Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

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Jayrdee
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Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Jayrdee » Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:04 pm

I did some extensive searching and was only able to find one review of the Fortune Auto 500 Series coilovers for the AE86, which was a few years old. I know these are popular in the s-chassis drift crowd, and I have a good buddy with these on his IS300 and they felt really good, so I decided to take a risk and try them out myself. These are hand-assembled in the USA

Retail price off of their website is $1475, without the radial bearing upgrade or Swift spring upgrade. They come standard in 8k front and 6k rear spring rates, but you can choose your own rates when upgrading to Swift. I chose the standard 8k/6k because I don't have very much experience with ae86 suspensions. The spring upgrade is an extra $300 I think.

Initial thoughts

People compare these to the likes of BC Racing or Stance coilovers, but I think the build quality is wayyyy better. You can tell they didn't cut any corners when designing and building these. Hell, even the packaging was top-notch. I have BC Racing coilovers on my Scion tC so I knew as soon as I picked them up, they were better built.

Image

Installation

Installation is very straight forward. Although I will say when taking off your old suspension, take note of the tophats and double check the FA's to make sure the camber plates aren't switched. The one inner stud is a little off center. I made the mistake of not checking and ended up fighting with the car trying to put them on because they had the plates switched. No biggy though, just take off the 4 allen bolts and swap them over.

Stupid mistake on their part, but hey ... at least you know they were hand-assembled, right?

Another thing ... The old thread/review the dude had a problem with the rear spring perch thingy not fitting completely over the bump stop mount in the rear. These are more like cups, they have a solid bottom, so they came up about an inch short. His solution was to cut off the mount to make them fit. BUTTT that was two years ago. FA corrected this issue by providing spacers. You still won't be able to use your stock bumpstops, but they fit without any chassis modifications.

oh ... and you can literally slam the piss out of your car. I still have plenty room to go lower, all around. Your frame would be underground if you tried maxing these out Lol.

I still have some adjustments to make as far as the height goes, but here's what the car looks like. Definitely not a fan of the "raked" look, but I think thats due to the rears having bigger tires.

Image
Image

THE FEELS

Please keep in mind, I am very low and these are some stiff springs. So if you read this review and expect to float like a boat, sorry but thats just not going to happen Lol.

Anyways .. Man these are so sick. Although the setup is very stiff, it still feels really good. They don't bounce like some "el cheapo" ebay suspensions, which is good because FA and their whole "digressive" dampening shocks actually work. Gradual stresses, like tackling a corner, they stay stiff; while sudden impacts like bumps or going over bridges they still absorb well. Ironically, this rides smoother than my scion and I have softer springs on that car! I know its kind of like comparing apples to oranges, but once you ride in enough lowered vehicles you can feel a good vs bad setup. I live in Kentucky where the roads totally suck, but I would have no problem daily driving the 86 with these.

All in all, this setup is awesome. I'd take these over any Megan, BC, Tein, Stance, etc. etc. any day. These might not compare to all you DIY guys, but for those like myself who don't have much experience with building their own setups and want a straight store-bought option ... these are perfect. They cost a little extra than most store-bought setups, but those few extra hundred dollars are well worth it.

10/10 for sure
Last edited by Jayrdee on Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby EvoSolley » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:11 pm

Nice write up! Is their any way you can take a pic of the rear bump stop area you mentioned? I am now leaning toward these. I wonder if I can get only the rears and go with t3 weld on front coils for the diy goodness lol. Hmmmm decisions, decisions....but great write up, thanks for posting!

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Jayrdee » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:33 pm

EvoSolley wrote:Nice write up! Is their any way you can take a pic of the rear bump stop area you mentioned? I am now leaning toward these. I wonder if I can get only the rears and go with t3 weld on front coils for the diy goodness lol. Hmmmm decisions, decisions....but great write up, thanks for posting!



Man, idk if you read my updated build thread but if they allowed the rears to be bought separately that would be so dope. Turns out I had TRD blue rear struts! I should have took the time to look at what they were Lol.

FA has really good customer service so shoot them an email!

And I'll try and remember to snap a picture when I go to adjust the rear height again. Won't do any good at the moment since the new spring perch covers it. Its literally just a cone looking metal piece welded to the chassis that the bumpstop screws onto. Right in the center of the spring, can't miss it.
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby notnilc20 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:26 pm

Nice review....they look quality and your car looks great.

