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Suspension and Brakes

After a long absence, I have returned to you guys to finally finish off all of Arya's running gear, with the grit, determination and the budget!

I am going to be doing pads and discs all around it's only an extra £10 all in for brembos so that's a no brainer, but with regard to the pads should I get the TRW or Alfa originals, Alfa original are £20 more, is it worth it?

The last MOT, the car had an advisory on the rear anti roll bar bushes, I will replace those but whilst she's up in the air is it worth getting the actual anti roll bar and shock absorbers replaced whilst shes got her skirt raised?

There's also a fair amount of knocking from the front suspension and the ride is slightly bouncy, she's still superb in the corners, but if I'm doing the rear I may as well do the front.

Is it worth me replacing the front shockies and wishbones as well?

I'm planning on keeping her for the next 2+ years anyway, and I know it'll cost a bit but i love my wee chariot, and want her to run the best she can.

Thanks and regards

Chris

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For pads, I'd go with TRW as they have better initial bite than Brembo. I think TRW is OE. There was a question about brakes a few days ago. I posted my thoughts on that. Clean corrosion from carriers to ensure pads are a sliding fit- neither tight nor loose.

Rear calipers need a rewind tool. They are a bit awkward to do. Sometimes it is better to disconnect the cable so as not to kink it. Cable adjuster is under handbrake lever gaiter (inside car). Properly adjust handbrake cables only remove free-play from cable. Do not adjust to try to reduce lever travel. They will wear out much quicker and lever will need more effort.

If any caliper doesn't retract easily, usually it is because of oxidation of the caliper body. Replacement calipers start at £35 but I strip them, clean up oxidation (80 grit emery cloth) and the piston (600 grit emery paper). Rebuilding is awkward as the gaiters must be fitted first but do-able with basic tools and patience. I didn't even use a bench vice to hold the calipers when I did 3 rear calipers of 1999 TS and 2005 JTS a month ago. Both cars still on original calipers.

Front struts go weak. Bolts at bottom of struts to horseshoe bracket are prone to seize.
Rear strut spring perches or pans rust where they attach to strut body. This is normally the reason for replacement. Inspect very carefully especially behind strut body. Long longitudinal bolt at bottom of strut through the transverse arms is prone to seizure but can normally be saved. Note order and position of washers and spacer. Brake calipers need to be removed to change rear struts. Rear struts secured at top by 22mm nut inside boot. On 147, boot trim needs to be removed also.

Rear springs are reliable. Fronts less so but not bad.

Front upper wishbones are wear prone. If they need changed, genuine TRW is best. Koni Str.T front struts are a nice upgrade. Better ride and stability. I suggest them as they are £110 a pair at Larkspeed so not much more than direct replacements. There is an insert with must be fitted to strut top mounting though but instructions are included.
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(Post Link) post #3 of 40 Old 29-04-19 Thread Starter
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Thanks Fruity you're a legend, so many suspension parts I'm looking at too, getting lost in the amount of parts and thinking is buying some of it necessary?

The front and rear suspension bushes are really badly worn and have been a while so it's taken its toll on other areas of the suspension, causing the front wheels to track like Marty Feldman's eyes ha, so I'm going to get new shockies and springs, is it worth getting new mounts as well?

1 advisory notice from last MOT was the "rear anti roll bar linkage ball joint had slight play" I think it means part 60613575, are they left and right specific like the front, or can I just buy 2 of the same and they'll work? The below is a list of what I think I need, anything else you think I should add or remove?

Suspension arm front. RIGHT hand upper wishbone 51834094

Suspension arm front. LEFT hand upper wishbone 51834093

Roll Bar. Front anti roll bar 51754198

Bush. Pair of front anti roll bar bushes (22mm). ARBBUSH1

Shock absorber. Front standard shock absorber 71775998

Shock absorber rear. Standard rear. 10" shaft. 51744013

Spring. Rear coil spring Colour code Red/Yellow 60613563

Coil Spring. Front coil spring. 51772430

Drop Link. Rear drop link x2 60613575
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Anti roll bar links are not sided (front and rear). The nuts on them can seize up making removal so difficult renewal of the link is necessary. Applies to both front and rear.

