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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well I finally installed the Eibach Pro-Kit springs this weekend. Thanks Mr. Pickles, BillB and DeAdLy500 for your tips and support along with Roadrace and ModernDave vendor advice.

The install went well, as has been said its all pretty obvious once you get in there. I do not have any automotive scale power tools or lift so it took me a few hours to do it all by hand. Including having to disassemble the struts a second time to put the washer back properly under, not on top of, the top hat (if its worth doing, its worth doing twice....). I had to buy a spring compressor, an 18mm box wrench ( any excuse for more tools) and pay the local garage $15 of blood money to have them loosen the stuck bolts holding on the strut top hat, even though the spring was compressed. I was advised by the folks above and it became obvious, that everything should be well-supported during disassembly so there are no sudden drops.

I had difficulty holding the shock shaft tight with the allen wrench while turning the upper mounting bolts-I pried the allen against the bulkhead or another metal tool wedged in there, whcih worked for disassemly but in reassembly the allen bends so I don't feel I have the bolts as tight as they can go. No banging around when I drive though but I think I will pay the guys at the garage to hit the top mount bolt with their impact wrench.

In summary it went like this, with car on jack stands:
Rear
Put floor jack under rear suspension cross member and put mild upward pressure on
Remove shock bolt ( upper or lower)
Carefully lower rear suspension.
Observe the orientation of the springs in the footings
Remove springs
Swap rubber upper and lower spring footings
Reinstall is the reverse
I left the bump stop as is

Front
Support brake assembly with floor jack with slight upward pressure
Loosen top nut of strut in engine compartment
Unsnap and pull brake lines away from brake assembly
Remove sway bar link nut and swing link away
Remove the two bolts connecting strut to brake assembly and swing the strut away from brake
Hold strut, remove top nut and then pull the strut down and out

Strut
Compress spring
Remove nut from top hat
Withdraw stock spring and remove rubber boot
Replace stock bump stop with smaller supplied bump stop
Put boot in new spring
Slide new spring on strut shaft and align in footing
Replace nut ( washer goes under the top hat) and tighten
Reinstall everything in reverse order.


FWIW I took rough torque measurements on the sway bar link ( 45 ft lb) and the main bolts connecting the strut to the brake assembly ( 65 ft lb) and the rear uppper shock mount bolt (35 ft lb). Next time I will remove the lower rear shock bolt because the upper is a self-tapping bolt and could be prone to stripping.

I took it for an hour long ride over mostly back road and some highway. It is noticeably harder riding, if not jouncier on dips. Feels like my MINI S did but with more jounce. I wonder if the jounciness is due to shock compression so that they can't do their job correctly. I also wonder if the deep dish 8x15" wheels with higher profile tires like the ones offerred by RoadRace would improve the ride some. I also notice a lot more road noise at highway speeds especially from rear, fighting to hear stereo at 70mph where before it was quiet and easy to hear stereo. I guess that must be a combination of different noise transmission characteristics of the Eibachs and also being 1.5" closer to road and the tires , and maybe the car being closer to the ground captures some of the sound under it.

Its flatter on the sweeping turns and seems to have added oversteer on hard sudden turns which is not a bad thing on front wheel drive vehicle. The clearance below the lower engine shroud is only a scant 4" at best. Need to watch out for parking lot curbs and speed bumps for sure. Snow accumulation will be a challenge.

Overall, while I love the look, I am thinking carefully about the tradeoffs in ride and sound. I'll probalby keep them at least till wiinter and then swap the stock springs back for the season ( now that I am an expert and have my very own spring compressor) and see how I feel when the good weather comes back. Wait, by then the Abarth will be out and it will be a non-issue....

Here are a few pics with crappy G1 iPhone, beginning with a before (the FIAT sprouted a stripe during the install?.....) and a few in-process shots
 

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So... I guess you didn't like them?

On the C30 forums I was before, people thought it wasn't a good idea to use Eibachs on the car without replacing the shocks, too (the preferred brand was Koni Yellows, IIRC), for the exact reasons you describe.

Too late now. My springs are on my way. As Fernando Lamas used to say "It's better to look good than to feel good", anyway!
 

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looks great! I agree it would be wise to replace the shocks and struts too but im going to ride it with just the springs until at least next spring.

where did you get that side decal from? I want to take my prima decals off and replace them and I like the look of yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
looks great! I agree it would be wise to replace the shocks and struts too but im going to ride it with just the springs until at least next spring.

where did you get that side decal from? I want to take my prima decals off and replace them and I like the look of yours.
Thanks. Got mine from UK. You can find the sellers on ebay. They usually feature red but you can ask for any color.
 

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Good review. I think I'll get 205/50-15 and a set of used springs/shocks from a sport model. That would improve handling. I love the look though. Amazing !
I'll have a set of unused springs soon. Sad s/h would probably kill any sort of deal.

Although, to be honest, I'd just get the Eibach springs. My Sport looks like a micro-SUV with the stock equipment. I just convinced myself that whenever I have to change shocks I'll just get a set of Konis. I'd think there aren't any specific shocks for our cars that work well with lowering springs, anyway.

Besides, the car just looks perfect with the Eibachs. I don't really care if the ride is a bit worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

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Since my question so closely relates to this topic I will ask if anyone had tried or cares to chime in with opinions when comparing the Eibach Spring Kit and the Eibach CoilOver kit...I sorta wanted the springs but it should provide a much better ride with the CO kit since adding springs only leaves you using the lesser stock shocks.

http://500madness.com/500madness/shop/index.php?route=product/product&path=42_69&product_id=110

This seems like a much better route to go...unless someone can explain otherwise why it is not a good idea. Thanks!
 

