Improving The Performance Of Your Vehicle With Suspension
There are many ways to modify your ride to improve the performance of the vehicle. These modifications can be done all throughout the vehicle from the engine to the drive train. In this article, we will be focusing on suspension modifications that will improve the comfort of the ride and the performance of the vehicle as it handles tight turns, and navigates poorly maintained roads. Modifying your suspension will give you the desired comfort you are searching for. We spoke to Pro 3 race car driver and head mechanic Kevin Doyle from KD Automotive in Redmond, Washington about modifying the suspension on daily drivers and he had this to share.
Suspension Cross Member
The suspension cross member gets installed between the front frame rails located underneath the vehicle just below the engine. The engine actually bolts to part of the K-Member. This cross member bar is an upgrade option for anyone wanting to smooth out their ride. Upgrading this component can improve performance for many reasons. First, the stock components are typically big heavy pieces of metal. You can upgrade to a lighter design that will improve your clearance under the hood and that will give you the opportunity to upgrade exhaust components and deeper oil pans.
The Control Arms
High-performance sports cars were once designed to function like a drag car. Straight lines of travel, and enough power to get you from destination A to B as fast as possible. Considering that was all they were looking to accomplish, they didn’t invest much time in energy in the design of the control arm. Nowadays, the designs are improved to increase overall performance. There are aftermarket products out there that have been designed to improve the performance of your vehicle. Upper and lower control arms for classic vehicles exist also. Some manufacturers have replicated original parts for classic cars for car owners wanting to restore the vehicle with classic components.
Modified Sway Bars
Sway bars are necessary for improving the cornering performance of your vehicle. Older cars weren’t equipped with them out of the factory, so for classic cars and hot rods, this will be a major suspension upgrade. Newer cars may have stock sway bars installed on them already, especially the higher end sports cars. The sway bar was designed to limit body roll in the vehicle as it’s taking corners. Upgrading and installing sway bars is a very affordable way to improve the performance of your vehicle. This modification will immediately improve the ride in your vehicle.
The Frame Connectors
Upgrading the frame connectors can improve many aspects of your vehicle suspension based performances. Installing Frame connectors can help reduce some of the Flex in your vehicle. When installing full frame it connects the frame rails together, it stabilizes the ride and improves the overall feel of the ride. The parts for this upgrade are affordable, but it’s a total time suck. If you have the time and desire to improve the driving experience you should consider installing frame connectors. The upgrade is solid and really improves the performance of your vehicle.
Leaf springs are on almost every vehicle. They have been around forever and are readily accessible. Aftermarket products are affordable and available. Leaf springs are limited in the value they provide but offer enough enhancements that they are worth the upgrade. If you are installing leaf springs you have the option to install above or below the Axel. An Axel over under modification is a way to give the vehicle more clearance and improve the overall feel of the ride. There are potential snags when modifying this, but nothing that can’t be worked around. If you experience axle wrap, you can install traction bars to resolve this. Traction bars are affordable and fairly simple to install, making it a great DIY project for vehicle owners.
You can also overcome axle wrap by installing ladder bars. The ladder bar is a great way to prevent the axle from moving to the point that it breaks traction. This upgrade requires a little more know-how than some of the other ones that were mentioned. Most often, this modification is done on high horsepower vehicles that are susceptible to wheel hop. This can also be a pricey upgrade and requires more knowledge of the process than installing traction bars.
Upgrading to high-performance shocks is a great way to get immediate results. Shocks can be expensive especially when purchasing higher-end products. Quality suspension components can really change the driving experience and are typically noticed immediately. Improving this component will give you maximum traction and improve the drivability of the car especially on corners and turns. Depending on what you decide to buy, the costs could range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. It’s a good idea to do thorough research before making a purchasing decision.
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