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Suspension | Chassis | Brakes -- Sponsored by 949 Racing Relating to suspension, chassis, and brakes. Sponsored by 949 Racing.


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Old 10-15-2020, 08:59 PM   #1
holeeray
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Coilover maintenance?

So, this might be a dumb question, but do coilovers for cars typically require a frequent refresh? I'm more of a motorcycle guy and on my bikes it's recommended to do a refresh every season or at least every other season if it's a street bike (when running aftermarket suspension setups).
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Old 10-16-2020, 01:58 AM   #2
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Depends on the coilovers and use case. Most are good for 30k-100k miles though depending on the design. Monthly inspections recommended.
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:29 AM   #3
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Get some grease in there

https://mcasuspension.com/technical/22/Grease-Explained
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Old 10-16-2020, 05:15 AM   #4
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My car is completely stock except for all the mods.

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Old 10-16-2020, 08:32 AM   #5
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Also would like to know. I have 40K on mine. Last oil change I asked the mechanic to check for leaks and there weren't any but apart from that not really sure. Apart from swapping out the damper, what can you really do. On my mtb we swap out valves and fluid though
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Old 10-16-2020, 10:40 AM   #6
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Depends on the coilover and the usage.

More frequent rebuilds on motorsports coilovers due to lower drag seals, more intense usage, and the fact that you'd want them to be in tip-top shape all the time.

40k miles is a pretty good run for a street and light track coilover. We do often see longer than that with our stuff but at 40k I recommend starting to take a close look at them more frequently.

It's important to note that even without leaks the fluid can degrade.

I tend to give everything a nice inspection and cleaning at the beginning and end of winter. Be sure you're not cleaning with a solution that will damage the finish. Just wipe em down good.

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Old 10-16-2020, 01:49 PM   #7
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there is some discussion about what can be done to keep the pillowballs on the front struts where they meet the top hat happy. some say dont introduce foreign lubricants, maybe someone can shine more light on this, food for thought. the pillowball is definitely a sensitive area that could seize, and thats another area that should be monitored.
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holeeray View Post
So, this might be a dumb question, but do coilovers for cars typically require a frequent refresh? I'm more of a motorcycle guy and on my bikes it's recommended to do a refresh every season or at least every other season if it's a street bike (when running aftermarket suspension setups).
Same for cars.

For anyone serious about performance, I recommend 25 hours or 10k miles, whichever comes first.

Although the dampers are almost certainly degraded, a more relaxed schedule could be 50 hours or 30k miles.

Remember, dampers use oil that goes through tiny passages to control motion. The oil gets hot and degrades over time, just like how transmission and differential oil degrade.

Dampers need regular oil changes too, to keep in tip top shape.



This, quite literally, is why a lot of folks say that when they swapped from ABC damper to XYZ damper, that XYZ feels so much better; ABC had degraded, and they're comparing dead ABC to fresh XYZ.

It's just like tires; going from an old set of tires to fresh tires, even an identical model, always feels better with the new set.
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:55 AM   #9
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Exactly as pointed out above, it can be quite variable based on a number of factors. And time is the variable that creeps up on everyone.
As a good example I've got a set of custom Ohlins WRC dampers fitted, and the factory recommendations are-
Service after:
Smooth gravel (max working temp 90c) 800km (497 miles)
Medium gravel (max working temp <110c) 700km (437 miles)
Rough gravel (max working temp >110c) 350km (217 miles)
Tarmac 1000km (621 miles)

But being on a road car, Ohlins said they were comfortable (if kept fairly clean, and running with "socks") with around 10-15Km or 1.5 to 2 years.

In reality in a full competition WRC car the dampers are replaced at every service interval...thats around 100km or so, or 2 to 3 times per day!
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Old 10-19-2020, 09:53 AM   #10
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And who can do this maintenance work? Can I take it to my regular mechanic or do I need to go to a suspension shop? Do the coilovers need to be removed for this?
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StraightOuttaCanadaEh View Post
And who can do this maintenance work? Can I take it to my regular mechanic or do I need to go to a suspension shop? Do the coilovers need to be removed for this?
Coilovers need to be removed. This type of work is not something a regular mechanic will be able to do. Talk to your suspension tuner.

(aftersale support is important).

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Old 10-19-2020, 12:04 PM   #12
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What exactly is involved in coilover maintainace? Also, I guess it applies to standalone shocks (i.e. it's the dampers that get maintained, nothing for the springs)?
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Old 10-19-2020, 12:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
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What exactly is involved in coilover maintainace? Also, I guess it applies to standalone shocks (i.e. it's the dampers that get maintained, nothing for the springs)?
It's funny to me that rebuilding forks in the MC world is par for the course but most coilovers seem to be sealed for factory service.

For MCs it's just replacing the oil. Pop 'em open, drain old fork oil, replace with new oil, button up. There are even drop in emulators for dampers with only preload adjustment to gain some control over compression and rebound (though not as easily adjusted as cartridge forks that don't need to be opened up to adjust the same things}.
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Old 10-19-2020, 12:46 PM   #14
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What exactly is involved in coilover maintainace? Also, I guess it applies to standalone shocks (i.e. it's the dampers that get maintained, nothing for the springs)?
Open them up and change the oil. But also inspect the shafts and seals for wear/scoring, replacing as necessary.

Springs last a lot longer.

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