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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I recently replaced the springs and shocks on my GTV with Sachs dampers and Dobinsons Low springs.

Really good on smooth bitumen, but too hard (for me) on the bumps and potholes that seem to be everywhere at the moment. I think they would probably be OK with 15 or 16 inch wheels, but the GTV has 17's so there is not much tyre sidewall to help to cushion the impacts and I have had to increase tyre pressures to protect the rims, which makes the ride even harder.

Does anyone have any thoughts on options to soften the ride a bit, without going back to standard springs?

I thought about coilovers, but I am not sure of the quality of the kits out there and it's not cheap. I could possibly use conversion kits on the existing struts, but then it's a big question of how to match spring length and rate.

Alternatively, are Lovells a better option for the standard struts? I think I saw somewhere that they are progressive rate, which might give me what I need.

Any thoughts gratefully received...
 

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2004 TL Magna(aka Diamante) AWD, 6g75 engine, F5A51 automatic trans.
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I have an identical setup on my TL AWD, but with Koni adjustable dampers on the rear.

I am not overly impressed with the Sachs front struts.

VRX 17" wheels with Bridgestone Potenza 003.

Ride is OK, not uncomfortable.

What tyres are fitted?

What tyre pressures?

38"f/36"r for me.

215/55/17.
 

· Super Moderator
2004 TL Magna(aka Diamante) AWD, 6g75 engine, F5A51 automatic trans.
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Tyres are Bridgestone Turanza 225/50/17 - on the car when I bought it 2 years and 45,000km ago.

Pressures are 40f/36r
When the lowered Dobinson front springs and Sachs dampers were fitted I did notice that the front suspension would "bottom out" from time to time on larger bumps.

The ride was certainly harsher than before, but I have just put up with it.

I am still dreaming about fitting custom Bilstein inserts to the front, but it will be at a big expense.

The only other way to soften the ride would be to go to a variable rate front spring, but I am not aware of any.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Leadfoot. Might have to think about some form of custom set-up at some point. I would assume that if you did a coil-over conversion you can put whatever shocks you like in there, subject to tube diameter. As you say though, not cheap.

By the way, how are the Potenza's? I need to make a decision on tyres soon & they would be one of my options.
 

· Super Moderator
2004 TL Magna(aka Diamante) AWD, 6g75 engine, F5A51 automatic trans.
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I would stay away from coilovers.

The top mount is known as a "pillow ball".

Despite the name, they are not designed like a conventional strut top mount.

They are harsher in terms of ride than a conventional strut.

Good for race cars.....not for road cars.

I would not like to have to "argue the toss" with a Roads Authority if I were to be defected by the Police if it were ascertained that coil overs were fitted.

I would rather go down the path of having custom valved/rated Bilstein inserts fitted to a conventional strut body with an appropriate coil spring.

I have been told that this can be done using a shock absorber "dyno" and fitted for about $1,500(+ appropriate springs) the last time I checked a few years ago.

No doubt, post Covid, it would be (much?) more.

Such a price is not really justified on a Magna.

I highly recommend the Bridgestone Potenza 003 in 215/55/17 size.

They are a perfect fit for my VRX 17"x 7" wheels.

To me, having some (much)earlier life experience in selling wheels and tyres, a 225/50/17 fitment on 17x7 wheels is not optimal, even though that is what is listed on the tyre placard.

No "bulging" sidewall in the fitment size that I have selected.

Speedometer reading in 215/55/17" size is nearly perfect, compared to the original 16" fitment.

I have had the Bridgestone fitted for the last 18 months, replacing the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 that lasted only 2 years.

I do drive "hard" at times, but not that hard.

When I had the stock 16" wheels on I went to the Potenza, and was happy enough with them in 16".

When I went to 17" the Michelin was a great tyre, but the treadwear life turned out to be rather short.

Fitted during Covid, I have not driven on them as much as before, but their tread wear is minimal compared to the Bridgestone.

I would defy anyone to differentiate between the two if not actually knowing before what was fitted.

The performance, wet or dry, is very high.

Ride/comfort/noise is quite good.

And the Bridgestone is about $60 or so cheaper per corner than the equivalent Michelin PS5.

Currently about $660 for 4 under the "buy 3 get the 4th free" deal from Bob Jane TMarts.

Of course, brands with a lesser reputation will be cheaper.

I am very happy with the Bridgestone Potenza, and will buy again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Leadfoot - I appreciate your comments about the suspension and tyres. Looking at prices, it seems that the smaller size is also quite a lot cheaper than the standard fit - must be a more common fitment I guess.

Interesting point on the coilover top mount, and I also didn't realise they were a potential defect.

Doesn't actually sound that expensive to me to go to the custom Bilsteins. Then again, I have spent a heap of money on a manual conversion (with a recon box), new 380 front brakes, headers and a couple of other bits and pieces. I also had to drop a replacement engine in it due to repeated cam seal failures, but was lucky to pick up a 90k motor for $2.2k fitted (with new timing belt etc) - should keep it going for a while until I get time to build up the new short motor that I have.

I know these cars are not worth that much, but it had been very well cared for by the one previous owner and it suits me in pretty much every respect, so I'm happy to spend some money on it...
 

· Super Moderator
2004 TL Magna(aka Diamante) AWD, 6g75 engine, F5A51 automatic trans.
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I got my price quote for a custom Bilstein fitment from Heasman Suspension in Sydney:


They are the acknowledged Bilstein experts.

I had them do a custom front strut Bilstein inset for my 1990 Nissan R31 Skyline about 12 years ago.

They did a good job, but it was not cheap even though I did save some money by sourcing the actual strut inserts from a supplier in the USA.

They were a bit "disappointed" that I was able to "circumvent" their status as an Australian "official" Bilstein supplier by me doing my own homework and buying my inserts direct from the USA, but were happy enough to go ahead with the conversion anyway, so they only made money on the workshop conversion price, and not the "sales: side as well.

The result was MUCH better than the other options, such as KYB/Monroe/Pedders etc. available at the time.

The only other way to get the same result was to modify my standard R31 Skyline to accept "HR31" front struts that were Bilstein fitted as standard, which were extremely hard/expensive to get a hold of, unless my name was Glen Seton or Mark Skaife, which it wasn't.

Unfortunately, I am unable to(with certainty) ascertain which front strut inserts could be purchased from the USA for my Magna.

If you do decide to get a custom Bilstein set made up, I would be VERY interested to know how it progresses, and/or be updated about suitable price quotes from whichever specialist supplier you decide on.

P.S. Mackay Industries are able to supply the correct "standard" front strut top mount to suit at a reasonable price compared to a genuine Mitsubishi item.

I had these fitted about 6 years ago when I first had my front struts rebuilt with the Dobinsons/Sachs combination currently fitted.

I also got new genuine front lower control arms from Mitsfix at the right price.

The steering rack has been replaced with new "genuine", and the front sway bar bushes have been replaced with Superpro items.

In short, my front suspension/steering is about as good as it can get for an 18 year old car, except for the Bilsteins.

Mitsfix used to stock a range of replacement genuine control arms/bushes for the Magna, which I took advantage of.

Unfortunately, the following is the only item still listed:

 
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