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Coilovers? Never had them

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  • Coilovers? Never had them

    So the abarth threw up a mini sh1t list at the nct, chief among which is a leaking rear shock.
    Being a full duck or no dinner kinda guy I immediately started thinking of a blistering b8 upgrade to go with the H&R lowering springs fitted as the crashy ride has been pissing me off of late.

    cant be got but the other upgrade cos your worth it option is bilstein b12 coilovers.

    Will they be harsher than oem?
    I can’t be arsed adjusting stuff more than once or twice, easy enough to find the ride/handling sweet spot.

    Feels like a bit of a box to tick and not many options so try and talk me out of it basically.
    I might throw in an fmic into the order just to tick another box I should have done in my younger days

  • #2
    This kit?


    Don't be disappointed that the rears are not coilovers. 😉

    It's not possible to fit coilovers to the rear beam of an Abarth without doing lots of bespoke one-off custom engineering.

    I think the term coilovers became mainstream during the 90s Max Power tuning scene, but technically any damper with the spring around it is a coilover. So that's most cars with MacPherson strut suspension since the 60s, as the coil is over the damper.

    Having said all that what you need to establish from existing owners is whether the B12 option is good for 500/595 etc
    You may discover some randomer out there who has tried lots of permutations including B12 dampers with H&R springs. It happens.


    • #3
      Personally I wouldn't if it was my car. To enjoy god's roads in the West you need progressive springs and progressive dampers. That B12 kit (with B8 dampers) has shorter travel firmer dampers, and likely shorter stiffer springs similar to the H&R you have.
      I also don't think they're adjustable but didn't bother looking too close.


      • #4
        For what its worth I ran a B12 kit on my old Audi A6 and it was so much nicer than the Sline suspension in both comfort and handling


        • #5
          A friend of mine had them in his 500, although I was never in it it always looked a bit “bouncy” on the road. In saying that I couldn’t shake him in my 530d on a backroad. He would be critical of suspension and was of the opinion it would go around corners quite well.
          Poor punctuation and spelling via iPhone keyboard & odd words here and there via autocorrect


          • #6
            I've only had coilovers on one car but I absolutely loved them. I had Vmaxx coilovers on my 2002 SEAT Ibiza TDi Sport (FR, so reasonably light, warm hatch type affair).

            Vmaxx sounds very Max Power but they are actually mid-spec, reasonable quality. Nowhere near Bilstein but better than your average JOM (or so the marketing suggests).

            In my Ibiza they were firm but progressive. From factory, these cars could be quite crashy so I actually found the coilovers improved the ride greatly. It wasn't a Rolls Royce like but I enjoy firm but compliant suspension. It was savage craic on a backroad.

            I think a lot of these coilovers get a bad rap because you can't adjust pre-load without adjusting ride height. The fellas who you see absolutely decked have the shortest travel and the 'softest' spring settings. The solution: set them somewhere in the middle, where they have good preload but a slightly lowered ride height.

            My Ibiza was a good bit lower than standard but there was 10-20mm of arch gap. I never bottomed out anywhere or had any rubbing or anything. In other words, if you set them up well and take everything in moderation I think you'll like them. I should point out, I drive slowly over speedbumps and am quite mechanically sympathetic.

            As mentioned above. Many European cars have a 'divorced' rear spring/shock setup. When I say coilovers, I basically mean suspension that I can adjust (even though the front are the only true 'coil-over-shock').

            Also, look at the likes of BC Racing; these are not progressive springs (all coils are the same), and compare to Vmaxx which are progressive springs (coils not equally spaced). Please correct me if I'm wrong fellas but the progressive ones are considered more suitable to road use whereas the non-progressives are more predictable on track yes?

            Finally (apologies for the essay), one big advantage of coilovers is that you have 4 new springs and shocks- personally I found this alone was a big improvement over the 160k mile scrap it replaced (although obviously you pay for this luxury).

            EDIT: just had a look at that wee link Deltona posted there. I may have gotten the wrong end of the stick, apologies! I would describe the kit in Deltona's link as a 'lowering kit'. I.e. Lowering spring with matching, uprated dampers. Whereas 'coilovers' to me would be adjustable (again, as others mentioned this is a colloquial use of the term and not technically accurate).
            Last edited by Aontroim; 17-06-2022, 06:19 PM.


