The Necessity of Aftermarket Shocks / Struts

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 by Marshall Wisler
Since their inception into the market, the 2011 Mustang GT and the 5th Generation 2010+ Camaro have attracted much attention, and I must note I too fell prey to their new designs.

In February, I took ownership of a 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 6-speed. The only options on my car were the Brembo performance brake and wheel package and the 3.73 rear gears. I wanted the fastest base Mustang GT I could buy, but yet even that was not without room for improvement.

My first step toward correcting the lackluster steering response and turn-in feel was to replace the spring and strut / shock assemblies. My components of choice were the off-the-shelf 2011 Mustang GT Eibach Pro-Kit Spring Set and a set of 2010 Mustang GT model Bilstein struts and shocks. Although Bilstein does not yet have a 2011 Mustang GT specific fitment at this time, the use of 2005-2010 Ford Racing strut mounts and the 2010 model Bilstein struts allowed me to successfully use the components. For a more plug and play application and a user friendly guaranteed fitment, consumers can purchase the matching Eibach Pro-Damper Kit which is specifically tuned for Eibach springs on the 2011 models and bolts up without any modification to the strut mount units.

Strut Rod Diameter
Although the Eibach springs are not the stiffest available, their progressive rate is far beyond the factory rate of 150lbs/in. For that reason, it is important to increase the compression and rebound rates of the shock assemblies, not only to increase the life of the shock, but also to increase performance while cornering, and reduce unfavorable motion on transitions and rough surfaces.

At left is a picture of the factory 2011 Mustang GT front strut and its Bilstein rival. The differences in shaft size should be obvious. Upon installing this aftermarket suspension package, my 2011 GT feels like an entirely new car. It doesn't exhibit the floating feeling associated with the stock pieces, and generally feels firmer and more responsive. The steering inputs are met with crisp turn-in and the car behaves very neutral at the limit, which left me quite surprised.

For questions on suspension and more, contact one of our sales specialists.

Comments on The Necessity of Aftermarket Shocks / Struts

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 by Joshua Pacada:
Have a 2011 GT 5.0 also and looking at either the Koni Yellows vs the Bilstein HDs

Any reason why you chose the Bilsteins? Thanks!
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 by Marshall @ Tire Rack:
Joshua,
At the time the Koni's were on a national backorder. In addition, I was looking for a firmer ride and certianly found it with the thicker less passive monotube Bilstein's. Both options are excellent choices though. While the twin-tube Koni's may be a tad softer than a monotube shock they do also offer adjustment and are a great performance offering.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 by Bob:
I have the 2011 with the brembo package. I do have to say it handles really well, but I hate the ride. I feel every imperfection on the road, and it can be a little bouncy at times as well. Is there anything I can do to improve the ride?
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 by Marshall @ Tire Rack:
Bob,
Switching to an aftermarket stiffer suspension will only build upon this problem. Your only real option to increase ride comfort is to ditch the 19" wheels in favor of an 18". While this can be done, it is not common, as not many 18" wheels offered clear the Brembo brakes.

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