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Old 09-17-2001, 08:07 AM   #1
Dezoris
 
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Shocks and struts, tech topic.

There is a misconception that shocks absorb the bumps, and dips on the road, well here is some info to clear up the mystery as to what, makes springs and shocks do what they do.

"In reality, the springs carry the load of the car and regulate the suspension's reaction to any bumps or dips in the road. They're the ones that really absorb the shocks. The shock absorbers time the spring's reaction by changing kinetic energy (the spring moving up and down) into thermal energy (the heat built up as the shock's oil passes through the various pistons and valves)." Grassroots

Springs mange the cars weight and road conditions, Shocks control the spring loading and unloading of the springs motion, or absorbtion of the springs movement.

Since the shocks are damping the springs, technically shock absorbers should be called dampers. Struts and shocks are a catch all name for dampers. The main difference in struts and shocks is shocks do strict damping, and springs do load bearing.
Macpherson strut setups the strut assembly load bears and dampens the spring.



So the 5th and 6th gen Civics have double wishbone at all fours wheels using the coilover shock method.
The 2k1 Civics have redesigned Macpherson strut setup (in the front) which uses longer tie rods than conventional Macpherson strut setups of lets say 80% of cars, this is good because under extreme cornering, your typical strut setup tends to go into postive camber, which means you loose grip, and handling. The bad news is they redesigned it saying "this strut setup behaves more like the double wishbone setup" So while they improved the Macpherson setup, they still went backwards from the previous front Shock setup.

So the reason car companies use strut setups is obvious with the new Civic, it creates more room up front (seating, flooring) and for the engine bay to be smaller, not to mention it is cheaper.

Ever wonder why cars that are stock come with sway bars?
Well honestly it is cheaper for companies to do it.
They reduce body roll, with the bars, this enables them to have lower spring rates (softer) and softer shocks, and no one is any the wiser.

So If you have upgraded Shocks and springs it reduces your need for anti-sway bars, in fact if you add them (or put thicker ones in)you can actual reduce your grip, because it is pulling the load/transfering it to reduce roll which is exactly the opposite of what you want, with new shocks and springs.
I made this mistake with my Bilstein/Neuspeed Coilovers. I put a 30mm front sway bar on which is double the thickness of the stock one and all it did was unstick my front tires in hard manuevers. keep it in mind.

Quote:
ok..so when do u need adjustable shock/struts and non adjustible lets say w/ my drop of 2 1/2??

If you are talking adjustable shocks, meaning, stiffness settings?
Well lets look at this, to be honest The Koni sports, The Tokico Illuminas, and the KYB adjusatble shocks are great, if you want some control, but remeber you can only adjust rebound, and not compression,(except the tockico, which is single adjustable while adjusting both rebound, and compression) so really if you are concerned about getting the best shocks, those are some of the best out of the box shocks. If you want to get serious for racing, most everyone has these shocks re-valved or converted into double adjustable or triple adjustable.
Rebound and compression.

You never really need adjustable shocks, now of course if you have race springs, then you are going to need an agressive shocks like the those. But really, as long as you get a sport shock, to mate sport springs you will have better performance.

Quote:
so what about when you have a drop on stock shocks...what happens?
See the OEM shocks are designed for the rated springs that come with them, the reason it is a big no no to do springs on stock shocks is namely because aftermarket springs are
1.)Stiffer, which causes shocks to do double/triple the work, which the shock was not designed for. Namely the oil in the shock gets too bubbly etc. and does not do its job.
2.)shorter than stock which means the stock shocks haves less travel, which can be dangerous, on quick manuevers, when the cars suspension can bottom out, causing dangerous conditions.

If you see an accident comming you want an out. Also these conditions can interfer with ABS systems which is another reason it is dangerous, not that most of us have that on our cars.


Quote:
Why do you need to cut bumpstops? On suspension?
most shocks re-use the stock bumpstops because they are good for most apps, some require cutting because, the shocks may have more travel, on the compression stroke and the stock bumpstops are too long, so cutting them down is just a requirement for certain shocks, also many kits come with calculated bumpstops beacuse, the stock ones can be too short. The fear of no bumpstops is the suspension bottoming out. Which the bumpstops prevent. Some setups use calculated bumpstops, usually with kits that do not have to be cut, and are designed for that application.


