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Author Topic: twotone's Suspension Writeup  (Read 5916 times)

Offline twotone_ra64

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twotone's Suspension Writeup
« on: Jun 18, 2018, 01:55:59 am »
Introduction

This will be a comprehensive visual guide, so prepare yourself for lots of pictures! Each section will be an individual post in the thread so they can be referenced individually. Let me know if there is anything that is not clear so I can edit it. :)

----------

This write-up follows information from the following threads & websites. Please refer to them for more detailed information:

https://www.celica-gts.com/forums/index.php?topic=6766.msg91342#msg91342
http://club4ag.com/tech-data/short-stroke-suspension-guide-conversion-of-front-strut/
http://farnorthracing.com/autocross_secrets.html
http://www.motoiq.com/MagazineArticles/id/2382/basic-drift-chassis-setup-part-3.aspx

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From the moment I bought my Celica GT, I knew I needed to sort out the suspension. All original components and 34 years of age, wear, and miles really did show. My goal with this work was to build the best short stroke setup possible by using the best components possible, no expense spared. It took a little while to save up for this.

This build will require specialty tools for disassembly and fabrication, and professional assistance may also be required. I’ll mention where these special tools are required as we go through the process. :) However, I highly recommend that you have access to a BIG breaker bar, or air / electric impact guns. Depending on how rusted or seized the bolts are on your car, they’ll really come in handy.

The Parts List
Here’s the list of every single component I bought, including part numbers & prices as of June 2018:

Front Suspension:
  • Koni 8641-1221SPORT (1991 MR2 SW20 rear shock inserts) - $150 (x2)
  • T3 RA64 Weld-On Coilover Kit with 8kg/mm Swift Springs - $240
  • T3 RA64 Camber Plates - $195
  • T3 Standard Gland Nuts - $45
  • T3 Swivel Bearing Upper Hat System - $65
  • T3 RA64 Roll Center Adjusters - $95
  • T3 Tension Control Rods - $240
  • 12”x12”x1/8” sheet of UHMW polyethylene - $8 (Amazon)
  • QA1 7888109 Thrust Washer Mount Kit - $35
  • Prothane 191121 22mm front sway bar bushings - $12
  • Energy Suspension 9.8122_front Sway Bar endlinks - $17
  • Prothane 18702 AE86/AW11 manual steering rack bushings - $10
  • Superpro SPF3480-64K Celica power steering rack bushings - $35
  • Moog K9167 Lower Control Arm bushings - $9 (x2)
  • Moog K9083 Ball Joints - $30 (x2)

Rear Suspension (SRA):
  • Koni 8041-1026SPORT (1987 Mustang GT rear shocks) - $110 (x2)
  • T3 AE86 6kg/mm Swift Springs (rear) - $225
  • T3 Panhard/Lateral Bar - $165
  • Energy Suspension 9.6101G coil spring isolators - $26
  • Superpro SPF0280K rear sway bar end bushings - $20
  • Superpro SPF0903K rear sway bar droplink bushings - $19
  • Nolathane REV014.0026 15mm rear sway bar to axle bushings - $9
  • Energy Suspension 8.3109 rear control arm bushings (non-GTS) - $76

Wheels & Tires:
  • Konig Rewind 15”x7” +0mm - $350
  • Dunlop Direzza DZ102 205/50R15 - $320
  • Gorilla 73-6006 Hub Centering rings - $16
  • Muteki 31886B Black 12mm x 1.5mm Open End Super Tuner lug nuts - $46

As some professional services were required, I paid $60 for tires mount & balance, $60 for gland nut machining, $60 for control arm bushing pressing, and $20 to rent a hub-mounted fender rolling tool.

Total cost (not incl. CA sales tax & shipping): $3037

For reference, here are a few pages from the FSM of relevant bolt torques.







Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)

Offline twotone_ra64

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #1 on: Jun 18, 2018, 01:57:18 am »
Disassembling the Front Suspension

Here’s where we start getting stuck into a good project!

