School me on coilovers

Discussion in 'Suspension and Brakes' started by RustangJeeTee, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. RustangJeeTee

    RustangJeeTee New Member

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    Let me just start by saying that I've spent the past two days researching everything I can about coilovers, but all this information is a little overwhelming. I've probably read any relevant thread (Ferocious has responded to just about all of them), reviews, or MaximumMotorsports FAQ.

    I've been trying to see what goes into buying individual parts and assembling my own kit, but I'm not sure what all I need, and I'm not sure what size springs I'm supposed to get. A1 has a bunch of different kits but none of them say what they're for, which leads me to believe that they aren't vehicle specific and that you just need to buy what fits.

    Raceland sells a fully assembled kit for a really low price. I'm a firm believer in you get what you pay for, but the only negatives I've read about these are that the spring rates are low, and that you can't lower it past 3". The rates are 220 and 250, but according to reply #5 on this thread, that's higher than stock (because of wheel rates or something). Another negative that I've notice for myself (it may not be a negative at all) is that the springs and shocks on the rear are divorced, so the geometry doesn't change. Preassembled isn't ideal, but I'm considering these because cheap.

    You might as well respond with "get the MM and be done with it" - it's better than nothing, but I like nitpicking over the details, so it's not really the route I want to go.
     
  2. Ferocious

    Ferocious Legend SN95 Supporter

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    Do not fear, Ferocious is here!

    But seriously, they're pretty simple once you understand. I've never bought a brand new kit for my car. I've always pieced them together, whether it's the front of rears. I've just found that method to be more budget friendly as well as ideal for matching what I'm looking for.

    If you're going to piece a kit together I would first start with the shock portion. Find a shock that is right for your application, whether its drag racing, road racing, or a street friendly shock. You can order them custom valved, get adjustable ones, or some nice solid factory replacements. Once you have found the shock, make sure it's coilover compatible, which typically means it can support the load of a spring as well as fit the sleeves around the diameter of the shock.

    Once you have the shock portion, find a compatible coilover kit, this includes the sleeves, perch, and the top hat. There's a variety of companies to choose from, including Maximum Motorsports, UPR, MMR, Strange, etc. All of which have pros and cons. It all depends on your needs and budget. These companies usually list what shocks their coilover kits work with. Here's a nifty picture of what the coilover portion includes with the exception of the springs:

    [​IMG]

    There's alot of different options out there regarding coilover kits, most of which are very similar with differences such as how long the sleeves are, etc. Again, make sure they are compatible with the shocks.

    The next piece of the puzzle is the easy part (kinda). This is where you pick a spring rate. To make things simple anything over 350# is catered towards road racing and anything under 200# is catered to drag racing. 250#-275# is a good street friendly medium. I always went by the rule of thumb that the rears should be 50-75# softer than the fronts. The springs should measure 2.5" in diameter for the front and 2.25" for the rear. The third and final number is the length of the spring (ultimately what decides how low the car can go). 12" is typically good for a standard lowered height for the front and 10" for the rear. I have 10" springs on the front of mine and I'm well lower than most people need to be.

    The last thing I want to add is that the SR kit and Raceland kit aren't full coilover kits. The rears are just springs with an adjustable perch. That is not a coilover. The front yes, but not the rears.
     
  3. Cpotts13

    Cpotts13 Well-Known Member

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    ^^^^ What he said.


    /thread
     
  4. B.mad

    B.mad Well-Known Member Preferred Vendor

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    Coilovers. What goes into them? it depends what you want out of the car, which will dictate which route you should go (spring rates etc).

    The raceland/SR kits are budget kits and are going to be the cheapest new coilovers you will ever get. Like you said, you get what you paid for. They are lower, but the way wheel rate work, they will be better than stock. I believe MM has a good article explaining wheel rate on conventional vs coilovers. something along the lines of conventional spring rate is 700, the wheel rate is 400. While coilover is 400, but wheel rate is 500. Basically, coilovers have more wheel rate than conventional. Eibach has a complete kit with dampers, raceland/sr does too and BC racing. the reason why put together kits might be better, is because the spring and dampers are made to work perfectly together and you do not have to guess which is what. i think for street youll be fine with a 250-300 rate in the front. if you want to road race look into the 350+ rates. drag racing i believe require a soft front spring (150ish) and stiff rear spring. If you want to put them together, i would personally go with griggs or with MM. The other brands are good, but not the best you can buy. Also MM has a chart of what spring rate works best with what dampers.

    When converting to coilovers, all that is needed really is good caster camber plates, because true coilovers plug and play (once they've been put together). The actual coilover kit itself does not matter as much as the damper, although there are some things you should follow like diameter, and purpose of the car (i.e low, high, race, etc) Why? because the coilover does not know which car it is on, and all coilovers are pretty much the same as other cars. The damper is a different story because some are made specifically for a kind of car. So get your specific damper, and get a coilover kit that is made for that damper. Example MM has kits for konis, bilsteins, and tokico. All of them look the same, but each kit is made for a specific brand of damper while each damper is made for a specific car. If any of this makes sense.

