Coilovers 101

Discussion in 'Gen 1 & 2 - Suspension, Brakes & Body' started by TimboSHO, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. TimboSHO

    TimboSHO Novice

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Messages:
    2,126
    Likes Received:
    593
    Location:
    Wyoming, MI
    I just received my beautiful new SHO source coilovers this week. I am an ASE certified auto mechanic, but I just have a few questions to get me started, and thought I would start a thread for all of the others that are waiting to put these things of beauty on their cars.

    1. Should I tighten the top nut with an impact? I don't see another way, but with the nylon washer in the top nut, I'm worried about it spinning the shaft, and there is no way to hold the shaft with the adjustment on the top.

    2. What spring preload should I use? It looks like for a sports car coilover, zero preload is mostly recommended unless you have problems after install. Anyone have any suggestions for the SHO?

    3. Where do I even start with height adjustment? Just put them in as they are, get the car back on the ground and then figure out where I need to go from there?

    4. Sway bar preload. Not sure what the best adjustment is for the sway bars either. Do I try and keep the stock placement?

    If anyone has more questions, feel free to ask in this thread as well. I'm just trying to get some information out there for everyone. Thanks!
     
    shopartsnw likes this.
  2. One_Shot

    One_Shot SHO Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    Colorado
    Great questions. I pretty much thought of all the same the same questions when I got mine. I did some research just on coilovers and it sounded like most coilovers are set up from the factory for the specific car they are designed for. So I was just going to install them and see what I need to adjust from there. However after installing the new mounts I got and the caster camber plates they don't really look like they will work at the factory settings.

    I would like to add the questions that this may be the first time most of us in the group buy such as myself are going to have serious adjustment of our alignment settings. With the caster camber plates and I got adjustable control arms with my coilovers as well. What is everybody running for performance street settings? What is everybody running for race settings?

    I was going to go off of this thread as a starting point.

    https://shoforum.com/index.php?threads/alignment-for-95-sho.135444/#post-1473424

    Also Sam says in this post for auto x that he was running 3.5 degrees camber in the front and 2.0 in the rear.

    https://shoforum.com/index.php?threads/first-sho-ftd.127394/

    I am very interested to see if anyone else replies though. Definitely will be watching this thread.
     
    SHOdded and shopartsnw like this.
  3. Irish Pride

    Irish Pride Irish Inside Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,703
    Likes Received:
    2,480
    Occupation:
    Owner of A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of
    Location:
    MusicCityUSA
    I will be keeping an eye on this thread too. It will be a little while before mine are installed but I have been thinking of this stuff as well.
     
  4. TimboSHO

    TimboSHO Novice

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Messages:
    2,126
    Likes Received:
    593
    Location:
    Wyoming, MI
    My car is a street/autocross car with occasional track use. My current setup is -1.5 camber in front (I think caster is around 4) and -1 in the rear. Toe in is zero on both ends. With the coilovers, I am going to bump it up to -2 camber on the front and maybe -1.25 camber in the rear as I see far to much outer tire wear when I autocross/track it, but I also still want it to be streetable as well.
     
  5. shopartsnw

    shopartsnw SHO Medic Staff Member Sponsoring Vendor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Messages:
    1,124
    Likes Received:
    464
    Location:
    Battle Ground, WA
    I will do my best to help. These answers are based on my experience running the original prototype SHO Source coilovers as a daily driver for approximately 40,000 miles and my experiences on our purpose built RX7 race car with coilovers.

    1) I agree you should not let the shaft spin uncontrollably when tightening the nut. I personally use a rubber strap wrench wrapped around the chrome shaft (as high as possible). This usually lets me get acceptable torque on the nut. An impact with short blips will do it, but it is way to easy to overtorque the nut unless you have really good torque sticks, so I usually avoid an impact gun.

    2) My best result for preload was one turn on the collar past zero preload. This has the advantage of giving you full spring travel, while holding the assembly together tight enough it won't jump out of the perch when you jack up the wheels or lift one in hard cornering.

    3) For height, I tried to stay close to the height of a car on lowering springs. We had some customers that went as low as they could go, and it still worked for them, but I hated scraping the air dam on speed bumps. Unless you are corner weighting the car, make sure you measure to keep your left and right side on each end the same. Front to rear can vary to set stance, but left and right on each end should stay balanced. I you are corner weighting, or at least have a set of scales, all this goes out the window. Corner weighting is a science all its own and needs its own thread for sure. As an aside, I did run the suspension higher than stock during some winter snow driving. It looked ridiculous, but I was able to drive through deeper snow.