Jack your car up, set it on four jackstands, and remove the wheels. You’ll need about 2 feet of ground clearance to work comfortably and fit large breaker bars in case you need them.



Start by tearing down the front suspension. Remove the grease caps with a small hammer and a screwdriver.



Remove the cotter pin and star lock cap. Make sure to buy brand new replacement cotter pins and never reuse old ones!



Disconnect the brake line from the strut tube bracket and remove the caliper from the hub. Prepare a drip pan for the brake fluid. Yes, you’ll be bleeding the brakes at the very end so you may take this opportunity to replace your brake hardware if necessary. Zip tie the loose chassis side brake line out of the way.







Using a 30mm axle nut socket, remove the axle nut. There should not be a lot of torque on it, so a standard ratchet can handle it. Then pull off the hub. If your wheel bearings are worn, now is a perfect time to replace them and the bearing races.



Remove the four bolts holding the brake dust shield on.



To remove the tie rod, remove the cotter pin and the castle nut. Thread the castle nut back on upside down on the stud until a flat surface is created. Use a hammer to smash the tie rod out of the steering arm. If that doesn’t work, use a pickle fork (this may end up destroying your tie rod, so be prepared to replace it).



Before removing the sway bar link and tension rod from the lower control arm, I’d suggest first loosening the tension control rod nuts from the chassis bracket. Keeping it connected to the LCA will prevent the tension rod from spinning.



Now, remove the sway bar link and tension rod from the lower control arm, and remove the two long bolts that hold the strut tube onto the steering arm. Remove the three tophat nuts under the hood on the strut towers. Finally, loosen the lower control arm bolt holding it to the chassis.



With most of the bars that keep the suspension from moving around too much removed, you can pull the strut assembly out of the car! Repeat on the other side.







I would also highly recommend pulling out the lower control arms and get the bushings and ball joints replaced. Now is the time to get the LCAs boxed if you planned on doing that, too.



To prevent marring the spindle while the strut tubes are out and being worked on, wrap it up in painter’s tape.



The strut tube needs to be stripped completely, so start by removing the 19mm shock piston nut. A spring compressor is recommended for this and much safer than my method… using an electric impact gun, plastic trash bin and a wheel to prevent everything from flying away.





With the tophat and spring removed, grab a large pipe wrench and remove the gland nut holding the strut inside the tube. I placed my strut tube in a vice to make things easier.



And we have a disassembled strut tube! Take care not to tip over the tube as there may be old shock fluid or ATF in there, so empty that fluid into your drain pan.

Now, for some reason, my right side shock piston nut was a 21mm, and my 21mm socket wouldn’t fit inside the tophat hole. If you run into something similar, you can do this to remove the shock:



Clamp the spring in a vice, compress it as much as possible, place rags under the strut tube opening and have a friend hold that plastic trash bin over the end of the assembly to keep things from flying into your buddy or your car. Slowly remove the gland nut with the pipe wrench. Even with the spring preloaded, it should be no harder to turn. The shock will come out with fluid following it, so be prepared.





This means that you won’t be able to salvage the stock gland nut unless you cut the shock piston, but you bought the new T3 gland nuts, right? :)

And voila, stripped strut tubes! Ready to get chopped!!

« Last Edit: Jun 18, 2018, 09:28:29 pm by twotone_ra64 »
Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)

Offline twotone_ra64

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #2 on: Jun 18, 2018, 01:58:13 am »
Disassembling the Rear Suspension

The rear suspension on the SRA Celicas are very simple. The bolts are tight back here, so prepare your breaker bar… you may want to spray a penetrating oil on all the bolts beforehand in case your axle is really rusty.

First, jack up the axle housing and place blocks underneath the drums.



Unbolt the small brackets holding the parking brake cables on each side. Don’t forget to do this, you don’t want to risk stretching or breaking the cables when you drop the axle.