    Also something to note, it is not recommend to have rear coilovers unless it is a track car or you dont care. Reason's ive heard is because it rides rougher and makes more noise. Also something to consider is the rear coilover spring rates will differ per rear suspension setup. example if you have a watts link/panhard bar and a torque setup, you might want to run softer rear springs than you normal would without those components.

    I will give you my setup. I daily driver a 1994 gt.

    i have the MM CC plates, MM/bilstein front and rear coilovers with 375lb front and 225 rear, the MM PHB/TA. While Mr. Ferocious has the strange setup (i believe). Although i am not as low as Ferocious, i am still pretty low and i run a 10" front spring and 9" rear spring. I also autocross my car, which is the reason for my setup.


    My advice is to ask yourself these questions:

    What is my budget?
    How will i use my car?
    Do i care if it rides stiff? Or do i want it to ride like a BMW.

    http://www.maximummotorsports.com/tech_struts_shocks_matching_spring_rates.aspx

    first question is on wheel rates:
    http://www.maximummotorsports.com/faq_coilover.aspx
     
  5. RustangJeeTee

    RustangJeeTee New Member

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    Wow guys

    [​IMG]


    Both of you were a big help! I appreciate the quick response too.
     
  6. CobraClone94

    CobraClone94 Active Member

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    When i figure it out, You'll be the first to know.
    I am subbing to this, for future ref :)
     
  7. RustangJeeTee

    RustangJeeTee New Member

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    Is the only difference in the struts that MM specifies the damping rate? As far as design goes, are they the same length and fitment as OEM? In other words, are the struts that are used in a coilover setup the same as stock, but with different rates? I noticed, Ferocious, that you wrote that the shocks have to be coilover compatible, but what makes a shock coilover compatible?
     
  8. Ferocious

    Ferocious Legend SN95 Supporter

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    They can sustain the load of a coilover application. All the weight will rest on the shock as opposed to having the spring seperate. They also have the be the right diameter shock in order for the sleeves to fit around them.
     
  9. RustangJeeTee

    RustangJeeTee New Member

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    I have one last question before I make up my mind (or open up another can of worms). Coilover shocks like these are just shocks with the components from a coilover kit built into the shock itself, right? Seems like it would be more expensive in the long run, because you'd spend more on replacing the whole thing when the shock blows out later in life.
     
  10. Ferocious

    Ferocious Legend SN95 Supporter

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    Yup, that's exactly what that is. Just a threaded shock. Seems like a cool idea, but personally wouldn't run it myself.
     
  11. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    I am pulling my shocks/struts off to go with air but do have a nice set of Fox/ridetech adjustable shocks. You would need the coil over kit for the fox but it is idjustable and bad shock
     
  12. torch318

    torch318 Active Member

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    The directions for the mm rear coilover kits recommends replacing the lower shock mount, did you guys do that or is that more for race setups?

    Sent from my SM-T230NU using Tapatalk
     
  13. Ferocious

    Ferocious Legend SN95 Supporter

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    I got UPR's shock mounts when I had coilovers in the rear. I would swap them out, just because they're tested and can handle the load.
     
  14. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    I replaced it when I installed my rear MM coilovers. I would recommend it. MM claims the stock mount isn't strong enough (they would know better than me) and at any rate, I can't see any harm in strengthening up that area - even if it *may* be overkill. Unless money is super tight, I suggest doing it.
     
  15. B.mad

    B.mad Well-Known Member Preferred Vendor

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    Honestly, i have no idea why they ask it. MCGLSR2 might be right. At any rate, i didnt get any additional mounts because i went with their panhard bar set up. Had everything i needed.
     
  16. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    I thought their kit wouldn't fit at all without that mount. I couldn't get mine on without it, but I don't have the PHB....yet....
     
  17. torch318

    torch318 Active Member

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    It's not a mm kit I picked up a used griggs racing setup and was using mm install instructions.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. B.mad

    B.mad Well-Known Member Preferred Vendor

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    IDK. the shop who installed it said that they look like they will fit with stock mounts. But the mounts did look a little different. Like longer almost.
     
  19. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    It's been a while since I did mine, I just remember having to order a mount, and then snapping the bolt that came with it and having to go buy more bolts lol
     
  20. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    I clearly recall installing mine (and I have pics as well). For the MM kit, regardless of whether you use a panhard or not (I am), you are supposed to install the brackets with the rear coilovers. The issue is that the stock mounts were not designed to handle the forces of both the spring and shock. The weight of the rear of the car was resting primarily on your springs, which were attached to the control arms. With a coilover conversion, the weight of the car is now resting on the shock mounts. The MM brackets are design to provide a more reinforced mounting point. They look similar to the stock ones, but spread the load differently. I don't remember if I had to use them or not. I think you don't *have* to. But I totally would.

    The only difference between panhard bar and non-panhard bar is that *with* the panhard bar, you only install one MM bracket (on the passenger side) because the panhard bar mounts to the driver side and provides the shock mount. If you don't use a panhard bar, then you are supposed to use two MM brackets, one on each side.

    Pic of the passenger side, you can see the MM bracket:

    [​IMG]


    And then pic of the driver side, with the pandhard bar integrated mount (if you weren't using a panhard bar, you would use another MM bracket over here):

    [​IMG]