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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy. Looking for ideas on upgrading the stock suspension of my 99 V6. Not looking to drop it like a lot of you guys do, 1" would be more than enough. Definitely wanting to improve the ride and handling from stock struts with 60K on them, they're toast. It's my daily driver (only car) and I'm 41 years old, so ultimate handling isn't the goal it would have been a few years ago. I'm mostly just wanting to get some of the slop out of it and keep the tires planted on bumpy roads without things getting bouncy or harsh. I'm thinking more along the lines of a stock 3-series BMW than a tuner car, high quality OEM vs. full-on sports car.

Any ideas would be appreciated, thanks!

Kevin
 
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Discussion Starter #2
well your going to need new struts soon after you get lowering springs... id say go with eibach springs.
 

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i think for a medium kinda suspension some eibachs with OEM or KYB's would be pretty cool :thumbsup:
 
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Thanks! Are Eibach's softer than BAT's? I had bad luck with KYB's on another car, and the OEM struts never had any grip on bumpy roads. How soft are Koni's when they're dialed all the way out? I don't mind spending money I just want the car to work as well as it can. Anybody here running the BAT kit? The CEG guys seem to like them.

Kevin
 

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My roush are great for everyday, and theyre a linear spring rate. Eibachs would be even more comfortable. B&G lower nicely but may be fairly stiff... On the strut side, ive had ST200 and didnt think too highly of them. I got Bilstein struts and they proverbially knock my socks off.
 

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Personally, I love my eibach/Koni setup. With the adjustable rebound on the struts you can make for a ride that will suit your tastes, or you can tighten adjust them for better performance but decreased overall "comfort". The eibachs are nice in that they are a progressive rate spring. They arent overly stiff in normal driving contitions, and wont break your spine over long road trips.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
my Daily driver setup is B+G springs, KYB struts, 21mm rear sway bar, and cant forget my 18s with Nitto Rubbers. Cant beat the ride for the money
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Originally posted by: Mtang4life
Personally, I love my eibach/Koni setup. With the adjustable rebound on the struts you can make for a ride that will suit your tastes, or you can tighten adjust them for better performance but decreased overall "comfort". The eibachs are nice in that they are a progressive rate spring. They arent overly stiff in normal driving contitions, and wont break your spine over long road trips.
That the sort of thing I'm looking for. Where do you have your Koni's set, full soft? Do you have to remove the strut to adjust them? What sort of roads do you drive on - I'm in LA so I'm in urban jungle most of the time, canyons much of the time, and long road trips in between.

Thanks again for everyone's ideas, it really helps!

Kevin
 

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I live in Illinois, and I feel our roads aren't kept up that well. Lots of pot holes and buckled expansion joints. I do mostly "city" driving with infrequent highway trips. I have no complaints about ride harshness. That is unless the struts (especially the rear it seems) are mostly, or all the way stiff. Then the ride comfort will definatly suffer. The struts are adjustable by turning a fitting at the top of the strut. Its kind of a PITA for the rears, but the front is very easy. I usualy run about 2/3 of the way stiff in front and half in the rear. When I first got the struts I ran full soft all the way around, and they gavea nice ride. I really dont think it is possible to be unhappy with the Koni's unless a full blown race piece is what you are looking for.

Im sorry to the fans of KYB's but I feel they are a glorified version of stock struts. Their product line (for all cars) seems to be almost identical to stock "feel". I have installed and driven quite a few cars equipped with them. I have never been impressed. They also dont seem to hold up very well with milage. My opinion is that spending money on them is a waste when for a few dollars more you could get a set of Koni's or bilsteins. I would love to drive a cougar with those as I have been very impressed with their VW applications (from a performance and not nececarily ride-comfort standpoint).
 

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Originally posted by: KWSmith
Thanks! Are Eibach's softer than BAT's? I had bad luck with KYB's on another car, and the OEM struts never had any grip on bumpy roads. How soft are Koni's when they're dialed all the way out? I don't mind spending money I just want the car to work as well as it can. Anybody here running the BAT kit? The CEG guys seem to like them.

Kevin

Hey Kevin,

I have the BAT Euro Handling Kit, and can't say enough good things about it. As the catalogue says, "no loose fillings here". That said, the car handles amazingly well and is quite taught. Not nearly as hard a ride as my old 5.0 with Eibach's in it though. I think that is due to spring technology and product offering 15 years later than the manufacturer though. When the light back end of that car went over little bumps, it would go BANG! BANG! Not fun....

