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 Lowered wagon questions

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Posts : 5
Join date : 2016-09-10
Age : 38
Location : PNW

PostSubject: Lowered wagon questions   Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:57 pm

I have 2.5'' drop spindles in the front and 2-3/4 drop springs in the back. My wagon kinda floats and sways. I want a nice stiff sporty ride what are some good shock options that you guys have good results with. I have gabriels on there now there not the cheapest shock the auto store has to offer. My front end has been completely rebuilt with tie-rods and ball joints.
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Fred Kiehl


Posts : 4889
Join date : 2009-11-13
Age : 70
Location : Largo, FL 33774

PostSubject: Re: Lowered wagon questions   Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:14 am

The shocks will determine the stiffness of the ride. Some of the best are Bilsteins. The Gabriels should be similar. You can also get the recently available shocks that are adjustable for both compression and rebound, and tune them yourself. The adjustable ones are rather expensive. Good handling is usually found with the word "expensive" written next to it. It is a combination of springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars. Check into the Ford CV sway bars for the rear. A larger front anti-roll bar should be installed to balance the addition of the rear one. Anti-roll bars will go a long way to making the car feel more stable on the road. They will stop a lot of the body roll, that is one of the sensations that makes the car feel spooky. You can have a slightly floaty straight line ride, and still have good control in the corners. Anti-roll bars transfer some of the displacement of the outside wheel to the inside spring, and make the car stay more level side to side. They also make the outside spring "appear" to be stiffer, so the suspension does not compress as much as it would without the bar.

Float does not mean that the car will not negotiate the curves and bumps at high speed successfully, it only means that you are uncomfortable with your perception of control while doing so.

Good, stiff urethane bushings would go a long way to reducing compliance (isolating you from the road). You can also check with a spring manufacturer to get balanced springs front to rear. Adjustable shocks would also get the compression and rebound to suit your liking. Often a single setting shock is designed to give you a smooth ride, not superb handling. Be careful setting the shock for a too stiff compression, because it will stress the lower mount, and the mounts on the B body are not designed for high stress in the compression direction. Another option that is probably not recommended is a coil-over shock. You can set it for no height change, but the spring will still augment the stock spring, making it appear to be a higher rate spring. This will stress the lower shock mount, and could cause it to fail.

Years ago a test was done with a Corvette, where they ran it with racing shocks, stock shocks, and no shocks. The difference in lap times on the course were very close. The major difference was the comfort, and sense of control that the driver experienced.

Your rear springs are probably much stiffer than your front ones, and the car may be "pivoting" on the rear axle to some extent. You need a balance of the spring rates. While on the subject of the rear drop springs, you may want to have a piece of exhaust pipe welded to the top spring perch, so that the springs do not fall out when you need to change a tire. You should also tiewrap the spring to the axle perch for the same reason. The drop springs are usually much shorter than the OEM springs. Adding stiffer springs to the front will also cause slightly less "dive" to the outside of the corner, and combined with a stiff anti-roll bar will make the car feel more controllable.

Be extremely careful with the drop spindles. Make sure you have clearance for the end of the shock if you have a flat. The shock can hit the ground. Use a straight edge from the ground at one tire, to the bottom of the opposite RIM. If the shock end is below the line, and you have a flat, the shock will hit the ground before the rim, and tear the suspension arm off of the car (and probably do other damage). I see that you are running 20 inch rims, so that should fix the issue. The only remedies are to use larger diameter rims, or get run flat tires. 2 inch drop spindles require 17 inch rims minimum, and the 2.5 inch drops may need larger rims.
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Posts : 3138
Join date : 2013-02-20
Age : 49
Location : Marion,NC

PostSubject: Re: Lowered wagon questions   Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:48 am

Im speaking for "feel" only. Sway bars and KYB Gas-Adjust shocks,ended my "floating feel",in both my 1994 Roady and 1991 OCC.
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Fred Kiehl


Posts : 4889
Join date : 2009-11-13
Age : 70
Location : Largo, FL 33774

PostSubject: Re: Lowered wagon questions   Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:20 am

It is best to have a balanced spring, shock, anti-roll bar system. The learning curve is rather steep, expensive, and you have to keep specific records of all changes, and how they affect the handling of the car. The problem with that is, that the average driver does not have the means to test the car for optimum handling characteristics.

Generally adding a little stiffer shock will help the average suspension to feel more stable. Slightly larger anti-roll bars will also make it feel better, because it will not roll as much. A proper match of springs will also enhance the drivability. Compliance bushings will isolate you from the road feel, where the firmer urethane bushings will transmit more road inputs to the driver's butt. It is a tradeoff between ride, and control.

In this case, the front springs are probably not as stiff as they should be, and the car needs a rear anti-roll bar, with a slightly larger bar in the front. There may be some companies that make specific packages for the car, but they will need detailed information on spring rates, spring heights, size/number of current anti-roll bars, shock settings/models, and weight distribution.
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phantom 309


Posts : 5785
Join date : 2008-12-28
Age : 108

PostSubject: Re: Lowered wagon questions   Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:29 pm

For my daily driver, which at the moment is the orange wagon,. it has stock springs, bilstein shocks, and an oversize hotchkis rear bar and dropped front spindles, the ride is great and the car is nicely predictable on any road surface,. and reacts well when its' pushed to its limits,.and suits my driving style when it wants to hang its tail out,..
The cadillac has all stock components, except the fusion ZR1 255 50 17 tires,. I can drive the caddy quicker than the wagon on our twisty little road we play on,.the sway bars are nicely matched,..
The biggest bang for the buck on any car for handling in my opinion is simply bigger better tires,.
I give 3-4 mpg i,m sure with the bigger rubber, but it's all about adhesion,..

As was mentioned and is a good point,. it's a lot to do with a drivers comfort level in hard cornering,.
some drivers are concerned when the door handles are nearly scratching on the ground,. Laughing
No fear is a good motto when it comes to pushing the envelope of car control,..
A good example is how some folks are comfortable driving on slippery surfaces, and can negotiate turns with the chassis not always pointing in the direction of travel,. What a Face
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