Front ARB bushes are not necessary. The roll bar comes with new bushes and brackets. This is a pain of a job because the front subframe need to be lowered which means getting the exhaust cat section out of the way. It is a fairly involved job and the front of the car would need to be supported on axle stands. If you are doing it yourself, do it over a dry weekend and don't rush things. There are fish plates at rear of subframe with bushes which attach to the large underfloor plate which mounts the handbrake lever. Pay attention to this. It is not especially difficult. Similar advice applies to spacer washers at rear of subframe.
The steering rack must be unbolted from subframe also but it hangs in position happily enough.

Front ARB bushes can be changed but ARB needs to be removed, rivets holding brackets together drilled and it is more fiddley to put it back on. I fitted poly bushes to JTS front ARB but the ploy bushes have developed a habit of groaning and I'm too busy to sort it (with silicone lubricant).

Rear suspension springs are not really necessary. They are mostly reliable.

Front upper wishbone wear can be detected with car at roadside. No jacking up is necessary. Simply grab top of tyre and haul it outwards sharply. Movement=worn top wishbone wear.

Front of my JTS has been rattle free for almost 40k (excepting an upper wishbone). They are nice when they are tight with strong dampers and no worn bushes or linkages.

As I already stated, rear struts only need changing due to corrosion. If front end feels a bit wobbly over bumps and ruts; the front struts are weak. Front springs can break and occasionally sag but are reliable in the context of a modern car.
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Last edited by Fruity; 29-04-19 at 22:51.
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The last MOT, the car had an advisory on the rear anti roll bar bushes, I will replace those but whilst she's up in the air is it worth getting the actual anti roll bar and shock absorbers replaced whilst shes got her skirt raised?
Rear ARB bushes are a doddle to replace, so unless you're wanting to upgrade or the bar is really badly corroded I'd just stick to replacing the bushes.

I fit the slightly thicker/stiffer bar from the 147/156 GTA when I replaced mine, also fit it with Strongflex polybushes. If/when they start to squeak they're easy enough to get to and reapply some grease.

Like fruity said, you have to drill through the bush brackets to split the bracket and release the old bush, but it's all held together tightly when you bolt them back up.

Droplinks were seized solid on my car. One came off with the use of molegrips to hold the ball joint and a blowtorch on the nut, the other one acquiesced once I introduced it to an angle grinder. I refit with Meyle HD links rather than original Alfa parts.
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Thanks guys appreciate all the advice, I was half getting confused with some of the parts because I went onto The Alfa Workshop, specialist Alfa Romeo garage and web site and they mainly list larger items, I've taken your advice Editor and went for the Strongflex polybushes.
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Rear ARB bushes are a doddle to replace, so unless you're wanting to upgrade or the bar is really badly corroded I'd just stick to replacing the bushes.
Or, rather than bothering to purchase / fit new bushes or links to an original rear ARB, just delete it. The stock 147 rear ARB (14mm OD) is so weak as to have virtually no affect. For a short time my 147 had no rear ARB fitted (while I was fabricating a custom ARB), and I couldn't detect any change in handling (compared to the stock ARB being in situ). I then fitted the new (much stiffer) ARB, for a huge improvement.

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I fit the slightly thicker/stiffer bar from the 147/156 GTA when I replaced mine, also fit it with Strongflex polybushes. If/when they start to squeak they're easy enough to get to and reapply some grease.
From personal experience I'd suggest fitting the thickest / stiffest rear ARB you can find. My custom bar is 20mm thick, the thickest aftermarket rear bar that I've seen advertised was 18mm (from memory). With the 20mm bar there is some increase in ride harshness, but not nearly as much as I was expecting to be likely. Steering and handling is hugely improved.

