View Full Version : question about coilovers

09-25-2014, 09:17 PM
ive got an st184 im currently building to be a track car, was wondering if any one with an st185/184 that tracks it could give some input on coilovers, id just like to get your opinions on which brand/setup is the best for track use idealy id like to get he BC racing ER series but with a price tage of around 3000$ thats out of my price range. i was looking at the Ksport kontrol pro coil overs but havent really heard much about them before they seem like a really good set of coil overs. monotube design, pillow ball top mounts, camber plates... any input would be appreciated.

09-25-2014, 09:35 PM
The downside is that I don't think anyone has really taken their car to the track. Comparing the 185 to the 184 is night and day difference in both parts available and the way they react when pushed. Nothing marketed to an ST185 will fit completely on an AT/ST18x. The rears are completely different.

I have been running the Megans on my AT180 for several years now, and they offer a pillow ball upper and adjustable camber (front only.)

While I will admit that I don't track my car, or autocross her either, I do run her through the twisties, and quite well I might egotistically add. The difference between stock and the coilovers is life changing. I do run my car too low and as such she has developed a taste for ball joints. There is a company that was looking at extended ball joints and a tie rod flip kit that would address that, but that fizzled out last I heard.

It is also possible, and a lot of the 'dedicated' autocrossers will suggest it, that you get some Ground Control sleeves, which will allow you to tailor your spring rate, and adjust ride height/corner balance just like coilovers. However the custom tailored spring rates are going to be a big selling point. You can then match those with some Konis and you will be good to go with a suspension just as adjustable as coilovers, but tuned for your car and driving.

09-26-2014, 12:26 AM
Preferred track setup is Koni Yellow struts with Ground Control coil over sleeves. Apparently the commercially available coil overs do not transition as well as desired by some of the actual racers here.

09-26-2014, 10:05 AM
Ksports are not great for track shocks. Valving is inconsistent and they tend to overheat. I haven't really seen any off the shelf unit for the celica but then again I wasn't really looking. Shocks are key. Koni's and KWs are good. Ohlins, JRZ, Motons and ATSs are great. Penskes are majic.

If you're in the market for $1000 coilovers, you're not really being serious on them. A serious set of coilovers for the ST184 are probably going to be custom built and more in 3-5K range.

I've spent somewhere in excess of $2,000 and still not quite happy (on my AE86).

A set of the cheapest double adjustable konis are going to run somewhere around $1500 and that's just for shocks and those are about as budget as you'd want to go with shocks.

09-26-2014, 10:06 AM
Honestly though, if you're not competing, just go with whatever you can afford and buy the best tires you can.

09-26-2014, 10:08 AM
OR: Buy this set of shocks:

Which is a GREAT deal and get some coilover sleeves with somewhere around 400-450lbs/in springs and call it good.

You'll get better shocks than what you'd get in the $1K range coil-overs and save yourself quite a lot of money.

09-26-2014, 06:24 PM
This is the info I was looking for, I don't know what brands/setups are best tis why I like to ask and get some feed back before I buy. To be honest the car will be tracked, I have my national B license and plan to advance into higher classes once this car is built. As far as mechanical knowledge I'm just short of being a licensed tech, I've got my schooling completed and lots of personal hours just need actual apprentice hours lol. this is however my first full race build. Idealy I'd like to buy everything as a set, so how about the BC racing ER series coilovers? Does anyone have any feed back on these? They're about 3000 for the set, waste of money or??? They have a separate reservoir for the oil.

I guess my ultimate question here is what is the ultimate track setup as far shocks/coilovers go. Money is not an issue here I'm willing to shell it out for the best setup possible! Also if anyone has any links as to where I could buy the suggested setups that'd be awesome!

09-26-2014, 07:35 PM
Joey is as close to a professional race car driver as we have. He actually might be a race car driver at this point. I know that he is an instructor and nationally ranked autocrosser.

I would take his word as gospel.

But that is also because I know him and trust him.

And the shocks he linked are a screaming deal, I have have previously noted.

09-26-2014, 07:49 PM
Well I'll take his word on this, I only want the best for this build tho, I'm not overly worried about deals more so best performing setup. is there anything better than the koni yellows? I have the techno toy tuning upper hat system and could get the camber plates from them as well if that makes things a little easier? I did see that koni made a 4 way adjustable shock, something like that would be awesome if they would fit the car.

09-26-2014, 08:06 PM
Give Joey time, if price is not an obstacle, I am certain he can guide you.

