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Discussion 3 - Suspension & Coil-overs - Hardtuned.net

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Discussion 3 - Suspension & Coil-overs 

226 replies to this topic

#1 Brad

  • Joined:04-November 02
  • Location:Australia SA
  • Car:S15

Posted 05 July 2003 - 05:03 PM

Just thought another general discussion was due since I havent been on for about a month.

An interesting fact regarding coilovers is that if the shocks are gone or they need any general reconditioning you can take them to a motorbike or dirtbike specialist and get them fully reconditioned there. Saves hundreds of dollars, rather than buying a whole new set as no-one likes to sell one singular strut and be left with an odd-pair.

Another thing is that cambering the front wheels out more than 3 degrees is going to give you lower control arm/ball joint problems - it looks cool, but it wrecks havoc. I found this out the hard way when my car landed in Aus. and the front where cambered out on a stupid angle.

Ill re-post with more info on suspension regarding problems associated with the camber on the rear wheels under throttle, and descriptions on the general set-ups you could follow to use on a street/drift/race car and a few in between options.

Please post with your suspension set-up and general comments.


Discussion 2 on ECUs and aftermarket computers can be found here:

#2 xris

  • Joined:05-November 02
  • Location:Australia VIC

Posted 06 July 2003 - 05:49 PM

JIC Coilovers
Cusco Pillowball tops (old JIC ones got worn out)
Lowered so that the rear tyre is under the guard and the front is lowered as low as it goes (Cusco tops came with a 1/2" spacer so its not as low as it used to be)

My car

Camber has been adjusted so that the front is almost stock camber (tyres on the front last easily twice as long as the rear),

Rear camber is very negative. Toe in has been adjusted as much as possible by suspension shop in Canberra

Problems so far with Coilovers:-

: Rear Tyres wear quickly on inside - 6 months max
: Exhaust System shaken to bits (dump pipe broke, middle muffler broke) because of suspension (gearbox mount went and solid suspension caused the exhaust to cop all the abuse from the bumps)
: Front Pillow mounts (camber adjustable tops) copped most of the impact from bumps causing the pillow ball to become loose, causing loud knocking noise

The good things:-

: Handling has improved beyond belief, car drives like its on rails. (up drive ways and over things car will go up on 3 or 2 wheels This is also to do with the rear tower bar that i have as well)
: It looks better than ever.
: Being able to put the height up when you have been defected and then lower it straight afterwards hehe.

I will be getting rid of this suspension soon and get some Tein height and ride adjustable suspension.

BTW most of the reason for this happening was because i used to do alot of highway driving with the car (along the hume highway from ACT to VIC so i did alot of KM.)and the Hume is very dodgie in bits (bumpy)

#3 Jay Silvia 1.8T

  • Joined:27-January 03
  • Location:Australia QLD
  • Car:S13 Silvia - CA18DET

Posted 07 July 2003 - 07:28 PM

I'm really interested as to what tyre wheel combos can be fitted using stock coil spring setup.  I'd like to go 235x45r17 on 17x8's all round, but don't think that 235's will fit properly under the front guards.  I was hoping not to have to resort to coil overs, but if that's what it takes ! 

#4 xris

  • Joined:05-November 02
  • Location:Australia VIC

Posted 07 July 2003 - 08:28 PM

Im using 215/45/17 front and 235/45/17 on the rear, i know a guy who had 235's all round on stock suspension, so its possible, but its a pain when you need to rotate having my setup(though the tyres dont last that long hehe)

#5 l6a6w6s6

  • Joined:10-January 03
  • Location:Australia NSW

Posted 07 July 2003 - 10:41 PM

I got a lovely package with my car:

Kei Office Height and Damper adjustable coilovers front and rear (same set went fot $1550 on JMS)

Unknown brand pillow ball camber tops with additional height adjustment from under the bonnet

TEIN adjustable castor rods

Front strut brace.

The rear arms where the hicas is has been replaced by metallic blue adjustable links.

