Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

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Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ponycarman » Thu May 05, 2011 12:22 am

Finally finished modifying my struts for my coilover set up. Got some pics of the process too so I thought I might take a stab at my second write up. Everyone has been saying that we need to increase our members and such and that a good way to do so is increase the amount of useful info on the site. So here goes I guess haha.

First off what are the reasons for this. Perhaps you race you car and would like an adjustable suspension setup to you speed demon. Or maybe your a stance junkie and would like to slam you pride and joy as low as she will go. Any reason you have, if you have the money, coilovers are a very good mod that can pay off in many many ways. Performance, looks, wow factor, and anything else you can think of haha.

There are many different ways to do this. This is just the way I did it. If anyone has any better ways and pointers post them up to give ideas to anyone reading. From what I've read, there are two main ways people are modifying their struts for coilovers. I first being where they cut off the stock spring perch and weld on the supplied perch with their coilover setup. If you are going this way you can skip many of the steps in this write up. This is not a bad way to go. It would probably be a little cheaper and definitely easier. If your wanting to go much lower or have the option to go lower then the other way would be for you. I went the lower way.

Here are most of the tools needed to do this mod. You may need a couple other things just depending on how you do it.

Grinder/ cut off saw
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Bench grinder
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Reciprocating saw
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Welder
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Other various tools
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Most of my tools used were from Harbor freight tools

I'm starting out assuming the struts have been removed already been removed and disassembled.

First off you are going to need to cut off your factory spring perches. I used an air grinder/ cut off saw. I cut all around it and then just slid the perch off the top. Here is what it will kinda look like
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If your are planning on shortening your struts to add shorter shocks and lower the car further, your next step is to cut out however much you are wanting to cut from the housing. I am using vw corrado g60 shocks that are 4 inches shorter than factory e30 shocks. Depending on how much you cut out you may have to add spacers under the shocks to bring them up to the appropriate height. For example if you cut out 2 inches then you would use 2 inch spacers. If you cut out 3 then you would use 1 inch spacers and so on. I went a different path that some may of may not agree with haha. To keep from using spacers at all I cut a total of 4 inches from my housings. I figured I can raise the coilovers accordingly if it sits too low for my taste. Other wise I'll just find some replacement struts and modify them again. Its an experiment. There are better ways to cut down your struts but I use a reciprocating saw or sawzaw. Its tough to get a straight cut with these and the straighter the cuts the easier the work will go.

Update: A very cost effective way to cut down your struts. This tool is cheap and will cut them clean and square.
http://www.homedepot.com/Plumbing-Plumb ... ogId=10053

No return now haha
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After the cuts are made you are going to want to chamfer the edges of the tube where the welding will take place. This will help the weld bite in and hold well. I used a bench grinder to do so. Again it may not be the best way but its how I did it. You can kinda see the angle of the chamfering in this pic
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You are also going to clean up around the weld site before the welding starts.

Before you start welding it is always good to do some test welds on similar material to get your welder on the proper setting. I used the portions of the strut that I cut out haha. Its also good to look down the tube and make sure you are getting proper penetration or burn in from your welds.

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Test weld
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After being ground down
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Next your going to want to align everything up properly and secure it somehow when you are making you tack welds. I used a welders magnet.
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Make some tack welds evenly spaced around the tube. If you dont the heat from the weld will warp the metal and twist it out of alignment.
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Next finish welding between you tack welds. Take it slow. Working your way around the tube allowing a time for the metal to cool down from cherry red between welding.
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After the welding is done and cooled its a good idea to do a test fit of your new shocks. To make sure everything is aligned up properly. Also check the inside of the strut for proper burn in or penetration
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I had to grind down the welds on the tube to be able to slide the new perch over it for welding and to be able to slide the threaded adjustment sleeve of the coilovers on. I used a bench grinder for this.
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On to the spring perch. I used the threaded adjustment sleeve as a guide of where to attach the new perch. Make sure the sleeve is flush to the top of the strut. I held the new perch up to the base of the sleeve and marked it. Then secure the perch where it was marked for tack welding. As with the strut you need to tack weld around the perch to hold it in place.
Showing alignment
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Tack welded
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Same as with the struts. Work your way around slowly allowing the metal to cool between welds. The perch could warp if you don't. Ask how I know haha.
I used flux core wire for the whole project hence the dirty looking welds in these pics. I also wanted to show how well the flux core could clean up and look descent. I used flux because I already had it and it penetrates somewhat better.
Finishing up the perch
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After the weld was cleaned up. I used a wire wheel attachment on a die grinder to clean up the welds
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After the welding is finished let it all cool then do another test fit
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Modified struts
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I also removed my brake heat shields. I am planning on a rx7 brake upgrade and a lot of the shield has to be cut off anyway so I just removed them. I'm going to be powder coating the struts in black to finish them up completely. Ill update with more pics after they are coated and maybe even some explaining the coating process.

