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Bad Handling 2004: Want more compliance and softer shocks

Discussion in '2002 - 2005 Ford Thunderbird' started by BrianM, May 9, 2017.

  1. Hi All,

    I've had my 2004 for 2 weeks now. The cowl shake and flexing of the hard top are pretty annoying, mostly because they are un necessary in my view. The car is sprung/dampened much too stiffly. Unless a full roll cage in welded in connecting the front and rear of the car, it can never react properly to the road inputs to react and take advantage of the stiff springing and high dampener rates my car has. Silly. This car needs to quit skipping over the bumps and COMPLY with them. I keep reading about changing over to "performance shocks"... the question is.. what "performance"???

    Has anyone successfully achieved what I hope to? The car is intended as a "cruiser" with the late 90's Mercedes SL500 clearly in the designer's sites at the time.. except they failed completely when it came to tuning the chassis.
    Has anyone found a spring rate and adjustable? dampner/shock that allows this car to stick to the road? The roads where I live are lumpy and are only going to get much lumpier (Sonoma County, CA).


    John Hayman likes this.
  2. Sierra977

    Sierra977 Active Member Lifetime Donor

    All factory stock retros are sprung like feather beds and handle just as badly. They cannot be made to handle better by decreasing spring rates or softening shock absorbers. If your retro is sprung too taught for you then you need to look for a different car.
    John Hayman likes this.
  3. "Handling" in my definition, is Corner Carving/Auto-crossing. I have another car for that and it's fun, great, and it's what the car was designed for. This car is a cruiser, or that's what I'm looking for. By your definition, I guess I'm looking to make the car "handle worse". I drive 10MPH on my country lane because the asphalt has settled in the soft clay and it's nothing but "Whoop-di-whoops". My minivan is WAY smoother over the same bumps and only weighs a couple hundred pounds more. I don't know if my springs/ shocks are stock.. I'm the second owner at 46K miles. I'll have to put her on the lift this weekend and. There's no way this car is a "Feather Bed".. unless the feathers are made of rocks.
  4. Hi Sonoma B!
    Neil in Sonoma here as well...
    If you want to spend a ton of money and have your Bird handle like a dream car contact Huffaker Engineering at Sears Point. Their Facebook page is here https://www.facebook.com/pg/huffakereng/about/ and here also https://www.facebook.com/huffakereng/
    If you don't want to spend a ton of money, just keep researching and you may find folks that have had luck with different shocks. There is not a lot of tweakings out there on these Jag suspensions, as there were just not that many produced for modification companies to have gotten in to the business of tweaking them for profit.
    Good luck!! :)
    John Hayman likes this.
  5. p.s. I have heard of people doing "field fixes" to the hardtop to decrease the noise (material in-between the top and body) and I suppose you could do the same to the cowling. It would be trial and error DIY work kinda thing as shops around here are too darn expensive, and shoddy as well, to achieve success with a reasonable price. Soft shocks like Monroes (I shudder at the thought) might make you happier? You can not change the nature of the Bird cheaply or fix Sonoma roads cheaply for that matter (the construction companies here stuff way too much money in their pockets for their lousy work)... Lol
    John Hayman likes this.
  6. I tried to improve my shocks by installing KYBs...that made everything worse so I switched to Monroe's and the ride improved especially on straight away. Decent improvement in the corners but there is little on can do to significantly improve suspension and handling without spending a fortune. Try the Monroes , you might really like them as they seem significantly better than stock shocks.
    sfosvc1 and John Hayman like this.
  7. What is the Monroe Shock model number?

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