Bloody stiff that's for sure, and a pain in the arse most of the time. THe times you do try to enjoy cornering however they are bloody amazing.

Have been tuning the camber and ride heights to get even tyre wear accross the front which I almost have. As for damping adjustment I'm unsure exactly how to change it.

Future plans include new bushes all round, rear strut brace and some proper setup. Wouldn't mind tubular rear A arms too to be able to adjust rear camber too.

#6 l6a6w6s6

  • Joined:10-January 03
  • Location:Australia NSW

Posted 07 July 2003 - 10:54 PM

Extract from my site:


"Fully adjustable Kei Office coilovers with adjustable camber plates. Thses are high quality and give a very stiff ride, but amazing handling as to be expected. The latest model can be found at:


Mine look slightly different though.

#7 Brad

  • Joined:04-November 02
  • Location:Australia SA
  • Car:S15

Posted 08 July 2003 - 02:32 AM

Yeah - the whole 2 - 3 wheels thing when taking the car up an angle on a driveway is a new sensationor sure if youre used to driving a normal car.

The point about the exhaust being rattled to bits is also another good one. :)


#8 jvs007

  • Joined:24-May 03

Posted 08 July 2003 - 04:16 AM

i've been told that coilovers from the motherland.....japan are far more stiffer and firmer than coilovers found locally, does anyone agree/disagree ???


#9 xris

  • Joined:05-November 02
  • Location:Australia VIC

Posted 08 July 2003 - 06:50 PM

It makes sense that they would since the coilover is designed for track use. And its only becoming popular of late to use these coil overs on street cars, hence softer suspension cause most of our roads are bumpy.

#10 DumHed

  • Joined:11-January 03
  • Location:Australia NSW
  • Car:Silvia

Posted 08 July 2003 - 09:08 PM

On my old N/A Silvia I started off with Bilstein shocks all round, and slightly lower / heavier springs (on the car when I got it).

One of the front shocks went clunky, so I replaced the lot with KYB adjustable height coilovers. They worked really well for a while (a year maybe) then the fronts went creaky and one of the rears started leaking.

I replaced them temporarily with a set of KYB Gear Climb gas shocks and dodgy cut springs, which drove very nicely, except for scrubbing on mid corner bumps under brakes.

I then installed a set of Cusco coilovers with adjustable camber tops. I ran about 3 negative camber at the front, and was still wearing the outside of the tyres :) Handling was improved quite a lot over the KYBs, but ride was rock hard.
I added a Whiteline swaybar (extra heavy, adjustable) to that, which made a small difference to cornering - mainly in fast tight stuff.

A rear Cusco was broken when the car was t-boned, and the fronts had started going noisy after a few months.

The S12 Gazelle I drove for a while had GET coilovers in the front, with camber tops, and they were the best compromise I've seen. No coilover rattling, no jarring ride, just flat cornering and smoothe handling of bumps.

I now have another S13 Silvia which has Bilstein Struts all round, and the heaviest springs I've seen yet. It also has camber tops on the front, and pillowball tops on the rear (which are very noisy and need replacing)
This car will get the Whiteline swaybar soon, but already handles extremely well. I'd rate it above the Cuscos I think. The Bilsteins are not height adjustable like the Cuscos though.

All cars have had front strut braces, which make quite a difference in the right conditions, and the S13s had/have rear strut braces (which don't make much of an obvious difference)

One of the biggest differences, and the thing that most people leave till last is tyres. Tyres can make or break a suspension setup.
When I got my first S13 it had some bridgestones on it, which were not too bad, but a pretty standard tyre. I replaced them with G-Grids - which are not a sports tyre as such, but actually gripped quite well, and lasted 40000k's with about 5 track days in there which is pretty damn good.
I was then sold a set of Pirelli P6s on various peoples advice, which were apalling to drive on. The car felt vague and soft, like it was riding on sponge. I managed to get those swapped for a set of Falken Azenis ST115s which have been used on all three cars to some extent. They grip very well wet or dry, and are quite good value - but they don't last as well as some others. I have managed over 30000km and a couple of track days out of them though, but they're pretty much totally bald now.

