is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen - Suspension and Brake Forum

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is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Thursday, October 16, 2014 6:10 AM
im looking for a good way to lower my first gen sunbird and i wanna find lowering spring but in the minst of looking for lowering spring i was told that i could build a coilover setup. if it is possible then how?? any suspension idea and better up grades would much apriciatied thanks and im building my 85 sunbird wanna know better upgrades thnks

I'm new to the scene ... I'm 18 and i have a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird sedan...

Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Thursday, October 16, 2014 7:14 AM
Brian Morgan wrote:

im looking for a good way to lower my first gen sunbird and i wanna find lowering spring but in the minst of looking for lowering spring i was told that i could build a coilover setup. if it is possible then how?? any suspension idea and better up grades would much appreciated thanks and I'm building my 85 sunbird wanna know better upgrades thanks

I have been working with a company that could make this up for you. I do not think he has made a setup for a first or second gen before. I would assume it would be in the $1500-2000 range for one set. He would require a complete shock, strut, spring, and mount set for the front and the rear. Let me know if that is what your looking for and I can put you in contact with him.





Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Thursday, October 16, 2014 9:59 AM
so it is possible to make a coilover system for a first and second but me im lost on how you would do the rear half of the car due to it sits on a spring and the struts mounted in the wheel well

I'm new to the scene ... I'm 18 and i have a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird sedan...
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:17 AM
Yes. A lot of cars with similar setups run / ran coil overs.





Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Friday, October 17, 2014 8:00 AM
James Cahill installed 3rd Gen Ground Controls on his 2nd Gen. It requires modifying the factory front housing and using the 3rd Gen inserts or Mitsu Eclipse inserts (slightly different valving, slightly increased travel).

I remember he ran into an issue with not being able to lower the car enough. Not sure how he overcame it, but I'm sure it can be done.

I believe the rear shock tower on the car must be reinforced as well, because they weren't designed for supporting the car. IIRC, you just use the 3rd Gen rear struts and springs without modification to them. I would recommend contacting James and asking him questions if he doesn't chime in here.





Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 11:24 PM
Didn't see this until now.

You can easily use 3rd gen parts up front. The How-to is on V6Z24. The rear is the issue. The inner fenders won't support the weight alone, and need reinforcement. Either bracing or some sort of additional structure to transfer the weight back to the "frame rail". Finding a shock/spring combo to actually fit between the fender and tire may prove to be a problem too, depending on tire/wheel size. The only kit ever available used threaded body Bilsteins with 2.25" springs and would only fit with up to 205 series tires or something like that. There isn't a whole lot of room in there. I would recommend keeping the spring in the factory location and building custom spring perches on the axle and "frame".



Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 4:26 PM
james i have been so busy here lately but how would i do the spring perches and how better would it be ? thanks for your help

I'm new to the scene ... I'm 18 and i have a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird sedan...
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 6:16 PM
After doing a TON of research I think a set of 2005 honda civic coilovers would fit with a bit of modifying and using j-body upper mounts. For the rears I am amazed nobody ever thought of using bmw shock tower reinforcement plates as this is what the bmw e30 guys do for a true coilover set up as they also have weak rear strut towers. I'm sure both honda coilovers and bmw str plates could be modified and effective for a 2nd gen. Never had a honda coilover in my hands for measurements though...but their design. Is VERY similar to a 2nd gen struts


R.I.P darknstrangecavie
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 4:39 PM
thanks Darkstrange i am doing a father son build with my dad and i just wanna know what there is out there that might benifit me with my build i wanna go more modern with a old school unique twist im also thinking on doing a 2.2 eco swap in it in the future

I'm new to the scene ... I'm 18 and i have a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird sedan...
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 5:22 PM
I'll have to get back to this when I'm on my desktop and not the phone. I can post up some pics then.



Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Thursday, January 22, 2015 5:57 AM
thanks james and it would be a big help me and my dads project car we are building together

I'm new to the scene ... I'm 18 and i have a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird sedan...

Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Thursday, January 22, 2015 12:13 PM
The rear suspension on a volkswagen mk4 gti/golf/jetta is similar to the first and second gen cavy's. The rear "coilover" setups are an adjustable perch and a shorter spring sitting between the axle and frame rail just like the cavys we are talking about. I dont have a 1st or 2nd gen but if I did I would look into this as a viable retrofit project.




Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Thursday, January 22, 2015 1:18 PM
James - great write up on the FAQ at V6Z24. Here is the link for those who have not read it yet:
Suspension/Brake FAQ

darknstrange cavie and Zs Z, you make great points about the other vehicles that have aftermarket parts available to reinforce the rear setup. Seems like we need something similar!

MD - would your source be interested in manufacturing a kit of sorts that we could use to beef up the rear suspension mounting issues? I'd be willing to take some dimensions and use my car for mock up purposes. I also have a couple of machine shop contacts that could help with prototype, etc.





Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Thursday, January 22, 2015 4:11 PM


These are the reinforcement plates I spoke of...even offered by bmw themselves as a solution to their weak shock tower issues....If it works for them I don't see why it wouldn't work for a 1st or 2nd gen...and looks like it would fit with minor if any modification. http://m.ebay.com/itm/BMW-shock-mount-reinforcement-plates-E30-E36-E46-z3-z4-/220744817818






R.I.P darknstrangecavie
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Thursday, January 22, 2015 7:33 PM
thanks darkstrange i need this its going to help alot during my build and if you have anymore info itd help alot i dont know much about these cars im just now learning them as i work with my dad

I'm new to the scene ... I'm 18 and i have a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird sedan...
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Thursday, January 22, 2015 9:12 PM
Cahilj is by far the expert here compared to me. But when researching coilovers for my 93 sedan I was looking at going this route. Sadly there was a lot more cancer than I had seen when I purchased it so it has became my daily and I since purchased a 3rd gen.


