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 Shock/strut reviews.

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Dr.Auto
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PostSubject: Shock/strut reviews.   October 5th 2009, 7:06 pm

I'm surprised that no-one has posted here yet. So I had to be the first...LOL

Basically what I though would be usefull is to get some feedback on dampers that we've all used. What application how it was used and what we thought about it. That way folks can make a more educated purchase on a suspension build.
I've personally have used quite a few dampers on different cars and have an opinion which I'll edit my post and list later on.

But this topic comes to my mind because I am looking for some good dampers to put on my EF Honda Hatch and want to put the best I can find on it for the least amount.... Never heard that before huh? So I've been looking at these D2 racing shocks out there and trying to get some feedback but not even the dealers can really tell me much as of yet. But I was wondering how they compare to Zeal or Koni's. All I find on the internet is Joker Joe says they're awesome (but doesn't really explain the context) Joker Bob says they're crap, And Joker Hank says the shocks are good but the springs go out fast. Who's really to know without trying them out for yourself right? And who really knows how these Jokers are using them and if they can even drive or what.

So I'll start by asking if anyone has even heard of them.

And as I get results I'll edit and make a list of reviews.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 6th 2009, 10:20 am

Since you have tried many different dampers you must already be aware that price is a pretty good indicator on quality for these parts. There is a lot of engineering and thought that goes into quality suspension and that in return adds to the price. The knockoff brands will continue to make attempts to steal ideas however there is more that goes into a strut than just basic dimensions so they will suffer until they do some of there own engineering.

I have no first hand experience with d2 but if it's the same company that makes coilovers for 240sx they are a cheap knock-off company that I have only heard terriable things about. I will say that some knockoff companies like megan racing have had some suprisingly good suspension setups so I am not against all knock-offs.... however I have never heard good things about d2

Zeal is one of highest end supensions companies out there. If you can afford a set, I can't imagine they will disappoint you with how good of a reputation they have always had. Koni's also don't seem to be a bad option, several local people have used them and I have never heard any terriable things about them.


I used Stance coil-overs on my g35 and they were noisey as crap, however Jason has Stance's on his 240 and they seem really nice. I however bought one of the first sets they ever made so they have gone through some revisions. I did not however get to race very much on my set so the jury is still out on how "quick" of a coil-over they are.

I used swift springs on my Evo and loved everything about them. The spring rates matched the stock struts nicely and allowed me to knock a good amount of time off my SCCA runs.


I know you have mentioned before that you have spent time in the SCCA realm and understand suspension, which is good..... but for those who read this and haven't spent some time tweaking suspension here a my quick guidlines:

1) Layout what your goal is with the car. drag, grip, or drift all require different setups and they are not interchangeable
2) Set a realistic budget with your goal in mind. I gaurantee being the fastest in town or anywhere will not be cheap
3)Drive your car to it's limits before adding more parts. More parts usually mean more confusion for most people... this is hard for most of us mod happy people.
4)Read how others are making their cars fast, but pay attention to details.... if they have some crazy spring rates and a fully built race car, chances are that is not the best setup for your DD.
5) if all you are looking to do is be a baller, well then drop it down and make it look tight!
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 6th 2009, 1:48 pm

Thanks For the input. Remember I am probably going to turn this into a consolidated sticky post once I have a bunch of info put together.

I love Zeal. I've helped put Zeal on two cars now and they are just the bomb. One of those cars is still floating around town, the other went out of state. But on the other had They are $2400 plus shipping just for shock assemblies with springs.
I also know what it's like to spend $550 on just one strut without springs, perches, or camber plates. To spend $10k on suspension is not hard. But.... not everyone is going to spend $10k on a suspension setup like I have. They are on a budget like I am on my Second fun car. And like my little toy car most people want to drive it on a regular basis on the street (something you don't want to do too much with the $10k suspension... The hiems and spherical joints just wear out too fast...and the $550 struts dealing with 600ftlb springs tend to need rebuilding that much faster).

