Suspension FAQ (05/22/2005) - Page 2 - Suspension and Brake Forum

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Wednesday, October 29, 2003 9:35 PM
i recently bought dropzone 1.8" drop. GOOD CHOICE OR BAD. also what shock/struts should i get. thanks and great faq.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003 11:35 PM
Yeah thanks Event. I'm looking into the suspension scene now, and your post was perfect timing. Don't worry, I won't cheap out on suspension parts <br>

<img src="">
3:51 AM 7/6/02, traveling east down I-90 in New York state
Sunday, November 09, 2003 6:42 AM
jamtastic - anything 1.4 and over should have struts made for lowering. no other way around it, so whether you buy mantapart or koni, as long as its made for lowering. the things on ebay, just for reference, arent... lowering struts, a set of 4 will cost you around 450 or higher...

Lancer, i should sure hope not you're in NY... i hear its kinda rough up there as well. <br>

Sunday, November 09, 2003 9:05 AM
This is a great thread. Im just about to upgrade my suspenion for Chrismas. I have my mind set on Eibach Sportlines and Koni's, but I don t know which one to get red, yellow, or what ever they are.

GM Stage 2 with SFPHQ 2.8 pulley
Injen Intake
GM Dual Pass Aftercooler w15psi Surge Tank
GMPP Exhaust Manifold
CTi 3" Downpipe and Cat
Custom 3" Cat Back with Dynomax Super Turbo Muffler
ZZ Engine Mount
ZZ Front Trans Mount
B&M Shifter
DC Strut Tower Brace

Soon to be installed:
2.6 pulley, Siemens 60lbs Injectors, NGK 2 Step Colder Plugs
Tune Time Custom Dyno Tune

Sunday, November 09, 2003 7:58 PM
all depends...

reds are less and if you dont plan to adjust much, maybe just initially, then reds would be the more efficient choice, but if you are constantly changing settings, yellows would be the ticket.

even though the yellows are stiffer valving, people have used the reds now for YEARS and not one problem. <br>

Monday, November 10, 2003 12:05 PM
WHEW - This was GREAT! I have been looking for info on how to sort through all this!!!

I appreciate you taking the time to write this up for us!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003 7:00 PM
Event, you said something about rk having coilovers on sale? The ground controls for 250? where? I looked on the site but they said $350.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003 7:40 PM

some parts are overstock, and some are returned items or items missing a part or two...always call to find out what all is missing or whats up with it first. <br>

Friday, November 14, 2003 4:08 PM
. <br>

Saturday, November 15, 2003 1:01 PM
ohhh... sticky, that's nice


I work on Wall Street, but didn't force you to take out a loan you couldn't afford.
Saturday, November 15, 2003 2:58 PM
hey event im sure you are familar with the ground control coilover on highrev. Anyway i was wondering, it lets you select struts with the coilovers, if i select koni's for the struts will it include the struts in the prize? The prize is about 440 shipped. Is that just for the coils or the coils and koni struts?

Saturday, November 15, 2003 3:10 PM
never mind i see what its saying. Damn im looking at 700 bucks for suspencion. Man i really dont wanna play that much but i guess i have to.
Monday, November 17, 2003 7:14 PM
hmmmm, they must've sold em' or i'm not very observant. I think i'm gonna call on that prostreet set for 850 though
Wednesday, November 19, 2003 12:22 PM

from Da Man, hump master Lenko, himself,

another FAQ which explains what parts are and generally what they do. if you dont know what a sway bar is, def read this link <br>

Saturday, November 22, 2003 1:31 PM

even though the yellows are stiffer valving, people have used the reds now for YEARS and not one problem.

What do you mean? what is a valving? what does it do?
Saturday, November 22, 2003 9:02 PM
event. if i get a pro kit or sportlines how long will it be ok without new shocks/struts. let me know man. <br>

Monday, November 24, 2003 12:42 PM
Ive been dropped on Goldline and Gabriel VST'S now for about 9 months with NO problems. YES of course its not like stock but its fine with me. Ill be upgrading soon with the Mantapart Sport struts. I cant wait to have a nicer more comfortable ride again lol..