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Jayrdee » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:06 pm

notnilc20 wrote:Nice review....they look quality and your car looks great.


Thank you!!

UPDATE

Its been a few weeks since I've installed these and so far so good. I haven't had a chance to tackle some hard corners yet since I needed new tie rods and an alignment, but I have taken it on some long drives around town and on the highway.

The roads here in KY aren't the greatest, but the car handled them like a champ. I hit some pretty harsh bumps on the highway, and they really soften up and absorb the impact really well. Idk how the whole "digressive" thing works, but whatever it is, its awesome Lol.

I had the car aligned today so I'll be picking it up. Hopefully I can find some time to continue toying with the fenders to get my new wheels and tires to fit, and then take it on some back roads. I'll update the thread again later.
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Deuce Cam » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:10 pm

In theory these should be a night/day difference compared to other coilovers - with the same spring rates - because of the digressive valving.

That being said, 8/6k rates are just insane on this chassis. One will need serious tires to get the most out of it. Problem is rates that stiff and tires that sticky will put some major stress on this tin can of a chassis. Either on their own nis bad enough, but both together.. contorted unibody over tim

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby CloudStrife » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:33 pm

7/4.5k is the way to go IMHO.

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby totta crolla » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:03 am

Deuce Cam wrote:
That being said, 8/6k rates are just insane on this chassis. One will need serious tires to get the most out of it. Problem is rates that stiff and tires that sticky will put some major stress on this tin can of a chassis. Either on their own nis bad enough, but both together.. contorted unibody over tim


This is the truth that most people don't want to hear ;)

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Jayrdee » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:23 am

CloudStrife wrote:7/4.5k is the way to go IMHO.


totta crolla wrote:
Deuce Cam wrote:
That being said, 8/6k rates are just insane on this chassis. One will need serious tires to get the most out of it. Problem is rates that stiff and tires that sticky will put some major stress on this tin can of a chassis. Either on their own nis bad enough, but both together.. contorted unibody over tim


This is the truth that most people don't want to hear ;)



Oh no doubt. Totally agree. I almost got softer springs, but my biggest concern was the price of getting everything custom. Being this is my very first AE86 (i had never even seen one in person before) I didn't want to spend all that money on a setup that some random dude on a forum posted 10 years ago, and then me not like it Lol. at least this setup was designed to work with each other.

It really shows too, at least in my opinion it does. The 86 rides smoother than my tC with 6k springs and dampers (BC Racing) at their softest settings.
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Deuce Cam » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:16 am

CloudStrife wrote:7/4.5k is the way to go IMHO.


Still way too much imo, but iirc its what bgrs recommends. However, if you want the car really low the rates will need to be relatively high to limit suspension movement so one doesnt bottom out....

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby CloudStrife » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:44 am

Hmm.. do you mean as a ratio? Or specifically the front/rear rate I suggested?

I'm going to be running BGRS and swift, so you are right in that's where I went with :).

I think 4.5k is perfect for such a lightweight FR hatch. It allows the tires to "dig into" the road without it being to dorifto happy.

7k might be a little high but I think it comes down to what else you are running, I.E. how "stiff" you are. I usually run OEM bushings and I don't do metal joints, spherical, or whatever other track oriented bushing/joint ideas people come up with. I don't have strut tower or tie bars yet either.. So my stuff is more on the soft side allowing me to go a little higher in spring rate without too much of a "stiff" feeling.

I think with shortened strut casings and "race" shocks (as my setup is) you actually will not benefit from anything lower. I've never tried anything lower though, so I can't comment.

I guess it's all relative depending on your setup.. I also like more of a "stiff" feel, and here in Florida the roads are pretty smooth so it's not such a harsh environment.

It is amazing though that reading through the previous threads on spring rates, people think the off-the-shelf coilover rates are good (can't remember.. 8-9k/6k??).

What do you run Deuce?

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby totta crolla » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:34 am

CloudStrife wrote:
7k might be a little high but I think it comes down to what else you are running, I.E. how "stiff" you are. I usually run OEM bushings and I don't do metal joints, spherical, or whatever other track oriented bushing/joint ideas people come up with. I don't have strut tower or tie bars yet either.. So my stuff is more on the soft side allowing me to go a little higher in spring rate without too much of a "stiff" feeling.

