Shocks (dampers) and the AE86 (Part 1)

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jondee86
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Shocks (dampers) and the AE86 (Part 1)

Postby jondee86 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:51 am

The AE86 GTS left the factory with open type oil filled front shocks and KYB
gas filled rear shocks. These were quite well matched to the standard springs,
and gave a somewhat firm and sporty ride. Thirty years on the factory "stance"
of the car is not going to cut it with the current drift orientated image of the
AE86, so suspension upgrades are one of the first mods that the average
AE86'er will perform.

HOW TO GO LOW...
First timers (and I was one) want the car to be lower, and the easiest way to
achieve this is to get a set of "lowering springs". These are factory diameter
springs that will typically drop the car 1.5 to 2" (40 - 50mm) and have a spring
rate 25% higher than factory springs. NOTE: Cutting springs and other ghetto
mods will not be discussed in this article.

Image

Your car will look better, handling will improve slightly, and the ride will be
pretty much the same as stock. However, 2" is regarded as the maximum
drop for standard length shocks. Anything more and you should be looking at
installing "short stroke" shocks.

WHY DO I NEED SHORT STROKE SHOCKS ?
When your suspension moves up (bump) and down (rebound) the shock
piston moves up and down inside the shock. The factory selects the shock
length to place the piston in about the middle of the shock travel when the
car is at rest. By lowering the car, the piston is now 2" further down the
shock, which reduces the available bump travel, and increases the chances
of the shock bottoming out when you hit a bump.

Image

Bottoming out is not a good thing for handling, and can damage the shock.
So what we need is a shock with a shorter stroke (spear) to restore the
piston to around the middle of the travel. The other reason for installing
short stroke shocks is to make sure the springs remain captive at full droop.

SO, WHAT'S THE BEST SHOCK FOR MY CAR ?
You don't really think I'm going to tell you that... do you ? I will tell you that
the best shock is one that is the right length for your ride height; stiff
enough to control the springs you are using, and tuff enuff to stand up to
the kind of use intended. With shocks you get what you pay for... big names
like Bilstein and Koni work well, can be custom valved and repaired. WalMart
brands are factory replacements, and generally speaking, throwaway items.

See Part 2 for a bit of shock tech :)

Cheers... jondee86
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress
depends on the unreasonable man.

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Mr.Fujiwara
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Re: Shocks (dampers) for the AE86 (Part 1)

Postby Mr.Fujiwara » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:25 am

Great Stuff JohnDee86 i always take the time
to read what you write even if its about info
i already know!!

Cant wait for part DEUCE !! :mrgreen:
Old username: Charskiezz

20V BT: Traded For F20c Swap

Deuce Cam
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Re: Shocks (dampers) for the AE86 (Part 1)

Postby Deuce Cam » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:54 am

Although I do agree that you get what you pay for, even the big names are generally throw away items. Usually only certain models are able to be rebuilt, and the rebuilds generally cost $100-200+ USD per shock for the labor and parts (custom valving often starts at $500+ per shock). Shipping can be expensive if the service isn't available locally, and sometimes problematic due to the hazardous materials. In most cases rebuilds are only going to be beneficial on custom valved dampers, or if someone is using expensive aftermarket coilovers.
Last edited by Deuce Cam on Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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oldeskewltoy
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Re: Shocks (dampers) for the AE86 (Part 1)

Postby oldeskewltoy » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:57 am

OST Cyl head porting, - viewtopic.php?f=22&t=300

Building a great engine takes knowing the end... before you begin :ugeek:

Enjoy Life... its the only one you get!

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jondee86
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Re: Shocks (dampers) for the AE86 (Part 1)

Postby jondee86 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:05 pm

@ Deuce Cam - Point I was trying to make is that serious enthusiasts
can get shocks custom made/valved specifically for their cars, at a cost.
Readymade shocks, unless they are designed for an application (like HTS)
are always going to be a compromise. For example, the SW20/Camaro AGX
combo I have on my car.

@ oldeskewltoy - I am familiar with the posts and will link them up under
"further reading" in my final article. I'm not putting up technical "expert level"
suspension articles. These posts are aimed at de-mystifying shocks so that
entry level guys don't waste their money on buying parts that are unsuitable
for what they are trying to achieve with their cars.

Appreciate the input :)

Cheers... jondee86
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress
depends on the unreasonable man.

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