total noob to suspension

Started by YellowPreludeR, 01:45:47 PM / 23-Jul-04

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YellowPreludeR

somehow I built a CA20ET and the rest of the car, but never put anything into  the suspension.  Now being a  total noob, tell me if this is just craz, or if it will \"do\" for a year while im at college and just need my car.

Right now when you jump on any corner of the car, it almost or does bottom out.  I know it, and its bad. Here is what I wanna do.

1) Go to AutoZone and get new shocks. The stock OEM replacements. Nothing fancy
2) Cut 1/2 coil off the top and bottom of each spring. I hear it stiffin\'s the springs, but also makes them more fragile over time. Suggestions, comments, they are all welcome.

Will these 2 things make my ride a little more comfortable for the time being?  I think it can all be done for like under $30.


If you have a better way to go, let me know. Thanks.

Im not that interested in lowering the car right now, but that 1/2 coil cut would make it just right.
--Yellow--
Current Car : 1984 BMW 533i Turbo /w custom M30B34
[Oo=00=oO]
Old ride : 1985 Nissan 200sx Turbo /w custom CA20ET
  (O=O/ S-12 O=O)

Dan0myte

The Nissan FSM lists three different shock and spring combinations. Nissan tuned each car to it\'s purpose. The CA20 cars got very weak springs and low rebound shocks, but a large rear swaybar. The Turbo models got super stiff springs and higher rebound shocks, but a smaller rear swaybar. The V6 model got thicker and longer springs to hold the extra weight, but aren\'t very stiff. It also got shocks similar to the CA20 in compression, but stronger in rebound (again because of the weight).

So when you go to Autozone, check and see if they list different shocks for the different models of 200SX. If they list just a one-size-fits-all shock, see if you can get the rebound/damping specs off the side of the box and let us know what the aftermarket is setting our shocks for. I wonder whether they chose to keep the CA20 specs, or if they went for a more aggressive CA18 or VG30 spec shock.

About the springs, rather than cut yours, go out and find a Turbo 200SX in a wrecking yard and take all the springs from it. It will only lower your car about half an inch, you\'ll barely notice it, but it\'s the added stiffness that will really boost your handling. And plus, since you have the large CA20 rear sway bar, your suspension will end up being tighter than that of a comparable Turbo car.
Dan Aho - Member #1 ;)
2010 Nissan Sentra SE-R
1997 Nissan Maxima SE
2002 Triumph Sprint RS

CU Zcar

You probably will have to spend a little more than that even at AutoZone for shocks and struts (unless it\'s only the rears you need?).  The cut springs may help a little but half a coil I\'m not sure would make a noticeable increase in stiffness, it\'ll just bring you that much closer to bottoming when you hit bumps.  It\'s also not a big drop though.  The weakening comes in because the ends of the spring are usually formed to flatten out and fit into the spring perch, and when you cut off that end you no longer have a good interface with these perches (though you may be able to use a torch to re-introduce this shape into the new spring end...may not be good for strength though).  It probably will hurt the comfort of your ride, and may not improve handling either.  If you are not mainly doing it out of a strong desire to lower the car I\'d leave the springs alone and see what improvements come with just new shocks/struts.  Another cheap improvement you can make will probably be to your sway bar endlink and mount bushings, you can get generic polyurethane ones at the parts store that will be much stiffer than your worn rubber stockers.  Might increase roll stiffness noticeably.  Then we get into all your other bushings, which also have an effect on ride and handling...
--Shaun (it appears here that I am the other Shaun)
1978 Datsun 280Z powered by L28ET
1985 200SX - daily driver, when it feels like it
When working on the S12 ECU, one should check continuity twice, solder once.  Doh!

