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The last Spring, Shock, and Ride Quality post

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  • The last Spring, Shock, and Ride Quality post

    OMG I just read several pages into this forum section looking for some really good info on Spring rates and ride quality and such. Quite a few guys have some really awesome info but at some point someone else comes in and contradicts what the last guy said.

    I would like to try and get this cleaned up and possibly get the forum moderaters to make it STICKY!.

    For street use I think Most will agree that a little stiffer ride without giving up too much ride quality i.e. "plushness" would bring a smile to many faces. Of course NOT ALL will be 100% happy but I am sure most will agree. This topic is not for strict racers. Just for those interested in a nice quality ride.

    I want my Festy to run smooth down the road with a slightly stiffer ride but with minimal lowering (maybe 1" Fr and 1.25" Rr guessing approximately) and minimal camber change. Given stock Festiva suspension and brakes, what are the stock spring rates? spring lengths? id sizes? Are the Ractive adjusters available in different diameters?

    Here is my thought. Why can't I get a slightly stiffer spring Fr and Rr (say maybe 25% stiffer) in maybe a slightly shorter length in the correct id that will allow the Ractive adjusters to fit. Assuming I get the Eibach springs @ $60 ea. like many people on here have stated, the KYB GR2's for $200 and the Ractive adjusters for I'm assuming $50-100 (all said and done you could throw the extremely heavy springs included away) That puts together a really nice system for $5 bills. It will also allow me to change spring rates a little +/- (within reason to swap from street to track of course buying another set of springs of a different rate) to keep in line with the valving of the KYB's. The Ractive pieces will allow me to change ride height a little without changing camber etc. too much, and allow me to stiffen up a little for some extra weight inside: ride height wise (stereo system etc.)

    OK first I want to say FMS seems to have the right Idea here and I don't want to bash (I have already bought many things from them and am very happy). But it seems that most guys are not quite happy with their springs. Most (again NOT ALL) seem to say they are too short for the stiffness offered. This I why I used Eibach in my example cause they offer different rates, lengths, and diameters.

    I only want to do this once and right that one time.

    No I am not a moderater and YES I am new here, But I do have LOTS of Forum experience in many different venues like hobbies, cars, motorcycles, racing, custom, etc. I would like EVERYONE that posts to try and think of their reply as much as possible and express it in a way that everyone should be able to understand. Many of the posts I have read are very confusing because the author assumes that averyone understands all of the #'s and they don't spell check. Again this is not about ettiquette but more about getting the correct info for everyone.

    This topic could be divided or subcategorized into groups of people that want a certain type of ride quality etc. etc.

    I promise that I can be a wealth on info to everyone when my Festiva project gets going along. I am just getting started, But I have a wealth of mechanical knowledge and a strong custom background in many aspects of Cars, Trucks, and Motorcycles etc. It WILL show when I get my project done.

  • #2
    first off, if it's ride quality you're after, SHOCKS are the first thing you should look at, and go from there. if you want a firmer ride, i'll suggest a monroe stock replacement as they are slightly stiffer (higher 'bound' rate) than factory replacement shocks. besides, putting a new set of shocks on (reguardless of brand) will automaticaly stiffen up the ride due to the fact that they dont have 100+k on them. after that, i'd look into adjustable shocks, but they are a little harder to come by and are more expensive.
    Trees aren't kind to me...

    currently: 2 88Ls (Scrappy and Jersey), 88LX, 90L(Pepe), 91L, 91GL (Skippy) 93 GL Sport (the Mighty Favakk), 94 (Bruce) & 95 Aspire SEs, 97 Aspire (The Joker),
    94 Justy 4WD, 87 Fiero GT, plus 2 parts cars. That's my fleet.


    • #3
      Ok, here we go.

      Spring rates:

      Rates are either given in LBS/IN Pounds per Inch or KG/MM Kilograms per Millimeter.
      There is an easy conversion factor between the two. LBS/IN -> KG/MM multiply LBS
      by .0179. To convert from KG/mm -> LBS/IN divide KG by .0179. Most spring rates
      will be given in LBS/IN in American catalogs. Also use are LB/IN, #/IN or just #.

      This is an exact meaning, a 150 LBS/IN spring will compress 1" for every 150 LBS
      applied to it. Linear rate springs continue increasing at the same rate, hence
      at 2" compression the spring will exert 300 LBS of resistance to the load. And so on.

      The majortity of so called progressive rate springs are not such at all, the top
      few coils are just designed to fully compress and go "dead" when a load is applied.

      It has been discussed extensively on this forum and I think we can all agree
      stock spring rate is either 90 LBS/IN or 110 LBS/IN in the front and 90 LBS/IN
      in the rear.