Pop open the trunk, lift up the carpet and remove the caps covering the upper shock mounting points. Zip the nuts off with an electric impact, and remove the washer and bushing.





Remove the nut holding the panhard bar to the axle, and remove the nuts holding the shocks to the axle. Pull them all off the axle carefully.



Remove the lower control arm bolts on both the axle and chassis side. An air impact set at 100 ft-lbs should be able to break these off. A small hammer will help slide the bolts out of the bushing sleeves. Once both control arms are out, remove the nut holding the rear sway bar droplinks to the chassis. Now you should be able to push the axle down far enough to remove the springs. If you still don’t have enough compliance, remove the axle side upper control arm bolts, but place a jack underneath the axle housing so it doesn’t smash the ground or your face following the removal of the bolts.





Remove the droplinks from the rear sway bar and remove the metal insert from the rubber bushing. A 3/8” extension is perfect for this.





Once the metal insert is out, you should be able to push the rubber bushing out with your fingers.



With the sway bar disconnected from the chassis, the upper control arms are next. The chassis side bolts are somewhat difficult to get to and are torqued to 105 ft-lbs per the factory spec. I would highly recommend buying a 19 mm impact socket and a 20” long, 1/2” drive extension. You might destroy 3/8” drive hardware. Disconnecting the sway bar will allow you to move the axle in a much larger range of motion to make space. Spray plenty of penetrating oil, get a long breaker bar, summon the strength of whichever deities you believe in…



…and pull! I probably applied 100 lbs of force with a 3’ bar to break each side. One thing to note about removing the bolts – underneath the back seat, there’s this rubber grommet thing that will prevent you from removing the bolt fully. I had to go into the trunk, put the back seats down and pull that grommet up and out of the way with a pry tool. I also had to remove one of the 10mm bolts holding the exhaust heat shield in place to get even more room.



Take note that the rear control arm nuts and bolts are all the exact same length and diameter, except for the chassis-side upper control arm bolts, which are much longer.

Let’s take a moment to admire the pile of old, stock parts we’ve pulled out. :)

Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)

Offline twotone_ra64

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #3 on: Jun 18, 2018, 01:59:56 am »
The Short Stroke Build:

So let’s get to the chopping part. But first, some measurement! With the MR2 shock and the OEM shock next to each other, you can get an idea of how much the strut tube needs to be shortened. Place the bottoms of the shocks against a flat block to get them sitting on the same reference plane, and measure the length difference from the tops of each shock.





I observed a height difference of 40mm, so that’s the amount to cut off the strut tube. But hang on a minute, how do those T3 gland nuts sit on the Koni shocks compared to the Koni gland nuts?







It seems the taper inside the T3 gland nut is too small, and doesn’t go all the way down to the lip that the Koni gland nut would sit on. I want it to fully capture the shock, so I took them to a shop to get them machined. The specs for machining are:

Mill the bottom right up to the threads
36mm ID counterbore, 6mm deep



Since the counterbore is pretty deep, I decided to only shorten the strut tubes 38mm (or 1.5”) to allow the shock to sit 2mm below the top of the strut tube.

Back to the strut tubes. Start by cutting off the stock spring perches, as you won’t need them anymore.



Cut out the section that the spring perch used to be in, since it’s easier to do that than grind the tube perfectly flat and then make a cut elsewhere. I used a horizontal band saw to make as straight cuts as possible. Carefully measure and mark the strut tube so you know where to line up the saw. First cut the line closest to the strut tube opening, then the one below it. Stay as far below the fine gland nut threads as you can!





Bevel the edges of the cut sections for improved weld penetration.



Here’s how it looks with a 38mm cut!



Now to test the gland nut – it looks like it captures the top of the shock and leaves a couple threads exposed. This is how the OEM gland nut looked with the OEM strut insert.



With the measurements verified, set up a welding jig that ensures the tubes are perfectly lined up with each other. An L-channel or U-channel works well for this.



Not the prettiest, but it’ll work!



