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I am about to buy a set of performance springs and shocks for my GORGEOUS 1984 Spider. Opinons on Bilsteins vs Koni - Centerline vs International? I value the opinions of the esteemed members of this BB. Thanks in advance for your reposnes.

David:)
 

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There are a lot of threads, and I do mean a lot of threads, regarding Spider suspension mods that cover this subject well, so I would encourage you to a search. Anyway, I'll offer a short opinion...

My favorite set-up are the Ward and Deane springs, and Centerline springs have the exact same specs. I run W&D springs in my '84, with OEM shocks, and a chassis stiffener. The car sits noticeably lower than stock, but it absorbs the NYC bumps like a luxury Mercedes. It also doesn't bottom out any more and the nose dive is gone. The first set of W&D springs were installed in this car in the late '80s, and I replaced them with a fresh set this past summer. My '87 has a similar set-up, using Centerline springs, which are the same as the W&D.

The IAP springs are a bit stiffer than the Centerline springs. It's paramount that a spring be matched with a proper shock. IAP springs work well with Bilsteins, as the Bilsteins are stiff. If you go with IAP/Bilstein you should be very happy. (They also won't let the car bottom out, eliminate the nose dive, and provide a much nicer ride.) If you go with the Centerline springs, then use the Koni shocks. If you go with Centerline springs and Bilsteins shocks you will probably find that the shock is to stiff for the spring which translates into a harsh ride.

Best regards,
 

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What about running the Bilsteins on the front where the high spring rate is, and the koni's in the back. At this point I still have 39 year old SPICAs at all four corners with centerlines front and back. The ride isnt bad, but I need to reduce the amount of body roll. My car might see some compitition use early in '08 due to the weather and the fact that it has a heater, a top that doesn't leak on my knee, and far less HP than my race car (Rain and lots of hp dont go together well, especially with the tires I have). Also the tires might be better in the rain over my falkens (that I drift with in the dry, not the fast way through an AutoX) or my V710 Kuhmo virtual-slick race tires (Stupid fast in the dry, not sure about in the wet). That said, the tires on the Alfa are crap, but I cant see any of the above being a good rain setup. The Datsun has way too much power for street tires in a race use, and the GTV lacks a LSD and tires that really stick. I guess it will come down to weather I want to hate life and freeze in the roadster (and still be way slow) or be as slow or a little slower but be warm and dry in the Alfa.
I've read all the posts, considered my options, and I still cant make up my mind. I'm leaning toward the Bilstein/koni combo, but I really don't know.

Will
 

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There are a lot of threads, and I do mean a lot of threads, regarding Spider suspension mods that cover this subject well, so I would encourage you to a search. Anyway, I'll offer a short opinion...

My favorite set-up are the Ward and Deane springs, and Centerline springs have the exact same specs. I run W&D springs in my '84, with OEM shocks, and a chassis stiffener. The car sits noticeably lower than stock, but it absorbs the NYC bumps like a luxury Mercedes. It also doesn't bottom out any more and the nose dive is gone. The first set of W&D springs were installed in this car in the late '80s, and I replaced them with a fresh set this past summer. My '87 has a similar set-up, using Centerline springs, which are the same as the W&D.

Enrique, The IAP springs are a bit stiffer than the Centerline springs. It's paramount that a spring be matched with a proper shock. IAP springs work well with Bilsteins, as the Bilsteins are stiff. If you go with IAP/Bilstein you should be very happy. (They also won't let the car bottom out, eliminate the nose dive, and provide a much nicer ride.) If you go with the Centerline springs, then use the Koni shocks. If you go with Centerline springs and Bilsteins shocks you will probably find that the shock is to stiff for the spring which translates into a harsh ride.

Best regards,
Did you notice any appreciable difference after the recent spring package replacement? I had the W&D street package upgrade (incl RE sway bar) in 1986. (They also produced a race suspension package as did Shankle.) W&D installed red Spax shocks with it. I assume they matched these shocks to the springs for the 69SV and my driving preferences (spirited touring). It still seems tight. As you know, tires make a big difference in the package as I learned recently with some undersized 185/60 Yoki ES-100's (good for track or slalom and very harsh and low) versus some 195/65 Yoki AVID H4S's now (more forgiving, less noise and less harsh). I'll be going through my suspension in '08 and would like to know if spring replacement on only about 20k miles would make a difference. Shock info is appreciated also. Tks.
 

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Did you notice any appreciable difference after the recent spring package replacement? I had the W&D street package upgrade (incl FE sway bar) in 1986. (They also produced a race suspension package as did Shankle.) W&D installed red Spax shocks with it. I assume they matched these shocks to the springs for the 69SV and my driving preferences (spirited touring). It still seems tight. As you know, tires make a big difference in the package as I learned recently with some undersized 185/60 Yoki ES-100's (good for track or slalom and very harsh and low) versus some 195/65 Yoki AVID H4S's now (more forgiving, less noise and less harsh). I'll be going through my suspension in '08 and would like to know if spring replacement on only about 20k miles would make a difference. Shock info is appreciated also. Tks.
Yes, I did notice a difference immediately. The car was tighter over the bumps, and that was a surprise to me, because my car already absorbed the bumps very nicely. Over time, the W&D springs had lost a bit of their stiffness. (I don't think I would be changing springs at 20k mi., unless you've had them for years. Time does affect springs.) The reason I replaced them is because I noticed that one of my rear springs was a touch lower than the other one. I use the "street springs". The only difference between the street and race springs is the height. The race springs are shorter, and therefore stiffer. I use my stock front sway bar, but I do have the slightly heavier W&D rear bar. I prefer the OEM shocks with the W&D, and will be changing them this summer. (It's also time. I'll post the choice I make, when I decide. Spax were always a good choice.) IMO, the 195/65 Yokohamas Avid H4S are the best tires for a street Spider, and while not a "sticky tire", they don't disappoint in an autocross.

