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Old 08-10-2011, 08:35 AM   #1
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Default CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability.

Okay, so for years I've seen perpetual posting like this:

"What suspension do I get?"
"What's good for my car?"
"Is this suspension setup good?"
"How low can I go on this?"

Well, I'm here to provide you my personal insight based on what I've witnessed on these forums mixed with my personal experience with suspension on my personal car, a 2000 DX hatchback, and my various friends and my brother who used to have a DC2 on a few different setups. This thread is aimed at 92-00 civic owners as the suspensions are all very similar and are what I'm familiar with.

I'd like to cover a few basic things, you can scroll down to read my budget recommendations and brands to avoid.

*****Remember, this is all based on my subjective opinion, if you don't like it that is your prerogative. I'm not posting "fact" when recommending suspension setups, merely suggestions based on my observances over the years I've spent on this forum.*****

1) Suspension is suspension. Suspension capabilities aren't going to vary or be different enough from car to car to really matter for recommendation purposes. We don't need to know that you have a black 1993 VX to help you pick a suspension nearly as much as we need to know what your budget is, your goals for the car, and so on.

2) Money is money. When making purchases for your car consider the length of ownership you intend for the car. If you're like me and don't ever see yourself getting rid of your car, think about the cost of that part over a longer period.

3) I'm telling you right now that my brother and I have both learned the hard and expensive way that buying the more expensive, higher quality product the first time is a lot better than trying to cut corners to do more to your car sooner.

The number one tip I have for you for car part buying is patience. Waiting a few weeks to buy a better part will make you infitiely happier in the long run. Selling a crap part for 1/2 what you paid for it to buy the product you really needed is not fun. I've done it a lot and I'm tired of it. I went from fake wheels, cheap suspension, etc to having volks, recaros, Progress CS-II, Function7, etc because I learned the hard way. It took me a tad longer to save up for it all, but in the end it's 10 kinds of worth it.


Budget recommendations for suspension setups:

1) If you can't afford to spend $600 on your suspension, it is my personal belief that I am doing you justice by telling you to find a new hobby. If you find that much money to be too much for suspension you really need to focus more on paying your bills than dropping your commuter.

2) Adjustable damping means nothing. You really think you know how to program a shock better than a reputable racing component manufacturer? What you "like" isn't necessarily going to be safer or handle better than the appropriate damping matched to a spring rate. So many people buy a product based on how many levels of damping it has.

3) Cheap setups with expensive features. They're pointless and useless for 99.9% of drivers out there looking to have some performance. Cheap coilovers with high end features like camber adjustments, pillow ball mounts, oil reserves, etc are just that. Cheap companies slapping extra junk on an already junk part so teeny-boppers will cream their pants and buy it with their mom's credit card.

4) Don't let the shiny colors sell you a product.

Setups:

(I know there are a bajillion other products to choose from, I'll discuss those at the end.)

NEW <$600

KYB GR2 and Tein S. Techs. You could probably get away with stock shocks for a little while, but how many times do you want to remove your suspension? There really isn't a shock I can think of out there that can handle a much lower drop where the owner can expect longevity. I'm not saying the Koni Orange or the GR2 wouldn't last for a year, but don't expect it to be like Progress, or Koni/GC where many members on these forums have driven on them for DECADES and have no issues.

$600 range

Koni SRT + Spring/coilover sleeve of your choice.

OR

Progress CS-II

Koni- Lifetime warranty. Plain and simple. You can pick from a plethora of springs and coil sleeves that suit your driving needs.

Progress CS-II- I use these currently and enjoy the everliving out of them. best budget suspension period in my mind. 1 year warranty, great company, great product. I've put 20,000 miles on them and 2 autocross seasons and they work like brand new. Available in 250/350/500lb spring rates.

Edit: As a side note Eibach also offers some good options with the pro-kit and sport-line kits for those who just want a moderate drop and to close off some of that wheel gap.

$800 range

Koni/Ground control

That's it. There is no other choice. It is hands down the best suspension for the money. Lifetime warranty on the shock and coil sleeve, pick your rates and easily the most used and most sold performance shock in the world. Koni has drivers all over the country with track records using their products. Anything else in the price range can't be justified over this setup. The only thing that comes close is Tokico Illumina shocks paired with ground control coilovers. Tokico also offers a lifetime warranty and a superior product for a similar price at the koni shock. The emphasis on ground control for use with these shocks is merely the ability for the individual to pick the spring rates best suited for their needs and tastes.