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Droplinks were seized solid on my car. One came off with the use of molegrips to hold the ball joint and a blowtorch on the nut, the other one acquiesced once I introduced it to an angle grinder. I refit with Meyle HD links rather than original Alfa parts.
FWIW, it's relatively easy to adapt drop links from other cars. My rear drop links are from a Holden Rodeo (Izuzu) front bar, which came with the Rodeo ARB that I modified to fit the rear of the 147, and just happened to be near enough the correct length. The front links are from a Mazda 323, cut, sleeved and welded back together at the correct length. I used the 323 links because I had them on the shelf already, so didn't have to purchase or wait for new parts.

With non stock links it isn't unlikely that the stud posts won't perfectly fit the holes in the ends of the ARB (or the link holes in the suspension). However, it doesn't really matter if the holes are a bit too big for the posts, the nut will hold the stud tightly enough that it won't move in use.

Regards,
John.
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From personal experience I'd suggest fitting the thickest / stiffest rear ARB you can find. My custom bar is 20mm thick, the thickest aftermarket rear bar that I've seen advertised was 18mm (from memory). With the 20mm bar there is some increase in ride harshness, but not nearly as much as I was expecting to be likely. Steering and handling is hugely improved.
Ultra Racing does a 19mm one. How does the thicker rear ARB affect handling, if the front ARB is left unchanged? (Other than PowerFlex bushings). I imagine you alter the cars ability to steer in greatly, but is it too much, if the front hasn't been upgraded?
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I'm with Brinker here on the ARB setup, I will replace the front one, so is it worth paying extra for a "performance" part or just sticking to the original? Would it compromise the handling if I fit the stiffer/thicker rear ARB and keep a stock one up front?

My brother thinks that the stock suspension parts are too dear as well and was looking at coil packs that would lower the car 30mm (I'm not fussed as long as it's comfy and clears speed bumps) is there anything that I should avoid or any recommendations for what would still ride nice?

This is what he was trying to convince me to get https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AP-Perfor...gAAOSwN2VZPShR

Thanks in advance again guys

Chris
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My brother was also looking at this, is it worth it the savings I may make? As I said I want to be Running Arya for 2/3 years ao want the best set up I can get for the best value, thanks.

Chris

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/For-Alfa-...9d7d28c955f6e4
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With the suspension arm kit listed on eBay, it is not branded and you may find certain parts wear out quickly. I've used lower quality top wishbones and frankly, they didn't last and showed signs of wear by next MOT. The kit may be ok and I understand that saving money is attractive but if it is really to fund a coilover kit then that may be a false economy. I realise that depending on what you need (springs and struts), it may be attractive. I'd want a definitive list of what is needed and what looks to be needed in the not too distant future. It may be economic if rear strut spring perches are iffy as chances are, the front struts are weak. If the front springs are original then doing all springs and dampers as coilovers possibly makes good sense.

35mm is a bit of a drop so if I was doing it, I think I'd make up spacers to reduce the lowering by probably 20mm. You can go too low and really the front tracking needs a little toe-in if lowered to stop the inside of the front tyres wearing. I have -30mm Eibach springs with parallel front tracking but my tyres still took a beating on the inner shoulders. Unfortunately no one at Kwik Fit is wise enough to know how to set geometry with lowering springs despite being told what settings would work. Changing the front to 1-2mm of toe-in and the rear to 0.5-1mm of rear toe-in works nicely with lowered suspension.

Coilover suspension is probably a little firmer than what I have but but my Eibachs and Konis aren't at the limit of firmness even for a daily driver.

Fitting an updated rear anti roll bar will definitely reduce understeer. On its own, it may mean the rear has a tendency to oversteer on wet and greasy roads. The issue with too much oversteer is it reduces steering wheel feedback and may not alert the driver of breakaway before it happens. It may result in a car which is nervous in the wet which cannot exploit its possible increased cornering power. Add into that that people tend to fit new tyres to the front which results in age-hardened rubber on the rear which doesn't grip in cold, damp or wet and it may be simply a good way to pirouette down the road. It would probably be superb in the dry.

The Eibach kit does 26mm front ARB and 18mm rear which probably keeps balanced handling. Ultra Racing bars are probably of more use to track cars for people chasing lap times and trying to relieve the front end of as much cornering duties as possible.