      Looking at a 25% increase on both ends would give you 137.5 LBS/IN in the front
      (assuming a 110# front rate) and 112.5 LBS/IN in the rear. Sounds nice, the problem
      is no one makes springs in these particular rates. So you will have to settle. I'm
      not sure of the FMS spring rates but if these are they you can stop reading now as
      you will have your desired rates with a bit of lowering to boot.

      Spring Rate itself will become a matter of what you deem "streetable" and will always
      vary from person to person, hence the contradictory statements from members.

      Now when it comes to coil-over springs there are not too many companies to choose
      from. Pretty much its between EIBACH, QA1, and H&R springs.

      They all make springs in various lengths and Rates, here is a list of what is
      available from EIBACH and QA1 (I currently don't have an H&R catalog).

      Only listed are springs in 2.5" DIA. You can get springs in 2.25" DIA but usually
      these are only used as replacements for threaded body shocks such as APEXI N1, KW, TEIN,
      and other full race coil-over setups.

      Higher rates than listed are available but would be well beyond the comfort zone and
      probably too stiff even on a track.

      EIBACH SPRINGS: get them at

      7" Length - 275, 300, 325, 375 LBS/IN

      8" Length - 150, 175, 200, 275, 300, 325, 350, 375 LBS/IN

      9" Length - 280, 315 LBS/IN

      10" Length - 100, 150, 175, 185,200, 225, 250, 275, 300, 325 and up LBS/IN


      QA1 SPRINGS:

      7" Length - 250, 300, 350 LBS/IN

      8" Length - 200, 225, 250, 325, 375 LBS/IN

      9" Length - 180, 220, 300, 400 LBS/IN

      10" Length - 100, 125, 150, 175, 250, 275, 350

      10" Length PROGRESSIVE RATE - 140-250 LBS/IN These would be great if you wanted a stiffer
      ride with no lowering. Rally Setup anyone?

      QA1 SPRINGS vary in price depending on rate and length. They Have no Guarantee.

      I know from personal experience that 9" springs will allow about 1"-1.5" of adjustment
      depending on rates in the front and about .5-.75" in the back and 10" springs will
      require precompression before mounting. A way around this would be to completely remove
      the spring perch from the shock and weld the adjuster body to the shock further down,
      although I would not recommend welding on a gas charged shock, you do so at your own risk!
      If using 10" springs mounted on original spring perches you can ditch to adjuster nuts
      as they will have no function and just use the sleeves and top-hats to stabilize the
      spring on the strut.

      I would recommend using 8" springs front and rear to allow about 2-3" of adjustment on
      both ends. If your looking for the most tolerable ride that still offers increased
      cornering use either 150#-175# in the front and 150# in the Rear. This is about the best
      your going to do unless you speak German and can get the guys at EIBACH in Germany to wind
      you up a custom $$$$ set as they do for their factory race cars.

      Adjuster bodies:

      All adjuster bodies work they same, they go up and down. The difference is the quality
      GROUND CONTROL is the best with RACTIVE and DROPZONE coming in 2nd and all that ebay
      stuff in a distant 3rd,

      As for adjuster length go with a CIVIC kit as the fronts are about 6" tall and the rears
      are about 4" tall. You can trim a little off if required but its really difficult to add
      extra. Plus every company out there makes a CIVIC kit so you will have lots of choices.


      This one is easy KYB GR2's. Why? Because as far as OEM replacements go this is the most
      used and most recommended. The simple truth is no one makes a damper for the festiva that
      will have proper dampening for any but the softest (I.E. 125# - 150#) springs.

      I've read recently that the early pre-90 MAZDA 323 struts are a direct bolt on, so this
      could prove to be a very good alternative, but still about 200 LBS/IN or so you will
      begin running into the same under-dampening issues as with an OEM festy strut.

      KONI is one place to look, if you can afford anywhere from $250-400 per shock they have
      the parts and know how to help you put together a setup for just about any car. They make
      adapters and offer just about any strut length/travel length you could need. So for about
      $2000 with springs, bumpstops, adapters and all the little goodies you could have the most
      awesome coil-over kit ever put on a festiva.


      Contact EVOGUN and order a set of Hieght adjustable TEINs. This will prove by far to be
      the best most wallet friendly setup you can find. Rates included are 4kg (223 LB) front
      and 3KG (147 LB) rear. Sure its not quite as satisfying as cobbling your own home brew
      setup together from scratch and it won't have the adjustable dampening of a custom KONI
      setup but it will give you just what you want. A tauntly sprung street car that is
      tolerable for daily driving and offers a large step up over stock when going to an AutoX
      or Track day.


