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S197 GT Spring Rates and Heights (no guessing allowed)

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Old 10-12-2009, 11:42 PM   #41
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Truth be told- most of these lowering springs will work on stock dampers. The real questions are for how long AND how well. The answers are for not long (or significantly less compared with the stock springs), and the ride will not be that great (possibly bouncy).

It's easy to forget that even companies like Roush and Shelby are still trying to make money.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:47 AM   #42
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Because it's what they want you to believe, and most don't know any better. Makes it a lot easier to sell springs if folks think what they have already is fine for the job....

Sad, but true--and the fact I won't do that is a good part of the reason I'm not rich. Damn-it.
I hear you. i think i'm going to stay away from those springs because it just doesn't make sense and they don't give you enough specific information to make an informed decision. trying to find some kind of matched set (springs and shocks) but nobody seems to have exactly what i'm looking for.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:10 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by socalwrench View Post
Truth be told- most of these lowering springs will work on stock dampers. The real questions are for how long AND how well. The answers are for not long (or significantly less compared with the stock springs), and the ride will not be that great (possibly bouncy).

It's easy to forget that even companies like Roush and Shelby are still trying to make money.
bounce is exactly what i'm afraid of; nothing looks lamer than an otherwise cool mustang going down the road bouncing up and down about a foot with every bump it hits.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:25 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by socalwrench View Post
Truth be told- most of these lowering springs will work on stock dampers. The real questions are for how long AND how well. The answers are for not long (or significantly less compared with the stock springs), and the ride will not be that great (possibly bouncy).

It's easy to forget that even companies like Roush and Shelby are still trying to make money.
Well, I guess we see it in varying degrees. Will stock shocks "work" with stock dampers, even for a little while. Technically, yes. But never well, and it will only get worse both on the stability side and the ride side.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:31 AM   #45
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I hear you. i think i'm going to stay away from those springs because it just doesn't make sense and they don't give you enough specific information to make an informed decision. trying to find some kind of matched set (springs and shocks) but nobody seems to have exactly what i'm looking for.
Hang on a second now. You shouldn't be scared of springs. Fact is there are a number of better dampers out there that can handle lowering springs. My cars are lowered, and work very well.

Just because something claims to be a "matched set" doesn't mean it's actually good. In fact there are a number of matched sets of springs and shocks around for the cars I deal with most (Mustangs and F-bodies both), and I don't like any of them because they are all compromises built for the masses, not for discriminating folks who want a car to drive a certain way. In fact this is one reason I am so high on adjustable dampers, because you can make a lot of changes to the feel and response of the car, and even if you want, change spring rates and have the damper there to control it.

And as for the "bounce" where the headlights jiggle. That generally comes from being slammed with little to no travel in the suspension. Most springs for these cars aren't that way. A lack of proper shock damping on this car leads to impact harshness, and feeling like the car isn't down in the road, but floating on top.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:33 AM   #46
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Hang on a second now. You shouldn't be scared of springs. Fact is there are a number of better dampers out there that can handle lowering springs. My cars are lowered, and work very well.

Just because something claims to be a "matched set" doesn't mean it's actually good. In fact there are a number of matched sets of springs and shocks around for the cars I deal with most (Mustangs and F-bodies both), and I don't like any of them because they are all compromises built for the masses, not for discriminating folks who want a car to drive a certain way. In fact this is one reason I am so high on adjustable dampers, because you can make a lot of changes to the feel and response of the car, and even if you want, change spring rates and have the damper there to control it.

