S4Gunn's Tbird Front Suspension Options Summary & Bilstein Insert DIY - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-13-2016, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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S4Gunn's Tbird Front Suspension Options Summary & Bilstein Insert DIY

S4Gunn's Tbird Front Suspension Options DIY

Here are your options if you want stiffer front shocks to match the Bilstein rears you purchased based on this thread:
UPDATE March 2017: I bought the Bilstein 34-050224 (B8 SP series) for $265/shipped from summit (price matched) and after my first race found them to be almost too stiff when the track is wet (cannot apply full throttle without spinning tires out of a corner). I'm now looking at ways to soften the rear or get a little more time before the rear end breaks free (going to a thinner rear swaybar, upgrading tires from 16x7 to 17x8, raising the ride height of the front 1/4", or moving from a fuel tank to a fuel cell to shift the weight balance rearward.)
https://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensi...hock-info.html

UPDATE 4/14/17:
As an alternative option for people with too much money in their pocket, these look to be the current top of the line rear setup in terms of adjustability:
Here's another option for the rear for people who insist on spending a ton of money on their tbird:

QA1 Double Adjustable Rear shocks @ ~$245/ea (yeah, that's $490/pair)
Pros:
- Can be adjusted 18-ways for compression and 18-ways for rebound
Cons:
- Stupid expensive
http://www.jegs.com/i/QA1/122/TD707/10002/-1
http://www.americanmuscle.com/qa1-do...9904cobra.html



-----
This is based on my research and experimenting in Nov-Dec 2016 for a car I use for track racing (road course - not drag). NOTE: I use the terms struts/shocks interchangably. Some nerds will state that our car uses shocks for both the front and rear but often you will see the fronts advertised as Struts and the rears advertised as shocks. Whatever.

Suggested Reading:
https://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensi...build-log.html
https://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensi...om-design.html
https://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensi...ers-front.html

Basic Steps:
1) Decide which insert you want from the list below
2) Cut down two front shocks.
3) Assemble the shock assembly with the insert. You may need to modify the shock body OR (easier) the insert.
4) Fabricate/Modify the shock top mount as needed
4) Assemble the whole front shock as if it was an OEM replacement

Easiest Option - Buy Tokico Illumina 2s #EU3869 and set to firm: $150/ea as of 11/2016 or Tokico Blues #TOHU3689

Pros
* Simple installation
* Likely have a similar amount of hydraulic fluid inside compared to a stock shock so if you are doing endurance racing, you'll have more fluid to heat up before seals start breaking down.

Cons
* Stiffest direct fit but not that stiff. See these comments: "Softer than my stock SC shocks after 60K mi"
https://forums.tccoa.com/6-general-t...tml#post286540
"a little stiffer than stock on FIRM setting"
https://forums.tccoa.com/14-tires-wh...tml#post109195

* I also found comments that they blew fairly quickly (<60K mi) but this could have been a bad batch

* If you don't have ARC on your car (the electronically controlled suspension system), you will need to set them to FIRM and then add RTV/Hotglue/whatever to the top to prevent them from switching modes while you drive.

DAMPENER OPTION 1: Bilstein Inserts for Mitsubishi 3000GT - Bilstein #34-050224: ~$132 price matched
DIY Here: Proven by Saturn5/MaddMartigan: https://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensi...ers-front.html

Notes
- 36mm diameter: 1.41" (should drop in)
- Top Nut: (holds spring retainer plate): M14x1.5 nut
- Bottom Nut (to Shock Assembly): M10x1.0 lock nut
- Amount of 5/8" diameter shaft above flange to retain dust guard: 40mm (2cm threaded, 2cm unthreaded)
- Weight of tbird front very similar to 3000GT.
- Good feedback from a guy with an S14 that autocrosses and has already blown several KONI inserts up multiple times already: Nissan Road Racing Forums - View Single Post - Jason Merritt's 2014 Street Mod Build...

Pros
- Much beefier shaft and larger volume than the circle track shocks below. This was designed as an insert.
- Stiffer than the circle track shocks. I'm not a super heavy guy @ +/- 150LBs but i really have to lean into it to get it to compress.
- Monotube design. More fluid capacity and better for racecar https://www.tein.co.jp/e/special/ni_toryu/


- Simpler installation into cut down strut assembly (bolts through hole you will drill in the bottom vs needing a horizontal bolt to be placed/drilled).

Cons
- Price is $50 more than the circle track Bilsteins but you get a significantly beefier shock and in my unscientific method (my weight on the shock vs. a shock dyno), the Bilstein inserts are a TON stiffer.
- Will likely require that you enlarge the ID of the cut down strut assembly OR press fit the insert in). The bottom-most section is only 1.717" in diameter (43.6118mm) but it flares out about 2.5" from the base. The challenge is that the ID of my cut down shock (a Monroe Sensatrac) is 1.787" or 45.39mm. This is a delta of 0.482mm or .019" you need to make up by shoving the bilstein down into the shock, putting the bilstein insert into a lathe, or reaming the shock out. All of this is discussed below.
- REQUIRES an modified spring retainer plate with an enlarged opening (5/8" hole vs 0.5" hole in stock spring retainer plate). See below for suggestions.

DAMPENER OPTION 2: Bilstein "circle track" shocks as inserts - #S7G-5555 aka F4-BE3-C239-H0: ~$80/ea or $158/pair


DIY Here: https://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensi...om-design.html

Notes
- 36mm diameter, 17.25" extended (assuming with the eyebolt you will remove), 11.75" collapsed
- Does NOT need a modified shock top mount (shaft is narrow enough to fit in stock shock top mount
- Challenge: Need to bolt through body of strut assembly. While the spring is holding most of the weight, the bolt going through the cut strut assembly is taking all the force of the dampener) so use a Grade 8. I went with a 1/2"-13 x 2.5" long.
- Slides in (doesn't need press fitting as interior of stock strut assembly is 1.79"
- Proven by tbirdtess: Bilstein racing shocks - Front Shock Custom Design

- POST TEST UPDATE: Unlike what Paul/tbirdtess suggested, the Bilstein S6G-5555 (#F4-BE3-A213-M6) are IMO too short to use even with a lowered car. I purchased these shocks and found that in order to make them work, I would have to place the bolt ABOVE the bottom most bracket (that mounts the strut to the LCA) instead of 1/2" below the top of the bracket. This would mean that the horizontal 1/2" bolt would only be supported by the thickness of the cut-down strut body vs the thickness of the cut-down strut body AND the brackets.