R.I.P darknstrangecavie
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Friday, January 23, 2015 5:41 AM
thanks and im still learning these cars but my thought is on the first gens you just dont see them like you would a second or third but i love learning more about this car the more i work on it and thanks man its definetly helping me out

I'm new to the scene ... I'm 18 and i have a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird sedan...
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Friday, January 23, 2015 5:42 AM
and i hate to hear that about the second gen

I'm new to the scene ... I'm 18 and i have a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird sedan...
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Friday, January 23, 2015 7:24 AM
Oh I agree. A clean 1st or 2nd gen is an eye catcher compared to 3rd gens. My 93 sedan is still a great car despite thevrust. 100k original miles and owned by a sweet old lady before me. It still rides and drives as nice as it did in 93. Eventually I may pull it off the road again and send it to a body shop for A LOT of rust repair but considering I only $400 ffor the car i seems silly to sink 2-3k into body work Right now.

I wish you luck with your project. I would start by either locating a cheap aftermarket honda civic coilover(ffull coil not sleeves) and compare to a 2nd gen front strut. Measure the difference in steering arms and modify if need be, then I'd swap out the honda upper mount for a j jbody mount. Most likely the lower mount holes will have to be drilled or elongated. But would allow you to use readily available parts for replacement in the future and allow for some serious llow's.


I've studied cahilj ' s faq and coilover write up. It's definitely the best route for an auto-x or race car. But not great for going low...


R.I.P darknstrangecavie
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Friday, January 23, 2015 7:31 AM
And its a 2005 honda civic coilover you would want.


R.I.P darknstrangecavie
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Friday, January 23, 2015 11:24 PM
i mean tbh i just want a little lower stance thats about it and modern performance im stuck ik honda motoes way more than these i wanna do a swap but im stuck on if i wanna go with a 3400 or a 2.2 ecotec idk im lost on this side of the gate and i wanna learn all i can and once again thanks for the help darkstrange its very helpful

I'm new to the scene ... I'm 18 and i have a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird sedan...

Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Saturday, January 24, 2015 10:22 AM
My thoughts (and these are only thoughts, since I've never tried any of the solutions we're talking about besides my own )

BMW plates- not a bad idea. The concern has always been the way the shock towers are attached to the unibody. The spot welds are in shear, and loading them will lead to failure. Of the two cars I know of that used a threaded body shock for adjustable height (one was an all out trailered show car, the other used the Mantapart brace and Bilsteins setup), both of them had a triangulated brace. This sent the load horizontal and then back down to the trunk floor. While the plates may help, I don't think they would cure long term problems. But, who's to say really, since I don't of anyone who's actually done it without a brace. Anyone who's attempted it that way stopped when they couldn't find a shock/spring combo to fit between the tire and shock tower.

VW parts- juicedz4 compared his GTI setup to see if it would fit. IIRC, he has a Mk3. In the end, it was easier to build one-off parts instead of adapting. It may very well be a good plan if you can work it out.

My setup uses mostly circle track parts (they're cheap and easily replaceable). I cut out a section of the unibody, reinforced it, added weight jack plates, and added adjustable perches to the axle. I have about 6" of overall adjustment, and can easily stuff tire inside the fender if I wanted. It uses 5x8" 500-1000# springs, but if I were to do it all again, I would go with a 2.5" spring since there are much more sizes and rates available.

Axle-


Rail mods-



Upper perch. It's an Afco swivel weight jack perch. Essentially a long 1" bolt with a ball on one end that allow the perch to rotate. Without that rotation, you'll get coil bind on one side during compression (why the factory used conical springs)-


Top of the bolt. To adjust ride height, all I have to do is turn the bolt (Google "suspension weight jack" and you'll see it)-


Original spring setup (10" 300#)-


How it is now. I cut down the amount of threads on the lower perch since I really wasn't using them and the shorter springs allowed them to contact the upper perch-







Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Saturday, January 24, 2015 3:53 PM
cahill-I like the way you set up the rear The old one with afco adjustable perches was ok but this looks like it would ride a bit better and allow more adjustment?

if I ever decide to attack the rust on my 93 I will have to replace part of the passenger side shock tower and trunk floor anyways so I will likely add some type of reinforcement to strengthen them. as for space between the wheel/ssprings, I was planning on running custom widened steelies anyways so fine tuning the offset and width would fix that issue also....again this is all if or when I decide to repair the cancer.




R.I.P darknstrangecavie
Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Saturday, January 24, 2015 6:47 PM
James - that setup looks really beefy. Nice job! I was thinking the same thing about the additional bracing. The plates are a great idea for the mounting area but it does seem like it would need to transfer the load some how.

How is your application for a street driven car? Sounds like it would be pretty good for a daily driver because of the ability to adjust the travel that much.





Re: is it possible to make a coilover setup for a 1st and 2nd gen
Saturday, January 24, 2015 7:34 PM
Anyone try cobalt parts as they have a similar setup?




On the inside my car looks like a fighter jet.
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