October 19, 2017

Raceland Suspension Review, 1990 Mustang 5.0

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Raceland, it’s a brand name that’s sure to cause some serious cringing on the tuning community.  Any amount of research will yield negative review after negative review: “The ride is so bouncy” “those things will blow out in 500 miles” “Don’t put that crap on your car” “they’re only good for going extra low and nothing else”.  One thing I quickly realized is that while most of the reviews are negative, every single negative review came from someone who never owned a set of Racelands.  Reviews where I did manage to find a Raceland owner, were actually quite favorable.  I couldn’t find anyone complaining that their Racelands fell apart or failed after only a few miles, so I decided to purchase a set of these budget coil overs and see if they live up to the hype.

*If you don’t care about install details,how they work, or customer service or other details, skip down to the “HOW DO THEY RIDE” section.

Unboxing

Out of the box, the build quality seemed solid enough, they didn’t have the expensive feel like a set of BC’s or KW’s, however the look and feel was similar to that of a set of k-sport’s and other less than $1000 brands.  These coil overs come with helper springs mounted below the main spring. The helper spring keeps the main spring seated in place when fully lowered.  It allows the use of shorter main springs so that there is more ride height adjustability.  U.  The struts are non-adjustable, and the ride height is adjusted via locking collars that change the pre-load of the spring.  Other coil over kits allow ride height adjustment via a threaded sleeve that allows you to change the length of the strut without adding pre-load to the spring and without reducing shock travel.  On the Raceland suspension, ride height is adjusted by compressing the spring upwards.

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The standard kit comes with everything you see here minus the camber plates far right. These were the incorrect camber plates.

 

Install

For such a simple installation process, this install was a nightmare.  I don’t blame Raceland for my install troubles.  Do not attempt this install on a Fox body Mustang without an impact gun, you CANT do without it.  You should also know that if you plan to use camber plates, you must use the separate camber kit supplied by Raceland.  Once I received the Raceland’s camber kit, I discovered that the camber plates and mounts are very similar to any camber kit you would purchase for your year Mustang, the difference is that Raceland provides a different top bearing and spacer for the strut that allows the front coilovers to attach to the camber plates.  The reason for the special spacer and top bearing is that your the Raceland coilovers convert your Mustang’s front suspension to a McPherson style configuration, any camber plates you buy are set up to mate to an OEM style strut.  Before figuring out that there was a specific configuration to use camber plates, i had to contact Raceland support.  Customer service responded promptly to calls and e-mails and were very helpful.

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Standard bearing on the right. Designed to seat the bushing and oem top strut mount Updated bearing left, eliminates Bushing and top mount, adds a spacer and installs directly into the camber plate setup.
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Far right: raceland strut with OEM top mount and bushing partially installed, Note the position of the bearing below the strut mount. Left bottom: New bearings (inverted) and spacers. Left top: left and right Camber plates.

HOW DO THEY RIDE

I was blown away by the difference in handling i felt once  the car was back on the road.  There’s absolutely no comparison to the previous feel.  With the OEM setup, the 5.0 had more in common with it’s cousin, the Lincoln Town Car, the car attempted to float and wallow roll down the road, yet somehow still fail to absorb the shock of intermediate bumps in the road.  The OEM setup had NO confidence whatsoever in corners and got pretty sloppy when the tires broke loose.  Based on [inacurate] reviews, I was expecting a similar feel from the Racelands.  The Racelands turned out to provide a very firm and level ride.  The lofty Lincoln town car feeling was gone for good.  The car responded quickly and predictably in the corners, almost Go-Kart like.  It was very easy to read the level of grip at the tires and control when the rear end steps out Body roll is a thing of the past.  Initially, the ride was bone-shatteringly stiff, after a week or so of regular driving, the suspension has broken in to a much more friendly feel.  The settled suspension is still on the very stiff side, but manageable enough for daily driving if you don’t mind a firm ride, a bump in a hard corner wont send you flying off the road.  I read in several places that “racelands are great for getting low, but won’t win you any auto crosses, they’re too soft”.  Again, reading things like that make me skeptical on the validity of those comments,  Whoever would say that, has probably never driven on a set of Racelands.  The initial test was done with the coils set to their lowest possible ride height.  On the stock 16 inch wheels and slightly oversized tires, there was no rubbing or clearance issues.  Due to the design of the struts, Raising the ride height means compressing the springs upward. Due to the springs having a linear spring rate, changing the ride height has no effect on ride quality.

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Putting Racelands to the real world test on the broken streets of Washington D.C.

 

Further Mods

First off, every foxbody owner needs to stop what they are doing and get subframe connectors, right now! they cost about 60 bux, and install for about $100 at any welding shop,  Subframe connectors make a HUGE reduction in chassis flex and give a much more solid feel in cornering.  Next,  wheels and suspension usually come together in modding.  This setup includes staggered 17 inch by 9 and 10 with 255 wide fronts and 275 wide rears.  These are pretty much the widest wheel and tire you can put on a foxbody without major modifications.  In order to accommodate these tire sizes, all fenders were rolled as flat as possible.  Some people will remove the rear quad shock, but there’s just enough clearance in the rear to leave it as is.  Due to the width of the front tires, the turning angle is reduced, the tires will touch the inner fender at extreme angles.  This does not affect normal driving, but it makes parking in tight spots a little difficult.

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Stock suspension, wheels, and ride height
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Full Slammage on stockies

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Completed setup

 


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