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Old 06-01-2012, 10:42 PM   #1
CyberFormula
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Adjustable shocks+ springs vs Coilovers

I am not super experience with it. I've only done after market non adjustable shocks with springs.

I was wondering, with the shocks + springs when the shocks wear out , i would only need to replace the shocks.

With the coilovers, the entire set would have to be replaced is that correct?


Thinking about getting coilovers, but at almost $1000+ for a good set of coilovers + corner balancing + installation, it seems to expensive for my goals.

I want to be able to play with my dampers so being adjustable is nice.


I heard some companies like Koni have lifetime warranty. Whatever that means.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:08 PM   #2
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at almost $1000+ for a good set of coilovers... it seems to expensive for my goals.


$1000 won't buy you shit for quality in a set of coilovers. Good coilovers start at $2.5K and go up from there. $1K coilovers are, IMO, a downgrade from the factory setup are worthless for anything other than slamming a car to the ground with no concern at all for performance.

For $1K, get yourself a set of quality dampers from Koni or Tokico etc, and some springs from @Racecomp Engineering.

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With the coilovers, the entire set would have to be replaced is that correct?
Not necessarily. The springs and dampers can be, and often are, replaced independently (for spring rate changes). The only real difference between coilovers and aftermarket struts/springs (which are also coilovers on most cars, FYI) is adjustable vs. fixed spring perches.
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Old 06-02-2012, 12:13 AM   #3
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$1200 coilovers are considered "entry level" suspension. Meaning they will give you the bare minimum in performance with the addition of adjustable spring perches and various levels of dampening.

Typically entry level coilovers are good for:
1. Saving some weight from stock suspension components
2. Customize the level of ride height
3. Clears the addition of wider wheels
4. Stiffer spring rates and shock dampening for HPDE.

The cons about entry level coilovers, most are tuned every similar across all their available applications. Which in most cases are too stiff to be competitive in modified classes on MOST HPDE. They usually lack the appropriate spring rates and valving per ftlb, and are not offered with a wider selection of spring rates. Which most of the time have to be custom made or ordered if the manufacture has options available. Also the materials used on the piston and the piston size are usually smaller vs their more expensive counterpart. Iv seen Megans, early JIC, early Tein, Ksport, and other 600-1200 coilovers snap and break under heavy use for long periods of time. I cannot say the same about $3000 with a stronger and lighter case, proper twin+ valving, stronger and larger piston diameter, durable spring materials, solid perch, and sometimes external reservoirs.

If your goal is NOT getting the absolute best performance, quality, and ultimately durablity and lifespan. and you want the minimum amount of sporty performance+adjustability on a car you don't plan on pushing to its limits. Then coilovers are your best choice.

If your looking for more performance out of the OEM factory settings, and take it to the absolute limit. With the addition of durability and overall lifespan a proper shock/Damper+spring combo tuned to your specs is going to wield you better results over $600-$1200 entry level coils in the same HPDE.
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:23 AM   #4
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Yeah, 3000$ for coilovers will never happen in my "just for fun" experience for cars.

The coilovers need to be replaced eventually, and then its another $3000 if i want to have the same set.


I was looking at Koni sports (yellow) , and they have a set that comes with matched springs i suppose. What do you guys think? is this the best HPDE/autocross adjustable dampening shock for Spring/shock combo?

http://www.koni-na.com/sportkit.cfm

Or i should just go for TRD springs (if they're available for the FRS), and then do aftermarket adjustable dampening shocks. This seems more realistic.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:28 AM   #5
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i like the TRD springs idea w/konis. But id favor Blisteins overs anything for dampers.
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:45 AM   #6
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Bilstein B8 (sport) don't have any adjustable dampening.

So I'm stuck with STIFF and no fun in being able to dial in my preferred handling.

B6 (heavy duty) is meant to be used with stock springs i think...but is the only shocks that has adjustable dampening.

It seems it is always a battle between Koni's or Bilsteins. Are there anything else worth going for if looking for shocks?
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:26 PM   #7
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Tokico is a good name, have a set on my car and they're very nice.
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberFormula View Post
Yeah, 3000$ for coilovers will never happen in my "just for fun" experience for cars.

The coilovers need to be replaced eventually, and then its another $3000 if i want to have the same set.
Not necessarily. Most good coilover shocks like those from AST or Koni among others, can be rebuilt at a lower cost than buying the whole setup new again.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:38 AM   #9
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howdy... anyone have ideas on shocks and struts replacement cost? im also interested to have aftermarket parts and lookin' for cheap repair... thanks.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:49 AM   #10
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The coilovers need to be replaced eventually, and then its another $3000 if i want to have the same set.
NO!

Good coilovers are rebuildable and should last as long as the car. Service intervals will be about the same as a standard strut- 50-60k miles, unless you are racing, then it's a good idea to have them checked out every season or two.

