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No Suspension Travel - Help


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Hello peoples,

Ok I bought coilovers the other day and I have never had a car with coilovers nor been in a car with them, so have nothing to compare them too.

I bought 2nd hand Cusco coilovers, height adjustable all 4 and the rear are damper adjustable.

First things first I have a Cefiro.

I installed the suspension myself with a friend found it all right.

I then took it for a test drive. It was VERY stiff. So stiff that the front gets airborne over big bumps and its quite concerning when braking during this time as the wheels lock up momentarily until they get weight back over the wheels.

Front left wheel had fair bit of neg camber compared to the front and me being a newb don’t want to touch the camber tops just yet so I booked it in for a wheel alignment at a reputable performance suspension shop.

They took one look at it and found that the front have NO suspension travel in the front, infact virtually the only travel is within the flex of the tyre. That would explain the crazy bumpiness. They guy couldn’t believe I was driving it, thought I was nuts... LOL I just assumed this was coilovers. Obviously not, I have a problem.

The guy said the car needs to be raised... Which is unusual as the car was low but not crazy low or anything. The guy said to raise it 20mm at the front and around 10mm at the rear. He said he didn’t have time to organise that on the spot. So I agreed to take the car home and I would do it over the weekend. Then go back for that wheel alignment on Tuesday.

I have now risen the front about 10mm at the front which is the HIGHEST it will go. But it feels exactly the same, still no travel. The suspension appears to be S13 spec which SHOULDNT be the problem. It should just sit a little bit lower as Cefiro struts I guess are higher if you know what I mean.

I need HELP. The coilovers came out of a Ceffy before and im pretty sure he didn’t have any problems like this.

Why is there no suspension travel? Just note I am a TOTAL newb so assume I have done everything wrong and post up what it could be and Ill tell you how/what I did.

But to my knowledge I was under the impression that one of the advantages to coilovers is that you could lower it and you would still have full suspension travel?

Ohh yeah and I’m hopping I have it the right way, this is a pic of the Rear suspension but NOT on my car, on the previous owners. But if you have a look at the red arrows am I correct here or is it the opposite?


Any help much appreciated. But from my thoughts so far should have stuck with the SOFT 18 year old stock suspension until I could afford SK stuff. I just wanted the Cusco temporarily but bad idea at the moment.

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Coilover shock are generally alot stiffer than other shocks so maybe the reason why they said you have no travel is because you cant physically bounce the shocks. Try setting them up softer, they should have adjustment on the top of the shocks. It will hopefully help.

Looks like you got solid cusco cradle rings too

Edited by Godzilla32
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i'm no suspension guru but looking at your pic, there is still room to further raise it. Your problem probably lies in high spring rate. If you can swap your springs to a lower spring rate would probably give you more travel and soften the ride a fair bit...

*waits for SK to jump in*

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The pic isnt my car, its the previous owners.

The front is raised as high as it can go ie the little red things are sitting at the highest point.

Question is does this affect how hard the suspension is ... Harder, softer or the same.

- I was under the impression that it doesnt make a difference of the height, the firmness/damper what ever you want to call it will be the same.

The rear has some play, ie I can push down on the back of the car and it will move down a bit. But the front moves nothing. Any bumps on the road and the front does get airborne.

Yes these are coilovers yes they should be firm but not this firm.... I find the faster I go the smoother the ride is as I assume the front then has some give but slow speeds is crazy. Im no expert but the suspension place said thats not normal and dangerous.

ANy ideas? Let me know

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A test for you to carry out first. Jack up the front of the car, and fit a cable-tie around the shock absorber pushrod. Make sure the tie is down hard against the shock body. Drop the car, now jack it up again. Observe where the tie is - if it's hard up against the bump stop, then you have no suspension travel. If there is still some clearance, then you probably just have super stiff springs.

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Ok ok, I will help to explain it to you. Just hold it right there.

Cefiro strut/shock units are longer than s13 units for a start. These after market suspensions are lower than standard s13 height.

e.g. on an s13, it might be lower than standard height, but the adjustment will allow it to be adjusted up fairly high anyways.

However, because the cefiro struts are longer than s13 struts, even at the highest setting, it's still very low.

Many other cefiro owners have found this. how low is it though? if it's not too low, it's good.

Also, in regards to you saying it has no travel, how do you know it has no travel?

Did you use the fully sik o metre and just hold the coilover on the ground and just try and push it down? Have you tried to do that with the stock suspension? I have tried it on several, and I can't move it. I don't think you can exert the force required to move it.

The way to find out if it's travelling is by attaching a cable tie aroudn the rod and see if it moved after driving (it most likely is).

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Also do you have those little helper springs in?

The shocks do look old tho. So they could just be stuffed.

Helper sprins aren't going to allow you to make it go higher. They are just to keep the spring captivated when the shock is raised longer.

Also, being dirty doesn't mean they're stuffed.

Also, don't judge a book by it's cover. I read an article in a magazine about how the japs clean the coilovers to make them look like new. So just because they might look good doesn't mean they're good.

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Helper sprins aren't going to allow you to make it go higher. They are just to keep the spring captivated when the shock is raised longer.

Also, being dirty doesn't mean they're stuffed.

Also, don't judge a book by it's cover. I read an article in a magazine about how the japs clean the coilovers to make them look like new. So just because they might look good doesn't mean they're good.

Yes, but helper springs would add to the hight even if both springs were fully compressed, as we cant see exactly whats going on we can mearly ask questions and give suggestions.

As he says the wheels are just bouncing off the roads surface MY guess is the shocks are stuffed. As I had much the same problem. Mine were really bad tho, so much so we thought the guy in japan might have 'damaged' them to try and make them stiffer or limit the travel more.

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My money is on the springs being silly stiff. Ive seen a few cars with cuscos that have the same problem.

The shock will move when the helper spring compresses. If your shock is stuffed you will see that the helper spring doesn't compress at all when you drop the car. For both to be equally stuffed so both sides are acting the same is pretty unlikely.

It's easy enough to test anyway. Just take one out of the car, dismantle and see if you can compress the shock without the springs on. That will give you your answer right there.

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Yeah might have to change the appointment from being just a wheel alignment to What the F is wrong.

If its just silly stiff then thats screwed, cya later cusco.

The faster I go over a bump the smoother it is so can assume when there is a HUGE ammount of force there is some movement but 2 people sitting on the bonnet and jumping up and down is NO WHERE near enough to move the front suspension.

But like the problem is, is that when I jack the car up it takes like 3 pumps and the wheels are already off the ground, its not as if the wheel stays on the ground for a bit while the car goes up then the tyre goes up.

As soon as the body is raised 1.5 inches the wheel is off the ground.

So the clearence between the top of the tyre and the gurard at the top is the same when its jacked up (weight off) and jacked down (weight on)

Either they are so frikin crazyily stiff or something is wrong. I will change my appointment for Tuesday from wheel alignment only to investigate it.

Let the pros have a look and see what they say. But when they had a 5 min look at it they said it was not right and that there was no travel in the front suspension and to fix it it needs to be raised, Front now raised 10 mm but drives exactly the same.

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I realy don't know where to start with the explanations, there is so much that you don't know. Let's try this;

1. What is the actual height, all 4 corners, centre of wheel to guard. This the standard suspension industry measurement and we ca ntell ifr it is too low or not by that measurement. So get your tape measure out and measure it.

2. If it truly has no travel available, then raising it 10 mm is NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH. Try 50 mm for a starter.

3. This thread tells you how to measure the springs so that I can work out the spring rates. Maybe it has lots of travel available, but its not using it because the spring rates are Japanese stupid.


Once I have the heights and the spring rates, I can make some suggestions on what you should do.

:thumbsup: cheers :laugh:

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