I know this isn't a perfect write up and my spelling/ typing skills aren't the best haha. This was to show and give a good idea of how the modification goes.
Thanks guys!
Last edited by ponycarman on Sun May 08, 2011 3:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Strut housing modification for coilovers "Write Up"

Postby M20_fever » Thu May 05, 2011 1:48 am

great write up, and nice welding for a flux job. A tip for preventing warping from heat, if you have an air compressor keep it within reach and blast your welds with compressed air every few seconds. I've welded any number of body panels in this fashion and never had one warp.
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ponycarman » Thu May 05, 2011 2:02 am

Awesome! Ill keep that in mind. Thats a very good idea.
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ten2doyle102 » Fri May 06, 2011 11:53 am

Nice write up!!! Its missing one thing...... installed pics!!!
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ponycarman » Fri May 06, 2011 12:17 pm

Haha yeah! They arent installed yet. I've still got to powder coat them. And get either some camber plates or temporary mounts.
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby 87e30 » Fri May 06, 2011 4:41 pm

ten2doyle102 wrote:Nice write up!!! Its missing one thing...... installed pics!!!


Also side by side before/after pics.
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ponycarman » Fri May 06, 2011 8:45 pm

87e30 wrote:
ten2doyle102 wrote:Nice write up!!! Its missing one thing...... installed pics!!!


Also side by side before/after pics.


Sure thing! Ill do my best!
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ponycarman » Sun May 08, 2011 3:42 pm

A little update to the write up. I was doing some more research into the modification process. I was looking at 5-lug stuff but there is no reason this wouldnt work with any strut. I found a much better way to cut your strut housings down. Its cost effective too.

http://www.homedepot.com/Plumbing-Plumb ... ogId=10053

This tool is cheap and would allow very clean and square/ straight cuts through the strut housings. If I had found this before, this is what I would have used. But oh well haha. I also added this into the write up.
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby dsc201knoc » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:03 am

Wow that is really impressive. :lol: good stuff
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ponycarman » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:50 am

Thanks man!
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ponycarman » Sun Jul 24, 2011 2:27 am

Ok now that I have them installed its update time. First off I want to put on the record that I cut too much out of the struts. They were lower than I thought they would be after I installed them. I should have taked out 2" of the strut tube. I would recomend that to anyone that wants to do this. I guess you could drive the car with this much taken out but its so low you are going to damage something. 2" is a good medium for low and driveability. If you do take out 4" you are going to have to raise it somehow like Im going to do. Ok on to the good stuff, the pics.

Here is the finished strut going on
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Now the before and after pics
Before/side view
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After/side view
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Its a very big difference. Ill keep everyone posted how the raising is going and update pics again after.

One last pic. I like this one hehe.
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby M20_fever » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:00 am

such a huge difference before and after, and that got the high rear arches. Looks awesome, needs an 'i' lip though. I bet you could trade that Volvo lip for an clean 'i' lip no problem.
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ponycarman » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:41 am

Yeah thats not a bad idea Tony. I might have to make an add to try and do that. It really is a huge difference. I love how it sits in the back. I was a little worried that it would still have a nasty gap but installing the springs without the adjusters is the ticket. Probably would have been fine with the adjusters installed too though. But they would have been all the way down all the time hehe. I also think getting an i lip would kill the illusion of the front being super low. Still might need to raise the front by an inch or two. The before pic is also befor I did the from bumper swap.
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ten2doyle102 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:11 pm

Hey Pony, Do you happen to have a part number on the G60 shocks? I want to make sure that I get the right stuff.
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Re: Coilover strut mod "Write Up"

Postby ponycarman » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:19 pm

Yep I think I posted it in my build thread. I'll see if I can find it real fast. :)

Edit: The 8641-1198sport is the vw corrado g60 strut insert. :)

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