Coilovers with BOTH adj height AND spring preload? - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Coilovers with BOTH adj height AND spring preload?

Any of you guys seen front coilovers for our VM's with BOTH ride height adjustment AND spring preload?

In the import tuner world they've been doing this for upwards of a decade or more, why haven't I seen this in our world? Here's an example that is worth more than a 1000 of my words:



With the garden variety CO setups I've seen from Global West, Total Control Products, Street or Track, to name a few, you adjust 'ride height', by threading down the lower spring perch lock rings, which in actuality, does two things:

1. reduces suspension travel
2. reduces spring preload

Spring preload is important in suspension tuning, and I'm pulling here from my MX race background more so than my car track experience - I'm a relative newbie. So if you're running a firm track spring, and say you want the car lower, you might end up threading down your spring collar so low that the spring falls free from the top, right? Plus, you've now put your shock into the last portion of upward travel, however, you have a huge amount of downward travel.

With a coilover setup on the LCA of our cars, we have ample room to play with a design like this, right? I mean, why not? You could set your ride height without compromising travel, and run lighter preload on the street, and tighten preload for track days.

Brake dive and acceleration lift can be better controlled this way too, right?

Although I'd love to be able to buy a full 'suspension in a box', it's not going to happen anytime soon. Even if I did have the money, I'd still be inclined to choose the 'best of breed' approach and mod that too, to take advantage of a simple design like Skunk2's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen_wilson View Post
I agree with that, as they say; an imperfect design tuned to perfection will beat the perfect design that hasn't been tuned properly. (or some similar phrase)
You hit the nail on the head @stephen_wilson, and due to cost, this is likely the route I'll choose, and tweak and dial it in to my heart's content.

I'd love to hear any experiences or feedback on this concept. Any thoughts @shaun @tci engineering @blkfrd @opentracker @gt289 @mustangstofear Lmk if I'm missing something...
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 03:22 PM
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For what they do, my own personal opinion for nuttin is that these coil overs that use the stock control arms are expensive. Other than some ride height adjustment by compressing the spring and maybe some shock valving adjustment, what do they really do to improve the front suspension and handling? I've never ridden in a car that has any of this so I know nothing about any of it other than just reading about it.

It seems like they would need to offer a range of coil lengths and rates so you could have more or less spring travel while also tuning the spring rate. Otherwise, are these just mostly a bling factor?
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 03:39 PM
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Got me thinking, so I did a search and found this. Looks like a cool option...wonder how it would work on our cars though since on some setups, the front coil-overs mount to the upper control arm?

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishfreq View Post
Any of you guys seen front coilovers for our VM's with BOTH ride height adjustment AND spring preload?

In the import tuner world they've been doing this for upwards of a decade or more, why haven't I seen this in our world? Here's an example that is worth more than a 1000 of my words:

Skunk2 coilovers


With the garden variety CO setups I've seen from Global West, Total Control Products, Street or Track, to name a few, you adjust 'ride height', by threading down the lower spring perch lock rings, which in actuality, does two things:

1. reduces suspension travel
2. reduces spring preload

Spring preload is important in suspension tuning, and I'm pulling here from my MX race background more so than my car track experience - I'm a relative newbie. So if you're running a firm track spring, and say you want the car lower, you might end up threading down your spring collar so low that the spring falls free from the top, right? Plus, you've now put your shock into the last portion of upward travel, however, you have a huge amount of downward travel.

With a coilover setup on the LCA of our cars, we have ample room to play with a design like this, right? I mean, why not? You could set your ride height without compromising travel, and run lighter preload on the street, and tighten preload for track days.

Brake dive and acceleration lift can be better controlled this way too, right?

Although I'd love to be able to buy a full 'suspension in a box', it's not going to happen anytime soon. Even if I did have the money, I'd still be inclined to choose the 'best of breed' approach and mod that too, to take advantage of a simple design like Skunk2's.



You hit the nail on the head @stephen_wilson, and due to cost, this is likely the route I'll choose, and tweak and dial it in to my heart's content.

