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Old 08-05-2013, 11:48 AM
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Harsh ride, coil spring question

'38 Willys 2DR Sedan with Fatman/TCI has about 6 coils supporting the Front End. The ride is harsh and beating up the FE sheetmetal. Spring diameter is about 9/16s. After reading about coils it seems like the coils may have been cut too short causing a real strong spring rate. Would it be best to install lighter springs without the need to cut off as much providing a softer ride. Car weight is 1320 front, 1480 rear.

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Old 08-05-2013, 12:04 PM
kso kso is offline
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That's a pretty light car...I'd call FatMan as they should know what kind of spring (and shock...those can make a pretty harsh ride too) should be in there.
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Old 08-06-2013, 02:41 PM
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More info

Well, I dug in to the front end and it turns out it had Monroe 32118 shocks. They were botteming out at the top, upward movement. I couldn't get a finger between the top of the shocks and the mount so every bump in the road caused a hit to the frame of course with a little cush from the rubber bushings. I emailed FatMan and Eaton for recommendations with no response yet.

The ride heigth is about 9" and Speedway offers a special Chrome $$$ Short Shock for 9" ride height, Pro Shocks SM300 however they don't offer a top attachment needed for a Mustang II. It attaches with the threaded shaft instead of a cross bolt. Have an email into them to see if they do have a Mustang II shock format or could congure one up.

BTW, Willys rides like a new car without those shocks, no shocks at all.
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:44 AM
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Bough a solution

Speedway responded suggesting I upgrade to the shocks that were on the car, wrong size. That left me with the shortest ones I culd find, QA1. I called QA1 support and they were very helpfull by suggesting their short shock, MS303, and to buy the threaded shock so I can upgeade to coil over if installing their MS303 isn't short enough for my car. Will install the MS303 when they arrive and see how they work. I may have to raise the ride heigth in order to achieve enough clearence so the shock doesn't bottem out when hitting a bump. Driving without shocks has made the manual rack steering provide a lot of feedback to the steering wheel, may need to install a damper or a power steering next. The steering wheel has always "felt" every larger bump you hit.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:40 PM
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Please let us know how this all works out. Many of us would like a better ride and handling Street Rod.


454 RATTLER
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Old 08-10-2013, 04:58 PM
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Additional scoop

Got QA1 MS303 shocks intending to either install as new shocks OR install with coil overs for a solution.

The QA1 shocks don't fit through the TCI lower A-arms. They hit the inner side of the shock hole, frame side, on the lower A-arms not allowing them to be installed. Discussed with QA1 tech and they said there may be an issue with the aftermarket TCI A-arms not being compatible with the QA1 shocks.

Emailed TCI to see if they have a solution, at this point the QA1 shocks are not any solution, coil or coil over. To use the QA1 shock the shock holes in the lower A-arms would have to be enlarged to accomdate the larger diameter than Monroe QA1 shock.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:12 AM
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Update

Filed the shock holes in the TCI lower A-arms large enough so the QA1 shocks fit. Installed the QA1 shocks and used the old cable tie trick and the QA1 shocks don't bottem out at the top mount. The difference between the Monroe and QA1 shocks is that large rubber bumper on the Monroe shock shaft, the QA1 shocks don't have the rubber bumpers and that adds an inch to available compression travel.

The car rides better with much less banging in the front. The builder of the car indicates he used stock Mustang coils and cut them off to get the heigth he wanted. It seems like the front end is very stiff and suspect the springs are a little too strong for a smooth ride. In our minds ride is more important than apperance.

The next step is to remove the coils and install an appropriate rated coil over spring set. QA1 support has recommended one of their springs based on the weigth of the frontend of the car, minus unsprung weigth, plus passenger weigth and spring it on the soft side for a smoother ride. Having an expert with good tools etc to remove the coils and install the coil overs, the last time I worked on McPhereson struts a spring ended up across the street, no injuries to me or neighbor across the street, lucky but I'm NOT a cat.

Once the coil overs are installed the QA1 shocks may need adjusting to get the shock performance/ride we like. Will also check for needed bumpers to prevent the QA1 shocks from exceeding allowable travel.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:03 AM
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I hope you know you're helping some of the rest of us by posting the progress on your problem. I'll be interested in your opinion of the coil over shocks after they are tested.

Good luck and keep posting.


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Old 08-30-2013, 09:22 AM
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Lets try this to solve your problem...

We can do a bunch of measuring and math to make an educated guess as to what spring rate you should try, or we can start with measuring what your currently have installed and save a bunch of steps.

If you can accurately measure the springs you have on the car I can calculate the spring rate. Once I have that info I can make a educated recommendation as to what rate spring to install.

