Coilover Opinions

Suspension, including wheel, tire and brake.
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TheHeretic
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Coilover Opinions

Postby TheHeretic » 19 Apr 2016 12:03

I understand this topic is quite subjective to experience and personal taste but I would like to get some thoughts on what everyone considers to be the best overall value when it comes to coilover options. There are quite a lot of options out there so I'm hoping this thread will be helpful to others when going down this route. Here are the choices I am aware of (likely missing some), DP Racing, Ermish Racing, Ground Control, T3, TSR Fabrication, ChasingJs, QA1, etc.

I'm thinking about approaching this from the standpoint that most 510 owners don't have a ton of cash to get super high-end products for their car along with the fact that 98% won't be taking their car to the track. This thread might be for most of us who are driving the car on weekends or during nice weather. We're likely to be doing some aggressive canyon driving or an occasional autocross.

Let's hear your opinions on this and hopefully along this can be a helpful thread for others who are wondering about the key differences between all the options on the market.
Carpe Diem!
Ryan

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bertvorgon
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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby bertvorgon » 19 Apr 2016 19:29

Ultimately, in my opinion, is to how WELL do the shocks work in combination with the spring(s) package.

Coupled with that will be as long as there is sufficient TRAVEL, that is well controlled, that is the key.

Some times, the softer ( as a relative term), actually works very well on true canyon carving, as most roads are NOT billiard ball smooth.

What does make a MAJOR difference....is the TIRE that is hooked to any of this stuff..so called high OR low end. Sears Roadhandlers are not going to fun, no matter what you have.

Our 510's do become a case of compromise, as to what is the majority of your driving going to be? Might as well enjoy that for that 98% of the time.

I can kill a lot of high end vehicles with my Honda Oddyssey...why....I can just out drive most of the drivers, as my high speed experience exceeds theirs.

Learn to drive WELL...that will be the best package, for whatever you have.

I have driven with a lot of 510 guys over the years, and I mean a lot, and a huge range of suspension setups, tires and dollars spent, and for the most part, EVERYONE is in the WINDOW of handling, given they have some good seat time.

Maybe this helps a bit.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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okayfine
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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby okayfine » 20 Apr 2016 06:04

Keith has the experience and everything he says is true. Notice how he doesn't talk about coilovers, specifically. Coilovers aren't any better than the correct spring rate and shock on a stock system, except in one area - they allow height adjustment more easily. Big deal. You set height once and that's it. Why pay hundreds of dollars for that bit of convenience?

Now, if buying a coilover package ends up being the easiest route to the quality shock you're looking for, so be it. But people always come in with "I want coilovers!" when they don't really, or don't need them specifically.
Because when you spend a silly amount of money on a silly, trivial thing that will help you not one jot, you are demonstrating that you have a soul and a heart and that you are the sort of person who has no time for Which? magazine. – Jeremy Clarkson

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SteveEdmonton
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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby SteveEdmonton » 20 Apr 2016 11:30

One other advantage to coilovers-- they seem to be the only way to make 280ZX struts work in our 510s due to the difference of spindle angle.

I tried adapting 280zx struts to my 510 using the stock 510 spring perches (top & bottom) but ended up with positive camber. The only way to adjust camber sufficiently to return to a "normal" condition is to bring the top end of that strut inboard. And to do this, you need smaller-diameter springs than stock. Enter the coilovers!

At least that's what I'm hoping will happen on my car once I finish getting my brand-new coilovers assembled and installed.... :wink:
'71 4-door
'74 MGB-GT
'04 Miata

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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby bertvorgon » 20 Apr 2016 11:46

Yes, we made our 280zx struts into coil overs and had our springs custom wound to our specifications.

Andy cut the tube threads on the lathe and then welded them to the tube. I had Bilstein custom valved for me, and put antifreeze around the insert for heat transference.

I have not touched them in 32 years now, but, the shaft is getting a bit sloppy in the tube and I should send them out for a good rebuild.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby datzenmike » 20 Apr 2016 16:17

SteveEdmonton wrote:One other advantage to coilovers-- they seem to be the only way to make 280ZX struts work in our 510s due to the difference of spindle angle.



The 510 and zx spindle angles are the same 10 degrees. Positive camber is from the lower ride height.

I have adjustable ride height for $25. You could spend 10X that (per side!) for coil overs that are adjusted once or twice to get where you want it and then that money just goes along for the ride. Mine isn't as easy as coil overs but so what?
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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby Three B's Racing » 21 Apr 2016 05:38

SteveEdmonton wrote:One other advantage to coilovers-- they seem to be the only way to make 280ZX struts work in our 510s due to the difference of spindle angle.