On the Gazelle I tried a pair of Yokohama A510s, and they lasted 5000km from almost new condition to worn all the way through. I don't recommend those :)

#11 l6a6w6s6

  • Joined:10-January 03
  • Location:Australia NSW

Posted 08 July 2003 - 09:19 PM

Yeah i agree on the tyre issue. I can only afford nd hand tyres because of the rate in which the car chews them up. So its a luckydip as to what's available at th time.

I've had about 3 sets of Yokies, and found them average.

Bridgestone Revspecs I got once were excellent.

Dunlop FM901s were excellent.

Firestone SZ50 were crap.

The tyres now become the limit of the handling, and make a huge difference.


Question: The locking rings commonly found on coilovers to tighten after changing the ride height; does anyone have a correct tool for these? I spent $40 at a motorcycle shop for a tool which is near useless. I find a flate head screwdriver and some gentle tapping to be the only way to move them now.

#12 xris

  • Joined:05-November 02
  • Location:Australia VIC

Posted 08 July 2003 - 09:38 PM

The C ring spanner you can buy from suspension shops (the shop where i had some work done on my car sold coilovers)i also use a flat head and a hammer i've gotten so quick at doing my height i've done it that many times now. 15mins to raise the height of the front of my car, that includes jacking up each side and taking the wheels off stupid low ramps that mechanics use hehe.

When i first got the car i went through tyres every 3 months. at that time i was buying import tyres from europe ($175 each 235/45/17) dunlop p8000? real grippy but didnt last long too soft. Im now using Kumho silicon based Supra tyres cost me $210 each but are really good and have lasted the longest yet (since the car is locked up in my dads shed )got them from quickfit tyres in canberra. im using cheap tyres on the front as the size 215/45or40/17 is expensive $275 cheapest? i got tyres from the import place (using tyres that come on the package deals from people like Ozzytyres)really crap grip badly and dont last long, i got them put on, drove round a roundabout in the wet, gave it some gas and the front understeared straight into the gutter, didnt used to, used to whip out. Lucky it was a domed gutter and i just bounced off it

#13 DumHed

  • Joined:11-January 03
  • Location:Australia NSW
  • Car:Silvia

Posted 09 July 2003 - 02:14 AM

I bought a set of adjustable C Spanners for adjusting mine. They cost me about $50 delivered, and have ricey blue comfy handles :)

#14 xris

  • Joined:05-November 02
  • Location:Australia VIC

Posted 09 July 2003 - 05:54 PM

Theres a company that makes Coilovers which is located in Albury/Wodonga (i can get the name if anyone wants it) they make them custom for any car. A friend of mine got a set made and it cost him $3000 and thats with stanard tops! lucky we can get them for our cars alot cheaper

#15 hcr32_drifter

  • Joined:10-July 03

Posted 10 July 2003 - 07:17 AM

I think that JIC probably has the stiffest shakuchos but i have Tein and they're good enough, I dont think they do any damage to the frame but i think JIC would because they're so damn stiff.  I got the front cambered out it gives better handling when you're drifting cause the fronts more stable.

#16 dragon19

  • Joined:02-April 03

Posted 16 July 2003 - 08:21 AM

hay guys i just saw this topic iam in the process of lookig for coil overs for my 180sx i buying adjustable caster rods tommrow

i wanted to know what you guys reconmend in suspension i want somthing good but nothing really harsh thats unberable. i want high damper and camber adjustable

i was thinking of getting Jic coz afew poeple reconmended them but now you said they are too stifff iam not sure i want just a good set up

for some drift at track and normal driving

any one help me

ohh and where can i find these bloody coil overs i cant find sh*t at the moment =)

wat about whitline packs =)

#17 ex_TurboJunkie

  • Joined:09-November 02
  • Location:Australia QLD
  • Car:Ignis Sport

Posted 16 July 2003 - 09:40 PM

In my Silvia I had King springs with standard shocks, Whiteline sway bars (adjustable front), camber and caster adjusted. It was fairly good for a while until the front shocks wore out from constant pounding. I then got a set of coilovers, lightweight and stiff. Handling was much improved but it kept hitting the bump stops and car was easily unsettled by mid corner bumps.

