Installing coilovers can be tricky at times, and setting them up properly can be even more difficult. This page will give overviews on various topics from installing your coilovers, how to set them up properly, and troubleshooting tips in case you run into any problems.
Gather the Required Tools and Equipment:
- Before starting the installation, ensure that you have all the necessary tools and equipment, including a jack, jack stands, wrenches, sockets, spring compressors (if needed), torque wrench, and any specialty tools needed for your vehicle.
Read the Manufacturer's Instructions:
- Carefully review the installation instructions provided by the coilover manufacturer.
- Familiarize yourself with the specific steps, torque specifications, and any special considerations or warnings.
Lift and Secure the Vehicle:
- Use a jack to lift the vehicle off the ground and secure it on jack stands at the appropriate locations as recommended by the vehicle's manual.
Remove the OEM Suspension Components:
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions to remove the stock suspension components, including struts, shocks, and springs.
- Take note of the locations and orientations of any brackets, bolts, or hardware for reference during reassembly.
Prepare the Coilovers:
- Assemble the coilovers according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- This typically involves attaching the springs, adjusting the ride height, and preloading the springs if necessary.
- Ensure that all components are properly tightened and secured.
Install the Coilovers:
- Install the assembled coilovers into the vehicle, following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Use the recommended torque specifications to tighten the mounting hardware and fasteners.
Check Clearances and Alignment:
- Ensure that the coilovers have proper clearances and do not interfere with any other components, such as brake lines, wheels, or bodywork.
- Check the wheel alignment after installing the coilovers and make any necessary adjustments.
Test and Adjust:
- Once the coilovers are installed, perform a test drive to assess the ride quality and suspension behavior.
- Pay attention to any unusual noises, vibrations, or handling issues.
- If needed, make adjustments to the coilover settings, such as ride height, preload, or damping, to achieve the desired performance and comfort.
- Coilovers require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
- Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for maintenance intervals, including fluid changes, inspections, and any necessary adjustments.
Understand the Adjustments:
- Familiarize yourself with the adjustment options provided by your coilovers, which typically include ride height, preload, compression damping, and rebound damping.
- Refer to the manufacturer's instructions to understand how each adjustment affects the suspension behavior.
Determine Your Goals:
- Clarify your goals for the suspension setup. Are you aiming for improved handling, a more comfortable ride, or a specific visual stance?
- Consider factors such as driving style, road conditions, and the intended use of your vehicle.
Adjust Ride Height:
- Set the ride height according to your desired look and function.
- Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for ride height adjustment procedures and limitations.
- Maintain proper suspension travel and clearance to prevent bottoming out or interference with other components.
- If your coilovers have adjustable spring preload, make sure it is set correctly.
- Preload is the tension applied to the springs when the vehicle is at rest.
- Follow the manufacturer's guidelines to adjust preload to the recommended specifications.
- Compression damping affects how the suspension reacts to compressive forces, such as when hitting bumps or during cornering.
- Start with the recommended baseline settings provided by the manufacturer.
- Gradually adjust the compression damping to find the balance between comfort and control.
- Stiffer settings provide more control but may result in a harsher ride, while softer settings prioritize comfort but may sacrifice handling.
- Rebound damping controls how the suspension reacts to extension forces, such as after hitting a bump.
- Begin with the manufacturer's recommended baseline settings.
- Adjust the rebound damping to achieve the desired responsiveness and control.
- Similar to compression damping, stiffer settings offer more control but may result in a harsher ride, while softer settings prioritize comfort but may impact handling.
Fine-Tuning and Test Drive:
- Make incremental adjustments to the suspension settings based on your preferences and feedback from test drives.
- Pay attention to how the vehicle responds to different road conditions, corners, and braking.
- Test the suspension's behavior at various speeds to ensure stability and control.
Seek Professional Help if Needed:
- If you're uncertain or lack experience in suspension tuning, consider consulting with a professional suspension specialist or experienced mechanic.
- They can provide expertise and guidance specific to your vehicle and driving preferences.
Remember that suspension tuning is a subjective process, and preferences can vary. It may take some trial and error to find the optimal setup for your specific needs and driving style.
- Inspect the coilover for any signs of fluid leakage.
- If leakage is found, check the seals and connections for damage or wear.
- Replace any faulty seals or damaged parts.
- Refill the coilover with the appropriate fluid according to the manufacturer's specifications.
- Listen for any clunking, squeaking, or knocking noises coming from the suspension.
- Check the mounting hardware and bushings for wear or looseness.
- Tighten any loose components or replace worn-out bushings.
- Lubricate the suspension components as recommended by the manufacturer.
Uneven Ride Height:
- Measure the ride height on all four corners of the vehicle.
- If there are significant variations, inspect the coilover springs for damage or sagging.
- Replace any damaged or worn-out springs.
- Adjust the spring preload or coilover height settings to achieve the desired ride height.
Harsh Ride or Excessive Bouncing:
- Check the rebound and compression settings on the coilovers.
- Adjust the damping settings to a softer setting if the ride is too harsh.
- If the bouncing persists, inspect the coilovers for any damaged or worn-out internal components.
- Replace any faulty parts and ensure proper installation.
- If the vehicle bottoms out frequently, increase the spring rate or adjust the preload settings to provide more support.
- Check for any suspension component damage or worn-out parts, such as bushings or control arms.
- Replace any damaged or worn-out parts as necessary.
Loss of Damping:
- If you notice a significant decrease in damping performance, check for any fluid leakage or damaged seals.
- Inspect the coilover for any signs of external damage or impact.
- If necessary, rebuild or replace the damper unit according to the manufacturer's guidelines.
- Regularly inspect the coilovers for signs of corrosion, especially in regions with harsh weather conditions.
- Clean the coilovers thoroughly and apply a protective coating to prevent further corrosion.
- Replace severely corroded parts to ensure optimal performance and safety.