Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Caledon, Ontario ... CANADA !
The factory SC shocks were supplied by Tokico. They seem to stand up very well. I know that lots of the Ontario SC owners have 100,000+ miles on their original shocks, and are just now needing replacements. I was quite disappointed with the Tokico Illumina 2 shocks. We installed them at the same time with a set of Eibach springs, and I loved the ride and handling initially. But after about 3 years and 50,000 miles, the shocks were pretty much dead, especially the rears. At that point we installed Konis in the rear to get me through the rest of that season, and then Konis in the front last spring just before the Carlisle show.
As for other shocks that retain the factory ride control system, someone had mentioned Gabriel listed fronts in their catalogue, but I don't know anyone who has used them. And if they don't have rears to match, it's kind of pointless anyway. Consider a set of the OE replacement Tokicos from Ford. They seem to have a good lifespan, and lots of people are using them with lowering springs and have no problems.
AnthraxBird, the suspension design on the SC and LX Birds was the same. Just differences in bushing material, spring rates, shock valving, and stabilizer bar sizes. The front suspension is a short / long arm design. MacPherson strut refers to a design where the upper mounting of the shock also serves as the upper suspension locating point, eliminating the upper control arm. The 89 - 97 T-Birds & Cougars have upper and lower control arms, the confusion arises from the spring being mounted over the shock. This makes it a coil-over shock ... not a strut, since there is still a control arm to act as the upper mounting and pivot point for the suspension. Generally regarded as a superior design for handling compared to a MacPherson strut front end.