Best way to lower a 504?
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    pur-john, not pew-john! peujohn's Avatar
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    Default Best way to lower a 504?

    I'll soon be fitting GTI struts to my 504 and would like to fit springs that would lower the front by an inch or so. I'm not sure what the best way to do this would be. Current the 504 has GTI springs all round, with approx. 20 mm spacers under the rear springs. I plan to remove those spacers and hopefully the rear will sit as I want it. As for the front, I expect to cut half or one coil from standard Peugeot springs. I currently have pairs of GTI series 1, GTI series 2 or standard 504 springs to choose from. Alternatively I could find a set of 505 GR or SR springs.

    I'm happy with the ride and handling of the GTI springs, but would just like it to sit lower, mainly to make it look tuff. I realise this is silly, no need to lecture!

    Any ideas or suggestions? Leon has GR springs on the front of his 504 V6, with (I think) 2 coils removed. This cars doesn't sit too low, but just a little lower than I'd like.

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    John W

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    Previous: 2005 407 HDI manual sedan, 1980 504 GL, 1990 405 Mi16, 1977 504 GL Special, 1984 505 SRD Turbo



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    you do realise you are going to be increasing neg camber when you do this ??

    you will also stiffen the ride a little when you chop the spring as well

    chopping a coil off isn't a hard job it just depends on how far you want to drop it

    if you do it to a pair of GR springs you will end up with near the ride of the GTi ones anyway if that's what you are aiming for

    you will need to adjust your toe in to compensate for the extra camber
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    pur-john, not pew-john! peujohn's Avatar
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    Increased negative camber would be great. With current setup (504 struts, 604 LCAs and caster bars) the car has 1.5 degrees neg, which works really well. When I fit the GTI struts and 1983 504 wagon LCAs, I'm expecting only 0.8 degrees negative camber. Paris has just fitted this combo to his 504 and he ended up with 0.8 degrees.

    I was hoping cut GR or SR springs might end up giving similar ride and handling to GTI springs.
    John W

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    Doesn't cutting the springs affect their mechanical properties ? because they were heat treated and now the heat generated during cutting would make you lose the heat treatment benefits ?
    AFAIK buying new lower springs is better than cutting current ones in terms of performance.
    I think it also affects the shock absorbers as well and that's why they say you should also buy shocks that go with the reduced suspension travel.
    One last thing, what did the GTI struts do at the front, same height or did they lower it ?
    Chadi

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    John, my 350000km old standard 504 springs would lower it nicely! I think it is called spring sag!! But it looks good and with good shocks works fine [though I would hate to have a load in it]. Neil

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    Cut one turn off the fronts and remove the rear spacers, this will set it right. Keep in mind that the shocks will now be a tad soft for the front springs. If you are using oil shock inserts a synthetic 15W bike fork oil will take care of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanos View Post
    Cut one turn off the fronts and remove the rear spacers, this will set it right. Keep in mind that the shocks will now be a tad soft for the front springs. If you are using oil shock inserts a synthetic 15W bike fork oil will take care of that.
    Thanos,

    What's your thoughts on cutting off two coils not just one. I've already cut one off - using the Greek cowboy method - but the ride height still strikes me as a bit high. Is it just that little too much?

    Obviously I'm talking the 505, but the principles would still apply to the 504.

    Matt
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlb View Post
    Thanos, What's your thoughts on cutting off two coils not just one.
    What is the height from the ground, through the center of the wheel to the lip of the guard? If it is more than 680 mm with a 610 mm wheel you can probably cut one more. But this could become clearance issue on gravel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mlb View Post
    Thanos,

    What's your thoughts on cutting off two coils not just one. I've already cut one off - using the Greek cowboy method - but the ride height still strikes me as a bit high. Is it just that little too much?

    Obviously I'm talking the 505, but the principles would still apply to the 504.

    Matt
    I remember the Hot Holden "quick lower" butchers shop method.

    Jack up a wheel, fire up the oxy, heat a coil to gentle red, quickly release the jack and the coil collapses.

    Instant lowering - I make no comment about efficacy although.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    I remember the Hot Holden "quick lower" butchers shop method.

    Jack up a wheel, fire up the oxy, heat a coil to gentle red, quickly release the jack and the coil collapses.