- Nut Removal: After removing the top eye-bolt, I also noticed that removing the nut below the top eye-bolt will require you to hit the nut while holding the shaft with a sheet of rubber or something else non-marring. I can confirm though that the shaft diameter will fit through a stock strut assembly (once this nut is removed).

Pros
* Cheapest "race" shock. These things are impressively stiff.
* Bilsteins have great support in the US. Can be revalved/rebuilt by third parties. Bilstein themselves will do it but the cost is greater than just buying a new replacement ($95/ea - Service)
* Compared to the insert route, this will be MUCH easier to fabricate.

Cons
* The body of the shock is tiny so I'm personally concerned about overheating the fluid in my application (endurance racing). Paul races on dirt w/o any issues (bumpier so will generate much more heat) but IIRC, races are measured in minutes vs. hours.


DAMPENER OPTION 3: KONI inserts
- Double adjustable (Rebound on top, compression on bottom) 8611-1259RACE - $340/ea
- Single adjustable (rebound on top) KONI 8610-1437RACE - $240/ea

Notes
- 1.71" diameter (may need to press fit).
- UNKNOWN: not sure if insert will be needed to place insert at right height
- Rebuildable. Twin tube hydraulic (not necessarily as good as the monotube bilsteins)
- Adjustable (you will need a bigger hole on bottom vs. the Bilsteins to access the compression adjustment)
- CONCERN: The S14 autocrosser mentioned above blew out 8611-1257RACE (same as 1259RACE inserts but with a slightly shorter stroke) and this drove him to the Bilsteins.

DAMPENER OPTION 4: QA1 Coil Overs
https://www.supercoupeperformance.co...qa1-shocks-954

Pros
- Buy and install
- Favorable review
https://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensi...coilovers.html

Cons
- Crazy expensive.. esp considering that the shocks themselves are only $260/pair. FWIW, the premium you are paying covers the tbird specific brackets + this retailer's R&D.
- Springs NOT included with this setup but 650LB QA1 springs were ~$30 at Jegs when on sale

Notes
- This is PURE speculation but I suspect you might be able to piece this kit together yourself but you'll have to fabricate your own brackets. A stock strut might be the right donor for the bottom mount but you will need to fabricate your own top mount

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reference: Front Spring Options
Most people looking to fabricate their front dampeners probably already have aftermarket springs on their tbird. Just in case you haven't picked one out yet or are looking for something stiffer, here are the options I've found.

The classic lowering springs article on TCCOA: Thunderbird Lowering Springs

Besides the SC springs, Eibach, Suspension Techniques, Tokico, JAMEX, here are two more options to consider:
* Sprint Springs #2200: 1.5" drop but ???? spring rate. Maddmartigan uses them.
* QA1 Springs QA1-650 (10" long, 650LB-IN linear springs): stupid cheap at $28.85 on sale @ JEGS
Also available in 450LB and 550LB variants but at 2x more each
QA1 10-650: 10" Powdercoated Coil Spring Rate: 650 lbs | JEGS

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
MY CHOICE: Bilstein inserts
* I originally ordered the Bilstein circle track shocks but was surprised a bit at how small they were compared to the OE shock. My concern is that for endurance racing, we would cook the hydraulic oil (get it hotter than spec) which would cause the seals to fail.

* Since I also ordered the slightly shorter shock (S6G-5555) and realized that it wasn't going to be ideal for my needs and would need to be returned, I debated about what I should buy (S7G-5555, Bilstein inserts, or Tokicos).

* I ultimately decided on inserts for availability reasons and because quite a few people coming from SC shocks weren't happy with the Tokicos. At this point, no SC shock is available that ISN'T beat to hell (100K mi).

TIPS: How to cut down an existing strut assembly for insert installation
- The key here is to start with as blown a front shock as you can find. This will minimize the spewage under pressure.
- Drill a small hole (take your smallest bit) at the center of bottom of the shock assembly since you are going to need to drill an insert mount hole at that point anyway.
- Contents may be under pressure (esp if it's not completely blown). I found it was easiest to do this by using a hand drill and doing this within a dry cleaning bag (or any other large plastic bag) as this will catch any side spraying. Just in case though, keep you mouth closed and the hole aimed in a direction where it won't spray too much stuff in your garage. Do NOT do this in your living room even if you are a bachelor as the oil is kinda stinky (not gear oil stinky but still stinky).
- A rag in the plastic bag is also handy to mop up any spray.
- Once the drain hole is made, drain the shock completely. I found pumping the shaft helps as well as leaving it to dribble out into a rag in a cup overnight.
- Once completely drained, cut the top off and remove the guts. You don't need to be accurate here but I would aim for ~3/4" below the lip. Keep in mind that you will likely need to cut it down again as you don't want the shock body to be higher than the body of the bilstein insert as that could potentially limit travel).


CHALLENGE: make the Bilstein insert fit
There seems to be a ton of variance on how the OE/OEM shocks were made so your particular experience may be slightly different. See this pic of how two shock bodies have substantially different body thicknesses. The one on the left is a Monroe Sensatrac and the one on the right is an Ford OE shock from a SuperCoupe. Go figure.


- MaddMartigan used a pipe cutter and found he had to press fit his inserts. This could be due to the pressure of the pipe cutter taking the body out of round OR it could be the ID of the shock housing (more likely).
- In the 4 shocks I cut down, I used both a bandsaw and an angle grinder. Both worked equally well and if you cut just the outer body, the guts can all come out with the shaft.
- My goal was to make the bilstein servicable without cutting off the shock and having to redo this work so I set about looking for the right combination of tools to allow the Bilstein insert to drop in.
- Drill any additional holes as needed (across the bottom bracket if using the Bilstein circle track shocks, on the bottom if using inserts).
- Your sacrificial shock assemblies may be different but I found that the Monroe Sensatracs were just a hair (0.019") too small for the Bilstein inserts to drop right in.

