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Lowering Springs With Standard Shocks


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I get asked a lot about using lowering springs with standard shocks. The line usually goes "I only want to lower my car" or " I can only afford springs" or "I will get springs now and shocks later" or " I don't care about handling or ride, I just want a low look". I usually respond by saying that it’s not a good idea and not something I would recommend.

The following are some pictures that I took of the suspension off an R33GTST that had been lowered with a well known brand name spring using the 60,000k's old standard shocks. I am not going to name the brand, because it's not the spring's fault. This all occurred within 20,000k’s.

The first picture is off the complete unit from the LHS, note the bump stop hanging out to the side of the shock, not around the shock shaft as it supposed to be. The dust cover was completely destroyed allowing dust and dirt to wear the top seal and shaft of the shock absorber.

Front_LHS_Shock_Spring.jpg

The next 2 pictures are off the bump stop itself after I removed it, as you can see its not really a bump stop, its a bush for a suspension arm used as a bump stop. It's split top to bottom and wasn't really performing its task, even before it fell out;

Split_Bush_Top.jpg

Split_Bush.jpg

This picture is of the top spring seat, as you can see the shock shaft locating hole is worn off centre. This occurred because the spring was bottoming out due to insufficient bump valving in the standard shock, plus insufficient rebound damping allowing the spring to oscillate uncontrollably. This uncontrolled oscillation also prematurely wore out the spring and it sagged 15 mm from its original height (around 5 mm is considered normal settling). The pounding destroyed the rubber mounts that protect the shock shaft from the top mount. If this had continued much longer the shock shaft may well have broken off at the top mount, the result would not have been pretty.

Top_Spring_Seat_Damage.jpg

This continual bottom out of the springs over large and small bumps transferred the load to the radius rods and the bushes suffered as a result;

Radius_Rod_Bushes.jpg

The last picture is off the sump which as you can see, suffered some damage as a result of the sagging in the ride height.

Sump_Dent.jpg

I will try and take some more photos of the damage to the other suspension components over the next few days and post them up. Hopefully this thread will serve as an example as to why I say "it's not a good idea to use lowering springs with standard shocks".

:) cheers :D

Edited by Sydneykid
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hi,

the group buy your offering, are the springs lower than standard?, or if i want lower would i be better off getting adjustable coilovers, and then buy the rest of the handling parts off your group buy?

thanx

dave...

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hi,

the group buy your offering, are the springs lower than standard?, or if i want lower would i be better off getting adjustable coilovers, and then buy the rest of the handling parts off your group buy?

thanx

dave...

Hi Dave, the Whiteline springs in the Group Buy are 30 mm lower than standard new height, giving around 350 mm front and 340 mm rear, centre of wheel to guard. This is the best handling height which also gives acceptable ride comfort. In addition the Group Buy Bilstein shocks have an additional 5 circlip grooves (8mm apart) for setting the height prior to fitting. So you can choose any height from a standard'ish 366 mm to a super low 325 mm.

All of the details are included on the Group Thread for your model of Skyline.

:( cheers :(

PS, the particular car in the above example was at 315 mm when we got it, the springs appear to have been designed for 330 mm (325 mm after settling) so that it had sagged 10 mm further due to excessive wear caused by using the standard shocks.

Edited by Sydneykid
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  • 2 months later...

Ok...but how much of the original post can you attribute to the lowered spring.

My castor bushes were dead well before i touched the spings and shocks in my car. So is it fair to say it was a result of the lowerd spring/std shock combination...as opposed to just age and wear?

And again being critical....that damaged sump looks more "i missed the cross member and jacked from the sump" rather then my car is too low and it hits everythhing. There are no scrapes or dags etc, which is what i woudl expect to see if the thing was striking things because the car was too low.

Sure as sh1t not sayign you are wrong...but i didnt think the lowered spring and std shock was that big a no - no. My car with its original King Springs for 10,000kms didnt raise any issued i didnt already know when i installed them. Admittedly the Whitelien overhaul transformed the car, but the springs alone were not a bad move based on seat of pants feel.

And i know of a friends 200SX that had King springs for about 50-60,000kms before beign able to replace the std shocks with Koni adjustables. Again his next 200SX handled miles better with more thorough upgrades...but as long as you dont go crazy low inteh spring department...i just would not have thought it was such a sin ?!?!?!?!

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Ok...but how much of the original post can you attribute to the lowered spring.

My castor bushes were dead well before i touched the spings and shocks in my car. So is it fair to say it was a result of the lowerd spring/std shock combination...as opposed to just age and wear?

And again being critical....that damaged sump looks more "i missed the cross member and jacked from the sump" rather then my car is too low and it hits everythhing. There are no scrapes or dags etc, which is what i woudl expect to see if the thing was striking things because the car was too low.

Sure as sh1t not sayign you are wrong...but i didnt think the lowered spring and std shock was that big a no - no. My car with its original King Springs for 10,000kms didnt raise any issued i didnt already know when i installed them. Admittedly the Whitelien overhaul transformed the car, but the springs alone were not a bad move based on seat of pants feel.

And i know of a friends 200SX that had King springs for about 50-60,000kms before beign able to replace the std shocks with Koni adjustables. Again his next 200SX handled miles better with more thorough upgrades...but as long as you dont go crazy low inteh spring department...i just would not have thought it was such a sin ?!?!?!?!

All true Roy, no arguments from me. But I should point out a few things;

1. We have had several Skylines with similar K's, this one showed excessive wear in the components mentioned in comparison to the others. This was the one with super low springs and standard shocks.

2. The worn components are what I expect from a excessively low Skyline with inadequate shock damping. What is adequate bump damping at 370 mm is not adequate at 315 mm. What is adequate rebound damping for a 165 lbs per inch spring rate is not going to do the job on a 235 lbs per inch spring.

3. Note the height at 315 mm, using springs specified at 335 mm. That's a common sign of spring steel fatigue caused by inadequate damping.

4. A new standard shock is not going to have as much problem with lower/higher rate springs than one that is 70,000 k's old. Most suspension people will tell you standard Skyline shocks are well worn at that sort of k's, you can see it on the shock dyno.

Sure this is an extreme example of what happens, but it is far from unique, I used to see at least one car a week with this sort of damage when I was dealing with the public. The guys were willing to spend $900 on an intercooler in an instant, but $900 on shocks was another matter.

:) cheers :(

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Out of interest, is that a standard thing that happens to lowed cars on standard shocks??? Whats a worry is a number of suspension shops I have spoken to (which apparently have a good rep for good advice...) have said that its not a problem. Just trying to work out which shops are telling porkies, and which arent.

But I still cant believe people go for performace over safty! It took me 1 day to realise my shock was dead, and I stopped driving the car straight after that. Same with the brakes, mechanic told me they probably had 3-4weeks left on them, in to the workshop at 2 weeks. I just cant believe people are that stupid still.

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  • 11 months later...

I put cut super low king springs on my 33's standard shocks, ended up popping all the seals and leaking fluid. Shocks were sent to the tip and replaced with hks hypermax II coilovers :-)

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  • 3 years later...

Gravedigging ... does anyone have the photos from the original post from 2006? Sydneykid?

Also is this a particularly pronounced issue on Skylines? It seems that there are a fair few people running King superlows without issues on Commodores with the stock FE2 shocks. Obviously it's a completely different suspension setup..

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