And as for the "bounce" where the headlights jiggle. That generally comes from being slammed with little to no travel in the suspension. Most springs for these cars aren't that way. A lack of proper shock damping on this car leads to impact harshness, and feeling like the car isn't down in the road, but floating on top.
i didn't mean that i was giving up on springs completely, but just on that particular model, because i didn't think i was getting complete and accurate enough info on them from Roush. looks like i came to the same conclusion that you did though, because i just ordered some tociko d-specs and vogtland leveling springs. vogtland tells you what their spring rates are, so i felt like i knew what i was getting, but i figured that just to be on the safe side i should spend a few extra bucks on adjustable dampers, that way i could "match" them to the springs myself. i want the ride to be pretty firm, but not too harsh, and definitely no bouncing or slamming. hope everything works out according to plan. thanks for the good input.
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:18 AM   #47
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True, there are several decent dampers out there. I was just trying to point out that running any lowering / performance spring on the stock dampers will not yield good results.

I gave up on trying to ask damper companies what their valving is. It seems that many companies don't want to tell you what the true specs are. They just want to advertise that they're the best out there. It's hard for me to buy something when they refuse to answer my questions.

I still vote that this thread should be a sticky.
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:12 PM   #48
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D-specs are ok, I am a Tokico and Vogtland dealer both. Some places bastardize pricing because they can just sit back and let folks like me handle the tech. Spending less time with pertinent information is an easy way to sell more parts. I'd ask folks to remember that when looking to order items.

I changed from D-spec to Koni's and ever looked back. The Sports are better dampers, and better built, and better warrantied. Fronts are out of stock which is a problem, and we'll use D-specs when we have to, but they just aren't as good a damper or quality.

As for companies releasing specs. I understand why, because in this day and age folks are too willing to judge on what seems vs. what is, and other companies are all too willing to steal information that's let out. I've had it happen to me, and I don't like it. Further, to try to explain to someone that a progressive spring isn't necessarily actually progressive while it's working is very hard to do. In fact most progressive (not all) springs are actually linear in their working rate. But that's something that doesn't get discussed on the internet.

Regarding shock "valving". Companies use different codes for vavlings, you can't compare the valving unless you run the same dyno test @ the same piston speeds on two different shocks. I've done this on a D-spec vs. a Koni Sport and know the differences. But because of what I mentioned above it's not information I'll share in a public forum. It's work product, and it's that type of work that I have to protect, lest folks take my information and run to the cheapest place they can find.
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Old 10-15-2009, 04:30 PM   #49
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I agree, not all of the companies use the same test methods. There would have to be one standard type of dyno technique that everyone would use.
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:26 PM   #50
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I still can't believe this thread isn't a sticky.
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:38 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by socalwrench View Post

I actually spoke with the General Manager from H&R for a while, and I listed the approximate rates as he did. They don't want to list exact rates because (according to him), 1) other companies do NOT use realistic or reliable tests to determine their rates [IE springs are not tested at the installed height and in the normal range of suspension travel]
That is complete and total BS. Measuring spring rate has nothing to do with the installed height. The spring rate is exactly the same if it is sitting on the bench or installed on the car. Secondly spring rates can only be measured one way. Compress the spring a certain distance (usually an inch) and read what your load cell says the force is. For example 400lb/in. If you have a 400lb/in spring and you compress it one inch it will read out at 400lb. If you increase it a second inch it will read 800lb. If you compress it a third inch it will read…..you guessed it 1200lb. That data tells you that you have a 400lb/in linear rate spring.

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2) the actual spring rates can end up being slightly different depending on the car setup, weight, and damper size
That couldn’t be any more incorrect. A springs rate is the same if it is in a box, on the bench, sitting in your shower, installed on the car or completely compressed (without getting to the point of near coil bind when the rate increases dramatically). No matter what you do with a spring the rate will always be the rate.

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3) the exact same spring rates can act differently depending on the rest of the suspension setup.
This one takes the cake for being the most ridiculous. The statement itself “says” that is incorrect! If you have two different springs that are exactly the same rate they will behave exactly the same way no matter where they are or what you do with them. Hence the definition of the word “same”

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Simply put, there are too many variables.
There are no variables. Springs are dead basic, there is no VooDoo to them at all. You have been fed a line by H&R. I'm not surprised though from my experience 95% of the people in the suspension industry don’t understand their own product. A long time back I went through an Ohlins (arguably the best suspension in the world) training course and nearly fell out of my chair within the first 15 minutes when I realized that the instructors did not understand or could not explain/relay some of the most basic suspension principals.

