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peteyg

Adjustable front shock settings

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Hi all,

Fitted new front suspension last year with the protech shocks and all was well. After trial and error I found the perfect settings for my driving style. Both shocks were set at the same level, the car felt great. Yesterday however I went for a drive making the most of the sunny weather and nearly pooped my pants going round a bend at speed as the front end went really light and grip started to evapourate. I know the bend well and know how quickly I can go round it and have never had a problem before. I checked the suspension and the n/s front was much springier that the o/s. Hmmm a bit odd. I've now adjusted the n/s an extra 2 clicks to increase stiffness and both sides now feel the same.

Question is, having never had adjustables before, is it OK to have the shocks at different settings on each corner? I'd understand if I was going the same way round a race track that the setting would probably be bias based on the number of left & right corners, but on the open road is this OK?

Over to the experts....

Pete

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Sounds like one of your shocks may be prematurely failing. In a perfect world, yes they should be set the same, how would you know for sure they are exaclty right though if either side were set different. I'd keep an eye incase it is failing and maybe get them rebuild. It's always a worry with the cheaper suspension supplier, I have the same concerns about the life expectancy of my GAZ units! Only time will tell!

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On a track there are always either more left than right hand corners depending on it being a clockwise or anti clockwise track, so you might set the suspension differently, but not for the road.

You haven't said what had them set at, I run Protec's on my 88 car and have them set at 6, your suspension is different to mine but I would guess 5-7 would be in the range. A shock only controls oscillation and speed of compression and rebound, so if it is softer on one side it is not necesarly the shock. It could be spring related, or even bush related, the ABR adds to the effective spring rate and so if it has popped an ABR bush it would have the effect you speal off.

Having said all that I agree with Simon, and would be looking around the shaft for tell tale signes of oil.

Remember when you adjust the shocks you are adjusting the weight tranfer rate and as such the effect is diagnaly oposite. Ie the harder you make the back the more weight it puts on the front.

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Thanks guys. They were both set at 9/13, any less and the car wallowed. Now the n/s is 11/13 and the o/s still 9/13. Just been for a spin and she feels great again.

No signs of oil leakage. All bushes are present and correct. I only fitted the new springs and shocks last summer.

Pete

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Unless you have uped the front spring rate by about 30% those settings are too hard. After reading your initial post again, I think I might be looking at the back as a cause to your sudden understeer. A colapsed rear shock would allow too much and too sudden a transfer of weight from the front to the back, resulting in understeer.

The only other thing is I don't know how many miles you have done on these shocks but I found there was a definate ebdding in period, initially I was getting inconsistant results, but after anout 100 miles they came constant. Even at 6 clicks I could almost feel a coin on the road.

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I'd go with simons diagnosis - sounds like the fluid is leaking or damage to the adjuster.

Doesn't have to leak externally, all that dial is is a valve that allows more or less fluid past the piston.

I'd be tempted to see how it goes - if it needs more adjustment then consider replacing it.

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Hi Roger,

Rears are also fine, I've checked those. Probably done just under 1000 miles with the new susupension so I hope they've bedded in by now!

Might talk to protech and see what they say.

Pete

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My adjustables were pieces of ali scrap after two years and very few miles, they're the same brand you have.

I know I had an option (which I took) that you did not, namely the Lotus new units. I found the springs supplied with my adjustables were laughably soft compared to Lotus ones, so you end up with lots more movement, the dampers will move a lot more fluid and wear out very quickly as a result.

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I hear you Andy. If I'd had the choice I would've gone for it. The old springs and shock had managed nearly 60k miles but were so buggered the tyres were scrubbing the inside of the wheel arches everytime I went over a bump. I can only hope that Lotus do the new suspension.

Pete

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