Coilovers on public roads ? - Alfa Romeo Forum
You are currently unregistered, register for more features.    
Tuning & Upgrades Discuss performance enhancements for your Alfa Romeo

 
Thread Tools
Old 19-02-12 Thread Starter
Status: skint!
AO Silver Member
 
cannotstop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ireland
County: Dublin
Posts: 1,493
Garage
Coilovers on public roads ?

Hello

I am thinking of an suspension upgrade. Either on my current car, or on another Alfa I have my sights set on.

How do coilovers fare on public roads ?
If I put the height and hardness (rebound) setting to the highest and softest, would it be comparable to the standard or sports suspension ?

The end point should be some adjustable anti roll bars also. (dont know if that is over kill for a occasional track day car)
cannotstop is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 19-02-12
Damien_C
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Don't bother with them man. I had KW Variant 2's on the 146 when I had it and to be honest there not needed unless you want to spend a lot of time setting them up along with messing with the height of the car a lot. Decent ones are quite expensive.

I have a set of Blistein B8's on the car and Eibach (red) springs on the 156 and it's just as good as the coily's in the 146 and not as hard and supple and it gives the car a nice drop too.
 
Old 20-02-12
Status: lightened fly wheel fitted
AO Member
 
yeroulfella's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Dublin
Posts: 287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damien_C View Post
Don't bother with them man. I had KW Variant 2's on the 146 when I had it and to be honest there not needed unless you want to spend a lot of time setting them up along with messing with the height of the car a lot. Decent ones are quite expensive.

I have a set of Blistein B8's on the car and Eibach (red) springs on the 156 and it's just as good as the coily's in the 146 and not as hard and supple and it gives the car a nice drop too.
Agreed..
yeroulfella is offline  
Old 20-02-12
Status: Broken again...
AO Platinum Member
 
GhostyDog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Right Side O The Pennines
County: West Yorkshire
Posts: 25,672
or well setup koni sports adjustables, i've been down the coilover route, great on a track not so great on road.
GhostyDog is offline  
Old 20-02-12 Thread Starter
Status: skint!
AO Silver Member
 
cannotstop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ireland
County: Dublin
Posts: 1,493
Garage
I see...

Tell me about those koni adjustables.
Apart form the obvious handling properties, the reason I want coil overs is to be albe to adjust the height, so I can have the car at a nice low setting, pleasing to the eye, when on normal roads, and when taking it on a trip around rural Ireland (very uneven roads with bumps and potholes) I can raize the car slighty.
cannotstop is offline  
Old 20-02-12
Damien_C
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Waste of time imo. My car doesn't bottom out even on the crappiest of roads. I too, thought the same as you but the effort in dropping and raising a car is quite a bit and to get it perfectly level is another story altogether. And for KW V1's which are the cheapest coilovers KW make are 900 notes plus posting.

The thing with the shocks and springs is that the bound and rebound of the shocks is better than standard therefore they don't bounce as much as the standard shocks and therefore asborb the bumps in a more efficent manner and the springs do a similar job so therefore it doesn't bottom out. My 156 didn't bottom out on the VEE in tipp, but the old mans 166 which is on standard shocks and springs did, I know there is a bit of weight difference but one of the lads on here with a 166 has Koni FSD and eibach reds on his car and that doesn't bottom out either unless like mine you do something something very silly or mis judge a bad bump where anything would bottom out coilovers or not.
 
Old 20-02-12
Status: Broken again...
AO Platinum Member
 
GhostyDog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Right Side O The Pennines
County: West Yorkshire
Posts: 25,672
Quote:
Originally Posted by cannotstop View Post
I see...

Tell me about those koni adjustables.
Apart form the obvious handling properties, the reason I want coil overs is to be albe to adjust the height, so I can have the car at a nice low setting, pleasing to the eye, when on normal roads, and when taking it on a trip around rural Ireland (very uneven roads with bumps and potholes) I can raize the car slighty.
Sounds good but in practise you'd get well ****ed off very quickly trying to keep the threads on the coilover body clean and uncorroded so you can adjust the spring perch which is a right ******* piece of hard work and you have to have the wheels off.
GhostyDog is offline  
Old 20-02-12
Status: WINNING!!!!
AO Silver Member
 
Singularity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: United Kingdom
County: -
Posts: 2,036

Member car:

Van & astra GTC

I loved my Bilstein coilovers

On the really bad roads they were a bit harsh but 9 times out of 10 they were fine.