      Get The FMS springs and GR2s, settle for perhaps less than stellar performance but atleast
      you won't have to pee after every half hour of driving. And your filling might stay in your
      head where they belong.

      Personal Note:

      I run 220# Front and 180# rear on GR2 struts. Yes it is under damped and the rear is too
      bouncy. On the AutoX course I love it, on the street is can be a bit overwhelming. Remember
      for each up in performance, comfort level drops. Race cars always sacrifice driver comfort
      for performance and you will have to make the same choice. Do I wanna go fast or do I wanna
      cruise? That is the ultimate auto coin-toss, pick one cause without really deep pockets
      sacrifices in one or the other will have to be made.

      Good Luck - Chris
      Nothing says "triumph of enthusiasm over physics" like a Front Wheel Drive race car.
      - Dennis Grant


      • #4
        That is exactly the info that I think we all are looking for. Even the experienced guys need a base to fall upon. I had already banged my head against the wall Fri afternoon trying to come up with the same info on my own. I talked with at least 7 different shock, spring, and custom car shops both on-line and in town and they all asked the same thing. What kind of car do you have? Now it didn't matter that I have a Festiva, all they wanted to do was see what the computer said in front of them. Us Festiva guys need more than that. That is more of what I am looking to do with this topic. Give "GO-TO" info to the new guys as well as the veterans.

        Friday afternoon after looking through 7-8 pages of the Suspension Topic on these forums I came up with exactly what -floydiancomplex- just posted. I know as well that the GR2's are a little under-damped for the 175#-150# in 8" combo that I chose but what other options do we have for under $650 for everything (Ground Control coil over adjusters with Eibach springs, tender springs, couplers, and KYB's). The extra $250 I would have spent on the Set from FMS was spent on an almost complete full underneath bushing set from them.

        In talking with FMS they said their springs are about 15% heavier than stock. Perfect except for the fact that I want to use coil over adjusters with them. Now I could have got the cheap coil over adjusters from eBay and threw the springs out and used the ones from FMS but for the same money I got the GC's with the possibility of using them in the future when SOMEONE makes a worthy shock for the Festy.

        Again excellent post floydiancomplex. Probably one of the best I have seen here.


        • #5
          FMS springs will not work with coil-over adjusters, they are an OEM diameter replacement for use as a direct bolt on.
          They fit in the spring perches the same way the stock one do and will simply not fit on any available coil-body adjusters.
          Also they fall into the category or psuedo-progressive springs like almost all lowering springs. The top few coils simply
          go dead with the weight of the car on them on only serve to keep the spring seated at full droop. This is how the lowering
          is achieved. Also at only 15% stiffer than stock no wonder people have complained, they lower too much for only this
          slight increase in rate. They may make your car look alot better but seems like you would constantly be riding on the
          bump stops.

          Also EVOGUN sells the TEIN set for $650, between a ground control setup and GR2 shocks you have already spent
          $500-600 this is without tender springs and couplers and without buying new mounts which the TEINs come with.
          If this had been available when I was putting my setup together I would have gone straight to these. You get a complete
          setup with springs and dampers matched to one another solving the entire issue of under dampening. Rates are also
          available in 2KG-5KG for either the front or rear which means you can go up or down to you liking. This setup is made
          for our car (Actually the JAPAN MAZDA DEMIO) but it is a direct bolt-in with no mods required.

          Now a word on CAMBER:

          MacPherson strut suspension setup gain STATIC negative camber from lowering. You have 3 choices.

          1: Deal with eating through your tires every 10-15K miles and enjoy the increased corning ability given by extra
          negative camber.

          2: Get INGNALLS camber bolts for the front (or some other company) they are available any where from +/- 2 degrees
          depending on who makes them.

          3: Adapt a set of Camber Plates from some other car giving you full freedom of adjustabilty. This will be expensive and
          would only really be needed on a dedicated track/AutoX car where you were really out to win and willing to spend the
          money to do it. There may be a set of plates available from TEIN to go with the coil-over setup but you'd have to ask

          I would go with option (2). Install the bolts in either the upper or bottom hole (or both, your choice this is a subject of
          much debate) Set at 0 degrees maybe .5 negative for your street driving. With your ride height of choice set get the car
          aligned with 0 degrees of TOE. (I use LONG ACRE RACING toe plates, cause I hate paying for things) Now when you get
          to the track turn them to the full extent of their negative camber adjustment. This will also give you a bit of STATIC
          TOE OUT which will increase turn in and cornering ability. When your done racing set it back to 0-.5 degrees your TOE
          will return to where it was set when you aligned it and tires will live longer.