09-26-2014, 08:11 PM
Any help is appreciated, as I said before this is my first full race build I've got the engine and tranny on lock down I've done my fair share of rebuilds to know what I'm doing there I've just never tinkered with suspension too much, and that's where a little push In the right direction is all I need :)

09-27-2014, 06:52 AM
Izzy, as a previous certified Toyota tech, I can tell you, it doesn't apply to racing. Not one bit. Please note, I'm not trying to talk down to you, I'm trying to get you grounded so you're in a state to be ready to accept a lot of information.

Also, have you gotten corner weights and weight all of the components so you get the unsprung weight (that includes the wheels and tires that you'll be using, but those should already be listed). You need those metrics in order to figure out the right spring rate for the vehicle and use that to get shocks that are valved around the frequency generated by those spring rates.

However, you need to know what tires you're going to run in order to determine the suspension frequency that will work the best for them. I run bias ply Avon slicks on my car so I have to run a much higher suspension frequency than you would on street tires (almost double), which results in me needing double the spring rate (I run 800lbs front 1000lbs rear on my corolla).

It helps to get some software to model the vehicle so you can see exactly how a bump influences the car as well as finding the roll center vs the roll axis of the vehicle. With that you will go up or down on the spring rate in order to counteract the leverage from the roll couple (difference between roll center and roll axis). The greater above the roll axis is to the more force the chassis will impart on the outside tire in a turn but the more roll it'll induce.

Ok, this is getting really long so I'm going to say, you should find some books on suspension design and read a bunch if you're really serious about it.

That said, you might contact AST and see what pricing would be for a set of coilovers for your car. Nice thing about the ASTs is they have a large adjustment range which should allow you to play with the spring rates some.

I don't know much about BC, they're a newcomer out of... Taiwan I think. I've had very poor experiences with shocks out of Asia (particularly Teins and JICs) so I'd be hard pressed to try anything without a pedigree.

If you do choose to go that route, get a shock dyno printout and make sure the valving will work with your setup (after you determine the setup you want).

09-27-2014, 02:31 PM
I don't have corner weights but I have been weighing everything with just a regular scale I have here at home. Tires are going to vary so I'd preferably want something adjustable. Probably going to be running semi-slicks/street radials most of the time. Now assuming I have all my unsprung weight calculated how do I use that number to determine my spring rate and what shock matches? Is there a calculation or a chart you refer to or something like that? In all honesty the setup doesn't have to be perfect I don't mind playing around with spring rates down the road to find out what I like best I just wana make sure I'm not buying crap for this car.

09-27-2014, 02:54 PM
If you could at least recommend something that will be in the right ball park for me that'd be awesome I can tinker with settings after words, as long as the car has good quality parts I'll be happy!

09-27-2014, 08:55 PM
I ran 450in/lbs all the way around but that was 10 years ago before I started diving into suspension analysis. You can use Eibach's calculator as a ballpark and it should get you close.


09-27-2014, 09:01 PM
Oh for suspension frequency, you might look somewhere between 2.3-2.5 hertz. At least that should be a decent ballpark. With a track car you might look for a little more in the rear than the front in order to aid in rotation (particularly in a FWD setup).

09-27-2014, 09:08 PM
Thanks that'll get me started and pointed in the right direction, I'm just learning as I go so I really appreciate the help. So to make sure I've got this right when I'm searching for shocks I should be looking for 2.3-2.5hz like u said, it doesn't go by lb/in or kg/mm like springs? Is there any particular set that u would recommend? Top of the line adjustable shocks so I can Learn from tinkering with the settings would be ideal for me. Sorry if I'm bombarding you with questions i just wana feel confident with what I buy.

09-27-2014, 09:12 PM
Also do u have any leads on a website or book that could explain it all to me I'm definitely serious about this, I'd like to gain as much knowledge on the subject as I can as I'm pretty good when it comes to the power train its suspension systems that I lack a bit of knowledge in.

09-27-2014, 09:33 PM

That should be a good start.

As for suspension frequencies compared to spring rates, that's where you need to bust our your measuring tape and do some work to see what spring rates relate to the suspension frequencies by using the the Eibach calculator.

Like I said, I haven't really spent a bunch of times on the ST184, it's not my race platform. I compete with an FR-S in Street Touring Xtreme in SCCA Solo as well as an AE86 in X Prepared in SCCA Solo/TTU in NASA competition.

I would recommend reading as much as you can about suspension design, as well as do a lot of testing.

