Lowering the suspension

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Cherie
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Lowering the suspension

Post by Cherie » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:50 pm

There are two reasons why people choose to lower the suspension on a car.

The first is cosmetic. The standard ride height of the Puma means that the wheels do not fit snugly inside the wheel arches, and have been described as looking like a moon buggy!

The second reason is the handling. A lowered suspension will not only lower the car's centre of gravity, but the suspension itself will be stiffer. For both of these reasons, there will be less body roll on turns and so will increase the handling.

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There are three methods of lowering a car's suspension.

Springs only
Ford offered Eibach lowering springs as an option when the puma was new. These can the standard shock absorbers.
This is the cheapest method, but offers no opportunity to adjust the amount that the car is lowered by. It also puts a little more stress on the standard shock absorbers, which can shorten their useful life. To wat degree though, can vary depending on the quality, age and state of the shocks to start with.
It is possible to buy a kit of lowering springs and uprated shock absorbers that are designed to work with the narrower parameters.

Semi Coilovers
In a semi coilover setup, the front suspension is coilovers, and it is the rears that are semi adjustable. In basic terms, it means they cannot be adjusted gradually, rather the ride height is managed by circlips that change the height by specific increments.

Coilovers
On these, the shock absorbers and springs come as a single unit. The height is adjustable by means of the position of the bottom of the spring on the shock absorber.
These are fully adjustable and the ride height can be changed at any time.

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There are a few things to consider before making the decision of lowering your car.

Ride comfort. Whilst not unbearable, the ride on a lowered suspension is harder and noisier. You will soon learn to be on constant pothole watch.
Not too good if you've got a bad back.

Premature tyre wear. As the lower suspension arms on the puma are not adjustable, lowering the suspension inevitably increases the camber, and hence leads to increased wear in the inner edges of the front tyres.
This is more noticeable on larger wheels, as 17" wheels are wider than standard 15" wheels.

Insurance. It'll increase your premiums. Need I say more?

Resaleability: A modified car can be harder to sell on.
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Cherie
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Post by Cherie » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:02 pm

Also informative and helpful is a visual comparison. ;)
Dal wrote:Standard Cuirass, lowered and 17" wheel moondust:





Standard front clearance - 158mm



Lowered & 17s front clearance - 140mm
(17s add about 10mm height as they are 20mm larger in diameter)



Standard rear arch height - 655mm



Lowered & 17s rear arch height - 616mm



Standard front arch clearance with tape:



Standard rear arch clearance with tape:



Lowered & 17s front arch clearance with tape:
(had to lay it down as wasn't enough space)



Lowered & 17s rear arch clearance with tape:



Rear profile:



Standard profile:



Lowered & 17s profile:



Remember that having 17" wheels with tyres of 205/40/17 will add 20mm to the wheel diameter (std 195/50/15 = 576mm, 17" on 205/40/17 = 596mm) and so increases the ride height by 10mm. It'll look slightly lower on standard 15" alloys and tyres.
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Post by Cherie » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:02 pm

Dal wrote:
Image

By way of comparison and from left to right:

Black : Std 15" propellers, lowered about 35mm
Black : 15" alloys, not lowered
Silver: 17" alloys, lowered about 40mm
Cuirass : 17" alloys, lowered about 20-30mm
Yellow : 15" alloys, lowered about 35mm (coilovers so adjustable)
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