capabilities but I see a huge difference in the overall look of our cars when larger wheels are installed and that wheel gap is exaggerated.
I really don't want to do anything for performance improvement or handling, just the appearance.
What's the cheapest and easiest way to get this? Lower just the rear? Which springs would be what I'm looking for...not expensive, lowers just enough for looks but isn't harsh, will I still need pan hard bar, and the other gizmos back there that I don't have a clue what they actually do?
I test drove a 13 GT once while searching for my current used 14 and it had obviously been lowered but rode like azz. I mean BAD, it wasn't slammed or anything radical looking, it just looked good with a small wheel gap still but omg it was like riding on a grocery cart. I turned around after not even a block, returned the car and told the salesman it was a piece of junk, ( I was pissed I drove 2 hours to look at it and he represented it as stock, unmodified except for RTR wheels). I think it must have just had cut springs because of how bad it was.
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Old 04-10-2016, 06:24 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waylap1 View Post
I'll be adding 20" inch wheels and tires soon (14 GT base) and I may end up wanting to lower some. I have never been a fan of lowering and don't want to change my ride quality or Winter driving capabilities but I see a huge difference in the overall look of our cars when larger wheels are installed and that wheel gap is exaggerated.
I really don't want to do anything for performance improvement or handling, just the appearance.
What's the cheapest and easiest way to get this? Lower just the rear? Which springs would be what I'm looking for...not expensive, lowers just enough for looks but isn't harsh, will I still need pan hard bar, and the other gizmos back there that I don't have a clue what they actually do?
I test drove a 13 GT once while searching for my current used 14 and it had obviously been lowered but rode like azz. I mean BAD, it wasn't slammed or anything radical looking, it just looked good with a small wheel gap still but omg it was like riding on a grocery cart. I turned around after not even a block, returned the car and told the salesman it was a piece of junk, ( I was pissed I drove 2 hours to look at it and he represented it as stock, unmodified except for RTR wheels). I think it must have just had cut springs because of how bad it was.
Trying to understand exactly what you mean by "when larger wheels are installed and that wheel gap is exaggerated." Do you mean that it appears that the gap is increased due to the 20's wheels even though the tire diameter would be the same?
If you want to reduce gap slightly, I thought I read that Eibach Pro-kit Progressive springs resulted in a good ride. Also, I believe Steeda has a comparable spring.
Of course, depending on the amount lowered would depend on need to adjust LCA angle with relocation brackets.
And typically when you lower, it throws the body slightly to the left. But that could wait 'til after the fact, to see if adjustment is required. Most just get the adjustable panhard bar, anticipating some adjustment will be required.
Based on the general consensus, a very small drop (like an inch or less) may not need Camber adjustment of front wheels while greater drops may require chamber bolts or caster/camber plates to correct camber.
You could do it one step at a time to see what you may or may not need with a small drop.
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:57 PM   #3
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y'all have fun lowering the car for the "looks".

I believe it was engineered this way for a REASON, or better said, MANY REASONS.

I will not sacrifice her great ride for the lowered look.

Seems to be a COMPROMISE.

Just sayin ...


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Old 04-10-2016, 10:04 PM   #4
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Once you lower it, you'll feel the difference going around turns. My new GT isn't too low yet, think it has some springs on it, but I'm going to put my BC Racing coilovers on her in a few weeks.

I had the coilovers on my 3.7 and the ride quality definitely suffered but it's a sacrifice you have to make your car look sexy. Unless you're into the whole 4x4 look lol. Springs with some nice shocks and struts will ride better than my coilovers but I've decided to keep these, they come with caster camber plates already, in case you really want to slam her


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Old 04-10-2016, 11:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RWSRWS View Post
y'all have fun lowering the car for the "looks".

I believe it was engineered this way for a REASON, or better said, MANY REASONS.

I will not sacrifice her great ride for the lowered look.

Seems to be a COMPROMISE.

Just sayin ...