Event, what do you think about that combo? Goldline and Mantapart struts? Im asking because I dont know the spring rate for Goldline. Thx as always.

~2014 New Z under the knife, same heart different body~
2012 numbers - 4SPD AUTOMATIC!!
328 HP
306 TQ
Wednesday, November 26, 2003 9:24 AM


Thanks for the help with choices and whatnot. I'm curious though, as to what Coilovers would do to my warranty. I've gone into the dealership to ask about if it's a good idea or not. My Cavy is a 2002, and my total warranty runs out @ 160000 kms, and I'm at 65000 right now.

What would be your thoughts?

Thanks again for all your help
Wednesday, November 26, 2003 10:27 AM
Lowering your car will only affect the warranty on suspension items (ie. shocks, mounts, bushings, etc.). If they claim lowering broke something else they have to prove it. I had my wheel bearing replaced under warranty about 1 week before the bash under warranty. Mine is lowered on CG coils and Koni Reds. They didn't like covering it, but they did anyway.

Jeremy #13 DSP Nebraska Region SCCA Mid-America Motorplex SCCA Homepage

Thursday, November 27, 2003 2:44 PM

BigJerm, it seems like a lot of hassle for something like that.

I'd love to lower my car, but I don't want to deal with the idiots at my dealership, any other suggestions?
Tuesday, December 09, 2003 3:11 PM
Ummmm don't lower it.....

If you don't want to void your warranty, and you don't want to deal with the hassle, then you have no other option.

Pat <br>

<a href=""><b><font size="2">......FOR SALE CHEAP!!!!Alpine 7940 Headunit......</b></font><a>

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Saturday, December 13, 2003 10:14 AM
Jamtastic wrote:event. if i get a pro kit or sportlines how long will it be ok without new shocks/struts. let me know man.

as with anything strut wise, which also plays the same for brakes and moving wearing parts, you can never tell, the condition the struts are in now.....we dont know. how much wear will they recieve when put sportlines on?... we dont know... as it stands there is no time frame to figure out how long will something last. the closest estimate i can give anyone is "shorter than it should"


Author: Fields Himself
Date: 11-27-03 02:44 PM

BigJerm, it seems like a lot of hassle for something like that.

I'd love to lower my car, but I don't want to deal with the idiots at my dealership, any other suggestions?

like pahtcub said, not lowering it... but also look at it this way, when you buy quality parts like ground control and koni, they come with their own warranties, so you cover your rear by going with them as well. ALSO, once you work on your car, which i highly reccomend you do unless you physically cant do something, like weld, once you work on your car, if something does go bad, like a strut mount or a bearing, you will already know how to disassemble and change it. so it makes it easier on you, lighter on your wallet, and your car benefits as well...

*** Written By John Lenko***


How do I lower my J-body?
The most common reason among most non-racers to lower their car is for the look. True performance enthusiasts want to improve on the handling of their cars, which will be greatly enhanced by lowering it.

By lowering the car, you eliminate the dreaded fender gap along with giving the car a much more aggressive look. The whole car sits lower to the ground giving it an air about it similar to a racecar. But isn't it ridiculous to give up a comfortable ride just for a car that looks nicer? That's a judgment call. There are ways around losing the ride comfort. Stock vehicles have softer springs and therefore require a large gap for the car to move up and down. When you lower the car, you will (or should) have stiffer springs since they will be shorter.

If you simply cut the springs you have, the problem of bottoming out and rubbing the tires on the wheel well will arise. Similarly, if you buy cheap springs, they are usually too soft and you will have the same problem. The stiffer springs will make the ride a little less comfortable, but you won't ruin your tires or the bottom of your car. You can make up for loss of comfort due to stiff springs by installing better shocks/struts. Keep in mind that you won't completely make up the comfort, and you will still have to be careful of bumps and dips since the car will be lower to the ground.