John's 20mm bar is likely ok for him in oz. I'm sure John has good experience of RWD and is skilled at drifting cars. I cannot say for sure but I'd advise caution in considering an uprated rear ARB. I think that should be about the last thing on the list.
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Thanks Fruity - I suppose I won't go too in depth with uprated anti-roll bars... it's more as I'm going to be replacing upper and lower wishbones front and rear, plus shocks/springs also front and rear, for the price I'm paying on the Alfa Romeo workshop, thought it'd be worth checking what kits are available for similar money or slightly extra.

I've took the advise and will get TRW wishbones (annoying there isn't a TRW kit) but I might pick up shock and spring kit or at least eibach springs (roughly) at same cost as I'd pay for the standard ones.

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Ultra Racing does a 19mm one. How does the thicker rear ARB affect handling, if the front ARB is left unchanged? (Other than PowerFlex bushings). I imagine you alter the cars ability to steer in greatly, but is it too much, if the front hasn't been upgraded?
My car (2L 147) was fitted with a GTA front ARB by the previous owner, so the ARB set up now is front GTA and rear 20mm. The increase in ARB stiffness (from the stock rear ARB to 20mm custom ARB) is huge. I can't recall exactly, but an online ARB stiffness calculator suggested that the stiffness increase was over 4X the stock 14mm bar. Despite this, the increase in harshness isn't all that much. I'd say it feels a lot firmer rather than harsher.

Understeer is quite noticably reduced, as one would expect. Steering response is significantly improved. On centre steering feel is better. There is still some body roll, but much less than before.

I suggest also having a very close look at the rear lateral control arms. If these are soft (not unlikely, even if still in good condition) then this is a very bad thing for steering response and handling. Jack the rear wheels up, then pushing and pulling firmly on each rear wheel (at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions), if the wheel moves laterally then IMO the bushes are not stiff enough.

I made some 'custom' rear control arms which pretty much eliminate any unwanted softness / movement here, but this was quite a bit of work to achieve (the arms are made from modified Camry and Corolla parts, the Camry parts having all metal spherical joints and the Corolla parts having quite stiff rubber bushes, so, each arm has a non compliant speherical bearing at its' outer end and a fairly stiff rubber bush at the inner end). I would suggest the rear lateral control arms are a good place to fit stiff poly bushes (if you're not keen on making custom arms...). There would be some increase in harshness with stiffer control arm bushes, but with my custom arms this was not nearly as much as I expected.

Regards,
John.
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Fitting an updated rear anti roll bar will definitely reduce understeer. On its own, it may mean the rear has a tendency to oversteer on wet and greasy roads. The issue with too much oversteer is it reduces steering wheel feedback and may not alert the driver of breakaway before it happens. It may result in a car which is nervous in the wet which cannot exploit its possible increased cornering power. Add into that that people tend to fit new tyres to the front which results in age-hardened rubber on the rear which doesn't grip in cold, damp or wet and it may be simply a good way to pirouette down the road. It would probably be superb in the dry.

The Eibach kit does 26mm front ARB and 18mm rear which probably keeps balanced handling. Ultra Racing bars are probably of more use to track cars for people chasing lap times and trying to relieve the front end of as much cornering duties as possible.

John's 20mm bar is likely ok for him in oz. I'm sure John has good experience of RWD and is skilled at drifting cars. I cannot say for sure but I'd advise caution in considering an uprated rear ARB. I think that should be about the last thing on the list.
Fruity, it does rain here in Oz, sometimes quite excessively...

I've not had any issues with loss of rear grip in slippery conditions, though I do suspect this state is closer than with the stock rear ARB. Personally, I think my stiffer rear ARB has improved steering feel and feedback.

I never deliberately 'drift', it isn't fast and it just isn't 'cool'. My driving experience does include quite a few years racing karts with reasonable success (I suspect that when I die the shelves of trophies will end up as land fill, rather than passed on to future generations as treasured heirlooms...).

Keep in mind that increasing the rear spring stiffness will have a similar affect as increasing rear ARB stiffness. i.e. rear roll stiffness will be increased either way. If one were to fit muchly stiffer rear springs as well as a muchly stiffer rear ARB, then rear roll stiffness will be much greater than if only a stiff ARB were fitted or stiff rear springs were fitted. In this case the totality of rear roll stiffness may become excessive, and the rear end less predictable and / or less controlable.