    Instant lowering - I make no comment about efficacy although.
    Sounds very similar to the Greek Cowboy method
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanos View Post
    What is the height from the ground, through the center of the wheel to the lip of the guard? If it is more than 680 mm with a 610 mm wheel you can probably cut one more. But this could become clearance issue on gravel.
    I'll have to measure it and have a look. Thanks.
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    let the tyres down!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doush_504 View Post
    Doesn't cutting the springs affect their mechanical properties ? because they were heat treated and now the heat generated during cutting would make you lose the heat treatment benefits ?
    Hacksaw??

    Jo

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    Quote Originally Posted by jo proffi View Post
    Hacksaw??

    Jo
    hit it with a grinder with cut off blade

    very quick and minimal heat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanos View Post
    What is the height from the ground, through the center of the wheel to the lip of the guard? If it is more than 680 mm with a 610 mm wheel you can probably cut one more. But this could become clearance issue on gravel.
    680mm at the front. 630mm at the rear. Might just take some off the front to even things up

    Oh second thoughts, tomorrow I might empty the boot and remeasure

    Matt
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    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    If you cut em it'll have a tuff ride, man !
    It'd be good if someone here could tell you for certain, from experience, exactly what would be the result of a certain action. That way, it's a known quantity rather than guesswork. Thanos has lots and lots of experience, but he has not mentioned what the suspension would then feel like.

    I remember being told to put King Springs in my 504 rear end but the ride was too hard for my liking and I didn't want to go to the trouble of putting back the saggy old springs. They felt great but made the rear end look so daggy.....like someone with a saggy arse.
    Gave great handling when I fanged it , but I'd forgotten to ask about ride......and I actually loved the soft, floaty feel of 504s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beano View Post
    If you cut em it'll have a tuff ride, man !
    It'd be good if someone here could tell you for certain, from experience, exactly what would be the result of a certain action. That way, it's a known quantity rather than guesswork. Thanos has lots and lots of experience, but he has not mentioned what the suspension would then feel like.

    I remember being told to put King Springs in my 504 rear end but the ride was too hard for my liking and I didn't want to go to the trouble of putting back the saggy old springs. They felt great but made the rear end look so daggy.....like someone with a saggy arse.
    Gave great handling when I fanged it , but I'd forgotten to ask about ride......and I actually loved the soft, floaty feel of 504s.
    I cut a turn off my standard GR front springs and must admit I was underwhelmed by the result. It still felt a bit floaty and seemed to need a bit more taken off. Turn in was a little better, but still no where near direct enough for me. Mind you I haven't done anything else with the front arrangement so further tweaks like John has made would no doubt yield more positive results.

    Matt
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    pur-john, not pew-john! peujohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanos View Post
    Cut one turn off the fronts and remove the rear spacers, this will set it right. Keep in mind that the shocks will now be a tad soft for the front springs. If you are using oil shock inserts a synthetic 15W bike fork oil will take care of that.
    Cut one turn off the GTI springs?

    I didn't know you could change the oil in strut inserts, that's good to know. I'm not sure what struts I'll be using. I have a set of S1 GTI struts that should be in good nick (no leaks, came out a well-serviced car with 250,000km) but I've been told I should go for the improved series 2 struts if I'm going to the trouble to fit GTI struts. Comments on the benefits of S2 struts would be welcome.

    What are the best aftermarket inserts to use?
    John W

    1979 Peugeot 504 GTI 2.2 litre 5 speed - 72 kW at the wheels

    1974 Peugeot 504 TI
    - now on the road

    2009 Peugeot 407 HDI wagon - family car

    Previous: 2005 407 HDI manual sedan, 1980 504 GL, 1990 405 Mi16, 1977 504 GL Special, 1984 505 SRD Turbo



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    Quote Originally Posted by Beano View Post
    If you cut em it'll have a tuff ride, man ! It'd be good if someone here could tell you for certain, from experience, exactly what would be the result of a certain action..
    Unless one speaks from experience input is of questionable value. And "tuff ride" brings to mind the statement "Koni Yellow is not a rate" some adjectives mean different things to different people. So more specifically: A GTi spring with 6.3 turns has a spring rate of 87 lbs/inch. Cutting off one turn will increase this rate to 104 lbs/inch. Most people will not perceive the ride as "tuff" at this level of increase, but turn-in will be improved. Cutting a second turn off will bring the rate to 126, still cushy and with much improved turn-in, but now you have to adjust rear height and front shock rates. We have tried spring rates from 100 to 300 lbs/inch and as long as the shocks are well matched to the springs the cars work great at the upper end on the range. I use 200 on my street 504 coupe, 275 and 300 for the two rally cars.