If it works for you...
On my tarmac rally car I use 2.85kg rear and 3.4kg front springs, Bilstein dampers (not B6) and standard sway bars. Full cage and is semi seam welded.
There is still a considerable amount of movement in the body shell when cornering, witnessed by my navigator who's finger got pinched between the roll cage and the the roof !

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby jondee86 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:23 pm

Some interesting thoughts here :) Both ends of the spectrum are reasonablly well
defined (rally spec vs drift spec). So long stroke vs short stroke, soft vs hard... what
is not so well defined is the happy medium... the setup that allows some degree of
driver comfort but is still stiff enough for casual track use.

For spring makers that happy medium is a bit of a problem. And searching around
shows very few options that fall between the two extremes. But I have found something
in the middle of the range, and in the interests of scientific discovery, I have ordered
a set of R*SR OEM diameter linear springs with rates of 5.2 front and 4,4kg/mm rear.

Unfortunately, they are out of stock so there is a 6 week delivery at the moment. For
sure when I get them on the car I'll let you know how they work/feel :)

Cheers... jondee86
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Jayrdee » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:10 am

jondee86 wrote:Some interesting thoughts here :) Both ends of the spectrum are reasonablly well
defined (rally spec vs drift spec). So long stroke vs short stroke, soft vs hard... what
is not so well defined is the happy medium... the setup that allows some degree of
driver comfort but is still stiff enough for casual track use.

Cheers... jondee86



The happy medium. That is what I was shooting for.

Height and camber adjustability, stiff so I can tackle some corners, and still be comfortable enough to drive around town with ease. These FAs do a very good job at doing just that.

Finding that happy medium I feel like is only achievable through experience of different suspension setups, so that becomes risky for the newer ae86 owners on the market.

I do agree the 8/6k rates are overkill, definitely geared towards the drift crowd (which if you think about it, makes sense on their part since drifting is more popular here in the US than the rally or grip stuff overseas. Fortune Auto is an American company), but the digressive valving does wonders in terms of comfort.
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby CloudStrife » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:34 pm

totta crolla wrote:
CloudStrife wrote:
7k might be a little high but I think it comes down to what else you are running, I.E. how "stiff" you are. I usually run OEM bushings and I don't do metal joints, spherical, or whatever other track oriented bushing/joint ideas people come up with. I don't have strut tower or tie bars yet either.. So my stuff is more on the soft side allowing me to go a little higher in spring rate without too much of a "stiff" feeling.

If it works for you...
On my tarmac rally car I use 2.85kg rear and 3.4kg front springs, Bilstein dampers (not B6) and standard sway bars. Full cage and is semi seam welded.
There is still a considerable amount of movement in the body shell when cornering, witnessed by my navigator who's finger got pinched between the roll cage and the the roof !


I'm jealous mate.. you use your car for real fun LOL :cry:

Johndee.. aren't roads in NZ total shite? :P

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby jondee86 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:01 pm

CloudStrife wrote:Johndee.. aren't roads in NZ total shite? :P

Not as bad as they used to be. Around the city the main roads are reasonable
with suburban streets varying from good to bad. Motorways and main roads
between towns are reasonable but minor country roads can still be pretty rough.

I should add that I am very happy with the 3.0/2.8kg/mm springs I have in the
car now. The only time they feel lacking is when pushing the car hard, and I have
always wanted to try some stiffer springs to see if the tradeoff between better
handling and a less comfortable ride is worth it :)

As the car is not a DD I can probably handle a bit less comfort. And if I find that
the stiffer springs become annoying, I can always swap back.

Cheers... jondee86
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Deuce Cam » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:10 pm

Ive had 8/6k, 6.8/5.1k, 4.5/4k, 3/2.8k, and oem 1.9/2.2k (currently). Street car. Imo 4.5k/4k was a bit stiff... Oem with performance shocks - and trd bushes - even feels firm... I liked the 3/2.8k ratio, but didnt like the espelir progressive spring characteristics. I'm picky though. I wont even lower the car more than 1.25" (from stock) anymore because the handling feel gets mucked up due to the poor rear geometry.

Working on a new setup now, just need to have a pro convert my struts to coilover. (I have all parts but its too damn hot here to do anything.) 'Long stroke' with linear springs all around, 3/2.8k (had custom rear springs made in the length/rate I wanted). Aiming for 1-1.2" drop. Also already using trd bushings except for a few key areas: sway bar mounts, end links, and panhard are all poly.

