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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
CRX Suspension Tech

I keep seeing threads popping up about putting new shocks and springs into a CRX. Most of these are first-time suspension swappers, so here's some info I've gathered and some I've learned from my own experience. I'm staying away from full coilovers in this one, focusing on the more common setups of aftermarket spring and shock combos. If you have more info, like spring rates I don't have listed, or an opinion/info on another type of shock or spring, post it, or PM me and I will add it to the original post (and credit you of course). I'd like to get some more spring rates up here.

Shocks:

When it comes to shocks there are pretty much three options, Koni Yellows, Tokico Illuminas, and KYB AGX.

The Konis are hands down the best you probably will ever need for your CRX. Also more expensive than the other two, you can send these out for re-valving, rebuilding, etc, to have a shock that is custom made for YOUR car. Like the other two they are covered by a lifetime warranty, though I don't know of anyone who's blown out a set of these. If you're running high spring rates (more on that later), you will want these, Neuspeed even recommends them specifically. For street use, even with occasional autocross, you probably don't need to spend the extra money on the Konis, put it into some good tires.

Tokico Illuminas are an excellent shock, especially considering the price. I personally had these on my first CRX, and I can't complain at all about their performance in autocross. They are externally 5-way adjustable, and like the Konis they carry a lifetime warranty. Unfortunately, I have seen these blow on basic springs. On my sister's Mazda MX6, one of the rears blew, and it's sitting on Tokico's own lowering spring kit that comes bundled with the Illuminas! I also had to return two of mine because of manufacturing defects, torquing the nut on top broke the shock rod. The good news is that Tokico stood behind their product and I got my new ones very quickly (for free).

KYB's AGX shocks are on par with the Tokicos. They feature 4-way external adjustability, the lifetime warranty, and steal-me orange paint. I have seen numerous pictures on the internet of these guys leaking oil, but never have I seen a broken one in person. Matt Miner is running these successfully on H&R Race springs (rates which I have personally seen blow out Illuminas), and having driven the car I can say they are a quality product. John (ComposiMo) also recommends these. Personally, I have limited experience with these, I almost bought a set, but found Illuminas for less. If you're debating between these and the Illuminas, get whatever is cheaper for you at the time, they will be just about the same (but Tokico will send you a little key to adjust the dampers).

Bottom line: you probably don't need Konis if you're asking about them. Get either the Illuminas or the AGXs, depending on what color you like and how your wallet is doing. Remember, running high spring rates or excessive lowering is going to kill these two, where the Koni has been shown to hold up a lot better.

There are some lower-line shocks that are marketed by Tokico and KYB as well, which are pretty common, the Tokico HP (blues) and KYB GR-2. These are barely more than a stock replacement, I believe you can buy GR-2s at Autozone and the like. More than an inch lowered and anything too stiff, and these are going to blow, I promise.

An interesting note is that the KYB AGX seem to have a bad reputation, despite not being used by as many people as the Illuminas. I personally think that this is because of the GR-2, which is VERY common. I have heard more than one person say they won't use AGXs because they have seen GR-2s blow. Don't compare upper and lower lines, just buy the better stuff, and you'll be all set.

Springs:

There are a lot of choices when it comes to springs, and each one is going to affect your car differently. A lot of people are concerned with how the car is going to look (how much drop) and leave it at that. Some are more interested in the rates and how they are going to affect ride quality and handing. To the first group, you are not going to get EXACTLY the same drop as your friend did on the same springs. This is particularly noticeable with H&R/Neuspeed Race springs. I've seen these on numerous cars, and they all sit differently! I've also seen a rogue set of Eibach Sportlines drop the rear of a CRX way too low. The only way you are going to be able to accurately set an even ride height (and cornerweight) your CRX is with some adjustable sleeves like Ground Controls. And if you think you can have great ride quality AND handling, you're going to be VERY disappointed.

I will ALWAYS recommend getting Ground Controls, since they aren't that much more expensive, and you will never be unhappy with the ride height. You can also get the spring rates you want, or just take the off-the shelf rates. Off the shelf GCs come with Eibach, 350/250 lb/in front/rear rates. Personally I switch the front and rear springs to make the rear rotate better. Stock CRX springs are 250/150, so that leaves the front pretty stock soft. This is an OK setup, I had it on my last car, but now I'm running 550/650 F/R. My current setup also has poly bushings, and to most people it's pretty punishing on the street. Once you get used to a smooth setup it's no problem, but every time I get in my old car (owned by a friend of mine) I feel like I'm in a Cadillac.