There seems to be a good deal of variance here in how the original shocks were built so depending on what issues you encounter, you may need one/all of these techniques to get your Bilsteins to drop in:

1) Reaming the inside of the shock assembly out 0.019". I found this method to be ineffective as while it caused some rubbing, it didn't really cut much metal.


2) Use a Lathe to reduce the oD of the bilstein insert: it was a ton easier to put the bilstein insert itself on a lathe and mill it down by 0.019". You are in effect making the upper half of the Bilstein insert a similar diameter as the lower 2.5" section. This took <15 min so even if you are paying a machine shop retail pricing, it shouldn't cost too much. Finally, it should be noted that the now thinner Bilstein body is still a good deal thicker than the stock shock assembly so you aren't sacrificing strength of the body here. Since the stock bilstein insert is narrower at the bottom than the top and they probably didn't machine the tube out of billet, it's very likely that the Bilstein body started out as one thicker tube and was cut down thinner at the bottom end.


3) Press it in (this is what MaddMartigan did).


CHALLENGE: Bolting the Bilstein inserts to the donor shock assembly
On both the SC OEM shock and the (3) Monroe shocks I cut down, I found that the bottom of the shock was formed by a cap that is stuck inside the shock body and then crimped down. The result is that the ID inside is more like 0.05" smaller than the OD of the shock and prevents the bottom mounting thread from sticking through the mount hole.

- MaddMartigan encountered a similar issue and his solution was to press the bottom of the donor shock to be flat using a hydraulic press.
- My ultimate solution for the second shock was a "nut sleeve" -- basically a bolt with the threads on the inside of the shaft vs outside. Since I couldn't find any in the US (even online) in M10x1.0, I decided to make my own and it took surprisingly less time on a lathe than expected. NOTE: I did find some "union couplers" for european brake lines but i'm not 100% sure that the M10x1.0 threading is the same for flare fittings as what I'm using. There are both brass and steel variants but my machinest friend suggested to avoid the brass fittings as the threading might not be strong enough). The length is also questionable so I skipped them. https://www.amazon.com/AGS-Steel-Bra.../dp/B00U1MWFI2
- A more detailed step-by-step instruction list on how to do this on a lathe can be found in this post: https://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensi...ml#post1909537
- Unverified suggestion: for those of you without access to a lathe and are too cheap to pay someone to make one of these for you fairly quickly, you might be able to build one out of an existing M14 or M16 bolt and trying to drill through the center yourself before hand-tapping it. I would try to use one of the softer bolts (Class 8.8 or Stainless vs Class 10.9 or 12.9 - https://www.boltdepot.com/fastener-i...ade-chart.aspx) as drilling through hardened steel doesn't seem like fun. Here's a DIY that suggests how to do so with a decent drill press (basically using it as a mini-lathe): http://vik-olliver.blogspot.com/2010...wn-middle.html





CHALLENGE: Dust Cover
- Dust Cover: The shiny silver dust cover seemed to act like a way to prevent gunk that might attach to the central shaft from entering the Bilstein body. The problem is that the dust cover's OD is slightly larger than the OD of the shock assembly by maybe 1/8". I went all over my local ACE HW store and couldn't find an appropriate rubber gasket. I ended up using some rubber from an semi truck inner tube (like the ones you float down the river in).
1) Cut up a 1" wide strip of rubber material the length of the circumference of the shock assembly and super glue it to the top of the cut shock.
2) After the glue dries, drop in the Bilstein insert and bolt it to the bottom of the shock assembly.
3) Drop the dust cover down and with a little force install the cover snuggly. It's not going to ride up the shaft under compression.
4) Finally, take a razor and cut off any excess rubber visible from beneath the dust cover.
5) Once you have the Spring retainer plate put together(see below), just assemble and install.




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Last edited by S4gunn; 06-18-2019 at 05:35 PM.
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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-13-2016, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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CHALLENGE: Front Spring Retainer Plate modification (Shock Top mount)
- In an earlier thread, MaddMartigan exposed me to this as his thought on what a better spring retainer plate/shock top would look lite.

- If you go the insert route, you WILL already need to modify the spring retainer plate as the hole in the stock plate isn't big enough to fit the insert's shaft. In the stock retainer plates (vs aftermarket replacements), you can remove the short metal tube that guides the dampener shaft and it's surrounding rubber. IMO though, you cannot just let the dampener shaft move freely in the larger opening - hence the interest in using a monoball for allow for articulation without letting the dampener shaft wander from the center of the spring retainer plate opening..


- If you do fabricate your own spring retainer plate out of a flat plate, you will need some amount of rubber to act as an insulator between the plate and the spring.
- You also want a little amount of articulation here to let the shock around a bit so you can't just weld a plate with a 5/8" hole up top.
- While some cars replace the shock tops with plates to allow additional camber adjustment, MadMikeyL says that the way our suspension is setup w/ adjustment in the control arms, moving the shock in/out will NOT affect camber. Therefore, there is no reason to move the shaft anywhere from it's stock position in the center of the shock top mount.

http://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensio...ml#post1901282