At a drop of 60mm they were ridiculous, not enough travel in the shock and too low for the road (I have a GT). I settled with a drop of 40mm at the front and 45mm at the back. Was very good to drive and very controlable, no problems with speed bumps etc. With a drop of around 20-25mm you should retain most of the comfort tbh.

I didn't have to remove the wheels to adjust the height.

It's pretty subjective tbh, what one person likes another may hate.
Singularity is offline  
Old 20-02-12
Status: Broken again...
AO Platinum Member
 
GhostyDog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Right Side O The Pennines
County: West Yorkshire
Posts: 25,672
Quote:
Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
I loved my Bilstein coilovers

On the really bad roads they were a bit harsh but 9 times out of 10 they were fine.

At a drop of 60mm they were ridiculous, not enough travel in the shock and too low for the road (I have a GT). I settled with a drop of 40mm at the front and 45mm at the back. Was very good to drive and very controlable, no problems with speed bumps etc. With a drop of around 20-25mm you should retain most of the comfort tbh.

I didn't have to remove the wheels to adjust the height.

It's pretty subjective tbh, what one person likes another may hate.
How do you adjust the height on those?
GhostyDog is offline  
Old 20-02-12
Status: WINNING!!!!
AO Silver Member
 
Singularity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: United Kingdom
County: -
Posts: 2,036

Member car:

Van & astra GTC

With two funny looking spanners.
Singularity is offline  
Old 20-02-12
Status: Broken again...
AO Platinum Member
 
GhostyDog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Right Side O The Pennines
County: West Yorkshire
Posts: 25,672
Quote:
Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
With two funny looking spanners.
So, you and a piece of bent metal then?






















Seriously though Eibach Pro Street S has one funny looking spanner
GhostyDog is offline  
Old 20-02-12
Status: WINNING!!!!
AO Silver Member
 
Singularity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: United Kingdom
County: -
Posts: 2,036

Member car:

Van & astra GTC

Are you saying I'm bent?








Singularity is offline  
Old 20-02-12
Status: Busy busy busy!
Club Member
Membro Premio
 
Pud237's Avatar
 
Club Member Number: 71
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: United Kingdom
County: Cumbria
Posts: 44,801
Quote:
Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
With a drop of around 20-25mm you should retain most of the comfort tbh.
Actually its a bit counter-intuitive. You raise the rideheight by winding up the spring seat, which compresses the spring, meaning that when the weight of the car is put on the struts, they compress less than when the spring seat is lower (effectively hardening the ride). Did you try the car at 20-25mm lower? I imagine at that height it would feel too hard. Thats the problem with the Eibach Pro Street S coilovers as originally supplied, if you wind the front down real low they give a lovely ride quality but too little ground clearance. Wind them up for more ground clearance, and it ruins the ride. We ended up getting Eibach to custom make some longer but softer springs which allowed a perfect setting for a road-going 147 GTA.

Autolusso Penrith - UK's leading independent Alfa Romeo specialist with branches in Bedfordshire, Cumbria & Dorset

Wizard Exhaust systems available here

Tel: 01768 879 171
Pud237 is offline  
Old 21-02-12
Status: WINNING!!!!
AO Silver Member
 
Singularity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: United Kingdom
County: -
Posts: 2,036

Member car:

Van & astra GTC

I never tried it at a drop of 25mm tbh, just making asumptions.

On a drop of 60mm it was way to hard, at 40mm it was much better.
Singularity is offline  
Old 21-02-12
Status: bought a 75...
AO Gold Member
 
bacon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: United Kingdom
County: North Yorkshire
Posts: 6,298
'Coilovers on a public road?'

hard to quantify, theyre all different, with a range of settings on each.

