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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My car's current suspension is all original as far as I know, and driving it feels like sitting in the back seat of a Crown Vic. Driving it hard is just kinda scary.

I've already ordered and received the tried-and-true Vintage Performance Developments suspension combo ( http://www.v-performance.com ), of progressive front springs, stiff single-rate rear springs, Bilsteins all around, and a big sack of purple polyurethane bushings. (Fries with that?) I'm planning on taking a few days off work and installing all of it next month.

Here's the first question. I'd like to get the IPD swaybar set to go with, but John from VPD recommends not using a rear swaybar with his setup because he says it makes the car a little prone to oversteer. I don't really understand the geometry of the rear bar, and I wonder how it oversteers -- is it under hard braking, or snap lift-off oversteer, or does it just like to fly around no matter what? Is it unpredictable? I can handle oversteer as long as it doesn't surprise me.

The second question is, if I go ahead with the rear sway, does it change the unloaded height of the rear axle? Maybe you can guess what I'm getting at -- I'd like to go with an under-axle exhaust later if I can, and lose the huge bendy over-axle bit.

And the final question, which is a biggie. How much time should I expect the installation of all this stuff to take, and what special tools am I going to find I need halfway through it? I'm mechanically inclined in my head, but my practical experience is ... limited. I don't want to end up with it half done, and have to stash the car for weeks until I get a chance to finish.

Help and guidance are much appreciated as always.
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (asthenia)

Go with the ipd bars and all plastic bushes.

You can adjust the handling with various wheel/tire/brake setups.

Snap oversteer is OK if you are the only driver ever.

Have a reliable back-up car while the ES is apart?

If you don't have a lift be very sure of the supports holding the car in the air as you will be applying great forces to the suspension during installation.

Most of us remove the entire assembly then fight the bushings standing comfortably at the work table.

Do you have a good shop manual?

I'll go find some pics and info on this fix.

George Dill
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (asthenia)

I'm with John on the rear bar. Predictable break-away of the rear tires is easier to control or, rather, correct for when driving spiritedly, as opposed to more snappy break-away with the rear bar. Definitely get the front bar though.

Do yourself a favor and go for the over-the-axle exhaust.

The only trouble you might have isn't taking things apart or putting them back together. If you're handy, you'll manage it. When I idd what you're attempting, the only trouble I had was to get the big rear bushings out-had to take the pieces to a shop and have them pulled with a press. The poly ones are a breeze to install as, at least with mine, they were in two pieces.

Time for me was limited to weekends. It took two, but I wasn't hurrying.

Good luck and check out: http://www.vclassics.com/archive/index.html
Check out Phil's suspension archive there. Very helpful when doing this the first time!
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (asthenia)

I've got two IPD rear bars sitting on a shelf in the garage. One I removed from our 1800S which has the VPD bushings and springs, one from our 122S which has the IPD bushings and springs.

On the track with both bars on, the 1800 snapped several times in the rain when I didn't think I was remotely close to oversteer -- this is power-on, an immediate big lift may or may not recover it. In the dry, I can definitely put more power down earlier without it. In sporty road driving, I really don't notice the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Suspension refresh (Phil Singher)

All good to know, thanks guys. I want the car to feel as balanced as possible, and it sounds like the rear bar is a pretty bad idea. I'd hate to go off a freeway onramp backwards in the rain. The tires I've got currently are grippy enough that if I take a slow corner hard, it feels more likely to roll over than break loose, so there's a pretty big unknown as the suspension goes. One step at a time I guess.

I'm a city kid and store the car underground, so my only opportunity to do the work myself is in my parents' suburban driveway. I haven't figured out how to keep it off the ground yet, but I know using stands at the jack points is likely to put me in the hospital. The balljoints look intimidating, especially since the bottom ones are new. I expect I'll need some professional help pressing the bushings. I know I'll have the vclassics article printed out beside me the whole time.

I suspected the under-axle exhaust was a no-go. Oh well.


The anticipation is killing me. I'll likely bump this thread once things are under way in a couple of weeks...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Suspension refresh (Phil Singher)

Really? I don't make a habit of jumping the car, but I wouldn't want to rest the axle on the pipe while I'm changing a tire either. Do you just shorten the straps?
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (asthenia)

You should shorten the straps about one inch for the new springs in any case (just drill a new bolt hole in each). On mine, the axle will just barely hit the pipe at full droop, but not enough to put any strain on anything. No need to tuck it up as tight to the axle as possible -- I've had no ground clearance problems with mine, and it's a 3" pipe. My tires are a little short too, which drops the car even a bit further.

Put the muffler between the gas tank and quarter panel. I had an earlier 2-1/2" version with the muffler just forward of the axle, and the muffler would scrape on speed bumps in that location. Aft of the axle is both quieter and better for performance.
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (asthenia)

That's interesting, Phil. I thought you recommended the over the axle approach before somewhere. I like the exhaust tucked out of the way. But while we're on the subject:

I assume the under-axle mount would provide a more free-flowing set-up. Is this your reasoning? I feel that if so, it would only really be noticeable on the track and not around town.

Also, for racing, you would only want the one rear muffler. However for mere "spirited driving", I expect you would want more than one. Would you just lose the front one? Or keep all three? Basically, I'm just wondering how much power loss I'm suffering from the 3-muffler set-up and how much power I could gain if I cut out the front one. I have 2" pipes now, btw.

Modified by GLU at 4:17 PM 3-30-2006

Modified by GLU at 4:26 PM 3-30-2006
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (GLU)

Fixinda take a hacksaw to this here ES rear anti-sway bar and see if it will morph into an adjustable unit giving full-thru-none effect to the suspension geometry under all driving conditions.