Best regards,
 

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I originally got the IAP sport spring and koni red shock package back in spring of 2003 but didn't get their recommended bigger rear sway bar that they recommended. I later switch out the koni reds for koni yellows. I found out that the koni reds were more of a replacement shock for tthe stock shocks and I thought the yellow's would be able to properely damper the IAP 1,200 lb front springs (2 x stiffer then the stock spring) better.

I haven't check but is IAP recommending Bilsteins with their sport springs now? Back in 2003 they were recommending koni reds with their springs. If so that supports what I heard about the koni reds/IAP sport springs?

There is a thread somewhere on the BB that goes over advertised spring rates and actual spring rates. In that thread they had the IAP front springs at 900 lbs vs the 1,200 lbs they advertised and the other vender's springs had different actual rates vs advertised rates too.

To confused the matter more others did the math with the number coils (active coils) and thickness of the coils and came up with more conflicting rates but did confirm the IAP 1,200 lb front spring rate?

IMO pick one vender and buy their recommended package (springs, shocks and bars) don't mix and match suspension packages from several venders.
 

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Since we're on the topic,has anyone purchased the B&G Sport springs that Caribou Import sells?I was given some a while back( brand new in box)and am wondering if anyone has installed them on a spider and what shocks were used
 

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Jason,

I haven't looked at the thread you mention in a while, but if you take springs that are exactly the same in every aspect except the height, because they have different number of coils, then they will have a different spring rate. The spring with more "active" coils will have a lower rate (softer), and the spring with less "active" coils will have a higher rate (stiffer).

Think of it this way. You have a very tall spring (many coils), and you push down on it. Between each coil, there is an amount of space that you will be able to compress by applying the force. With a lot of coils, there are a lot of little areas that you can compress. If you were to compress an exact same spring, but one that has less coils, there would be less number of little areas that would compress. (I hope this makes some sense... :confused:)

The Ward and Deane "street (sport)" and "race" springs do share the same material, wire diameter, mean spring diameter, etc., but they don't have the same number of coils. The "race" springs have less coils, are shorter and therefore, also stiffer.

Alan Ward from Ward and Deane racing is still around and he still sells his suspensions. (If you would like Alan's number, please send me a PM.) When I took of my old W&D "street (sport)" springs and placed them next to the new set, they were the same. I must also mention the following. The sport springs that Centerline sells have the same specs that the W&D have. They are yellow in color.

I must also say that there are several combinations that work well. For example, after many years of resisting ('cause sport springs lowered the car too much) a good friend of mine finally installed IAP springs with Bilstein shocks. He came around in a roundabout way. He found an incredible deal on Bilstein shocks, which he loves in his other cars. At the price he got he figured that if he didn't like him he could still re-sell them and actually make money. (It really was an incredible price.) Well, since he had the shocks he figured it was time to replace the springs on his Spider anyway, so he made a couple of calls. The only supplier that stated that the Bilsteins would work with their springs was IAP. (Centerline correctly told him that their springs are too soft for the Bilsteins.) He took a chance on the IAP springs and it do lower the car. He took the car out for a ride, and he didn't quite like how they felt. They were stiff. After a week of on/off driving the springs, shocks, etc. settled and felt great. He mentioned that even while lower the car never bottoms out. Every time I speak with him he tells me how happy he's with his new found suspension and how much more they are taking the Spider out on short and long trips. He kicks himslef for not having done this sooner, as many of the roads we encounter in the NJ and NY area are not very good, and stock Spiders bottom out and bounce horribly giving the feeling that they are going to fall apart when going over a bump.

Best regards,
 

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check it out! it's a good one.

i'm still curious to hear if your old W&D springs were different lengths, side to side, when you took them off.

-jason
WA, USA
Actually I went back and looked, and yes I had seen that thread... it is a good one.

I did mean to answer your question... Side by side, the new and old W&D "street (sport)" springs were the same length. There was an ever so slight difference in one of the springs, but you would have to look close. I actually haven't disposed of the springs yet, but don't ever intend to re-use them. They look great and could fool you into thinking they are perfect, but I could immediately tell the difference when I drove with the new ones.

Best regards,
 

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huh! that's really interesting. i'm pretty surprised; i would have thought that high-quality performance springs would not have sagged or creeped (crept?) over time. thanks, Enrique.

-jason
WA, USA
When we placed the springs side by side, three were exact and one was off a little, so we measured... Keep in mind that we are talking something like a 1/4 inch in overall height, for springs that were used over 15 years in not such very good roads, especially during the years that the car was used for a daily commute into NYC... (I didn't keep track of the mileage, but it was well over 100k.)

Best regards,
 
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