Side note: I honestly dont know how anyone could use rubber bushing for the panhard for performance driving. One can feel the axle wiggle to much. Takes forever to set. Its as if the car takes the turn, and then the rear axle takes the turn. Even trd... I can feel the rear end wiggle slightly even with the poly panhard. Its the trd 4 link bushes (and poly panhard bushes)... Which brings up another point, rubber bushes are a bit of compromise at the limit (duh), but its especially so with the live axle. Using sticky tires alone on this car will easily show the fault of a rubber 5 link bush at the limit. I imagine high spring rates also will have compound affect - kind of defeats the purpose of getting race coilovers. However, rubber bushes do help the ride be more compliant and are easier on the unibody/suspension, which is why i use them.

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby jondee86 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:18 pm

I seem to remember something about trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear :D
The AE86 is an econobox design dressed up (for it's day) with a twincam engine and four
wheel discs. The suspension design is basic 80's and no matter how much time and money
gets invested in making go fast and handle well, it will never be as good as a properly set
up car with independent rear and double A-arms all round.

But the AE86 is a fun car. The old school driving experience of a basic RWD car where
you can hear and feel everything that goes on makes it a refreshing change from the softly
sprung auto-everything people movers of today. Personally I don't mind the handling quirks
of the AE86 suspension. I have TRD rubber bushings everywhere except for swaybar links.

My research indicates that spring rates and shocks work together to produce ride quality.
And the comments of the OP seem to bear this out when he compares the ride of his
AE86 with Fortune coilovers to his Scion with BC's. And there are countless testimonials
to the ride quality with high end shocks like Bilsteins. If the shock can control the spring
properly, higher spring rates can be used without compromising ride quality.

At least that is my take on it :)

Cheers,.. jondee86
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby totta crolla » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:10 am

Softer springs and stiffer anti roll bars (sway bars) are probably the way forward, stiff springs do not a lot in a straight line but they help to reduce body roll in the corners, anti roll bars do the same but allow better compliance when going straight (if used with softer springs)
At some point I will fit some adjustable bars to my car.
Jondee might I suggest you try fitting poly sway bar bushes. They made quite a difference on my car.

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby CloudStrife » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:59 am

I'll be honest, when it comes to the 86's multi-link suspension I'm a total newb.

I have the full Cusco multi-link set with the

-Formula link end lateral rod [panhard] (adjustable with metal ball pillow ends)
-Control arm (rear 4 link), Formula Link Jr. [which is a 4-link consisting of metal pillow ball on one end and bushing on the other, adjustable]
-Some JDM brand traction brackets

So I got Half & Half. I'll be going from 80s OEM rubber to this, so I'll obviously feel more stable. I just highly doubt I'd want to go completely metal joints. Every chassis I've ever encountered with that stuff was so horribly noisy and stiff..

I guess you can grease them, but to me, that sounds like a track car, not DD material.

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby jondee86 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:06 pm

CloudStrife wrote:I guess you can grease them, but to me, that sounds like a track car, not DD material.

Yes, everyone has their own ideas about how they want their car drive and feel.
And what you do with the suspension plays a major part in what kind of car you
finish up with :)

Obviously, if your car is intended to be primarily for motorsport use, you will
make changes aimed at making it more suitable for that use. If your car is a daily
commuter then you will try and keep a decent degree of ride comfort, low noise
level (so you can listen to soothing music), plus an engine that doesn't need a lot
of clutch slipping and throttle blipping to keep it alive between traffic lights.

In between are people like me who don't use their car for commuting, but who
like to improve the handling and performance without turning it into a race car.
So I don't want to give up my OEM rubber top hats for camber plates, and I don't
want to give up my TRD rubber bushings for pillow balls.

I have a set of KE** LCA's that I will swap in when I next have the front suspension
apart, and they will give a little more negative camber. I also have a set of Hawk
HPS brake pads and some new OEM discs for the front. So little by little the car
gets upgraded without becoming a race car.

Totta, I'll consider your suggestion about poly bushes for the lateral link. Cheap
enough and easy to change back to rubber if I don't like them.

Cheers... jondee86
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby ditn » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:53 am

i have arround 4/3,5 on rally car with custom made shocks. An older suspension guru made it its amazing.
Works even good on circuit. 8/6 sounds crazy to me :)

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Jayrdee » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:13 am

ditn wrote:i have arround 4/3,5 on rally car with custom made shocks. An older suspension guru made it its amazing.
Works even good on circuit. 8/6 sounds crazy to me :)



On paper it sounds crazy, but I'm tellin ya it doesn't feel anything like it.