The BAT Kit is excellent in that it's properly tuned for our cars, and a matched kit. When I spoke to the guy at BAT, I was very impressed with his knowledge of not only the product, but of the entire testing / selection / specification process for their package. BAT kit + sticky tires, and you will have amazing handling. Literally one week after installing the BAT kit, and 17" wheels (15lbs Konigs), with Nitto tires (very nice), the setup literally saved my life. The emergency move I had to make?? Crazy.. and the fact that the car had perfect control when I asked it to do something RETARDED... I wouldn't own another car without doing suspension. The Cougar is not the fastest car, but you can make it handle like a DREAM for little outlay of cash.

FYI, the ride harshness that it DOES have was significantly reduced when I put on snow tires. Keep that in mind if you upgrade your wheels. Don't go for overly large wheels with very low profile tires with stiff sidewalls, or every little bump gets transmitted.

Last thought.. If you go BAT or Eibach, you will be very impressed (we all are). But like Mtang said, avoid KYB struts if you're going for a stiffer springs. They can't handle the rates, and even if they can initially, they wear prematurely by trying to handle the springs.

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.

Massiv.

P.S. Final thought here... If you buy from BAT, these guys are SUPER knowledgeable, and very professional, and will support you. If you buy Eibach + struts from a reseller... you will have very little to zero product support or knowledge behind it.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Cool, thanks. I haven't spoken to BAT about it yet but will next week. They sell Koni's too so I'll see what they say.

I still have the stock alloys on my car, but with 225/50 Bridgestone S-03 tires. If I ever change the wheels I'll stick with 16's, I actually like having some sidewall between me and the road. The S-03's have terrific grip and ride smooth, better in every respect than the Goodrich KDW's I had before.

Kevin
 
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Discussion Starter #12
So I got the BAT kit. It's really, really good! Handling and control are everything I expected, it solved -everything- I didn't like about the stock suspension tuning. Ride quality is mysteriously unchanged and even improved on most surfaces, though it's slightly bumpier at low speeds on some. Very slightly. Ride and handling on undulating pavement over 30-40mph is much better, the car doesn't bound and leap like it used to. Dive and squat is pretty much gone and it corner much much flatter and it has MUCH better traction over choppy/eroded surfaces.

Whoever sorted this package out really knows what they're doing! It's lower without being silly, similar in terms of ground clearance and wheel gap to newer Audi's and BMW's. It looks better without looking "trick," and the ride and handling are elevated without any comprimises to comfort or usability at all. Ford should have shipped them like this. I'm -extremely- happy with what they accomplished here, and highly recommend it for anyone looking to improve their Cougar who uses it as their daily driver and isn't interested in poseur points. It's a well engineered package that does exactly what they say it will.

Know all I need to figure out is how to make the car steer better. There's always been a bit of a disconnect between input and response with this car, which is actually a bit more apparent now that the slack is out of the suspension tuning. Any ideas?

Thanks again for everybody's input, it's really appreciated!

Kevin
 

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Hey!

Glad to hear you went the BAT route, and had the *exact* same result I did! Absolutely loved the kit... not sure if you spoke to one of the tech guys there, but they came across as extremely knowledgeable.

As for steering response, two things which made a signficant difference to me:

The first, and greatest differentiator of all was wheels and tires. I did a +1 sizing, meaning I went up to a 17" rim, running 225/45/17 vs. stock 215/50/16. Trading a little aluminum for rubber, and putting great tires on it made a LOT of different. The caveat is that as you go with a short/stiffer sidewall, you start to compromise ride quality (the little bumps get transmitted easier). This mod however changed it from cruiser, to carver for me. Beautiful steering feel, in combo with the BAT kit. Still a little numb in the right on-center part though. oh yeah... if you go +2, or even +3, (so 18" or 19" wheels, with correspondingly LESS sidewall), you will skew that comfort vs. performance balance even more.

Second thing, which I did recently, got rid of that little numb bit at the center. That was the 21mm rear BAT sway bar. Inexpensive, and cinch to install. It made up for a significant amount of the lolling around that the car is doing now that is in snow tires (not much longer!). I can't really see a trade-off here in ride comfort. I was very suprised that it tightened the snow-tire footing right up, and can't wait to see how it will play out with my summer alloys and tires!

