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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Been a while since I've posted, but that's mostly because my car is just running faultlessly, so nothing to moan about Long may it continue.

Anyway, after seeing someone mention cheap suspension mods in a post the other day, I've started thinking about it. My car is a 1998 FPT Anniversary, with the full Aero engine. Great car, just runs and runs, very fast etc., but the ride and handling, or rather the lack of it, is starting to get on my nerves a bit. The ride quality is very strange - lots of body roll in corners, and yet still crashy over bumps. Anyone else get the same kind of feeling?

I am wondering what could be done to improve things a bit. Am considering a strut brace, as it gets such great reviews, but if I want to upgrade the suspension as well do I have to spend the approx. £500 for a full Koni set from Elkparts (and God know how much for someone to then fit it..) or is there a cheaper and reasonably effective way to firm it up a bit and improve the handling?

Sorry if I'm rambling a bit, any input much appreciated as always.
 

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Hi again

Fitting poly bushes to the front and rear anti-roll bars would be a good, cheap way to start.

You don't have to change both shocks and springs together. As long as your current shocks are not too worn, and you don't lower it excessively, they will be OK. There are often s/h sets of Aero spring available from the likes of Abbott- or you could try an ad in the classfieds here.

There is of course the slight risk that your shocks aren't up to it- and you could end up paying twice for the labour


IIRC there are a few places around that can test you shocks in situ on the car, and give an indication of their state, and indeed the overall perfromance of the entire suspension system.

The front strut brace not only sharpens up the steering feel, but also helps to eliminate dashboard rattles.

HTH
 

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Originally posted by SurfGreen:
[qb]do I have to spend the approx. £500 for a full Koni set from Elkparts (and God know how much for someone to then fit it..) or is there a cheaper and reasonably effective way to firm it up a bit and improve the handling?
[/qb][/b]
Rear ARB poly bushes (£20) help the roll a lot, and have (IMO) no downsides. A must-do, in my view.

Rear front wishbone poly bushes (about £30) improve the steering feel, but in my case also caused vibration at about 40mph in 4th (I have an auto). I'm about to add Konis/Abbott springs so I'll see if it goes away after that. If not, they're coming off in favour of some new Saab ones.

Konis: the right way of doing it is to pay £165 for Abbott springs and Konis second hand like I've just done (to be fitted next week), but I accept that may be difficult advice to follow

According to DCA, assuming things come apart OK (and some of the bolts on the rear may well not come apart easily) about 2 hours labour should be enough to fit springs and/or shocks.
 

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IMHO the best upgrade 'pack' would be:

1) Strut brace
2) Abbott springs (maybe 2nd Aero springs as a 1st step)
3) Koni sports
4) Rear poly ARB bushes

This gives a better ride than standard (imo) and it goes very well round corners. - miles better that standard. The springs drop the car a little bit, but not too much and are not bone jarring at all. You can play with the dampers to get the ride right as well - the konis seem to remove the crashiness of the standard setup.

After this comes a run of poly, with each new bit degrading the ride a little. Beware of front ARB bushes in poly as they are quite noticeably harsher. Even the front arm rear bushes add a little harshness too and to me really only give their £'s worth when you are pushing pretty hard (and then they are worth it). As with many of these things, a fresh set of standard bushes assuming the old ones are worn, can tidy things up very nicely.
 

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Originally posted by Bubbles:
[qb]IIRC there are a few places around that can test you shocks in situ on the car, and give an indication of their state, and indeed the overall perfromance of the entire  suspension system.
[/qb][/b]
There is a place in High Wycombe. Let me know if you want details.
 

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The ride quality is very strange - lots of body roll in corners, and yet still crashy over bumps. Anyone else get the same kind of feeling?[/b]
The body roll on most of the non-Carlsson/Aero models is usual and in my opinion the crashing over bumps is common to all 9000's.
By this I mean that the smaller bumps are transmitted right through to the cabin, something I was berating my modified (Koni/Abbott) Aero for until I drove a lpt loaner when my car was in for a service, it was almost as bad in this respect! Lower profile rubber doesn't help the situation either, but I'm wondering if any combination of shock and spring could remedy it or is it just a fact of life with the way the suspension is designed on the 9000 range?
NIck.
 

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Originally posted by faero:
[qb] Beware of front ARB bushes in poly as they are quite noticeably harsher. [/qb][/b]
I've not found that; it's the other elements like the drop link bushes that make the ride notciably more harsh. IIRC the Annis are on 15" wheels, so there shouldn't be too much of a problem using poly.
 

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Surfgreen,
I have the same car as you (nice, aren't they?) and recently replaced the rear antiroll bar bushes and front butterfly bushes with polypropylene. While the effect was not as dramatic as I had been expecting, it did make the car feel tighter and a little more nimble. The only downside is that I notice a little bit of driveline shunt now and then and the suspension also squeaks going over speedbumps (something which the garage who fitted them told me to expect). I was also thinking about replacing springs and dampers but have been put off a bit by all the stories of ride height inconsistencies front to rear. However, my feeling is that you will not be able to magically transform the handling without replacing the springs and dampers.
Martin
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi again all,

Thanks for all the input. First off I shold say that I already have replaced the rear ARB bushes, so that's not an option for further improvements. Didn't seem to change things much at all, but can't hurt I suppose.

I think the way forward would have to be the full suspension overhaul that Faero suggests above. I have no doubt that it would transform the car, my only problem with it is that it would cost probably around £6-700, maybe even more, which is a lot of money, especially as the value of the car would not increase accordingly.

I suppose what it comes down to is how long I'm keeping the car. I tend to get an annual urge to change cars, but it's just so difficult to argue against the 9000 that it'll probably be hanging around for a while! Thanks again for all your help, it's really useful to hear what people think.
 

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Originally posted by Bubbles:
[qb] QUOTE
Originally posted by faero:
[qb]  Beware of front ARB bushes in poly as they are quite noticeably harsher. [/qb][/b]
I've not found that; it's the other elements like the drop link bushes that make the ride notciably more harsh. IIRC the Annis are on 15" wheels, so there shouldn't be too much of a problem using poly. [/qb][/b][/quote]Well, changing front ARB bushes back to rubber certainly improved the ride quality on my car recently.

I would pretty much agree with Faero on the upgrades front. Maybe start with the front strut brace as it is easy to fit.
 

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Originally posted by SurfGreen:
[qb]I already have replaced the rear ARB bushes, so that's not an option for further improvements. Didn't seem to change things much at all, but can't hurt I suppose.
[/qb][/b]
Odd. Made a huge difference for me (most noticeable going around the Vodafone roundabout near home - fairly small radius - understeer reduced a lot and I could take it a lot faster
)

Perhaps mine were more worn (although that would have been at about 70K miles)
 
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