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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My rear spring pan gave way yesterday and I’m due to run my gt 3.2 up to Scotland in 2 weeks. The car is a keeper , I do not and don’t intend to track the car, it’s main role it’s to take me on long weekend runs and a long European tour next year.
My dilemma is
1. Coilovers? Are they too harsh on the ride?
2 . Keep it comfy for my long journeys
Thoughts please
 

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Keep it comfy for the journeys. IMHO the GT doesnt need to be dropped any to look proper and handling wise they are competent cars to begin with, and the 3.2 already has the tighter handling rear ARB.

I dont see any actual argument in your post in favour of coil overs, if this is one of those "because its all apart now anyway" type of things, id suggest just refreshing everything you can right now, suspension bushes first and foremost (and maybe polybush the ARBs), make it handle like new, but keep the comfort for the cruising
 

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Cant beat a good set of fully adjustable coil overs.....get a good set (expensive!) and it can be as tall and soft as you want for comfy cruising....or with a few twists of a spanner and a turn of a knob/screw it can be near solid and skimming the ground at your favourite track day. Cost is the biggest killer on these set ups though and of course not for the purists!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your replies all.
I have Started poly bushing the bushes the rear ARB being the first. I did feel a difference just by doing that.
Spoke to Autolusso today and they can get me std rear shocks and springs within a week(as time is against me). I am worried about the front but Autolusso tell me front pans don't break suddenly like the rears only that the shocks will leak, but it's the springs i am worried about mine look ok but so did the rears .
I think the only thing left for me is to speak to autolusso tomorrow and ask his opinion on eibach spring (lowered and they advertise) mated to std shocks i'll buy 2 rears new and use fronts which are not leaking.
Thanks again and will let you know which way i go.
Oh by the way the coil over packs i have enquired about are all made when order and i am getting Oct delivery on them...problem....
#Cheers Stef
 

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but it's the springs i am worried about mine look ok but so did the rears .
So if the original rear springs look good, what is wrong with them that you want to to replace them? (or have been advised to?). If it was one of the spring seats that collapsed and not a rear spring, then all else being equal the springs should still be good.

Note that springs don't lose stiffness as they age, but sometimes can become shorter, which causes the car to lose ride height. If both springs (in a pair) still have the same free length and the cars' ride height is OK, then even if the springs are quite old there is no inherent reason to replace them.

Regards,
John.
 

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Consider Koni Special Active as well, with Eibach springs - these are a good alternative to coilovers if your focus is more on the comfort side of things. In a straight line on smooth roads they certainly feel better.

I think I have some shocks in stock, springs I don't but usually they are available from stock. Where are you based?
 

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Me Too! My 156 broke down with a rear suspension collapse in the same place I broke down with my 1975 Alfa GT the week before! I changed the rear struts and springs on our other 156 a while back, and I can't remember if I needed spring compressors or not. @Pud237 would you be able to supply a set of standard springs and struts for a 1998 156 2.0 TS already assembled and ready to fit? Maybe some of those long rusty impossible to remove bolts too?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So if the original rear springs look good, what is wrong with them that you want to to replace them? (or have been advised to?). If it was one of the spring seats that collapsed and not a rear spring, then all else being equal the springs should still be good.

Note that springs don't lose stiffness as they age, but sometimes can become shorter, which causes the car to lose ride height. If both springs (in a pair) still have the same free length and the cars' ride height is OK, then even if the springs are quite old there is no inherent reason to replace them.

Regards,
John.
As far as the springs are concerned they just look grubby even after a rub down in all probability they are originals. I’ve decided to stick with standard so I’ve ordered shocks and springs for the rear for my trip to scotland
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Consider Koni Special Active as well, with Eibach springs - these are a good alternative to coilovers if your focus is more on the comfort side of things. In a straight line on smooth roads they certainly feel better.

I think I have some shocks in stock, springs I don't but usually they are available from stock. Where are you based?
Thanks for that but have decided to stick with standard shocks and springs.
 