Next, measure and mark where the new T3 weld-on spring perch ring will go. The T3 adjustable spring perch is 6” long, so the perch ring needs to be welded around 6 1/8” – 6 1/4” below the top of the strut tube. I used tape to make a ring that would hold the perch and adjuster in place, and lined it up such that the adjuster sits just below the top of the strut tube.



 Ok, now the weld actually looks pretty.





I also had the brake line bracket welded on vertically to take some stress off the brake lines that were previously being pulled on from the steep angle of the OEM bracket placement. An air hammer and cutoff wheel took the entire bracket off the tube, then a bandsaw cut the unneeded part off, and it was rewelded at the same vertical height as before.



Once both strut tubes are ready to go, take the time to pretty them up. I sandblasted and painted mine in 500°F silver engine enamel. Don’t forget to blow out all the gunk that may have ended up inside the strut tube!





Before assembling the struts completely, you’ll need two more things – ultra high molecular weight (UHMW) polyethylene washers, and the installation of the pillow ball adapters from T3.

When you buy T3 RA64 camber plates, they supply a bag of adapters and shank nuts to allow various brands of shocks to center perfectly in the spherical bearing. The Koni shocks need the slimmer ones. Gently push them into the bottom of the spherical bearing. A little oil on the outer surface of the adapter may help.





The UHMW PE washers serve the purpose of decreasing friction between the Torrington bearing in the T3 upper spring hat and the gold block of the camber plate. When camber is dialed in, the bearing won’t sit flat against the gold block in the camber plate and it can create a lot of friction on the small contact point that it makes. It will also prevent metal-to-metal contact and decrease wear.

I got my sheet of UHMW PE from Amazon for $8. A 1/8” thick sheet is all we need. Both 1” and 1 3/4” hole saws are required to cut the washer. Start with the larger diameter cut, then clamp the washer in the vice and drill out the center!







With those sorted out, here’s the assembly order for the front struts, shown from left to right in the image below:

T3 O-rings, T3 adjuster sleeve, Koni shock, gland nut, QA1 bearing washer, QA1 Torrington bearing, QA1 bearing washer, Swift spring, T3 upper spring hat, UHMW PE washer, pillow ball adapter, camber plate, shock nut lock washer, shock nut.



Note that the T3 adjuster sleeve only goes in one way. The picture below shows the side that must face down with a slightly larger ID opening; otherwise, you’ll have a hard time getting the o-rings to slip under the sleeve as you push it onto the strut tube.



The FSM also calls for 325ml of ATF to go into the shock tube before sliding in the strut insert, but I skipped this and just placed grease on the bottom of the shock for corrosion protection.

Snug down the gland nut down with the pipe wrench, and torque the shock top nut. Your strut assemblies are now complete!


« Last Edit: Jun 18, 2018, 02:01:51 pm by twotone_ra64 »
Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)

Offline twotone_ra64

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #4 on: Jun 18, 2018, 02:01:28 am »
Front Suspension Installation

While the strut tubes were out, I took the opportunity to replace the inner and outer tie rods, steering rack boots, and replace the steering rack bushings. At the very least, you should replace the steering rack bushings with polyurethane units. I used one Superpro and one Prothane bushing for my manual steering rack. If you have power steering, the Superpro kit will take care of both sides.

The “D” shaped bushing from the Superpro kit goes on the left side…



…and the cylindrical bushing from the Prothane kit goes on the right side. It is unfortunately slightly smaller in both diameter and width than the stock bushing, but it will still squish down and fit.





On the topic of bushings, don’t forget about the front sway bar bushings! The 22mm Energy Suspension bushings work perfectly, but the brackets just barely fit in the space under the car. A little bit of filing may be required. Note that you will need to add washers to the stock bolts so they have a better seat on the larger slots in the ES brackets.





Let’s begin reassembly! If you removed everything like I did, start by installing the new tie rods and boots onto the steering rack, install the LCA, and install the steering arm. Don’t torque down the nut for the LCAs just yet, only tighten them and torque them when the wheels are on and the car is up on blocks. Torque down the castle nuts and install new cotter pins. If you replaced the tie rods and ball joints, they should come with new cotter pins.



