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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I would post a pic of the proper suspension stance for the Spider. The US models were "tampered" with to meet DOT bumper height (see pic of the Spider on the Home page..) and it seriously affects the handling of our cars. I had no idea until I installed the Alfaholics Fast Road rebuild package and lowered my car off the jacks. Wow! Is it supposed to sit like this? The answer is yes and it transforms the handling of the car.
 

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I replaced my springs toward the end of last year with a kit from Classic Alfa. I was concerned about the gap in the front vs the rear but from what I read, as well as this, it confirms it is spot on. It definitely feels better!
 

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There’s a nearly infinite number of options in this.

Over the years the Spider grew heavier, leading Alfa to stiffen the springs in response. Plus, front spring pans ended up with at least two different depths, and Alfa also added shims in both front and rear to tweak things. In addition to those good intentions, the US implemented headlight and bumper height standards, forcing regretable compromises.

So, I’d avoid trying to simplify one’s understanding down to the four options of S1, 2, 3, or 4.

I just completed a typical suspension renewal on a 78 S2. I used the Eibach variable rate springs from Classic Alfa, and Red Konis on full soft. I also renewed the trailing link arm bushings in the rear. I normally do all of the front wear components as well, but this car has 67K, and enough clearly-fresh components up front to convince me the PO took care of this before his death 10+ years ago.

Under my policy of “first, do no harm”, I left the original pans and shims in place, as well as the rear sway bar installed. I was prepared to test drive, measure, and adjust, as necessary.

The car has been transformed. I’ve not yet measured things, but to my eyes the height and balance look perfect.

Different than the Alfaholics kit I used on my Montreal, the ride height is suitable for real-world roads. Speed bumps do not have to be renamed as “abandon all hope barriers”.

The variable rate springs handle bumps and roughness with a smooth respect for my rump, but any turn-loads result in quick, sure-footed, firmness.

When I bought this car a few months ago, I installed a new set of CN36 tires.

Without question, this is the lightest steering Alfa I’ve owned since my 1965 Sprint GT. The Montreal would out-corner, but I ended up selling it as I didn’t often have the will to subject myself to its single-minded aggressiveness. I’m enjoying this car enough that it has become my go-to DD, rather than my 09 Mazda 6 Grand Touring. Even on sub-freezing mornings.
 

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DPeterson3 would you be kind enough to measure the distance from the front and rear mid fender wells to the ground as the car sits without occupants? The data would be greatly appreciated. Mike
 

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I’ll do it tomorrow.
 

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Best way to improve handling without compromising ride is standard springs , Koni reds (half fat front, off rear) remove rear ARB, fit thicker front ARB with uprated bushes, replace T bar bush (to diff) with poly, renew all other bushes with standard rubber apart from caster arm bush (poly) and finally fit some classic Pirelli's CN36, to be honest the tyres made the biggest difference
 

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In our world of Alfa hobby, we often fall into using non-quantified descriptions. “Improve”. “Better”. “More refined”. Often, it is the best we can do, but in the end, one’s subjective impressions may be different when experienced by another.

if we were really seeking to perfect our own driving experience, we would buy all of the options and try them to see what best suited . Not many will do this.

I’ve observed in both cars and airplanes that an owner who has just spent $2,000 for suspension components, or $15,000 for a new propeller, will proclaim the vast improvement. In truth, very few of us want to spend that kind of money and admit things got worse.

My point?

Try to quantify your goals before you buy or modify. Be wary of inexperienced opinions.

For example...

Many recommend removing the rear sway bar and stiffening the front Konis. Why?

Removing the rear bar, and/or increasing the thickness of the front bar will increase the understeer, or “push”. I may choose to do this when my idiot teenage grandson starts driving, as it is a more conservative approach to handling. There will be less tendency for the rear end to break loose. For now, I’m enjoying the quick turn-in and sense that I can use the incipient rear-end drift to increase the thrill in spirited driving. Two different missions.

As for stiffening Konis...

Shocks are not well used to transfer loads into the chassis. The vast preponderance of resistance is in rebound, not compression. The “rate” of rebound resistance should be matched to the spring rate and local loading. Any more will simply cause that corner to return to its static height less quickly than desired. Koni did/does a fine job of calculating and testing this for shocks they specify for a car. My personal recommendation, and Koni’s, is to use Reds, at full soft,with stock springs. Yellows on full soft with typical race springs.