And So this is exactly where we look at b1r - TS advise on what your goal is on the car.

And so I will probably categorize struts/shocks into groups that will fit particular needs.


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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 6th 2009, 3:32 pm

I think this will be a great thread for this forum. Unfortunately most people do not spend enough time understanding the finer points of suspension before they start throwing stuff on their car. I feel I have just started scratching the surface of suspension and I took an interest in the topic 5+ years ago.

I would love to drive a car equiped with zeal suspension. The finest suspension I have ever had the chance to drive was my old rsx that was equipped with mugen coilovers.... it's sad to know that car is all ghetto now.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 6th 2009, 3:56 pm

b1r - TS wrote:
well then drop it down and make it look tight!

I knew with you talking about suspension this saying had to be coming up soon Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 6th 2009, 6:53 pm

b1r - TS wrote:
I think this will be a great thread for this forum. Unfortunately most people do not spend enough time understanding the finer points of suspension before they start throwing stuff on their car. I feel I have just started scratching the surface of suspension and I took an interest in the topic 5+ years ago.

I would love to drive a car equiped with zeal suspension. The finest suspension I have ever had the chance to drive was my old rsx that was equipped with mugen coilovers.... it's sad to know that car is all ghetto now.

just in case you were wondering what car that was that had Zeals..... look at the MAEC web pic. the White Civic 4th in from left in the back row. That car is fun.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 7th 2009, 9:30 pm

the form and function type 2 are an affordable full coilover setup that perform very well! if your looking for a good combo for a honda, it might be somewhat stiff, but ots rate ground controls and koni yellows is alawys a safe bet!! im not much for going around corners Smile so i stick with the super stiff skunk 2 drag coils and agx struts.. but am looking to change to form and function type 1's or 2's.. d2 is a very respected name on honda's... but i have never seen a set perform yet
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 7th 2009, 11:09 pm

I think the koni setup with a nice set of springs is almost always the best way to go if it fits in your budget. Koni will also valve everything to any specs you want. This however I would say would be more for people looking to compete or have a car that is really dialed in. Most people will never push their cars to the limit that they will even know the difference.

As B1R said I have Stance coilovers and they are not too bad, with solid subframe bushings, a 1.5 way lsd and all heim joints it is however louder than most people would like. If I could do it all again I would go for a better valved and more adjustable setup. I wish I had went with the KW variants but maybe someday I will step up. I really wish I could run some Moton clubsports.

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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 8th 2009, 12:24 am

Ya, the more I look the more I am thinking the Koni's are the way to go. And recently they have yellows available already custom valved as race shocks for quite a few applications. And they are adjustable separate rebound and compression..... just not very easy. Still.... for my little 91 civic hatch I'm looking at $600 in shocks without sleeves, springs, or top mounts.

I guess I should note that I will be keeping this review within the realm of auto-x type driving only.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 8th 2009, 12:35 am

jdmsolutions wrote:
the form and function type 2 are an affordable full coilover setup that perform very well! if your looking for a good combo for a honda, it might be somewhat stiff, but ots rate ground controls and koni yellows is alawys a safe bet!! im not much for going around corners Smile so i stick with the super stiff skunk 2 drag coils and agx struts.. but am looking to change to form and function type 1's or 2's.. d2 is a very respected name on honda's... but i have never seen a set perform yet

Looking into the form and function type 2 Dampers. They look pretty decent. And the price is a little lower then building a set of Koni's with sleeves and springs and top mounts. Is there anyone running them locally? Because if you know someone I'd like to check them out if they don't mind.

As far as being somewhat stiff...... I could care less. You want to see stiff? come ride in my1700lb car with 600/500ftlb springs and Advance Design dampers valved for those spring rates with hiems and sphericals. lol
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 8th 2009, 12:01 pm

ts4l wrote:
I think the koni setup with a nice set of springs is almost always the best way to go if it fits in your budget. Koni will also valve everything to any specs you want. This however I would say would be more for people looking to compete or have a car that is really dialed in. Most people will never push their cars to the limit that they will even know the difference.