Then place the T3 Roll Center Adjuster on top of the steering arm.



This next part may be tricky without another pair of helping hands, but now is the time to install the strut assemblies. Since I was alone for this part, I used blue tape to keep the camber plate bolts in place and kept the washers and nuts by the shock tower under the hood. I lifted the strut assembly up, threaded on the camber plate nuts with the washers to hold the strut in place, and then wiggled the RCA onto the bottom of the strut. There are dowels on the steering arm and RCA to line everything up and put the bolts in. T3 provides longer bolts with their RCAs. Don’t forget to torque the tophat bolts! If you have a strut tower bar, now is the time to slot it in.





To make sure your car sits somewhat evenly after initially installing the strut assemblies, set the ride height by turning the adjuster ring. I used the distance between the weld-on perch and the bottom of the adjuster ring as my measurement, and set both sides to 71mm.



The T3 tension control rods are next. The tension rod bracket should be bolted to the chassis first, and the chassis bracket should be sandwiched by the two large red washer plates. Then slot the other end into the control arm. T3 also provides new bolts and nylock nuts for this.



Next is to install the front sway bar endlinks. The sway bar and control arm should be sandwiched between the polyurethane bushings. Make sure the endlink bolt is oriented such that the nut is on the bottom of the control arm. If the nut falls off for whatever reason, the bolt will keep most of the hardware in place.





The brake dust shields need to be notched to clear the lower control arm since the RCAs lowered the control arm mounting point. A cutoff wheel makes easy work of the thin sheet metal. Once you’ve verified the shield clears, bolt it on!





The wheel hub is next, slide it right onto the spindle. Don’t forget to place the flat index washer on top of the outer wheel bearing. Whether or not you replaced the wheel bearings, I highly recommend repacking the bearings with high quality NLGI 2 grease and replace the grease seals on the back of the hub.



To set the wheel bearing preload, torque the axle nut down to 22 ft-lbs and back off the nut enough to allow the hub to spin freely. Get a 5-10 lb spring scale or small digital luggage scale and follow the procedure below.



When you have verified the bearing preload is set, put the star lock cap on, new cotter pin and grease cap!



Install the brake caliper, brake lines and the front suspension is complete! Now repeat on the other side.

Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)

Offline twotone_ra64

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #5 on: Jun 18, 2018, 02:03:52 am »
Rear Suspension Installation

If you removed the rear control arms, now is the time to replace the old bushings. Mine didn’t look too bad, but yours may be in worse shape. To install the ES poly bushings, you’ll need to have the metal sleeves pressed out of the control arms too. A shop with a press can do this for you.





A vice or C-clamp is all that is needed to press the poly bushings in. A hammer may work, too. My only tip for installing the new bushings is that you put the bushings in first, and then the metal sleeve last. If you install a bushing, then the sleeve, then the other bushing, the grease won’t have a path to escape between the bushings and the hydraulic pressure it creates won’t allow the bushings to sit flush with the control arm, and they won’t fit in the brackets on the car. Ask me how I found out. :heh:



Next, prepare the rear sway bar. Follow the same process as the rear control arm bushings to put them in. But this time you’ll only need your fingers, no vice. :) The axle side bushings are very simple, the brackets have single bolt and the other side is hooked in, so just remove them and slip the old bushings out and replace them with the fresh ones!







For the droplinks, simply swap out the rubber bits for the new poly bits!



A quick tip: when it came time to reinstall the rear sway bar, I found it easier to bolt the droplinks to the sway bar and then slip the droplinks into their brackets.



Before putting in the springs and shocks, the bumpstops need to be cut at the notch closest to the chassis. The car will be lowered significantly, and we don’t want to bottom out. Keeping a small amount of the bumpstop there is a good idea.