George Dill
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (GLU)

No one has ever invented a muffler that adds power or torque or economy. The less restriction you have, the better for all of those things. There's a myth that engines like to have some "backpressure" -- this is NOT true.

There are cases where a restriction on the exhaust can compensate for a badly designed header at some RPMs. The later Volvo manifold and dual downpipe setup is not badly designed.

It is possible to have a pipe of such large diameter that flow velocity reduces to zero between exhaust pulses at low RPM. This lets in air at the tailpipe between pulses, and expelling that air costs efficiency. Adding restriction in the form of a second muffler only makes this worse. Adding length also adds restriction and makes it worse. Adding bends makes it worse.

Flow always slows somewhat going through the system, so if you put the muffler at the slow end -- all the way to the rear -- you can use less muffler to achieve a particular sound level, and the muffler has less impact on the flow rate.

Here's what I have on my two old Volvos... the 1800 (with ~200 HP B20) has a 4-2-1 header, 3" system under the axle, and a single Magnaflow muffler (see pic). The 122 has a stock B20E (~130 HP), D-jet manifold, Simons 2" sport exhaust over the axle with a l-o-n-g resonator and a single muffler behind the axle.

The 1800 is much quieter, and has a much nicer tone, IMHO.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: Suspension refresh (Phil Singher)

That's exactly what I want to do. My major question is, hedonist that I am, what does it sound like?

There's a sonorific quality to some cars that gives me a chill, and I think it has something to do with synchronizing (or syncopating) the air going in one end and coming out the other. The engine is as much a musical instrument as it is an air pump, right? Besides, if the resonant frequencies match up all the way from air filter to exhaust tips, that'd be perfect efficiency. Most examples I can think of (Lotus 340R, Porsche Carrera GT, etc.) are mid-engined, so the exhausts are about as long as my arm, but maybe it's a game of multiples.

So Phil, how is the intake set up, and what's the final sound? This is the famous MPPE right...?

This thread is way off topic and I don't care.


Modified by asthenia at 1:03 PM 3-31-2006
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (asthenia)

The MPPE, yes. It's got a deep basso tone at idle, something of a bark below 2500 RPM, and from there on up it sounds like a big superbike. More throttle = louder. In normal driving, it's not at all loud -- I can barely hear the exhaust at a 3700 RPM cruise on the highway. Conversation with a passenger happens in normal voice tones.

With the cold air box, there's no intake roar at all, and there's no engine-driven fan to make noise either.

You're comparison to a musical instrument is exactly right, but the exhaust end of it is very, very complicated. The intake is simple, but only right for a narrow band of RPM. I tried to make the intake tuning coincide with the horsepower peak, and make the header do all the exhaust tuning -- the rest of the exhaust system is supposed to be as transparent to the header as possible.
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (Phil Singher)

Back to rear sway bars.
I had a 122 with the rear bar, and it was the adjustable one . With it set in the "soft" position,, there weren't any problems. The car definitely had less understeer, which it has in abundance, but I didn't find that it had snap oversteer unless I hit a huge bump in the middle of a corner. Then, the front had huge understeer, and the rear followed with oversteer, but that was because of a complete loss of traction of the outside wheel.

A matched set of bars will make the car feel far less "tippy", and can increase ride harshness on rought roads by a small amount. Beyond that, I found the bars to be great for spirited driving, and never caused me a problem.

I also put IPD bars on my 142E, and had them as stiff as possible, and that was too much roll stiffness. However, I still didn't have any real oversteer problems, except in the snow. Then all bets were off. Best advice then was to disconnect the rear bar.
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (wizzard_al)

There is no single correct answer about whether or not to use a rear bar. It depends on the balance of front and rear spring rates, stiffness of the front bar, your driving techniques, how much power is available, and dozens of other factors.

As a point of reference, R-Sport offered a 24mm front bar for 1800 and 122 (vs. 20mm stock) and did not recommend using a rear bar with it. For 140, they had a 20mm front bar (vs. 15mm stock) for use without a rear bar, and a heavier kit with two bars. They offered several 240 kits which all had two bars.

Camber settings, and to a lesser extent toe-in, also have a major influence on the understeer / oversteer balance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: Suspension refresh (Phil Singher)

Going back to the exhaust thing for a second, I have a dumb question. What would stop me from doing a side exit just ahead of the rear wheel, aside from having to close the passenger window in traffic jams?

I read the 1800list thing about welding washers into the shock towers. I'm not looking forward to that....
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (asthenia)

Side exhaust - great idea! Melt the polish on the Mounty's boots!

George Dill
 

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Re: Suspension refresh (asthenia)

Ground clearance to the muffler would be the only issue with a side exit exhaust.

Reinforcing the shock towers is highly recommended if you're using Bilstein or similar stiff shocks. I punched one through the left side on mine 4-5 years ago, and the right side 2-3 weeks ago. Almost all of the 1800s that come through my shop that have upgraded shocks either have the breakage or the repair in place.

As long as you're welding, a sheet metal cap is stronger than a washer. Both sides on mine now have 3/16" steel plates welded on. It's easy to make a template out of cardboard, and then transfer that to the metal so you know where to cut and drill.

Oh, and with the shorter springs, cut down the bump stop but do NOT leave it off entirely, or the shocks can end up going
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: Suspension refresh (gdill2)

Quote, originally posted by gdill2 »
Side exhaust - great idea! Melt the polish on the Mounty's boots!

George Dill

My brother's a mountie. I'll run it by him.


I mostly wondered about the side exhaust before Phil pointed out that under the axle is a fine option. Also, it'd look really cool, but I realize now it would also leave a cutout in the rear valence with nothing in it. Oh well.
 
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