    Matt: I would cut one more turn anyway, if the rear ends up too high you can also trim the rear springs a bit even if they are coiled flat (man-up and remove springs using the Rambo method). I normally would not recommend a lizzard-low ride, but for certain people who have a tendency to point the wheels at the sky this would be a safety mod. I think your floaty sensation is because of the shocks, they are not strong enough to control the rebound of the spring. Find some oil inserts and use thick oil (bike fork or hydraulic lifter oil). And keep your foot planted, this will keep the nose down.
    Last edited by Thanos; 8th May 2011 at 08:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peujohn View Post
    Cut one turn off the GTI springs? What are the best aftermarket inserts to use?
    Yes, GTi springs.
    The most cost effective way would be to use the oil inserts with thicker oil, 20W bike fork oil will handle up to 130 lbs/inch springs. You can buy 505 Bilsteins from the UK and have them re-valved if you plan for springs stiffer than that, but this would be more expensive, around 400 pounds all up.

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    Quick response . Thanks Thanos.
    John W

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanos View Post
    Matt: I would cut one more turn anyway, if the rear ends up too high you can also trim the rear springs a bit even if they are coiled flat (man-up and remove springs using the Rambo method). I normally would not recommend a lizzard-low ride, but for certain people who have a tendency to point the wheels at the sky this would be a safety mod. I think your floaty sensation is because of the shocks, they are not strong enough to control the rebound of the spring. Find some oil inserts and use thick oil (bike fork or hydraulic lifter oil). And keep your foot planted, this will keep the nose down.
    And here I was thinking the Cowboy method was the manliest way to do it. Funny you should mention my upside down tendencies. A sponsor I recently acquired requested I also put a logo on the sump - he figured they might get more coverage that way

    Plus I'll have a look at the shocks. Not sure what's in the car or what I have spare here. Are you talking both front and rears, or just the front?
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    Matt, or anybody else,

    why not do the job more or less properly. By cutting the existing spring, you end up with a "tuffer" ride height, which may or may not be the one you were hoping for. Of course, you can always cut a bit more off, but you cannot stick a bit back on. You will also end up with a spring of a different (higher) rate than you started with, which, again, may or may not coincide with your wishes. As well, the original shocks will not now be adequately controlling the behaviour of the springs. The word "cowboy" does spring to mind.

    Readily available are formulae linking wire diameter, number of coils, free length, and spring rate.

    You know, or can obtain, some data. You know, or should want to know, the weight of the car, and its distribution. You have a desired ride height, whatever the reason may be. You can measure the desired free length - unless you are building a dune buggy, or Dakar special, the standard spring length would be a good start. You don't want the spring floating free of the top and bottom platforms over yumps, and you don't want it so long you can't achieve your desired ride height.

    You should have some idea of your desired spring rate. If this is a total mystery to you, start with what others have used, successfully, for a similar purpose. However, bear in mind that what others have done may not be optimal. I have known plenty of people with diabolically badly engineered cars, who blissfully drove around the problem, unaware of its existence. Thanos has given some examples. These may be a bit stiff for you. Are you more than happy with the standard 504/505 ride? (One might ask why you are lowering the car. Perhaps you should have started with a Gemini.) If so, aim for the standard rate, remembering that you now have less ground clearance and less travel. At least you can use the original shocks.

    You should now be able to calculate what springs you need to achieve your ends. Have them made. Kings are good, but there are plenty of spring manufacturers. Eibach is just a brand that is not made in Australia, so you pay shipping and import duty for a piece of steel.

    Always keep in mind that what you are doing at one end of the car has an effect at the other end, and it is the handling balance of the car that should be what concerns you. Ideally, you should alter both ends of the car, in a predetermined manner, at the same time, unless the car was unbalanced to begin with, in which case it would be reasonable to adjust one or other end towards achieving the desired balance.

    Lowering the car will not do a lot to improve your turn in, particularly if you do it by cutting coils. In this case, the reduction of understeer achieved by lowering the front will be more or less offset by the higher rate of the front springs. Better turn in is best achieved by removing any compliance from the suspension components (the top of the strut falling over doesn't help your turn in much), and by the application of a little negative camber and a small increase in caster. Pumping the tyres up doesn't hurt either, up to a point. (Remember Hunter S Thomson in the White Whale, in ""Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"? Handled like a Lotus Elan at 50psi.)