MY CHOSEN IMPLEMENTATION: Monoball method (under spring retainer plate recommended)
- Cost: $33.70 shipped for a pair of monoball kits + some washers
- Quite a few of the camber plates and fancier shock tops use Monoball bearings to allow articulation whereas the stock setup relies on some rubber surrounding the dampener shaft in the hole in the spring retainer plate to allow for some movement.
- In several discussions with maddMartigan, our concensus was that mounting the monoball housing to the underside of the spring retainer plate would allow for the most articulation with the least amount of force required to compress the spring retainer plate to the spring.
http://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensio...ml#post1902890
- While I originally learned about monoball housings from UB Machine, the best deal I could find for the 5/8" uniball bearing, housing, and retaining clip was from a company that specializes in hardware for serious offroad cars.
Steinjager #J0024085 $13.20/set or $33.70 shipped 2-day for a pair of two kits.
0.625 Bore Uniballs
- Gunn's Current Configuration (from top to bottom): Nut from Bilstein, 9/16" washer, spring retainer plate, monoball housing welded into pocket underneath plate, & Bilstein dust cover.
- While it does restrict articulation slightly, a washer is required above the spring retainer plate to spread the force of the bilstein nut. I also experimented with a rubber spacer between the monoball housing and the flared section of the dampener shaft but none was needed as there as no "slop" between the shaft and the monoball when the nut was tightened all the way down.
- Please note that MaddMartigan and I have looked at 3 or 4 different spring retainer plates as starting points and they all have different sized diameters for the central hole from 0.83" to 1.25" (even with the rubber+metal sleeve removed). Some are smaller than the monoball housing and others are just large enough to go around it. Exactly what spring retainer plate you start with may influence whether or not you place the monoball housing underneath or on top of the spring retainer plate.
- If you place it on top of the spring retainer plate, you maximize articulation possible but may lower the # of threads which will be exposed to the nut when the spring is in place and compressed.
- If you place it in the middle of the hole (so the spring retainer plate looks like a ring of saturn orbiting the monoball "planet" instead of a washer above/below the monoball housing), your welds become the potential point of failure here as they will be holding the resistence of the spring in check.
- If you place the monoball underneath the monoball housing, you maximize the # of threads which can be captured but trade-off the maximum amount of articulation the plate can achieve.

Q: IMO, I went with the third option (monoball below plate) because a) how much articulation do you expect to see anyway as articulation means the spring is being compressed unevenly and b) I don't trust my welds as much as I do the bilstein supplied nut and the spring retainer plate acting as a washer.

NOTE: to check how much of the threaded shaft you can grab, just stack the spring retainer plate and monoball on the dampener shaft and tighten the nut without a spring in place.





As an alternative, here is how MaddMartigan built his spring retainer plates (with the Monoballs on top)




Alternative Implementation: Washer and spacer method
- Cost: $9/pair for the washer+spacer in CA prices (cheaper if you use scrap)
- The idea here is to remove the metal spacer in the center of the shock (my old torn ones already have this piece removable) and replace it with a thicker shaft.
- A washer welded to the top will resist movement a bit BUT there will still be some give if you insert the spacer back into the rubber piece that originally surrounded the stock shock top mount's central metal tube..
- Best example here:
http://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensio...ml#post1776329
This is MaddMartigan's rev 1:





S4Gunn's FINAL PRODUCT
Please note that I took a bit of effort to make them look as subdued as possible (because cheaty racecar).
UPDATE Nov 11, 2017: I have since these this suspension in a full race and a track day (~16 hours of on track time). Setup works perfectly.



MaddMartigan's Ver 1 (with the washer and sleeve vs monoball)


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post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-13-2016, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quick Tips on How to Reinstall the Shock Assembly
While a wall mount spring compressor is always an easy way to get the front shock/spring assembly put together, you do NOT need one. I also wanted to point out that you don't even need to use the mcpherson strut compressor tools that prevent the spring from fully extending (helpful for the disassembly of the shock/spring assembly).

I've done this before but seeing as how I recently did this tonight, I thought I should update my DIY with a quick summary of the steps.

1) Use the 3 bolts to mount the spring retainer plate/shock top mount to the chassis. I mount it finger tight so the assembly can move slightly but it will mostly stay in place.

2) Place the spring on top of the shock and seat it properly on the base. This means make sure the spring is in the right orientation. Follow Rayo's sticky:
http://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspensio...l-springs.html

3) It will be a little unwieldy but take the loose spring and shock and work them under the UCA and over the LCA.
- It helps if the UCA is disconnected from the spindle.
- It also helps to push the sprindle/LCA downwards slightly to give you a little more room to have the top of the spring clear under the UCA that's dangling from above.

4) Run the bolt through the LCA and the bottom of the shock.

5) Place a floor jack under the LCA where the shock mounts and use the jack to life the LCA up. As you do so, make sure the top of the spring is in the right orientation underneath the spring retainer plate/shock top and the central shaft of the shock is going through the right spot of the spring retainer place (through the monoball if you went the Bilstein insert route that started this thread).

6) Continue pressing the floor jack up until the spring starts compressing (the weight of the car will push down on it) and the top threads of the spring shaft peek up through the top of the spring retainer plate.

6.25) Before proceeding to step 6.5, if you've hung the brake caliper out of the way make sure it's on the right side of the spindle before bolting the spindle to the UCA.


6.5) I also found this to be a good time to maneuver the top of the spindle to the ball joint of the UCA and bolt those two together.

7) Once the spring doesn't want to compress any more and the body of the car starts lifting, take out your impact gun and hit the main nut on the shaft to make sure it's cinched down tight. Also, fully tighten the 3 nuts that hold the spring retainer plate to the chassis.

8) Remove the floor jack and admire your work.

-g
Attached Images
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UPDATE 1/23/2017: Drag Racing Front Suspension
Here's another interesting option I found while on SCCOA that Pro Street Rich has been working on for his dedicated drag race tbird.

To complement his tubular front subframe and suspension setup, PSR has also eliminated the heavy stock spindles by integrating it with his DIY coilover setup. I don't have any part #s (PM this guy on SCCOA to find out more but i thought I should add it here for the sale of complete-ness).

http://www.sccoa.com/forums/showthre...91#post1106891

In addition to the strut assembly with the spindle on the bottom, this setup requires a tubular front subframe to replace the stock k-member and tubular UCAs and LCAs.

If I understand it correctly, the main difference with this setup is that it changes the suspension geometry of the tbird. Instead of having the strut assembly attached between the body of the car and a 3/4 down the stock LCA, the strut is mounted at the end of a tubular UCA at the top and a new spindle assembly on the bottom at the end (vs 3/4 down the LCA).