YankeeDrifter

go to nopi or tire rack, and you could put 4 shocks that are fairly decent for under 80.  See if that solves the problem.  If not you could buy 4 intrax lowering springs for like $120
1990 Mazda Miata, Koni's and Azenis'
1986 VW GTI w/ 2.0l swap and Bilsteins
1987 Nissan 200SX XE, sold
1993 VW Jetta, full cage, lexan windows, etc.
1990 VW Fux; Scrapped
1992 VW GTI; Scrapped

JasterM5

For the front, If they are still stockers I would replace the oil in the shocks. Assuming the seals are all still ok the cost of that will only be the 2 bottles of gear oil you buy. If you have to buy replacement cartridges for the front then they are about $30 each I know this cuz I had to get one myself. These are hard to find because Autozone is stockiing this part untill they run out. The part# is G44934. If you can only find one or something let me know cuz I have one sitting in my old suspension. I\'ll sell it to you cheap and its only been used for a couple of months.

If you need directions on how to do the oil refill let me know, I did a write a while back on it.

For the rear I would get some kyb GR-2\'s and just replace the shocks. I wouldn\'t go cutting any of the springs. You might find some good replacements for a 300zx, cheap. Look around.
'87 200sx V6 Turbo -Sold
'02 Subaru RWD WRX -dead :(

YellowPreludeR

well   thanks for the info guys.    How can I tell if the front is stockers.....assuming and probally guessing that they are stock.

And how much do you think the rear will cost to \"upgrade\".
--Yellow--
Current Car : 1984 BMW 533i Turbo /w custom M30B34
[Oo=00=oO]
Old ride : 1985 Nissan 200sx Turbo /w custom CA20ET
  (O=O/ S-12 O=O)

Ken

I would never recomend cutting springs, it can seriously screw up your handling.  If you don\'t cut all the springs the same length, or if they get warped from cutting(even with a hacksaw, you can generate enough heat to warp them slightly) it will change the spring rate.  Having four different spring rates on each corner of the car will make it handle worse than it does now.  If you decide that cutting the springs is the better option, either because of money or just plain curosity, be very careful.  Measure twice, cut once, use a bench vise or something to hold it very steady, and work slowly.  If you make a mistake, you will most likely have to replace the springs.
1984 Nissan 200SX CA20E
1984 Nissan 200SX CA18ET
1988 Nissan 200SX SE VG30E
1987 Volkswagen QSW
1990 Volkswagen Corrado X2

YankeeDrifter

Yeah... I forgot you could refill the front stockers.  you probably want to do that.  Back to springs, with all new/refilled shocks, I think you\'re probably safe in not bottoming out, but you can always watch ebay for pairs of springs later down the road, or just get Intrax like I had mentioned before.  I think that JC Whitney has the backs, and some people are they have the fronts too, but I can\'t find \'em... eBAY
1990 Mazda Miata, Koni's and Azenis'
1986 VW GTI w/ 2.0l swap and Bilsteins
1987 Nissan 200SX XE, sold
1993 VW Jetta, full cage, lexan windows, etc.
1990 VW Fux; Scrapped
1992 VW GTI; Scrapped

200SXXEnotchbck86

How do you change the oil on the front struts?  I have seen this mentioned a couple of times but don\'t remember ever seeing actually how.  Its the 300zx springs for the rear right?  What years was that, like 84 to 88 or something like that?  So the springs for the turbo models are different from the Ca20 springs.  Another up grade for the turbo then would be to get the rear sway bar from the na car.  Is there a difference between the notch and the hatch when it comes to the rear suspension?  I would think the fronts are the same, but possibly some little differences in the back maybe?


Jason Ruppert
94 Chevy Camaro V6 5spd Commuter
97 Dodge Caravan

"Time changes all, but not the minds of man. Intill hate, greed and indifference is gone. There will always be War and Poverty."-Quote from Me

henge

dan.. you mentioned the difference between the suspensions on the XE\'s and SE\'s and such.. but take a look at the pic of my s12\'s side by side.. the XE IS lower and looks like it has less camber than my SE..

and trust me.. its not just cuz of the pic,.. the SE really does have more camber

sschung

Quotedan.. you mentioned the difference between the suspensions on the XE\'s and SE\'s and such.. but take a look at the pic of my s12\'s side by side.. the XE IS lower and looks like it has less camber than my SE..
 
and trust me.. its not just cuz of the pic,.. the SE really does have more camber

it might be because your springs are sagging
i\'ve got a cardomain site!

http://members.cardomain.com/sschung

JasterM5

Here is a complete how-to I wrote up to replace the oil in a worn out stock front suspension. I think its a very usefull upgrade on the tight budget kinda thing.