If you really don't want GCs, then there are some good options for regular springs, but as far as I know you aren't going to get track-stiff rates.

Eibach sportlines are fairly popular, give a decent drop, and are moderately stiff. Jmart has them paired with Illuminas, and Stef is running Matt's old set on the HF/Si. The rates are 450/174-257 (progressive) F/R. The problem with them is that since the rears are not the same as the front (they are progressive) you can't swap the front and rear springs. Prokits are popular for street use, with rates of 331/125-195 F/R, more for cosmetic use in my opinion.

H&R and Neuspeed both offer "Sport" and "Race" springs, which as far as I know are the same (NS Sport = HR Sport, NS Race = HR Race). I am not positive, but I believe sports are 275/225 and race are 575/450 (taken from an old article on the Resource). I know a couple people running the "Race" springs on daily/autoX cars and they are very happy with them. These also are progressive in the rear. I've noticed a lot of EFs that sit high with HR Race, I don't know the reason.

Whatever you decide to get, remember to take your goals into account. Do you track your CRX? Do you daily drive it? Autocross? Drag? Don't overbuild the suspension, especially if it's your daily driver. You will not only waste money, but it will be uncomfortable and annoying, and with extremely high rates (like mine) your car can be a chore to drive in some conditions, like rain and snow.

Spring Rates (F/R lb/in)

OEM CRX: 250/150
Tokico Kit: 256/156
Ground Control OTS: 350/250
Eibach Pro-Kit: 274/97-228
Eibach Sportline: 450/174-257
H&R/Neuspeed Sport: 275/225
H&R/Neuspeed Race: 575/450
Tein S Tech: 268/123
Skunk2 Lowering Springs: 257-559/112-485
Skunk2 Coilovers : 448/336

Full Coilovers (F/R lb/in)
Tein (Basic, SS, and Flex): 448/224
Omnipower Sport: 672/560
Omnipower Street: 560/448

Progress Group Coilovers: (thanks LowFlyin')
Series I Time Attack - 450f/650r
Series I Drag Race - 350f/550r
Series I - 350f/250r
Series II - 350f/250r
 

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When it comes to shocks there are pretty much three options, Koni Yellows, Tokico Illuminas, and KYB AGX.
Err...I guess I suck with my omnipower full coilovers then eh? :wink:
 

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i have Tein S-tech spring and kyb agx shocks....

i'm very happy with them, they're not too harsh but they did provide a substantial drop and (from waht i can tell on the street) a good increase in handling. it was $600 well spent in my mind.
 

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What if I where to get this:
SUPER CUP KIT - CIVIC/CRX 1989-91 - 2.25F / 2.0R
NEUSPEED's Super Cup Kit provides a great ride and superior handling. This kit includes a complete set of NEUSPEED Race Springs. Our Race Springs are made in Germany by ISO 9002 certified spring-winding specialists. NEUSPEED Race Springs reduce body roll during cornering and front end dive under heavy braking. All NEUSPEED springs carry a limited lifetime warranty.

In addition, this kit includes a complete set of NEUSPEED/Koni Sport dampers. They feature 5 ride height adjustment grooves (allows ±14mm of height adjustment), external rebound damping adjustment, and Koni's limited lifetime warranty.

Notes
No substitutions allowed for this kit.

Kit includes the following:
1 - 55.20.04 NEUSPEED Race Spring Kit
2 - 8041-1166SP3 (F)
2 - 8041-1153SP3 (R)

$599.99
Would this be a good setup for daily driving? Or would I be better off getting KONI dampers instead of neuspeed ones? I am not planning to get this soon obliviously but just looking to the future.
 

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I might just throw something else in here for those that are interested in just a 'cosmetic' drop. Using the Eiback Pro Kit or H&R springs combined with the Koni red shocks would be an OK way to go if your car is primarily street driven. The Koni's are rebuildable and can be converted to both double and single adjustable down the road if you desire.

A set up like this can offer an upgrade path as your needs (and wallet) change.

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ollie said:
When it comes to shocks there are pretty much three options, Koni Yellows, Tokico Illuminas, and KYB AGX.
Err...I guess I suck with my omnipower full coilovers then eh? :wink:
If you want to add a write up about coilovers, that would be great. I personally haven't used them, so I didn't want to write about them. I think the shocks and GC/spring combo is more common for new people because it's cheaper (and also experienced people running Koni/Custom rate GCs).

