The Ultimate Guide to Updating Fox Body Mustang Suspension
The Ford Mustang Fox Body was produced from 1979 to 1993, a span of 14 years. These cars are small, lightweight and versatile. Whether you want to go drag racing, autocrossing, or road racing, they are an excellent platform. The Fox Body may not seem that old, but the last one rolled off the assembly line almost 30 years ago! That means your Foxbody could use some suspension upgrades. Instead of tackling it all at once, here’s a guide on how to upgrade your Fox Body Mustang suspension to get the most bang for the buck.
The first step is to perform a visual inspection. Remember, your Mustang is around three decades old, and a lot can happen in that time span. Especially if the car has been driven. Even if it hasn’t, things can dry out and crack, and an inspection shouldn’t be overlooked.
Put the car up on jack stands, pull off the wheels, and have a look. Grab parts and shake them - do they move when they shouldn’t? Look at the condition of the rubber parts to see if there’s any cracking or deterioration. Do you notice any metal wearing together where it shouldn’t?
Your first step should be replacing parts just to get it back to stock and safe to drive down the road.
Shocks and Coil Overs
One of the first places you should look at when upgrading Fox Body Mustang suspension is the shocks, struts, and coil-overs on the car. Updating this single item will significantly improve the car's ride and performance.
Coil-overs offer more than adjustable valving to tune your ride quality and performance. You can also adjust your ride height to get that perfect stance. With different springs to choose from, you can really customize the performance and tailor it to your plans.
Caster Camber Plates
When you’re driving your Fox Body Mustang aggressively, you’ll start to wear out parts. One great upgrade while you’re updating your struts to coil-overs is a set of QA1 Caster Camber Plates.
These plates are what the strut or coil-overs come through and mount to your chassis. The factory bushings wear out and become sloppy over time, keeping the alignment from being true. Our plates feature upgraded TIG welded construction with spherical bearings for the ultimate strength and durability.
These plates also allow for greater adjustment to dial in your perfect caster and camber combination. You’ll be able to run a more aggressive alignment than the stock mounts allow. Also, aligning the car after lowering the ride height will be much easier.
A quick upgrade that can make a huge impact is to replace the sway bars. Our tubular sway bars increase performance handling, which boils down to keeping your tires planted on the road.
Oftentimes, factory sway bars aren’t up to par with modern and aggressive driving. When you install stickier and wider tires, factory sway bars will have a hard time handling the extra loads. QA1’s sway bars have carefully selected bar sizes that are optimized for the Fox Body Mustang platform. The fronts are a beefy 1 ¼” diameter. A 1” rear bar provides a positive, balanced feel in the corners.
The next major upgrade to improve the handling of your Fox Body Mustang is to look at control arms. Factory control arms have rubber bushings that don’t handle the extra stresses on them and deflect. The arms themselves are heavy and made of weak stamped steel.
Tubular control arms are stronger and lighter than their factory counterparts. They have upgraded bushings and ball joints as well. In addition, we revise geometry issues to allow for greater camber and caster. What all this boils down to is that upgrading to tubular control arms is a huge improvement in the handling and safety of your Fox Body Mustang. The cherry on top is that they look so much better too!
The perfect complement to your new front control arms is to upgrade the rear trailing arms. The factory arms and bushings can bind and flex, which leads to unpredictable cornering or launching.
QA1 offers several different versions, from adjustable to non-adjustable or boxed to tubular. If you’re looking for a set-it-and-forget-it style, then a non-adjustable set of trailing arms is your style. Non-adjustable versions offer upgraded greaseable polyurethane bushings, which won’t bind or flex during those hard launches or cornering. Adjustable versions feature rod ends for the most precise ride possible.
Boxed or tubular really comes down to your preference of looks. Both are ultra-strong and can handle whatever horsepower you can throw at them - it really boils down to whatever you want to see when you look under your Stang.
Our last recommendation certainly isn’t the least important. In fact, the K-member is what ties everything together. While it might seem odd to replace it last, remember, we are trying to do this in steps for the best bang for the buck.
The factory K-member is stamped steel and, just like the control arms, can flex and lose the precise alignment. QA1 K-members are 50% lighter than a factory set up, and since they are made with tubular construction, they are stronger than a factory K-member as well.
One of the great things about the Fox Body Mustang is its versatility. We mentioned before how they can easily be built to any performance need, but they can also accept a multitude of engine options. We take the headache out of mounting those different engines by just swapping in different engine mounts to our K-member. In addition, transmission crossmembers can be found too for non-stock transmission options.
What this all means is that the K-member, especially when combined with the other suspension pieces, will offer more precise and predictable steering along with freeing up binding to allow the suspension to easily go through its range of motion. Plus, it’s lighter and stronger than factory - a win in our book!
If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a ring at (952) 985-5675 or shoot us an email.