Adjustable coil overs?
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Adjustable coil overs?

    Hey guys,

    I was wondering if anyone had done a 'home job' of making adjustable coilovers for their cars.
    To explain, I may have just about picked up some NEW OLD STOCK- Koni adjustable shocks. Rather than just slap them in, and have the nightmare job of getting the springs compressed each time I need to pull them out and adjust them(they aren't externally adjustable) I'd like to convert them to adjustable (for height) coil-overs.

    So to clarify my question(s)

    1. has anyone done this, I gather it involves welding a threaded tube onto the shock body. Then the other parts- shock and threaded washers are installed afterwards.

    2. How do they determine the spring rates- give them the old ones? Is it possible to mix and match some springs from other coilovers- i.e off the shelf ones for a similar FWD car of similar weight etc etc

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    3. Should I just use the adjustable KONIS- with the original springs reset (professionally lowered) as this will no doubt be the cheapest option, however it will not allow me to corner weight the car, or soften it to cope with weather changes...

    I'm keen to hear any thoughts...

    Cheers Ben

    ps the car is a 184 Fuego GTX, that is being converted into a fuego turbo as a race car only.

  2. #2
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    There are a few things to be clarified here...

    1. Are they front or rear dampers?

    If front, you don't actually have to remove them to adjust... it's not easy, but it can be done. And if you have to remove them, these springs have one of the best setups ever for a spring compressor to work on. You just need to have the gear.

    2. What are you trying to achieve?

    You mention resetting springs... just what do you want to do to the car?

    3. Welding to the damper body...

    Pretty much a no-no... without dismantling the damper and then cleaning up the scale that will form inside from the welding before reassembly, this is never going to be a good job. The prospects of burning through the tube and damaging the oil inside if you don't dismantle is very real.

  3. #3
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Ray Bell:
    There are a few things to be clarified here...
    Hi Ray,
    to clarify- they will be front and rear dampers.....
    1. Are they front or rear dampers?
    I understand with the KONIS (that I am looking at) that you have to remove the shock completely, compress it fully then turn 'it' to adjust it?

    If front, you don't actually have to remove them to adjust... it's not easy, but it can be done. And if you have to remove them, these springs have one of the best setups ever for a spring compressor to work on. You just need to have the gear.
    I am half way through getting a proper spring compressor made up, but having fully 'captive' coilovers would negate the need for this tool as I see it...
    2. What are you trying to achieve?
    I am preparing a fuego as a race car- no road use- aside from driving it to the track. I'd like to be able to set the car up- for corner weights, damping etc, and perhaps lowering individually...
    You mention resetting springs... just what do you want to do to the car?
    The reason why I mention resetting springs is that for $100 per end it could be a cost effective way- in conjunction with height/damping adjustable shocks to improve the handling.

    3. Welding to the damper body...
    This would only be possible if the damper could be removed and dismantled- apparently that is possible with these KONIs?

    Pretty much a no-no... without dismantling the damper and then cleaning up the scale that will form inside from the welding before reassembly, this is never going to be a good job. The prospects of burning through the tube and damaging the oil inside if you don't dismantle is very real.
    So that's it in a nutshell, perhaps I am trying to do too much, just figured if I could that I may as well spend the time/effort at the start to improve the handling, rather than later on- in development...

    Cheers Ben

  4. #4
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Renault17:
    I understand with the KONIS (that I am looking at) that you have to remove the shock completely, compress it fully then turn 'it' to adjust it?

    I am half way through getting a proper spring compressor made up, but having fully 'captive' coilovers would negate the need for this tool as I see it...
    So you're making up a plate to go under the spring base and you have some threaded rod or something with hooks on the top to compress the springs? Great... I'll borrow it for the 404 some time... no, seriously, it's easy enough, but you don't have to do that. Just undo the top and make up something that screws onto the top of the shaft that you can compress the damper and turn the shaft with.

    I am preparing a fuego as a race car- no road use - aside from driving it to the track. I'd like to be able to set the car up- for corner weights, damping etc, and perhaps lowering individually...

    The reason why I mention resetting springs is that for $100 per end it could be a cost effective way- in conjunction with height/damping adjustable shocks to improve the handling.
    Oh, I now see why you want to...

    3. Welding to the damper body...
    This would only be possible if the damper could be removed and dismantled - apparently that is possible with these KONIs?
    Indeed it is... and will give you that adjustability you might want.

    It's hard to say if you're heading down the right road at any given time with this stuff, expecially with a front wheel drive car. Remember that the works R12 Gordinis had everything possible loaded up the front, battery in behind the headlight and stuff like that, to get weight over the driving wheels.

    I don't pretend to know these answers at all...