To everyone else posting your setups, please give the rates if you can find them so I can add them to the list at the end of the first post.
 

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Charlie said:
i have Tein S-tech spring and kyb agx shocks....

i'm very happy with them, they're not too harsh but they did provide a substantial drop and (from waht i can tell on the street) a good increase in handling. it was $600 well spent in my mind.
I'm probably pairing up the two myself. I have the springs, but still need shocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here is a good article on coilovers written by Tyson on HT/NorCalCRX. It's old, but still has some good info.

I'll quote it here (I've asked him already):
Tyson said:
Should I get coilovers or springs?

Short answer:
If you're asking this question, you probably dont need "coilovers" and will be wasting your money and should buy a good set of Eibach Pro-kits or any other quality kit.

What does coilover mean?
The term coilover describes a suspension design where a coil spring is placed around the shock absorber. In fact, your Honda probably already has coilovers as stock! Coilover design is used as opposed to leaf springs on trucks, torsion bars (like 1st gen CRX and Integra), and torsion beams (like VW rear axles where the coil spring is placed separately from the shock to allow more interior space). Kits from Ground Control and Skunk2 are often loosely called "coilovers" and is wrong. They are more appropriately called "adjustable spring" kits, and can be used to convert originally non-coilover suspension to coilover suspension (trucks do this all the time). These kits are mainly for those who wish to customize their suspension because of the adjustability that these kits offer.

What does an adjustable spring kit do?
An adjustable spring kit provides adjustability in ride height by raising/lowering the height of the lower spring perch around a threaded sleeve mounted over the shock tube. Doing so does NOT change the spring rate (of a linear spring), NOR preload unless youve raised the perch past the point the spring is tight at full droop. The other main benefit of getting an adjustable spring kit is being able to choose your own spring rates according to the spring and easily swapping springs of different spring rates for tuning.

Should I get Ground Control or Skunk2?
Personally, I believe of the two products mentioned, only the Ground Control is worth buying, or at least worth the little more it costs over the Skunk2 kit. The Skunk2 kit uses two lock nuts to adjust the perch and from motorcycle shock experience its a bitch to adjust and doesnt always lock properly. Also, I dont know where Skunk2 gets their springs from, I know they are NOT Eibach or Hypercoils, two of the best consumer spring producers. Ground Control uses a simple cap screw to lock the adjustable perch and uses Eibach Race Springs (ERS) and is the only west coast distributor if ERS.

I hope it goes without saying the quality of Ebay "coilover" kits are worthless. My guess is that since the threaded sleeve is compatible with many different cars, they offer the same cheap springs and springrates for all car which means you get the same spring rates for your CRX as the owner of a bigass Accord, where there is no room for compromise and you will likely regret ever wasting your money. GC offers different customized threaded sleeves for each car (and different shocks, such as Koni) to insure the proper range of height adjustment, another plus for GC.

Are coilovers going to make my ride stiff or bouncy?
As mentioned above, the function of an adjustable spring kit is to adjust ride height, which is totally independent of "stiffness". What determines how stiff the suspension is the spring rate. These aftermarket kits more than likely come with significantly larger spring rates. This value along with the performance of the shock damper determine the actual ride quality. Bad or underperforming shocks will make the ride "bouncy". When ordering the GC kit and you do not specifically order custom spring rates, for the integra they give 380f/250r lbs/ft, and civic/CRX 350f/250r lbs/ft. Compare this to an OEM rate of about 250f/150r. I would characterize the change as very stiff and stiffer than most aftermarket street kits, but can still be considered driveable with good shocks, but not to all driver's opinion. Skunk2 will give 450f/336r for the integra and civic/crx. So if you do order an adjustable spring kit, you have the freedom to determine your own spring rates, choose appropriately for your application.

In comparison, Eibach Prokits give a rate of 331f/126-194r, their Sportlines are 460f/174-257r. I mention this to show you can get equivelent spring rates with regular spring kits. Here is a link to a good list of spring rates for the integra. SPRING RATE TABLE

Lastly, additional problems of lowering your car too low will cause a harsh ride due to bottoming out of the shock or suspension arms. Be careful of this. Bottoming out the shock destroys the internals (thats why the bumpstops are there, but dont rely on them if you are constantly hitting or "riding" them). Bottoming out the suspension arms or hitting the top of the fender starts bending stuff, which is not good.