Another consideration would be PIC Apex at $835. Good company, not a lifetime warranty however.

$1000+ range

The only choice in my opinion at this price point is AMR. Small company, lifetime warranty, custom valving and spring rates to suit your needs. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L
coil-over. About $1200 for honda-tech users.


Iffy companies:
Omni - Reputable, good drag racing stuff, not bad.
Tein - My brother had 2 different tein setups on his car and the SS was the best. The basic was utter garbage. He was astounded by koni/gc when he finally sold his SS for $1100 and got a better suspension setup for $800.
skunk2 - they have made strides recently but they have a reputation for overpriced parts (for what they are) and blow shocks and too stiff spring rates. Their LCAs are notorious for torn bushings, the new model supposedly addresses that. However for $190 you should hit yourself with a hammer for not buying Function7 instead. PIC makes a good affordable LCA that I would trust. They make outstanding bushings.
Buddy Club - Much better stuff out there for the money. They make killer high end stuff, pretty reliable low end stuff, I think better bang for buck is had elsewhere.

Bad companies:
Function&Form - They have made strides, but they appeal to the kiddies who want to slam their cars and don't care about much else. I've seen numerous posts over the years about leaking shocks being shipped to them, or leaking immediately afterwards. 1 year warranty. Edit: If you really just need something shiny, it's probably the best piece of crap on the market. A lot of people have success with them, but consider a lot of people who slam their cars have no regard for ride comfort and likely wouldn't even know if all of their shocks were blown.
Ksport - Can't tell you how many broken/leaking/etc ksport I've seen here. For that kind of money there are much better options.
D2- Comes out of the same factory as ksport. As far as I know they're identical in construction. I've got a whole collection of pictures of broken/blown/leaking pictures of D2 and Ksport.

Good companies:
Koni
Progress
AMR
PIC
Eibach
Tokico
PIC
KW
KYB
H&R
Neuspeed
Hypercoil
Bilstein


____________________
^Bottom line^

****This article is aimed at persons aspiring for functional cars for daily driving/weekend autocross or road racing. I have included tips for people who want to slam their cars in the details.****

In my opinion I believe there are essentially 3 choices for the enthusiast driver:

Progress CS-II@$600
Koni/Ground control@$800
AMR@$1300

I merely believe that the positives outweigh the negatives of similarly priced products and therefore these are the best choices. PIC even offers a $1100 coilover, but when you're spending $1100+ for a suspension wouldn't you spend the extra $100 for the lifetime warranty of the AMR? PIC is a GREAT setup and should definitely be considered. Many people have ridden on these for YEARS with no issues!! Great company and great service.

Thanks, I hope this helps many of you pick your suspension.

-Adam
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Finally for sale! Progress CS-II Coilovers (350/350) setup. Great for daily and entry/mid level autocross. Landed a 1st place win with these on 3/24

H23A w/ MFactory ITR trans 211whp 169ft/lb Stock block.

Last edited by Libertariat; 01-11-2013 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Here are spring rates for common racing products for those of you who are curious:


The P = Progressive, which means the spring rate changes dynamically over the compression.
The L = Linear, where the spring rate remains roughly the same over the compression

96-00 EX factory 165F/80R (P/P)
99-00 Si (EM1) factory 201F/99.8R (P/P)
CTR factory 240/240 (L/P)
APEX'i WS 447F/178R
Eibach ProKit 290F/190R (P/P)
Eibach Sportline 310F/275R (P/P)
Gold-line GL 2.5" drop 320/190 (P/P)
Gold-line GPS 1.25" drop 275/160 (P/P)
Ground Control Coilover 380F/280R (P/P)*
H&R OE 280F/190R (P/P)
H&R Sport 330F/280R (P/P)
JIC FLT-A2s (USDM) 504F/336R (L/L)
Koni RSK Suspension kit 154-205/270 (P/L)
Neuspeed SofSports 260F/150R (P/P)
Neuspeed Sport 280F/180R (P/P)
Neuspeed Race 485F/395R
Omni-Power Adjustable Sleeve Coilover 448F/336R (L/L)*
Omni-Power Street Coilovers 448F/336R (L/L)*
Omni-Power Sport Coilovers 539F/448R (L/L)*
Omni-Power Drag Coilover 810F/810R (L/L)*
Omni-Power 6-Way Damping Coilovers 539/448/336 (L)*
Progress Coilovers 350F/250R (P/P)
Progress Lowering Springs 320F/200R (P/P)
SkunkWerks Coilovers (old) 400F/300R (L/L)
Skunk2 Coilovers (new) 500F/400r (L/L)
Sparco needed
Spoon Full Coilovers 300/240
SSR Cup 392/280
SSR S1 448/448
Suspension Techniques 10-15% more then stock (P/P)
Tanabe DF-210 10-15% more then stock
Tanabe NF-210 5-10% more then stock
Tein HT 1119F/448R (L/L)
Tein HG 365F/129-196R (L/P)
Tein SS 448F/224R
Tein Flex 504F/280R
Tein RA/RE/RS 783F/559R (L/L)
Tein S. Tech 235F/140R
Tokico Illumina Kit 250/123 (P/P)


