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97 Cobra - optimizing suspension at stock height

Discussion in 'SN95 Cobras' started by Tillerman77, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. Tillerman77

    Tillerman77 Active Member Established Member

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    I have done some searching to see if anyone has admitted to not lowering their Cobra, but wanting to improve the suspension. I haven't found anything yet, so I will ask here.

    Background - I have a stockish 97 Cobra (73K on the odometer) with original shocks, bushings and OE springs. It was missing the stock strut tower brace when purchased in late 2016, but I found a used brace and got it installed. The car is used for cruising with my wife and spirited drives on the twisties; no track or autocross. After doing some research, I bought an MM FLSFC this spring and had them welded in. Very noticeable improvement in ride quality and quieter, with less rattles. Next year, I am looking at new rear shocks & quad shocks. I am considering Bilstein HD or Koni SA. Whichever brand I go with, the plan is to do the matching front struts the year after. Time line is stretched out due to budget constraints. BTW, the rears come first, as I have been bottoming out the rear shocks more often than I would like.

    Beyond this, other modifications that I am considering over time are the MM solid rack bushings, MM 4 point K member brace and possibly a MM panhard bar.

    Anyone have thoughts or suggestions about Bilstein versus Koni SA with stock springs or my plans in general?
     
  2. Blown_By_You

    Blown_By_You Richard Head Established Member

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    I would not keep the stick springs and ride height. I have koni yellows. I wish I would have gotten bilsteins after the fact

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  3. biminiLX

    biminiLX never stock Established Member

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    Unless you have some terrible home entry curbs (even then I cut mine), I'd see no reason to keep terrible stock springs. Ride height from factory is terrible, and if you want soft springs, Maximum Motorsports can make you any springs you want.
    Just my opinion, ditch the stock springs.
    -J
     
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  4. Blown_By_You

    Blown_By_You Richard Head Established Member

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    My factory ride height lmao... 1af8ad8b93c4eac02d6daddd591485bb.jpg

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  5. 98 svt

    98 svt Premium Member Premium Member Established Member

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    As you mentioned, OP, the MM solid rack bushing are a great improvement over stock. It's a noticeable difference for sure. The MM panhard is very dramatic as well, thought it will cost you more $$$$. I say go for both.
    Another one to throw in the MM cart is the solid steering shaft. Not a big price tag but much improved steering, like the solid rack bushings. Pick up one along with the panhard and solid bushings.

    The K would be fantastic too I'm sure but trust me, it's about a $4k investment when it's all said and done with parts and labor.

    You could grab a MM Torque arm as well, when $$$ allows.
     
  6. Tillerman77

    Tillerman77 Active Member Established Member

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    Thanks. I like to do things in steps, partly due to budget constraints and partly because I like to feel the difference each change made. After reading many posts and reviews where folks said they had wished that they had done the FLSFC first before other suspension mods, I decided that would be my approach. Glad I did, because stiffening up the chassis was very noticeable. As good shock & struts are expensive, breaking it up over 2 seasons will allow me to do the rear end and allow for some money for the solid rack bushings. You are right about the solid steering shaft. I may tackle that in a future year. I am in no hurry to get it finished and want to enjoy driving it in between.

    For the other posters, thanks for writing. I will just say that I like the appearance of the car at stock height. These days, it is less common to see a stock height Cobra than a lowered one, at least in my region.
     
  7. 98 svt

    98 svt Premium Member Premium Member Established Member

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    Report back to this thread as you go along.
     
  8. Tillerman77

    Tillerman77 Active Member Established Member

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    I plan on it. No plans to do a new K member, just a 4 point K member brace.

    I co own this car with my adult son. Anything done, as noted earlier, will only support being lowered if he decides to at some future date. I am almost 64, while he is in his early 30s. He suggested we get a fun car together back in 2016, when he and his wife moved back to MN for new jobs about and hour and 20 minutes from where we live. He has a lot on his plate right now, between a new baby, going to school and a promotion at work. He told me I would be on my own with the Cobra for a while, both planning and $$, but that he trusted my research and decisions. At some future date, probably when I can't safely drive any more, he will get the car and be the primary custodian.
     
  9. 98 svt

    98 svt Premium Member Premium Member Established Member

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    Great story.
    May I suggest starting with your 4 point brace and the solid bushings? They are only $40 from MM and show a dramatic improvement.

    Then I would go with the steering shaft, followed by the Panhard Bar. PB would show the most improvement, it's just the most costly.

    Have you considered new lower control arms?
     
  10. Blown_By_You

    Blown_By_You Richard Head Established Member

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    Imo you'll notice the most improvement with shocks and springs. Everything else is subtle.. Start there.

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  11. 9397SVTs

    9397SVTs Well-Known Member Premium Member Established Member

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    It is amazing how much wheel well gap these cars came with from the factory. I can't imagine they designed that much body roll into the suspension. :)
     
  12. ZD302GT

    ZD302GT Zach Established Member

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    if you go bileteins i would recommend doing the MM coil over kit with 250lb springs. You will be able to keep the stock ride height and lose unsprung weight.

    The better positioning of the spring and the lower unsprung weight increases ride quality drastically. Putting coil overs in the front will also require caster camber plates that are stonger than stock.
     
  13. Tillerman77

    Tillerman77 Active Member Established Member

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    Actually, that is why I am leaning toward Bilsteins or MM Street dampers. Either one will work with front coil-overs, while the rear Bilsteins would need to be grooved for rear coil-overs, but the MM Street shocks are coil-over ready. To go back to my original post, I plan on leaving the stock springs for now, but down the road if my son wants to lower it, having it coil-over ready will give him a great option. Of course, if I run into a $$ windfall (unlikely, especially this close to retirement), I might do the coil-overs (and CC plates) during my custodianship of the car. I agree that coil-overs would be ideal for our situation, adjustable height, lower unsprung weight, and a big choice of springs/wheel rates.
     
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