Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsHow To Drivetrain
Installing Steeda Sway Bars and Koni Dampers for Livelier Handling
Point and Scoot
Performance has generally increased with each successive Mustang generation that rolls off the assembly line. Sure, the new cars are faster, but when it comes to the giggles-per-gallon quotient, it's still hard to beat a Fox-body Mustang. Low weight and tidy proportions make the 1979-1993 Mustang a hoot to drive, and their simplicity makes improvements straightforward and relatively inexpensive. On the Fox-body suspension tree, there's a lot of low-hanging fruit.
The Mustang specialists at Steeda Autosports have been making Fox-bodies faster since they were new. That's not to say Steeda rests on their laurels. The evolution of Steeda's products reflects the experience they've gained in their 30 years of business.
Using a Mustang already equipped with Steeda's G/Trac Stage 1 Suspension Kit, we wanted to take the Mustang one step further by installing Steeda's sway bars paired with tried-and-true Koni Sport adjustable struts and shocks.
Steeda's front sway bar is 1-3/8-inch diameter and features billet and welded sway bar ends, polyurethane pivot bushings, and new sway bar end link bushings. The Steeda front sway bar is 1/16-inch larger in diameter and 15% stiffer than the factory-installed bar on the 1985-1993 Mustang, yet the tubular design saves four pounds. The factory front sway bar end links on this Mustang were bent, we opted for a new set of new polyurethane sway bar end links. Furthermore, Steeda's lightweight front sway bar mounts replaced the flimsy stock pieces.
In theory, increasing the front sway bar rate increases understeer, which the Fox Mustang already has in spades. So, we chose Steeda's rear sway bar to balance the handling of this Mustang. Compared to the stock 13/16-inch rear bar, the Steeda rear sway bar measures 1-inch, making it significantly stiffer than the factory piece on this 1991 GT. This will help further reduce front-end plow from our Mustang. The Steeda Rear Sway Bar features thick billet steel ends that are welded to the bar. It's beefy. So beefy, in fact, that Steeda guarantees the bar from breakage for life.
To complement the newfound spring it this Mustang's step, we chose a set of Koni Sport adjustable struts and shocks. The Koni Sports are a proven upgrade to match higher spring and sway bar rates to make a Mustang corner flatter and faster. The Koni Sports are direct replacements for the factory struts and shocks on 1987-1993 Mustangs and feature a rebound damping adjustment.
Adjusting the rebound (extension) of the damper changes the rate of weight transfer around the chassis. Looser (less) rebound transfers weight faster, while tighter (more) rebound transfers weight more slowly. Generally speaking, rebound changes the balance of the chassis during transitions, while sway bars change the balance of the chassis in the middle of a corner. More rebound damping makes the car feel more "tied down," but too much will actually reduce cornering grip.
Installing the sway bars, struts, and shocks was pretty simple. With the new suspension bits, this 1991 Mustang GT was markedly more agile. After cranking the steering wheel, the chassis rolls less and feels more settled—especially with some rebound damping cranked into the Koni's. Even though the Mustang feels livelier, there wasn't any increase in ride harshness. In fact, wheel impacts (like potholes) were soaked up dramatically better than before, which we credit the Koni's refined high-speed compression damping as well as the new sway bar bushings and end links.
All in all, we were greatly impressed. Check out the following photos and captions for the details.
KONI North America