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Lowered T3 - getting it right

Discussion in 'T3 & T4 Tech Help Clinic' started by Barry, May 4, 2016.

  1. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,019
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    Well - I finally am happy with my T3 suspension set up.
    A lot know I run a lowered van, I reckon it is a good 60+mm drop

    [​IMG]

    But I was never really happy with it. It was soft, and smashed every pot hole on the road. Speed bumps need to be tackled with caution

    The original lowering was stock shocks and some unknown stock springs that had been lowered by Universal Springs

    First thing I did was purchase 4 off new Bilsteins. Shorter ones.
    The rears are standard beetle rear shocks and the front are off a Nissan Nivarra
    I put the rear ones in with the Universal Springs and it made a huge difference.
    No more dolphin over speed bumps.
    The stock shocks that came out were smashed.
    Absolutely no upward dampening on either shock.

    If I was going to all this trouble, I though I should get some "propper" lowered springs.
    After asking around I settled on H&R springs. 40mm - 50mm drop.

    So I started putting them in.

    First thing we noticed was the Universal Spring did a bloody good job of resetting the springs.
    They were heated, re-wound and re-set so as they properly sit in the cups.

    Anyway - I decided to put the H&R's in but I noticed the rear H&R's are the same height as stock ones.
    When you put these in with a shorter shock, a couple of the rings bind and the shock is on full stretch.

    [​IMG]

    So - back in with the Universal rear spring

    The fronts, were more like a 30mm drop I reckon.
    Againg, the front spring looked well done, so I opted to put the Bilstein in with the Universal Spring.

    There is a fair bit of machining bushes to get the Bilstein to fit, but is well worth it.

    Front Shocks
    [​IMG]

    Front Springs
    [​IMG]

    Rear Springs
    [​IMG]

    So - basically, I am back where i started but with bloody good Bilsteins in.
    I can now drive over speed bumps at speed and I have the

    So - in summary, it is a lot of work to get it right.

    If you want a lowering of the bus a "little" then I think the H&R are the way to go.
    But I would probably use stock shocks. Definitely stock in the rear.
    Undecided what you would use in the front.

    If you want it at the height I have it at - definitely the shorter Bilsteins and machined bushings on the front and the beetle Billstein on the rear.

    As for springs - I reckon I would give Universal Springs at Hoxton Park a call and get then custom set.
     
    Syncro27 likes this.
  2. Grantus

    Grantus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    18,668
    Location:
    Southern ACT
    Full credit to your effort and info Barry. :)

    My workhorses have that stance...... when carrying a load of over a tonne. ;)

    I think the ride would be a problem for me, if they were lowered when empty.....:rolleyes:
     
  3. Syncro27

    Syncro27 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,632
    Location:
    Terrigal, NSW Central Coast
    I actually used Universal Springs to re-set my rear springs on my syncro and add spacers plus they did all Koni shocks and adjustable coil overs for the front suspension. This was on a recommendation from a syncro that used to visit down the street.

    They do really good work.
     
  4. interesting........thanks for the write up :cool:
     
  5. KahunaKombi

    KahunaKombi Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    22,229
    Location:
    Bracken Ridge, Qld
    Barry, sits very nicely .... the look I was after some 10+ years back when I had my '90 Caravelle.
     
  6. Resnort

    Resnort Active Member

    Messages:
    347
    Location:
    Dbay QLD
    nice write up. I have a feeling mine has sagged more than 40mm over its hard life. My stock rears are far shorter than those in the photo.

    Could I send universal some springs and get them done, or do they need the car? In the mean time I'll leave mine stock sagged, as my brand new konis may not agree with the low im looking for without work.
     
  7. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,019
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    My biggest problem was the shocks
    I would go over a speed bump and "dolphin" the next 50m

    Now i can drop a tad of my street speed, it goes up, it comes down, I drive away

    Yes - the ride is still firm. Like my old beetle.

    I use to drive along and hit a pot hole and "BANG" you would think the wheel was going to come up through your bum.
    I have been aiming for pot holes the last couple of days, and I get a "thump" (lower case) but no where near what it was.

    Same spring. Had to be shocks.

    I can get the old ones - and while not dead like the rears I pulled out, there is not much resistance up or down.

    As for Universal - no idea. Give them a call.