    <small>[ 09 May 2003, 07:18 PM: Message edited by: Ray Bell ]</small>

  5. #5
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    Ray Bell Remember that the works R12 Gordinis had everything possible loaded up the front, battery in behind the headlight and stuff like that, to get weight over the driving wheels.
    Ummm... actually, it was mounted above the rear axle hump, in the boot. It was a long narrow battery.....

  6. #6
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    When Bruce Collier showed it to me it was right up under a headlight...

    Maybe you saw an earlier development... or a later one?

    Whatever, it shows that the answers aren't always easily found in this business. Especially with front wheel drive...

  7. #7
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    Ray Bell:
    When Bruce Collier showed it to me it was right up under a headlight...

    Maybe you saw an earlier development... or a later one?

    Whatever, it shows that the answers aren't always easily found in this business. Especially with front wheel drive...
    The Renault France factory mod instruction detailed that the 12G battery went behind the headlight. But one thing to remember is that most of the Euro rallies were tarmac rallies, therefore little problem of stones damaging the battery case is more remote. AUS rallies were virtually all unsealed road based at the time, therefore lots of potential damage to the battery if it was behind the headlight, also some of the drivers commented about excessive understeer, hence a shift of the battery to the boot for the AUS modified 12G's.
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  8. #8
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Ray Bell:
    Renault17:
    I understand with the KONIS (that I am looking at) that you have to remove the shock completely, compress it fully then turn 'it' to adjust it?

    I am half way through getting a proper spring compressor made up, but having fully 'captive' coilovers would negate the need for this tool as I see it...
    So you're making up a plate to go under the spring base and you have some threaded rod or something with hooks on the top to compress the springs? Great... I'll borrow it for the 404 some time... no, seriously, it's easy enough, but you don't have to do that. Just undo the top and make up something that screws onto the top of the shaft that you can compress the damper and turn the shaft with.

    I am preparing a fuego as a race car- no road use - aside from driving it to the track. I'd like to be able to set the car up- for corner weights, damping etc, and perhaps lowering individually...

    The reason why I mention resetting springs is that for $100 per end it could be a cost effective way- in conjunction with height/damping adjustable shocks to improve the handling.
    Oh, I now see why you want to...

    3. Welding to the damper body...
    This would only be possible if the damper could be removed and dismantled - apparently that is possible with these KONIs?
    Indeed it is... and will give you that adjustability you might want.

    It's hard to say if you're heading down the right road at any given time with this stuff, expecially with a front wheel drive car. Remember that the works R12 Gordinis had everything possible loaded up the front, battery in behind the headlight and stuff like that, to get weight over the driving wheels.

    I don't pretend to know these answers at all...
    Hey Ray,
    yep I am getting a proper renault shock tool- the plate with the threaded rods 'jobbie', just have to get the threaded rods sorted and it will be all go. (I can use it on the R17 whatever setup I end up with on the fuego)

    So, if I understand you correctly, if the top (of the strut) end of the shock has a slot (or a thread for another skinny long bolt?), you can compress it fully(once the top has been released) with the spring in place, and adjust the shock this way?

    I was wondering what other 'racing' measures guys in front wheel drive renaults have taken and how effective they have found them?

    It's interesting that you guys talk about the 12 gordini- that moving a battery of 10-15kg can stop a car from understeering, blows me away, didn't realise FWD's that they were sensitive to such small weight changes.

    Cheers Ben

  9. #9
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Well, you never know... this stuff is all a matter of suck it and see.

    No, I'm not totally sure about the details of the top of the shaft, but with some enginuity I'm sure you can make up something that screws on the top of the shaft, like a hollow rod that has the right thread... maybe with a hole through it and the tip of the shaft that you line up when you've screwed it on and stick a pin through to hold it while you compress and turn it, then lift it back up, screw on the nut and you're done.

    Anyone familiar with the setup can tell me if I'm wrong in this? Would the rubber have to come out, for instance? I haven't looked at one of these in years...

  10. #10
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    Renault17
    It's interesting that you guys talk about the 12 gordini- that moving a battery of 10-15kg can stop a car from understeering, blows me away, didn't realise FWD's that they were sensitive to such small weight changes.Cheers Ben
    I'd say that it wouldn't have made much difference on its own, but every bit helps. A few performance cars have the battery in the boot just to get the weight distribution tuned to the nth degree.

    Stuey


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

  11. #11
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Hey Ray,

    yeah I understand that the bump stops need to be removed so that it can be fully compressed- so it (the shock)needs to come out completely to be adjusted.

    Regards Ben

  12. #12
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Well there you go... if there's a bump stop on the shock, it would depend on whether your tool will clear it...

    In other words, if the depth of the bump stop is less than the length of the mount part of the shaft, of if the hole in the bump stop is large enough to clear whatever you use, you'll still be able to do it.

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