As B1R said I have Stance coilovers and they are not too bad, with solid subframe bushings, a 1.5 way lsd and all heim joints it is however louder than most people would like. If I could do it all again I would go for a better valved and more adjustable setup. I wish I had went with the KW variants but maybe someday I will step up. I really wish I could run some Moton clubsports.

Tell me more about these Stance dampers.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 8th 2009, 2:00 pm

I loved the Zeals in the white car when I owned it. It was so much fun. There is more in that car besides the zeal 6 way adjustables. It also suspension technique sway bars in the front and back, a reinforced front cross member with adjustable hyme-joints, stock bushing were replaced with poly-urethaine bushing, 99 civic si rear end conversion with brembo slotted rotors 10" in the front and 8" in the rear, and 99 civic si calipers with carbotech brake pads. This car was the most fun to drive. I called it my Go Kart because it has no roll and drives like it is on rails. I am with Jake on only scratching the surface on suspension. There is so much to learn and so many different angles to take on making your car stiff and able better. I drove a 96 Integra GSR with tein 16 way adjustables and EDFC (electronic damping force controller) and it was really cool but it took alot more time to dial it in for performance. Right now I am running Tein S techs on my 2005 STi with stock struts and sway bars and it seems to handle ok. I am in the market for some Zeals though. Brand new they are close to $4000 but they are so worth it.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 9th 2009, 8:07 pm

Wow.... I didn't realize the Zeals were running such a stiff spring rate...... doesn't feel like it driving around it's just so nice and firm but not insane harsh. Front=14(kgf/mm) Rear=10(kgf/mm).

That's 784lb/in up front and 560lb/in in the rear on that little civic. Dang. And it has ST sway bars......lol.

So basically what I'm finding out so far is that apparently I like the Zeal setup. And now that I know what spring rates they use that means that High spring rates don't bother me like they do for allot of people. And so as a result that means that Dealing with spring rates over the 600lb/in mark gets expensive. Most of the "good" dampers that people "like" don't go over 600lb/in springs. Once you go over that mark they start considering them "race" dampers. So..... this all leads up to the fact that a guy has to know what purpose he is building his car for. I guess I fall into the category of that guy that likes "race" suspension so much that driving it on the street kind of doesn't seam bad. But that is also where the Zeals shine..... the ability to just turn them down to "1" and drive around town with those spring rates where it doesn't seam too bad. But then turn them up to "6" and all of a sudden it's like wow.... that got really stiff.
I don't think that the other dampers deal with that kind of change very good according to what I'm looking at. Why? has to do with that spring rate and the monster valving you need to deal with it.

So I guess what I'm saying is this is that point where you really have to decide if street ability is a consideration. Are you putting together a car that you'll drive everyday but will run on the track? then unless your going to spend some good money you have to compromise somewhere. whether it be in sacrificing performance on the track so that your comfortable everyday. Or dealing with some harshness everyday to have a top performer at the track.

I know people won't agree with me here but this is factually based. anti-roll bars(they are not called sway bars) should only be used for tuning. They are not the answer to your body roll issues. The answer is to start with a spring/damper setup that will meet your needs for your car. then fine tune it with anti-roll bars. Some people swear to run soft springs with huge anti-roll bars but anti-roll bars are just a roll fix band-aid covering up the fact that you need more potent springs.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 9th 2009, 11:31 pm

The only thing I think you may also not be addressing is that spring rates can't be directly compared as a lighter car on stiffer springs is a whole different animal that a heavy car with high spring rates. I only say these because so many times I hear people throwing around numbers on spring rates and thinking they are more of a "man" because they have stiffer spring rates than their buddy. I have 6/8K on my car and have a set of 7/9K that I can switch to. However the stiffer spring rates make it very harsh of a drive and nearly impossible to not lift a wheel on heavy corners. I really think for my driving style I prefer the softest spring rate that I can run and still have the car handle the way I want. Especially since most of us will never see a track smooth enough to utilize the stiffer springs, instead we'll bounce around and end up off course. I know a lot of guys like insanely high spring rates for the track (go-kart style), but I believe that reduces total vehicle compliance to track/road irregularities too much. On the other hand, soft springs can cause excessive dive, squat, or even bottoming out of the chassis (depends on your ride height).