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I will never lower a car again or buy 20" wheels either. Looks great but man do you feel every bump. I'm fine with it now because I'm still in my 30's but by the time I buy my next car I'll be mid 40's and comfort will definitely be more of a factor.
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:45 PM   #6
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I've had the opportunity to help lower 5 2009 to 2014 Mustangs and one was my old 2014 TrakPak. All of the Mustangs with the exception of mine were done with the Eibach Pro Kit...which lowers the front 1" and the rear 1.5". The Sportline which I used on mine was 1.5" in the front and 2" in the rear. Personally for me it's about the look I want and second is that it has to perform better than OE. In both cases both of the above kits will get you what you want although the ride quality in the Pro Kit is much better than the Sportline....I used my Brembo wheels for awhile and then went with the OE 14 GT500 staggered wheels and tires. My TrakPak road a little stiffer than my friends standard 14 GT and personally if the TrakPak springs had given a lower ride height I would stuck with them because the ride was firm but not harsh.
I would first get the wheels and tires you want....put them on the car and put a few miles with it that way....then I would buy the Eibach Pro kit and install it and drive around 200+ miles....then see how you like it....I think you will will. It will ride a little stiffer than your standard GT springs and the look will be much more pleasing to the eye especially with the bigger wheels/tires.
Don't let anyone blow smoke about needing Camber bolts....they are cheap and are junk...and you don't need caster/camber plates either unless you are going to track the car. I lowered my Mustang with the Sportlines which is 1.5" lower in the front...I reused the strut bushings and standard struts and never had an issue....when I took it Ford it was still within spec and there was no need to put any junk on the car....the car handled fantastic although I finally changed the complete rear suspension..adjustable LCA's, adjustable UCA with GT500 carrier bushing, then used the BMR poly bushing, adjustable panhard bar and brace, still using the stock shocks.
So, to answer your question...yes you can buy very cheap springs...I wouldn't, I have used Eibach since the late 90's along with Ford Racing, Steeda and brand X and always came back. The Mustang you drove had an issue, what that was I have no idea and the Eibach Pro's will ride slightly stiffer but not harsh like the Sportlines. You don't need to change anything in the rear although I would get an adjustable PanHard bar to center the rearend after you lower it.
I just helped a friend with a very low mileage 09 GT/CS lower just the back of his car....and it looks good although know one will just sell you the rear lowering springs....he did buy the cheap springs from American Muscle and they seem to be Ok although I haven't ridden in the car yet.
Changing springs is not like changing cam shafts, it just takes time and is pretty simple if done right..........get your tires, ride around for awhile...then lower it if you still feel the need. One word about your 20's, they will most likely have a shorter sidewall....hence the ride will be harsher than with you OE wheels and tires...just less rubber between the road and the wheel....
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Old 04-11-2016, 05:31 AM   #7
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I live with lots of winter conditions; if you want good winter driving safety/performance, I would not lower at all. You need some wheel gap for winter. From reading your experience with the lowered car, I'd also recommend you leave the stockers in. Any lowering spring will make a firmer ride period. Being you are getting 20" wheels, you have a good chance to fill some of your wheel gap for 3 season driving with a bit taller tires. That will improve the looks and keep the stock ride quality and winter driveability.
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Old 04-11-2016, 08:00 AM   #8
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Don't understand why people commonly talk about reducing tire gap by using larger wheels, when tire size is what determines gap(along with changing speedometer accuracy.)
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Old 04-11-2016, 11:51 AM   #9
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20's will make it ride rougher no matter what because of the lower profile and heavier wheels.
That sidewall is also spring and when it gets shorter it gets stiffer, so it rides rougher.
Like others in this thread I am also an Eibach pro kit fan.
The springs are progressive so that the first bit of travel is very soft and then it progressively gets stiffer as the wheel travels, keeping it off the bump stops.
You will likely need to adjust the camber with this drop so CC plates or camber bolts would be advised. Nothing wrong with the camber bolts and they are cheaper, easier to install and will not affect you NVH like most CC plates will. There are some that will poo poo the camber bolts...ignore them.
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Old 04-11-2016, 12:28 PM   #10
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20's will make it ride rougher no matter what because of the lower profile and heavier wheels.
That sidewall is also spring and when it gets shorter it gets stiffer, so it rides rougher.
Like others in this thread I am also an Eibach pro kit fan.
The springs are progressive so that the first bit of travel is very soft and then it progressively gets stiffer as the wheel travels, keeping it off the bump stops.
You will likely need to adjust the camber with this drop so CC plates or camber bolts would be advised. Nothing wrong with the camber bolts and they are cheaper, easier to install and will not affect you NVH like most CC plates will. There are some that will poo poo the camber bolts...ignore them.
No beating around the bush!
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Old 04-11-2016, 12:45 PM   #11
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No beating around the bush!
There is no shortage of experts who speak from inexperience. Its tiring.
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:36 PM   #12
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The ford racing Springs and sway bars are made by eibach. And as said wheel gap is a function of lowering and tire diameter. A 1 inch drop shouldn't require adunstable camber for street settings, but if you need some camber bolts, I have a set of ford bolts. These are stronger than eibach, but require slotting upper strut hole.
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:43 PM   #13
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The ford racing Springs and sway bars are made by eibach. And as said wheel gap is a function of lowering and tire diameter. A 1 inch drop shouldn't require adunstable camber for street settings, but if you need some camber bolts, I have a set of ford bolts. These are stronger than eibach, but require slotting upper strut hole.
My 2006 (different car, I know) had excessive camber with the pro-kit springs.
The newer bodys I couldn't say for sure so I left it as an option.
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Old 04-11-2016, 07:06 PM   #14
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I've had some of the same concerns as you in regard to lowering and ride comfort. Based on much research on spring rates and reports as to ride comfort, the BMR and Roush (not the Roush extreme) lowering springs give greatest comfort. The BMR's have greater drop than Roush, BMR aprox. 1.6", Roush .5". The Roush would likely work fine with all other stock components, BMR's require many other mods. Also, check into the Route 66 Speed Shop 55D rear springs, they are engineered to work with stock front suspension, drops the rear only .5", Roush rears may work well alone as well.

