True Coilover Suspension Install
Below is a step by step explaination of how I installed a coilover suspension package on my 1995 Eclipse GS. I removed the stock springs and struts, which had @160,000 miles on them, and replaced them with D2 Racing Sports Coilover setup pictured below.
More info on this setup can be found here. A good place to purchase this setup is here.
As you can see in the picture above, included in the package are:
- 1 instruction manual and 2 stickers
- 2 rear coilovers (green)(7kg./mm., 392lb./in. spring rate)
- 2 front coilovers (pink)(12kg./mm., 672lb./in. spring rate)
- 2 spring perch adjusting tools (white)
- 4 damper adjusting allen keys (red)
- 2 brake line mounts with rubber grommets (not used)
- 1 partridge in a pear tree (bird flew away and tree died)
- Jack Stands
- Metric Sockets (14mm and 17mm)
- 14mm Deep Socket
- Socket Wrench
- Torque Wrench (28 ft.lbs.-71 ft.lbs. range)
- 14mm Open End Wrench
- 17mm Open or Box End Wrench (or additional 17mm Socket and Wrench)
- Penetrating Oil Spray (especially if this is the first time your suspension has been touched)
- Philips Screwdriver
Rear Stock Suspension Removal
I chose to begin by removing the rear suspension due to it being less involved. It is also a good way to get your feet wet if your new to suspensions like myself. First,loosen the rear wheel lugs, jack up the rear of the car, stabilize with jack stands, and remove the rear wheels. Next, pop your trunk and remove the strut tower covers for the rear suspension as pictured below. They are held on by two Philips screws.
Remove the black dust cap. This will expose the two 14mm nuts that hold the upper strut mount in place. This is where the 14mm deep socket comes into play. Use it to just loosen these two nuts. Now, the top of the rear suspension is loose and it's time to tackle the bottom. Pictured below is the single 17mm bolt that stands in our way.
Remove this bolt and washer, and set it aside. Lift up on the rear hub slightly and you should be able to slide the lower eye of the strut off of its mount. Finally, go back to those top nuts you loosened earlier. Use one hand to hold the suspension, the other to remove the nuts completely, and the suspension can be lowered right out.
Coilover Adjustment Details
As you can see in the above picture, the coilover body is made up of a few parts. There are may ways that you can tune your setup to your particular likes and/or needs. I found a very helpful document on the web that can be viewed here, that goes in depth on alot of the options and adjustments. I chose to not set a "pre-load" on my springs. I just snugged the spring perch up to the bottom of the spring and locked it into place there. As far as the height adjustment, I decided to screw the sleeve 20 turns onto the shock body, measured the coilover length, adjusted form there to make both in each pair the same, and installed. When it came to the damper adjustment, my coilovers have 36 different settings. For the fronts, I have them set right in the middle, at 18. For the rears, I have them set at 9.
Rear Coilover Install
Installing the rear coilover is just as easy as it was to remove the stock setup. Before I did this, however, I took the time while the wheel well was empty to clean it and spray some rubber coating in there. Just my preference. Anyway, getting back to the coilover, after you have decided on your spring preload and your sleeve height, you are ready to install. Slide the top mount into the body holes and hand tighten the top mount nuts. My coilovers didn't come with new nuts or bolts so I had to reuse my stockers.
At this point, you may need to lift up on the hub to meet the coilover eye mount with the rear knuckle suspension mount. When you do, go ahead and insert the 17mm bolt you removed earlier and torque that down to 71 ft.lbs.
Now, go back to those upper nuts and torque them down to 32 ft.lbs.
Repeat the above steps on the opposite side and you should have a complete coilover setup in the rear.
Front Stock Suspension Removal
Removal and installation of the front suspension components is slightly more involoved as compared to the rear. However, don't be intimidated because it's all laid out for you right here. To begin with, you will be raising the front of the car and removing the wheels just like you did for the rear. Also, similar is the loosening of the top strut mount nuts except that this time around there are three to loosen. I recommend just breaking them loose, and you'll see why later.
Next, you want to remove the stabilizer link mounting nut. This is where we introduce the 14mm open end wrench. You use the wrench on the rear side of the damper fork, on the stabilizer link where it has a bolt head surface, as a lock while you turn the 14mm stabilizer link nut with a socket wrench or 14mm box end wrench. (FYI, I have been informed by other members that not all years have the 14mm bolt head surface on the inside of the stabilizer link.)
After you remove the nut, you can remove the stabilizer link from the damper fork mounting hole and position it to the side. Your next move is to loosen the damper fork to strut mounting bolt. You don't have to remove it, just loosen it enough so that you can eventually separate it from the shock absorber.
On to the bottom mount of the damper fork. This is made up of a 17mm bolt held on with a washer and a 17mm nut. Break this loose and remove the bolt. You are probably still going to have pressure from the suspension, so once the bolt is removed, the whole suspension may extend.
Finally your last hurdle is to now separate the damper fork from the shock absorber. What I did was gently pushed down on the hub assembly while pushing up on the shock absorber to pull it out of the damper fork. Once you have them separated, remove the damper fork and set it aside. Lastly, grip the shock absorber with one hand, remove the top mount nuts, and remove the assembly just as you did in the rear.
Front Coilover Install
Installation of the front coilovers begins by installing just the coilover assembly minus the stock damper fork into the body top mount and hand tightening the top mount nuts. You can then install the damper fork by gently pressing down on the hub and inserting the bottom of the coilover sleeve into the top of the fork. Once this is done, get your jack, topped off with a piece of wood, and jack up the front hub just enough to hold the damper fork fully seated to the bottom of the coilover sleeve so you can torque your mounting bolt to between 65 and 87 ft.lbs.
Sorry for the poor picture of the mounting bolt, but it is back there. You can remove your jack and proceed onto the next step. Insert the stabilizer link back into the mounting hole on the damper fork. Reinstall the nut, remembering to lock the link arm with your 14mm open end wrench, and torque it down to 28 ft.lbs.
Again, not the best picture, but you get the idea. Now that you've completed that, grab that 17mm bolt and mount the bottom of the damper fork to the lower control arm. Attach the washer and nut, however
don't torque them down just yet. They need the full weight of the car on them before the torque can be applied. So let's move back up to the top mounts and torque them down. 32 ft.lbs. does the trick.
So we are now coming down the home stretch. Just repeat on the other side and then your fronts will be close to done. Pretty much all we have left to do is put the wheels back on and torque those lower damper fork mounting bolts. I happened to be doing an oil change right after the coilovers, so I popped my wheels back on, lowered the car off the jackstands and drove it up onto ramps. From there I had easy access to the mounting bolts and took care of the torque aspect.
When all nuts and bolts have been torqued and triple checked, it is a good idea to break out the tape measure and check the distance from the center of your wheel straight up to the highest point of your fender arch. Make sure that both fronts are the same as well as both rears being the same. From that point, get an alignment. My camber is out .9 degrees in the front and out 2 degrees in the rear, so I am now looking into the camber mod and other options.
When it comes to the ride, it is soo much different that my stock suspension. I don't know the condition of my stock setup, but with all the miles logged on it, i'm sure it was in really bad shape. The coilovers are firm yet with all the damper settings, I have been able to find settings that suit me and my driving style perfectly. I hope others will find this write-up half as helpful as this resource 2gnt.com has been to me!
contributed by Matthew Kaufman a.k.a. DirtMegirt
Last modified on 2007-06-15 09:00:03