    We haven't begun to discuss shocks, which are even more important to the ride quality and handling of the car. Unless you have managed to retain the original spring rate - neither a pointless nor impossible task, by the way - you are going to need some new ones, of an appropriate rate, to control the behaviour of the new springs. This is not so hard, but Koni "Yellows", or Aardvark "Fully adjustables" aren't going to cut it, I'm afraid. You are going to need some numbers. Frightening, isn't it.

    I need more beer before I can go on.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcusack View Post
    Matt, or anybody else,

    why not do the job more or less properly. By cutting the existing spring, you end up with a "tuffer" ride height, which may or may not be the one you were hoping for. Of course, you can always cut a bit more off, but you cannot stick a bit back on. You will also end up with a spring of a different (higher) rate than you started with, which, again, may or may not coincide with your wishes. As well, the original shocks will not now be adequately controlling the behaviour of the springs. The word "cowboy" does spring to mind.

    Readily available are formulae linking wire diameter, number of coils, free length, and spring rate.

    You know, or can obtain, some data. You know, or should want to know, the weight of the car, and its distribution. You have a desired ride height, whatever the reason may be. You can measure the desired free length - unless you are building a dune buggy, or Dakar special, the standard spring length would be a good start. You don't want the spring floating free of the top and bottom platforms over yumps, and you don't want it so long you can't achieve your desired ride height.

    You should have some idea of your desired spring rate. If this is a total mystery to you, start with what others have used, successfully, for a similar purpose. However, bear in mind that what others have done may not be optimal. I have known plenty of people with diabolically badly engineered cars, who blissfully drove around the problem, unaware of its existence. Thanos has given some examples. These may be a bit stiff for you. Are you more than happy with the standard 504/505 ride? (One might ask why you are lowering the car. Perhaps you should have started with a Gemini.) If so, aim for the standard rate, remembering that you now have less ground clearance and less travel. At least you can use the original shocks.

    You should now be able to calculate what springs you need to achieve your ends. Have them made. Kings are good, but there are plenty of spring manufacturers. Eibach is just a brand that is not made in Australia, so you pay shipping and import duty for a piece of steel.

    Always keep in mind that what you are doing at one end of the car has an effect at the other end, and it is the handling balance of the car that should be what concerns you. Ideally, you should alter both ends of the car, in a predetermined manner, at the same time, unless the car was unbalanced to begin with, in which case it would be reasonable to adjust one or other end towards achieving the desired balance.

    Lowering the car will not do a lot to improve your turn in, particularly if you do it by cutting coils. In this case, the reduction of understeer achieved by lowering the front will be more or less offset by the higher rate of the front springs. Better turn in is best achieved by removing any compliance from the suspension components (the top of the strut falling over doesn't help your turn in much), and by the application of a little negative camber and a small increase in caster. Pumping the tyres up doesn't hurt either, up to a point. (Remember Hunter S Thomson in the White Whale, in ""Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"? Handled like a Lotus Elan at 50psi.)

    We haven't begun to discuss shocks, which are even more important to the ride quality and handling of the car. Unless you have managed to retain the original spring rate - neither a pointless nor impossible task, by the way - you are going to need some new ones, of an appropriate rate, to control the behaviour of the new springs. This is not so hard, but Koni "Yellows", or Aardvark "Fully adjustables" aren't going to cut it, I'm afraid. You are going to need some numbers. Frightening, isn't it.

    I need more beer before I can go on.

    Tim
    New springs, custom wound only cost around $120 a pair.

    I did this for a 404 and uprated to East African Spec. The difference was enormous. Entirely different car sans saggy arse.

    Perhaps once you cut some springs and found what like, get some new springs made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    New springs, custom wound only cost around $120 a pair.

    I did this for a 404 and uprated to East African Spec. The difference was enormous. Entirely different car sans saggy arse.

    Perhaps once you cut some springs and found what like, get some new springs made.
    Couldn't agree more.
    And you'll always have your original springs to go back for in case you need to.
    Chadi

    1982 504 SR white manual sedan with A/C (257 000 Km)
    2012 308 1.6 VTi Vapor Grey manual H/B (35000 Km)
    1994 405 1.6 white manual sedan (208 000 Km)
    1992 605 SV24 (91 000 Km)
    2005 406 2.0L automatic (Replaced with a 2013 C5)
    1983 505 GR white manual sedan with A/C (170000 Km)

    All since new


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