Parts Needed:

1. Various sockets; 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 19mm
2. Various Fixed Wrenches; same sizes
3. Spring Compressors (Available for rent at AutoZone or Pep boys)
4. A really large wrench for getting the strut bolt off (I used a monkey wrench)
5. A vise
6. Jack stands
7. Jack
8. Something to prop up the brake calipers.
9. Transmission Fluid or gear box fluid. I used gearbox fluid 80-90 and it stiffened up the ride a lot more than stock.
10. Bucket
11. 20oz bottle of soda with the top cut off
12. Measuring cup
13. 2 flat head screw drivers

Step 1: Propping up the car and Wheel removal

Ok first off start by removing wheel and getting the front of the car on jack stands. If you need detailed instructions on how to do this then maybe you should rethink about attempting this whole procedure.

Step2: Removing suspension

What you need to do is remove the suspension. Now this was my first time doing this on a Nissan so this next bit came as a large surprise to me but it may not to you. The rotor and hub are attached to the suspension. So when you go to remove them the whole thing comes off.

A. First thing to do is remove the brake calipers. This is done by removing the 2 location bracket bolts. I believe they are 19mm. Once this is done the entire brake caliper can be slid off the rotor. Then use something to prop up the caliper so it doesnââ,¬â,,¢t just hang from the brake line. I used a cinderblock. Leave everything intact and don\'t worry if a brake pad falls out, you can always put it back in and slide everything back on the rotor without undoing the calipers.

b. Next step is to free up the lower control arm. To do this you have to remove the sway bar bolt, 14mm. Remember to take the bolt out and put the bushings back on it in the order they were in. That way you wonââ,¬â,,¢t forget when you go to put the bolt back on. Now there are another 2 bolts that need to be removed right below the sway bar bolt. These are 17mm bolts that connect the Tension Control Rod. Next are 2 more bolts underneath the rotor/hub assembly, I believe they are 17mm, but they may be 19mmm. They\'re on the same bracket that has the ball joint from the power steering. These last 2 bolts are extremely tough and luckily my buddy has an air compressor and an impact gun. You may have to use a socket and a really long pipe. The last bolt you may or may not have to remove. The ball joint may need to be disconnected. I\'m not entirely sure because I was replacing my power steering rack at the same time so mine were already removed.

c. Once the control arm is disconnected push down on it with your foot to fully disconnect it from the suspension. Once itââ,¬â,,¢s fully released you remove the 3 nuts, 14mm, from the strut tower to drop the strut from its place. Be careful because with the hub and everything attached to the strut itââ,¬â,,¢s a lot heavier than normally expected.

Step 3: Breaking down the strut

a. First step is to put the strut into the vise. You can vise the strut directly or you can put a piece of wood on both sides of the strut so you donââ,¬â,,¢t accidentally damage the strut by over tightening. Make sure itââ,¬â,,¢s really tight so it wonââ,¬â,,¢t slip when you try to turn the insert seal.

b. Once the Strut is in the vise use the spring compressor to compress the spring until it can spin freely or at least till you can move it within the housing. Compressing the spring enough is extremely important. Think of a champagne cork flying off at 1000 times the force. Then remove the top nut, 17mm, and remove the top of the spring housing. Remember to slide up the bottom of the boot before you take off the top. You may need to use needle nose pliers for this. Then just slide everything up till itââ,¬â,,¢s just the piston rod sticking out of the strut.

c. Once you have everything removed use the large wrench or in my case monkey wrench to remove the seal. This nut looks like its tack welded down but trust me, it unscrews.