A stock automobile has a suspension designed to provide comfort and to deal with any road hazards that one may come across. However, stock automobiles are farther from the ground to allow room for the suspension and therefore loose some points in the handling department with a high center of gravity. By lowering a car, you place the center of gravity much closer to ground and decrease air and wind resistance. The more important of those two is keeping the center of gravity low to the ground. This is important because it helps keep the car grounded through a turn. If the center of gravity is too high and centripetal force is too great, the car will flip or at least get tire skip. There are other things that could be done to further improve the suspension of a lowered vehicle. In a lowered car especially, it is a good idea to add strut tower and anti-roll/sway bars to stiffen the chassis (frame and body). This will help to eliminate body roll which, in a lowered car, may send the body of the car diving into the ground through a turn or at least rub the tires on the top of the wheel well.

First of all, no matter what you do to improve the suspension, if you lower your car, you will have to avoid going fast over large bumps such as speed bumps and railroad tracks. If you want to show off your masculinity by driving fast over bumps or up onto curbs or through rough terrain, get a truck! Second, lowering your car will change the angle that the wheels are positioned at. If this problem is not rectified, you will wear through tires twice as fast because the force of the car will not be evenly distributed across the tire. This problem can be solved with a proper wheel alignment, or for extreme drops with a camber kit, which are add-on components that allow the wheel to be positioned vertically. Third, you may run into problems with scraping if you are carrying a lot of weight (i.e. many passengers, etc.). This will just lower your car more because it puts more force on the springs causing them to compress. Whether or not your car scrapes depends entirely on how much extra weight you are carrying and how low the car was to begin with. Last but not least, the ride will probably not be as comfortable as it was when the car had stock suspension. This all depends on how much money and work you put into it.

Who makes lowering springs for the J-body?
Eibach is by far the most-installed brand of lowering spring on enthusiasts' J-body cars. However, there are an ever-increasing number of different spring choices available for third-gen cars:

Apex (1.6" drop)
Arospeed (2")
B&G Sport Springs (1.6")
Eibach Pro kit (1.4", popular choice, but watch for uneven front/rear drop on 2.2L models)
Eibach Sportline (1.7" front, 2.3" rear, popular choice, but watch for uneven front/rear drop on 2.2L models)
Dropzone (1.7")
Fastco (1.6")
GoldLine (1.75", nice firm ride, popular choice)
H&R Sport Springs (1.6" front, 1.4" rear)
Intrax (1.7")
Mantapart Sport Springs (1.5" or 2.0")
Progress (1.7" front, 1.5" rear)
Springtech (1.8")
Sprint (1.8" but settles lower, nice firm ride, popular choice)
Suspension Techniques (1.2", nice ride, small drop)

For second-gen cars:
Eibach pro-kit
Springtech (1.6")
Suspension Techniques

What about coilovers?
For third gen J-body cars:

APC "Next Level"
Ground Control (Best bang for the buck, get w/ Koni Red struts)
Held Motorsports ???
HP Racing
Number 1 ???
Racer Design (RDX)
RKSport Pro-street
Springtech "Blue Line"
Weapon-R Circuit Pro

Who makes upgraded struts/shocks/dampers for the J-body?
Struts and shocks come in many flavors. Check with your friends and other enthusiasts for stories and testimonials on these. They're almost as subjective as tires. As far as I know, there is no "standardized" testing done on damper units, so I can't say that one brand is better than another.

If you have a 3rd gen, the Bilstein strut inserts are of the highest quality. Mantapart makes a Bilstein spring/strut combo upgrade for the J-body cars, but sells them at about half the cost of the Bilstein-tagged ones. Tim at Mantapart claims much better performance than stock, and many members on the JBO will back him up. His struts are specially built and come paired with Eibach springs ready to install.

Gabriel VSTís are a popular choice as an OEM replacement. Some OEM replacement units will handle being lowered, but not extreme drops. (Extreme Drop by KYB is 1.5 inches) Check warranty information BEFORE lowering on an OEM replacement unit, as most warranties will not be honored if used on a lowered car.