There isn't an off the shelf suspension that I would recommend for the ST184 because the ST184 is not a car that has a lot of support from the top end suspension companies. That being said, a company like AST will make it to your specifications but you need to figure out what specifications you need in order to pass that info to them, they won't do the design work for you (at least not for less than a significant amount of money).

09-27-2014, 09:43 PM
Thanks for the info, I guess I have some reading to do. As far as what's commercially available would there be better than koni yellows?

09-29-2014, 08:10 AM
Not that I can think of off the top of my head. Like I said, I haven't tried all of them but I've driven on many shocks and none of the stuff from Asia has been any good.

The list of shocks I've driven on and didn't like is a lot larger than ones I did like.

I did not like:
Tein, JIC, KSport, BC, Megan, Yellowspeed, TechnoToyTuning, HKS, TRD, KYB, Cusco, Skunk2, Eibach, etc, etc, etc

Ones I did like (but can't afford myself anyway):
Penske, JRZ, Moton, QA1, AST, KW, DMS, Ohlins, MCS and Bilstein (PSS9).

Most of the ones that failed (in my book), failed on an autocross, track use means longer intervals of high speed damping/rebound which will overheat many of the setups.

09-29-2014, 08:22 AM
I didn't Even know techno toy tuning made shocks, I've got their rear adjustable control arms and trailing arms and they're really good quality. I also really like their design for camber plates. I haven't seen any other companies slot the mounting hardware locations. What are your thoughts on "helper" springs

09-30-2014, 08:36 AM
Dur, sorry their coilovers (use KYB AGX shocks). I gotta stop posting late at night...

09-30-2014, 08:37 AM
I run helper springs on the AE86 just as droop springs. Being a live-axle rear it always wants to pick up the inside rear tire so it's my attempt to prevent it from coming completely off the ground and demolishing the diff.

09-30-2014, 02:26 PM
I was looking at the agx but I've heard they don't ride very well, they do seem like a really decent set of shocks.

10-01-2014, 05:06 AM
I really wasn't a fan.

10-01-2014, 09:56 PM
to add to joey's stuff:
I've spent a few months staring at shock dynos. tein/bc/megan are all the same. tein you pay for a name, megan are the cheapest and bc you pay for a nice spring set.

I would look into other avenues that use: koni/bilstein/fortune shocks. all the rest are far inferior.

the only BOLT on option I found that were decent were ksport but you need to use their race shocks and use a completely different spring set than they have. those guys have insanely high spring rates.

the best money you can spend (budget minded) is swapping to the agx inserts all around with gc sleeves and t3 mounts. then a hypercoil or swift spring. I was going to make this before I decided to part out the car. the only downfall is that you will be replacing the shocks every few years (if you are racing) and a koni or bilstein will be better. there are a ton of ways to do what you want. you just need to have the budget/use/wheel and tires all in line first.

10-02-2014, 12:04 AM
So you think the ksports are decent set to start out with? Or should I just build my own set of coilovers with konis/GC springs/t3 mounts. I do have the t3 upper hat system to make things easier.

10-02-2014, 12:49 AM
So you think the ksports are decent set to start out with? Or should I just build my own set of coilovers with konis/GC springs/t3 mounts. I do have the t3 upper hat system to make things easier.

If you have the hats already, just buy the Konis linked, and get the GC kit.

10-02-2014, 03:09 PM
So during some of my research time I cane across some coil overs from fortune auto. I did a little background check on the company and hear lots of good things about their coil overs. They come with dyno sheets and everything anyone have any input on these? Also I found that ground control could build a set of coil over a for me using koni's, bilstiens or kyb's. The fortune auto coils come with swift springs and I've heard lots of good stugf about them too. I really appreciate the help guys the car is well on its way!

10-02-2014, 03:50 PM
I haven't heard anything terrible about them. That being said, I prefer a double adjustable. Take a look and see what they offer.

10-02-2014, 03:57 PM
Awesome, looks like I've decided on what I'm getting.

10-07-2014, 05:39 PM
unless you have 15k fortune won't make a run for the 5th gen. I know a dealer

10-07-2014, 05:56 PM
Why would I have to spend that kind of money? They make a set of coil overs for the st184 for $1700, that's why I asked about their quality...

10-09-2014, 11:38 AM
Um... where?


10-09-2014, 03:10 PM
I just did a quick search on the interwebs and found a website that happened to have them, can't remember the site tho, I'll update this thread once I get them!

10-10-2014, 05:33 AM
If they're single adjustables, forget em.

10-11-2014, 10:21 PM
what i mean is, unless you stumble across a set, they will not make 1 set. they will make 10 plus. which is where the 15k comes from. prepay at that.