    At the moment the front top of wheel is is probably equal with the lip.
    Rear is probably a loose finger.

    Stock height to me is a loose hand - a good four fingers vertically

    Going for a drive to Trundle this weekend (ABBA Festival :eek: ) a good 400 + km's drive each way.

    Should have a better opinion when I get back
     
  8. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,019
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    This is stock rear against "lowered" H&R

    Reckon it is 10mm lower if at all.
    It is certainly a "nice" spring.
    Heavier - would definitely be "firmer"
    Lowered? - doubt it.

    image11.JPG
     
  9. Resnort

    Resnort Active Member

    Messages:
    347
    Location:
    Dbay QLD
    so many more coils in what should be a smaller distance....seems strange.
     
  10. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,525
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    More coils of same wire diameter in similar overall height will equal a firmer spring rate.
    Both blue springs are also dual rate. Ie different pitches on the same spring.

    Also be careful that non stock shocks can travel the full length of extension and compression lest you trash them.
    Those limits are set by the bump stops.
    Some shocks may have internal stops but I wouldnt rely on those to protect mounts or shocks if tested too often .
     
  11. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,019
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    Ok ........... More updates.
    The fronts were "just" catching the front tyre. Didn't before? But is now but only with a full contingent in car and turning into a sloping driveway.
    Whatever the noise it makes scares the sh!t out of the missus.
    I have just put the H&R springs in front and all is fixed.
    It has raised the front maybe 5-10mm.
    Sits more flat now. Happier with that.
    anyhow I'm out looking for speed humps, pot holes and sloping driveways
    So far so good.
    Pot some pics later
     
    Resnort likes this.
  12. Resnort

    Resnort Active Member

    Messages:
    347
    Location:
    Dbay QLD
    Cool, looking forward to some photos.
     
  13. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,019
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    not the best but here are some pics

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The H&R are a thinner wire.
    I will post a pic of the shorter Universal spring against stock soon

    In front now I have the short Bilstein and the H&R.
    JK say you can use stock shocks with the H&R but it would have to be better suited with the Bilstein I have
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
  14. KahunaKombi

    KahunaKombi Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    22,229
    Location:
    Bracken Ridge, Qld
    Barry, the noise of the fronts catching could have been the tyre catching the lip at the top of the guard - happened to me once in the 'velle .... learnt to be turn slower into drives, through gutters into parking spaces etc
     
  15. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,019
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    yep - that is what it was

    It didnt do it before - and I didnt want it now.
    It is hard to notice but it is now sitting a tad higher in the front
    Drove to football yesterday with 3 team mates and all good.
    We looking for trouble and couldnt find anything so all fixed.

    Going to have one more play if I can borrow some stock rear shocks and see what the H&R rears are like with them.
    Dont want the rear any higher though
     
  16. Geoffro

    Geoffro Member

    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    North of Coffs
    Can you tell me more info on the rear bilsteins and which model beetle they are suited to. I have Carat springs ie 40mm lower with Bilstein HD on the front and whilst handling very well they give enough bang/bump to upset the cd player.
    I am hoping new rear shocks will go some way to fix this as the S.African gas shocks in there now have had it.
    How was it with stock shocks?
    Any takers on a shortened Koni for the rear?
    I also scrape the left front guard lip with a passenger and a hard left corner. Just have to be careful.
     
  17. Luckyphil

    Luckyphil Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,048
    Location:
    Gosford
    What size wheels are on your van and what tyre size
     
  18. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,019
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    The rears are a standard beetle IRS shock.
    You need to grind a bit off the bottom bolt sleeve so it fits
    I can dig out the model number
     
  19. KahunaKombi

    KahunaKombi Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    22,229
    Location:
    Bracken Ridge, Qld
    Just did all the shocks on Paddy and the rears wouldn't go in @ the bottom mount but the old bloke helping me thought getting a screw driver into the bolt hole and the bolt sleeve on an angle then turning would work and it did ... lined up perfectly :eek: so happy days .... the width/length of the bolt sleeve had a very small difference that may have been microns (the thickness of the paint literally at either end) :confused:
     
  20. Geoffro

    Geoffro Member

    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    North of Coffs
    I've got 15x7 wheels and Bridgestone 215x75R15's to improve the overdrive.
    Model number would be helpful if you get the chance.
    Thanks.
     

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