When the car is at rest, the LCA will push the UCA all the way up until it touches the chassis.

My Thoughts - Pros:
- Replaces the weight of the stock front spindle assembly (8LB/side) of semi-sprung weight with something lighter. That's apparently worth a lot to Pro Street Rich.

My Thoughts - Cons/Unknowns:
I'm not sure how good an idea this is for daily driving/road course work. PSR admits himself his car is purely a drag weapon now.
- When a stock geometry tbird suspension is under compression (think: car is at the bottom of the hill and the road flattens out or a fat guy is sitting on your hood), the front spring is compressed but the camber doesn't change. This is because as the stock front spindle wants to move in an upward arc when the spring is compressed, the UCA being attached to the top of the spindle and keeps the 'face' of the wheel in the same position (perpendicular to the surface of the road if camber = 0 degrees). This articulation is allowed for the ball joint connecting the stock spindle to the UCA and the stock spindle to the LCA.
- With Pro Street Rich's setup, the spindle is now fixed to the bottom of the spring vs attached with a ball joint. As the spring compresses and the LCA moves in an upward arc, the tire camber should go negative since the spindle face is now travelling along the arc of the LCA articulation. Exactly how much I don't know.
- It also looks like the coilover setup is set backwards slightly whereas the stock strut assembly is much more vertical. I believe is essentially setting up a bit of negative caster here (since the upper strut mount is more rearward than the lower ball joint). Negative caster is allegedly supposed to help with stability for drag applications BUT may also contribute to additional tire wear.
http://www.onallcylinders.com/2015/0...el-alignments/

- I'm also not sure how the tubular LCA allows for adjustment of front caster (since there's no longer a strut rod in place to set that measurement.)

Check it out @ http://www.sccoa.com/forums/showthre...91#post1106891

It's very interesting.



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Check out my previous post in this thread. I just saw a new setup a user on SCCOA - Pro Street Rich - is putting together specifically for drag racing. It's pretty fascinating.

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Thread Stuck. This info is Gold!

Thanks so much for writing this up.

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Update on my DIY monoball shock top mount update:
* I finished my race weekend last weekend and put this suspension to the test on the track for 14+ hours. That's far more abuse than can be expected from a daily driver.
* While I think this setup is far too stiff for a daily driver, even my boogery welds held the monoball in place underneath the OEM shock top plate without any drama. THis was to be expected considering that there is very literal lateral movement with the shock (only when one side of a given spring is compressed more than the other) and even then, the monoball bearing itself offers articulation before the monoball housing gets stressed.

Bottom line: I would NOT put this suspension setup on a daily driver but on a road course, you really can feel the nuances of the suspension loading/unloading through a corner. I can't imagine going any stiffer with the dampeners OR the springs at this point (front = cut SC springs, rears = Eibachs). We were able to pull more lateral G forces than ever before and the car, at the edge and esp when wet, was a ton more fun but definitely much less forgiving.

-g

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I put mine to the test at an autocross event this past weekend. The combination of the Bilstein fronts for the 3000GT, Bilstein rears for the Cobra vert., Sprint lowering springs with a full coil off the front and 1/2 a coil off the rear and 1-1/4" sway bars brings the car low and very stiff. The outside temps were in the 45F range all day. I'm running Nexen Nfera SUR4 P275/40-18's on all four corners. The up side is that the tires and suspension worked beautifully even in those temps for cornering. The car rode like it was on rails and all cornering and shifting back and forth through the slalom's and chicanes didn't cause me any concerns at all. I'm a complete n00b with both autocross and this setup and I was running about 2 seconds faster than the modern Mustang GTs (~45s to ~47-48s). The down side is that I had significant traction issues under acceleration so that cost me time because I had to be very restrained if I was anywhere near a corner. I spun out in my first run on the first significant corner and did a complete 360. I've never actually done something like that before so it was pretty spectacular and, apparently, pretty spectacular to witness.

Here is a link to that thread so I'm not duplicating the post again: Recent Autocross Experience

I've attached a pic of the car and it's stance while I'm at the starting line. You can see that I've opted for a pretty low stance. For racing it's awesome. For riding to the track it's something that requires driving with car. I need to roll the front fenders for sure.
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File Type: jpg IMG_20170401_113743.jpg (678.4 KB, 5 views)

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post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 05:11 AM
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Just an update to this thread.

I just finished another autocross even this past weekend and everything is performing very well. The shocks seem to be working great and the mounts are not showing any issues. The car does ride well beyond very firm but I'm also running 1-1/4" sway bars so I'm sure that's a contributing factor.

I've attached a few pics that generally show that the setup does a pretty good job of limiting overall lean and roll of the body of the car.
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File Type: jpg AutoX_052521017_1.jpg (200.0 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg AutoX_052521017_3.jpg (211.0 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg AutoX_052521017_2.jpg (159.4 KB, 4 views)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaddMartigan View Post
Just an update to this thread.

I just finished another autocross even this past weekend and everything is performing very well. The shocks seem to be working great and the mounts are not showing any issues. The car does ride well beyond very firm but I'm also running 1-1/4" sway bars so I'm sure that's a contributing factor.

I've attached a few pics that generally show that the setup does a pretty good job of limiting overall lean and roll of the body of the car.
I'm not surprised at how little your car's body rolls even through tight corners. Two questions:
Q: What did turn in feel like (without applying extra throttle)? Did the car feel neutral, did it still have a tendency to understeer (until you gave it gas) or did you car have a propensity to oversteer so you had to lift off more through the corner and/or counter steer before apexing the corner (aka doriftooooo)?