What spring rates should I get?
This is a completely open question. Quite frankly, if you're blindly asking this question, you probably dont need custom rates and brings us back to the original question, "Should I get coilovers or springs?" and you probably would be better off with one of the many street kits from Eibach, Neuspeed or H&R, or just get the preset vehicle specific kit from GC. The reason I say this is because there is such a wide variety of street kits with varying stiffness and ride heights that will still perform very well on autox and even be enjoyable around the track, and remain a fair margin of safety required for driving on the street. Typically, most adjustable spring kit owners rarely, almost never based on my survey, adjust their ride heights after initially setting it and buying such a kit would be a waste of money. Furthermore, allowing more adjustment simply allows more ways of setting your suspension WRONG for your application.

Having said that, and you are still convinced you require custom spring rates, first define your application. What type of driving will your car MAINLY be doing and NOT just "occasionally"? (i.e. street, autox, open track, road race, rally) Then do your own RESEARCH (key is "search") to other recommended setups. Only YOU can determine what is a good spring rate for your application, and then try it. The good thing about the GC setup is you can swap out springs and try another combo. For many autoxers of FWD Hondas, stiffening up the rear relative to the front reduces some of the understeer inherent in FWD cars and helps rotate the car. 400f/600r (along with an aftermarket rear swaybar) seems popular among Integra drivers but is very stiff for street use and requires high quality shocks. Competitive road racing setups can go up to 450f/900r or 600f/800r, even 1200, but is completely NOT recommended for driving on the street, for comfort and safety and suspension/hardware reliability and lifetime, and is not needed except for competition.

Currently on my CRX I am running a hybrid setup using the front springs from my Eibach Pro Kit which I believe is rated to be 331 lbs/inch and is linear, with a very streetable and aesthetic wheel gap which sets the wheel concentric to the wheel well (old pic with EPK springs installed), and my old competition 450 GC/ERS springs front springs to the rear and set the ride height to match the front, giving me 331f/450r with a 22mm rear swaybar and stock front bar. I find this setup to be tolerable on the street (perhaps driving on 450f/900r really defined "stiff" to me) and good ride height (I never scraped with the full Eibach Pro Kit spring kit, and still dont). The performance on track during an open test day was pretty much up to par with my old setup with no complaints of unnecessary understeer, eventho I wasnt driving at race speeds. I'm looking forward to testing this setup during autox, which my old setup failed miserably in with too much oversteer.

How do I tell what my spring rates are?
Ground Control sells Eibach Race Springs (ERS) which are labelled by 3 different values in the following convention: length . diameter . spring rate. However, ERS will come labelled in either Metric (mm.mm.N/m) or English (inchx100.inchx100.lbs/inch) units. 180.64.61 is the same thing as 700.250.350. The conversion from Metric to English is (/.254, /.254, x5.7) "/" means "divide by", "x" means "multiply by".

If you ordered a Ground Control kit without specifying custom rates, they will choose an appropriate spring rate for your vehicle. For the CRX, it is 350f/250r.

What length/diameter springs do I order?
For Honda applications, you need 2.5" diameter springs. Spring length is usually either 7 or 8". There is a much wider choice of spring rates in 8", however 7" allows you to set the ride height lower. But unless you have specially shortened shocks, ride height set low enough requiring 7" springs will be unpractical for good driving as you'd bottom out your shocks anyway.

Which springs go up front?
First, learn how to read the spring rate from your springs. One pair will be stiffer (greater spring rate) than the other. GC normally designs their spring kits so that the front is stiffer. You can follow that, but ERS(springs) are interchangeable. So you CAN put the stiffer in the rear, it will alter the suspension by basically making the rear stiffer, which makes the car less understeer, which is generally more desirable for better handling performance. However, it *makes the rear stiffer*, and you will feel the difference since FWD cars have the center of gravity more towards the front, so the rear wheels rotate further from the CG than the fronts, thus are more sensitive to bouncing motion. Its up to you. I suggest you just follow what GC recommends, but if you are so inclined, cautiously try to swap them and see what you prefer.