Gabriel VST (OEM replacement, Gabriel says they are stiff, not bouncy)
Monroe (OEM replacement)
KYB Gr2 (OEM replacement)
Sachs/ Boge (OEM for VW, BMW, seeking more info)
Genertec custom Tokico (for lowered applications, but no longer available)
Mantapart Sport Struts (made for lowered applications)
Koni Special-D Red (rebound-adjustable; front strut inserts, direct fit rears)
Mantapart Bilstein (custom for J-body & lowered apps; w/lifetime warranty)

I installed lowering springs on my car. Now the ride is really harsh/bouncy. Why?
If you didn't change the struts along with the springs, you're going to notice why suspensions are all specially tuned at the factory. The stock struts are not meant to dampen the kind of shock they are now receiving due to the stiffer springs. They just can't handle the extra stresses, so they bottom out, don't rebound fast enough, and just under perform. You can remedy the situation by purchasing new struts.

What about air bags/hydraulic suspension?
There are several different options when it comes to air ride suspension. Most J owners choose strut bags for the front of the car, and air cylinders for the rear. While the ride comfort is far from stock, accumulators can help dampen the bounce (but letís face it, most people consider air ride for the looks, rather than the comfort aspect!).

Complete bolt-in kits are available from Air Ride Technologies. Custom installations are available from many sources, including Underworld Customs. Several different manufacturers make parts for the J-body, including Air Lift, Firestone and Blowjax.

Hydraulic suspension is not recommended for a uni-body car. (Tube frame is a different issue altogether!) I am unaware of anyone with a hydraulic suspension on an otherwise stock Cavalier. ***Addition*** Look for steve brown in Baltimore, MD..he USED to have hydraulics, but took them off afterall the stress on the chassis***

What is a strut tower brace/bar?
Strut tower braces or bars are intended to eliminate strut tower deflection and increase chassis rigidity to reduce suspension distortion from acceleration and cornering. The brace also improves the chassis rigidity for better vehicle handling and helps maintain correct suspension geometry.

Strut tower braces are available for either the front or the rear of your J-body, and connect the two strut towers to each other, and sometimes also to the firewall or other parts of the car. The front bars are much more common, though they serve the same purpose. The length of the front and rear bars is different, so unfortunately they are not interchangeable.

Front strut tower braces come stock on the third gen convertible J-body cars, but not other models. GM must have decided that the convertible models were the only ones that would benefit from the strut tower bar, because of the lessened chassis rigidity and structural integrity that results when you chop the roof off of a car. However, they didn't take into consideration enthusiasts like you or me. Luckily, the stock strut tower bar will fit just fine on most of the J-body models, plus there are plenty of aftermarket bars available.

GM even makes several different models, which you can order from any local parts counter or online dealer.

Part #22604347 was used from 1995-2000 on the 2.4L convertibles. This is the "standard" strut bar, which has a bracket to mount to the firewall, but no cruise control (CC) bracket (for cars with either no CC or have the CC module mounted to the firewall instead). Companies like RK Sport, RSM Racing and Mantapart (just to name a few) all sell this same bar as a performance suspension upgrade.

Part #22642387 was used from 95-97 on the 2.2L convertibles with cruise control. This bar has a bracket to mount the passenger-strut mounted CC module on as well as a firewall bolt bracket. Will also fit any J-Body that has the CC module mounted on the Passenger Strut Mount.

Part #22642386 was used on the 1995 2.3L convertibles, with the CC module mounted on the passenger side strut tower. In theory, this should be the same as the 22642387 bar, but no one has compared them side-to-side to make certain. (Please feel free to do so and send us an update!)

Part #22604348 was used on the 96-98 2.2L convertibles, according to GMís part computers. However, weíre not sure if it has the cruise control bracket or not. (If you know or can find out, please send us an update!)

Many aftermarket front strut braces also exist. One made by Freedom Design, is a polished forged aluminum bar, and costs about $100 (part #63102). Mantapart also has a front strut tower bar. RK Sport sells several designs as well, as does Next Level, Ractive, Vibrant, OBX, and APC.

