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Make Driving Fun! How to Improve your Mustang with MM

Topic #2 from the "Make Driving Fun" series of MM newsletters.

Welcome to the second installment of our newsletter series. Our goal with this series is to present the information you need to transform your Mustang into a high-performance handling machine. If you missed it, make sure to read the first part ("Defining Good Handling"), it's posted on the MM website in the FAQs & Tech Tips section.

This week we present our guide to modifying your Mustang. Most people do this in stages, so just follow along here as we lay out our time-tested, engineer-recommended path to follow for the best (i.e., most fun!) results.

Deciding how to transform your Mustang can be super-confusing. The aftermarket performance industry provides countless choices, some of which are cheap copies of quality products. You might make just a handful of simple changes to your Mustang and be totally satisfied, or you can radically change your car, spending more than the price of a brand-new Mustang in the process. The range of choices in between is pretty much infinite.

Maximum Motorsports is here to help you make the right choices for your goals and your budget. Whether it's just one part or one of our monster Grip Boxes, we'll help you get your Mustang done right!

OK, here's what you do first.
Decide on a realistic goal by answering some basic questions: what level of performance do you want? What are you going to use the car for? Will it be a daily driver, a dual-purpose car, or a dedicated racer? What's your budget? Choosing your goal carefully will save you time and money. Once you've decided, you can move forward at whatever pace you want, but try to keep the steps logical, each building on the last.

MM recommends following this general order to upgrading your Mustang:
  1. Chassis stiffening
  2. Rear suspension
  3. Front suspension
  4. Fine-tuning with sway bars, brakes, steering components, etc.

There are always exceptions. Many people opt to lower their Mustang as one of their first modifications. That's perfectly fine. And the benefits of a coil-over suspension are so dramatic, we recommend making the conversion at almost any point. Talk about fun!

And now...a cautionary note about older cars: if your Mustang's over a few years old or has higher-than-average mileage, it's a good idea to bring it back to life by replacing worn-out suspension components first. Then you can start adding in high-performance parts based on a solid foundation. For instance, if your control arm bushings are worn out, replace them (or the entire control arm) before you make more significant performance upgrades, such as installing a coil-over conversion kit.

Next, get to know your options.
Without knowing what's possible, it's hard to start making your Mustang more fun. But fear not! MM is here for you. You can get a good idea of your options by reading our descriptions of the various MM Grip Boxes and packages below. When you find a few things you want to start out with, read more about them on our website, and follow the link trails to other parts that might help with your project. If you have questions, just email or call our Technical Staff. We're great at helping our customers with these projects!

The Grip Boxes
"Grip in a Box" is much more than our advertising slogan. For over 20 years, Maximum Motorsports has engineered complete suspension systems to improve Mustangs' handling performance. When it comes to suspension, boosting performance really comes down to increasing the tire's grip on the pavement. Grip Boxes put into one box all the parts you need for a suspension project. (Well, for shipping some packages do require more than one box.)

While some of our customers choose a standard Grip Box, for most we create a package customized just for them. The ability to make unlimited product substitutions lets our Tech Associates put together packages of parts to suit you and your specific situation. You get the performance advantage of a Grip Box that's customized just for you. All parts are also available separately.

The Starter Box
The first thing we usually hear from the owner of a newly acquired Mustang is that they want to lower their new ride. While throwing in a set of lowering springs might seem to be the answer, there's much more to lowering a Mustang than it seems.

Properly lowering your Mustang first requires a quality set of springs. Since all lowering springs also have a higher spring rate than stock springs, you'll want a matched set of struts and shocks to maintain good ride quality and ensure great performance. While the springs are going in, you're sure to find the spring isolators need replacement. And any lowered Mustang will require a set of MM caster camber plates to set the alignment back to specification. Sigh. Yes, it's a bit of project creep, but as long as you're in there anyway, we highly recommend doing the job right. You'll be much happier in the long run! Take it from those who know —trying shortcuts when setting up your Mustang often comes back to bite you in the fender.

The Starter Box fulfills all those requirements and more. You'll experience a significant improvement in handling, with reduced brake dive and body roll. The ride quality will be firm, as a performance car should feel, but not overly harsh. The Starter Box is an excellent foundation for future modifications, and is at the heart of the MM Road & Track Box.

The Road & Track Box
This version of our Grip Box retains the stock design, but has parts that provide higher performance. Suspension geometry remains stock, springs stay in the stock location, and there's no added torque-arm. This upgrade provides great performance while retaining ride quality suitable for daily driving. Put it this way: you can still enjoy a nice cup of coffee on the way to work at this level. Excellent for canyon carving, autocrossing, track days, and daily commuting.

The Road & Track Box has all the basics: chassis stiffening, higher-rate springs with matching dampers, caster camber plates, improved rear control arms, plus a Panhard bar, and much more. The difference in performance from a stock suspension is amazing.

The Road & Track Box can be optioned up for even better performance. Upgrades such as coil-overs and a torque-arm draw from our top-level Maximum Grip Box and take the performance of the Road & Track Box a good deal higher, splitting the gap to the Maximum Grip Box.

The Maximum Grip Box
World-class handling is the hallmark of the Maximum Grip Box. Now you're really not kidding around. We originally developed this quantum leap forward in technology for street-driven Mustangs, yet with only a few minor part substitutions it's used on many winning racecars.

The Maximum Grip Box will completely transform the way your Mustang handles. This comprehensive, customized package provides everything you need to make your Mustang reach its full handling potential. It stiffens the chassis, upgrades both front and rear suspension designs, and features adjustable components so you can tune handling characteristics however you want. The carefully matched parts in the Maximum Grip Box will turn your Mustang into a top-level performance car. You won't believe how well it works. Our customers say it's like magic, so good luck keeping up with it!

So Get a Grip (Box)
All MM Grip Boxes can be customized to accomplish exactly what you want. In fact, it's extremely rare for us to ship out a Grip Box that hasn't been customized. MM's experienced and dedicated Tech Associates are here to help you choose the right parts to make your Mustang ideal for your exact situation and driving style. All of them are either racers or "spirited driving" enthusiasts or both.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for next week's exciting topic, and the first on your to-do list after fixing broken stuff: "Good Handling Is Fun: Make Sure Your Chassis Can Take It!"