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Thread: Coilovers vs Struts

  1. #1
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    Coilovers vs Struts

    Hello people, this is my 180:


    It came from Japan with, amazingly, a fairly sensible ride height that I'm going to retain, but unfortunately, it is fitted with some cheap, unbranded, presumably Chinese coilovers. They're already almost 6 years old as they have 2013 stamped on them. The car corners nice and flat but the ride is utterly terrible, boneshaking over potholes, and bouncing me into the air whenever the road surface undulates suddenly. My original plan was to replace them with a set of more decent quality coilovers, like some HSDs or similar. However, I'm not so sure now. Above all I'd like to give this car back some ride quality, as it's really letting it down, whilst maintaining its current ride height.

    So my question is, can you get coilovers that can be set up to give decent ride quality, or am I barking up the wrong tree there and should revert to factory style struts? I was thinking Koni Sport dampers with H&R lowering springs if I went the strut route.

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    Check out BC Racing, they do a massive range of spring rates for coilovers

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

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    My hsd’s with the compression set really light are lovely. They are still stiff because of the spring rates but when you hit something they move well.

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    The only coilies I know of that will give you decent handling and OEM or better ride quality is Apex Limo coilovers.

    I had Apex Comfies originally (5kg/4kg) and I found them OK but still too boingy especially over long yumps.

    The Limos are 4kg/3kg so still stiffer than OEM but I ran them with whiteline ARBs and strut braces front and rear and I found that perfect.

    They can also be set up for up to +5mm ride height as they have longer than standard lower assemblies.

    If you want to low the car by more than 25mm, you need stiffer than Limos as they have so much travel that the wheel will hit the arches when they reach full compression.
    Last edited by Jonny Wilkinson; 03-01-2019 at 10:51.

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    Test wheel clearance at full bump by removing the spring and arb link and lifting wheel to the stop. If there isn't any clearance you need a big rubber bobbin on the damper rod like the stock strut has in the top end of the rubber gaiters - this is the BUMP STOP.

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    A bump stop will protect the arches BUT it will also stop the shock working as intended.

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    I doubt with my ride height (see the picture) that I'll have any issues with arch clearance, I certainly haven't got close to scrubbing yet. If it does become an issue with more compliant suspension, I can always dial in a little more ride height. Thanks for those suggestions guys. The BC Racing 5/4kg setup looks to be a good shout, so I may take the plunge on those. Also sounds like I should get my hands on a strut brace and some thicker ARBs.

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    I have HSD HR's (monopro) with 5/4kg spring rates on my S14 and I really like it. It's stiff, but not at all harsh over bumps.
    AT-R website opened! Visit: AT-R


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    If you're not planning on lowering it too much I would go for the Konis to be honest.

    I had a Koni SSK on my first car years ago and to this day it is still the best balance of handling / comfort I've had in a car suspension wise. I got carried away with looks a bit after that and had coilovers on everything and they have always been more of a compromise in my experience.

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    Koni adjustables will save you about 2 pounds a piece, and they'll give you better traction for the holeshot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny Wilkinson View Post
    A bump stop will protect the arches BUT it will also stop the shock working as intended.
    Care to elucidate on that?

    Are you saying Marzocchi shocks don't work as intended. Motorcycle rear shocks have bump stops on the rod. It's that black bung on the LHS of the rod with a pair in the middle of the photo.


    And are you saying Nissan made dis-functional front and rear suspension on all 200SX? They came from the factory with bump stops in the top of the gaiter. Both front and rear OEM shocks are technically coil overs. It's just after-market ones are pretty and adjustable.

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    We both know that adding a deeper bump stop to a shock to protect the arches is different to having bump stops designed into the shock.

    By introducing longer bump stops you are effectively reducing the travel and causing the shock to reach max compression before it was designed to.

    Once on the bump stop all subsequent upward pressure will be transmitted directly to the unsprung part the car reducing downward pressure on the tyre and so reducing traction and unsettling the car.

    Even if its only reducing travel by an inch, on a non-linear spring that's not insignificant.

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    The only way the wheel can hit the arch is if the shock body doesn't hit the bump stop.

    So his shocks are not set-up correctly.

    Take the shock off, remove the spring. Disconnect the ARB link, be ready with a spare as they are easy to shear when they have been on a long time.

    Refit shock without spring, fit wheel, jack wheel (or lower arm) till it hits arch. Measure the gap between top of shock body and top spring perch. Remove shock, wind the knuckle clamp and spring collars down by the measured distance, this moves shock body up so it will contact the bump stop. Put it all back together without spring, check that shock tops out on bump stop and wheel doesn't hit arch. If you judge the bump stop to be very firm you may be able to back off a bit. Then refit spring and reassemble again.

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