I then bought my 180sx. With stock suspension, the handling was much improved for road use and as an added bonus was a nice ride. I then got some KYB 330000 struts / shocks. The feel of the car is much better with these. Before the car had some rather unpleasant understeering moments when on the limit, but now it is easier to predict when the understeer will happen and adjust to suit. I have recently fitted adjustable caster bushes to bring the front wheels forward a little, am yet to give it a good test though.

My tyres are Bridgestone Grid II. They are almost in need of replacing, but still have good grip even in the wet. I have to be really pushing the car hard in the wet for anything untoward to happen.

#18 steveo

  • Joined:09-November 02

Posted 17 July 2003 - 01:25 AM

I run JIC's, awersome on a slick road however terrible on anything typical of melbourne or sydney roads.

Ive driven a few different setups and have found all jap coilovers stiff. If i drove my car each day on average roads i think id opt for my girlfriends setup which is simply a set of street/race Adj GAB shocks and matching springs. Alot stiffer than std setup yet alot softer than coilovers. Also driven hillclimb/street KYB shock+spring and they were nice.

The ones ive seen only lower the car slightly and it may appear that the front is higher than rear however the arch on the front is higher than the rear on the S13 so it is actuallly even. So if your lowering your car to fill the guards on your 18inch chromies then look elsewhere.

Heard Whiteline/Fulcrum coilovers are softer than Jap ones. Would like to try them out one day, if only they werent so expensive.

Also those with coilovers do you have the same distance to the guards both front and rear or do you keep the front up a little like the aftermarket shock packages?

#19 Ryan_RB

  • Joined:16-March 03
  • Location:Australia VIC
  • Car:Nissan Stagea, R32 Skyline

Posted 17 July 2003 - 02:51 AM

how would a r33 gt25t with a good set of coil-overs handle through the twisty bits?

#20 DumHed

  • Joined:11-January 03
  • Location:Australia NSW
  • Car:Silvia

Posted 17 July 2003 - 07:14 AM

it depends on the setup, but mainly the driver.

Good suspension and good driver = fast twisties.

An S13 will be more chuckable because of the lower weight and center of gravity, but the 33 will be good in high speed sweepers, etc.

Having said that I have gone around the outside and inside of modified R33s in my old n/a Silvia with coilovers. I've done the same in an S12 Gazelle with coilovers in the front and the stock CA20E engine too.

#21 dragon19

  • Joined:02-April 03

Posted 17 July 2003 - 09:09 AM

so guys what coilovers would you reconmend for my car

somthing for street every day driving and track =)

and can any one lead me in the right direction of finding some ? =)

#22 JDM Performance

  • Joined:05-May 03
  • Car:S15

Posted 20 July 2003 - 07:29 PM

I too find the Jap coilovers to be too stiff for my liking. I thought all coilovers would generally be stiff since they're designed for track, and then I tried H&R Spring coilovers. Holy dooly, they are unbelieveable. The ride is so soft and plush you think you're driving a limo or something. Then my mate took me around some twisties and the car handled like she's on rails. I couldnt believe these coilovers could do that, having a plush ride plus great cornering abilities. BTW, he's got an Audi A4 and TT, both with coilovers. Checked out their website but unfortunately, they dont make them for Silvia's


  • Joined:13-July 03
  • Location:Australia VIC
  • Car:s14

Posted 21 July 2003 - 09:17 PM

i also have kei office and find it to be very stiff and was wandering what way is softer and which harder is 1 soft or five the softest??? Clockwise or anti? are all the jap coil overs basically the same in the way they adjust

#24 crazy180

  • Joined:25-June 03
  • Location:Australia NSW

Posted 23 July 2003 - 08:22 AM

im about to get me a pair of coilovers  aswell

 i have 2 options to pick: cussco or tien coilovers.. both got pillow mounts

anyone got any exprience with these two sets up..????

  the bloke who is sellin them said over all the cussco ones are better for street, but i heard tien are crazy for the street but the best on the track....

  i got a mate who swear by the tien...

