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Hot!SW20 Suspension Rev1 Upgrade

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JME
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2020/04/28 10:39:22 (permalink)
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SW20 Suspension Rev1 Upgrade

The suspension on my 1990 N/A SW20 Rev 1 was very tired so I did some research and settled on BC Racing coilovers (https://bcracing.com.au/c-12-ra) and Prothane 18-2009 Red Total Kit ($153 from Amazon).  In order to remove the factory struts you need to undo and separate the two sections of brake lines so I also replaced the brake lines while I was at it, I need to do my clutch at some stage so I also bought the braided clutch line while I was there.  Also, while I was at it, I also replaced the ball joints.  I also ordered a set of front and rear sway bars from Drive Industries, they were exhibiting their kit at Summernats in January, they did front and rear adjustable sway bars for $300.
 
Fitting the coilovers was pretty simple, just remove brake lines, remove clevis bolts, remove strut top bolts.  The BC Club coilovers don't require you to re-use any parts so they just drop in.  You will need to remove the side covers next to the engine cover to access the bolts.  These coilovers come with adjustable front camber (you can still use the factory adjustable caster) but no rear adjustment.  I strongly suggest you replace the clevis bolts with camber adjustable, I used Whiteline bolts (https://www.whiteline.com.au/product_detail4.php?part_number=KCA415&sq=29694).
 
Removing the various suspension arms was pretty simple, but almost all of the bushes require pressing out.  I have a mate with a press so we did all of them in about 30mins but it's definitely a two person job.  On the other hand, at least they don't require a blow torch to heat them up.
 
The front sway bar was dead easy to install, and the kit came with new bushes, they fitted directly to the sway bar extensions that come with the coilovers.  The rear sway bar is a real drama and requires the rear subframe to be removed.  I need to do the clutch so I'll fit the rear sway bar when I have the engine out.
 
The Prothane kit was by far the cheapest, and it seems to be a pretty well regarded brand in the US.  The downside, is that, despite being a 'Total Kit' I found that it did not include the bushes for the rearmost suspension link on the rear of the car (sorry, can't remember the name of this part).  The Prothane components are also not self lubricating, but they come with the necessary lubricant - this is not really a big deal, there are pros and cons to self lubricating components.  I was amazed when I removed the rear link only to find absolutely brand new, factory style rubber bushes in there.  I guess the previous owner installed them very recently, they looked like they just came out of the packet.  Note that to remove the left rear suspension arm you need to remove the factory exhaust as it fouls the bolt from removal.
 
I'm really happy with the coilovers, good ride, no suspension noise and good range of damping adjustment - I highly recommend these.  I'm actually pretty happy with the Prothane bushes, they are cheap enough that they are still good value if you need to buy the additional bushes for the rearmost link.  I definitely was not happy with the HEL Performance braided brake lines, the line retention clips that hold the line to the strut don't fit coilovers.  I know these are not factory, but coilovers are pretty common so the retention method should be better, they are also not labeled for which line goes where, this seems to be a pretty obvious shortcoming.  I only tried HEL because you can order the brake lines in a range of colours (I got red) but I have previously used SafeBrake and found them to be good so next time I will use those.
 
In terms of tools needed, I strongly suggest the following:
* Brake line lock off clamps, they are cheap and stop the fluid going everywhere until you have the new line ready to go on
* Ratchet spanners, they make removing the sway bar extension nyloc nuts easy while holding the center pin with an allen key
* Electric rattle gun, you will never work without one again.  Plus, they make a cool noise :)
 
I hope this covers off most of the work, let me know if you have any questions.
#1


5 Replies Related Threads

    Adrifto
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    Re: SW20 Suspension Rev1 Upgrade 2020/04/28 13:09:13 (permalink)
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    Wow $300 for both of those sway bars is a significant discount, theyre up for $540 a set now!

    Have you had a chance to test out their adjustability? And did you retain the stock end links?
    #2
    JME
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    Re: SW20 Suspension Rev1 Upgrade 2020/04/28 13:35:55 (permalink)
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    Adrifto
    Have you had a chance to test out their adjustability? And did you retain the stock end links?



    I have only fitted the front sway bar as the rear requires the removal of the rear cross member and since I need to do the clutch shortly it might as well wait until then.
     
    The front bar definitely has improved roll stiffness even on the lowest setting, it actually works quite well with the factory rear bar.  The coilovers came with new end links so I have used them.
    #3

    Reddtarga
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    Re: SW20 Suspension Rev1 Upgrade 2020/04/28 15:55:52 (permalink)
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    My experience FWIW:
    Car had stock struts, 1 inch lowered springs, and OEM alignment.
     
    20 mm adjustable Whiteline front, with stock rear bar.
    Quicker turn in, car stable - a good combo  A stiffer front seems to work well with a softer rear.
     
    20 mm Whiteline front, 20 mm Whiteline rear:
    Even on the softest setting for the rear, the car had poor tracking and less stability, so I pulled it off. 
    Fiddling with tyre pressures and alignment didn't help.
     
     
     
     
    post edited by Reddtarga - 2020/04/28 16:05:09

    1990 ADM NA
    Any advice you get from me may only be worth what you paid for it.
     
     
     
     
     
    #4
    Falcon
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    Re: SW20 Suspension Rev1 Upgrade 2020/04/30 06:23:03 (permalink)
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    Hi JME.
    Did you check the chassis mounting area for front anti roll bar?
    The early cars often crack in that spot. If caught early when only hairline cracks they are quite easy to weld.
    And then fit a set of reinforcement plates.
    Spring rates for your new coil over suspension will likely be significantly more stiff than original and therefor the heavier front anti roll bar may not be the best choice.
    #5
    JME
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    Re: SW20 Suspension Rev1 Upgrade 2020/04/30 08:57:38 (permalink)
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    Falcon
    Hi JME.
    Did you check the chassis mounting area for front anti roll bar?

    Sorry, forgot to include that.  Yes, I fitted a set of plates from MR2 Heaven.
     
    I also bought an engine lid strut at the same time (the clips that hold the old strut in were broken)
    #6
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