I considered these very options prior to making my final choices a short while ago. In the end I went with a bit more aggressive choice with the Steeda Sport springs. These will require full suspension mods in order to work correctly. I decided that I can live with a more aggressive spring as another of my cars (BMW) is sporting H&R springs with Koni Sports and I have no problem with ride on rough Michigan roads.
If you did decide to lower both ends of cars, the GT500 strut mounts will keep front end camber in spec, you just need to turn arrow towards engine rather than fender. This will require a 2005-10 strut rather than 2011-14 strut, this is what I'm doing.
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Old 04-12-2016, 01:13 AM   #15
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Thank you all for the replies. I'm actually now considering 19's instead but I love the way 20's seem to look in online photos. I don't have any other Mustangs , let alone modified ones, anywhere around where I would have a in person look and maybe ride comparison. Most online photos I see, the car is also lowered or definelty appears that way and it just looks really good. Not slammed but just a little lower.
I guess my first step is driving with my new wheel setup...either 20 or 19 and make sure it hasn't made it more harsh than I expect. I would love to think I won't be driving it through next Winter again here in NH but should that happen, I guess lowering really isn't too smart.
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Old 04-12-2016, 02:19 AM   #16
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Well waylap you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want to get close to a sugar high you better save up for some air bags. This is about the only thing that fits your wish list (still drivable in snow. Add air, looks good at your desired height. Won't ride as harsh as a lowering spring). But this comes at a cost. 2500 bucks to start. And since you are a poster child for "doing things right" "saving up your hard earned $$$ working extra shifts" to avoid the plastidip of lowering (which is just a set of springs if you are wondering) then I'm sure you will agree.

At the end of the day when you lower these cars even an inch, you change all the angles, increase spring rate to avoid bottoming out, and in the rear your bump stops will be about a butt hair away from contact at all times. To do it right costs thousands. Springs, shocks & struts, adjustable Panhard bar, adjustable rear upper control arm, LCA relo brackets, strut spring retainers, cc bolts or plates and oh by the way ford recommends you replace all the bolts and nuts because they can fail after re-torquing.