I'd love to hear any experiences or feedback on this concept. Any thoughts @shaun @tci engineering @blkfrd @opentracker @gt289 @mustangstofear Lmk if I'm missing something...
And you would want to do this, why? Really seems to fall
into the category of "solution looking for problem."
One of the major reasons this might be tough to accomplish
on the Mustang is packaging. There just isn't a ton of room.
If you're mounting to the upper arm this is particularly true.
Might be more feasible if your lower shock mounting was on
lower arm instead of the upper.

The 65/66 is tire/rim limited. Even the sharpest suspension
design can't get around that. You really need to address
that issue first. By the time you "no compromise" that issue,
are you still driving a Mustang?

Photo is Preston Peterson's '67. It has no real compromises.
It has some Mustang DNA left, but not much. It is very
fast, it was very expensive for him to put together.

http://www.carter-engineering.com/pr...7compcoupe.htm

ex-Global West GM
1991-1995
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File Type: jpg Prestons.jpg (96.3 KB, 26 views)
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Last edited by GT289; 12-27-2017 at 05:05 PM.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishfreq View Post
Any of you guys seen front coilovers for our VM's with BOTH ride height adjustment AND spring preload?

In the import tuner world they've been doing this for upwards of a decade or more, why haven't I seen this in our world? Here's an example that is worth more than a 1000 of my words:

Skunk2 coilovers


With the garden variety CO setups I've seen from Global West, Total Control Products, Street or Track, to name a few, you adjust 'ride height', by threading down the lower spring perch lock rings, which in actuality, does two things:

1. reduces suspension travel
2. reduces spring preload

Spring preload is important in suspension tuning, and I'm pulling here from my MX race background more so than my car track experience - I'm a relative newbie. So if you're running a firm track spring, and say you want the car lower, you might end up threading down your spring collar so low that the spring falls free from the top, right? Plus, you've now put your shock into the last portion of upward travel, however, you have a huge amount of downward travel.

With a coilover setup on the LCA of our cars, we have ample room to play with a design like this, right? I mean, why not? You could set your ride height without compromising travel, and run lighter preload on the street, and tighten preload for track days.

Brake dive and acceleration lift can be better controlled this way too, right?

Although I'd love to be able to buy a full 'suspension in a box', it's not going to happen anytime soon. Even if I did have the money, I'd still be inclined to choose the 'best of breed' approach and mod that too, to take advantage of a simple design like Skunk2's.



You hit the nail on the head @stephen_wilson, and due to cost, this is likely the route I'll choose, and tweak and dial it in to my heart's content.

I'd love to hear any experiences or feedback on this concept. Any thoughts @shaun @tci engineering @blkfrd @opentracker @gt289 @mustangstofear Lmk if I'm missing something...
How is it possible to get a quote on the first post? I sure don't see Stephen Wilson's post anywhere to be able to quote it.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 08:59 AM
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Ive got decades dealing in powersports shocks, suspension setup and revalving and I find this is way too much thinking for street cars and IMO a gimmicky way to add complexity and cost. If the adjustment needed for the small range in useable ride height on a vintage mustang makes a noticeable negative difference in spring rate OR if the adjustment needed to get the right suspension performance negatively effects the ride height..... you've probably got the wrong spring.

and if adjusting ride height limits shock travel beyond the boundaries of the suspension travel... you have the wrong shock
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishfreq View Post
Any of you guys seen front coilovers for our VM's with BOTH ride height adjustment AND spring preload?

In the import tuner world they've been doing this for upwards of a decade or more, why haven't I seen this in our world? Here's an example that is worth more than a 1000 of my words:

Skunk2 coilovers


With the garden variety CO setups I've seen from Global West, Total Control Products, Street or Track, to name a few, you adjust 'ride height', by threading down the lower spring perch lock rings, which in actuality, does two things:

1. reduces suspension travel
2. reduces spring preload

Spring preload is important in suspension tuning, and I'm pulling here from my MX race background more so than my car track experience - I'm a relative newbie. So if you're running a firm track spring, and say you want the car lower, you might end up threading down your spring collar so low that the spring falls free from the top, right? Plus, you've now put your shock into the last portion of upward travel, however, you have a huge amount of downward travel.