For daily driving comfort on moderate drops I recommend 350-450 Front and 250-350 rear rates.

Anyone who wants to tuck tire you need at least 400lb rates. Any lower you'll easily need 500lb rates.

here's a conversion table for Kg/mm to LB/in

kg/mm to lbs/in
-----------------------------
16 = 896
15 = 840
14 = 784
13 = 728
12 = 672
11 = 616
10 = 560
9.0 = 504
8.5 = 476
8.0 = 448
7.5 = 420
7.0 = 392
6.5 = 364
6.0 = 336
5.5 = 308
5.0 = 280
4.5 = 252
4.0 = 224
3.0 = 168
2.0 = 112

****FOR YOU PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SLAM YOUR CARS****


For anyone wanting to slam their cars and have it last, you need to get a good master bushing set, preferably hard rubber. And AT THE LEAST Koni/ground control with front extended top hats and rates of 600lb+ front and 400+lb rear, maybe higher depending on your wheel/offset.


**LOTS of people are messaging me about my wheels and tires.**


Here you go:


Volk CE28's. 16x7 +33, Yokohama S. Drives 205/45/16 11.1lbs

Click the image to open in full size.


**************************************************
**************************************************

I'm also getting a lot of these:

Quote:
Originally Posted by stocksucks85 View Post
What about KYB shocks?
I'd like to slow/end these with this:

I didn't mention X setup because for the price there are better alternatives for not much more money. This question is going to get very old.

A lot of you don't realize that I don't offer a myriad of options FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE of making the decision easier.

I for one hold the belief that saving for the better/higher quality item is worth it in the long run. If I don't mention something it's because I feel that it is in YOUR best interest to wait and buy a tried and true setup that will last your car decades instead of months.

Here's my car as it sits 3/1/2012 (Still using Progress CS-II 350/350 and working great for daily driving/autocross. Progress is amazing.)

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Update: 4/5/2012

There's a few points I've got left that need to be made absolutely clear.


there's a lot going on here:

1) Stock civic rates are ~165lbs front and 80lbs rear and progressive which makes them more comfortable but harder to predict in the turns. The rates we talk about are often doubling, tripling, or more of those rates. Higher rates = stiffer ride. If your shocks don't match well with the spring rates, that's how you get bounciness. [b]There is nothing you can do you lower/slam your car and get a remotely "stock feel." I get this question all the time, and I'd honestly like to throw a physics textbook at most people who ask it.

2) Lower than me will be tucking tire, I've got no gap in the front and I'm 'barely' tucking tire you could say. I get a LOT of pms about how people want to go lower than me, but don't want to buy a suspension setup that can actually handle the rates required to ride that low and not blow the shocks or bottom out.

3) At my height, I've got a natural camber around 1.8*, I'd LOVE to have 3* of camber, but I'm not willing to go that low and my LCAs will not be at the correct angle for proper suspension geometry. More camber = better grip in the corners and generally a safer handling car.

4) Camber does not kill tires. How many times do we have to say it? You can safely run 3-4* of camber without premature wear, I've done it, others have done it, simply get your toe aligned within factory spec or run ~.05 out in the front and ~.03 in in the rear like I do for autocross. I ran 3* of camber in high school for 30,000 miles and never had any issues with tire wear, toe is what kills tires. When I change my suspension to AMR, hopefully in June, I'll be raising my car up .5" and changing my front camber from 1.8* -> 3* with a camber kit.