Based on your reasoning for wanting to get lowered and your lack of enthusiasm over the ride quality I say you skip this one and focus on just getting yourself a nicer set of wheels & tires as you stated you planned on doing. But maybe splurge on those a bit more than you planned and call it a day.
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Old 04-12-2016, 04:56 AM   #17
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well waylap you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want to get close to a sugar high you better save up for some air bags. This is about the only thing that fits your wish list (still drivable in snow. Add air, looks good at your desired height. Won't ride as harsh as a lowering spring). But this comes at a cost. 2500 bucks to start. And since you are a poster child for "doing things right" "saving up your hard earned $$$ working extra shifts" to avoid the plastidip of lowering (which is just a set of springs if you are wondering) then i'm sure you will agree.

At the end of the day when you lower these cars even an inch, you change all the angles, increase spring rate to avoid bottoming out, and in the rear your bump stops will be about a butt hair away from contact at all times. To do it right costs thousands. Springs, shocks & struts, adjustable panhard bar, adjustable rear upper control arm, lca relo brackets, strut spring retainers, cc bolts or plates and oh by the way ford recommends you replace all the bolts and nuts because they can fail after re-torquing.

Based on your reasoning for wanting to get lowered and your lack of enthusiasm over the ride quality i say you skip this one and focus on just getting yourself a nicer set of wheels & tires as you stated you planned on doing. But maybe splurge on those a bit more than you planned and call it a day.
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+1

solid advice !

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Old 04-13-2016, 03:22 PM   #18
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I'll be adding 20" inch wheels and tires soon (14 GT base) and I may end up wanting to lower some. I have never been a fan of lowering and don't want to change my ride quality or Winter driving capabilities but I see a huge difference in the overall look of our cars when larger wheels are installed and that wheel gap is exaggerated.
I really don't want to do anything for performance improvement or handling, just the appearance.
What's the cheapest and easiest way to get this? Lower just the rear? Which springs would be what I'm looking for...not expensive, lowers just enough for looks but isn't harsh, will I still need pan hard bar, and the other gizmos back there that I don't have a clue what they actually do?
I test drove a 13 GT once while searching for my current used 14 and it had obviously been lowered but rode like azz. I mean BAD, it wasn't slammed or anything radical looking, it just looked good with a small wheel gap still but omg it was like riding on a grocery cart. I turned around after not even a block, returned the car and told the salesman it was a piece of junk, ( I was pissed I drove 2 hours to look at it and he represented it as stock, unmodified except for RTR wheels). I think it must have just had cut springs because of how bad it was.
You pretty much answered your own question here. As has been mentioned in this thread already, you aren't going to lower the car without affecting its performance. It's ok to want to, and for that matter to lower the car for looks. But you will cause problems for yourself if you do not address other changes this will require. Ultimately your budget is going to determine if you could or should do this now, or later. In my opinion I would save up and do everything at once, springs/shocks-struts/bump stops/ pan hard bar etc to ensure you maintain a decent ride after going lower.
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Old 04-13-2016, 03:35 PM   #19
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Thank you all for your input and experience with this. I think now, based on your information, I will just go with the new staggered wheels and tires and not mess with lowering it.
I am still undecided between a 19 or 20" set but it will most likely be AMRs charcoal drift style with Sumitomos. I believe the 20s would be 255/35/20 front, 285/30/20 rear. If I went 19 then it would be 245/45/19 front, 275/40/19 rear.
I want the best looking for my car but if the 20s are way too thin sidewall, then 19s may be better... They're just also narrower for some reason..245/275. As opposed to the 20s 255/285.
Is this even something I should consider or is that splitting hairs?
**mine is currently still on factory 18s 235/50/18 all the way around (with plasti-dip delete option), so anything is better than what I've got.
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Old 04-13-2016, 03:53 PM   #20
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Thank you all for your input and experience with this. I think now, based on your information, I will just go with the new staggered wheels and tires and not mess with lowering it.
I am still undecided between a 19 or 20" set but it will most likely be AMRs charcoal drift style with Sumitomos. I believe the 20s would be 255/35/20 front, 285/30/20 rear. If I went 19 then it would be 245/45/19 front, 275/40/19 rear.
I want the best looking for my car but if the 20s are way too thin sidewall, then 19s may be better... They're just also narrower for some reason..245/275. As opposed to the 20s 255/285.
Is this even something I should consider or is that splitting hairs?
**mine is currently still on factory 18s 235/50/18 all the way around (with plasti-dip delete option), so anything is better than what I've got.
The bigger the wheel the heavier it is, so it will ride rougher. Plus, the thinner sidewall will ride rougher to boot. 19's are usually more expensive tires to replace and size choices are limited, but if you find a size you like and the sidewall is taller, that would be a better go. Both will ride rougher than what you have now.
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:04 PM   #21
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The bigger the wheel the heavier it is, so it will ride rougher. Plus, the thinner sidewall will ride rougher to boot. 19's are usually more expensive tires to replace and size choices are limited, but if you find a size you like and the sidewall is taller, that would be a better go. Both will ride rougher than what you have now.
Wheel weight wont mess with ride quality as much as the thinner profile will. More unsprung mass in the wheels will simply result in more force requirements from the suspension. More mass= harder to keep constant tire load. But with thinner side walls that basically raises the spring rate of the tire/ wheel itself and that will more directly translate to ride harshness.
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:12 PM   #22
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Agree 19 in is a harder size for tires, but you can go 285/40-19 larger diameter, great fender gap, or 305/30-19, lower diameter, poor fender gap. 305's would require 10.5 on rim.
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:21 PM   #23
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I think the bigger piece of advice I could give you over worrying about the size is the actual tire you are looking for. Sumis you mentioned are terrible. You spent all this money on a 5.0, so you could put some power to the pavement and you basically throw all that away with a cheap tire. Not to mention road noise ect. Do yourself a favor and spend some more dough on a tire that doesn't suck.
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:25 PM   #24
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I think the bigger piece of advice I could give you over worrying about the size is the actual tire you are looking for. Sumis you mentioned are terrible. You spent all this money on a 5.0, so you could put some power to the pavement and you basically throw all that away with a cheap tire. Not to mention road noise ect. Do yourself a favor and spend some more dough on a tire that doesn't suck.
Points back to my budget comment.

