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Springs vs shocks and part numbers

  #1  
Old 10-15-2012, 10:29 PM
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Springs vs shocks and part numbers

I realize that most of us don't devote tons of time to theoretical discussions about suspension engineering BUT ... I also know some of y'all have lots of experience, so before flipping this over to a Civic forum or something I thought I'd ask the community that I am actually a part of :)

How do I tell if I need to look at springs or shocks? Say I have a car .. not my Fit .. that takes bumps with a firm "thunk", stays quite flat around corners, but needs steering corrections around curves and seems to be a little loose in the back? This particular car is a bigger version of a more common model, with extra weight in the rear, and I suspect Honda would have put stronger springs (with correspondingly firm ride) in the rear to begin with. To me, the flat cornering and the initial firm response to bumps indicates the springs are still good. And the steering corrections needed after turning into an otherwise even curve indicate the shocks aren't quite doing their job. Opinions? Right/wrong?

If it IS shocks, how do I tell if I need to just replace with new, or try to find stiffer dampers than stock? And if I wanted stiffer where do I begin? Or am I completely foolish for even thinking about the dampers and I should just be looking into some mild Swift springs? I'm not targeting any sort of "drop" regardless of what I do; I am hoping to make the car a bit more secure around the bends. It's already come lowered for fuel economy!

Last, anyone know how to read part numbers? Is the first 5 digits a part number and everything after that just the supplier tracking code? Any other insights? Not necessarily useful here but I was really curious looking through the stock component diagrams. Example: 52611-S5B-N02

If you're curious this is a Civic Hybrid 5MT; a family member's. This weekend I drove the thing up and down mountain interstates at 83mph for 8 hours and got 47mpg, so you can color me impressed. And it corners FLAT or at least as well as can be expected from a Civic variant. Only thing that bothered me was the insecurity after turning into curves.

Don't feel like you need to be a race engineer; comment and I can probably tell what makes sense.


Appreciated :)
 
  #2  
Old 10-15-2012, 10:39 PM
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could be your throttle inputs and tires too. hard to tell from your description what needs to be done.
 
  #3  
Old 10-16-2012, 12:53 AM
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How many miles on the car? Have the shocks ever been changed?

Worn shocks won't unsettle you that much on constant sweeping turns, you'll definitely notice on switchbacks or slalom type situations or in turns on less than perfect roads.

If there's a decent amount of mileage on the car and the shocks haven't been changed it might be a good idea to just change them. I'm sure they have Tokico HP available if it's a Civic, just a little better than stock and inexpensive, good if it's not lowered.

Did you do the bounce test? lol
 
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:00 AM
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Springs shouldn't go "bad" unless you overload them for years and years.

your bushings could be going. they only last so long
 
  #5  
Old 10-16-2012, 10:06 AM
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Yeah I feared from my description it would not be very possible to tell :)

Any general indications on when components have worn? Stuff I can look for?

There's over 100k miles on the car and while it's possible some of the shocks have been changed if they leaked, I doubt they all have. I didn't do the bounce test but the Hybrid carries a lot of battery weight and so the suspension is relatively stiff; you'd have to be heavier than I am to get the car to bounce (I'm light .. this is an annoying problem in this context and I don't know I can do much about it!)

Tires I can eliminate - the tires felt great actually. I am going to write down the type and consider them myself for next time :)
 
  #6  
Old 10-16-2012, 11:33 AM
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dampers leak liquid if they are blown so you can pull up the dust boot and see signs. bad ones have traces of liquid spewing on the shell of the shock/strut.

springs are hard to tell. on aftermarket progressive rate springs you can see sagging but oem is usually linear rate and they dont sag much if at all.
 
  #7  
Old 10-16-2012, 03:56 PM
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A thunk sound be both springs and shocks.

All springs will sag and weaken over time (and mileage), the only differences will be how noticeable they are.

