Text and Photography Courtesy of QA1
Coil-overs in a suspension setup have become synonymous with performance and a must-have product. They offer lots of adjustability and performance in a compact light-weight package. However there have been some misconceptions about them as well, one of them being that they will give your car a harsh or rough ride.
It’s true that they can give your car a harsh ride if they aren’t properly set up, just like any other suspension system. There are several common reasons that coil-overs give a rough ride.
It’s true, coil-overs can result in a rough ride. If not set up properly you too could have a rough ride. Let’s break down the common things we see and help you make your ride quality and performance amazing.
First, the wrong spring rate. The spring rate is very important for a proper ride. Just because you have a set of coil-overs from a friend’s Hot Rod that rode great doesn’t mean they will on your Muscle Car and ride great too. It’s important to know not only the spring rate on the coil-overs you’re going to use but also the spring rate needed for your particular set up.
The first step is to find out what spring rate your car needs. Generally speaking, if you know the year, make and model we will be able to tell you what the correct spring rate is. If you have a completely custom setup then there are some measurements and weights we will need to calculate that for you. Once we have these we can suggest a softer spring rate for a smooth ride or a firmer spring rate for high-performance applications. It’s not unusual for racers to have numerous sets of springs so they can change the spring rate out for different tracks and conditions.
Second is the valving in the shock isn’t correct. More than likely any harsh riding vehicle is due to improper shock valving almost more than any other aspect. Whether it’s too little or too much, a shock that’s valved improperly will cause not only a harsh ride but can be unsafe and cause abnormal tire wear among other issues.
Proper shock valving is crucial for a proper handling ride. As we mentioned before, the most important part of how nice a car drives usually boils down to the shock valving. All of our coil-overs are either single or dual adjustable. The shock itself is going to be valved for your application and then with the adjustable knobs, you can dial in and fine-tune your ride. This might mean that you prefer a slightly softer right while your buddy with the identical car can have a slightly more performance/stiffer ride for their preference. The other benefit is that you can have a nice cruising setting then crank up the rebound and dampening when hitting the track and put it back for the ride home.
When you have the correct shock and spring rate the ride should be nothing short of amazing. With a coil-over, you can change the ride height and spring rate easily and QA1 coil-overs offer shock valving adjustment knobs built right into the shock.
Another common issue with coil-overs is when people install the wrong shock length for their intended ride height. One of the best things about coil overs is the ease of ride height adjustment. Sometimes they dial it in a little too low or a little too high and the shock runs out of stroke, causing it to bottom out and give a harsh ride.
Lastly, you’ll need to make sure that you aren’t overextending or bottoming out the shock. The best bet is to stroke the suspension and take measurements. For example, take a measurement from the top shock mounting point to the bottom shock mounting point with the suspension all the way extended and all the way compressed.
QA1 has a vast selection of products and have already done the work for you. Just visit qa1.net, and punch in your Year, Make and Model to see what fits. If you happen to have an application they don’t list, give them a call at (952) 985-5675 and they can help you figure out the perfect set of coil-overs.