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dave-r

Suspension Rehab with a question on Koni

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Good evening,

    So over the last few days I completed the following on my 75' 02:

  • Completely disassembled suspension
  • Removed all bushings
  • Stripped and painted all control arms, strut tubes, A arms, etc. etc.
  • Installed new Poly bushings
  • Installed new ball joints, strut bearings and sway bar links
  • New Ireland Engineering Stage 2 springs 
  • New Koni adjustable shocks and struts
  • New brake Brembo brake disc and pads
  • Repacked wheel bearings

 

So first let me say what a chore. Passenger front was not bad EXCEPT for the ball join which was so badly rusted I had to drill the castle nut and split it with a cold chisel to remove it. The driver side was rusted badly but I was able to remove rusted pin and remove nut. When I reinstalled the new one I decided to cover nut and top of threads with thick bearing grease to avoid this in future. The Passenger side strut housing was surprisingly still full of oil (the car has never had any new parts except driver side -- it started life as an auto and other than being very rusty due to Pennsylvania the car had an easy life) so the strut came out easily and was rust free. The driver side was not as fun, as soon as I got top nut off I could see hammer marks on top edge of strut, so my first thought was bent strut housing but it was perfectly straight just rusty and no oil once I used a slide hammer to free the strut I used a brake cylinder hone with an extension got it all cleaned up!! So on to the next task which seems so easy -- installing struts in housing -- used the 50ml oil (20w50 I had a little of sitting around) slide in strut and damn thing just will not go down so my first thought was I dropped something in housing so I pulled new strut out, dumped out oil, and check for issue -- nothing, so I test fit strut again with no oil and it fits -- then it come to me!! Hydraulic pressure of oil in housing so I had a little 10w30 Mobil one and used it instead and applied pressure to it so after some finicking got them both installed. Reassembled front and rear remaining items and set car back on the ground. One additional item was a new machined metal shift knob from IE and rubber boot, since I have been driving holding on to bare shifter rod since installing 4 speed. 

 

Wow what a difference.. when I installed Koni shocks/struts I adjusted them to half way between soft/full open -- hard/full closed (not sure if this was right, read tips on Koni's site on setup and this seemed best). Steering is much more accurate, car is tight. This is an aggressive setup in my mind, I have had H&R with Bilstein Sports on e30's in the past and this is much more aggressive. With this being said what a blast!! Went out for some backroad carving after 50 miles or so of regular/light driving to seat pads/rotors ( I know they needed more) and checking tightness of fasteners and lets just say I quickly found the limit of my 185 13's with a huge grin on my face!!! I am not sure I would want this setup on an everyday car but my fair-weather only weekend car it is going to be great, I am already dreaming of my first autocross next year. I had been driving on my chopped springs and clapped out shocks/struts/bushings I had no idea what a great car this is!!

 

Does anyone run this setup?? If so what did you set your shocks to?? Any other suggestions, I think sway bars and a new 38 Weber are my list next as my 32/36 has some issues. I have already installed a custom 2 1/4 exhaust, a Tii manifold, rebuilt my dizzy and installed a hot spark. I am happy with power, mostly, but in the future I see a complete engine rebuild to get compression up before I worry too much about power. I may go the 14 or 15" wheel route if I can find some Minilites or something of the such. 

 

Anyway Happy Holidays!

 

Dave

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Nice!  I'm nearly done doing the exact same thing to my 76, except Wilwood brakes and the IE sway bars.  Just need to finish installing the brake lines and to put the carpet back in place.  Scope creep means I also rebuilt the pedal box, brake linkage/booster and clutch master cylinder.  Needless to say I can't wait to try it! 

 

Ground Control said they gave me 350 pound springs, and I'm hoping they set the Koni's to their recommended setting.  I'm also going to need to figure out a good camber setting.   Have you dialed things in any further since last winter? 

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Wow, that’s a ton of work done. Nice job. My 76 came to me with Koni yellows, but stock springs. I wasn’t a fan of the ride. Comfortable, but not sporty. I’ve now swapped the springs out for H&R sports, which dropped it quite a bit. I also replaced the stock swaybars with a set from ST. The rear went on easy, while the front was an exercise in spatial intelligence and creative vulgarity. I did not replace any bushings other than those on the sways. I set the Konis at 50% like you. The ride now is stiff, but not jarring, and the handling is unreal. The sway bars have pretty much eliminated body roll, and corners are a blast. Next on the list are some camber plates up front. 

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So after a little less than a year I still like the ride, although I think I am going to go 75% stiff/rebound/compression (Still not 100% on what the single adjustment on Koni sports adjust) on front as I find it goes a little past/bounces when recovering from a compression of spring (hitting a bump or undulations in road) so a little more dampening in the front may be in order. No regrets except not doing sway bars at same time, although I did do fresh end links on factory bar since mine were shot. My tires let the car down a bit as well, but they are new just not "sporty" as they are just affordable all season 185/13's.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, MattL said:

Wow, that’s a ton of work done. Nice job. My 76 came to me with Koni yellows, but stock springs. I wasn’t a fan of the ride. Comfortable, but not sporty. I’ve now swapped the springs out for H&R sports, which dropped it quite a bit. I also replaced the stock swaybars with a set from ST. The rear went on easy, while the front was an exercise in spatial intelligence and creative vulgarity. I did not replace any bushings other than those on the sways. I set the Konis at 50% like you. The ride now is stiff, but not jarring, and the handling is unreal. The sway bars have pretty much eliminated body roll, and corners are a blast. Next on the list are some camber plates up front. 

which camber plate?

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The IE fixed camber plates seem to be the most appropriate option available. Only 5/8 degree, per their website, but I haven't cut my struts, so I wouldn't be able to set my negative camber to anything wild anyway. 

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koni single adjustables only adjust REBOUND.

 

if you are still riding on crap 13in all season tires, i would not bother with any more suspension changes.  the tires are the limiting factor at this point.  tall mushy sidewalls, deep tread to squirm, and a hard compound with limited traction are gonna under cut any good suspension.   get some real tires, then see if suspension changes are needed.

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Update:  HOLY CRAP.  This weekend I got my car back on the road, and despite the alignment being shot to hell (we eye balled it so I could drive it to a shop), this car is amazing already.  I was worried the spring rate would be too high, but at first ride it feels perfect.  It feels like the way the car was meant to be!!   Now I just need the alignment done, the brakes bedded in, and to spend some time on curvy roads and I'll be in heaven. 

 

image.thumb.png.894d85907d8c96263572393110362c29.png

 

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