Another thing to consider is softer spring rates will have more roll obviously, however most times will be more predictable. You also need to consider what tires you will be running before you pick spring rates and know the corner weights. Obviously all of these don't have to be known but sure will make it better to start closer to the correct rates. You also need to consider the car's aero setup. This will come more into play for those who plan on road racing but even on the quicker SCCA tracks it would be nice to consider.

Softer springs transfer less weight across the tires and generally yield more grip.

Ideal springs are dictated by everything:

Aero
Wheelbase and track width
Weight of the car
Weight distribution of the car / polar moments of the car
Suspension design (multi link, upper & lower a-arm, strut, live axle, etc...)
Chassis stiffness
Alignment (Camber, caster, toe - and any limitations of any by a governing body)
Tire size, compound, width
Wheel size, width
How long the race or timed session is

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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 10th 2009, 2:22 am

Great points... I need to keep reminding myself that this a broad forum. Where I'm in the Fiat/Honda mindset. Where one weighs about 1700lbs and the other weighs about 2300lbs. On a subaru a 800lb/in spring might be a mild upgrade on that car considering the weight.

This is where figuring out your wheel rate is the first thing you need to do before you can really take a good look at first the spring rates, the dampers, and the anti-roll bars(if any) that will be used. I would love to talk about this in length but why when you can just post a good link that covers it very well in short for right?

http://autospeed.com.au/cms/title_Spring-and-Wheel-Rates/A_2904/article.html
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 15th 2009, 2:19 pm

Another thing to note that most people over looked. Most "race" parts are built for track use only and there fore are built out of aluminum. They may sound great but the first pot hole you hit will kill your suspension. Greddy is well known for this, everyone loves the brand and the products get great reviews from them....so people go buy them. However they forget the reviews came from track cars, not street cars.

Just something to consider.

Brandon - I will pick on you just for a minute (please forgive me, just making a quick point) Most "lowering" (I put it in quotes becasue I am talking about springs that lower your car a good amount) springs coupled with stock struts are not a performance mod at all . Without new struts they decrease the true performance of your car. Tein has done a horriable job of spreading this myth. Most Tein springs (especially the type-s) drop your car a ridiculous amount and destroy any hope of your stock struts working properly... yet they advertise them as a drop in spring. All engineered systems are designed with a margin in them, and so you can play around in that window and make improvments but there are limits. Changing a single component to something outside of it's design window results in a poor system and decreases its performance as a whole. The myth of a lower car is always faster, has been disproved over and over again.... there is so much more that goes into a good suspensions than just dropping your ride height.

Like anything you can't change just one thing and hope the rest will make up for the slack.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 15th 2009, 5:59 pm

I am very happy with my K-Sport Coilovers. I have them pretty loose (about 3 full turns on the springs) and they still seem great. I would actually make them more race, but I do drive it on the street more than I race, so I figured why not the middle.

K-Sport Coilovers
Rating 9 out of 10.

