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Discussion Starter #1
I just got finished installing the Classic Alfa Handling Kit (springs, shocks and front sway bar) which should lower the car by about 1.5 inches, however, the ride height in the front seems to be about the same as before but the rear is definitely lower. What did I do wrong? Was I supposed to remove the spring spacer in the bottom of the spring pan in the front? Unfortunately I cannot find where I wrote the ride heights prior to the upgrade but afterward the measurement to the rear fender lip is about 22 in the rear and 25 in the front. I did take the car on a little drive and everything feels good.
 

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Looks "right".

I've always felt that the rocker panels should be parallel to the pavement.
The "tail high" stance is something that I believe Alfa did to comply with US bumper height requirements.
 

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Spacer? If you’re talking about an alloy spacer, these were what was used to raise the headlight level to suit the US rules, apparently. Euro and other markets didn’t have them, tho spacers were available to correct ‘wrong’ or imbalanced L-R ride heights.
If you have them, then yes, taking them out should give you the height drop you were expecting.
Posting a pic of the spacers should remove all doubt about what you have.
 

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I always wondered why Alfa's were high in the rear. Do the rear springs also have "Spacers"?? Can we take out all the spacers without changing shocks or steering geometry?
 

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Adam - yes, like that, I think...my car didn’t have them to compare exactly, but that’s a clue in itself. Rubber up top, against the body, then the thin metal ‘stepped’ ring to carry the spring end, with flatter spring end down against the spring pan.

axALFAowl - I don’t know if US spiders had spacers or not in the rear. Someone else local to you should be able to answer.
 

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Thanks Ranz, Looked at the suspension parts schematics on Classic Alfa, which show spacers on the front but not on the rear..oh dang!! On to Plan B....
 

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Try parking on a properly flat surface then check both sides - your drive looks like it has a bit of slope right to left (as you look at the photo) and if there is also a small slope front to back (even if its just an inch or so) I know from experience that will translate to quite a bit of variation in wheel clearance from side to side.
 

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I agree with Adam. The car looks too high in the front and too low in the rear with the new springs -unless you want a 'tail dragger'. It looks better in the 'before' picture above (post #13).

Andy, your 1750 round tail looks just right; especially with those 'tasty' Cromodora Daytona's.

Mark
 

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Hard to tell because the photos are taken from different angles.

It looks about right to me. Lip measurements are notoriously inaccurate but FWIW, my car is about as low as you should go (should, not can) and I just measured 24.5" from the floor to the lip of the right-hand fender. I know for a fact that 1" lower is TOO low - more on that below.

I doubt you did anything wrong - when I put Centerline springs on a few years ago my car ended up higher than I wanted until I'd made some adjustments.

Now, take a quick step back and think of your goal here - is it to be exactly (at least in the neighborhood) 1.5" lower than where your car started or is it for the car to sit "right"? I'm guessing the latter.

How it should sit (this is subjective but I think there's quite bit of consensus around here) is this:

  • Overall it should have a slightly tail-droopy stance
  • The bottom of the sills should be more-or-less parallel to the ground
  • All of this keys off the front height, and that is easily checked (see below)
The front ride height is quickly checked by examining the lower wishbones with the car sitting on it's wheels. The inside needs to be a bit higher or level with the outside. If is slopes down from the outside to the inside then it it too low and will cause funky handling (there are threads about this around here somewhere). The service manual has specific points for measuring this but your eyeball or a small level on the lower wishbone is "good enough".

The other issue is the spring pans. The car was originally designed with different lower front spring pans so that the car would sit level with the driver in the car. My theory (I have yet to see a counter-example) is that all late model spiders came with the same spring pans side-to-side so that they sit low on the driver's side - even before the driver stepped in. Not sure of the cut-over year, but my theory certainly covers your '88.

So when I did my Centerline springs I found that my car was too high especially on the right side (I park on the left side of the garage, so that's what I see!) and was noticeably low at the left-rear when viewed from behind. I found that I had two "shallow" spring pans and after replacing the right one with the proper "deep" pan - Voila! - the car sat pretty much perfect. I did try removing the spacers but that made the front too low so I added them back in. More info on that here:

https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spider-105-115-series-1966-1994/400817-can-you-mix-up-spring-pans-2.html
 

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Re post #12...
Yes, you can buy spacers, front and rear, but whether you need them or not depends upon whether you have a height differential you want to correct, or to play with spring heights, be the springs original or other: witness the different thicknesses available in that Ad. Any particular car MAY have spacers installed....particularly in the US, it seems.... but maybe not.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I took the springs out again and removed the spacer in the bottom of the pan, reinstalled and seems to have only lowered about 1/2 an inch. I considered using my old spring pads (the rubber) since the old ones were compacted but kept the new ones.

I will say she drives a lot better than before. My old shocks were pretty worn.
 

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My 74 GTV before and after removing the spacers and changing the springs and shocks. It still looks high, but the ground clearance is only about 3 1/2 inches.
 

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The Alfaholics fast road kit is specifically intend to give a ride-height that is slightly lower in the rear. This is done to facilitate weight-transfer in cornering. Granted, the visuals can a bit off-putting, especially after seeing so many Alfas that were lower in the front. As noted Alfa adjusted front right heights by adding spacers and installing spring pans of different depths.

All of thses adjustments can be changed. For instance just leaving out the stock spacers will certainly lower the front ride height a bit. You can also fit deep or shallow spring pans on both sides. Similarly, you can also achieve additional front ride height adjustments by fitting spacers (washers are ok) between the spring pan and the lower A-arm. Keep in mind that there is about a 2.0 or 2.5 multiplication factor for spacers so adding or subtracting a little can make a big difference in ride-height.
 

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Stance Wars!

When working with the folks at Alfaholics, they asked if I wanted to lower my ride height. I sent them the first two pictures attached below. This was their response:

I’d say yours looks fairly standard at the rear and maybe the front has been lowered or springs sagging?
To replicate or correct the stance I’d say a B front spring and our A rear springs, you don’t want the car to rake lower at the front as this creates a “wheel-barrow” effect.
The cars design is to look like it’s squatting at the rear, all 105-series cars do this, people try to match the gap between the tyre and fender and what should happen is getting the sill or rocker level. I hope this makes sense…​

Made sense to me, so I went for it. Had the guys at Prova Motorsports do the install with Koni yellows, all new bushings and a chassis stiffener, and the result is picture 3. The stance really didn't change much, but the handling sure did! Scored a set of Panasport 14" wheels, and it made all the difference from an aesthetics perspective. The angle of the last photo does indicate a slightly higher front end. Anyway, I'm really happy with it.
 

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