    4) I have always been taught to keep the swaybay neutral at rest. Some people play with preload in corner weighting, but my best results were from adjusting ride height with the swaybars disconnected. Once my corner weighting and ride height is set, I will reconnect the swaybars with no preload. Since you get adjustability here over stock, you can finally adjust the swaybars to horizontal when the car is sitting at rest. Keeping the swaybars horizontal puts them in the middle of their range of motion and installing them neutral keeps you from having hidden preload.

    5) Sway bars are another long discussion. Without coilovers, my personal preference on the Gen1 or Gen2 was 24/26 (or 22/26 with a Quaife). With coilovers (and the stiffer springs), I have seen people stick with 24/26, but I found that to be a little too stiff. I have also seen people delete the front bar and only go with a 19mm rear, but usually those cars had much stiffer springs on the coilovers. I hate to say it, but you may have to be prepared to experiment with swaybar sizes. Keep in mind, too much front swaybar will make the car understeer or push (you try to turn into a corner but the front wheels tend to slide). This is the safer condition for most street drivers. Too much rear sway bar, and the car tends to oversteer (the back end comes around and you spin). This is how race drivers like it, but it can be dangerous on the street. Be careful as you feel out the new suspension, and please let everyone know what swaybar combination works best for you (assuming you are on the standard coilover springs we ship).

    6) Make sure you periodically check the tightness of your end link mounts and rear mount lock collars on the coil overs. They tend to want to rotate as you turn the car. I cut into the inside tire on the prototype car until I got it locked down. For extra safety, I cut off and ground part of the upper end link stud so it did not stick out as far to give me a little more safety (I was running wide tires).

    Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help answer questions.

    Mike
    SHO Source
     
    SHOdded, One_Shot and TimboSHO like this.
  6. shopartsnw

    shopartsnw SHO Medic Staff Member Sponsoring Vendor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Messages:
    1,124
    Likes Received:
    464
    Location:
    Battle Ground, WA
    I forgot to add about camber and caster.

    For a street car, I would run the stock settings for camber and caster.

    If you are running a track car, you can adjust the camber from stock based on tire temps and wear. Caster usually stays the same (caster helps the steering return to straight and keep the car from darting)

    If you are running autocross, you can get some pretty crazy camber, caster and swaybar settings to get good cornering. I do not have good autocross numebrs, but there are a lot of people on SHO Forum who do.

    Keep in mind you can unbolt the gold pivot block and flip it around to get more travel in the opposite direction. We also expanded the length of the aluminum camber plat slot based on one customer's need, but I did not expand the steel backing plate. You may need to grind the inside of the steel backing plate if you need that extreme level of camber.

    Welcome to the near infinite adjustability of coil overs.

    Mike
    SHO Source
     
    SHOdded, One_Shot and TimboSHO like this.
  7. Toolman

    Toolman Boost it! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Messages:
    5,942
    Likes Received:
    2,389
    Occupation:
    Firefighter
    Location:
    Grand Lake, Oklahoma, USA
    A question concerning the SHO Source articulating spring mount: what do you use to lunricate that bushing?
     
  8. One_Shot

    One_Shot SHO Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    Colorado
    shopartsnw likes this.
  9. TimboSHO

    TimboSHO Novice

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Messages:
    2,126
    Likes Received:
    593
    Location:
    Wyoming, MI
    Update:

    Installed the mounts and found on the rears, you can use a 12mm open end wrench to hold the shaft from turning while using your 7/8" wrench to turn the nut. The curved wrench is helpful for this, but a straight one will work if you are careful. For the front ones, there aren't enough threads exposed for the 12mm wrench to fit on the top, so the strap wrench is helpful here. I think i might check the tightness once i have them installed with some weight on them.

    I also set the preload. I just adjusted them until the bottom perch was against the spring, and then one full turn past that. Everything is nice and tight and everything is ready to go in. Now, if only I had the time to do that right now!
     
    shopartsnw likes this.
  10. Toolman

    Toolman Boost it! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Messages:
    5,942
    Likes Received:
    2,389
    Occupation:
    Firefighter
    Location:
    Grand Lake, Oklahoma, USA
    Pics when you're done!
     

Share This Page

If you wish to help keep SHOforum running, please click the donation button below