There are knowledgeable suspension people out there. But most of them do not cater to the general public.

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I will say that H&R knows their stuff
Not the person you talked too. He was either clueless or wanted to make it sound more complicated than it is so you feel dependent on their companies support. I see it ALL the time.

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and it was very refreshing to have an in-depth conversation with a suspension company.
This is a perfect example of why most of the suspension industry can be horrible at what they do and still succeed. It is almost impossible for the customer base to know if what they are being told is correct or not. For example they can’t hand you a “dyno sheet” (excluding a shock dyno but that is not what I am referring too) that will show you the gains made with their system like and engine builder can. And on top of that most of the customer base, including some very fast racers can’t tell if their suspension changes were good or bad. I have worked with many Pro teams and if I suspect that the person I am tuning for wouldn’t know a good setup if it ran them over I purposely put in horrible setting I know are borderline undriveable and send them out for a few laps. More often than not the feedback I get is “I couldn’t tell” or “That’s a lot better”. Then I show them their lap times, data traces and in most cases ruined tires to get my point across to them. If a majority of the full time racers can be “tricked” how many recreational drivers do you think are capable of giving accurate feedback on their setup?

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Plus, they make everything in house- which is something I've learned recently about other companies.
H&R makes their own springs?

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Old 05-28-2010, 09:00 AM   #52
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That is complete and total BS. Measuring spring rate has nothing to do with the installed height. The spring rate is exactly the same if it is sitting on the bench or installed on the car. Secondly spring rates can only be measured one way. Compress the spring a certain distance (usually an inch) and read what your load cell says the force is. For example 400lb/in. If you have a 400lb/in spring and you compress it one inch it will read out at 400lb. If you increase it a second inch it will read 800lb. If you compress it a third inch it will read…..you guessed it 1200lb. That data tells you that you have a 400lb/in linear rate spring.


That couldn’t be any more incorrect. A springs rate is the same if it is in a box, on the bench, sitting in your shower, installed on the car or completely compressed (without getting to the point of near coil bind when the rate increases dramatically). No matter what you do with a spring the rate will always be the rate.


This one takes the cake for being the most ridiculous. The statement itself “says” that is incorrect! If you have two different springs that are exactly the same rate they will behave exactly the same way no matter where they are or what you do with them. Hence the definition of the word “same”


There are no variables. Springs are dead basic, there is no VooDoo to them at all. You have been fed a line by H&R. I'm not surprised though from my experience 95% of the people in the suspension industry don’t understand their own product. A long time back I went through an Ohlins (arguably the best suspension in the world) training course and nearly fell out of my chair within the first 15 minutes when I realized that the instructors did not understand or could not explain/relay some of the most basic suspension principals.

There are knowledgeable suspension people out there. But most of them do not cater to the general public.


Not the person you talked too. He was either clueless or wanted to make it sound more complicated than it is so you feel dependent on their companies support. I see it ALL the time.


This is a perfect example of why most of the suspension industry can be horrible at what they do and still succeed. It is almost impossible for the customer base to know if what they are being told is correct or not. For example they can’t hand you a “dyno sheet” (excluding a shock dyno but that is not what I am referring too) that will show you the gains made with their system like and engine builder can. And on top of that most of the customer base, including some very fast racers can’t tell if their suspension changes were good or bad. I have worked with many Pro teams and if I suspect that the person I am tuning for wouldn’t know a good setup if it ran them over I purposely put in horrible setting I know are borderline undriveable and send them out for a few laps. More often than not the feedback I get is “I couldn’t tell” or “That’s a lot better”. Then I show them their lap times, data traces and in most cases ruined tires to get my point across to them. If a majority of the full time racers can be “tricked” how many recreational drivers do you think are capable of giving accurate feedback on their setup?


