Lower your Bullit, From mild to how low can you go? - IMBOC
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Post Lower your Bullit, From mild to how low can you go?

Dateline: Nobel, Ontario. Sunny -10C with -15C windchill. Welcome to Spring!
Last thread we talked about things you can do to your stock Bullit, and aside from wheels, tires, adjustable shocks and new gears you can do it all for a few hundred bucks. I suggest you do that first. And, if you still want to lower your car, here's the options. I'm going to do it in stages so you get an idea of what you are looking at money wise and unintended consequences wise. (FYI, a stock Bullit Mustang has about 4-5 inches suspension travel from full "droop" to Bump stop under compression.)
First a couple of cautions: Does your state or province allow you to lower your car? In Ontario, a new safety inspection process is in place and you basically have 1" variance allowed in stock ride height. What's your regulation?
***Do not cut springs to lower your car, ever!. It's not about ride height or spring rate, it's about overall length of the spring. Lots of people do it and they are taking chances. I have seen a car with cut springs hit a big bump, spring came out of the top spring pocket, cut down the tire, and you get the idea... Okay, that said, here we go.
Stage one: Springs only 1" drop. No real issues other than labour involved, springs ~$400+ labour and alignment (may need camber bolts) This is a "street drop" and should be fine for daily driving and cruising. Ford or Steeda sport springs work well, very little ride deterioration.
Stage two: Springs and Shocks 1" drop. Same as stage one but with matched shocks. ~$800+ +( some kits go to 1 1/2 drop, ask it's a big 1/2")
Stage three: Ford Performance handling pack 1-1/4" drop. This is a matched kit with shocks, springs, sway bars (Fr. adj.), adj. panhard bar, and bumpers/hardware. 2001 Bullit, $1449, $1799 w/adj shocks , 2008 Bullit, $1895, $2350 w/adj. shocks. (Shouldn't need camber bolts but maybe bump steer kit? ~$200) + installation/alignment, of course. There are other companies that make these kits but I know these work and the ride is OK. This is a good set up in that you are adding adjustability and everything is designed to work together. A good all round set up for street and track. Pay the extra for the adjustable shocks, you won't be sorry.
Stage four: Track and street 1- 1/2" + drop. Maximum Motorsports makes a total package that gives you what's in the FP packages plus shock tower brace (01) frame stiffeners, and a bunch of other stuff. $2600-$3000+ This is a great package, and now you are entering competition and occasional street use territory. Once you lower more than 1 1/4-1 1/2 " you are rubbing curbs and your oil pan will need protection. These packages often include camber plates, and lower control arms to correct geometry. Ride is not "street pleasant."
Stage five: 0-2 1/4" drop. Coil over Shock package set up. This costs the most money but allows for the most adjustability. We're talking adjustable ride height (you can corner balance) adjustable shocks, room for bigger wheels and tires (using smaller diam. springs) Adjustable sway bars, end links etc, etc. $3500-4000+. Nice thing is you can have two sets of springs and have a street set up and a track set up. Mark all your ride heights and alignment adjustments and you can switch back and forth in a few hours. This is the "Bullit" of Bullit set ups. There is a fairly long learning curve to optimize all of it, but for a racer or total track rat, it's the way to go. Springs are only about $50 ea. so you can really dial your car in for whatever use you have in mind. For the Trans Am car we had about 40 springs. You may require rack limiters with big tires and you have to watch for brake hoses being too short. Once you get to stage 4, "Mister unintended consequences" is sure to come knocking." Hope all this helps to point you in the right direction, or just be happy with what you've got.
PS Bump steer tie rod ends are made with hiem joints, they can be noisy and are a service item, as they are an open joint.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 04:24 PM
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Again, all good info.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Paul. I appreciate your comments.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 06:53 PM
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Kudo's to Pat for all of his write-ups. Comprehensive stuff that takes time and effort to put together in a cohesive narrative. Thanks for taking the time Pat!!!!!!!!!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 06:56 PM
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In fact, I move to have all of them put as sticky's in the "The Garage" section, sub section, "Shady Tree" so anyone can find them easily. Any seconds?

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"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him had better take a closer look at the U.S. Native-American Indian."



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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 07:28 PM
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On the stage three (Ford Racing FR3A kit):

No camber bolts necessary! If you look at the struts (and instructions) there are marks on the struts to increase the adjustability (aka "don't grind past here"). The shop I took my car to wanted to use camber bolts because it was easier, but I insisted they use the bolts I gave them (new ones from the kit also known as "crash bolts"). The aftermarket camber bolts are significantly smaller and have an oblong section in them to increase adjustability. In my book, that's a bad idea. Not only is there less shear strength from the decrease in area and the stress risers from the shape change, but it also can't produce the same clamping force as the crash bolts. It's maybe fine if you're just putting around, but they're far likelier to snap if you hit something or loosen up because of inadequate clamping force. I would only use them as a last resort.

Bump steer kit may help a bit, but not necessary. I haven't noticed any adverse affects. An increase in driver skill makes more of a difference in lap times (which is actually the case for most anything you do).

One other thing I did was a LCA (Lower Control Arm) relocation kit. I used the Boss 302S kit (M-5650-A). It can be either bolted in or welded (I did both). It helps maintain geometry so your differential is pushing the car forward (or slightly upward, depending on mounting position) instead of into the ground.

As mentioned, the adjustable shocks/struts really are nice. I use different settings depending on what I'm doing. If you turn wrenches very much, this kit is a pretty easy install. The struts come preassembled and the rear springs can be completely unloaded once the shocks are removed.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Good info Steve. I prefer the crash bolts. I was writing assuming that some people have already done the camber bolts, but those others can be used as an upgrade. Apparently, there are even better bolts with fine thread that can be torqued to over 150 ft/lbs. The lower control arm upgrade is included with the MMS kit, I believe?
Meant to also say that by correcting the geometry with the LC-arms you didn't need the bump steer kits. I actually don't like them and have only used them when a car won't behave without them.
Glad you like the FP kit, I've done quite a few over the years, and they continue to upgrade, now adding the adj. panhard!

And thanks Tim for the "Pat" on the back. Appreciated.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bullit4404 View Post
Meant to also say that by correcting the geometry with the LC-arms you didn't need the bump steer kits. I actually don't like them and have only used them when a car won't behave without them.
Glad you like the FP kit, I've done quite a few over the years, and they continue to upgrade, now adding the adj. panhard!
The lower control arm kit is actually for the rear suspension. My front LCA's are still stock until the ball joints go bad, then I'll switch to the GT500 units. My kit was new enough ('14 if I remember right) that it has the adjustable panhard bar rather than the (useless to me since my car already has it) strut tower brace.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Steve
Then you'll really like the M-3075-E arms when you get them. Actually your rear control arm upgrade may have helped the front end as well. It's all connected. I did an S-550 a while back and found the rear sway bar bushings binding up. When I took them apart and lubed them up with syn. grease, the car turned much better. The induced pre load was holding the right rear down for a second on turn in to the right. Now I tell people to lube up those bushings, they can get real sticky front and rear. Enjoy your comments.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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