Blown shocks, don't have to blow all at once either. It can develop a leak that is slow enough to simply get covered by dirt and grime.

Going back to to what I started with, a weakened spring will allow it to compress/extend too easily. Along with that, a blown shock will also bottom out or fully extend too easily. And its when the shock hits its limit that it can make that sound. If the springs had not weakened, on blown shocks, you would feel the strength of the spring pushing back and forth... making the car feel like a boat on wavy waters, taking a long time to settle after every bump. Shocks that aren't blown, won't last very long on weak springs. They would, in fact, make it very noticeable when they blow (if you had replaced just the shocks on weak springs). And in this case, unless the shock are heavy duty, they will develop a nasty leak covering the whole bottom half in oil and dripping onto the ground... while your ride goes from harsh with minimal bounce to way too soft with too many bounces in a short time.

My friend, with past cars stuck with 50k/100k cycles on shocks and springs, respectively, even though he told me that his aunt went 120k miles before he replaced either for her. It really depends on driving conditions. The smoother you and road conditions are, the longer it'll probably last. But be warned, some roads may not be as smooth as you think, as the suspension is getting more of a work out because it is doing its job (making you think it's smoother).

FYI, I'm just over 50k on my Fit and I'm ready to replace my shocks... if for no other reason than a preventive measure. I hate reactive repairs. I had to replace blown shock on a Nissan Pathfinder that was causing it to ride like a boat on waves. It was was so bad, it was making me want to puke.
 
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:05 PM
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goobers -what dampers would you replace with on your GE? :)

i saw that tirerack has kayaba's. but they are non-adjustable...

Suspension Products for 2012 Honda Fit Sport
 
  #9  
Old 10-16-2012, 04:23 PM
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KYBs are pretty much the only (aftermarket) ones I found for the GE, that aren't coilover sets. I'll probably order them from Amazon soon. I don't really care for adjustable dampers. I rather just pop them in and go.

I need to clear up the garage so I can pull my car in and work on it (getting cold outside). This would also be a good time to swap the left and right side springs (even out the sag).

edit: the KYB on tirerack is actually special order.
 

Last edited by Goobers; 10-16-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Goobers View Post
KYBs are pretty much the only (aftermarket) ones I found for the GE, that aren't coilover sets. I'll probably order them from Amazon soon. I don't really care for adjustable dampers. I rather just pop them in and go.

I need to clear up the garage so I can pull my car in and work on it (getting cold outside). This would also be a good time to swap the left and right side springs (even out the sag).

edit: the KYB on tirerack is actually special order.
i suppose since i run swift springs i'd want adjustability on damping to dial-in my setup, but yah, as long as they are as stiff or slightly stiffer, KYB's should be fine.

KYB has a warehouse in the midwest from what i remember, so even though it's special order, you can probably get it within a week's time... but yah, if you can source them from amazon, i'd do that too. :p

are the left and right side springs identical on the fronts? i thought they were coiled a certain way. not sure, dont remember exactly.
 
  #11  
Old 10-16-2012, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kenchan View Post
i suppose since i run swift springs i'd want adjustability on damping to dial-in my setup, but yah, as long as they are as stiff or slightly stiffer, KYB's should be fine.

KYB has a warehouse in the midwest from what i remember, so even though it's special order, you can probably get it within a week's time... but yah, if you can source them from amazon, i'd do that too. :p

are the left and right side springs identical on the fronts? i thought they were coiled a certain way. not sure, dont remember exactly.
It's cheaper on Amazon.

They weren't labelled when I installed the Swifts. I just grabbed one and popped it on.
 
  #12  
Old 10-16-2012, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Goobers View Post
It's cheaper on Amazon.

They weren't labelled when I installed the Swifts. I just grabbed one and popped it on.
cool x2. and i just did the swift install in August too. hahahaha. too many things going on in my life right now i can't remember all the details.

hope you get the kyb's from amazon. keep us posted how you like them on your swifts. :p
 
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