            • #7
              Thanks lads, clear as fcukin mud so....
              I'm a big believer in sticking with stuff that just works, hence the initial search for Bilstein B8 that were great on the Evo & VRS.

              So you'd hope the B12's wouldn't be too different and as Aontroim says they'll be all shiney and new so at least some of the rattles should disappear.

              Like a lot of stuff these days its what you can get rather than what you want , followed by price be damned!


              • #8
                What dampers have you been running with the H&R springs up until now?


                • #9
                  Well its only on 85k miles so they could be original oem....OR given the mad list of mods on it when purchased they could be anything, but the weeping suggests more likely the former.


                  • #10
                    Have a bilstein height adjustable kit on the E36 - it’s exceptionally refined to be honest, relatively speaking. Rebound isn’t too severe and I haven’t got it sitting on its sump - but in most driving conditions it feels just like the bilstein B4 / eibach pro-kit combo I replaced.

                    Only time I can notice a difference is over ramps.


                    • #11
                      This brand ( https://www.kwsuspensions.co.uk/mini ) get my vote, I have the KW's on the track car and they are a fantastic piece of kit. Stainless steel where required and excellent ride quality. For what its worth, I had coilovers on a few cars and here is my thoughts on them.

                      1995 MR2 from Japan, came with very high spec coilovers - Would only function above 80mph, anything below that and the bones would be rattled out of you on Irish roads, above that it was sublime.

                      1991 GT4 Celica, BC Coilovers, not happy at all still trying to source standard setup as OEM would be faster on the roads and more capable of taking the bumps and humps.

                      1999 Toyota MRS (Trackcar) Knew from opening the box and the location of ABS backet, brake pipe brackets etc these were a different standard. All lined up perfectly with standard and they have performed excellently since purchase.

                      My advice get a kit with plenty of travel, the correct spring and rebound rating for your use in the west, don't mind the slammed look, you travel faster and safer when not hitting the bump stops. Granted I have no experience of minis.

                      Happy Shopping.

                      If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


                      • #12
                        Interesting thread. When I was looking to replace the super soft comfy standard suspension on my SX, I also have the quandary of shocks/ springs or a "coilover" kit. But I had never been in a car (at that time) with "coil overs" that wouldn't break your back or rattle your fillings out of your teeth. And also I didn't want a bazzillion settings to be fluting around with for eternity. So that ruled them out for me.
                        I just wanted a fit and forget upgrate, no fluting about and usable on real roads. So I went with NISMO shocks and springs.

                        In the last few years friends have had "coilovers" on their Beemers and they were not filling rattlers. Actually nice. So I don't know. Maybe they have come on over the years, or maybe the older ones were more track orientated. But unfortunatly they are too dear of a thing to just give them a shot a see. So see if you can get a ride in a car with what you are interested in. And an actual ride, because I heard before "the coilovers are great, very comformy on the road and amazing on track". And then when I get a ride, I would be thinking "Fuk me this suspension is harsh! Comfy my hole!"
                        We all stood around in a circle naked, thrusting our clinched fists in the air screaming "Jap Power!!"


                        • #13
                          Back in the day the tried and tested route was koni shocks with eibach or in your case Foyler the H&R springs!


                          • #14
                            I'm another one who never understood what 'coilovers' meant in the car- world, and still not sure. Speaking also as somebody who fkt up the choice of springs for my original Elise, and ended up with a horrendously stiff and overly crashy ride - I feel your pain Foyler

                            If I were in your shoes, I'd have a good look to see what all has been done to the car that might have made the ride stiffer and crashier - before you splash out on anything else. e.g. Whether the spring rates on it have been changed from standard/if it's been fitted with stiffer engine mount bushes/whether it's running on tyres that are exceptionally low profile and with a stiffer tyre-wall. Any of those will make the ride less compliant, and possibly a right PITA on anything but super smooth tarmac.

                            Not much point really in forking out for a new high-spec set of dampers if they're possibly not going to work well with whatever springs are on it.

                            edit: Anybody down your way who could give it the once over, see whether the springs and dampers already on it aren't too stiff for the roads out Wescht ? You'd probably be much better off with a proper rally-sprung setup than some slammed tarmac-hugging townie-spec poseur thang..
                            Last edited by -alan-; 18-06-2022, 03:29 PM.


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