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Stiff Shocks/soft Springs [and Visa Versa]


CanadaCraig
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Hi Guys!! :)

I'm confused. [but you know that already - right?!] What exactly does a shock/strut DO and what exactly does a coil spring DO?! [and what DON'T they do?]

If a car has stiff shocks and soft springs how would it differ [ride and handling wise] from if it had soft shocks and stiff springs?

Thanks,

Craig!! :)

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Hi Craig,

Generally speaking the spring rate is determined first, and then a shock is selected to match that spring rate. In other words, a high rate spring, say 200 lbs/in will get a firmer shock ( more resistant in compression, and even more so in rebound) to control it than a 100 lbs/in spring will have.

Mismatching a soft shock with a stiff spring will give a choppy ride quality, and the other way will give an overdamped feel. Both will be less compliant with road surface irregularities than a matched set.

The spring supports the weight of the car, and the shock dampens the ocsillations the spring produces as it absorbs and releases energy. Ride height is a function of the spring.

In the old days the approach to handling was different between Europe and North America. Domestic cars (Camaros and Mustangs) tended to have softer spring/shock settings and very stiff sway-bars, whereas the Europeans tended to use stiffer spring/shocks and use thinner sway bars. Each has its advantanges.

It is a big topic, and their are some fine books that cover it fully.

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Thanks SRK!! :)

Quite often - a person can order 'heavy duty shocks' - like I did with my Jeep TJ. Nothing else was changed - just the shocks. THIS is what makes me think that - perhaps - a slightly firmer shock installed on my LS would have positive results. [i.e. a bit less 'float' on the freeway] OR is that not true? Someone here was unhappy with their firmer shocks - so much so that they went BACK to the O.E. shocks. But could that be because the shocks that WERE on his LS really were too stiff - and perhaps something inbetween those and stock would be OK?

Oh why oh why do I torture myself with this stuff!! [not to mention you!!]

Then again - would leaving everything stock and replacing the sway bars [ala camaro/mustang] do the trick? I just wish that my LS wasn't so sloppy/floaty at freeway speeds. In town - it's great. On the freeway - I always feel as though I'm driving in a big wind storm.

Thanks again,

Craig!! :)

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I don't remember did you ever have your shocks replaced?

Shocks wear so gradually that really its hard to tell when they're worn out. You may not want a firmer shock, you may just need new shocks. The Lexus shouldn't float, if its floating then something is worn. In my experience they need new struts around 60k or so.

Here's one for your noodle to fry over actually, your LS doesn't have shocks, it has struts! Maybe if you're real nice we'll tell you the difference :D

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Someone here was unhappy with their firmer shocks - so much so that they went BACK to the O.E. shocks. But could that be because the shocks that WERE on his LS really were too stiff - and perhaps something inbetween those and stock would be OK?

That may have been me. :P I found out that the previous owner had installed HEAVY DUTY KYB GR-2 struts on the rear of my car. The ride was extremely firm and could have been compared to a old, small 4x4 truck, or maybe even a dump truck. :rolleyes: The new OEM Toyota struts (also by KYB, but toned down), made the ride much smoother and soft, however, I would like for them to be even softer, as I like a soft, cloud-like ride. :) Good luck with whatever struts you decide to use. I am planning on putting the KYB GR-2's that were on my car on E-Bay soon.

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Hi SW03ES!! :)

No - I didn't replace the shocks. [or should I say 'struts'!!]

My car [although a low-mileage example - having 55,000 miles or so] is now 11 years old. Not only that - it sat for months at a time - every year - while the previous owner went 'south'. So... hmm... perhaps you're right. The STRUTS [see - I'm learning] are merely worn out and the best thing to do would be to replace 'them' with new O.E. one's.

The difference between shocks and struts? Well.. aren't shocks just stubby and fat while struts are long and thin?! I remember MacPherson[sp?] struts - the one's the fit inside of the coil spring. [if that's right] So how did I do? Is there more to it than that?!

Thanks,

Craig!! :)

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Hi 90LS400Lexus!! :D

It WAS you!! Now the truth comes out!! lol

I can appreciate what you're saying - but I think there's a difference between 'floaty' and 'uncontrolled'. I don't mind a cloud like ride - just as long as it's not a storm cloud.

Good luck selling your KYB GR-2's. Have you ever sold anything on E-Bay before?

Craig!! :)

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