What about "true" coilovers?
The term "true" coilover is a result of the general misnaming of coilovers mentioned above. There is nothing more "true" about these suspension parts. "True" coilovers refers to what is correctly described as integrated threaded body shocks and adjustable lower perch that usually come with the spring. A more proper term should be "full coilover". Typically (not always) these shocks are of better quality than off the shelf shocks like Koni and Tokico and provide more adjustability in shock settings (such as separate ride height adjustment which allows the car to be lowered without sacrificing shock travel). However, you can buy just as high quality shocks with the same adjustability as well from other reputable manufacturers that can be custom valved for your application (and knowledgeable advice in English...) And with adjustable spring perch kits from GC and custom spring rates, it doesnt necessarily make full coilovers any better in equal comparison. What you are generally paying for when buying full coilover kits is a turnkey solution (but not necessarily optimum) with both shocks and springs for your car. Also, keep in mind that most autocrossers and road racers who dont use full coilovers are usually limited to their class rules that dont allow threaded body shocks or remote reservoir shocks and are limited to the number of shock adjustability settings - not just their pocketbooks.
 

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Tein Stechs 268/123
Tein Coilovers (Basic, SS, and Flex) 448/224
Ominpower Sport Coilovers 672/560
Omnipower Street Coilovers 560/448

And yes, Tom, the NS and HR are identical....I use to be a direct distributor for Neuspeed and they largely buy and rebrand stuff haha or have it made to their specs. In this case they paint HR springs.

Speaking strictly CRXs, Ive had sooo many suspension setups its funny.
To speak to things Tom hasnt, The Tein Coilovers were nice, but I found them to be way to soft. Lessonsinspeed has them now and is enjoying them.

The Omnipower Sports however, where freaking great. The problem with them at the time was the inability to lower the front of the car properly, but I believe they resolved that.

Full coilovers are an interesting thing. They make me nervous because when you need a shock replaced, you cant just go and order one up, you need to send it in and wait forever etc etc. I believe also that none of the shocks that are used in full coilovers are as good as Konis. Theres a good writeup on HT that shows on a shock dyno how much more adjustment and better characteristics Konis have than much more expensive full coilover setups.

BUT, sometimes the price just cant be beat. Im running Ksports on the winter beater Impreza, and shock body height adjustment paired with stiff spring rates, spherical upper mounts, and camber adjustment for $700 is just ridiculous, even if the shock isnt the best one in the world. At that price, Id just buy another set when these get old. Same reason I was down with the omnipowers, plus they are supported in the USA.

Im going to see if I can find the AGX shock info I got form KYB and Ill post that up too.

For anyones info, I really do love my AGX/HR Race combo, but my next setup is going to be Koni SPSS shocks and 550/650 GCs.

If anyone has questions about full coilovers, Ill be glad to try and answer.

[email protected]
 

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It should also be said allot of the full coil overs don't have that great of dampers. Allot of them don't have enough dampening. Such items would be Tein, K sport, Omni. I've heard mixed opinions on PICs. Honestly the only shocks that are any better than Koni Yellow Race Valved, are Ohlins, and Moton, and they don't offer apps for our cars. :(

If you want the best suspension for auto-x track use. Check out the Koni Race/Custom Rate GC setups from Redshift Racing.
 

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It seems like bart and myself have an identical opinion about the 2 things he mentioned.

I feel reassured :)

The hish spring rate coilovers are defintely underdamepend....If the teins are underdampeend, im not sure how, they have like lower spring rates then stock springs almost hahah.

My favorite part about hte HT writeup is like how the 36 way buddy club rip off coilovers have less adjustability then an AGX haha

Someone on here is going to score a REALLY nice AGX/HR Race/ES suspension swap on of these days......

[email protected]
 

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downest said:
That's what Matt Miner is running, good basic setup IMO. You might want to supplement with a rear sway and some PU bushings if you're serious about autoX.
Well I don't auto cross, and I'm not planning it unless a group of my friends go. And I'm doing bushings in the springs so :). Sway bar, I might have a lead on a ST one, brand new for around 150$, good deal or no?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the info guys. If someone could follow suit and write up a little review/compare of the various coilovers (Tein, Omnipower, Megan, Ksport, etc), I will add it to the original post.
 

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Q&A from a PM

Q:
Matt,
I recently bought a used set of Neuspeed springs. They are dark blue or black. Can you give me an idea of how much drop these are supposed to give? Thanks!

A:
Black neuspeeds are SofSport Springs. they were never released specifically for the CRX, but for 92+ civics. They will work though. they give a little less then a 1" drop and would be comparable to the eibach pro kit.

also, a little more info since i responded. I just found out they were released and discontinued awhile back. they are exactly equal to the HR "OE Sport Spring". Spring rates forthcoming.

[email protected]
 
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