From what I can gather, the KW's are at the more compliant (ride) end of the scale and maybe the Bilstiens are at the harder (ride) end of the scale.
bacon is offline  
Old 21-02-12
Status: Alfaless!!
AO Silver Member
 
phil-gtv6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: United Kingdom
County: West Sussex
Posts: 3,090
Garage

Member car:

E82 125i

Lowering springs usually increase the standard spring rate by 20-40% whilst the springs on most coilovers increase the rate by around 80-100%, so is a much harder riding setup
phil-gtv6 is offline  
Old 21-02-12
Status: Currently refreshing engine bay
AO Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: United Kingdom
County: Surrey
Posts: 374

Member car:

GTV 3.0 24V

Good Coilovers
Good coilovers you can spec the spring rate as you see fit they are a standard size for this reason “you can re-valve as well more for race” and some use helper springs even more adjustment. Would also say that good coilovers should not lower the spring height or reduce shock travel via spring collar changes, this kind of adjustment should be used for spring pre load only. To lower the car you should adjust the shock body length relative to the base of the unit. Ideally height adjustment should be done by unlocking the bottom “locking collar” with a c-spanner then rotating the coilover body directionally depends on height wanted (less or more) once you are happy retighten the lower locking collar jobs a fish. Note this could be done with the wheel on if you like but probably easier off “you will not need to remove anything else though”. Another normally overlooked point is when you change the height of the car the geometry/ shock travel path will change for this reason “depending on car” good coilovers come with ether caster plates or hard plastic pillow ball “don’t use a metal pillow ball” top mounts some even have both, this will prolong the life of the shock as it will not pulling the piston sideways.

Cheap Coilovers
Normally adjustment on these is done via spring pan height, so no spring preload setting available this also changes the shock travel as you reduce 5-60mm of height you also reduce 5-60mm of travel so you get different shock characteristics and you will find that they will bottom out easier this is why bilstein have 2 different shock ranges one for sportier normal -25mm drop and a set for 25-60. Another kick back of this type of setting is that if you ever lose compression on the spring “hump back bridge is normally said” the whole spring will become free to wander, not ideal but not the end of the world and you will find most running lowering springs on normal shocks will do this also. Again this is why suspension manufactures don’t recommend lowering springs on all shocks as it will kill them quicker. As for people saying great for track rubbish for road this goes back to spring rating and internal valving, JDM/cheap coilovers will come with very high spring rates for the application sporty + 50% it would feel good on a track but horrid on the road a few think this is ok as it is a sporty feel but it really is the manufacturer cheeping out on design and setup for the application. Most large scale cheap companies will have 1 set of internals and springs/collar/top hat that they will put in all there units leaving them to only change the body and top mount for production “this is not a sin” but unless they tune the valve and select the correct spring rate you can end up with over sprung and under dampened and in worse case scenarios with not enough fluid capacity for the application.

Basically coilovers for road can give you the best handling and ride out there but they can also be rubbish! Depending on what you buy.

KW2’s are the current favourite for Alfa’s depending on application http://www.bc-racing.co.uk/
I have been talking to Re making a set for the GTV 916 as our options are limited and KW2 costs are high.

Thanks J

Last edited by BADfish10; 22-02-12 at 09:49. Reason: PUB + Droid = Mess
BADfish10 is offline  
Old 01-03-12 Thread Starter
Status: skint!
AO Silver Member
 
cannotstop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ireland
County: Dublin
Posts: 1,493
Garage
Thanks for the post!

So, in your opinon, Good coilovers are usable on public roads ?
I was actually looking at a KW2 equivilant.
cannotstop is offline  
Old 04-03-12
Status: Waiting for Stelvio QV
AO Platinum Member
 
OperationAlfa's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: United Kingdom
County: Essex
Posts: 23,452
Zeatek Z9
OperationAlfa is offline  
Old 04-03-12
Status: Meh.
AO Platinum Member
 
NineOneSix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: United Kingdom
County: Hertfordshire
Posts: 30,067
Garage

Member car:

GTV V6 3.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pud237 View Post
Actually its a bit counter-intuitive. You raise the rideheight by winding up the spring seat, which compresses the spring, meaning that when the weight of the car is put on the struts, they compress less than when the spring seat is lower (effectively hardening the ride). Did you try the car at 20-25mm lower? I imagine at that height it would feel too hard. Thats the problem with the Eibach Pro Street S coilovers as originally supplied, if you wind the front down real low they give a lovely ride quality but too little ground clearance. Wind them up for more ground clearance, and it ruins the ride. We ended up getting Eibach to custom make some longer but softer springs which allowed a perfect setting for a road-going 147 GTA.
Winding the spring up and down only compresses the helper spring, once the weight of the car is on the shock the helper spring is fully compressed, the main spring is not compressed at all by change of ride height.
NineOneSix is offline  
Old 05-03-12
Status: bought a 75 3.0
AO Silver Member
155 Lounge Winner 09
 
shiny_car's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Australia
County: Victoria
Posts: 7,713

Member car:

GT . 155 . 75

The comfort of good coilovers like KWv2 are perfectly fine for road use. But as above, the 'performance' of a quality conventional damper + spring can be as good, and usually much cheaper.