Let the debate begin!

some info pulled from Grassroots motorsports.com
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Old 11-27-2001, 01:48 PM   #2
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Excellent post Dezoris! Tons of good info in it. ::
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Old 12-11-2001, 09:12 AM   #3
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outstanding column!!!!!
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Old 12-11-2001, 09:24 AM   #4
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great article!
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Old 10-09-2002, 08:50 AM   #5
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great tech post!!! one of the best i've seen!! i learned this at a custom shop i used to work at but i wouldn't have been able to articlutate it like you did! awesome, a lot of people overlook suspension upgrades when it should probably be the first!
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Old 10-16-2002, 04:06 PM   #6
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it is very important to remember that everything about a car's suspension is designed to work as it came from the factory. a suspension mod as simple as wheels and tires can ajust the scrub radius (the angle between the steering axis and the wheel centerline at the road surface). changing this scrub radius will change the entire feel of the steering of the vehicle and often will result in reduced traction over stock. the problem can be made worse by lowering the car. changing ride height will always change camber unless camber plates are used. changing camber will always change toe. using extreme camber angles is very hard on ball joints and contro arms as well as steering components. if you are not careful when lowering your car, you will end up with a vehicle that eats tires and handles worse and less predictably that stock. it is imperative that a four wheel alignment be done by a professional who understands the suspenion demands of the enthusiast driver after changing any suspension components.
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Old 12-30-2002, 03:09 PM   #7
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wheel/tire question

Hi Dezoris,

I own a 1999 Civic EX Coupe. I plan to lower my car (1.25'') with Goldline springs and install Tokico HP shocks as well. Recently, I purchased a set of 15'' 2003 Honda EX aluminum wheels. I am planning to put 205/50/15 Kumho Ecsta 711 or 712 on them. If I am not mistaken the pic of your honda seems to reveal that you are running 15''s on yours. Do you see any potential problems with this setup? i know I could just wrap 195/55/15 on these wheels, but I want to go wider!

What's your opinion on that? I would very much appreciate your answer.

Thomas
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Old 02-08-2003, 09:01 PM   #8
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Re: Shocks and struts, tech topic.

Quote:
Originally posted by Dezoris
I put a 30mm front sway bar on which is double the thickness of the stock one and all it did was unstick my front tires in hard manuevers. keep it in mind.

Let the debate begin!
Excellent post.

Putting on a bigger front sway bar would make your car understeer even more. To make your care more neutral handling, one would put on a bigger rear sway bar or reduce the size of the front sway bar.
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Old 02-11-2003, 09:25 AM   #9
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Just keep in mind, you dont want your suspension to be to stiff. Your car wont keep traction in corners if it is.
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Old 03-18-2003, 11:46 AM   #10
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Man I totally have no idea about suspension. I want to lower my car a little and even out the front and rear. Right now, because of the bandpass box and junk in the back, my car is higher in the front than it is in the back. I also live down a dirt road, which presents a big obstacle to get around. I have no idea how far I should drop it, or what all I'll have to buy for dropping the vehicle beside springs and a camber kit.
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Old 04-19-2003, 01:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Racing Rice
Just keep in mind, you dont want your suspension to be to stiff. Your car wont keep traction in corners if it is.
well said, stiff and low does not equate to better handling.
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Old 04-19-2003, 11:29 AM   #12
Dezoris
 
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Re: wheel/tire question

Quote:
Originally posted by drumboy69
Hi Dezoris,

I own a 1999 Civic EX Coupe. I plan to lower my car (1.25'') with Goldline springs and install Tokico HP shocks as well. Recently, I purchased a set of 15'' 2003 Honda EX aluminum wheels. I am planning to put 205/50/15 Kumho Ecsta 711 or 712 on them. If I am not mistaken the pic of your honda seems to reveal that you are running 15''s on yours. Do you see any potential problems with this setup? i know I could just wrap 195/55/15 on these wheels, but I want to go wider!

What's your opinion on that? I would very much appreciate your answer.

Thomas


205 is perfect if,

Your offset is greater than 42mm and your camber is set optimally.
Yes 205 will offer better grip if aligned right
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Old 01-19-2004, 11:16 AM   #13
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What is the difference between coilovers and lowering springs??
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Old 01-19-2004, 03:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kool-Aid
What is the difference between coilovers and lowering springs??