Yep a better tire is probably the best money you can spend to make the car feel better, handle better. Few cars can out drive their OEM suspension out of the gate. Though after making suspension upgrades you will hate life with a cheap tire. If only going bigger wheel, a cheaper tire will be even worse. Past horrible performance cheap tires often have awful sidewalls. All it'll take is on random tear in the sidewall to make you A) hate not having a full size spare and B) hate cheap tires if you don't already.
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:00 PM   #25
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Here is a picture of my car. Ladies and Gentlemen, Exhibit A:
https://goo.gl/photos/PGBuqyqXCRZTJvch8

I have AMR 20's (255/305). I used the FRAHK which included the P springs, not the K springs. I've done a lot of research on this. The spings lower about 1" and are the Eibach pro springs. Eibach sportlines much harder.

I chose this kit because I'm 30 and I can't have a badly riding car in chicago with potholes, snow, you name it. Ford engineers have said that 1" is the way to go and 1.5" drops will only affect ride and looks.

If you like my car, get a conservative drop and save your a$$ and back. If you think its not enough, you've been warned!
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:16 PM   #26
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I chose not to drop, but rather to invest in a great set of tires.

With the top of the line Michelins not avail in my size - 245 45 19 - I went with the Continental EXTREME CONTACT DW.

BIG IMPROVEMENT over the stock all season Pirellis.