On my V6 GT, the Eibach-KONI Sport combo is perfect for me. I don't think KWv2 would offer any advantage in terms of the comfort-performance compromise. Though on my 155, the Eibach-Bilstein combo was not low enough, and I changed to (front) coilovers to dump it more; but comfort/performance were about equal.

One can get into minor details about build quality, heat dissipation, weight, bla bla, but is this relevant to street cars? Generally not.

Basically, if you want the car particularly low, then strongly consider coilovers. Otherwise, you might prefer to save some money and go with conventional spring-damper combos.

What is this 'other' Alfa you're looking at? Some Alfas have limited choice in what's available. And if you do want to do track work, you can justify coilovers IMO.


GT . 3.2 . Q2 . Kyalami Black - Red . Eibach . KONI . ASSO . ATP 19" . TAROX . FERODO . Mille Miglia exhaust
155 . 2.0 8V TS . Grigio Grey - Grey . H&R coilover . Enkei 17" . TAROX . GOODRIDGE . REMUS
75 . 3.0 . Alfa Red - Grey
shiny_car is offline  
Old 27-06-12 Thread Starter
Status: skint!
AO Silver Member
 
cannotstop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ireland
County: Dublin
Posts: 1,493
Garage
Now that I have the car that I wanted (see my sig ) I want to restart this thread...
The car will be living most of its life on public roads, but will go onto a track at least every other month.

The options I consider are:
1) Koni Sport dampers and Eibach Prokit
2) Bilstein B14
3) Zeatek Z9

This is to be combined with the Eibach anti-roll bar kit.

Being honest I think the Zeatek Z9 are a hefty price (1000 EURO!) So the tempting option are the Bilstein B14s. But if they do not provide any better handling than the Koni + Eibach springs, then there is not really much point is there ?

Apart from the mentioned problem with keeping the threads clean, are there any other drawbacks to consider ?
How long would a set of coilovers last till they are no longer adequate (ie used up ?)

2003 156 GTA Selespeed - Alfa Rosso + black multispokes, Eibach anti rollbars, Quaife ATB diff, 330mm brakes, Bilstein B12, De-cat wrapped manifolds + EQ downpipes + Ragazzon silencer, CDA intake, (carefully) removed interior & Sparco bucket seats + 6 point harness
2002/6 156 JTS Selespeed - Full Ti interior, late model camshafts, Supersprint manifolds, Ragazzon silencer
cannotstop is offline  
Old 28-06-12
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: United Kingdom
County: Derbyshire
Posts: 1,613

Member car:

159 Ti

Quote:
Originally Posted by cannotstop View Post

Apart from the mentioned problem with keeping the threads clean, are there any other drawbacks to consider ?
How long would a set of coilovers last till they are no longer adequate (ie used up ?)
I have used coilovers on my primarily track car - also used on road. Done over 10k miles, no problems.

I smear copper grease over the threads to help prevent corrosion.

I can remove, put new springs in, clean and re grease and re set up in less than half a day, they are easy to work with and the most verstile option.

They can be rebuild by the manufacturer for about 40quid each. Another bonus.

Adjusting the ride height - when you look at weight transfer and as you progress in trackdays in terms of skill and knowledge of the cars setup you will naturally want to make adjustments to the car to make it better. As an example, being able to raise the back 10mm (which takes less time than the lunch break at a trackday) will help resist weight transfer to the rear and can bring on a bit of oversteer (if only lift off oversteer) which you can use to help you turn in the corners better. This is just one example, there are many reasons why you may want to adjust height, or simply for setting up on corner scales.

As for too hard for the roads - simply order different spring rates.

The problem with most of these suspension kits is they just uprate by xxpercent, many suppliers couldn't even tell you the spring rates.
A far better option is working out what suits you best, and order the springs that way.
You can always change the springs if not quite right, they are about 20quid each for faulkner springs, or try touring car spares for eibach used springs.