Step 4: Draining and refilling the Oil

Now is a good time to get some buckets because this part gets messy. Get a bucket, a 20oz bottle of soda with the top cut off and a measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup with 9.9oz of oil of choice I used Valvoline Gear Box Oil 80-90 and this stiffens up the ride considerably. I tried Valvoline Gearbox Oil 80-140 before and itââ,¬â,,¢s unmovable.

a. Keep the soda bottle close and pull up on the piston rod quickly this will release the entire piston assemble out of the housing and quickly put it into the soda bottle. I say quickly because if you hold the assembly in the air a little the entire assembly starts to slip down and eventually the piston will slide out of the inner housing, NOT GOOD. You may have to give the piston rod a few pumps before it comes out though. No pun intended.  

b. Once the piston assembly is in the soda bottle, remove the strut from the vise and drain the oil into the bucket. Then put the strut back into the vise.

c. Now take the oil from the measuring cup and pour it into the strut. Take the piston assembly from the soda bottle and grab the top of the piston rod. Now with a paper towel, hold the inner piston housing still and pull up on the piston rod. This will drain any remaining oil in the piston assembly. Remember don\'t go too far or you\'ll pull the rod out of the inner housing. You can judge it once you see an inner seal.

d. Once the piston assembly is drained of its oil put the assembly back into the strut. Be careful not to just dump it into the strut or the oil can spill out. Lower it in gently. Once itââ,¬â,,¢s in you may need a second set of hands for this. Have someone pull upward slowly on the piston rod. Meanwhile you, using 2 flat head screwdrivers, push down on the top seal push it past the threads until it stops. Also remember not to push down on the very most outer edge of the seal. Because this is the rubber seal and you donââ,¬â,,¢t want to puncture it. Push down on the visible metal part.

e. Pull up on the piston rod until itââ,¬â,,¢s fully extended and push it back down slowly to the bottom. Do this a few time to get the oil to get fully sucked up into the piston assembly. Once this is done you can replace the top piston seal with the monkey wrench.


Step 5: Putting everything back together.

Pretty much everything goes back in the reverse order that you took it all off so begin with that. It\'s not till you start typing one of these that you realize how much typing there is so I\'ll leave the rest up to you. One more thing is that if your shocks were dead then there is a pretty good chance that your Shock boot was torn. This would be a good time to change it. You can purchase new ones at Pep boys in a variety of colors you don\'t want. I hope everything works out for you. My suspension ran a hell of a lot better after I did this, but now I got s13 coilovers. Use the pictures from the FSM supplied by Silli to help you out.

I\'ll keep these pics up indefinitly for this. Hope this helps everyone interested in doin this.

[url]http://www.volaresolutions.com/ivan/2.jpg[/a]
[url]http://www.volaresolutions.com/ivan/3.jpg[/a]
'87 200sx V6 Turbo -Sold
'02 Subaru RWD WRX -dead :(

Mr.200

Alex, I\'d throw GR2s in the back before anything else.

I did a how to, and will move it to this board in a few minutes.

Before I did it, I could bottom the car out just by pushing down the bumper. With 2 people pushing together, we could get it to bounce pretty much off the ground.

Now with just the GR2s and sagging stock springs, it is a million times better. If I hop into the hatch, it drops maybe 1/2 an inch.

I paid $16 each for the GR2s.
1987 200sx CA18ETi - The Toad
1972 Dodge Charger 413ci/6.6L - The Bully

Matt
http://www.angelfire.com/freak/brutesquad/index.html

YellowPreludeR

SOLD !  $16.  DONE !!!  I have the SAME prob Mr200  I can push down and just bottom them out.  Pretty sad.  so GR2 in the rear, with the new KYB or something in the front.....should be a quick days change.
--Yellow--
Current Car : 1984 BMW 533i Turbo /w custom M30B34
[Oo=00=oO]
Old ride : 1985 Nissan 200sx Turbo /w custom CA20ET
  (O=O/ S-12 O=O)