Second gen Z24s came stock with a front strut tower brace. APC also makes a chrome front bar.

Rear strut tower braces are available from several companies, such as Mantapart, Next Level, RSM, Freedom Design,

What is a subframe brace?
A subframe brace fits between the two A-arms on the front suspension and ties the lower suspension together to eliminate lower A-arm flex during hard cornering. This gives a much more consistent feel and stability to the suspension under hard cornering. Subframe braces do hang low enough that clearance over road obstacles could be an issue, especially if your car is lowered.

Mantapart and Control F/X make subframe braces for the third gen J-body. Subframe braces are also easily custom made out of square steel or aluminum and a couple of bolts.

What is that "loose lumber" sound coming from my trunk?
Some 1996 and 1997 model year J-body cars had this sound. It came from a bad strut mount on the rear suspension. GM has issued a technical service bulletin on this issue. If your car is experiencing this problem, GM will replace those parts under warranty.

My car makes strange noises when Iím turning, what is it?
If itís a creaking or popping sound when turning the wheels side to side, either while moving or stopped, itís probably your front strut mounts or a spring reseating in its perch. The stock strut mounts are not known for their good quality or life expectancy, especially when the carís geometry is altered by use of lowering springs or coilovers. Replacing them with aftermarket mounts, such as those from Monroe or Gabriel, will probably address the problem.

If youíre hearing a thump, thump, thump sound that increases with speed, or turns into a humming noise over 50 mph (80 km/h) then you may have a bad wheel bearing. They are usually around $70 each, and there doesnít seem to be any quality problems with either GM parts or aftermarket.

Constant thump, thump, thump noises are sometimes attributed to bad CV joints. Diagnosing whether a CV joint is bad or not is a job best left to a professional. Just remember to always get a second opinion first!

What is a sway bar?
Anti-roll (or sway) bars improve lateral stability without stiffening normal suspension movement. Anti-roll bars minimize body roll, which stabilizes the tire contact patch for maximum traction. That's important because all of the weight and power of your vehicle is transmitted to the road over a mere handful of square inches called the tire contact patch. Most FWD street cars have moderate understeer (aka "PUSH"). The sway bars are designed to improve overall balance by the use of proportionately stiffer rear bars. The car will have a "neutral" feel, with a gentle push at its limits. The opposite of push or understeer is oversteer. Cars that exhibit this characteristic are said to be "loose" and are prone to spinning.

Compared to the upper strut tower bar, which is designed to increase structural rigidity, the rear sway bar is designed to prevent body roll from occuring in corners. This reduction of body roll prevents the transfer of weight to the outside edge of your car which can "throw" the rear end outward in a curve (a.k.a. "spinout").

The rear anti-sway bar attaches externally to your rear axle through four points. The bar sits directly underneath the rear axle, and mounts in two spots to the axle using polyurethane bushings and bolts on each of the mounts. The bar then curves 90 degrees on each side and curves towards the back of the car. The other two mounts attach to the rear spindle assembly near the rear brake drums with a special bracket included with the kit.

J-bodies do not come with a stock rear sway bar, but some models do come with a rear stabilizer bar. Aftermarket rear sway bars work with the stock rear stabilizer bar (you do not have to remove it).

Aftermarket front sway bars replace the OEM front sway bar. If you do not have a stock front sway bar you need to get the hardware kit off of a Cavalier/Sunfire that does have a stock front sway bar so the new front sway bar can be installed.

Anti-sway bars also exist for the front axle of the car. Some cars come with them stock; those with the FE1 suspension package comes with an 18mm front sway bar, and the FE2 package comes with a 22mm.

You must be careful when adding or changing these bars, because if the bar is too large in either the front or the rear, you will introduce either understeer or oversteer. The trick is to find a balance, or "neutral" handling condition, where the car neither "pulls" you inward through the turn nor "pushes" you outward through the turn. Oversteer (or "pulling") is mostly found on rear wheel drive cars, like the F-body. Understeer (or "pushing") is mostly found on front wheel drive cars, like the J-body.