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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   October 15th 2009, 7:26 pm

I'm hearing that the D2 Racing dampers are pretty much relabled KSport dampers. And.... they can handle some pretty stout spring rates. so bang for the buck they sound like they are pretty decent. Just don't expect a smooth quite ride out of them on the street.
Alot of this boils down to building a suspension package. Something that works with the unsprung weight you have (wheel rates). Not just throwing this or that on it in place of stock parts. Things have to work together.
And I totally agree. Lowering a car is not a performance upgrade. The biggest thing to look at when putting together a suspension package is your roll center.... which is totally different then center of gravity. Just lowering the center of gravity can sometimes screw up your roll center and make the car perform worse. so any suspension modifacations need to have some serious evaluations and have the big picture in mind when doing them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roll_center
http://performancetrends.com/rc.htm
http://www.stockcarproducts.com/pstech3.htm

Most people don't want to bother even thinking about this stuff nor did they pay enough attention in geometry class to make any sense of all this. But to truly make your car corner like nuts you need to under stand this stuff even just a little before you really do something. or just cheat and reley on someone else to tell you what to do and what to buy and how to install it. lol
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   December 9th 2009, 11:39 pm

Corolla forum folks are not fond of the k-sport or the d2's. I might stick with a company that has a r&d group.

I ran kyb agx in my red car, the front struts were from the sw20 mr's and the rears were from camaros. They obviously weren't valved for the car. I'd rate them at a "not bad". Keep in mind, I'm a novice driver and was just beginning to adjust them to my liking.

I now have Tokico HTS's all around... they are the same as the d-specs for hondas. They are... amazing. Even though I've bumped my spring rate from the red car (which were 6kgF and 4.3kgR) to 8kgF and 6.5kgR the ride actually is much improved. I have yet to mess around too much with these, but I've tinkered enough to know that I really really really enjoy them.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   January 5th 2010, 5:50 pm

So it's been awhile since I've posted anything in this thread and just thought I should.

Ryan Holly has mentioned some dampers to me by the name PIC
I'm trying to find out more about them but not much info other then whats on their website. All of which looks good. so if anyone has some experiance with them chime in.

I'm still coming back to Koni however. I was Quoted $1500 for some ground control setups from ground control. That includes the Koni RACE shocks custom valved for the 10/14 spring rateswith adj purches and the ground control top hats.
When you get right down to it $1500 is not alot to spend on a setup like this at all. And Knowing how they perform I'm thinking they will end up being the best shock choice for most auto-x freaks.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   January 7th 2010, 4:40 pm

DoodieHead wrote:
I am very happy with my K-Sport Coilovers. I have them pretty loose (about 3 full turns on the springs) and they still seem great. I would actually make them more race, but I do drive it on the street more than I race, so I figured why not the middle.

K-Sport Coilovers
Rating 9 out of 10.

I gotta agree. I love my K-Sports for several reasons. They are pretty easy to adjust and I love changing my dampening whenever I decide to go racing. They were somewhat affordable too.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   January 7th 2010, 4:59 pm

BruisedTurd wrote:
DoodieHead wrote:
I am very happy with my K-Sport Coilovers. I have them pretty loose (about 3 full turns on the springs) and they still seem great. I would actually make them more race, but I do drive it on the street more than I race, so I figured why not the middle.

K-Sport Coilovers
Rating 9 out of 10.

I gotta agree. I love my K-Sports for several reasons. They are pretty easy to adjust and I love changing my dampening whenever I decide to go racing. They were somewhat affordable too.

For people chiming in on setups can you please give as much feedback as possiable regarding how you determine if they are good or not. I think there are two types of people when judging suspension. You have the daily driver guys that rate them good becasue they drive nice, the ride height adjustment is good etc. Then you have the track junkies that only care about going fast. So when posting please provide as many details as you can so we make this more useful.

Examples - "They are pretty easy to adjust " replace with " ksprot uses the standard design with locking perches. I have not had issues with the perches binding and with the coilover wrenches can adjust my ride height or preload in XX minutes"

"I love changing my dampening whenever I decide to go racing" replace with " Ksports are XX ways adjustable. I find that during SCCA setting 15F and 12R helps my car be very neutral in the corners and net me faster times. When drag racing I like etc..."

"They were somewhat affordable too" replace with " they cost $$$ new and other setups for my car run between $$$ and $$$.


