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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,

I have a very nice 1973 Spider. The front suspension is original. The rear had new springs (OEM) and shocks (not sure of brand) not too long ago.

I am considering rebuilding the front suspension. I am wondering what springs and shocks would be best for general driving use (not racing). I do not want to lower the car or anythins like that.

Can I keep the rear set-up and put OEM style front shocks and springs in? Perhaps I will match the brand of the shocks to those of the relatively new rear ones.

Also, what about bushings? Should I go poly or OEM rubber on front and rear? I am most concerned about the front upper control arm and rear trailing arm bushings.

Has anybody started from scratch with the IAP spring set-ups with either Bilstein or Koni Reds? What about the thicker rear sway bar they offer.

Any and all advice welcome. I guess I am willing to re-do the rear suspension if needed to get a well balanced set-up that works well.

Thanks!
 

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It depends on what you want to do... My personal opinion is that the stock Alfa suspension will hold better than most people can drive. Poly bushings are a little stiffer than I'd care for. That being said, I think that replacing all the sway bar bushings (front & rear) with poly will give you a slight edge in handling without turning the ride too stiff.

I have the IAP springs with bilsteins and am very happy, but the ride is a little stiff. ...and it did lower the car about an inch.
 

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I have centerline springs and Koni red shocks. It is lower than it was but my car had the taller springs to meet us saftey standards. It is a nice setup sticks like glue
 

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The rear had new springs (OEM) and shocks (not sure of brand) not too long ago. I am considering rebuilding the front suspension.
Jason,
without knowing what the rear springs are, its hard to recommend fronts to go with them. it is best to maintain chassis balance with a complete kit from one of the suppliers. if you like the tall ride height and soft suspension of the stock setup, you can get new stock springs from some of the suppliers like :

http://www.highwoodalfa.com/alfa romeo 105 engine.htm
http://www.difatta.com/
http://www.classicalfa.com/shop/category3_1.htm

Koni red shocks are a good upgrade to use with stock springs, set on full soft.

personal opinion is that the stock Alfa suspension will hold better than most people can drive.
the stock Alfa suspension is very soft by today's standards, though works very well indeed. but with a stiffened suspension, the car will feel much more "sporty" & nimble, and not necessarily harsh. it all depends on how you want your car to feel, regardless of how fast you want to go.

I have the IAP springs with bilsteins and am very happy, but the ride is a little stiff.
this is a common complaint of the Bilsteins, which are much more harsh in compression than Koni reds. Some love 'em, some hate 'em. some also claim the Bilsteins to be too stiff for the rear upper shock mounts to handle, while others seem to have no problem.


Poly bushings are a little stiffer than I'd care for.
this is a common debate on the BB. Old schoolers tend to say urethane is too stiff, but the vendors, and some users, of the modern poly bushings say they are barely stiffer than stock, provide better suspension control, and last much longer than the rubber. One poly use that never seems debated, is to use urethane for the T-Arm to Diff bushing, for better lateral control of the rear end.

The kits from Centerline and IAP use similar spring rates to each other, which are MUCH stiffer than stock on paper. but when used with STOCK swaybars and Koni red shocks, few seem to complain they are too stiff. If you can still get them, AR Ricambi also used to sell a package with only slightly stiffer than stock springs, but with stiffer sway bars, and Koni reds, that seemed to also work well on the street. there are also highly praised "Fast Road" kits available from Alfaholics, Ron Simmons, and others as well.

so, it comes down to : how do you want your car to feel and respond ? how much do you want to spend ?
 

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I have the red sport springs and the Bilsteins and they're not too stiff at all. My bushings are shot and I'm going to replace them with poly bushings all around.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK,

Here's the status:

1) I checked my stering box last night. It was empty and the fill plug was missing. Filled it up.

2) Several of my original Lemforder ball joints/tie rods are squeeking. Tight, but loud. Not sure what to do on that!

3) I just bought a set of 4 new Koni Reds for the car. I am going to pop those in with the original springs and see how I like it. $376 all in including shipping. Not bad.

4) All bushings seem tight via the pry bar test, etc.

5) I need to check ride hright on the front to see if my original springs are sagging. If they aren't, I will keep them for now and delay a full front suspension rebuild. Does anyone have the specs for ride height and where to measure for a 1973 Spider???

Thanks.
 

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3) I just bought a set of 4 new Koni Reds for the car. I am going to pop those in with the original springs and see how I like it. $376 all in including shipping. Not bad.

That is a very good price for the Koni's. If they are similar to the Koni Reds that go on the GTV, don't go crazy and firm up the settings especially for the front. On my GTV, I have them set at full soft for the front and 1/2 turn up from FS for the rear. I think my rears were worn a bit, so the 1/2 turn setting will compensate for that. The fronts are set up for the additional weight up front so don't figure you'll have to firm them up - unless you want to.
 

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I heard that Koni Reds are considered as replacements for the stock shock so they should go well with the stock springs. I have IAP springs and Koni Yellow's shocks I would recommend Centerline's rear poly kit part of the kit has the trailing arms bushings. Your stock trailing arm bushing I bet are shot on your Spider if they have never been changed out.

All the sport springs will lower your ride height a sump guard is a must with them.
 

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All the sport springs will lower your ride height a sump guard is a must with them.

Not to go off topic but -
sump guards in my neck of the woods are a debatable issue. Some think the'll already reduce what is not enough clearance. My car is a bit lowered and if I put a guard on (which I bought last year and it's still not installed) it would be about 2" from the ground and would always bottom out. My springs are a bit stiff and I've opted to run without a guard to obtain the extra clearance. One guy ran without a guard in his GTV and drove all over the NY metro roads and never had a problem - yet there are others that say you're nuts to run without them. Take your pick.
 

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Yeah, but it's a damage trade-off. The sump guard gives you less clearance, but any bumps you hit because of that are just going to nail the sump guard. So while you're more likely to bottom out on smaller bumps, they don't do any real damage.

Whereas for the big ones, the sump guard gives you significant protection. Having seen a couple of destroyed lower oil pans I don't think I'd want to run without one.

For the record, I'm happy with Koni reds (full soft) and stock springs. They don't feel much stiffer than stock shocks but they seemed to bottom out less.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
How best to test the rear trailing arm bushings? Pry bar test???? I don't feel any wandering during a turn or anything. I am almost certain they are original. I have had the car for 15 years so they are at least that old!

Do the poly's slide into the old rubber outer cases (i.e. can I just burn out the OEM and slide polys in without having to press out the outer shell of the OEM bushings)?

It sounds like I will enjoy the Koni Reds...

And, oh, I already have a sump guard installed.
 

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Jason,

Have you encountered Mike Besic yet?. He has a shop in the Chicago area, and has a very good reputation (in addition to being a racer and fabricator of Bonnie, the Bonnieville Spider). I'll bet that Besic Motorsports has done suspension work on lots of Spiders, and should have good information

...Any and all advice welcome. I guess I am willing to re-do the rear suspension if needed to get a well balanced set-up that works well.

Thanks!
 
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