What you said though kind of goes back to what was stated previously in this thread about the challenges of finding that middle ground. You got your setup from someone else, an older guy with experience. How does a new AE86 owner go about this when he's in the market? I mean, sure you can ask around and browse the internet, but that takes time and then there's the risk of it not being what you want which is money wasted. And its not like I can walk down the street to a neighbor who has experience racing AE86s, I'm literally 1 out of 2 in my area Lol.

Another thing I should note for the rest of the group, I don't have any other suspension modifications besides the coilovers, a panhard bar (with rubber mount bushings), and a strut tower brace. Everything else is bone stock, no fancy poly bushings, sway bars, etc. Perhaps if you already have those other upgrades then you would have a different view of the 8/6 rates. An AE86 with poly bushings and sway bars is going to feel different than an 86 with 30 year old oem stuff.

What I'm saying is the Fortune Auto coilovers themselves, straight out of the box, feel great.
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby BattleGarage_RS » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:53 am

Just want to add that I'm glad to hear there are folks that are appreciating rubber / poly bushings on their AE86's. There's a time and place for heims but they can put a lot of wear and tear on these cars, not to mention create a lot of NVH. We generally will swap out heims for rubber bushes on cars that see mostly road use and are using street tires. the handling is more predictable as it pairs with the softer side walls of street tires anyways.

Also wanted to mention that our "coilover type" rear 4.5 kg/mm springs will be progressive as well. These would pair wonderfully with 7K or 6K front springs, which IMO would have a great sporty ride for fast road use. This is what I'm personally using on my own cars. I do occasionally track and sometime drift these cars and it's plenty of spring rate for that kind of use. The only time I feel that I NEED a higher rate is when using a true R-Comp track tire, like NT01, R888, or slicks. The rest of the time, the lower spring rates soaks up the bumps and still provides plenty of wheel rate to keep the car agile and planted.

You can read about our progressive springs here:

https://shop.battlegarage-rs.com/collec ... r-oem-type

Image

Also here's a link to our Fortune Auto listing if you want to read more about the digressive dampening:

https://shop.battlegarage-rs.com/produc ... 500-series

If there are any questions, feel free to drop us a line: contact (AT) battlegarage-rs.com
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Deuce Cam » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:12 pm

Jondee us absolutely right abou me haha. Truck suspension in a car will always suck. The fun part is 'trying' make it work, and to one's taste. Ill prob never be completely happy with mine...

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby BattleGarage_RS » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:59 pm

I think that's part of the fun with Corollas though... that live axle will always be a handful and that's what makes these such driver's cars =D

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby CloudStrife » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:29 pm

My boys BGRS checking in. Seriously good thread about suspension theory regardless.

Just a side note, are those springs ready from Japan? Waiting on my pre-order :)

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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Jayrdee » Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:30 am

CloudStrife wrote:My boys BGRS checking in. Seriously good thread about suspension theory regardless.



totally agree. especially since its all recent!

Most of the good suspension threads out there are old and out-dated.
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Jayrdee » Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:09 am

Also another thing I would like to point out about these coilovers, is the height adjustment. I think this is something that many people look over when it comes to suspension.

You're able to adjust the height by rotating the shock body up/down within the mounting brackets / spindle. This, in my opinion, is the best way to adjust the height since you're not really messing with the pre-load on the springs and you're still getting the full range of motion with the damper. For example T3 and their coilovers, it looks like the only height adjustment is by rotating the spring perch (they have a new "evolved" version which lets you adjust the spindle location, but there's only a few options, and costs more). So for someone is going significantly lower than stock, they would be riding around on a compressed shock 24/7, which isn't always fun haha. I learned my lesson the hard way a few years ago when I had an IS300 Lol.

Most of your off-the-shelf kits like Megan, Tein, or cheap ebay brands have this ability, but those don't always provide the best ride quality.
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Deuce Cam
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Re: Fortune Auto Coilovers Review 2017

Postby Deuce Cam » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:12 am

On paper fa seems like great option, especially considering the supposed 'ae86 specific' tuning, digressive valving, and being made in usa. However, if they tuned it for an ae86 why offer 8/6k default rates? They answer is marketing... everyone else does it so they prop figured they'd scare away potential customers by offering lower rates. That in itself is a huge compromise imo.

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