Based on the formula here, you can calculate K or the LBs per inch of deflection (aka how stiff your bar is).
- To simplify things (considering the front has more than one bend), I'm using a 47" length & 9" lever arm for rear bars and 50" length & 11" lever arm for the front bars.
- Previously, I had a 1.06" bar up front and a .94" solid in rear and my Front/Rear sway bar stiffness ratio was 1.0175 and the car was oversteery. Granted, my car is more susceptible to a stiffer rear because the F/R weight ratio is more skewed forward (no interior and no trunklid/spare tire well). Your car SHOULD require a stiffer (or lower ratio to exhibit the same amount of turn in behavior)
- I plan to run a 1.06" front bar and 0.90" rear bar for my next track day (hoping Oct @ Laguna Seca) to see if I can quell the car's tendency to oversteer. This should net me a F/R stiffness ratio of 1.585
- FWIW, we are turning at higher speeds than you do on an autocross track and my car seems to stay flat well after the tires break traction -- even when the car spins

Q: Can you tell me what your front and rear bars are and I can see how your F/R stiffness ratio compares? I'm curious to see how different our setups are.
It would also be fantastic if you can ever find yourself a nerd with corner scales, too.
Regards,
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post #11 of 56 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
I'm not surprised at how little your car's body rolls even through tight corners. Two questions:
Q: What did turn in feel like (without applying extra throttle)? Did the car feel neutral, did it still have a tendency to understeer (until you gave it gas) or did you car have a propensity to oversteer so you had to lift off more through the corner and/or counter steer before apexing the corner (aka doriftooooo)?
What I've observed is that, as long as I am light on the throttle, I haven't found the breaking point for traction in any turn yet. I haven't drifted at all and the car has been able to get around the turns without pushing through them as long as I don't try to brake and steer (which isn't possible if the brakes lock like they do in those circumstances). At the latest race I was running 36-37lbs. of air in my tires and they seemed to hold the car very well. I also chalked the tires and my rollover was not too bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
Based on the formula here, you can calculate K or the LBs per inch of deflection (aka how stiff your bar is).
- To simplify things (considering the front has more than one bend), I'm using a 47" length & 9" lever arm for rear bars and 50" length & 11" lever arm for the front bars.
- Previously, I had a 1.06" bar up front and a .94" solid in rear and my Front/Rear sway bar stiffness ratio was 1.0175 and the car was oversteery. Granted, my car is more susceptible to a stiffer rear because the F/R weight ratio is more skewed forward (no interior and no trunklid/spare tire well). Your car SHOULD require a stiffer (or lower ratio to exhibit the same amount of turn in behavior)
- I plan to run a 1.06" front bar and 0.90" rear bar for my next track day (hoping Oct @ Laguna Seca) to see if I can quell the car's tendency to oversteer. This should net me a F/R stiffness ratio of 1.585
- FWIW, we are turning at higher speeds than you do on an autocross track and my car seems to stay flat well after the tires break traction -- even when the car spins

Q: Can you tell me what your front and rear bars are and I can see how your F/R stiffness ratio compares? I'm curious to see how different our setups are.
It would also be fantastic if you can ever find yourself a nerd with corner scales, too.
Regards,
-g
I'm running 1.25" front and rear bars. I honestly believe that my rear bar is too stiff and that's why I'm having issues with traction in the corners. The root cause is that I have an automatic with a 9.5" converter, 3000 stall and way too much gear but the super stiff rear end almost makes the car handle like a solid axle car under hard throttle. I also feel like the back of the car is way stiffer than the front and I can feel that in ride quality. I'm debating swapping back to my stock bar.

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post #12 of 56 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaddMartigan View Post
What I've observed is that, as long as I am light on the throttle, I haven't found the breaking point for traction in any turn yet. I haven't drifted at all and the car has been able to get around the turns without pushing through them as long as I don't try to brake and steer (which isn't possible if the brakes lock like they do in those circumstances). At the latest race I was running 36-37lbs. of air in my tires and they seemed to hold the car very well. I also chalked the tires and my rollover was not too bad.



I'm running 1.25" front and rear bars. I honestly believe that my rear bar is too stiff and that's why I'm having issues with traction in the corners. The root cause is that I have an automatic with a 9.5" converter, 3000 stall and way too much gear but the super stiff rear end almost makes the car handle like a solid axle car under hard throttle. I also feel like the back of the car is way stiffer than the front and I can feel that in ride quality. I'm debating swapping back to my stock bar.
Gunn's Front K Val (ft per in of deflection) @ 1.06" = 245.82
Gunn's Rear K-val @ 0.91" measured = 212.19
Gunn's Front/Rear ratio = 1.1585

MaddM Front K-Val @ 1.25" = 475.368
MaddM Rear K-Val @ 1.25" = 755.444
MaddM's Front/Rear Ratio = 0.6292

1) Agree. I'd dial that back. You autocross more than I take my car to the track so you'll get better feedback more quickly. Just look at the numbers though. Your rear is 3.5x stiffer than mine and probably completely defeats the IRS.
2) Even though you have more power than me and more weight+tire in the rear (i.e. more traction), I'm willing to bet that this amount of bias in stiffness towards the rear is NOT going helping you put the power down either.

Q: Have you relocated your battery? While there's a weight penalty for that much battery cable, moving that weight from the FL to the RR will probably offset you as a driver.

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post #13 of 56 (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
Gunn's Front K Val (ft per in of deflection) @ 1.06" = 245.82
Gunn's Rear K-val @ 0.91" measured = 212.19
Gunn's Front/Rear ratio = 1.1585

MaddM Front K-Val @ 1.25" = 475.368
MaddM Rear K-Val @ 1.25" = 755.444
MaddM's Front/Rear Ratio = 0.6292

1) Agree. I'd dial that back. You autocross more than I take my car to the track so you'll get better feedback more quickly. Just look at the numbers though. Your rear is 3.5x stiffer than mine and probably completely defeats the IRS.
2) Even though you have more power than me and more weight+tire in the rear (i.e. more traction), I'm willing to bet that this amount of bias in stiffness towards the rear is NOT going helping you put the power down either.
OK. I have my original bar which measures at .95". How does that fit into the calculation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
Q: Have you relocated your battery? While there's a weight penalty for that much battery cable, moving that weight from the FL to the RR will probably offset you as a driver.
I haven't relocated the battery but I'm running an Optima red top so it doesn't weigh much anyway. I'm also running aluminum heads and a fiberglass hood so I've dropped some weight there for sure. I also race with a passenger (my kids) so it offsets my weight slightly.