Hellwig used to make a rear 19mm bar, which helped to create a more "neutral" handling when added, while keeping your stock front sway bar. The new Hellwig bar is 26mm. (25.4mm) RK Sport and JC Whitney sell the Hellwig bar.

ADDCO makes 25mm (25.4mm) rear anti-sway bars for the J-body.

Eibach makes a 22mm rear bar and a 25.4mm front bar, sold together as a package.

What is a tie-bar?
A tie bar stiffens the rear of the car by tying both sides of the lower suspension anti-sway bar attachment points together. This reduces geometry distortion while braking and cornering. It is an add-on piece to the Addco or Hellwig rear sway bar. Under hard cornering, without a tie bar, you could experience lifting of the inner rear wheel around corners. If it doesn't lift, it at least gets light. With a tie bar, you eliminate a lot of the flex in the sway bar, and it will be tighter and maintain ground contact.

Fitment on these bars is sometimes tight, especially clearing some aftermarket exhaust systems. The bar will usually fit but may touch the intermediate (or Ďover the axleí pipe) on some custom installations, particularly on lowered cars.

What about camber kits?
Camber kits are useful if you plan to run in some Solo or Autocross events, to get more negative camber and obtain better suspension work in the corners. For everyday street use, a camber kit is not really necessary as the stock suspension is adjustable enough that a proper alignment can fix any camber problems, including those introduced after lowering a car.

Eibach, Intrax and Sprint make front camber correction kits. Ingalls makes front and rear camber corrections kits. RK Sport sells camber adjustment bolts as well.

What about new A-Arms?
RK Sport sells a tubular A-arm that replaces the stock flat sheet metal A-arms. They eliminate flexing of the arms themselves under power and cornering and decrease wheel hop.

The original RK Sport A-arms were recalled due to cracking welds.

Where can I get a roll bar/cage?
RK Sport carries a 4-point roll cage, and Jegs carries 4-point, 8-point, 10-point and 12-point cages.

Now as you can see, john laid it out really straightforward and precisely. a post like that needed to be read rather than linked... NOW onto other options...


now if you dont know what these do, please check out the link to John Lenkos or read the above paragraphs.

now that you know WHAT they are and WHAT they do, here are the choices so far.

Swaybar choices


-18mm stock FE1 bar
-22mm stock FE2 bar
-25.4mm addco bar
-25.4mm eibach bar
-26mm bar
local place = custom bar


-19mm hellwig bar
-22mm eibach bar
-22mm rksport bar
-22mm progressive technologies bar
-22mm bar
-25.4mm addco bar
-26mm mantapart .com bar
-local places = custom bar


-Control FX
-GRD (if you can find em)
-Custom made (easy to do)
-Trailblazer bar (cheap, but not really made to be a tie bar as the ends are supposed to have swivel points, as well as most dont even install them structurally correct. for most its on the car for looks than function. view post: for CORRECT placement of ANY tie bar on a J-Body.)


-Custom (easy to do -- use search for posts entitled subframe, directions there as well as pics)
-Control FX (talk to vincent keen)


Sunday, December 21, 2003 3:36 PM
EVENT at first i had the wrong impression of you i thought you were one of those post whore people that post stuff just to be reconized but after see this and a few of your post like your tie rod thing you really impressed me with your knowledge, and this site is lucky to have you on board. the best thing for this site is people who take the time to right novels and help others out, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

also for you sake i hope your a premium member or you will be out of post by the second day of the month <br>

JBO since July 30, 2001
Sunday, December 21, 2003 6:39 PM
Event, a post whore? Thats not true... Never. <br>

<img src=" Sig.jpg">
Wednesday, December 24, 2003 5:08 PM
2000 cavalier Z24

DROP ON STOCK 205/55/16

Intrax 2" + KYB AGX

is there anything alse needed for instalation to be right way?
chamber kit?

thank you
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