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Lowering suspension by Fierotom86
Started on: 02-12-2015 04:12 PM
Replies: 13 (381 views)
Last post by: tebailey on 02-13-2015 06:49 PM
Fierotom86
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Report this Post02-12-2015 04:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierotom86Click Here to Email Fierotom86Send a Private Message to Fierotom86Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I do not post often on this site, but I need some experts opinions-- What is the best way to lower the suspension on my 86 SE? I would like to lower it about 1 inch- for looks , not for performance. The suspension is stock right now. I do not race my Fiero, I use it as a weekend cruising machine. I have looked at lowering springs, drop ball joints, front knuckles and frankly I am confused by all the claims and counter claims. I don't want to ruin the handling of the car, but I would like the look of lowering the car about 1". It seems to me that lowering springs seem to do the least "damage" and are the easiest to install. What do you say?? What is my best option?

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Tom StJohn
86 Red SE

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Bloozberry
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Report this Post02-12-2015 04:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BloozberrySend a Private Message to BloozberryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
For the '84-'87, there is no choice other than lowering springs for the rear unless you're into cradle modifications and custom fabrication. For the front, this is the summary of the differences in choices:

1. cut springs: worst impact on stock handling, least cost (alignment $50)

2. drop springs: worst impact on stock handling, mid-range cost (springs $50 each, alignment $50);

3. tall lower ball joints: some impact on stock handling, mid-range cost (ball joints $70/pr, alignment $50);

4. drop spindles: improved handling, highest cost (spindles $550/pr for front, alignment $50)

Edit to add: some will state that they haven't noticed any impact on handling when using lowered springs, but this is subjective. While it is true that many people will not notice a difference, that does not mean that there isn't one. For an objective, technical assessment, visit my thread starting here: www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum3/HTML/000116-12.html . Although the discussion centers around the '88 suspension, the impact would be similar on the earlier suspensions.

[This message has been edited by Bloozberry (edited 02-12-2015).]

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Fiero Vampire
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Report this Post02-12-2015 05:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fiero VampireSend a Private Message to Fiero VampireEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Not sure but don't you also have to replace the upper ball joints as well to the adjustable ones or is that actually necessary?
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tebailey
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Report this Post02-12-2015 07:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for tebaileyClick Here to Email tebaileySend a Private Message to tebaileyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I took the cheap way out and cut a coil. Also had to shorten the bump stops, but that dropped the 1" I needed. Little more work but doesn't seem to ride or handle any different, but sits 1" lower. You do need a cutoff wheel and a welder though.
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Neils88
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Report this Post02-12-2015 07:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Neils88Click Here to Email Neils88Send a Private Message to Neils88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by tebailey:

I took the cheap way out and cut a coil. Also had to shorten the bump stops, but that dropped the 1" I needed. Little more work but doesn't seem to ride or handle any different, but sits 1" lower. You do need a cutoff wheel and a welder though.


Out of interest, what is the welder for?
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Toontown Fiero
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Report this Post02-12-2015 08:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Toontown FieroSend a Private Message to Toontown FieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I dropped my 86 SE. I rebuilt the front suspension completely with poly and all new ball joints and tie rods. I got 1 inch lowering balljoints. Had to elongate the upper ball joint hole in the upper control arm so I could get proper camber. I did not notice any negative handling issues with these ball joints. I've put on about 5,000 spirited km with them. The front springs are a real bear to get back into the control arm if you decide to remove them in order cut them or install lowering ones. The lowering ball joints remove that issue.

I lowered the back by cutting one coil out of the factory spring. At the top two coils almost lay on top of eachother so putting it back together I couldn't see any issues. Again, no ill effects. The car didn't burst into flames and I didn't go cartwheeling off the road in a dust cloud.

Later on I installed new struts on the back and decided to build my own coil-overs. I dropped it probably at least another inch from where the original cut springs had it. Building your own coil-overs is easy to do. Can get all the pieces you need from summit or somewhere similar and step by step guides are on here somewhere.
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JCircs
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Report this Post02-12-2015 08:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JCircsClick Here to Email JCircsSend a Private Message to JCircsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I tried new springs with Monroe shocks all around, ride was much improved over the old 87 gt setup. I then replaced the springs with the Elbach lowering springs, looked good but ride was a little ruff. Now I have the Held coilovers in the rear and the ride is way better then anything I've tried so far.... FYI
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hnthomps
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Report this Post02-12-2015 08:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hnthompsClick Here to Email hnthompsSend a Private Message to hnthompsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I went the route of using 1" lowering ball joints and rear coil overs on several cars and have been satisfied with the results. I also used lowering springs on one vehicle. Based on my personal experience I would not use lowering springs again since it is so hard to control the actual drop distance. The coil overs are at least adjustable on the rear.

Nelson
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Steven Snyder
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Report this Post02-13-2015 02:08 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Steven SnyderClick Here to visit Steven Snyder's HomePageClick Here to Email Steven SnyderSend a Private Message to Steven SnyderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Neils88:


Out of interest, what is the welder for?


Welding the bump stop back on after shortening it
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tebailey
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Report this Post02-13-2015 03:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for tebaileyClick Here to Email tebaileySend a Private Message to tebaileyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I shortened the bump stop mounts, that meant cutting and welding the cones.
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Ponnari
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Report this Post02-13-2015 04:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PonnariSend a Private Message to PonnariEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
84-87 For the best results at a reasonable price I recommend using Rodney Dickmans 1" lowering Ball joints (on lower) and His adjustable ball joints on the upper. Leave the springs alone, you will be much happier! Done this several times. 84-87 For the rear, use coil overs. very inexpensive, see thread here on PFF's. Ive done this mod numerous times also with great results.

84-87 DYI Rear Coil Overs

Of course the best way for the front is lowered spindals, but very $$$$

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"Because in a split second, It's gone"
Ayrton Senna

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Neils88
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Report this Post02-13-2015 05:08 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Neils88Click Here to Email Neils88Send a Private Message to Neils88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Steven Snyder:


Welding the bump stop back on after shortening it


Makes sense. I figured most people cut them in place...but I've honestly never even looked at mine. I'll be lowering mine soon, so this has been a great thread for info!
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fieroguru
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Report this Post02-13-2015 06:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroguruSend a Private Message to fieroguruEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Neils88:
Makes sense. I figured most people cut them in place...but I've honestly never even looked at mine. I'll be lowering mine soon, so this has been a great thread for info!


The 84-87s have to cut/weld a metal sleeve to shorten the front bump stops. The 88's can just cut the rubber bumper down (theirs are bolt on as well).
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tebailey
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Report this Post02-13-2015 06:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for tebaileyClick Here to Email tebaileySend a Private Message to tebaileyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I did cut the springs in place, found out real quick that the metal stop towers had to be shortened. Still only took less than an hour to cut and shorten the towers. Die grinder with a cut off wheel made quick work of them. One other note, DO NOT use a torch to cut the springs.
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