Re: Coilovers or Standard struts?
The standard shocks and springs that Alfa fit to the 156 are not great.
This applies to both the sports kit and the non sportskit suspensions, just they are both poor in different ways (one is incredibly harsh on anything other than smooth roads, and the other very roly poly).
There are a number of coilover kits OR non coilover spring/damper kits that improve things significantly.
Coilovers are a replacement for the standard struts that have the springs coiled around the new damper unit.
The primary advantage of coilover is that you can adjust the ride height at any point after fitment without having any effect on ride quality. For non coilover kits you basically are stuck with one ride height for a given spring set.
Strictly speaking you don't need coilovers if you don't believe you will be changing your ride height, e.g. lowering it for track days etc.
So you could just get a set of new springs and shocks to replace the standard ones, and the height of the car would be determined by the replacement spring height.
Obviously the lower the car the firmer the springs should be to avoid bottoming out.
You should buy the springs and dampers as a matched pair since otherwise one will be stronger than the other and effectively not allow the other component to do its job properly - this can lead to poor body control.
While you can have adjustable dampers on either coilovers or normal struts the bound/rebound adjustment gives you more options at any point for changing the ride height. e.g. you can decide to go lower than you initially thought you wanted and increase damping to compensate.
..or change the spring rate to be more comfy/stiffer, and then just adjust the dampers to match.
Hope this helped,
I'm not a doctor - but I really do recommend braking later
Last edited by Trailbraker; 09-12-06 at 13:12.