Suspension setups

Everyone who’s owned or owns a Fiesta Si knows and held the car in acclaim for its superb handling for such a little car. Fords redesign of the chassis and body tightened up the way it handled, and with the sports suspension on the Si, it really pulls itself together. But for those gasping for more, more is certainly available and there are many manufacturers out there offering some great options for you car, making it handle even better.

The first stage of getting your car handling like its on rails if drop the ride height and stiffen it up. It already has anti roll bars on the front and rear on the 16v models, which certainly help the set up, but there’s more to be had here. A budget shock and spring kit will see you on your way, with someone like GMax dishing out a kit for around the £200 mark and see you either 35mm or 60mm lower to the black stuff. You simply lower the car on the standard shockers and fit lowering springs which stiffen up the ride somewhat and bring you down low. The trouble with only fitting lowering springs is that it puts added strain on your dampers and will soon wear them out (as I found out!) so your best bet is to fit an entire kit. Ok, it’s double the price but will work out less hassle and cheaper in the long run. With the kit you get all four shortened dampers, to take the load, and a matched set of springs with the right weighting for your car.


*It is to be noted that some Si’s have an odd suspension set up at the front, and may require different front shocks due to the fitment of the shocker into the hub carrier. Personally I had to use Mk3 shocks instead of Mk3.5 stuff – Scotty_Boy*

If you have a little more of a lavish budget or you’ve fitted a budget set up and want even more, then the mid-range set up will offer more adjustability in your set own, and can to some extent tailor your ride to how you like it. Koni, GAZ, Spax and AVO all offer adjustable suspension to adjust ride height and stiffness. The AVO coilover setup is excellent if you’re fitting 17″s to your motor and you’re suffering from rubbing on the strut. These mid range kits come in at around £500, but as with everything in the world – you get what you pay for.

To add another note. When lowering or adjusting your suspension, you will be adjusting the camber of the wheels and the whole geometry of the car. As the suspension and steering are so closely linked, this will invariably alter the characteristics of the steering too, creating problems such as bump steer and excessive tyre wear. Make sure you get your car tracked after fettling with it.


To add further stiffness to your car, strut braces can be used to brace between the tops of the suspension turrets to stop any flexing of the shell when cornering hard. Big wheels are not just there to sit and make your car look pretty, and the side wall on your tyre isn’t super slim to prevent people think you’re driving a tractor. The lower the sidewall, the less flex it will suffer from, allowing you to corner without having the tyres trying to roll off the rims, and the wider the tyres the greater footprint you have on the road giving more grip.

It’s all well and good spending money on your suspension set
up if your tyres are £10 remoulds, so if you can afford the best,
get the best, if not get the best you can afford, we all have
a budget so spend it wisely.


A part often overlooked is the bushes. There are many bushes on your suspension, that take a beating over the year, suffer the weather and eventually perish and fall apart loosening up the feel of the car. Replacing them is a wise option, especially if you’re changing the shocks, but replacing them with polyurethane ones will stiffen up the ride and carry and increased life expectancy.

If the track is where you head quite often, you could get serious with some adjustable lower arms that are fully adjustable to let you tailor them to eradicate any camber problems, decrease abnormal tyre wear and allow the car to sit perfectly. These come rose jointed to allow full movement, but unfortunately mean that they often don’t last as long when dealt the punishments of the public roads, so probably best to only fit these to a more serious track car or such.