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No more VR4!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
With my ECS struts deader than a doornail, I decided to do an upgrade. After looking at the various options, I decided on the Megan Racing coilovers. Since my car is a daily driver and not a track car, I saw no point in spending the extra money for handling performance I didn't expect to use, and it seemed most Megan owners are happy with the performance. Having never owned coilovers before, I thought I'd give it a shot.

I ordered the coilovers and adjustable rear upper control arms from Maximal, and got them shipped promptly... That way they could sit in my garage for a month or more! Terry has great service and prices.

Tearing everything apart was about as you'd expect. The front was extremely easy. The problems I had with the back were getting the ball joints for the rear upper control arms out (took a liberal amount of beating with a hammer and ball joint fork), and then getting the rear shocks off their lower mount. The sleeve was corroded onto the mount pretty well, and no amount of PB blaster and hammering would get them to budge, so in the end I used the acetylene wrench. I know that's considered a bad idea to do with shocks, but I found that directing the torch at the center sleeve resulted in minimal heat getting to the shock tower. A bit of heat did the job beautifully.

Going back together was simple. I'd advocate getting the shocks adjusted where you think you'll want them before install. I didn't, and ended up unbolting them from the top to readjust them. I had both the front and the rears adjusted at the top of what they said the height should possibly be, since I didn't want to lower the car much.

On the control arms, I found that I needed a couple of washers to space the castle nut properly on the ball joint side. No big deal. I set them at the shortest setting they would do since I was planning on stock height roughly, and that seemed to match the length of the stock control arms. This worked well, my camber is where it should be.

With the height adjustment, the front is now about 1/2" lower than the rear. Since I'm maxed out on height I'll have to lower the rears a bit to make that balance out. Not a big deal, though, and I'm not having any ground clearance issues this way.

The shocks have 32 firmness settings, and Megan recommends the softest half or so for street use. I tried on the firmest side of that to start (17 clicks from the hardest), and found it too hard on the drive in to work this morning, so I clicked them down 6 clicks softer (so 23/32 from the top) and will try that next. Because the shocks only take about a minute to adjust all 4 (if you're slow) it's easy to play around with.

So far, the handling is incredible. The car feels tight and crsip like a brand new car. If I'd known it would be this much of an improvement, I would've done this years ago. The stock struts were beyond shot. I haven't really pushed the car yet, but in just local driving the car feels much more planted, steering more responsive, and more connected to the road. It's not a softer ride than what I had, but it is smoother, if that makes sense.

This has given me renewed desire to keep on going with my handling upgrades, and I'm glad that I decided to do this in stages so that I can see the improvements one by one. Next on the list I'm planning to install the Addco anti-roll bars I bought from the 3SX Black Friday sale...
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A couple other notes from the drive home and things I forgot to mention.

I still found it a bit hard at 23 clocks soft of hard (although pretty good!), so I put an additional 5 in. Now I'm at 28 clicks out of a possible 32, we'll see how the drive tomorrow is. I'll probably be tweaking this for weeks, but that's just how I am.

I read a few notes about rubbing in the front. Because there is a camber adjustment on the top of the strut, I made sure that the strut was tilted as far back as I could get it from the spindle. This seems to have given me right about 0 degrees camber. I'd estimate the current ride as 0.5-1" below stock, and at the maximum height adjustment I can get while observing the prescribed limits by Megan. I torqued the strut bolts to 75 ft-lbs. Did a few good turns and no shifting thus far, plus going over bumps that I specifically aimed for today. So far, so good.

Of course, 50 miles on them doesn't exactly tell you much.
 

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Thanks for the review!

I know I sell them but I promised I'm not biased when I say these are the best coilovers out there...especially for the money. I actually bought these for my car before I started selling them and thought they were good enough to carry so I setup an account to resell them.
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One extra point to make: after one week and about 200 miles, I got a really bad clunk going over bumps from the right front wheel. It felt like it was coming from the strut area.

There's a nut that holds the strut to the top, and that nut was loose. So every time I went over a bump, the strut/wheel would drop, and then come up with a CLUNK. Tightened it up, good as new. I went around and tightened them all - I didn't tighten them prior to install.
 

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Mega Wrencher
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And to think I'm going back to stock components because of a hack job on my car by a PO. Thanks for the "outsider" perspective. Makes me want to ditch the stock stuff and do this.
 

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No more VR4!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm at something in the range of 300-400 miles since install. Very happy once I got the settings figured out where I wanted on stiffness. Might have to adjust the rears a bit firmer.

These are significantly harder than stock, there is no doubt there. So long as you're on a good road, you don't notice it. I have a few crappy roads on the way to work that make it more obvious. With the setting at the top of the "street" firmness, the handling is superlative. I also lost a few tooth fillings on the way to work. Where I have it now it's probably 80% of the handling improvement (which I expect to make up with the Addco bars and strut tower braces) and my teeth are happier.

No way would I go back to stock. But that reminds me, I need to go to the garage and pull the ECS controller so it'll stop blinking at me.
 

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Keeps fragging heads...
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Good review! I am considering either the Megan's or a set of BC's.

I posted to tell you that you need to take the bulb out the back of the gauge cluster if you want the SPORT/TOUR ECS lights to quit flashing
 

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Good review. Im interested in a pic. Most people always lower the car a few inches so i want to see how it looks at your ride height.