So, for a less expensive, yet very effective approach, without sacrificing ride quality, I would give the BAT 21mm rear sway bar a shot. If you want, you could take it further with wheels and tires.

Here's a link on the swaybar install overview, some tips, and the results I experienced when I first put it in there. Very pleased. Here.

Here's a link to the squeaking issue I now have due to the new bushings, and how to correct it. Obviously, put the teflon tape or lube in ON install, not after! :biggrin: Here.

Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions...

Massiv.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
I'm pretty sure it isn't the tire size, I just think they dropped the ball in development. Some of the reviews in '99 mentioned what I feel - it's one of those cars where you put in a steering input, wait to see what the car does, then correct. Not much in the way of on-center feel, either. My previous car was a 96 Neon which wasn't like this at all, even with it's horrible stock 65 series tires. I'm wondering if a strut brace would help the steering, or maybe firmer control arm bushings. BTW, my 225/50-16 tires used to rub in parking lots but not anymore. Strange, but a nice side effect.

The rear sway bar is definitely next though. I didn't need it with the stock suspension but now that my corner entry speeds are so much higher it's really pushing now in low speed corners. I haven't had it at high speeds yet though, did you lose any stability in 80mph curves? Most FWD cars need to push at slow speeds to be stable at high speeds, so I'm a little nervous about uprating the rear bar.

Now that I've lived with the BAT kit for a few days I'm completely blown away with how good it is. The only thing I might have done differently is a touch more rebound damping in the rears, but they probably had to comprimise that for better traction on choppy surfaces. Can't really complain though, it has -by far- the best combination of ride and handling I've ever experienced from an aftermarket setup. Myself and people I know have run Koni, Bilstein, Eibach, Tokico, H&R etc. in a number of cars over the years but this is the best. The worst was the Bilstein/Eibach setup in my friend's GTI - it handled great but it was so harsh that the interior came unglued. Dozens of rattles and very uncomfortable.
 

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lol this sounds like a commercial
 

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blah blah blah. i bagged my daily driver. but if you want the cheaper approach go with the BAT kit. its awesome.
:banana:
 

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Originally posted by: KWSmith

The rear sway bar is definitely next though. I didn't need it with the stock suspension but now that my corner entry speeds are so much higher it's really pushing now in low speed corners. I haven't had it at high speeds yet though, did you lose any stability in 80mph curves? Most FWD cars need to push at slow speeds to be stable at high speeds, so I'm a little nervous about uprating the rear bar.
Hey.... I have pushed the car through some corners, but remember -- I'm on snows. With BAT kit, but pre-sway bar, the car still slides in a very neutral and predictable fashion. Only yesterday (with bar) I finally saw a bit of oversteer in a corner when I went through a highway off-ramp at very high speeds, and someone stopped somewhere up ahead of me as there was a car stalled on the ramp. That was under hard braking conditions while turning, but it was easily manageable. It has been the only time I've been able to make the rear step out at all thus far. Still, am very impressed with the correction in terms of steering input = GO NOW vs. before.

That said, keep in mind many people are running a 24mm rear sway bar. By comparison, the BAT bar (or other 21mm bars) are complementing the handling without making it dangerous.

Massiv.

P.S. Maybe some people running the 24mm "Aussie" bar will chime in here.
 

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I've got the 24mm bar with ST200 struts and Roush springs. It is a hollow bar, so it is not much stiffer than the 21mm bar but it is a bit lighter. In fast transitions (slaloms) or when braking during hard cornering it will oversteer some. While I can get the rear to come out easier, the car still tends to understeer in most situations and the trasition into oversteer is rather gradual and easy to catch.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks, guys. My autocross days are behind me so I'm gonna get the 21mm. It really needs it - the BAT kit, nice as it is, definitely made it understeer more.

BTW, I also got their brake service kit. It uses Mintex pads which I don't recommend! I drove a few hundred miles through the mountains yesterday and smoked the brakes a few times.

Kevin
 

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Hey Kevin,

Which Mintex pads did you get from them? I saw two on their site... a regular one, and then some higher-performance pads that had a number instead of a name or something. I had someone else tell me they bought the mintex pads and hated them... I think they were the lower end ones. I haven't tried either...

Massiv.
 
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