#25 TN

  • Joined:31-October 02
  • Location:Australia SA
  • Car:S15, S14A

Posted 24 July 2003 - 12:28 PM

I'm not too sure if there's any place here in Adelaide that will recondition coilovers. Generally, when buying coilover check if they "pop back up", otherwise there's an oil leak or just shagged. Now, there's no place in Adelaidee that I know off that recondition coilover, however I do know a place in melbourne that does it, and its abit expensive. In the end its better buying a new set.
When adjusting them (if you don't have the key), use a large flat head and a rag and knock it one way, while another person with the same tool does it in the other direction. Although this method isn't avisable and it may cause slight damage, its certainly one way of loosening it up to be adjusted. Spray some WD40 may help aswell.

Oh BTW, for SA members i'm interested in selling my coilovers that are on my car. Its Tien something rather at the front ( Black type- the older type) and Apexi Rear. Both are height adjustable. asking around 500.

#26 sky80

  • Joined:19-July 03
  • Location:Australia NSW

Posted 27 July 2003 - 06:21 AM

i heard the European stuff are usually softer and handle well too.

and the jap stuff are usually hard as concrete, but good if the road is smooth.

i want to try the whiteline stuff, people say it's soft in ride, lowers about 40mm and handles good too, but i guess i'll need sway bars too.

i think whiteline is worth a try since they are designed for australian road conditions

#27 xris

  • Joined:05-November 02
  • Location:Australia VIC

Posted 27 July 2003 - 06:55 PM

But the price of local suspension is ridiculas $3000 for suspension. Id rather have rock hard suspension for a third of the price

#28 Loco180

  • Joined:19-June 03

Posted 29 July 2003 - 02:23 AM

I've heard you can get the Tein Flex Coilovers all round for $2800.

You can also get the In Cabin adjustable damping for an extra $800.

Apparently on the softest setting, they aren't too bad for normal road use.


Personally, I'm going to stick to my King Springs and Bilstein shocks with uprated valves by Heasman (in Sydney). These are plenty hard enough for me.

I've recently fitted some Rear Camber adjustable upper arms.  I also fitted a Whiteline rear sway bar while I was doing work on the rear end.  I haven't fitted the 27mm front anti roll bar yet, but just by looking at it, it looks like it would fit alot better.  I'll be doing this tonight.

I've also had the strut tower bars fitted front and rear which are a big help.

The tension rod bushes have to be replaced with Urethane bushes.  This is the old leaky silicone bush which people have heard about, do this pronto.  I your car walks about under heavy breaking or if the inside front tyres wear quickly, then this is the problem. (Note : Most workshops in Australia don't use the term tension rod, I've heard it being called a control arm or castor rod before).


Future jobs :

Diff Cradle locking kit.  Have you felt it kick the body if you get the launch wrong ?  (thud, thud, thud).  Gearbox mount and engine mount.  I had a good look at the diff cradle bushes when I changed the rear arms, you could see that the front right hand side one was worn and hits the body.  I've got about 70K on the clock.


Questions :

Has anyone found good Camber angles that work really well for them (front and rear) ?  I saw that Brad says to keep within 3'.

Has anyone fitted a front underbody brace and found any benefit with it ?



#29 Loco180

  • Joined:19-June 03

Posted 29 July 2003 - 02:33 AM

PS.  Regarding the Whiteline rear bar, I haven't had a good look at it with the full weight of the car on the suspension, it may line up properly with the weight on.

I'll let youse know.  (see it is a word).

#30 l6a6w6s6

  • Joined:10-January 03
  • Location:Australia NSW

Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:15 PM

Loco where did yo get your rear strut brace from?

I have been after one for agesand theyare not easy to find

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