With a coilover setup on the LCA of our cars, we have ample room to play with a design like this, right? I mean, why not? You could set your ride height without compromising travel, and run lighter preload on the street, and tighten preload for track days.

Brake dive and acceleration lift can be better controlled this way too, right?

Although I'd love to be able to buy a full 'suspension in a box', it's not going to happen anytime soon. Even if I did have the money, I'd still be inclined to choose the 'best of breed' approach and mod that too, to take advantage of a simple design like Skunk2's.



You hit the nail on the head @stephen_wilson, and due to cost, this is likely the route I'll choose, and tweak and dial it in to my heart's content.

I'd love to hear any experiences or feedback on this concept. Any thoughts @shaun @tci engineering @blkfrd @opentracker @gt289 @mustangstofear Lmk if I'm missing something...
That is a pretty cool idea! Especially if that coilover is designed to be used on a WIDE range of different vehicles running different wheel sizes/diameters and a wide range in ride heights. The same thing can also be achieved by using different shock lengths. We've found that pretty much every Mustang we've put together for us and our customers ALL end up running within a very small ride height window. This enabled us to pick the correct length shock so at ride height the shock is pretty much in the middle of the stroke.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Babb View Post
Got me thinking, so I did a search and found this. Looks like a cool option...wonder how it would work on our cars though since on some setups, the front coil-overs mount to the upper control arm?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg9ZxC_wKJM
I do like that idea. Ride height adjustment without changing the spring rate like air bags. Bags actually do the opposite of what you want, they are stiffer at a high ride height, and softer with low ride height. I've always dreamed of a long travel ride height adjustment system for an all-purpose 4x4, low for street use, and jack it up for ground clearance or deep water.

As far as the other, it does let the C/O package fit a wider range of applications, but there is no benefit over a properly spec'd shock/spring package. If you end up with springs rattling at full droop, install some low-rate tender springs. I haven't bothered with tenders on my race car, I just avoid the "Dukes-of-Hazard" jumps required to unload the suspension that far !
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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On-the-fly height changes - exactly what I was getting to next...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Babb View Post
Got me thinking, so I did a search and found this. Looks like a cool option...wonder how it would work on our cars though since on some setups, the front coil-overs mount to the upper control arm?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg9ZxC_wKJM
@Dan Babb This type of system by JRI or Fortune Auto suspension where they have a couple inches of instant ride height adjustment on-the-fly is exactly where I was headed next with a coil over setup that goes from the top of the shock tower to the bottom control arm!

In my plan, forget about the short little coil-overs on the UCA, and focus on the ones like TCP and Global West that can work with a long shock. Then we can adapt the instant and threaded ride height features more easily. There are big advantages to the position of the lower shock mount so close to the lower ball joint - gets as close to a no-leverage ratio on the spring, allowing a lighter spring, and with the right shock valving you could get better control and road contact.

@Shaun with all your experience I'm sure it's easier to setup customers car's ride height, but I've still got a lot of tinkering to do before I figure out what height I like best, for instance, right now I don't have a/c, but down the line I will. What if I move my battery to the trunk? Who knows what engine I'll have in a couple years from now? All 'moving parts' that might require simple ride height adjustment right?
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 01:33 AM
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I think your splitting hairs with moving weight and adjusting ride height. I didn't notice a visible difference going from iron to aluminum heads. I'll admit i didnt measure to see if there was a difference but if my eye likes it, I dont care what the tape measure says.

Also because the relationship between shock travel and wheel travel is not linear, a couple of inches of adjustment at the shock is probably like the difference between a Mexican low rider and a jeep at the wheel

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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LCA coil over setups

Quote:
Originally Posted by GT289 View Post
And you would want to do this, why? Really seems to fall
into the category of "solution looking for problem."
One of the major reasons this might be tough to accomplish
on the Mustang is packaging. There just isn't a ton of room.
If you're mounting to the upper arm this is particularly true.
Might be more feasible if your lower shock mounting was on
lower arm instead of the upper.

The 65/66 is tire/rim limited. Even the sharpest suspension
design can't get around that. You really need to address
that issue first. By the time you "no compromise" that issue,
are you still driving a Mustang?

