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I have read that anything short of a custom suspension will harm the car’s handling capabilities, and that if I really want it lowered for aesthetics to just buy lowering springs to save money.

I have also read reviews about coilovers saying they improved the car’s handling, contradictory to the threads I have read. Could anyone offer any light on the topic? I want to lower the car and run Konig Dekagrams but will either stay with stock suspension or just lowering springs if touching the suspension in any way will harm the car’s handling.


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You have to be more specific about what you mean by "harm" the car's handling.

Suspension geometry takes into account weight, body roll/lean, stock wheels and tires, and more. If the coilovers are developed based on solid R&D, then it won't "harm" anything. There are some compromises to lowering springs and coilovers so you have to decide which compromises you are willing to live with based on what you're trying to achieve.

I would avoid low end brands like Megan Racing and Ksport, that just package something to bolt on your car without the same level of R&D. Tri-Point Engineering (formerly a Mazda sponsored GT team) put Ksport coilovers on a shock dyno and found that you don't get the advertised rate on all 4 shocks (inconsistent quality assurance), and they are wildly inconsistent at maintaining dampening forces at the limits.

Eibach has 2 main lines of lowering springs. Their entry level line called PRO-KIT actually has the same spring rates as OEM, but are lowered about an inch or less. So you don't have to compromise on ride quality that you might get with a stiffer spring if all you want is the look.

If you need extra clearance because of your wheels, many aftermarket coilover systems have much narrower springs so you might be able to take advantage of that.
 

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You have to be more specific about what you mean by "harm" the car's handling.

Suspension geometry takes into account weight, body roll/lean, stock wheels and tires, and more. If the coilovers are developed based on solid R&D, then it won't "harm" anything. There are some compromises to lowering springs and coilovers so you have to decide which compromises you are willing to live with based on what you're trying to achieve.

I would avoid low end brands like Megan Racing and Ksport, that just package something to bolt on your car without the same level of R&D. Tri-Point Engineering (formerly a Mazda sponsored GT team) put Ksport coilovers on a shock dyno and found that you don't get the advertised rate on all 4 shocks (inconsistent quality assurance), and they are wildly inconsistent at maintaining dampening forces at the limits.

Eibach has 2 main lines of lowering springs. Their entry level line called PRO-KIT actually has the same spring rates as OEM, but are lowered about an inch or less. So you don't have to compromise on ride quality that you might get with a stiffer spring if all you want is the look.

If you need extra clearance because of your wheels, many aftermarket coilover systems have much narrower springs so you might be able to take advantage of that.

I had fitted H & R coilovers all round to my car. The ride is lower but no rubbing. Ride is a little more harsh than stock, but it does make the car handle a lot better with NO roll in corners and no squatting or diving when accelerating or braking. Very well made product and I'm happy.
 

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Believe it or not, body roll means grip. What is known as a neutral suspension means all 4 tires make contact with the road. I would be suspect of a suspension that has "NO roll." The Fiesta ST is already notorious for dog legging or 3 wheeling (where 1 wheel lifts off the ground) in a fast corner. It may look cool in the Top Gear videos but you lose 25% of your stability.
 
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