H&R makes their own springs?

Rant over
Couldn't have said it better. My first thought about this thread was if anyone actually knows what to do with this information?
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:06 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOCALWRENCH
I actually spoke with the General Manager from H&R for a while, and I listed the approximate rates as he did. They don't want to list exact rates because (according to him), 1) other companies do NOT use realistic or reliable tests to determine their rates [IE springs are not tested at the installed height and in the normal range of suspension travel]
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Originally Posted by Just1Guy View Post
That is complete and total BS. Measuring spring rate has nothing to do with the installed height. The spring rate is exactly the same if it is sitting on the bench or installed on the car. Secondly spring rates can only be measured one way.
Actually, its not total BS, especially when you are talking about publishing spring rates that are useful to customers to determine the performance of the spring. This is the first time I've seen someone actually explain this. Its awesome to hear H&R does things this way, cause that is how we do them. The difference is we actually publish our spring rates. So H&R is actually not alone on this, and neither are we, which until today I thought we were....

What H&R is refering to is working range vs total range. Which will only be the same on a spring which is completely linear, which most are not, even when they are listed as such.

Working range is the spring rate or force exerted by the spring in the range of travel and compression it will see in the vehicle. This is the only really true number that will give you an idea on how the spring will behave in the car. The total range of the spring is completely useless in determining performance characteristics.

For example. We have a spring in our line up who's total range is 386-721lbs. Good luck figuring out which spring that is from the rates we actually publish. You would only find it by a lucky guess, and only if I told you that you guessed correctly.

What we give the customer as a published number is the working range, which gives the real world rates that the spring will exert while its compressed in the range of suspension travel available in the vehicle. In other words, how the spring will behave once installed in the car. That range is 540-660lb variable rate for the spring quoted above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SOCALWRENCH
The actual spring rates can end up being slightly different depending on the car setup, weight, and damper size
Not exactly true the way its worded. H&R might have been referring to wheel rate, which is the equivalent spring rate at the wheel, which is affected by the spring, damper rates, suspension geometry (what he may referred to as car setup), etc.....

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Originally Posted by JUST1GUY
the exact same spring rates can act differently depending on the rest of the suspension setup.
This CAN be true, but only if you are talking about different vehicles that happen to be using the same exact spring, but have different suspension geometries and ranges of suspension travel, which could produce different wheel rates and spring working ranges.

Quote:
Simply put, there are too many variables.
Yes, there are a ton of variables, anyone who thinks otherwise not only needs to study up on the subject but also get some real world practical experience as well.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:57 AM   #54
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SteedaGus you're confusing things by throwing numbers from progressive rate springs or numbers from extremes of spring compression that are impossible once mounted on a shock. If companies want to throw out numbers that are meaningless like the first inch of travel which is usually just absorbed in preload instead of the second inch of travel which is working load then they are only hurting themselves. Yes coil bind greatly effects rate but any decent spring doesn't see coil bind when working on your car unless it is a progressive wound spring where coil bind is an essential ingredient to the design. And then the manufacture should make that clear and not try smoke screens and "trust us" to sell their products.
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:01 AM   #55
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The only thing I can think of that would alter the meaningful spring rate of a spring by changing something on a given car is the wheel offset as it changes the lever length. In which case a given spring rate is directly comparable to another on a given car with the same wheel. Any change in bushings, roll bar or shock will have negligible effect if any.
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:26 AM   #56
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SteedaGus you're confusing things by throwing numbers from progressive rate springs or numbers from extremes of spring compression that are impossible once mounted on a shock. If companies want to throw out numbers that are meaningless like the first inch of travel which is usually just absorbed in preload instead of the second inch of travel which is working load then they are only hurting themselves. Yes coil bind greatly effects rate but any decent spring doesn't see coil bind when working on your car unless it is a progressive wound spring where coil bind is an essential ingredient to the design. And then the manufacture should make that clear and not try smoke screens and "trust us" to sell their products.
Actually if you re read my post its not really confusing. The post explains why we dont throw out the confusing number and only use the number that applied to how the spring will actually behave. That is why outside of the post I made you would never see us publish the total range number. Because it does make things confusing for the customer.