The Eibachs are a variable rate design. Soft for the first several mm of compression, then quickly but smoothly stiffer. Good ride, but firmer cornering. Stock, and most sporting spring are not variable rate. Choose your tool to suit your use.
 

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I’ve observed in both cars and airplanes that an owner who has just spent $2,000 for suspension components, or $15,000 for a new propeller, will proclaim the vast improvement. In truth, very few of us want to spend that kind of money and admit things got worse.
Well said.
The most appropriate suspension setup depends upon driving style and the kind of roads that are driven. My setup is different from the two previous posts and that is what works best for me after installing modified steering knuckles and trying different springs, dampers and settings,anti-roll bars and tire brands and sizes over a 20 year period. I drive fast on bumpy roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Everything in life is a compromise. You will never find, or build, a vehicle that does everything well. When I want comfort I drive the Camry. When I am working I drive the truck whether I need the bed that day or not. That is just what you do. When I need thrill, danger, and speed to the limits of my ability i ride one of the motorcycles. When I bought the Alfa it was because it was purpose built with the raw, feel the drive, European sports car. Compared to today's sports cars, even the economy cars, it is not fast or comfortable but those others dont have the genuine feel or class of the Alfas. After speaking to Rich at Alfaholics I decided on the Fast Road package because it seemed to fit what I wanted and my driving style. Although I am independent and opinionated I listen to the professionals and those who have learned through experience and trial and error. I am not sure of the root cause of my cars scary oversteer at speed but I surely knew I needed to address the issue. What was it in the package that made such a dramatic difference? Who knows since I made all the changes at once but the improvement was astounding. Corners I had to be on my toes and prepare for the rear end to snap loose I know can take 30 mph faster with absolute stability with no feel of unsure tracking. Does it ride stiffer? Yes. But I dont drive it for a luxury car ride. I left the Koni yellows at the soft setting as he suggested and at this point I see no reason to change it unless I head to Thunderhill which may very likely happen in the future.
Just suit yourself on what you want, how you drive, and what you expect from your driving experience. There is no perfect formula for everyone.
 

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Well said.
The most appropriate suspension setup depends upon driving style and the kind of roads that are driven. My setup is different from the two previous posts and that is what works best for me after installing modified steering knuckles and trying different springs, dampers and settings,anti-roll bars and tire brands and sizes over a 20 year period. I drive fast on bumpy roads.

You are in Columbia... all the roads are bumpy 🤣
 

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It is a pity that we lost the edit feature in the "upgrade".
Add to post #8, it also depends upon the state of tune of your engine. Oversteer may not be much of a problem with a stock motor that puts out no more than 90 RWHP but it is a real problem with more torque since the rear is so light on these cars. That is when removing the rear sway bar, fitting fatter tires, etc makes a big improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
There is an edit Ed. The 3 dots in the upper right corner. I assume that this engine is stock but some things point to upgrades from PO, euro exhaust manifold,etc. The new engine and tranny are sitting here right now, ready for the swap and neither are stock.
 

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There is a general misunderstanding about Koni Red and Yellow dampers. At full soft they are almost identical but yellows have a greater range of adjustment. Al Mitchell "Reale" has posted curves obtained from his shock testing setup.
SPAX have an even greater range than Koni yellows and they are easy to adjust with a screwdriver. Konis are a bit of a pain to adjust.
 

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There is an edit Ed. The 3 dots in the upper right corner
Thanks for that. I suppose that it is intuitive to people half my age.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If I was half your age you would be 130.....
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I did get the 1" lowering springs..... oh, BTW, that pic in the first post is not mine, that is a pic provided by Alfaholics. Mine looks lower than the one in the pic....
 

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Lowering the car did not improve the handling, replacing tired old springs and shocks did.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Not lowering the car per se but getting the overly high, spacered rear suspension out of the air had a part to play in the improvement. Well documented problem that presents itself with pronounced oversteer. . Did someone say lowering the car caused the improved handling? Did I miss something?
 
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