2018 Ford Mustang
2018 was a refresh year for the Ford Mustang, and there were a lot of changes. Right off the bat are fairly extensive changes to the front fascia. A lower hood streamlines the front end and thins out the headlight assemblies (all models sporting LEDs) and size of the grille. Under the hood, Ford dropped the V6 and now the 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder or the 5.0L Coyote V8 are the two engine options available, both of which are now sporting a combination port-and-direct-injection fuel system. Finally, transmitting power to the wheels is an improved 6-speed manual with dual-disc clutch, or an all-new 10-speed automatic that was co-developed with GM. Here are a few ideas on how to maximize all that engine power through a turn.
Change the Stance
One of the most popular modifications (and for good reason) an owner can do to their 2018 Mustang is to lower by replacing the factory springs with a set of lowering springs. Dropping an S550 an inch or two is a superb way to match the new streamlined fascia of the 2018 Mustang and make it look downright mean. On top of the more appealing look, lowering springs can lower the center of gravity, aiding the car through turns with better grip and less roll.
- 0.5-1": This level of drop will nicely close the gap between the top of the tire and the bottom of the fender. Drivers can expect a firmer ride (still remaining daily driver comfortable) and mildly better handling characteristics. The stock shock absorbers and steering geometry are still fine to use.
- 1-2": For those that want to most aggressive muscle car look, then using a 1.5-2" lowering kit is just what the doctor ordered. Body roll will be further reduced and the center of gravity lowered even more. At these levels, expect a significantly firmer ride and the need to proceed slowly over bumps and curbs. The factory shock absorbers ought to be changed as lowering the ride height this significantly requires a new shock that is optimized to work in this lowered range. Further, steering geometry will likely require adjustment through caster/camber plates.
Less Sway, More Play
Part of the changes made to the 2018 Mustang over the previous year were improved stabilizer bars. Even with the factory improvements, aftermarket sway bars can provide a massive change in how an S550 handles. First and foremost, the size of the sway bar is going to be an important factor in rigidity. A sway bar reduces body roll and weight transfer by acting as a tie between each side of the suspension system. As the Mustang enters a corner, the bar attempts to counteract suspension compression on the outer wheel and decompression on the inner, thereby limiting roll and keeping the car level through the turn. Bar size and thickness are related to its strength and rigidity, which help reduce weight transfer. Further, the bushings accompanying the bar also play an important role. A stiff bushing further reduces roll and improves handling, but at the cost of ride harshness. Most aftermarket sway bars utilize a polyurethane bushing, which is the perfect compromise between a soft rubber factory bushing and a harsh solid bushing. Finally, 2018 Mustang sway bar kits often advertise 2 or 3-way adjustability. What this means is that the bars actually have multiple mounting holes to pick from, and depending on which hole you use to bolt the bar to the car, will dictate the level of weight transfer. The different hole positions change the amount of leverage applied to the bar during a corner, and therefor changes how strongly the bar will react. The further back the mounting hole on the flange, the softer the bar will react.