Street suspension performance - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-21-2002, 07:15 AM
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I posted this to UNYISSO on Yahoo groups...
Well, after doing lots of searching and reading over at the Impala SS
Forum, I decided that, performance wise, the Hotchkis spring and anti-
roll bar setup fits what I want.
Here are my reasons:

Progressive, but stiff springs. They start out at a rate that's
higher than stock 9C1 and end a LOT stiffer, good for loads.

They lower an SS only a little which should put my 9C1 at a very
aggressive stance which is practical but excellent performance
(taking street compromises into account).

Matched spring rates that were designed with the B-Body in mind.
Even though I am definately not against cutting the 9C1 springs, I do
prefer buying a set of 4 that was engineered as just that: a set.
The quality of the Eibachs is NOT there and considering the Hotchkis
springs are no more expensive than other brands, I think they offer
everything (for me).

Anti-roll I have said before, I am turned off to the
massive HA/HO rear bar (with it's 440% stiffer-than-stock rate) for
street driving. I need some of that understeer (just a little) for
emergencies, or when I just plain screw up. I have read that the
Hotchkis anti-roll bars offer HUGE improvements in handling and feel
over stock, but aren't over-the-top. In other words, they're ideal
for a tight handling street car, where HA/HO is more track biased.

Downside for these things is that they're so darn expensive. I think
it would be worth it, however. Hopefully, sometime this summer, I
will be able to afford both of these packages. I will run my stock
rear LCAs for a while because the stiffness of the Hotchkis is not
insane...eventually boxing or replacing them altogether.

I e-mailed several places for updated pricing and this is what I got:

[email protected] at No Limits Motorsports said $230 for springs,
$400 for anti-roll bars, plus shipping from CA.

The others have not replied.
I think $230 is reasonable but $400 hurts a bit...oh well, I
personally like them better than the other solutions.

If I go to NED with the New England guys on April 27th, Paul Doe will
let me drive his 93 with cut 9C1 front springs and SS rear springs.
This will help me determine if I should cut mine or buy brand new


93 9C1
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-21-2002, 08:10 AM
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When are you planning on doing the work? I ask for two reasons. I just ordered the Hotchkis springs and I have the HO/F-body swaybars. First, I recognize there's a pretty good chance this setup won't be streetable, so I may have a set of Hotchkis springs for sale very shortly afterwards. Second, if it works out, you might want to try mine to see how it feels. I will be installing the springs sometime in the next couple of months, I hope. I'm going to be doing a few other things at the same time, including new front control arms from Bill Harper, so I'm not sure, between my schedule and his waiting list, when exactly. One of the things I was hoping I might work out is a side-by-side comparison with a stock, or more tame, suspension setup. Maybe we can get together on this if the timing works.
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-21-2002, 08:43 AM
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FWIW, I can't give you any info regarding the springs but I have been running the F-body/HA bar combo for almost six years and it is completely streetable. It is dead neutral out to the extreme limit of traction. I have only reached that point once while accelerating through an S-curve which had a bit of light sand on it. The response was a controlled drift with the tail out just ever so slightly. Totally controllable, just too exciting for a city street. I wasn't expecting the sand. 8^O

When Scott Mueller wrote the original dissertation on the combo he did say that it was neutral, leaning to slight oversteer at the extreme. From my experience the "leaning to slight oversteer" has been overemphasised by many who haven't tried the setup or are repeating the words of others who haven't tried the setup. This combo is the best handling set up I've driven in a basically stock suspended car.

Right now I'm installing BMR lower arms with Bilstein 0929/1104's and reinstalling the HA bar. This combo should just scream. BTW, I'm also running 285/40, SZ50's all the way around.

post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-21-2002, 09:09 AM
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Thanks. I agree on the swaybar combo. I've had no problems at all so far. In fact, I really like it. The concern I have, based on posts I found and read after I ordered the Hotchkis springs (of course), is that the stiffer Hotchkis rear springs will push the suspension over the edge and lead to oversteer. I really wonder about that since I'll be replacing both front and rear springs at the same time, thus stiffening up both ends. In terms of the stiffness of the front springs relative to the back springs, the Hotchkis front and rear springs are not all that different from the stock springs, based on the rates I've seen posted for both sets of springs. So my hope is that the Hotchkis springs will maintain a similar balance and I'll be loving life.
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-21-2002, 12:23 PM
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Erik, how much do you think you'd sell the springs for? I think they'll end up too stiff for the aggressive anti-roll bar combination you have selected (for the rear). The F-Body front bar is 31.75mm and is only 35% stiffer than stock. That's not what I'm worried about. It's the rear....
I see you live in New Haven. My home is Windsor, CT but I go to school in Worcester, MA. Perhaps we could meet up sometime.
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-21-2002, 12:40 PM
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I haven't really thought about what I would ask for them yet. Probably pretty close to what I paid for them ($205 in the recent GP plus shipping) since they'd be almost new. Send me an e-mail and we can talk about it offline if you think you might want to wait on the chance that I won't be keeping them, or if your timing will be pretty close to mine anyway. BUT, I have a lot of hope that it will work out OK because, as I said above, it doesn't seem like the Hotchkis springs are balanced all that differently from stock in terms of the stiffness of the front springs vs. the stiffness of the rear springs. Let me know if you'd like to get together sometime. You should join CT Tri-9.
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