Slot the upper and lower control arms in, push the bolts through and snug down the nuts. We’ll tighten down everything and the very end. Don’t forget the lock washers! If the bolts were particularly rusty, clean off the rust and grease the bolt shafts before installing them.

Now grab the rear springs and set them on the spring perch. Place the 10mm coil spring isolator on top of the rear spring.



A note on the rear spring: the AE86 spring’s lower ID is slightly larger than the Celica axle’s spring perch, and I had concerns about it actually fitting properly on the perch. Some of the spring does hang off of the perch, but looking at it for myself, it actually is not that bad. To make sure that most of the spring is on the perch, position the spring so that the step of the spring hangs off the perch.



Now for the shocks – although I did not add it to the parts list, you might need to buy different shock eye bushings. The shock mounts on the axle are 16mm OD, and the Mustang shock eye bushing sleeves are a bit smaller. Even if you press out the sleeves, it still won’t fit.



To make them fit without new shock eye bushings, you’ll have to press the sleeves out and use a 5/8” hole saw to enlarge the rubber bushing openings. To avoid burning the rubber and getting it stuck inside the hole saw, spray plenty of WD40 as you drill. The paint will flake off and get a little messy, but this won’t hurt anything.







Verify that they’ll now fit on the shock mounts, and mount up the shocks. Note that the new Koni rubber bushings up top need to sandwich the chassis. Don’t forget the washers that go on either side of the shock eye bushing. Also, the shock caps now won't fit over the Koni shocks since the adjuster sits on top and makes it too tall for the cap.







Finally, the T3 panhard bar needs to go in. Grab the stock panhard bar and adjust the T3 bar to approximately the same length. This will give you a decent baseline before the rear end is aligned. Start by installing the chassis side of the bar (this will be the smaller rod end side). Use the provided bolt, locknut and spacers from T3.



Jack up or lower the axle as necessary to allow the other end of the panhard bar to slot onto the axle mount. The axle mount may need a little cleaning up with some sandpaper to allow everything to slide in smoothly. A little anti-seize compound can go a long way here. Then slide in the washers, spacers and panhard bar. Don’t forget to slide in the inner washer here!



It’s time to torque everything down. Don’t forget to reinstall the parking brake cable brackets. Use the jack to lift the axle up at about the position you think the car will sit, and then have at it.

The suspension install is now complete!! Go around the car and do one more bolt torque check just to be sure. Trust me, do this.
« Last Edit: Jun 18, 2018, 02:06:39 pm by twotone_ra64 »
Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)

Offline twotone_ra64

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #6 on: Jun 18, 2018, 02:04:56 am »
Alignment

Congratulations making it this far! Here’s where things get fun. This was probably most fun part for me since it was my first time doing my own alignment. This section will show you how I did the alignment, but your alignment specs are completely up to you depending on your application. Refer to the Far North Racing and MotoIQ articles at the beginning of the post for guidelines, or just use the stock alignment specs. You can get really fancy with this and use scales to corner balance the car with a ballast in the driver’s seat that matches your body weight, but I just did a simple string alignment.

These are the front alignment specs I set my car to:

Total toe = +1/8"
Camber = -2.0°
Caster = +4.6°

----------

Consider the fact that we’ve lowered the car 2”-2.5”. The geometry changes a lot from a suspension upgrade like this, which is why you should install geometry correction parts, like the T3 roll center adjusters. When it’s time to rebuild the differential, I’ll be installing traction brackets of some arrangement to correct the rear lower control arm angle and pinion angle. If you followed this writeup and rebuilt the steering rack, your front toe will definitely be out of spec.

For a string alignment, you’ll need string, tape, washers or bolts, 4 jackstands, 4 small metal plates, any kind of grease, 4 large wooden blocks, angle finder of some description, bubble level, ruler or tape measure, and a small block of wood.

Before beginning, make sure you set the ride height where you want it. If you change the ride height after the alignment, the settings will change slightly.

