Lost on what springs do what. - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2002, 08:22 PM
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I have studied this forum for two days and now have filled my head so full of spring info that I'm more confused than before.

When I bought my 9C1 it had Intrax front springs.....stock rear springs......with two year 10k cheapy shocks. It sat with a little rake ( almost none, with 2 people in the back it was level) but VERY sweet on the 285-40's. The problem was it rode horrible with the front pogoing around and the tires visibly out of align. After three trips to a local alignment shop it would stay aligned about 60 miles then start to wander again. By wander I mean it was tough to drive on the rutts Michigan calls roads. My better-half would not drive the car. It would jump from rut to rut so quick it was like being out of control all the time. Not fun.

I replaced the springs with the stockers that came with the car and it sat 2 inches higher in the front than the back. I now have spacers in the back to bring it up to the front. Now with 225-70-15's ( winter here) it bounces around a little in the front and pulls a bit to the right regardless of the roads.

On a side note my 60's went from 1.95's to 2.10's

Now for the Questions:

What spring will drop the front 1'1/2 over the 9C1's...stock SS or do I have to go to a lowering spring. Will this be ok with stock rears.

Is it possible that the stock springs have been switched from front to back or is it to obvious to make this error.

I'm going to have to MOOG idler arm problem thing installed and have the front gone through along with good shocks.

On the subject of shocks will the boxy Bilstien's hurt the 60's even more.

Sorry for the long post...it's about one month from nice tire weather here and I want to drive easier this year.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2002, 08:19 PM
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Thoughts guys.?
post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-01-2002, 01:38 AM
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Intrax, replace the shocks, and get a GOOD alignment tech to work on the car.
post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-01-2002, 07:21 AM
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Thanks AutocroSSer....I guess I should have done a little more research before I sold the Intrax thinking they were the problem.

post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-03-2002, 09:07 AM
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The shocks sound like the entire problem. The car should not "bounce" with any springs. That's what shocks are for, to dampen that motion.

Springs should primarily affect the stiffness of the ride as well as the ride height (which also affects handling due to center of gravity changes).

If the shocks are not strong enough to handle the weight of the car and the springs you're using, you'll have adverse affects like those you mentioned. I would imagine that whatever "cheapo" shocks you had/have aren't suitable for the application.

Choice of springs is just a matter of preference, but to solve your problems I do agree with Ed. The shocks have to go, and make sure you're getting the alignment done by a decent shop. It's sad how many places have good alignment equipment and nobody that knows how to use it properly.

Good luck!

post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-03-2002, 10:04 AM
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Greetings -

When I bought my 9C1 it had Intrax front springs.....stock rear springs.. It sat with a little rake... but VERY sweet on the 285-40's. The problem was it rode horrible with the front pogoing around and the tires visibly out of align.

I replaced the springs with the stockers that came with the car and it sat 2 inches higher in the front than the back. I now have spacers in the back to bring it up to the front.

Something does't sound right. If you had (lowering) Intrax front and STOCK (9C1) rears it SHOULD have been raked to high heaven. Mabey the guy cut the rear 9C1's to level the height and that's partially to blame for the crappy ride. (Less travel = more bounce) As for the fronts - that makes sence that changing back to stock (9C1) front raised it 2". Although I thought the intrax were lower than 1" compared to the SS - Which are 1" lower than 9C1. - So that doesn't even sound exact.

Bottom line - With stock 9c1 all around you SHOULD be about level. (28" to the bottom of the fender well with 26" tires.) This is give or take 1/2" - cars vary. With Stock SS springs you can drop that by an inch all around. (Except that the rears usually sag after a while). Then drop some more according to the listed drop of the aftermakert springs (Compared to the SS height).

As for shocks, I have to disagree with Dave, if you shocks are blown, the car just bounces on the springs - they are springs afterall. The shock smooths the ride, or in the case of the 0929 bilsteins, stiffens the ride. Shocks should not have any effect on ride height, sans the 0929's some have claimed that they will increase the ride height a little. I think their resistive strength is just greater and so they take more weight off the spring compared to other shocks. Regardless it isn't much.

You should decide what type of ride / performance you want out of your suspension as a whole then decide on what spring and shock combo to get - or how to fix what you got. There has been a ton of combo's tried and lots of people on this board can add input as to what combo works once you decide on the kinda of ride you want. (As it sounds like you've found.)

'94 SS - 9C1 springs all around, Rear airbags, and bilstein 1516/17.
post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-03-2002, 10:35 AM
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I agree that you need to get rid of those crappy shocks. Without good shocks, your car will bounce around like a pogo stick.

I am very happy with my stock height SS springs in my caddy, and was in my 96 9C1 too. [img]smile.gif[/img] I absolutely LOVE [img]7.gif[/img] my stiff Bilsteins!!! They ride perfect! So I highly recommend them. I'd stay away from the cheapy Gabriel HD shocks that are 20 bucks a pop. That's what I put on my 9C1 with the stock SS springs. I liked them when I had them on the car, but I had never driven the bilsteins. Now that I have, I wouldn't go with anything else! But that's all I have experience with, so take it for what it's worth. [img]smile.gif[/img]

As far as the wandering problem on the roads, your tires have a lot to do with that. If you have wide tires (which the 285-40's are!), then most likely, they will wander and follow the grooves in the roads. My 255-60-15's tend to like to wander. If it pulls to the right, you should check to see that the calipers aren't sticking first because you have recently had an alignment, and if that checks out, go get a GOOD alignment by a GOOD tech. Contact your local SCCA club and ask who they can recommend...

HTH and good luck!
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-03-2002, 08:05 PM
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Thanks for all the advice, this is what I'm looking for. I would like a car that rides smooth but firm and sits lower than the 4X4 looking 9C1 springs.

Bilsteins made a huge difference in handling in friends GN, but it rode terrible on 40 series 17's and the 60's went way up. Of course the G-body is a loose mess with no torsional strength (look at any making power and there are cracks at the b-pillar/window meeting). I settled on KYB's for my GN after lowering it with Eibach springs and 2" drop spindles. It doesn't look as bad as it sounds btw.

The rears on the Caprice look factory with no obvious signs of being cut and the Intrax rears were still new and purple in the box in the trunk when I bought the car. I was happy with how it rode out back, even with four people and a trunk full of luggage.

So I guess I'll look for a set of used SS front springs (so they have the sag built in )and put some Bilsteins on it. Then take the spacers out of the rears, and hope everything sits where expected.

As for the wandering I have found a shop two hours away that comes recommened by a couple of GN guys that have used it and they deal with MOOG parts, hopefully they will know of idler arm part. The SCCA club is a GREAT tip thanks I've never thought of that. I am going to register with the west MI branch this spring and throw this monster around a parking lot soon, it should be fun to see what I can hustle around quicker...the Caprice or GN.

Thanks again guys.....I almost sold this car recently and decided I can't...the renewed interest makes me drool for spring.
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