If a road car were being modified for improved handling while retaining softish springs (to retain some semblance of comfort and grip on rougher surfaces), then an argument might be made for the use of a stiffer ARB than might be used for a similar car set up with stiffer springs. That is, if a car has stiff springs then a stiff ARB might be too stiff, but if the car has soft springs, then a stiff ARB might be more suitable, so on a softly sprung road car you might want a stiffer ARB than on an otherwise similar but more stiffly sprung racing car...

Of course a handling characteristic which might be problematic for driver A may be quite OK for driver B. The standard set up will of necessity assume driver A (i.e. a driver of quite limited ability...).

Regards,
John.
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I suggest also having a very close look at the rear lateral control arms. If these are soft (not unlikely, even if still in good condition) then this is a very bad thing for steering response and handling. Jack the rear wheels up, then pushing and pulling firmly on each rear wheel (at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions), if the wheel moves laterally then IMO the bushes are not stiff enough.
To clarify, push and pull on the wheel at the 9 o'clock position while simultaneously pulling and pushing it at the 3 o'clock position (and vice versa). If the rear wheels can be made to 'wiggle' around the strut axis (more or less) then the bushes are too soft.

Regards,
John.
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Fitting an updated rear anti roll bar will definitely reduce understeer. On its own, it may mean the rear has a tendency to oversteer on wet and greasy roads. The issue with too much oversteer is it reduces steering wheel feedback and may not alert the driver of breakaway before it happens. It may result in a car which is nervous in the wet which cannot exploit its possible increased cornering power. Add into that that people tend to fit new tyres to the front which results in age-hardened rubber on the rear which doesn't grip in cold, damp or wet and it may be simply a good way to pirouette down the road. It would probably be superb in the dry.

John's 20mm bar is likely ok for him in oz. I'm sure John has good experience of RWD and is skilled at drifting cars. I cannot say for sure but I'd advise caution in considering an uprated rear ARB. I think that should be about the last thing on the list.
For mine, the massively stiffer rear ARB was a huge improvement effected with stock springs and dampers. The car is very drivable, and I find it still fairly forgiving in slippery conditions (I've certainly had no scary moments on a slippery road since fitting it, thoug I'm somewhat circumspect on wet roads...).

If we wish to limit body roll, and improve steering and handling response, then stiffening something up will help (a little to a lot, depending). That something could be the springs, or the ARB, or the damper rates (though stiffer dampers don't limit the ultimate degree of body roll in absolute terms, they do slow the rate of body roll down and speed up the rate of weight transfer, so the elastic roll limit created by the combined spring and ARB rates may never or rarely be reached, depending, so body roll tends to feel significantly reduced with stiffer dampers).

A stiffer ARB is relatively easy (and relatively cheap...) to implement, has relatively little affect on ride stiffness (compared to a roll stiffness equivalent increase in spring stiffness), and doesn't really require a stiffer damper to control it. So, IMO increasing ARB stiffness is very often one of the first things on the list, certainly so if not fitting stiffer springs (which would then most probably require stiffer dampers too).

Some related speculation:

In slippery conditions (especially heavy rain with standing water on the road) it may well be beneficial to reduce the amount of 'rubber on the road' at either axle line, which can be achieved with narrower tyres or effectively achieved with increased weight transfer (at an axle line). Increasing rear roll stiffness will increase rear weight transfer, i.e. for a given degree of lateral force more weight will transfer from the inside rear wheel to the outside rear wheel. Since weight transfer per degree of lateral force increases with increased roll stiffness (i.e. stiffer ARB and / or springs), more weight will transfer at a lesser lateral force, so, it might be argued that increasing rear roll stiffness (ARB and / or spring stiffness) might actually improve rear grip in slippery conditions.

What I mean is that (with greater rear roll stiffness) the inside rear wheel will unload more at lesser lateral force, so the outside rear wheel will become more heavily loaded earlier in the corner, and its' grip may therefore be increased. So, rear grip may actually be enhanced on a slippery surface.