Update 5/17/2012
I've been getting a lot of people the last few months asking me about the Koni/GC setup and especially some basic questions regarding picking rates, how coilovers work, what's the difference between a shock/sleeve setup and an integrated setup. Here's my answer. This one in particular is in response to questions evaluating a spring setup vs. a coil sleeve setup.

I would still recommend you get the rates you want and get Koni/GC or even Illumina/GC. If you go with Koni, order them from THMotorsports and tell them which rates you'd like. With the Koni setup you must have Eibach specific Konis. Easiest bet is to just order them together from THMotorsports and you'll know what you're getting.

Any spring will never sit at the right height at all corners due to weight/bushing condition/frame condition. So if having an uneven looking car doesn't bother you (and it should) then no worries.

You can pick your spring rates when you order coilovers that are ordered custom anytime, it has nothing to do with the shock you decide to use. Konis and Illuminas can handle 500-600lb rates before they become under damped and need to be revalved. The "sleeve" you're referring to with konis is that same with any shock/slip on setup. It's a "slip on" coil sleeve as oppose to a threaded shock body with an adjustable collar. The "sleeve" fits onto a perch or circlip on the shock body. There's nothing "bad" about either design if you're curious, nothing less-safe or anything, just different approaches.

Good handling-------------------------------------------O-----------------Comfort

Pick one. You don't get both. You have to give up one to get the other. If you're willing to spend a lot of money on a quality custom setup like AMR, you can get a reasonable ride out of what would normally be an abusive suspension. I've got 350F/350R progress suspension that is certainly "tolerable" on the street. My friend just got his AMR setup and I drove it on the street and the autocross track and I would say his MUCH stiffer 550F/650R setup was more comfortable. I've never ridden on a koni/GC setup, but I would hope it's pretty tolerable. I think the harshness from my setup comes from the shortened shock bodies, honestly, so it may be fine with the Konis and stiffer rates. The nice thing about The koni, illumina, or AMR setup using a quality kit like Eibach or Hypercoil like AMR, you can swap out the springs for better or different rates very easily. It's a lot more expensive and more labor intensive to do that with conventional springs. I hope I answered your questions.

-Adam
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OMG LIBERTARIAT FINALLY HAS A BUILD
Need help choosing suspension? Click here!!

Finally for sale! Progress CS-II Coilovers (350/350) setup. Great for daily and entry/mid level autocross. Landed a 1st place win with these on 3/24

H23A w/ MFactory ITR trans 211whp 169ft/lb Stock block.

Last edited by Libertariat; 05-17-2012 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

STICKY

I hope there is never another "which setup should I get thread" LOL
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Thanks, remembered you and added eibach to the budget list.
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OMG LIBERTARIAT FINALLY HAS A BUILD
Need help choosing suspension? Click here!!

Finally for sale! Progress CS-II Coilovers (350/350) setup. Great for daily and entry/mid level autocross. Landed a 1st place win with these on 3/24

H23A w/ MFactory ITR trans 211whp 169ft/lb Stock block.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

STICKY! Great read, good job!
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

If there was a "Like" button for this thread, I would totally use it.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Great posting Sticky, and very helpful.
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Finally this info is on Honda-Tech lol. I always google spring rates and go to some other forum where those were all listed but now I know right where to find them. Success!
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlewByU352 View Post
Finally this info is on Honda-Tech lol. I always google spring rates and go to some other forum where those were all listed but now I know right where to find them. Success!
I'm glad so many people are finding it helpful.
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OMG LIBERTARIAT FINALLY HAS A BUILD
Need help choosing suspension? Click here!!

Finally for sale! Progress CS-II Coilovers (350/350) setup. Great for daily and entry/mid level autocross. Landed a 1st place win with these on 3/24

H23A w/ MFactory ITR trans 211whp 169ft/lb Stock block.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Thanks! Thread added to 92-00 Civic/Del Sol FAQs sticky.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonJ@HT View Post
Thanks! Thread added to 92-00 Civic/Del Sol FAQs sticky.


This is a great thread!
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:15 PM   #12
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

This thread should have been made years ago!
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:40 AM   #13
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Nice thread. The only thing i would change is adding a 700 dollar category including Tokico Illuminas and Bilstein Sports + springs. Both are great shocks and both companies include a lifetime warranty.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:20 AM   #14
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

$1000 setup should be koni / gc with top hats IMO
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:24 AM   #15
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Quote:
Originally Posted by solbrothers View Post
$1000 setup should be koni / gc with top hats IMO
Very few people are low enough to warrant extended top hats.