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post #14 of 56 (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MaddMartigan View Post
OK. I have my original bar which measures at .95". How does that fit into the calculation?



I haven't relocated the battery but I'm running an Optima red top so it doesn't weigh much anyway. I'm also running aluminum heads and a fiberglass hood so I've dropped some weight there for sure. I also race with a passenger (my kids) so it offsets my weight slightly.
Is that alternative .95" diameter bar solid and for the front or rear?

Assuming solid.
0.95" front = 158.5931178 K
0.95" rear = 252.0326668 K

If you are replacing the rear
1.25" Front / .95" rear = 1.886 Front to Rear stiffness ratio.


Honestly, bring them both to the autocross track. You will likely have plenty of downtime between runs to swap them out.

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post #15 of 56 (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
Is that alternative .95" diameter bar solid and for the front or rear?

Assuming solid.
0.95" front = 158.5931178 K
0.95" rear = 252.0326668 K

If you are replacing the rear
1.25" Front / .95" rear = 1.886 Front to Rear stiffness ratio.


Honestly, bring them both to the autocross track. You will likely have plenty of downtime between runs to swap them out.
The 0.95" bar is for the rear and is solid. I consider the book closed on the front for the season (or forever) given what it takes to swap the front bar. I don't actually have time between runs because of the way we operate the event (we run in heats and work the track when we're not running). I'm going to go ahead and change the rear to the 0.95" and go from there. The next even is 7/23 so I'll report back after that event.

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The 0.95" bar is for the rear and is solid. I consider the book closed on the front for the season (or forever) given what it takes to swap the front bar. I don't actually have time between runs because of the way we operate the event (we run in heats and work the track when we're not running). I'm going to go ahead and change the rear to the 0.95" and go from there. The next even is 7/23 so I'll report back after that event.
Sounds good. I totally agree about the front sway bar swap.

FWIW, my previous setup (which I found too oversteer happy) was 1.06"/0.94" and the F/R ratio was 1.0175

I suspect you may be swapping one extreme for the other but you can always dial in more oversteer with your right foot so that might not be a bad thing.
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ugh, reposting my prior post due to the site deciding I had logged in since i loaded the page...

I'm building a low buck challenge car, so the higher cost of the shocks and the need to either pay a shop to weld the shock mount or MM hits the budget too hard for the project.

Is there a need to be concerned about the body of the CT shock being beat to death inside the sleeve?

I wish TT was still here or at least her pictures still worked so I could tell what her original setup looked like
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1) what's a CT shock?
2) If you mean the bilstein inserts, I'm not sure why it needs to be beat into the donor shock assembly. I found that you can easily turn down the outer diameter so it drops in easily.
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post #19 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 12:00 AM
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When I did my Konis, I found that some "donor" shocks were larger in diameter than others.

The gabriels I had were the biggest; it didn't hurt that they were black for that contrast look.
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post #20 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 05:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
1) what's a CT shock?
2) If you mean the bilstein inserts, I'm not sure why it needs to be beat into the donor shock assembly. I found that you can easily turn down the outer diameter so it drops in easily.
1.)The Circle Track Shocks you mention as an option. (I'd have to buy the 7" ones per your OP). S7G-5555
2.) I do not have easy access to a lathe and the shops I have done work with in the past would balk at machining the insert.

I know your pictures show the insert vs the koni. Do you have a comparo of the insert vs the S7G? I"m curious to see if the shaft difference is also so big. I agree that the insert is the better choice, but it appears I can save approximately $200 in challenge budget with the CT vs insert. That's enough for a complete bushing redo in the rear irs. Or a new JY explorer/mountaineer pi motor on half price day. (which dumps 100 lbs up front.)

I thought more about it last night, the spring should help keep the shock inside of the cut off sleeve fairly well and with the non-mcpherson setup we do not get much side loading at all.

Which brings me to another point, I know MM and you worked so hard to put the monoball up top, the only time these are needed to me is on a mcpherson, since you get a lot of side loading and you set camber by the strut location. You need the ability for the top of the shock to rotate while still holding it laterally against high forces.

Last edited by son of mad dog; 11-13-2017 at 06:04 AM.
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post #21 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 07:32 AM
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1.)The Circle Track Shocks you mention as an option. (I'd have to buy the 7" ones per your OP). S7G-5555
2.) I do not have easy access to a lathe and the shops I have done work with in the past would balk at machining the insert.

I know your pictures show the insert vs the koni. Do you have a comparo of the insert vs the S7G? I"m curious to see if the shaft difference is also so big. I agree that the insert is the better choice, but it appears I can save approximately $200 in challenge budget with the CT vs insert. That's enough for a complete bushing redo in the rear irs. Or a new JY explorer/mountaineer pi motor on half price day. (which dumps 100 lbs up front.)

I thought more about it last night, the spring should help keep the shock inside of the cut off sleeve fairly well and with the non-mcpherson setup we do not get much side loading at all.

Which brings me to another point, I know MM and you worked so hard to put the monoball up top, the only time these are needed to me is on a mcpherson, since you get a lot of side loading and you set camber by the strut location. You need the ability for the top of the shock to rotate while still holding it laterally against high forces.
I don't believe that you would need to lathe anything if you go with the inserts. I pressed one in because my tubing cutter created a ridge that a rat tail file would have fixed if I had to do it again.

I think the CT shocks are a trap but that's just my opinion.

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post #22 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 07:58 AM
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MM, do you have a picture of the cup after you pressed it? I'm fairly sure I understand what you did but want to make sure.

So you feel like the insert went in easily without having to put a LOT of force on things to get it going?
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post #23 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 08:07 AM
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MM, do you have a picture of the cup after you pressed it? I'm fairly sure I understand what you did but want to make sure.

So you feel like the insert went in easily without having to put a LOT of force on things to get it going?
The pics are in the thread where I documented it.