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Consider Koni Special Active as well, with Eibach springs - these are a good alternative to coilovers if your focus is more on the comfort side of things. In a straight line on smooth roads they certainly feel better.

I think I have some shocks in stock, springs I don't but usually they are available from stock. Where are you based?
I believe my 156 runs that setup.

Have poly bushed ARBs on there too.

Apparently the guy who sold me it stated the Koni shocks are adjustable but I've no idea where!

The setup is still very hard.

Would be interested to know how a 156/GT handles on OEM springs and shocks with smaller tyres, whether it's a refined cruiser. As the multi link rear and wishbone fronts should be a cut above the average hatchback...
 

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I believe my 156 runs that setup.

Have poly bushed ARBs on there too.

Apparently the guy who sold me it stated the Koni shocks are adjustable but I've no idea where!

The setup is still very hard.

Would be interested to know how a 156/GT handles on OEM springs and shocks with smaller tyres, whether it's a refined cruiser. As the multi link rear and wishbone fronts should be a cut above the average hatchback...
If your shocks are adjustable, then they aren't Special Actives (previously called FSDs). Likely to be Koni Sports, but if they are indeed not adjustable they could also be Koni STRs. Have you got any photos of them?

Koni Sports are hard, I have them on my 156 GTA (they came on the car).
 

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As far as the springs are concerned they just look grubby even after a rub down in all probability they are originals. I’ve decided to stick with standard so I’ve ordered shocks and springs for the rear for my trip to scotland
What springs have you ordered for a GT 3.2?
 

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Koni Sports are hard, I have them on my 156 GTA (they came on the car).
You do know where the adjusters are?

FWIW, I had Koni Sports (aka 'Yellows') fitted to my old Accord. I assume they would not be all that different in this application as in the 147 156 etc. as the cars have fairly similar suspension designs and weight.

I found them to be quite "hard" only if the adjusters were rotated toward the stiff end of the adjustable range. Adjusted to near the soft end of the range they were quite comfortable and civilsed. I much preffered them when adjusted to be quite stiff...

Regards,
John.
 

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There are two different styles of adjuster fitted to different Koni 'Sports dampers (or to be more pedantic, two ways of operating the internally adjustable valve, and only one way per damper).

1) A type with a rotatable fixture at the very top of the damper rod (easily operated with the 'Special tool' that comes with each Koni damper which has this kind of adjuster). This is the type of adjuster you want to hope that the particular Sports dampers have, because adjustment is very quick and easy on the car.

2) A type that has no external adjuster. To adjust these; damper removed from the car, spring removed from the damper, top end of the rod clamped in a vise, damper body then pushed against the rod until the damper travel reaches full 'bump'. This is what 'engages' the adjuster mechanism, which is then operated (stiffness adjusted) by rotating the damper body relative to the damper rod, thus rotating the internal valve adjuster. This is not at all quick and easy.

The Accord front Konis had the former style of adjuster (#1). The Accord rear Konis had the latter style (#2). I expect the latter style is cheaper to make than the former style. The top of the Accords' rear damper rods were in theory inaccessible when the dampers were installed in the car, and I expect Koni used this as a reason to not fit the user friendly external adjusters on the rear dampers. The Accord front dampers had easy access to the top of the damper rods, and Koni fitted the external adjusters to them.

I very much wished that Koni had used the easily rotated adjuster with their Accord rear dampers, because it would not have been very hard to access the top of the rods (for adjustement) if a couple of chassis braces behind the rear seats were temporarily removed. This would have meant that rear damper adjustment was still a bit of a PITA, but not nearly so much as having to take the most of the rear suspension almost completely apart to do it...

Back to Alfas. If my reasoning above is correct, I can't see how Koni could justify not fitting the external adjuster mechanism to both their front and rear 147 / 156 / GT Sports dampers. The top of the front and rear damper rods are both reasonably accessible, giving no good reason not to fit them (other than penny pinching...?).

