Focusing on coilovers, though the same principles apply to coil spring cars, he continues, "The biggest problem with coilovers is you have to support the car's weight-which is the spring's primary job-but you have to do it at the proper ride height." With the car done and sitting on the ground, you must check to see if the shock is sitting within its eye-to eye ride height range. If it's sitting too short, you need a stiffer spring. If it's too long, you need a softer spring. In both cases, you're looking to ensure that the shock has the amount of travel that's correct for the application. Minor adjustments to this height can then be made with spring preload. In general, preload is employed when lighter-than-standard springs are used. Remember, though, that preload is a subtle adjustment; too much can limit spring travel and compromise ride quality. Alston provides a wide selection of springs as well as guidelines for choosing the proper coils and for setting ride height for a variety of driving scenarios.
Summing UpWe all want the most from our machines, whether it's putting power to the pavement or making rapid directional changes through a maze of cones. No performance car can be all it can be without optimized suspension, and the road to optimization leads through adjustability. The more tuning choices you have, the better your chance of scoring a sweet-handling ride that helps cut tenths off your time. Our expert source Alston brought the advantage of double-adjustable shocks into clear view. "It's a tremendous advantage because you can get them to work on the car. And there's a 99 percent chance to get it right." The only disadvantage, if you want to call it that, is that you have to take the time to dial in your shocks. But since the result, with a little work, is a suspension that's optimized, we like those odds.