Jump to content
  • When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

Problems with aftermarket suspesion


Recommended Posts

I'm working with a new to me 1975 2002. The previous owner is a friend of mine so I trust his word. He bought Ireland Engineering Stage 1 springs and Bilstein B8 shocks/struts for the car and paid a shop to install them. What I discovered is that before the strut reaches full extension it becomes longer than the spring. This causes the spring to become unseated and will shift around. (see picture and video below) 


I've been talking to Bilstein and they confirmed that the struts are the correct ones for the car. And upon disassembly of the suspension I confirmed that the 1" bumper height spacer was installed on top of the strut plate. So my questions are: 


is this normal for a lowered car? and if so how do I stop the spring from moving around?

does anybody have a stock strut they could measure and give me the total length for?

does anybody have a IE stage 1 spring (or any other lowering spring) they could measure and tell me the free length for?





Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a common problem with lowering springs.  I've not used the IE springs, but my H&R springs are loose when the wheels are dangling.  I just make sure they are aligned before setting it back down; but the IE springs look a little shorter.


Sometimes people drill small holes near the lip of the spring cups and use wire, or zip ties to hold the spring in place.  I'd suggest wire for more durability.


Looking at this photo you posted, I think I might see a zip tie up top and the block end of one poking out the drain hole in the lower cup.  If that is the case, you may already have the holes drilled and could wire them back in place.


I'd clean the dirt out of the rubber pads/cups before wiring them in.  I think the dirt is what kills the lower pads.  Mike also suggests taking a larger drill bit to enlarge the drain hole, making it less likely to get plugged up.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom, the zip ties you see are what was left after the shop that installed this setup use zip ties to hold the rubber pads onto the springs. This was a less than successful approach. 


I'll take your advice and open up the drain hole. The lower seat was filled with dirt. Wiring everything together would work though it's not something I'd prefer to do on a car I'm trying to setup as a daily driver. Have you seen the spring unseat itself from driving on the road? Or is what I see in my picture just from somebody who put the car on a lift/jack and didn't reseat the spring when setting it back down?


Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've not had a problem with mine.  I am guessing someone set yours down without aligning things, but that's just a guess.

I just watched your video and your springs have a lot more room to move than mine.  The tie wire will need to be pretty strong.  


There are a lot of people with lowered cars here, so someone else will hopefully chime in.

I am afraid I've already shared what little I know....



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perfectly normal- on top of that, the Ireland springs have historically

been cut stock- car 5" springs, so they only have one 'tail' instead of two.

And those seat even less well than standard springs.

I don't know what vintage yours are...


Personally, I find a few tie- wraps (zip- ties) do the deal,

and I DO have to replace them from time to time.

In back, I use a limit strap to keep the same thing from

happening there.  I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to strap the 

front, either, as the upper cup turns with the strut.


The suspension travel on a 2002 is approximately 3x that of a modern

M- car, and when you lower it, you move the active range into its lower

third.  The middle third becomes preload, and the upper third becomes

free travel.



"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, perfectly normal. My IE springs did that same thing. Drove me nuts. I never wired or zip tied mine. Just tried to be mindful and set them I'm place while bringing it down slowly with the jack. For what it's worth, I still have all 10 fingers. I haven't crushed 1 of them yet!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was a bit surprised I didn't need my spring compressor when I installed H&R progressive springs (with Bilstein HDs) on my '73.  I slid some transparent vinyl tubing over the last few inches of the spring, top and bottom.  That took up some of the slack (but not all); That was 6-7 years ago and they haven't come out yet despite a lot of vigorous driving...  Same thing at the rear.


I'm just careful to make sure the springs are correctly seated before I lower the car after jacking it up.



'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Upcoming Events

  • Supporting Vendors

  • Create New...