We need to create a zero reference to align the front wheels, so let’s start with the adjusting the panhard bar in the rear. Mount the wheels, and set the car up on the large blocks. Ideally, your garage floor is flat and nothing is placed between the blocks and the garage floor.



Get the string, tape and washers/bolts. Tie the washers/bolt to one end of the string, and tape the other end to the quarterpanel. This will allow you to measure where the wheels sit in relation to the quarterpanel. If there are points on the frame that you can measure to, then use those instead. Make sure you have a reference point for where you place the string on the quarterpanel so it’s in the same place on the other side. Rotate the panhard bar to shift the axle left and right depending on where you need to move it. I measured from the face of the rim to the string, and it was aligned when I saw 22.5mm on each side. Your measurements may be different.







To begin aligning the front, get the metal plates & grease, and coat one side of the metal plates with grease and stick them together.







Jack up the front of the car and place the greased plates between the front wheels and the blocks. This will allow you to more easily adjust the toe since the tires will be able to slip on the plates.



Get two jackstands and tie the ends of a very long string to them. Run the string alongside the car from one end to the other. It should be somewhat close to the center of the wheels so you can easily measure the distance from the edge of the rim to the string. To make sure the line is straight, measure the distance from the edge of the rim to the string on the left and right side of the rim. The line is straight when the left and right side distances are equal.







Now that you have a zero reference for the front wheels, we can dial in the toe. Toe is usually measured in “total inches”, meaning that if you have 1/8” total toe in, each side is toed in 1/16” for a total of 1/8”. You will see a difference of 1/16” of an inch in the measurement from the left and right sides of the rim to the string. Adjust the toe by turning the tie rods clockwise or counterclockwise depending on what you need!



Next, the camber setting. What I did was place a flat ruler vertically on the tire, then put the digital angle finder on the ruler, and put a bubble level on the angle finder to give me a horizontal reference. I subtracted 90 from the angle I saw on the digital angle finder to give me the camber angle.



I raised the car and used the notches on the camber plates as a reference to see how much I needed to shift the strut on the camber plate to set my desired camber. Always check your measurements with the car weighing down on the blocks.

Finally, caster! Similar to the method used to measure camber, you’ll use the digital angle finder and bubble level to measure the angle of the strut tube. The car must be loaded for this, but you won’t have much room with the wheels on, so remove the front wheels and load the hubs on the jackstands like so:



Then turn the T3 tension control rod adjuster as necessary to dial in the caster angle.

And that’s it! Tighten the tie rods, the adjustment bolts for the tension control rods and the camber plate bolts. Take your car for a spin and see how it feels. Adjust the alignment settings as necessary if things aren’t feeling good or your car isn’t driving straight.
Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)

Offline twotone_ra64

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #7 on: Jun 18, 2018, 02:09:47 am »
Afterword

After a week or driving and feeling things out, I can easily say that this suspension upgrade was the most worthwhile upgrade I could do for this car. There are cheaper ways out there to achieve a similar coilover build, perhaps using Ground Control sleeves, Eibach springs and KYB shocks, but choosing the best quality components definitely shows while driving on the street. The 8kg/6kg spring rate combo is a great match for the car too. The ride is stiff, but comfort is not compromised. The Koni shocks have two full turns of damping adjustment, and I have mine set at one turn for the front and rear. It's perfect for street driving and fun mountain blasts. A little bit more noise and vibration gets transferred into the car compared to before, simply because some of the suspension mounts are stiffer (polyurethane bushings and heim joint ends will cause this), but it's really not too bad.

The suspension will also settle after a week or two, and this will throw off your alignment settings, so get the car back up on blocks, set up the strings, measure it up and adjust it again. Check the bolts and re-torque them while you’re at it.

Depending on your wheel and tire setup, you may need to roll your fenders. With my 205/50R15 Dunlop tires, I found that I had to get the front fenders rolled. Get the proper fender rolling tool for the best results. You can rent them out for very little money. A heat gun will help the metal form and keep the paint on the fender from cracking. You might also have to trim the fender liner and zip tie it out of the way, too.