What I need is the spring wire diameter to the thousandths of an inch (use calipers not a tape measure), the number of free coils on the spring (coils not touching each other when the spring is out of the car) and the height of the spring when it is installed with the car while at ride height.

Give me that info and then we can determine if a stock rate Mustang II spring will likely work, or if you should go with a coil-over spring. Mustang II cars came with several spring rates depending on which engine/trans was installed in the car. V8 cars with auto and air had the stiffest springs while a V6 or 4 cylinder car had lighter springs. If I had to guess now I would suggest putting in the 4 cylinder springs and try those, but if you want to give me your current spring measurements I can make a more informed guess.

Regards,

Andy
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:38 AM
kso kso is offline
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I would hate to take something that was set up for conventional springs (with cups, etc) and go back and re-fit coilovers. Just pull the existing spring out and shop it around for something lighter in comparison.

Btw that rubber doughnut on the Monroe shock is the suspension bump stop. If it doesn't get one there, it needs one somewhere.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:03 PM
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QA1s installed

Installing lighter springs is a good idea but the builder used stock M2 units and cut them to get the rake he wanted, looked good but by cutting the springs the shocks were too close to the top and topped out, no suspension at all. Lighter springs would be the least expensive solution but to get proper height/rake it would take some cutting etc to get proper travel on top of the shock and spring stiffness.

Having not thought of that I installed QA1 adjustable shocks as they have very short barrels and height can be adjusted. The only complexity during the QA1 installation was the lower A-arms were set up with spring perches and the hole was too small to accomodate the larger QA1 coil over springs and adjusting knob on the side of the base of the shock. Used an angle grinder to remove the spring perches from the A-arms and the QA1 shocks fit fine. Adjusted the heigth of the spring base to about 1.5 inch from the bottom of threading on the shock which provided needed top clearance for the shock so they don't top out.

Ride heigth is somewhat higher but it rides without the ratteling because of stiff springs and the shocks topping out from not enough clearence at the top of the shock, basically shocks banging on the frame. It may need more adjusting based on desired 60% available shock compression travel and 40% downward travel, recommended.

Got 'em done in time for the Friday Night Cruise in North Saint Paul, starts this Friday.
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:42 PM
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After you've driven the car for a few weeks, please give us an update. Do you recall who you talked to about the coil over springs ?

My 36 is back in my shop with a B&M shifter problem but will be ready for our weekly cruise on Thursday evening.


454 RATTLER
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:57 PM
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Info

I talked to Zack last fall at QA1 and he no longer works there (is a firefighter) and Dave Kass is the last guy I talked to at QA1. I drove to QA1 to pick up spanner wrenches to adjust the shocks, they should really include the wrenches with the shocks, $15 for the wrenches 1.5 hours to get the wrenches in Lakeville. The wrenches are unique and no parts store has them. The ride is much better, shock travel OK, but fenders still vibrate a little and probably need supports, the builder didn't include any supports other than threaded rod at the back of the fenders. The front fenders on the '38s hang out there and probably need something under to reduce the remaining shake. Maybe some heavy ga aluminum supports with a rubber support, hockey puck shaped to the fender curve, under the fender so it won't need any fastener hole above the wheel well. Something like that might get rid of the remaining vibration. A buddy says drive it and work in the springs will soften them, never heard of that. The springs are on the soft side but seem stiff, maybe 300 lbs of lead on the front end will get the springs working, smooth the ride? Supports first.

The NSP show was very busy. This coming friday's NSP show pulls some cars from Back to the 50's, nice ride from the Fair Grounds to NSP.

Have a good ride wherever it leads.
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:54 AM
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Stock MII springs

When I was an engineer At Ford I printed out the "stock MII spring chart. The factory had 11 different springs, depending on options . the chart showed spring rate, free length , ride heigth, etc. I was mentoring a kid that was into the Mini stock road racing. helping him set up his suspension.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:35 AM
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Update

Got under the car to measure the length of the shocks when at ride heigth. Turns out it's about 3/8" higher than a perfect 60%/40% split, where 60% is upward travel and 40% for downward travel of the shock. So the travel now in the car is probably like 70%/30% without passengers and new coil over springs. We'll be patient and drive it awhile and check again later.

While under there checked the QA1 adjustments and found the shocks were set on the heavy side so they are now set to as soft as they can be, counterclockwise all the way out. That adjustment seems to have softened the ride a bunch, it might be close to dialed in.

On to cooling, it has a mechanical fan with no shroud and a pusher that drains the battery with constant use while driving around at back to the 50's, last year. Adding an air dam and shroud and hoping the mechanical with shroud will cool it at low speeds and the air dam will help at highway speed.

Hope your ride is a good one, weather forecast is looking up for Back to the 50's. It was a rain out and now dropping to 20% chance, let's hope.. Thursday looks wet.
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