I just edited one sentence slightly on that post to make it more clear, otherwise if you look at it again, hopefully you will see what I am saying.
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:49 AM   #57
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I have worked with many Pro teams and if I suspect that the person I am tuning for wouldn’t know a good setup if it ran them over I purposely put in horrible setting I know are borderline undriveable and send them out for a few laps. More often than not the feedback I get is “I couldn’t tell” or “That’s a lot better”. Then I show them their lap times, data traces and in most cases ruined tires to get my point across to them. If a majority of the full time racers can be “tricked” how many recreational drivers do you think are capable of giving accurate feedback on their setup?
Its funny you mention this and I wont get long winded with my story, but basically back in the 90's we were doing testing with a pro driver and he insisted we change a certain part on the car cause the one we had on the car was terrible. We knew it wasnt, but indulged him anyway.

After his next test session we asked him if he was happy. He says yeah! The car feels great now, I know definitely faster! So then we asked why he was actually 3 seconds a lap slower. Put the part we knew worked on the car and he got his 3 seconds back. Can't argue against the timing clocks

Sometimes we have to deal with this with customers too, and its tough because sometimes the customer has made up their mind its your part and not something else. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isnt. You are not always getting the proper feedback so you just have to do your best with what you have to work with to try and help the end user.
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:42 PM   #58
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What we give the customer as a published number is the working range, which gives the real world rates that the spring will exert while its compressed in the range of suspension travel available in the vehicle. In other words, how the spring will behave once installed in the car. That range is 540-660lb variable rate for the spring quoted above.
How do you determine the max working rate? is it at the bumpstops?
This is why I won't bother with progressive springs. If for no other reason, it's why I went with a "coilover" setup.
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:46 PM   #59
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Hi Gus!

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Old 05-29-2010, 12:08 AM   #60
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How do you determine the max working rate? is it at the bumpstops?
This is why I won't bother with progressive springs. If for no other reason, it's why I went with a "coilover" setup.
Hi Steelcomp,

Exactly. The real beauty of going to a coilover is the tremendous range of spring rates you can now access AND the fact that you now control your own destiny and are no longer a victim of marketing B.S. like what H&R gave SOCALWRENCH.

H&R and pretty much all the rest of the spring makers for the most part sell sport springs for stock type struts and and suspension. This pretty much means that they are forced to use a so called variable rate spring design because they cannot change the distance between the spring perches to arrive at the targeted ride height.

Ride height is what 99% of the people buying stock type sport springs are after. It certainly cannot be to improve performance because none of the stock type sport springs have a big enough increase in spring rates to even maintain the stock level of bottoming out of the stock suspension for the huge reductions in ride heights they offer. To significantly improve performance you would have to increase an S197 GT's spring rates 200% to 300% and most of the sport springs only bump up the spring rates 10%-20% 30% tops. This is the primary reason most cars lowered with "sport" springs are always hitting the bumpstops and ride so poorly. Too much ride height reduction and not enough spring rate to support the new ride height.

Linear rates are very easy to understand and much easier to set damping rates that work. Progressive rate springs are very problematic and even minor differences in curb weights change the way a progressive rate spring works in the real world. It is only lack of information and understanding of suspension that allows the to still be sold. Plus they are cheaper than even a modest coilover setup to build and sell.

Cheers!
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2005 Mineral Grey Mustang GT Premium Coupe

Mods: The entire Steeda suspension catalog won't fit along with all of the other performance stuff I installed but ask if interested.
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:08 AM
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