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Who’s Up for a Challenge?

TECH

By Ariah Richardson

Putting the Pedders Extreme XA Coilover System to the Test

 

 

When searching for a coilover system, there can be a lot of difficulty on deciding which brand to go with.  Though one brand that’s been making it’s way to the marketplace is Pedders -- and it’s not as if they’ve just arrived to the scene.  For nearly the past sixty-eight years they been providing performance suspensions for the Australian and European road racing scene and now are making their way onto the North American pavement.

 

So why not give them a try? The kits are priced at the decent level compared to others in with similar features, so this seemed to be a perfect brand to put to a test!  With that, our editor Adam reached out and made the arrangements and before I knew it, he and I were ready to get our suspension challenge underway.

 

 

 

THE CHALLENGE

Our idea was to compare the Pedders suspension to a factory Ford Performance Track Pack that was previously installed on our project S550 Mustang GT and we figured a good way to do this would be setting up a slalom course.  Next thing I knew, I was measuring out 50-foot markers for our 300-foot, 5-point slalom at the parking lot of our “Top Secret” test facility, otherwise known as the parking lot of Gateway Motorsports Park, in Madison, Illinois.

 

Armed with a stopwatch and flag, we timed out three initial runs through the course.  My goal was to take the best out of three runs with the Ford Track Pack, and after a few test runs to get the tires warm, we recorded the first run at 9.13 seconds.  The second pass was the quickest at 9 seconds , and the final past at 9.08 seconds.

 

 

Through the cones, I thought the car looked really loose, but Adam mentioned that; “Overall I felt the as if the performance of the suspension was great . . . but it was a little spongy in the front with “hiking-up” causing the car to want to lose grip and forcing me to shimmy around the last few cones.”  So with our first test done, we were off to the garage for the installation, which is the part I was looking forward too!

 

BACK TO THE GARAGE

The kit we installed is the Pedders Extreme XA, with the adjustable camber plates (as a separate option) which include the adjustable coilover front struts and ride height adjustment, plus coil pre-load adjustment, and adjustable height rear coil springs paired with adjustable height rear shocks and sway bar end links.

 

 

Overall the best feature that we both love is the thirty-way adjustable front strut and rear shock dampening.  In the price range of this kit, it’s one of the few that offer this, and a big reason for why we chose this kit!

 

The installation took us about 4 hours to get everything finished, including the ride height, and we did hit a few road block here and there, such as trying to figure out pre-load adjustments, along with other few small details.  Also, we found out that it was a real “pain in the butt” to raise the vehicle in the rear once the new adjustable coils were installed.  We had to again, unbolt the sub frame to relive the suspension tension.  But like every large project, there are always hurdles and we finally knocked them all out!

 

 

For the ride height, we set the car with a .75 inch drop in the front and .50 inch drop in the rear (Side note: this kit allows the car to be lowered all the way three inches down) along with the dampening was set to 22 clicks, just 8 clicks back from fully firm.  Lastly we took the car to a local Ford dealership to refine the camber and caster, in which the camber was set at -1.2 degrees and caster at -1 degree.

 

THE FINAL TEST

That's when the Missouri winter came . . . and from the time we performed the installation to our second test run we had been hit with a heavy dose of snow and sleet -- all I can say is that I was glad to see warm weather again for our second test!  When we arrived back to the lot, the skies where clear and the temperature was perfect at 70 degrees.  During the tire warm-up laps, I could already tell the car was running much better!

 

 

In fact -- it was.  I recorded the first pass at 8.35 seconds.  The second pass was 8.25 seconds and the final and fastest was 8.13 seconds.  This was almost an entire full second quicker than before!  I honestly think if we kept going, he could have broke into a 7 second range second pass.

 

During the wrap-up interview I wanted to know what the overall difference was like compared between the two because from the vantage point, it seemed like the car wasn’t diving as bad, and there was a lot less “lift” off the throttle to compensate for the previous, softer suspension. Overall, the Pedders kit came through and well still had 8 more clicks to add to the dampening!  I’d say that was a win for our test.

 

Though our challenge didn’t take place on a large road course, or use fancy gauges and NASA scientists, it was definitely enough to show us that there’s no substitute for years of performance development.  Also keep in mind that Pedders doesn’t just provide kits for the S550 Mustang, but they produce systems for nearly every major brand including BRZ models and Camaro's, so if you’re in the market place for a coilover suspension, look no further for a proven race system at a great price point!

 

 

Cheers!   - Ariah

 

 

 

 

 

 

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