Sports cars or supercars have a fairly low ground clearance, and this lowered appearance adds to their appeal. For those who cannot afford such expensive set of wheels (read: mere mortals like us) can achieve this look on their used car by lowering or stancing it. Popular the world over, stancing or lowering a sedan or used car can be done by using simple techniques. Generally, to achieve the look, larger and wider set of wheels are used, suspension is tweaked, or the leaf springs are altered, etc. Apart from the enhancement in the looks, stancing the car also increases its performance, ensuring a comfortable ride.
Quick TipTo drop your car, you can easily replace the factory spring settings with drop springs that are readily available in the market, Detroit Eaton Springs, Eibach, Global West Suspension, etc., are some firms that manufacture these springs.
Before we take a closer look into the methods of stancing, there are a few questions that you need to answer, so as to get a clear idea about the right method to be chosen.
▶ How low do you want your car to be?
The coilover suspension method gives you around 2-4 inches lowering of your car, which is more than sufficient for normal cars. The springs method can lower your car to about 2.5 inches, but you should always use shocks with springs, to avoid any damage. With the air suspension method, you can achieve flexible lowering depending on your suspension kit.
▶ Do you own a sedan or an SUV?
You will have to go for coilover suspension in case of sedans and light SUVs; while for offroaders, opt for air suspension. Cars that are frequently driven on rough terrains, should have air suspension in order to avoid damage to the car's chassis and underbelly. The flexible air suspension will help the offroader.
▶ How much money are you ready to shell out?
The more the money you wish to spend, the more options you will have. Given the popularity and interest in stancing, there is no limit to the amount that one can spend to achieve the right look.
Once you have these things figured out, you can decide which method to choose from the ones mentioned below.
During the early stancing days, people would cut the suspension springs to lower the car. However, if you don't get the cutting right, you will have to buy new set of coil springs. If you are old school, you can cut the springs using a torch or cutting wheel. This will give you a shortened spring set and lowered car. However, it is not recommended to cut the springs. Instead, you can replace the old springs with a new and lowered spring set.
When you cut the springs, make sure that all the measurements are exact, else your car will have balancing issues.
Before cutting the spring, check its ends. If they are square or pigtail in shape, do not even try to cut them. You can look for other methods to lower your car. In case you wish to purchase a new one, buy coil springs with tangential ends.
While cutting the coils, do not forget to wear safety goggles.
The other way to achieve the stancing is to tweak the suspension to a coilover one. This method will set your car to a particular height. However due to the fixed height, speed bumps and obstacles on the road can be problematic. To avoid these, you can use air suspension in place of your normal suspension system. These airbags will increase or reduce the height of your vehicle, depending on the obstacle it faces. This way, any potential damage to the suspension can be avoided.
While lowering the car's suspension, it is better to buy the springs and shocks kit from the same manufacturer. This will help maintain the spring rate while lowering the suspension.
If you are interested in coilover suspension (for street car owners), check for the kits that have shorter shocks and adjustable spring perches. This will give you reduced height with adjustable damping levels so that you don't face any problems later on.
If you are looking for offroaders, you should go in for an airbag suspension. However, specialized airbag suspension kits are available for normal use as well as for race cars.
For professional racers or extreme car enthusiasts, self-leveling sensor technique can be installed along with the airbag suspension. The car will automatically make up for the uneven pressure in the airbag which is caused by taking sharper turns or passing over a bump.
You will need to visit the spring shop and get the leaf springs re-arched, to the desired height. Then, you can re-fix the springs.
Get yourself a flip kit. These are available in different heights, so you can decide how much you want to drop the car. By using this kit, you will be placing the axle over the leaf spring.
After lowering the car, if you realize that the drop is extreme, you can use a C-notch above the axle to get the required clearance between the axle and the frame.
You can also adjust the torsion bar using the key that is provided near your vehicle tires, to lower the car. You can use a hand wrench to adjust the same.
For normal cars and light SUVs, the coilover suspension and spring replacement methods prove beneficial. For race cars or offroaders, use an air suspension method.
Once you have replaced the springs and shocks, it is obvious that you may have camber problems. Hence, always keep a camber kit handy while lowering your car.
If you have done the stancing on your own, it is necessary to take your car for alignment after completing the procedure.
After the lowering, check for any electrical wire damages, and get them corrected by a mechanic.
Lowering the car also provides more road grip; however, your vehicle will be vulnerable to damages due to unevenness of the roads. Before making any changes to your car, make sure you are clear about the desired height. The cost of the entire process depends on your preference and budget. However a typical suspension tweaking will cost you from USD 300 upwards. I would advise you to take the safer option of using readily available kits for stancing your car.