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Discussion Starter #1
I have the 30th Anniversary Edition 1997 Cougar in my signature, and it has the Sport suspension and 4.6L engine. 46K miles and counting ;)

I know the Sport suspension had different struts and shocks, and the fronts need replacing, they're leaking. The rears I replaced a few years ago with Konis, but in my opinion, they are way too soft compared to the stock setup.

I'm not looking to replace the front springs, but if I have to, I have to, to get the right parts. I rebuilt the front and rear suspension a few years back, and it's 100% in all respects, it's just the stock shocks/struts that need replacing.

My daughter is now driving it, so "performance" isn't as much of a concern, but I want the car to be "original" in terms of it's handling and feel because both my wife and I are very used to the way it drives and love it just the way it is (was).

Does anyone have an idea of what struts and shocks I can use to get this thing back to the original "stock" Sport suspension? I know Bilstein and others exist, but are they any stiffer than say the original "regular" suspension parts?

Thanks!
art k.
 

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Hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are no performance pieces available these days. Your choices are $800 for a coil-over setup or a standard shock. As old as our cars are now you may be happy with a top of the line product from Monroe, etc. The socks lost a lot of their performance years ago, so you may not notice the difference?

And believe me we are all looking for good options right now!
 

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I have a set of NIB Sport shocks; I'd part with them, but the $800 shocks from SCP would be cheaper, lol.

The konis adjust, so I can't see how they could be softer than the originals.
I'm rocking a set on one car, and adjusted all the way up, they're harsh.

We're working on a substitute; unfortunately, the easily available options are gone.

See this thread:

https://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspension/171601-my-second-mod-suspension-rebuild.html

And this thread:

https://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspension/145139-so-i-wanted-coil-overs-front.html

The rear shocks are easier to find, the Mustang IRS shocks fit:

99-04 Cobra with independent Rear Suspension

Last I checked, both the Koni and Bilsteins were available.
 

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We have a 97 Sport...and owned it since we special ordered it new....You have options..... I have run KYB excel-g's since the car was about 2 years old....they just got tired last year...the rears are still going fine.....I ordered new KYB Excel-g struts & new upper mounts (CarID had the best pricing BTW) and went to a alignment/suspension shop who charged me $30 each to swap the front springs out.

The aftermarket springs...well, there isn't a one that matches the ride, performance, etc. of the oem sport springs...those that have tried, well, they either are too soft or ride like a track only car....neither of which is good for comfort or safety. ...IMHO
 

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The Vogtland springs are pretty good, I have enjoyed them and the car handles a lot better than the stock LX suspension.

Al
 

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As for best OEM type feel, I'm going to say to go with either KYB Excel-G or Gabriel Ultra shocks. You're accomplishing two things this way:

1. You're not messing with anything / not needing custom stuff
2. You're minimizing the number of things you're touching

In regards to point 2, these are 22yr old cars at the youngest end. Rubber bits will be delicate matter and touching it will likely mean replacing it.

Other info provided here is already solid :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the replies...

Anyone got a part # for the front Koni adjustables? Koni's catalog doesn't list the 1997 Thunderbird any more - maybe I can find some left over somewhere. (and yeah, I learned a while back to search for Thunderbird parts instead of Mercury Cougar).

And thanks for the advice on working on old cars ;) - When I redid the rear and front suspension, I purposely got all the rubber bits ahead of time. Some things, like the outer UCA bushing in the back, I did not replace because they looked brand-new - and I kept the new ones I bought off to the side for the future.

Luckily, after reading here, I didn't do the strut rod bushings in the front with the blue Moog bushings, because again, the originals were in such good shape they didn't need to be replaced. Anyone ever find a good alternative or is the junk yard still the only place to get a set?
 

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We have a 97 Sport...and owned it since we special ordered it new....You have options..... I have run KYB excel-g's since the car was about 2 years old....they just got tired last year...the rears are still going fine.....I ordered new KYB Excel-g struts & new upper mounts (CarID had the best pricing BTW) and went to a alignment/suspension shop who charged me $30 each to swap the front springs out.
After looking for Koni's and having no luck, this intrigues me. You installed the KYBs at 2 years old for what reason? The OEM ones could not have been worn out at that time. What was the difference between the two? Better?

I have to call a local parts place I do wholesale business with and see if they can find the Koni's on a shelf somewhere, you never know >:)
 

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I have to call a local parts place I do wholesale business with and see if they can find the Koni's on a shelf somewhere, you never know >:)
See if they have more than just one pair; there's others here who would like a set.

RwP
 

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After looking for Koni's and having no luck, this intrigues me. You installed the KYBs at 2 years old for what reason? The OEM ones could not have been worn out at that time. What was the difference between the two? Better?
You are right …..The issue was with freeway speeds.....the car could get pulled by high winds, large rigs passing at 80 mph.....we either needed to increase tire width by 1" (which couldn't be done without increasing tire diameter) or increase the strut response.....so we went with the struts and went with a bit higher traction tire (came with Goodyear GT4's)...went with Yokohama YK series...and it worked very well!!!! In general, overall stiffness is the same as the struts that come on the Sport versions (which is 10% stiffer then the standard ones)...the difference is the internal valving.....it responds much faster than the oem which provides the same amount of give on bumps yet stiffens right up immediately to maintain stability...and when in performance conditions (like mountain driving (I also use to race SCCA), they stiffen right up but still provide the needed give to ensure traction & control.
 

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Where did you see Bilstein inserts?
 

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