Photo is Preston Peterson's '67. It has no real compromises.
It has some Mustang DNA left, but not much. It is very
fast, it was very expensive for him to put together.

Carter Engineering Project Car Update 1

ex-Global West GM
1991-1995
@GT289 yes, absolutely talking about LCA shock mounting like GW's c/o and NOT the UCA shorty kits - not enough advantages to that design.

The reasons I'd like to adjust ride height independently of spring preload is because my car's setup is a moving target. Future changes might dictate a higher or lower ride height, and I think it's a better way to adjust ride height without changing the way the suspension works, i.e, preloading, and therefore stiffening the ride and putting the travel in something other than the middle of the shock travel. It's a more refined way to dial in a car's corner balance too, @Lightning, and in the scope of the cost of coil over suspensions, isn't really too much more than you're already shelling out to go coil-over. I haven't crunched the true numbers so I'm just speculating, based on that these tuner shocks are priced in a do-able range. So I do not see how it can be a gimmick if it provides good benefit...?

As for Preston Peterson's '67 build, @GT289, wouldn't it be nice if we all had such thick wallets? Incredible build. If I had his budget, I'm not too sure I'd even follow his footsteps, I'd be on a yacht sailing to beautiful far away beaches, Lol...

What I am trying to do is put together a more refined coil-over suspension, and my goal will be to do it for LESS money than most 'out of the box' kits. I've had some great conversations with Tracy at Pacific Thunder Performance @blkfrd and am excited to think in the near future this WILL be possible. Keep an eye on what he's doing over there...

@rpm, I was just quoting Mr. Wilson from some other post because I liked the way he was thinking and I'll make this my personal mission statement:

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen_wilson View Post
...as they say; an imperfect design tuned to perfection will beat the perfect design that hasn't been tuned properly.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 02:15 AM
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I have a street or track coil over suspension with the coil over on the LCA. Ive made the adjustments you're discussing, going from the stock nose in the air looking ride height to tire tucked in to the wheel well didnt change my ride quality. Its not nearly as much change in spring compression as I think you're assuming it is. Certainly not inches of spring compression.
If your purpose for adjusting on the fly is short term ride height changes to slam it in the weeds for shows or to raise it way up for driveway approaches, speed bumps etc then I completely get it. But if its for fine tuning handling, I think you're going to be disappointed.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishfreq View Post

@Shaun with all your experience I'm sure it's easier to setup customers car's ride height, but I've still got a lot of tinkering to do before I figure out what height I like best, for instance, right now I don't have a/c, but down the line I will. What if I move my battery to the trunk? Who knows what engine I'll have in a couple years from now? All 'moving parts' that might require simple ride height adjustment right?
I very much doubt you are going to see much change in ride height by adding/removing a few components. Even if you do the difference at the wheel versus shock travel is reduced by a factor of the motion ratio so it gets even more negligible.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 06:15 PM
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Race Car Replicas has an "On the fly" ride height adjustment that can be added to their GT40 and Superlite cars. This is mainly to get them into driveways, etc.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-12-2018, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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changing ride height vs spring preload

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Originally Posted by j persons View Post
Race Car Replicas has an "On the fly" ride height adjustment that can be added to their GT40 and Superlite cars. This is mainly to get them into driveways, etc.
Yes, indeed they do, and very incredible looking CNC work too...



But you got where I was heading, @j persons what I'd really really like is 'On-the-fly' height adjustment, not only for driveways and speed bumps - why not for fine tuning handling, corner balance, aerodynamics, etc.? I know spring shocks with this extra instant lift capability are super expensive; like JRI or Fortune Auto Air Piston Lift System shocks, so why not engineer some type of electro-mechanical lift into the upper shock mount of a basic coil over system? See std upper c/o mount attached below...

I like my car lowered a little bit, but other cars I've lowered 1" - 1 1/2" I've always ran into headers bottoming on speed bumps, front splitter driveway grinds, like I'm sure you guys have too.

@Shaun I guess I can't leave well enough alone. What I was picturing was setting the car higher and softer for the street, then for the track, quickly increasing the spring preload, and lowering the car too. With std coil-overs, easily changing those two variables are mutually exclusive.
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