Sorry for a huge post, I like this thread and think we can get some good info out there. However my opion of a good coilover on a track car has completely different criteria than a street driven wrx so please try to put some details so people understand where your opinion is coming from.
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Dr.Auto
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   January 7th 2010, 11:12 pm

Yeah. Please at least do a compare and contrast between daily use and competition.

I have KYB on the wifes car. I like them........lol. for a daily driver I don't care about.

I guess I attack most of this from a freak race nut angle so I'm probably not in the "norm"
I have a DD (truck) left completely stock and drive it. Then I have a race prepped car that I focus on how it performs on a track or race event and how managable it is on the street just for the fun factor. Believe you me..... my setups that I consider performance worthy would be considered nuts by most people looking at it in a drive the car every day aspect.

Also I am only focusing on auto-x or roadracing type setups. I'll leave the drag race stuff to people in the know. Ride comfort..... I really could care less about. But it's important to some people I guess that want to run performance stuff on a DD.
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   January 13th 2010, 11:22 pm

90% of the time the simplist answer is the best. I like the pedders packages. They have many spring rates to choose from as far as all out race to a bump up in your street suspension. their stage 3 is great, almost 0 body roll, yet smooth enuf to drive on the street( doesnt beat the ribs to shit lol ) .
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   February 16th 2010, 12:58 pm

Dr.Auto wrote:
I'm hearing that the D2 Racing dampers are pretty much relabled KSport dampers. And.... they can handle some pretty stout spring rates. so bang for the buck they sound like they are pretty decent. Just don't expect a smooth quite ride out of them on the street.
Alot of this boils down to building a suspension package. Something that works with the unsprung weight you have (wheel rates). Not just throwing this or that on it in place of stock parts. Things have to work together.
And I totally agree. Lowering a car is not a performance upgrade. The biggest thing to look at when putting together a suspension package is your roll center.... which is totally different then center of gravity. Just lowering the center of gravity can sometimes screw up your roll center and make the car perform worse. so any suspension modifacations need to have some serious evaluations and have the big picture in mind when doing them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roll_center
http://performancetrends.com/rc.htm
http://www.stockcarproducts.com/pstech3.htm

Most people don't want to bother even thinking about this stuff nor did they pay enough attention in geometry class to make any sense of all this. But to truly make your car corner like nuts you need to under stand this stuff even just a little before you really do something. or just cheat and reley on someone else to tell you what to do and what to buy and how to install it. lol

totally made sense to me being that my teg is the first car i've ever lowered and it was just on springs and stock struts not a good choice i've been looking for something that i can lower it and have it ride smooth not really looking to autox just want to it be able to soak up bumps and not bounce so damn much i was just goin to get some megan coilovers and tokico blue struts because of the price but i haven't read anything about the megan coils...
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   February 16th 2010, 2:48 pm

Lower end coil will ride worse in my opinion than going with a decent spring/strut combo. If you have coilovers you will not need struts as the coilover is both the spring and the strut. May not be all one peice depending on the design but on your integra it will all be one piece.

For a nice street ride I think your better off with some Ground control springs and some Koni struts. Then if you ever want to get into competitive racing get some Koni yellows and be ready to roll.

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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   February 27th 2010, 5:36 pm

ts4l wrote:
Lower end coil will ride worse in my opinion than going with a decent spring/strut combo. If you have coilovers you will not need struts as the coilover is both the spring and the strut. May not be all one peice depending on the design but on your integra it will all be one piece.

For a nice street ride I think your better off with some Ground control springs and some Koni struts. Then if you ever want to get into competitive racing get some Koni yellows and be ready to roll.

i been lookin around for ideas on my suspension i am thinkin about a set of tien drop springs but im looking for some struts for somewhere around 400 bucks that can handle a drop of 2 in what you think?
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PostSubject: Re: Shock/strut reviews.   February 27th 2010, 5:41 pm

I have some used struts and springs off of a 89 teg. I think it's the same to 91. PM me if interested
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