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Best Struts For The Money?


Pennyman

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I know there's several choices out there regarding performance struts: adjustable vs. non-adjustable and the like, but what would you reccmmend is the best bang for the buck? (I'm talking performance-wise, like autoX or mountain driving).

$145 is a little pricy for one adjustable strut in my opinion, so I think we're talking about non-adustable guys here.

In terms of springs I think I'm almost sold on AZ z car springs, they seem like they know what I want, hehe.

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I have Tokico Illumina's (adjustables) with the AZC springs. For the street I love them. For autox they are not heavy enough. I have been binding the coils on both the front and back. If you are using the Z in stock or street prepared you should be O.K. with that set up. I race in F prepared and use Goodyear 23x9x15 R250 slicks, they are much stickier than Dot race tires and are overpowering the suspension. I would go stiffer but I still drive the car on the street and any stiffer would be a problem for the street. I got the Illumina's on Ebay for $360 (new in the box) for the entire set of 4. The MSA price is way too high. I drive the car with the shocks on 4 for racing (5 if the pavement is glass smoothe) and then go to 2 for the street. On 4 with my crappy street tires the car skips around corners with bumps, on the track it absorbs the bumps beautifully until I bind the coils. It does not happen very often but when the pavement temps are right and the tire temps are right and the corner is right (lots of factors) I can feel the coils bind and the car gets a little bouncy. I am building a dedicated race car right now and plan to use much heavier springs and shocks for that car along with a intigrated roll cage. Autocrossing with a DOT tire like the Hoosier 225/50/15 or something like that I think the springs and Illumina's are great. If you do not go with the Illumina's then go for the HP's (Tokico non-adj). If you go much stiffer that those springs without reinforcing the body you run the risk of stress cracking the unibody from autoxing over time.

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Christopher, it sounds like the struts are too stiff on 4. If the strut overpowers the spring then it does something called "packing up" where every bump you hit compresses the strut but the spring can't overcome the rebound damping. When this happens you hit bump after bump after bump until the suspension is bottomed out. I'm running the Illuminas on 200/250 springs and I haven't had that problem personally. I pretty much agree with everything else Christopher says though. Great struts, aren't stiff enough for slicks. I drove on the street on 1 or 2, switched to 4 or 5 at the track.

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Christopher, it sounds like the struts are too stiff on 4. If the strut overpowers the spring then it does something called "packing up" where every bump you hit compresses the strut but the spring can't overcome the rebound damping. When this happens you hit bump after bump after bump until the suspension is bottomed out. I'm running the Illuminas on 200/250 springs and I haven't had that problem personally. I pretty much agree with everything else Christopher says though. Great struts, aren't stiff enough for slicks. I drove on the street on 1 or 2, switched to 4 or 5 at the track.

Thanks for the info I will try going down a notch and see what happens.

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So I guess if I have the money, I'll look for some illuminas on ebay. Seems like the tokico hp's are pretty good for all purpose spirited driving. I just want consistent handling...I wanna know how my car is going to behave at any given time, not be thinking to myself "Crap, what setting are the illuminas on so I can dodge this bad driver" on the freeway.

In terms of springs, where would you get such a heavy spring rate (200/250) the AZ springs are 180/200 and I don't know any other brand which is stiffer...please enlighten?

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i use to run coil overs on my Zed,just recently changed suspencion set up,did have the adjustable Tokicos,still got 2 rears for sale,not a lot of mileage,car handled good with these,am now running the eibach springs with adjustable platforms,not much difference really

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In terms of springs, where would you get such a heavy spring rate (200/250) the AZ springs are 180/200 and I don't know any other brand which is stiffer...please enlighten?

Unless you are getting into some serious racing (autoxing, ect) the AZC springs are very stiff for the street and for lighter autocrossing. The shocks on any setting will work for the occasional evasive move on the street, your tires will determine the out come of that situation more than your shocks or springs. Even for the autoxing I do, the springs are good 85% of the time. The money you did not want to spend on the shocks would be spent and more if you go to coilovers or custome made springs. Once I get my dedicated racer built I will occasionally autox my car (for fun) and drive it only on the street, the Illumina's and AZC springs will be perfect for that.

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I bought my Tokico Blues on ebay for a good price. If you shop around, you can find them cheaper than the usual Z car vendors. I know shox.com had a good deal on some stuff as well. Do your homework, and you will save some money. Then you can get adjustables, but not pay thru the nose for them.

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I got a package deal on eBay a few months back, it included a full set (all 4 corners) of Tokico Illumina's and matched Tokico springs (I do not know the spring rates off hand). The total cost including shipping to my front door...$484 Way cheaper than your quoted price and this included springs. :)

The eBay seller I got them from ALWAYS has this package listed for sale but his price varries a bit.

Here's the thread where that eBay deal was discussed: http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16649

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just put springs and new struts on my 240Z. Goal is "spirited" driving on the street, no true competition. I opted for Tokico HP's (blue) (same e-bay vendor -- they are great). They are valved similar to Illumina's on 1 or 2 -- taut, but not punishing. For springs, I used Turn 6 racing springs (no longer available, I believe). These are much stiffer than stock at 350 pounds/inch front and 450 pounds/inch rear. I have used Eibach, etc in the past, and they are mildly softer, but always left the front of early 240Z's about 1/2 inch higher than the back (probably not an issue on other models).

Note that if you successfully drop the front an inch, you will have very short suspension travel. Make sure you pick up new jounce bumpers (urethanes work OK). I used MSA urethanes and trimmed about 3/16" off of the base to capture back as much suspension travel as possible.

ZGuitar71 -- could your suspension bind be the strut housing bottoming out on the mount or jounce bumper. Your car looks sweetly low (great photo) and I have had to shorten (cut and weld) the strut towers, use VW front strut inserts, etc., whenever going that low...

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ok.. I've got my front suspension all over the garage. It started off as a brake job, you know, the old toyota, 350z conversion thing. I didn't like the way it turned out so I had some parts machined... long story.. I'll post pictures one day of my brake mod.

Anyway...

Since the struts are currently sitting in a pickle bucket, I figured this may be as good of a time as any to replace them. They REALLY need it.

I too am struggling with whether to buy the Autozone replacement struts or to go with something more exotic.

My goal is to have a good daily (maybe weekly) driver. I dont have racing ambitions until the kids get old enough to where we can all do it together.

THE SPRINGS!? what about the springs? I can't get my brain around why I need to replace my springs other than the fact that they are 34 years old. Do springs quit working?

Someone please enlighten me on the need to replace springs.

THANKS! :lick:

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  • 2 weeks later...

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