Depending how hardcore your trackdays are, you could even change the spring rates for the trackday. If your running slicks you may want to be close to 1000lb springs, but for a smooth ride on a rough road, 200lb could be better.
I run 800lb on the road&track, its firm but not unbearable, but many people wouldn't like it this firm.

Coilovers will be too much hard work if your lazy, got two left hands and would rather stand around talking about how good your car is.
If your willing to put in some effort, maintain them (remove and clean once a year) and want the best out of your car in terms of handling - if your doing trackdays I assume you do? then coilovers are the superior option.
Combine this with adjustable camber and your car will handle like its glued to the road.

I was on a trackday weekend just gone, and could get round the circuit no slower than a vx220 turbo & 400bhp per ton superlight r400 driving a crappy British made 4 door saloon car. No-one else could do a lap of the circuit quicker that day. Other than suspension setup, the car is standard and could outpace some real machinery. That's how important a well setup car is on the day. It pees a lot of people off, especially those who put their money into big turbos, remaps and big power outputs, but failed to even look at the suspension setup!

I don't know who makes what for alfas, but GAZ coilovers come in at around 500quid. They are good, sadly though they have been bought by those who don't look after them, and when they corrode and seize shout loudly about them being no good. They are used in many race series, the guys broke away from a large specialist well known & respected suspension manufacture and set up GAZ, so they are not short on knowledge.
If your budget is 800quid, I would go this route and use the remaining money to sort out the camber with adjustable arms.

Right now, you may not think you need coilovers for a trackday a month, but I think you would regret not getting them in the future.

Last edited by jasons; 28-06-12 at 08:24.
jasons is offline  
Old 28-06-12
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: United Kingdom
County: Worcestershire
Posts: 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pud237 View Post
Actually its a bit counter-intuitive. You raise the rideheight by winding up the spring seat, which compresses the spring, meaning that when the weight of the car is put on the struts, they compress less than when the spring seat is lower (effectively hardening the ride). Did you try the car at 20-25mm lower? I imagine at that height it would feel too hard. Thats the problem with the Eibach Pro Street S coilovers as originally supplied, if you wind the front down real low they give a lovely ride quality but too little ground clearance. Wind them up for more ground clearance, and it ruins the ride. We ended up getting Eibach to custom make some longer but softer springs which allowed a perfect setting for a road-going 147 GTA.
This is incorrect I am afraid. Not having a ***** just didn't want the OP to get the wrong idea. Sorry Pud :-)

Adjusting the spring seat will not affect the spring rate or preload the spring. Adjusting the spring seat will raise the ride height of the car and reduce the amount of droop the suspension has. Droop is the travel downwards from normal ride height when jacked up or going in to a dip in the road etc.
Adjusting the spring seat can be used to adjust the corner weights of the car, that is all they should be used for really.
Like mentioned above a lot of coilovers you adjust the ride height by moving the bottom damper mounting up or down on the shock body. You can also adjust the corner weights this way if you are happy your spring seats are set correct.

The only way you will increase preload on the spring with a coilover will be if the damper is fully extended (Zero Dropp) and you then wind on more turns of the spring seat. But this is a big no no do not do this on a road car, this is only for race cars not even many touring cars run zero dropp.

The reason a car will feel softer when lowered will be because by lowering your car you have screwed up the suspension geometry affecting the roll centres and the roll stiffness. This will mean the car will feel softer in roll than at a higher ride height closer to the correct geometry setup. The correct suspension geometry will be at the OEM ride height. If you want to lower a car and get the best out of the suspension you will need to change wishbone pickup points to get the best from the setup.
ChironWSC is offline  
Old 28-06-12 Thread Starter
Status: skint!
AO Silver Member
 
cannotstop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ireland
County: Dublin
Posts: 1,493
Garage
Excellent replies thank you both

I am not worried about cleaning them once a year, or smearing some grease, that seems to be normal maintenance.

Tell me, is bound / rebound setting ability necessary on coilovers ? (ie. should I go for ones that have these options or not ?)
cannotstop is offline  
 

Go Back   Alfa Romeo Forum > Supported Alfa Romeo Models > Technical & Vehicle Assistance > Tuning & Upgrades

Tags
coilover , coilovers , handling , public , roads , suspension
Thread Tools



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome