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How to improve my ride quality - Newage

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Old 31 October 2016, 03:23 PM   #1
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Default How to improve my ride quality - Newage

Newage WRX Wagon.

Replaced the suspension on my Wagon 16 months ago:

Excel G shocks
New top mounts
PCA Springs
Whiteline Drop-links
Whiteline ARB bushes
Whiteline adjustable RARB (set to soft)

All replaced at the same time. Previous suspension was shot; 2 shocks were leaking and didn't even return when compressed and Drop-links literally fell apart upon removal.

Car was a revelation afterwards (as you'd expect). However, 40k miles later and things are not so rosey. The ride is noticeably poor over broken surfaces and pot holes. The car is still composed and doesn't bounce around but the initial damping is poor. As if the shocks are too soft and no longer absorb minor impacts before the energy is transferred to the springs.

Now it's more than likely that the Shocks are now past their best (cheap KYBs and 40k would be a fair assumption) and I don't mind replacing them as I feel that I have had my money's worth. However, what to replace them with? I don't mind spending more if they are better and last longer. Don't really want to be swapping out shocks every 18 months or so.

I'm happy with the handling performance (I don't track the car) but I'm sure that the ride could be improved. Would a slightly stiff Shock compliment the uprated springs? If so, which? Or is there a better quality shock with similar OEM damping? I've used Bilstein on a lot of cars in the past, as their mono-tube dampers are a step up over cheaper twin-tube items but I can't see that they make a B6/8 for my car.

Would an STi shock be more suitable or would they make the damping too firm?

Anyone have similar set-ups using the likes of Pedders or any other alternatives to KYB?
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Old 31 October 2016, 04:38 PM   #2
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I think, if you're picky, degradation of performance, at 40k, is about right.

Sounds like you should try Koni inserts, as they have greater compression damping, and you'll be able to adjust them, as they wear.
You'll also be maintaining the wagon's different mounting positions, by using your wagon strut bodies, as donors.

Koni Inserts:
front 8610-1351
bug rear 8610-1408
blob/hawk rear 8610-1440

Pedders don't list wagon specific struts.
I wouldn't be using the kyb ultra sr struts, with your springs, as you'll be over-damped.
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Old 13 November 2016, 06:05 PM   #3
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Thanks. Had a good read of all the article about Koni inserts and they look the way forwards. Fortunately I kept my old struts, although the fronts will need a blast and some paint.
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Old 14 April 2017, 11:55 AM   #4
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Thread resurrection!

So I've bought the Koni Inserts (as well as Febi bump stops for the front and Whiteline Com-C mounts) but my Koni didn't come with fitting instructions.

They have instructions for how to adjust them and also for fitting bottom retaining bolt, but nothing else.

So I have a couple of questions: I've read that the struts need to be cut 40mm from the top - is this for both the front and the rear or do they differ?

Secondly, what torque does the top nut need to be tightened to once the struts/springs are put back together and how are they supposed to be held - as the OE shocks have a hex bolt in the top, which the Koni's don't?

Any ideas?
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Old 14 April 2017, 02:00 PM   #5
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I'd use 35mm from the top, front and rear. If you use 40mm you get very little overlap between the Koni supplied, rubber cover and the cut strut housing.

55Nm top mount centre nut to damper rod, front and rear
20Nm 3 x top mount to body, front and rear.

You might find it easier to break loose the old top mount nuts, while the struts still on the car.

Assembly: Use your hand to grip the damper, rod while torquing the top mount centre nut.

On the front strut, fully torque the top mount whilst the assembly is off the car - if you can't hold the damper rod still, you can normally finish torquing it when it's on the car.

Don't fully torque the the rear top mount whilst off the car, as you'll need to orientate the rear top mount, to align with the 3 holes in the body, when re-fitting.

Last edited by 2pot; 14 April 2017 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 17 April 2017, 01:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for the numbers, that's great. Took my time and measured and cut accordingly.

Used my old set of rear struts rather than the ones on the car - in case anything went wrong. The fronts are very rusty though so will use the ones currently on the car.

One question, I keep reading that it's important to reuse the domed washer that sits beneath the top mount - I assume this is just for the fronts? There wasn't any domed washer on the rears I took off the car (although I did build them...) but neither was there one on the original rears that I have just stripped? Opposed Forces suggests I'm right but thought I would check...
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Old 17 April 2017, 01:43 PM   #7
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Oh and I can't see how I'm going get the top nut to 55nm as surely it willjust spin the rod when mounted to the car?
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Old 17 April 2017, 02:23 PM   #8
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Yes - domed washers only on fronts.

If they don't torque up on the vehicle (mine have), you could use a good quality strap wrench?
The front inserts do have flats at the top.

You'll probably need to drill/reamer a hole through the front whiteline dust cap - to poke the adjuster through.

Last edited by 2pot; 17 April 2017 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 17 April 2017, 05:36 PM   #9
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Top mount centre nut - 49Nm min would still be within tolerance, if you're struggling.
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Old 19 April 2017, 04:32 PM   #10
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Got everything fitted in the end without too much drama. The old shocks didn't seem too bad once removed but obviously with the uprated springs, they only need to deteriorate a small amount for it to be noticeable. First impression are good, no more crashing suspension. Need to have a play about with the stiffness settings. Tried an 8th of a turn first but will try a 1/4 turn next. Need to get them matched to the springs. I have the car booked in this Friday afternoon with Peter Cambridge to do the alignment.

If anyone needs a set of Bug Wagon struts to cut up, let me know!
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Old 22 April 2017, 02:50 PM   #11
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How did you get on with torquing the top mounts?

This might be useful - Originally posted on a US Miata/MX5 site:

Originally Posted by Koni
Russell,

Once again the "Misinformation Super Highway" aka Internet strikes again. There is fact in parts of the information you heard but much is used incorrectly.

First off, the KONI Sport adjustment range is as a rule of thumb 100% or they are twice as firm at the maximum setting as they are at the minimum setting. That is a pretty linear adjustment range so generally a mid way adjustment setting will generate forces in the middle of the range (although you'd think that was normal, that is actually very uncommon from many adjustable shocks). That is the broadest adjustment range of any street shock in the industry. When KONI develops a valving, we will
set the minimum setting at the point were we feel a stock car will get the best combination of
handling, balance and ride for general performance use. From there, you get the entire adjustment range to go up to tune to either your own personal ride and handling preferences and also to help match performance upgrades to the car such as increased spring rates, bigger wheels and tires, etc.

The original theory behind adjustable shocks was to allow for compensation of wear over time.
Although we use a number of low friction materials and devices in a KONI so they wear at a much slower rate, they are still a mechanical device subject to wear over time. This way after 30,000- 50,000 or more miles if you notice that the car is not quite as crisp as it used to be, then you can give it a quarter or half turn to freshen it up.

When a customer has a new set of KONIs and is installing them with a set of performance lowering springs that have a rate higher than stock, we usually tell them to give an initial adjustment of 1/2 to one turn or so to work with the higher rate. This is probably where the one turn setting info you heard comes from but it is by no means a limit or the peak of damping force. Just that the increase in force needed to work with street performance spring is usually only 1/4 to way into our normal adjustment range. After you drive the car for a bit on a setting like that to get the feel of it, you are welcome to adjust it anywhere you want to. Some people think that "if firm is good then the firmest setting is the best" but that is almost always not true because the shock even at the minimum setting already starts life out as a performance unit and our adjustment range is very wide. For longevity sake on a car with performance springs, we'd rather see you in the low to mid range of the adjustment on the street with a pretty new damper. My own CRX in the parking lot right now with many upgrades and 1.75 inch lowering spring is on KONI Sports set at 1 turn and about 30,000 miles on the shocks.

In previous years, the KONI shocks had written instructions in about five languages but they were not always very clear since they were written by a Dutch person who may not have spoken that language as their mother tongue. In the case of the English translations, they were actually listed for Great Britain and sometimes the wording was a bit terse and could be misconstrued. One regular part was a comment along the lines of "you may not adjust your shock to the maximum setting". What they meant
was "you may not NEED to adjust it to the maximum setting" meaning that they make quite a bit of force already and on a stock car you may never need to ever adjust them to maximum for good performance. Because KONIs are sold in over 90 countries of the world and having four or five languages was not really enough, they switched the instructions universal pictograms to show the process to the whole world without words. However as with any instructions, if you are not in the right mindset the pictograms may not be completely clear either.

I hope this has cleared things up a bit. Yes, you can adjust your shocks wherever you want but with the understanding that they almost certainly don't need to go really high unless they have extreme spring rates, high mileage with wear over time, or if you want to induce the car into doing something like autocross when extra damping can cover up for other issues. Yes, half to one turn would be a good starting point with your springs but feel free to tweak it to your liking from there. No, don't go straight to max thinking that is the best solution. If you like this explanation, fee free to share it with others who may have heard the same mixed signals. Feel free to contact our tech line at 859-586-4100 or [email protected].

Best regards,
Lee Grimes
KONI North America

Last edited by 2pot; 22 April 2017 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 22 April 2017, 04:30 PM   #12
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All went together fine. Had Peter set the alignment on Friday and has eliminated understeer. Turn in is a lot sharper and you can power the power on.

​​​​​​. Thanks for the article, I had seen it before. Left the shocks at the softest setting but will have a play in due course.
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Old 12 June 2017, 05:26 PM   #13
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So I've had the shocks on 6 weeks or so and they are very good - coupled with the alignment, the car handles really well through the bend and is very stable at speed.

However, the low speed compliance over poor surfaces is still lacking. I can't say I have noticed much improvement. It's noticeable at both the front and the rear. So looking at other solutions. I'm considering replacing the lateral links and trailing arm bushes first. I'm thinking that just sticking with OEM rubber will be preferable to poly-bushes? I'm guessing that they are all original (173k, 15 years). Am I likely to notice much of a ride improvement?

The other, easier alternative, is to swap from Whiteline Droplinks back to OEM. Again, am I likely to notice much ride benefit?
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Old 13 June 2017, 11:59 AM   #14
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The Koni's are more sport orientated - they have stiffer compression damping + you've gained the adjustment to compensate for wear.

Disconnect one rear end-link, where it connects to the rear bar. Then go for a drive does it feel more comfy? Or the same? You're testing ride quality NOT handling

Are you using 19mm front, 20mm rear bars?
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Old 13 June 2017, 12:26 PM   #15
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19mm front, 22mm adjustable rear, set to mid. I appreciate the setup will be stiffer now and over time it may soften. It still feels a little disconnected though. There is more vibration in the cabin.

When I changed my droplinks I knew they were shot as you could hear them clattering away. They literally fell apart when I removed them. I don't think that I have similar issues with other bushes but really wondering whether their wear has made the ride worse, or whether replacing them with new, will actually stiffen everything up but make things worse? The suspension should feel like it's moving as a single unit but that's not the perception I get. But it could purely be the nature of the shocks.
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Old 13 June 2017, 12:50 PM   #16
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First, temporarily, disconnect the rear bar.
I don't think you'll need that size rear bar with those dampers. 18mm-20mm rear should be fine.
You need to de-couple the rear suspension, so it behaves in a more independent manner.

You want the smallest bars possible, on a road car, to avoid 'roll-rock'.
Roll-rock:
If the spring rate is relatively low and the bar is too stiff, a suspension movement, initially, occurring on only one side of the vehicle, will be transmitted to the other side, inducing an unsettling 'roll-rock' motion and destablizing the tyre contact patch.

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Old 13 June 2017, 01:11 PM   #17
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I had it on the softer setting originally but Peter suggested going firmer during the alignment. I could try going back to the standard bar, if I can find the bushes.
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Old 13 June 2017, 02:54 PM   #18
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Going from 22mm to 20mm is about a 40% reduction in bar stiffness. That should make an obvious difference in ride quality. I'd start with that.

If the handling balance changes too much, you could use these, on the rear struts, to bring the rear bump stops into action sooner, during cornering.
Raid HP 300025 Clip-On Bump Stops 21 mm Diameter Raid HP 300025 Clip-On Bump Stops 21 mm Diameter

And/or, increase the rear tyre pressures - might alter your ride comfort though.

Last edited by 2pot; 13 June 2017 at 03:03 PM.
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