Despite my criticism above, even if Koni 'Sports' do or don't (?) have the 'bad' adjusters on their 147 etc dampers, I would happily go with them again, if I could justify the cost within a currently pretty tight car budget...

I have B6 Bilsteins on the front of my 147, and like them less than the Koni Sports I had on the Accord (at the risk of comparing an apple to an orange).

Regards,
John.
 

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156/147/GT Koni Sports adjust from the top with the plastic dial tool that Koni supply with the kit.
 

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Don't have any decent pics.

This is the best I have of one of the rears.
That colour is Koni Sport, so you should have adjusters on the top of the piston rods.
 

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There are two different styles of adjuster fitted to different Koni 'Sports dampers (or to be more pedantic, two ways of operating the internally adjustable valve, and only one way per damper).

1) A type with a rotatable fixture at the very top of the damper rod (easily operated with the 'Special tool' that comes with each Koni damper which has this kind of adjuster). This is the type of adjuster you want to hope that the particular Sports dampers have, because adjustment is very quick and easy on the car.

2) A type that has no external adjuster. To adjust these; damper removed from the car, spring removed from the damper, top end of the rod clamped in a vise, damper body then pushed against the rod until the damper travel reaches full 'bump'. This is what 'engages' the adjuster mechanism, which is then operated (stiffness adjusted) by rotating the damper body relative to the damper rod, thus rotating the internal valve adjuster. This is not at all quick and easy.

The Accord front Konis had the former style of adjuster (#1). The Accord rear Konis had the latter style (#2). I expect the latter style is cheaper to make than the former style. The top of the Accords' rear damper rods were in theory inaccessible when the dampers were installed in the car, and I expect Koni used this as a reason to not fit the user friendly external adjusters on the rear dampers. The Accord front dampers had easy access to the top of the damper rods, and Koni fitted the external adjusters to them.
I am not sure that's entirely correct. Koni FSD and the Special Active that supercedes them are standard equipment on Abarths so I know something about them. Though they are called "Frequency selective dampening" this is not selective by the end user and is instead a design characteristic. They should already be correctly adjusted out of the box.

These adjust themselves automatically based on the road surface and soften up when things get really bumpy to smooth out the right but firm up when on smooth roads or when you throw it into the bend. They work really well too as the Abarth has a surprisingly smooth ride for what it is.

More info here:
 

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IMO that 'explanation' from Koni (re their "ACTIVE Technology") is little more than fairly meaningless advertising hyperbole (a strong hint that a promotional blurb is more marketing puff than credible technical description is the libreral use of buzz words like "technology" and "system" etc...).

My simplistic understanding:

It isn't unique to Koni to have a variable rate of damping stiffness that is dependant on the frequency (essentially speed) at which the damper rod moves. This is a common feature with most dampers. Many dampers have a damping stiffness which effectively decreases as rod speed increases. This is called a 'digressive' damping rate, though in reality it doesn't really decrease per se, just that the stiffness doesn't increase in step with an increase in rod speed, i.e. if plotted on a graph the stiffness curve flattens off with rod speed rather than being a slanted straight line (which would be 'linear' rate damping, and with progressive damping the line curves up with rod speed).

The Koni FSDs may or may not achieve this in a significantly different manner to other dampers, but it isn't 'adjustable' in the commonly accepted sense of the word, being just a characteristic of the damper (as you said...). For the damper to be considered 'adjustable' then any change in its' behaviour must be at the control of the user, not something that happens in the dampers' normal operation with no external alteration.

Also, Koni is not using "active" in the commonly accepted engineering sense of the word. I think they are using it as just another marketing buzzword, spuriously attaching it to their FSD product. Contrary to their claim, IMO the Koni "ACTIVE Technolgy" is a passive system because it is not being controlled by an external 'intelligence' (as 'active' systems are, by definition).

There is nothing wrong with a well designed passive system. Note that I do like the Koni dampers that I have used...

Regards,
John.
 
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