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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, know this is a heathen question, but struggling to find 1" lowered rear springs that are not progressive wound.
Know it's not ideal but has anyone ever just cut a coil off their standard springs to achieve this on a 164? I confess to once doing it on a Fiat, front and rear, and it worked great. The Fiat wasn't capable of exceeding 150mph though.
 

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Sure, it is possible to cut a spring with a $15 angle grinder from Harbor Freight. The difficult part is knowing just how much of the spring to remove to achieve the desired affect. Advice from my Alfa Montreal buddy, Tom Sanor, was to only remove a little of the spring at a time. If you take off too much, you can't go back! As Tom told his story, I believe that he repeated this exercise 5 (five) times -while going through three sets of stock and 'performance' springs on his Montreal. Fortunately, he kept good records of his results, from which I was able to extrapolate how much of the coils to remove on my 'way too tall' stock Montreal springs. At the end of the road, I think that I ended up removing each spring, cutting off a certain amount and reinstalling, two times. It was a lot of work but I am very well pleased with the results. The car rides and handles great. It is a tad lower in the front then anticipated and that is why the rear springs had to be removed for a second time. I have no idea how you would proceed on a 164. The rear spring coil diameter tapers down so the opposite end would be trimmed...

Keep in mind that as you decrease the number of loops in the spring, the remaining spring gets stiffer. For me this was a good thing, as the stock 105 springs tend to be a bit soft to me. Another thing, on the 164, the springs are not as easily removed as they are on the 105 cars. When I lowered my 164-S (in 1997) -I removed all four struts and took them to NTW (now NTB) and they had a nifty spring compressor that made easy work of those struts. If you do the job yourself, find a quality spring compressor to do the job. There is enough stored energy in one of those strut assemblies to kill a person or easily remove fingers and limbs! The last time I removed the springs, I went to Express Oil Change and they had the same spring compressor. Expect to pay something like $30 (maybe $20-50 each) or so per strut.

Where have you looked? There is currently a set of 164 lowering springs in the classified section and on eBay by that 'other' Ironblock guy. ;-)


Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Many thanks for the reply.
I've got spring compressors and had these struts off a few months ago - total dog of a job to get the lower bolts out.
Already have shorter front springs fitted so just need the rear to match. On the old standard springs it sat way too high at the rear - on the current shorter rear springs, that came with the used koni struts, the rear sits too low. Would happily buy a set of lowered linear springs if came up for good price in the UK. Most viable way of obtaining shorter linear rears is to buy new standard springs and cut them down - hopefully not too much. Which, as you say, will also effectively up the remaining spring rate. The koni struts also have a shorter piston length than standard so shorter springs shouldn't sit in them, 'flapping about', at full extension. In theory... :unsure:
 

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What don't you like about the progressive wound springs?

I assume this means spring rate gets harder the further it it compressed, which is ideal for a car.
Pete
 

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Pete,
The stock springs are by no means 'bad'. This is what I wrote about the linear springs in the classified section:

"I like the handling with linear springs better then the progressive springs -which seem to have a fairly predictable 'dip' as you go into a turn, too."

With the stock springs, as you start to enter a turn, it seems that the car body sort of leans in the opposite direction to your turn. It was hardly noticeable before the linear spring swap. After going back to the progressive springs (I don't know why:cautious:) this lean or sway is more noticeable; sort of like driving on back tires with low air pressure.

It is probably not a good idea to mix linear and progressive springs, well at least in my mind but I've never tried it.

Mark
 

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Thanks. Interesting and weird at the same time, but yes I understand why you don't like them :)

Pete
 
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Lowering springs don't do much for a road car, just btw. You cannot lower the centre of gravity by enough to make a significant difference to the handling. Much is misunderstood about how spring's work. Lowering always adversely affects alignment unless it can be adjusted which for this car is not feasible. The most likely outcome for lowering a car like this is a harder ride and worse handling than stock.

Lowering the car does lower the cg which also reduces roll by reducing the weight transfer leverage. In theory this increases total tire grip by allowing the inner tire contact patch to retain a higher share of the loading but even an inch drop will make no discernible difference to actual road driving. The car will feel different but drive the same. As I say, likely worse given the suspension geometry of a road car.

As for roll control by far the easiest route to go is fitting stiffer roll bars. This does not affect weight transfer , contrary to popular opinion, but changes only the rate of roll. Tire loading effects remain the same apart from the ramp up effect of the higher spring rate effected by the roll bar. Total tire grip is not changed. Suspension geometry changes are delayed but not necessarily beneficially.

Why roll needs to be controlled is a very interesting question for me. I've never seen the point. One reason I like French cars is French drivers don't care about body roll and seem to understand that it makes no real difference how much the body may roll for road driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What don't you like about the progressive wound springs?

I assume this means spring rate gets harder the further it it compressed, which is ideal for a car.
Pete
Hi,
currently have progressive rear springs and when turn in you can feel a 'dip' as the softer section moves onto the firmer. In fast corner changes, especially z-bends, this could potentially lead to tyre break away.
I tend to drive mildly or really, really hard - with the car close to the point of break away. I also don't like the idea of any 'dip' when changing direction at 3-figure speed.
Stiffer anti-roll bars would help but even these rely on spring compression, even though the opposite side to the wheel under load, so the problem is still there.
Am looking for lower rears as have lower fronts - not so much for cornering but for looks and getting less air under the car at high speed - especially when driving in Germany at 140mph+
 

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Progressive springs will not change handling behaviour at the limit of tire grip. Weight transfer is a function of height of the center of gravity of the vehicle. Suspension geometry and spring rate react to these momentum effects. For a given cornering speed on the same set of tires the extent of the compression of the springs will be the same whether progressive spring rates are used or linear rates. Besides giving a more comfortable ride progressive rate springs make no difference to handling at the limit of tire grip.

Put another way, spring rates are developed for correct ride height for the vehicle and can have no effect on maximum tire grip. Higher rate springs do not increase tire grip, that is not physically possible. Higher grip tires produce more body roll simply because the weight transfer effects are increased. Geometry changes due to increased spring compression can reduce total tire grip.

The most basic way to increase cornering speeds is to fit grippier tires. Only then is it useful to start examining possible suspension travel effects. Also, attending a high speed driving school will increase cornering abilities of a car.....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi,
The issue is not the ultimate grip or the roll angle but the way the car will initially 'dip' into the corner when turning in - potentially causing tyre break away when linear springs, without this 'dip' would not.
 

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What you describe just can't happen, that's not the way this stuff works. Tire breakaway limit is not related to spring compression in the way you seem to think. Put another way, tire loading is not affected by roll rate. It is the amount of weight transfer, not the rate of change of weight transfer that eventually overloads the contact patch.

The car may feel different with progressive rate springs but it will grip the same.

This is a very common misconception even among drivers who are quite capable on a track.

Lowering a road car is almost always a waste of time and money if the main objective is to improve tire grip.
 

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Ah, you put your finger on it, the main objective of lowering is looks looks looks (beauty in the eye of the beholder) and ****ty ride. For me lowering subtracts from the original timeless beauty of the 164.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Michael, think we are talking at cross purposes - I'm referring to handling not road-holding and, from experience, dip roll over-steer can be a real issue. At the end of the day, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

As for looks, Pinino, always felt the standard height 164 looks great and timeless but so does one lowered an inch, especially if slightly nose down - which helps high-speed stability. No 164 will look great if stuffed into a hedge so every little thing I can do, to help give me an edge when driving like an Italian, am happy to do.

Happy motoring, everyone.
 
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