The first shock got pressed in because I was too stupi... inexperienced to realize that I created a ridge around the top of the donor shock body. The second one slid right in without any resistance.

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post #24 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by MaddMartigan View Post
The pics are in the thread where I documented it.

The first shock got pressed in because I was too stupi... inexperienced to realize that I created a ridge around the top of the donor shock body. The second one slid right in without any resistance.
Nice, I'm refering to the cup at the bottom that S4 had issues with. (He had to made a threaded insert to hold the shock it appears? ) His OP here states that you pressed it to open up the cup, unfortunately the angle in the pictures you posted hides this portion of the shock.
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post #25 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 09:06 AM
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Nice, I'm refering to the cup at the bottom that S4 had issues with. (He had to made a threaded insert to hold the shock it appears? ) His OP here states that you pressed it to open up the cup, unfortunately the angle in the pictures you posted hides this portion of the shock.
OK, I see. I just used the press to flatten it out. However, if you don't have access to a shop press then you could just hammer it flat. I really liked what he did with the bottom of the shock but my method has held up just fine over the race season. I am very sure that there are many ways to resolve this beside how we did it.

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post #26 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 10:39 AM
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... the spring should help keep the shock inside of the cut off sleeve fairly well and with the non-mcpherson setup we do not get much side loading at all.

...
The spring is actually trying to remove the shock insert, at ~550 lbs/in of compression.

There's a retainer that holds it in; my Konis have a large bolt.

Once they're in, the weight of the car opposes that a bit, but those springs are strong.

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post #27 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
The spring is actually trying to remove the shock insert, at ~550 lbs/in of compression.

There's a retainer that holds it in; my Konis have a large bolt.

Once they're in, the weight of the car opposes that a bit, but those springs are strong.
I was not refering to axial pull out/in but side loading on the shock casing in the case of the CT shocks.

I've been playing with my budget all morning to see if I can justify the inserts. I still have to redo the entire rear IRS from 250ish k miles of neglect...
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post #28 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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1.)The Circle Track Shocks you mention as an option. (I'd have to buy the 7" ones per your OP). S7G-5555
2.) I do not have easy access to a lathe and the shops I have done work with in the past would balk at machining the insert.

I know your pictures show the insert vs the koni. Do you have a comparo of the insert vs the S7G? I"m curious to see if the shaft difference is also so big. I agree that the insert is the better choice, but it appears I can save approximately $200 in challenge budget with the CT vs insert. That's enough for a complete bushing redo in the rear irs. Or a new JY explorer/mountaineer pi motor on half price day. (which dumps 100 lbs up front.)

I thought more about it last night, the spring should help keep the shock inside of the cut off sleeve fairly well and with the non-mcpherson setup we do not get much side loading at all.

Which brings me to another point, I know MM and you worked so hard to put the monoball up top, the only time these are needed to me is on a mcpherson, since you get a lot of side loading and you set camber by the strut location. You need the ability for the top of the shock to rotate while still holding it laterally against high forces.
1) I didn't take a comparison image of the S7 circle track shock vs the insert because as soon as the S7 came in and I saw how tiny they were, I sent them back and ordered the inserts. You can see how much bigger it is by taking a look at the diameter of the S7 vs the diameter of the cut down shock. The cut down shock width is right at the diameter of the insert (remember that I had to lathe the shock down).

2) I'm sure you can find someone with a lathe. Remember you aren't looking for accuracy here -- you are just shaving the outside down to match the thinner bottom section diameter. At least in the case of my donor shock assemblies, the bottom section of the insert fit without any issues whereas the tops needed to be narrowed. In your case, with your donor shocks, they might just drop in. If it goes far enough down, you can just make the threaded insert as I did to grab the bottom mount of the bilstein insert.

3) It's also fairly easy to make my threaded insert using hexagonal stock as the starting point. Since accuracy is not an issue here (the hexagonal part needs to be bigger than the hole in the bottom of the shock, the shaft going inwards has to be bigger than the threaded part of the bilstein insert, and the hole in the bottom of the shock assembly needs to be big enough to allow the threaded insert to fit.

You then use a thread tap to cut the right threads into a hole you drilli into the new threaded insert (drill it with the lathe). I've used a late exactly ONE time before we realized that this was the best way to solve the problem and my buddy with the machine shop just let me loose.

4) Honestly, I made that monoball setup because MaddMartigan posted a pic of that porsche part and I thought, "hey, i could make that". I said the same thing when I saw the Bosozoku star shaped exhaust and the exhaust on a Pagani Zonda. Realistically, all you need is a hole in the shock top that fits the new fatter shaft from the bilstein insert. Madd Martigan's tube and washer setup will be just as effective (and cheaper). You don't need it.

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post #29 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-13-2017, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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I was not refering to axial pull out/in but side loading on the shock casing in the case of the CT shocks.

I've been playing with my budget all morning to see if I can justify the inserts. I still have to redo the entire rear IRS from 250ish k miles of neglect...
Buy the inserts. Machine shop Labor can be free. Mine was. I stipulate that yours can be free too.
Rears can be bilstein cobra rears.

For the GRM budget, a crappy, lighter turbo car which you can turn the boost up on is probably a better contender for an overall win. Your car is not likely to dominate in the quarter mile/autocross segments given it's weight so just have fun with it.

-g

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post #30 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 06:09 AM
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Buy the inserts. Machine shop Labor can be free. Mine was. I stipulate that yours can be free too.
Rears can be bilstein cobra rears.

For the GRM budget, a crappy, lighter turbo car which you can turn the boost up on is probably a better contender for an overall win. Your car is not likely to dominate in the quarter mile/autocross segments given it's weight so just have fun with it.

-g
I totally agree, my goal is a fun handling car. Not a contender. Maybe after a few years I'll worry about a contender but trying to outdo top 10 cars requires more time and ability than I have at this time.

After the GRM it'll turn into a DD. Heck it'll be a DD before that too. With autocross etc. like you said, I'm just out to have fun with the car I dated my wife in. lol.
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