Lowering springs are just springs by themselves which are either linear or progressive. Lowering springs a shorter in height therefore lowers your car when installed. It is a preset height. Non-adjustable. Examples:
http://www.prostreetonline.com/pso/p...ypesub=Springs

Coilovers are split into 2 category:
1) Coilover "sleeves" are adjustable. The height can be adjusted because the spings can be raised/lowered per demand. This is done by turning the nut which rides on the sleeve. Examples:
http://www.prostreetonline.com/pso/p...ol+Coilo vers
http://www.prostreetonline.com/pso/p...e=RD+Coilovers

2) Fully adjustable Coilover kit are the best for the money but the most expensive. It comes with struts(shocks) with a built or threaded body in which springs ride for adjustability. It is is similar to number 1, but the struts are incorporated and rated for its springs. Examples:
http://www.prostreetonline.com/pso/p...SS+Coilove rs

You stock Honda dampening system is a coilover kit. It's just not adjustable.......

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-19-2004, 04:35 PM   #15
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Yea...this helps...lowering springs are just to lower it without being able to adjust the height...
the sleeves are the one's where you can adjust the height...
Am I right?
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Old 01-19-2004, 04:59 PM   #16
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yeah.
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Old 01-19-2004, 07:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kool-Aid
Yea...this helps...lowering springs are just to lower it without being able to adjust the height...
the sleeves are the one's where you can adjust the height...
Am I right?

yep
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Old 02-08-2004, 11:42 PM   #18
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on a scale from 1 to hard what is the difficulty of installing coilovers and shocks and would I be capable of installing them or should I just pay someone who knows what is going on do them
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Old 02-09-2004, 08:53 PM   #19
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Freakin easy! You will have to borrow a spring compressor from Autozone. It's a $40 refundable deposit. The only problem I came across dropping cars were snapping the head on one of the bolts.....and it seems to be always one of the bottom strut heads. This is where the complication begins. You may or may have to get a new bushing. If you do, they normally run around $30 at a dealership parts department. The other thing is, the old bushing must be pressed out hydraulically by a shop. The way I look at it tho, it would've snap anyways regardless of who does the drop. This does NOT normally happen especially if the car is fairly new.... Other than that, I can normally lower a car in less than 3 hours with normal garage tools and a 6 pack
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Old 03-01-2004, 10:32 PM   #20
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Ok...This Week I just put on the front of my suspension set up...I Have the ractive coilovers with 5 way externally adjustable Tokico struts...i also replaced the upper and lower ball joints..tie rod ends...and i have a 1.5 inch to 3.25 inch camber kit.(thats the drop height it can handle i guess.)..So anyway...we have the setting at 3 outa 5 right now...is that to hard for just normal driving? it seems like it to me...THe right side especially when i hit a good hole/bump..it makes a big BAM noise ...any one got any suggestions for me..i just got a front alignment done and the camber kit all adjusted wheels are straight as hell just the ride a little stiff...
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Old 03-01-2004, 10:47 PM   #21
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the bam is the control arms bottoming out in the inner fender. accords suck at that
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Old 03-01-2004, 10:49 PM   #22
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how can i fix that man its gay i swear its just the one side :S
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Old 03-02-2004, 08:45 AM   #23
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the passanger side ?
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Old 03-05-2004, 11:15 PM   #24
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Hi everybody....I made it to my business trip...I didn't think I could get into this website but here I am!!!!
Since I am here...talk to me!!! This place sucks!!!
Can anybody give me some tips on suspension...like struts...and shocks?
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Old 03-17-2004, 03:50 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kool-Aid
Hi everybody....I made it to my business trip...I didn't think I could get into this website but here I am!!!!
Since I am here...talk to me!!! This place sucks!!!
Can anybody give me some tips on suspension...like struts...and shocks?


If your a driver and need a little bit of a performance improvement I recommend getting new struts and lowering srpings.

I would suggest not to go for coil covers unless your on a budget.

You got a double Wishbone set up in the front and back its not hard to modify your suspension.

Check Koni and kyb for gas struts and check out hr springs and eibach for lowering springs.
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Old 03-19-2004, 07:02 PM   #26
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Im not on a budget...so it's all good...I would like to get the coilovers...
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Old 03-20-2004, 04:58 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kool-Aid
Im not on a budget...so it's all good...I would like to get the coilovers...


Why do you want adjustables?

Your from Vegas, the streets are nice and smooth and it doesn't snow, you can even drop your car 2 inches........nice
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Old 03-22-2004, 08:14 AM   #28
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I would like adjustables because I am in the USAF and I won't be at Nellis (Las Vegas) my whole life...but if they do have adjustable lowering springs then that will be fine...
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:42 PM   #29
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great job
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