Posted by Amou "Joe" Seto on 9/8/2020 to Automotive Technology Explained
Lowering your car is a very popular vehicle modification across the globe, and when done correctly, can increase the performance of your car. Like most modifications, it is prone to adverse effects if done incorrectly; luckily, the issue can be remedied with readily available modifications. We'll be covering two points of correction - sway bar end links and tie rods.
Adjustable End Links
Sway Bar Linkage - The Unsung Hero! This is one of the most overlooked suspension upgrade items.
For cars equipped with anti-roll bars, replacing the factory end link is required to get the correct functionality back once lowered. When the vehicle height is changed from factory specification, the end link's position will change, causing the sway bar's angle to change along with it. By having the angle changed, the spring effect which allows the anti-roll bar to work has its effectiveness reduced. An anti-roll bar is considered as another "spring" to your suspension; if not correctly positioned, the bar can add to suspension pre-load, which distorts the normal suspension spring effectiveness and spring rating. In most cases, you really want to have you sway-bar to have no or little tension when driving normally, which can be achieved by correcting the angle. Adjustable sway bar end links allow you to lengthen or shorten the link's length in accordance to your vehicle's ride height so the sway bar angle can be corrected. For ease of adjustment, it is recommended to install your suspension (coilovers/lowering springs) and adjustable end links at the same time.
Adjustable end links are available from AutoExe and Legsport for select vehicles. The LegSport challenge damper coilover kit for the FR-S/BR-Z includes a set of adjustable end links for the front axle only.
The factory tie rod is a critical part of your vehicle's steering system as it allows your wheels to change direction by taking the input in from the steering rack. The factory tie rod is designed to work with your stock suspension; any modification that changes ride height, such as the installation of lowering springs or coilovers will cause the tie rod to sit at angle. The new angle of the tie rod causes a change in toe, which ultimately results in bump steer during cornering. By using a tie rod which restores the ball joint length to the factory setting, you can keep the original handling characteristics.
The Sports Tie Rod from Auotexe is available for Mazda owners who would like to correct the steering characteristics on their car. The AutoExe tie rod is made from high strength forged carbon steel (S45C).
When doing any modifications to suspension geometry, it is important to get a wheel alignment as soon as possible to restore handling characteristics and to eliminate adverse tire wear and to really benefit those drivers looking for precise handling and steering input feel.