Im also trying to decide if i should go with stock ecs, bc, or megans.

As far as the blinking tour/sport lights. Do not pull the bulb. Instead disconnect the ecs computer in the trunk. This will make the light go out.
 

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<3's lapping days
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You could put some green loctite on that nut and it wont back off anymore.

Yes, coil overs really tighten up the steering feel on these cars. Get a beefy front strut bar and it improves even more.
 

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No more VR4!
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I'll try to remember to post a pic of the current ride height. Right now I've got my snow tires on (with Stealth rims bought from lawdogg a couple years back), so the car looks ugly. :)

Just disconnected the ECS controller, so that should fix the blinking light.

I have a policy that I don't buy more parts for the car until I install the parts I've bought already, but I bought the Addco sway bars on 3SX Black Friday sale, and I don't want to put those on until spring because of the work involved. So I might break my rule and buy the TEC strut bars for front and rear.
 

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Good review, glad others have had good experience with them too. I've had mine on my car for almost 3 years and love them. Unfortunately the roads in Santa Barbara are far worse than when I was in Sacramento so now I'm looking to upgrade suspension again. Has anyone had any experience with the KW Variant 3 setup? Any and all input would be greatly appreciated. I don't drive my car very often, but when I do, it is dreadful if I know I'm going to one of the bad roads in the area. I might try softening up the settings as I recall I had them pretty stiff before, but I remember also that it was kind of bouncy if I tried to make it too soft. As far as camber, remember to get aftermarket camber bolts, as the stock eccentric bolts won't hold the strut in place and kept losing alignment because they have no guide for it to rest against like on the stock struts.
 

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Good review, glad others have had good experience with them too. I've had mine on my car for almost 3 years and love them. Unfortunately the roads in Santa Barbara are far worse than when I was in Sacramento so now I'm looking to upgrade suspension again. Has anyone had any experience with the KW Variant 3 setup? Any and all input would be greatly appreciated. I don't drive my car very often, but when I do, it is dreadful if I know I'm going to one of the bad roads in the area. I might try softening up the settings as I recall I had them pretty stiff before, but I remember also that it was kind of bouncy if I tried to make it too soft. As far as camber, remember to get aftermarket camber bolts, as the stock eccentric bolts won't hold the strut in place and kept losing alignment because they have no guide for it to rest against like on the stock struts.
Any suggestions on where I could purchase the aftermarket camber bolts from? I plan on picking up a set of Megan's pretty soon and want to do it properly.
 

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I just had Les Schwab order a pair when I had them do my alignment. You can order them online or just go to any auto shop and they can order them too
 

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One fix at a time
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You could put some green loctite on that nut and it wont back off anymore.

Yes, coil overs really tighten up the steering feel on these cars. Get a beefy front strut bar and it improves even more.
Do you find that an upgraded front sway bar makes the car understeer worse than if it had an upgraded rear also or what about compared to stock? I have a Saner front sway bar I pulled off another car. I'm debating about installing it since I don't have a rear yet to go on with it. I don't want my car to plow more in the turns. Between the SCE center diff and Quaife I hope to eliminate quite a bit of that.
 

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In a metal band with JCVD
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Do you find that an upgraded front sway bar makes the car understeer worse than if it had an upgraded rear also or what about compared to stock? I have a Saner front sway bar I pulled off another car. I'm debating about installing it since I don't have a rear yet to go on with it. I don't want my car to plow more in the turns. Between the SCE center diff and Quaife I hope to eliminate quite a bit of that.
Your car is going to be a delight with the diff's installed, particularly given the power modifications.
 

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One fix at a time
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Your car is going to be a delight with the diff's installed, particularly given the power modifications.
I definitely hope so. The coilovers were great. The car handles awesome with them. Only problem is my high performance summer tires will only grip so much in the turns before the car wants to understeer and plow through. I also get my passenger wheel to lose traction in 2nd and 3rd on a straight line because of the open diff. I know both diffs will help me push harder into the corners with the 20/80 power split without having to go to DOT unapproved R compound tires. I'm not expecting a night/day difference because I won't be improving the grip of the street tires but I know it will be an improvement.
 

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In a metal band with JCVD
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I definitely hope so. The coilovers were great. The car handles awesome with them. Only problem is my high performance summer tires will only grip so much in the turns before the car wants to understeer and plow through. I also get my passenger wheel to lose traction in 2nd and 3rd on a straight line because of the open diff. I know both diffs will help me push harder into the corners with the 20/80 power split without having to go to DOT unapproved R compound tires. I'm not expecting a night/day difference because I won't be improving the grip of the street tires but I know it will be an improvement.
---Not intended to threadjack, simply in closing---

I'd be curious to see your 60' before and after since you actually make enough power to see what changes, and a 40 mph slalom would be fun to arrange before and after. There is an Airfield (Stearman, Identifier 1K1 located in Benton) that doesn't see much traffic, and the owners have been known to let racers get down on several occasions after closing the restaurant for nightly business. You'll have to come down with me one night when I can arrange it; all ashpalt, and the dim's are plenty for bigger HP numbers (5106 x 60 ft.)

Now back to your regularly scheduled program.
 

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<3's lapping days
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TSB I am not sure if an upgraded front would be a good choice without an upgraded rear as well.

I wouldnt do it myself.

Generally if you get stiffer springs you need less bar. Softer springs need more bar.

What tires do you run?
 
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