Everyone should talk to their vendor about the rebuild process when buying coilovers, and make sure you know who can do it and what it takes. If all they have to say is deal with the mfg directly then you should probably look elsewhere. Good shops like Turn in Concepts and Racecomp Engineering have the ability to rebuild stuff in house, or if not will be able to help you deal with the manufacturer when getting them serviced. Some companies that I really like; KW, JRZ, and AST are all great to deal with and will rebuild their products here in the US. KW is located outside of Fresno, CA and JRZ has a Socal and east coast location to do servicing. AST/Vorshlag is in Texas.

The cheaper coilovers, like Megan, BC, etc, don't rebuild stuff. They just send you a new cartridge that the lower clevis threads onto. That says something about the quality of the parts and how they are made when it's not even worth it to rebuild the shock. Just toss it in the trash and get a new one. To make things worse they have the same policy with all the other parts, so by the time you do need a new cartridge the bearings in the tops will probably be trashed and the spring perches may be seized. The KWs and such are designed to last the life of the car and be serviceable. And KWs for example use stainless steel housings and composite spring perches so they won't rust or seize together.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:23 AM   #11
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Good coilovers are rebuildable and should last as long as the car.
This
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:06 PM   #12
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Let me see if I can help.

First, Coil-overs are not magic. In fact the term is used incorrectly all the time. All coil-over really means is that the coil is over the dampers. The car is like that stock!

Now, what folks mean by the term coil-over is adjustable HEIGHT. This is done via perches that move up and down via threads (like a screw) and these kits come with new springs (usually a race type spring) that are stiffer rate. You can then pick the height you want, within some range. PLEASE NOTE that a lot of "coil-overs" that are adjustable do NOT allow you to adjust the damping setting. And some of the ones that do give that adjustment link compression and rebound damping together. Others have those separate, or only have rebound damping. The latter 2 are much better than the former two.

So you have three things to consider. Damping (how well it works and if it is adjustable). Ride height (do you want to be able to monkey with it or are you ok with a standard drop). And spring rate (which can be altered with an easy spring swap on most "coil-overs").

Here's the thing. There are a LOT of companies that make this sort of stuff. And a lot of it is trash. Most folks don't know that because this stuff isn't cheap and many haven't had the chance to run multiple setups to compare. I have, aside from running a shop where it's my business to know what works (and the fact I have one of these cars too). I also compete very seriously in autocross (and I win) which is hugely shock intensive.

I will tell you flat out that a set of Koni Sports (which are coming if you can be patient) and a nice set of lowering springs (not all are equal there, and some names you "know" tend to be some of the more sucky stuff) will be better than an el-cheapo set of "coil-overs".

Shocks/struts (dampers) are NOT easy things to make, make well, and make work correctly. Koni makes dampers for Formula 1 cars. KW makes dampers for Touring cars and some of the highest performance production cars in the world. Bilstein has some pretty awesome shocks, and I sell that brand too (along with others like Ohlins), but Bilstein's aren't usually my recommendation for a few reasons. Standard ones offer no damping adjustment. And PSS9 and 10's that do, link the compression and rebound together. Well, those do different things and wanting more of one does not in any way mean you want more of the other. In fact you really want more rebound damping, as compression damping is a control of unsprung weight, which generally we don't add a lot of with lighter wheels, etc.

I'm glad this question was asked, it allows me to explain a little of what I know and how I work and what I do. In the end many of us sell the same parts, but not many of us have the same knowledge base. And setting up a car, particularly a RWD is new to many here, but it is not to me.

I've got some 14 SCCA National Championships. I'm helping William Cook with his car (and in fact the base setup I gave to him he barely changed and loves, according to the conversation I had with him tonight).
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberFormula View Post
Bilstein B8 (sport) don't have any adjustable dampening.

So I'm stuck with STIFF and no fun in being able to dial in my preferred handling.

B6 (heavy duty) is meant to be used with stock springs i think...but is the only shocks that has adjustable dampening.

It seems it is always a battle between Koni's or Bilsteins. Are there anything else worth going for if looking for shocks?
i think you can get a decent coilover (revalved bilstein/gc combo) for just above that price. what you need to do is throw adjustability out the window. that is really expensive and in my opinion, more a luxury than a necessity. a shocks job is to control the spring. your springs should have a static rate. if a spring isnt adjustable, the shock doesnt need to be adjustable. besides, the reduction in lap times from spending 1.5k more on shock is not as big as the reduction in lap time from spending 1.5k on track time
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:43 AM   #14
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My perspective is this, the purpose of this car was to handle well and a lot of time and $ went into the stock setup. I really don't feel a budget suspension set up will provide much if anything over stock. If just wanting to get rid of some wheel gap I'd opt for TRD/STI springs when available.
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