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Now get out there and enjoy your car!


« Last Edit: Jun 18, 2018, 02:02:45 pm by twotone_ra64 »
Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)

Offline Sigma Projects

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #8 on: Jun 18, 2018, 02:40:11 am »
pretty awesome!
1984 Celica GT Coupe    sold and missed it
1983 Celica GT Coupe    attacked... will miss it (RIP) JY
1982 Celica GT Liftback  sold and won't miss it, lol
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Offline swan song

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #9 on: Jun 18, 2018, 05:48:55 am »
Great job man. This forum needed this. And you provided. I’ve always loved the stance a car has when it is properly set up. It sits how a race car sits. Correctly! One question I have, how far is your roll center from your CG? Also, is your roll center above ground? Would It be below ground if you didn’t have the roll center spacers?
1985 celica GT , 191k.
Want a low budget LSD? http://www.celica-gts.com/forums/index.php?topic=29189.0

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Offline twotone_ra64

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #10 on: Jun 18, 2018, 02:11:49 pm »
Thanks so much guys!! :laugh: There's definitely beauty in form that follows function~

swan, I'm not actually sure since I haven't measured it up, but the RCAs definitely keep the control arms angled towards the ground with the car lowered this much. Without them, the roll center would definitely be below ground and I'd have terrible bump steer.
Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)

Offline Sigi

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #11 on: Jun 18, 2018, 05:49:31 pm »
This sir is awesome  :thumbs:

That's a nice reference. The only thing i didn't get is why you cleaned some of the suspension parts ansd painted them, and others were not even washed  ;)
I would have taken the opportuniy to clean the whole suspension and chassis and repaint all of the parts.

Offline twotone_ra64

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #12 on: Jun 18, 2018, 06:02:41 pm »
Thanks Sigi!! :) I only cleaned and painted the strut tubes thoroughly for rust prevention, since the factory paint coating had to be ground off for welding. The other suspension parts had no rust, so I didn't see a need to clean them seeing as they would just get dirty again. :heh:
Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)

Offline RedCar

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #13 on: Jun 19, 2018, 05:17:28 am »
Fantastic documentation, you have me psyched to go for full wheel alignment myself!
In the past I've used cereal boxes with lard in between (prefer captain crunch) for wheel pivots to set steering stops and caster. But your string looks mighty handy for toe, hopefully having rear to on my irs won't create too much difficulty for setting zero reference?
83 GT Sport

Offline twotone_ra64

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Re: twotone's Suspension Writeup
« Reply #14 on: Jun 19, 2018, 04:23:42 pm »
Thanks!! Glad it encouraged you to do it yourself! :) Oh man, cereal boxes and lard, that is very creative!

True, having IRS means that some camber or toe might make it difficult to set a zero reference. My Miata is the same way, so I use the track width measurements to set the zero reference. With a known track width for the Celica GT-S...

1435mm ( 56.5in ) (front)
1405mm ( 55.3in ) (rear)

...we can use the difference in track width per side to create the zero reference. The GT-S rear track width is 30mm narrower than the front, so on each side, the rear wheel will be 15mm closer to the frame than the front. Set the string some arbitrary distance X from the center of the front wheel, and set the distance to the center of the rear wheel that X distance plus 15mm. The picture below should serve as a visual reference as to what I'm talking about.



Celica the '84 Two-tone RA64 - Phase 2 In Progress! (159k); 1UZ-FE V8 Swap, W58 5-speed swap, Koni x Swift x T3 suspension, 6G Celica seat belts, TRD 2-way LSD, Konig Rewind 15x7" +0, zenki taillights, Cobra Imola Pro-fit seat, T3 seat rails
Mia the '91 Miata - Revived Twice! (264k); BP-5A 1.8L swap, an NB in NA clothes
Lilith the '94 Legend GS - The New Smooth Daily™ :shades: (144k)