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Old 04-13-2016, 06:26 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by ShatterPoints View Post
Wheel weight wont mess with ride quality as much as the thinner profile will. More unsprung mass in the wheels will simply result in more force requirements from the suspension. More mass= harder to keep constant tire load. But with thinner side walls that basically raises the spring rate of the tire/ wheel itself and that will more directly translate to ride harshness.
More unsprung weight means resistance to change of direction for the wheels, causing them to slam over bumps rather than follow them. Consider this, the effect of unsprung weight is expressed as a factor of ten. Which means for every pound you reduce from unsprung weight, the car reacts as though it was 10 pounds lighter. So 10 pounds=100 pounds 5 pounds per wheel is 20 pounds=200 pounds....it adds up quick and has a very significant effect on both handling and ride quality.
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Old 04-13-2016, 07:00 PM   #28
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I think the bigger piece of advice I could give you over worrying about the size is the actual tire you are looking for. Sumis you mentioned are terrible. You spent all this money on a 5.0, so you could put some power to the pavement and you basically throw all that away with a cheap tire. Not to mention road noise ect. Do yourself a favor and spend some more dough on a tire that doesn't suck.
I didn't know this about the Sumis. Is there one tire way better than the others in AMs package choice? Mickey Thompson, Nitto etc?
Keep in mind though, I'm never going to track, race or otherwise do any seriously hard driving except Sunday's mornings when I get off work at 7a.m. And nobody in this BFE area is even awake or on the roads. And the cops aren't either.
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Old 04-13-2016, 07:49 PM   #29
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I think anything is better than those on AMs site. Even if you don't race it. Mickey Thompson seems to be the tire of choice here in the forum. I really don't care for nittos. I would just tell you do some research on tire rack. Look at the ratings and reviews.
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Old 04-13-2016, 07:55 PM   #30
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I think anything is better than those on AMs site. Even if you don't race it. Mickey Thompson seems to be the tire of choice here in the forum. I really don't care for nittos. I would just tell you do some research on tire rack. Look at the ratings and reviews.
Thank you man, I may end up just buying the AM wheels then and pairing them with a cheaper set of tpms from eBay and a set of tires from Tirerack or discount tire direct. It may be more work instead of a generic AM package deal but from what's been said here, it's worth getting a tire with the best reviews. I know Tirerack does extensive tests and video reports. I'll start searching their site and videos now.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:38 PM   #31
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More unsprung weight means resistance to change of direction for the wheels, causing them to slam over bumps rather than follow them. Consider this, the effect of unsprung weight is expressed as a factor of ten. Which means for every pound you reduce from unsprung weight, the car reacts as though it was 10 pounds lighter. So 10 pounds=100 pounds 5 pounds per wheel is 20 pounds=200 pounds....it adds up quick and has a very significant effect on both handling and ride quality.
Yes but that just means its slower to accelerate or decelerate. Ergo my original point of sidewall contribution to spring rate translates more to ride harshness than a heavier wheel will. I didn't say a heavier wheel wont affect harshness.

*EDIT*

also its closer to a 1:2 ratio not a 1:10
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Old 04-14-2016, 10:36 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ShatterPoints View Post
Yes but that just means its slower to accelerate or decelerate. Ergo my original point of sidewall contribution to spring rate translates more to ride harshness than a heavier wheel will. I didn't say a heavier wheel wont affect harshness.

*EDIT*

also its closer to a 1:2 ratio not a 1:10
You are missing the point.
A heavier wheel resists change of direction...ie up and down.
This has a tremendous affect on ride quality.
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Old 04-15-2016, 09:14 AM   #33
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You are missing the point.
A heavier wheel resists change of direction...ie up and down.
This has a tremendous affect on ride quality.
No, you are missing the point. You are not exactly wrong either. The wheel resists accel/decel more allowing the increased spring rate of the thin side wall to translate the harshness not the fact the wheel resists compression / rebound to a greater degree. If you had a heavy wheel and a huuuge sidewall you would not get near the same harsh ride as you do with a heavy wheel and a small sidewall.
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Old 04-15-2016, 09:35 AM   #34
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No, you are missing the point. You are not exactly wrong either. The wheel resists accel/decel more allowing the increased spring rate of the thin side wall to translate the harshness not the fact the wheel resists compression / rebound to a greater degree. If you had a heavy wheel and a huuuge sidewall you would not get near the same harsh ride as you do with a heavy wheel and a small sidewall.
I've done all I can do here. I suggest you buy a chassis book and look it up.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:18 AM   #35
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I've done all I can do here. I suggest you buy a chassis book and look it up.
I already have one...

Race Car Vehicle Dynamics by Milliken and Milliken









*Edit*

I included a lot, but you can see in ride transmissible the spring rate of the tire is what we are using when determining how much force is transferred by the unsprung mass
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