I tried adapting 280zx struts to my 510 using the stock 510 spring perches (top & bottom) but ended up with positive camber. The only way to adjust camber sufficiently to return to a "normal" condition is to bring the top end of that strut inboard. And to do this, you need smaller-diameter springs than stock. Enter the coilovers!

At least that's what I'm hoping will happen on my car once I finish getting my brand-new coilovers assembled and installed.... :wink:


My ZX struts had .8 degs negative camber when installed with current springs and ride height and I'm running the stock 510 spring perch with a tube clamp holding it in place and a stock diameter lowering spring for the 510. But a couple years back I drove over to Dave "Futofab" Patten's house and picked up some adjustable lower control arms and T/C rods. I now run 1.5 degs negative camber by adjusting the LCA outward then pulling in more caster with the adjustable T/C's and I still have room for more adjustment if I wanted. I'm also using the ZX top hat as it lowers the front about .75" more with out taking away travel because it's shorter than the stock 510 top hat but you must reduce the ZX top hats diameter to the 510's diameter.
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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby SteveEdmonton » 21 Apr 2016 08:24

Okay. I hate to admit this but it's true: I failed to properly measure my camber when I installed the 280ZX struts with 510 springs and perches. Positive camber was obvious enough visually to be a concern. I realized though that I hadn't measured my camber with stock 510 struts either, so wouldn't have a basis for comparison... So I popped out the 280ZX struts, popped the 510 ones back in, and visually things looked "normal" again.

Then I came here to the Realm and searched through old posts to see what I'd missed. Surely somebody had talked about this strut-angle problem? Sure enough I did find posts that discussed it-- though I failed to bookmark them. What I recall reading though is that the 280ZX and 510 strut-angles differ by 2 degrees, and that struts from the Maxima (I think?) had the same angle.

This info was shared once or maybe twice in obscure places... but even so, I blamed myself for failing to discover it before making this major screwup. It seemed to confirm what I was seeing, though, so I had little reason to doubt its accuracy. :(

So now I've got GC coilovers sitting here, half-way assembled, to address a problem that might not even exist? Talk about feeling stupid. Or at least totally confused. :oops:

To get to the heart of the matter I guess I need to strip down both types of strut and figure out how to actually measure their respective spindle angles. If they are indeed the same, I suppose I could go back to my original plan and try to sell the coilovers to recoup a few $$....
'71 4-door
'74 MGB-GT
'04 Miata

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James
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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby James » 21 Apr 2016 08:28

Someone had done extensive measurements and had a photo that seemed to show that the angle was the same.
Finished is better than perfect......

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funwithmonkeys
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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby funwithmonkeys » 21 Apr 2016 09:41

The 280Z and 510 struts have different angles. Using the 280Z strut will give you positive camber. The 280ZX and 510 struts have the same angle. Are you sure you don't have 280Z struts?
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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby SteveEdmonton » 21 Apr 2016 09:47

Well, pretty sure! I harvested them myself from a 1983 280ZX....
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TheHeretic
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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby TheHeretic » 21 Apr 2016 11:11

LOL - This thread went off topic pretty quickly! Thanks for all the replies so far. I definitely agree that focusing on the driver's abilities and improving those over time is a better way to improve handling than buying parts (coilovers included) and throwing them at the car. To be sure, I can improve in those areas but have decent experience at HPDE events including Sears Point and Laguna Seca.

The main reason I would like coilovers is for the adjustability. My typical year is going to include vintage rallies over some fairly rough dirt roads (higher ride height) along with some track events (lower ride height). Would still love some suggestions on coilovers if someone has any?
Carpe Diem!
Ryan

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Re: Coilover Opinions

Postby okayfine » 21 Apr 2016 19:32

But even if you are one of those rare owners that will adjust coilovers up and down...you're still going to have to realign the car every time you move them, so you won't be able to arrive, adjust, and drive.

That said, the DIY coilovers are front-only, so you won't have the ability to adjust the rear easily.

As to suggestions, you pretty much nailed the off-the-shelf options, and there are enough reviews of each to enable judgement. Given your location, I'd see if Ermish would work with you to dial in your shocks with his C/O package.
Because when you spend a silly amount of money on a silly, trivial thing that will help you not one jot, you are demonstrating that you have a soul and a heart and that you are the sort of person who has no time for Which? magazine. – Jeremy Clarkson


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