This article is aimed at persons aspiring for functional cars for daily driving/weekend autocross or road racing. I have included tips for people who want to slam their cars in the details.

Top hats don't make a car handle well, and aren't attributable to any aspect of "good handling."

I added another disclaimer for you
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OMG LIBERTARIAT FINALLY HAS A BUILD
Need help choosing suspension? Click here!!

Finally for sale! Progress CS-II Coilovers (350/350) setup. Great for daily and entry/mid level autocross. Landed a 1st place win with these on 3/24

H23A w/ MFactory ITR trans 211whp 169ft/lb Stock block.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:20 AM   #16
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Excellent. Hopefully this will cut down on the "what coilovers should I buy" and "are XXX (crap coilovers) any good" threads.

I especially love point #2 -- I wonder how many people would be better off without adjustable damping.

I second the motion to add Illuminas and Illumina/GC to the short list, based on word of mouth and not personal experience.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:30 AM   #17
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

I mentioned Tokico in my justification for the Koni/GC setup, I edited it an elaborated on it as a viable alternative. It needed greater justice. Good point, this topic is by no means finished. I do own the ability to edit it
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OMG LIBERTARIAT FINALLY HAS A BUILD
Need help choosing suspension? Click here!!

Finally for sale! Progress CS-II Coilovers (350/350) setup. Great for daily and entry/mid level autocross. Landed a 1st place win with these on 3/24

H23A w/ MFactory ITR trans 211whp 169ft/lb Stock block.
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:34 PM   #18
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

I am currently tucking tire on my teggy. Stock wheels and tires. Do I need top hats?
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:21 PM   #19
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

Quote:
Originally Posted by solbrothers View Post
I am currently tucking tire on my teggy. Stock wheels and tires. Do I need top hats?
You shouldn't. I'm tucking tire on my civic and I've never bottomed out even with my soft 350lb front rates. I think your car is a tad lower than mine though. If your rates are stiffer than 400lbs you'll be fine.

Extended top hats are for the people who are really slammed.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:14 PM   #20
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

i wanted top hats
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:22 PM   #21
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

If anyone is curious here's what the progress CS-II looks like, I wouldn't recommend going much lower than this, neither would progress:

Click the image to open in full size.

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And in action:

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OMG LIBERTARIAT FINALLY HAS A BUILD
Need help choosing suspension? Click here!!

Finally for sale! Progress CS-II Coilovers (350/350) setup. Great for daily and entry/mid level autocross. Landed a 1st place win with these on 3/24

H23A w/ MFactory ITR trans 211whp 169ft/lb Stock block.
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:43 PM   #22
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

So I plan to buy the koni / GC with top hats. What rates should i get? I don't really mind a stiff ride because i've never had a car that didn't ride like that. I plan to dump it pretty low as well.
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Old 08-15-2011, 03:00 AM   #23
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

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Originally Posted by solbrothers View Post
So I plan to buy the koni / GC with top hats. What rates should i get? I don't really mind a stiff ride because i've never had a car that didn't ride like that. I plan to dump it pretty low as well.
I would get front top hats only and 550lb front 450lb rear.

If you don't get stiff rates it's not going to matter if you have extended top hats.
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OMG LIBERTARIAT FINALLY HAS A BUILD
Need help choosing suspension? Click here!!

Finally for sale! Progress CS-II Coilovers (350/350) setup. Great for daily and entry/mid level autocross. Landed a 1st place win with these on 3/24

H23A w/ MFactory ITR trans 211whp 169ft/lb Stock block.
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:14 AM   #24
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

and the koni shocks will be ok with 550/450?
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:52 AM   #25
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Default Re: CLICK HERE all of you curious about suspension setups and their costs/reliability

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and the koni shocks will be ok with 550/450?
Absolutely. Even at 600+ the koni's will certainly last. There isn't really a "limit" to what koni's can "handle" but at 600+ the koni sports start to become under damped for that high of a spring rate. Even then it's then a problem of physics and marketing, not quality.
__________________
OMG LIBERTARIAT FINALLY HAS A BUILD
Need help choosing suspension? Click here!!

Finally for sale! Progress CS-II Coilovers (350/350) setup. Great for daily and entry/mid level autocross. Landed a 1st place win with these on 3/24

H23A w/ MFactory ITR trans 211whp 169ft/lb Stock block.
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