However, increasing rear roll stiffness (whether by increasing ARB stiffness or spring stiffness) also makes the outside suspension corner stiffer in bump / rebound when the suspension is also in a 'rolled' state. If the outside wheel then hits a bump it may not be able to follow the road surface as well, so could momentarily lose 'weight' and so lose grip on the slippery surface when a rougher surface is encountered.

Once a tyre has lost grip and started to slide it is significantly harder to regain that grip than it was to lose it, which is why when a tyre locks up when braking too hard the driver needs to lift off the brake pedal quite a lot before grip is regained (pre ABS days). This can be a stronger affect on a slippery surface. So, on a slippery but smooth surface it may be beneficial for rear grip to increase rear roll stiffness, but on a less than smooth surface not so much. Perhaps it is this which can make a stiff set up 'skittish' near the limit on a slippery surface, i.e. the suspension may have more grip on the slippery surface, but is more prone to more readily losing that grip if the surface is less than smooth? And on a slippery surface, once grip is lost it is more difficult to regain.

Regards,
John.
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Thanks for all the comments and thoughts on upgrading the rear ARB. It's undoubtedly something to consider, but a set of coilovers is in place first, on my car.
I have some understanding of suspension setups etc. as I have been working with race cars for a few seasons. My plan is to get the Silver Project rear control arms (they have poly bushes, and will likely be similar to your custom arms John) - these will also allow some extent of rear camber adjustment, though not ideal, as I don't want to narrow the rear track too much. I will likely adjust rear camber to suit the amount of front camber, that comes with lowering.
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I guess these aren't the arms you mean, @brinker ?
I found when I lowered the 156 with Pro Kit springs, the front camber increased to around -2degrees which largely matches the rear which increases much less than the front.
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I guess these aren't the arms you mean, @brinker ?
I found when I lowered the 156 with Pro Kit springs, the front camber increased to around -2degrees which largely matches the rear which increases much less than the front.
Did you forget a link?
https://silverproject.eu/product/rea...56-147-gt-gta/

But yes, I'd imagine rear camber would increase less than on the front, when lowering. I do believe cornering stability improves with more rear camber though, especially with a stock rear ARB.
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Yes. Link I meant to post;
MarInox® Suspension arms
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You guys are awesome, thanks for all the comments and advice. I've made a lot of purchases in the last couple of days from your input.

Larkspeed ran out of the eibach lowering springs, hopefully can get the same ones elsewhere. For similar money or if anyone would recommend a suitable alternative. Below it was was cancelled.

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F123153363584
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I got Eibach Pro Kit springs here;
Alfa Romeo Shop - Tuning, Styling, Fanartikel und Modellautos

They are £119. Take advantage of EU pricing whilst you still can. I don't recommend going lower than -30mm.
I wish you had put up a list first as the Novitec Cup suspension springs and dampers are £499 which may have been an option. Nonetheless, standard rear dampers work fine with the Pro Kit springs.
You need to do a bank transfer or just use PayPal. It should come to £135ish with postage.
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Last edited by Fruity; 02-05-19 at 14:24.
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Originally Posted by Fruity View Post
I wish you had put up a list first as the Novitec Cup suspension springs and dampers are £499 which may have been an option.
The Novitec Cup Suspension is LOW though!
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(Post Link) post #24 of 40 Old 06-05-19 Thread Starter
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147 Collezione

She's been delivered to the garage tonight, I'll get some pics up after the suspensions been upgraded and the car sits a bit lower
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(Post Link) post #25 of 40 Old 13-05-19 Thread Starter
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147 Collezione

I've got another question guys, I got an email from my mechanic saying:

"three of the studs on the top suspension mount on the driver side have been stripped and there was different nuts on three of them. The studs are part of the top suspension mount and my suppliers are saying it's dealer only. Is this something you can source?"

I couldn't find that part and the more I looked the more I found more and more parts....

Does anyone have a part number? Going up to the garage tomorrow and I'll take a pic and post it if need be but pretty stumped on the particulars.

Thanks
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