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Since my question so closely relates to this topic I will ask if anyone had tried or cares to chime in with opinions when comparing the Eibach Spring Kit and the Eibach CoilOver kit...I sorta wanted the springs but it should provide a much better ride with the CO kit since adding springs only leaves you using the lesser stock shocks.

http://500madness.com/500madness/shop/index.php?route=product/product&path=42_69&product_id=110

This seems like a much better route to go...unless someone can explain otherwise why it is not a good idea. Thanks!
i think everybody would go this route if it wasn't for the cost ;)
 

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i think everybody would go this route if it wasn't for the cost ;)
Then I guess I will be skipping the springs only and going for the coilovers, just seems I will be happiest with the ride and handling offered and having the adjustable range seems like a nice additional option. Thanks. :cool:
 

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On the C30 forums I was before, people thought it wasn't a good idea to use Eibachs on the car without replacing the shocks, too (the preferred brand was Koni Yellows, IIRC), for the exact reasons you describe.

I run Koni shocks and struts on my C70 with aggressive lowering springs and I absolutely love them. I really hope Koni decides to make a set of shock/struts for the 500.
 

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I run Koni shocks and struts on my C70 with aggressive lowering springs and I absolutely love them. I really hope Koni decides to make a set of shock/struts for the 500.
Me too! My plan is to hold on to the stock shocks for as long as possible, and then replace them with Konis. I won't spend as much as I would with coilovers, and I'll get to wear out the stock equipment, too! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I run Koni shocks and struts on my C70 with aggressive lowering springs and I absolutely love them. I really hope Koni decides to make a set of shock/struts for the 500.
When I was active on MINI forums, the general consensus seemed to be that coilovers were stiffer than decent lowering springs combined with good shocks. Koni Yellows and FSD's seemed to be the most popular choice to combine with springs. I too hope they come out with a fitment for FIAT.
 

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I lowered my car today. I see what you mean. The ride really became more punishing than I ever expected.

I haven't tested the car on curves, I expect it to behave better since the springs really are harder.

Nevertheless, the car looks SO MUCH BETTER I can't complain. This is the way it should have been out of the factory. Why it's so tall stock is beyond me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I lowered my car today. I see what you mean. The ride really became more punishing than I ever expected.

I haven't tested the car on curves, I expect it to behave better since the springs really are harder.

Nevertheless, the car looks SO MUCH BETTER I can't complain. This is the way it should have been out of the factory. Why it's so tall stock is beyond me.
It's wicked fast on curves-I'd put it against my former MINI and beat it. I have some mixed feelings about the lowering. Its a bit squat in the rear (some hate the rear raised, so each to his or her own). OTOH that shifts some weight to the rear and increases the oversteer, which is helpful for this car's handling. I do find the car seems more diminutive, sort of loses its presence lower down, especially when other cars are around. Haven't parked it next to another 500 yet. Maybe next week I'll cruise the dealer for that perspective.

I think the stock height is likely to allow for spring and shock travel for a more supple ride. I wonder if there is a stock height difference between US and EU spec cars?
 

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Yes, there is. The dealership still had an italian spec 500 when I got my car, and I got to see them side by side. Although virtually identical, the italian car is far lower than ours.

I have found a way to describe the way my car feels. It's as if there was little damping for the first part of the shock travel, and then it bottomed out without warning - but it's just that there's suddenly lots of damping. I don't know if this makes sense.

The thing that bothers me is that I did not feel any change in handling during my short drive, but the punishing ride was really obvious. Sort of like my old Mini, as you well said! Maybe I just need time to adjust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes, there is. The dealership still had an italian spec 500 when I got my car, and I got to see them side by side. Although virtually identical, the italian car is far lower than ours.

I have found a way to describe the way my car feels. It's as if there was little damping for the first part of the shock travel, and then it bottomed out without warning - but it's just that there's suddenly lots of damping. I don't know if this makes sense.

The thing that bothers me is that I did not feel any change in handling during my short drive, but the punishing ride was really obvious. Sort of like my old Mini, as you well said! Maybe I just need time to adjust.
I think the progressive rate rear springs may be overengineered for the light weight rear end. So many coils and rubber protection compared to stock. The progressive ratiing, combined with the tight coils designed to bottom out on themselves installed on such a light rear may be what causes that sudded damping you speak of and the jounciness I speak of (might be our descriptions of the same event). The fronts are pretty much the same as the stock springs with less coil so they compress more-you probably noticed they were almost as tall as stock uninstalled. The rears on the other hand were much shorter than stock uninstalled.

Now the designer of the springs may have been looking for performance and dialing in the over/understeer with the rear springs may have been in mind which is why they are so much more complex design than the fronts.

I am thinking of experimenting for fun and swap the stock springs back into the rear to see how much the ride changes. Its only 15-30 minutes of work. The butt of the car will be way up in the air- old school hot rod look. I expect the handling to suck with all kinds of understeer plowing right through curves. But it will tell whether the harshness is coming from front or rear.

500 Madness is having their own label springs designed and manufactured somewhere. Maybe they will make the rear a bit less tight.

Finally, why doesn't someone just import the FIAT struts and springs for the stock EU 500 Abarth and fashion and sell an adapter kit. Seems like Abarth had already done a lot of work to properly balance a more competetive suspension.

Ah the thrill of being on the bleeding edge.
 
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