          Rear alignment is a different story the only way to adjust on a festiva is to get shims from auto store to put behind the
          hub mount allowing you to set to your liking. The only problem is it is a hassle to set and esp. to change.

          So there you go Suspension tuning in a nutshell. Everyone Has there preferences and debate will always rage even
          between owners of the same vehicle. The is no ULTIMATE setup its all about compromise, what you can get, what
          you can afford, what you can build, and how you drive. You make your choice, you pay your price.

          Now Go buy the TEINS and maybe if enough of us do they can be inspired to start making the fully adjustable ones again.

          - Chris
          Nothing says "triumph of enthusiasm over physics" like a Front Wheel Drive race car.
          - Dennis Grant


          • #6
            Here are the Ingalls camber bolts.

            93 GL modyfied!!!


            • #7
              they're a dollar cheaper on summit
              91GL, 93L, 91L, 92L
              00 f250- xlt 7.3 6speed 4x4
              88 gtx
              74 torino- enduro car.


              • #8
                Originally posted by niklid05
                they're a dollar cheaper on summit
                And I can pick them up! Thanks, I was just there yesterday.

                93 GL modyfied!!!


                • #9
                  Thanks for the post floydiancomplex. Its good to see someone has done a lot of probing in to the Festiva suspension. I have Pillow Ball mounts available for the Tein's, they are not camber adjustable but will help with compliance in the front strut mounts. Tein makes springs for are cars they even have different rates.

                  The Tein Sport compacts will be on my extra car, should see couple events this year and I will give a full report.

                  Lots of companies make Camber bolts Moog,TRW most suspension part companies. It is a good option due to the way the upper strut mounts are.

                  A little Camber in the rear would help these cars on the track.

                  Like I said you can change the spring rates Eibach is fine but Swift is superior. The OEM Tein rates are low for track time I would up the rates a couple a KG's it will make a huge difference. You can even go helper or assist springs sense the Tein's are so long.

                  Thanks :wink:


                  • #10
                    as far as negative camber on the festies with the FMS springs, it's right on the edge of the limit when i aligned mine (no adjustment needed). the bigest problem i found was after lowering the car and putting the 14" wheels on, i had massive toe in, thus scrubbing off the inside tread. after i fixed the toe and rotated the tires, i've had no issue with wear whatsoever (even w/ the negative camber). one thing i would suggest: typical alignments have the car toed in a bit for straight line tracking, this hurts the turn in of the car and increases the tendancy to understeer. toe out will lessen this tendancy and increase turn in rate (sharper steering response).
                    Trees aren't kind to me...

                    currently: 2 88Ls (Scrappy and Jersey), 88LX, 90L(Pepe), 91L, 91GL (Skippy) 93 GL Sport (the Mighty Favakk), 94 (Bruce) & 95 Aspire SEs, 97 Aspire (The Joker),
                    94 Justy 4WD, 87 Fiero GT, plus 2 parts cars. That's my fleet.


                    • #11
                      Great posts guys, very helpful. I just ordered my coilovers and struts after reading this.


                      • #12
                        i have tein lowering springs off of a miata on my aspire.with gr2s and my ride is very smooth.its my daily driver.


                        • #13
                          this is by far the most informative write up i have seen... well done guys... was considering mixing and matching a suspension package but tein coilovers and camber bolts seems to be the best option no doubt... as said before hopefully tein realises the festy following and makes adjustable dampeners for us... what sort of height adjustability do the teins offer from stock height? will PM evogun to enquire anyways


                          • #14
                            This should be a sticky. Great info here.


                            • #15
                              make this a sticky!!!! this is amazing info here, and i have no clue how i missed this, im just reading it for the first time... lol

                              i just want to make sure that im reading this right... the link in a post in the page before ( ) they have some mumbers beside them, am i reading this right? if the number is ( 0800.250.0380 ) does this mean that the spring is 8 inches tall, 2.5 ID and a spring rate of 380 ft/lbs? i think thats right... im thinking of getting ( 0800.250.0225 ) for the front and ( 0800.250.0175 ) for the rear, would that be too stiff for street driving? from what i know thats a 2 inch drop and have it nice and stiff too what do you think?

                              Mike, AKA the sasquatch
                              1990 LX, bp+T/g25mr, 9psi dynoed at 194HP, turbonetics t3/to4e 57trim, haltech E6X standalone, 550cc injectors, turbosmart wastegate, synapse BOV, walbro 255 fuel pump, aeromotive FPR, AEM wideband, 3 inch exhaust, huge FMIC, 9LB flywheel, 6 puck clutch and way more parts that im forgetting i installed lol...