Regular readers will recall that last month the big ol’ Mondeo suffered a broken front spring. A cheap replacement was duly fitted to get the ST back on the road, but the whole saga had already started the wheels in motion for an inevitable upgrade to the suspension. So, after looking at the options available (very limited for the estate version of the ST220, as most kits only lower the car around 20-30mm, and the ST220 is already about 20mm lower than the standard estate anyway!) I decided the best solution would be a set of coilovers from very aptly named ST Suspensions. Initially I was concerned that coilovers would be too harsh for the regular use this car gets, especially as the level of ride comfort was something that attracted me to the Mondeo in the first place. But after speaking with the guys at KW Automotive (who actually produce the ST Suspensions kit) the assured me that the ST-X coilover kit (actually listed for the ST220 estate too!) would be perfect for my needs.
The ST-X coilovers aren’t necessarily designed for regular track use, but instead are tailored towards dropping the ride height of the car to improve both looks and handling, without compromising the ride quality. Sounds perfect. So, naturally, a set was soon on its way!
When they arrived I booked the car in at Tarnock Garage for fitting. This is a job that could be done at home on your drive or in the garage, but having access to a ramp definitely makes things a lot easier. It also means that if anything goes wrong (like the rear hub lower bushes which can easily tear when removing the rear arm to get the spring out) then there is a parts supplier ready at hand and I’m not left with a car jacked up on axle stands.
The ST-X kit includes fully adjustable ride height on the front dampers, but the rears are set at a -20mm drop. You can see just how much shorter both the front and rear damper bodies are compared to the standard setup too.
With everything bolted in place we could adjust the height of the fronts to suit the stance I wanted. It’s definitely much lower than before! But I have to admit I’m pleasantly surprised by just how comfortable it still is. Some of you will undoubtedly be skeptical, and I don’t blame you – if you told me that I could fit coilovers and 20-inch wheels and it would still drive as nicely as it does even I wouldn’t believe you. But it does. And if you don’t believe me you should come out for a little blast in with me!
After driving around for a days and giving everything the chance to settle I popped back to Tarnock Garage for a final adjustment. The fronts came up a tad as they had just started to catch on the arch liner when I hit bumps at speed, and as the rears have settled down a bit the stance isn’t quite as nose-heavy anymore either. But the tyre is still tucked under the front arch! And as an added bonus I even got Tarnock Garage to replace the lower gearbox mount too, as we’d previously noticed the old one was perished.
The ST-X kits has done exactly what KW said it would. The slow speed cruising comfort remains unaffected, but the chassis definitely feels tighter, more positive, and with less body roll than before when you start chucking it about. Plus, and if I’m honest the main reason I fitted them, it looks so much cooler than before! Job done.