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Thread: ATT: suspension experts - Lowering and stiffening leaf springs - Car: AE71 wagon

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    Veteran maxhag's Avatar
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    Default ATT: suspension experts - Lowering and stiffening leaf springs - Car: AE71 wagon


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    I have just got a AE71 Corolla wagon. I have just converted to a 4AGTE. I have modified many cars in my time, but never one with leaf springs before, and have never really come across this problem.

    The car will be used as a daily, tyre transporter, carry dogs, WILL NEED TO TOW A BOAT (4-500kg approx), light 'sprited' driving on occasions (but not the cars purpose).

    I dont really care too much for comfort, but more for functionality, the right 'look' (low) and general safety.

    So, after knowing stuff all about leaf springs, over the last week I have been reading about about how to lower them, and peoples feedback/responses.

    I have read alot, so just keeping this simple.

    Seems to be 3 options that I could find:

    Lowering blocks - Does the job, but can be 'unsafe', not the best for handling,

    Flipping leafs - Can get it really low, but the handling is dangerous,

    Reset and adding leaves - This is obviously the "right" way to do it in terms of safety. No doubt. But I have read many responses where people say the rear still feels "bouncy" and pretty shit. But that old saying, "You can't polish a turd, it's still gonna be a turd".

    So before I go ahead and get that done, I was thinking if it can be done another way........ I can understand you shouldn't flip them, as the spring is working at oppisite forces with itself. I have an idea tho, but my question is IF IT IS DANGEROUS TO HAVE THE SPRING PERMANENTLY COMPRESSED?

    Follow me here -

    So I read 'Javal' saying to take the bottom/shortest/stiffest leaf and put it on top of the spring pack. Said it would make it lower and stiffer..
    So I did it:

    BEFORE:




    AFTER:




    BEFORE:



    ^^^ AFTER:

    Ok, now I am learning



    So, from looking at the side on shots, you can see its slightly lower afterwards, and that the main pack of springs is now sitting flatter, and the spring is now under pre-load.
    From looking at the behaviour of the spring pack and how they flatten out, my idea is, to put that short/stiff spring back onto the bottom (load bearing), and then just add a longer thick/stiff leaf to the top, about the size simular to the length of one of the other leafs attacted to the main one......
    It would really flatten out the pack ie; lower, (Lowered)
    It would be stiff, being under a fair bit of pre-load (Stiff)
    And not 1 spring has been flipped (safety)


    I will be using Bilstien short stroke shocks....

    Questions:

    Am I correct in my theory?

    Is it dangerous to have the spring under such pre-load?

    Handling effects?




    Thanks

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    Veteran maxhag's Avatar
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    My other thought, is to fit AE86 KSport coilover units where the shocks usually sit, and taking all the leafs out, except for the main one (for mounting) and the bottom short/load bearing one...

    Any thoughts?
    Trial and error I suppose......

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    I've seen a KE30 with mcn sport rear coilovers one leaf to locate and top trailing arms added as well.
    "Not all commodore drivers are wankers, but all wankers drive commodores"

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    I was going to make coilovers using a sleeve kit for the rear if my pano. I got a part of stock s13 rear suspension. Was going to take the shock absorber out. Cut and shut the housing and fit coilover sleeves. Get a bush made to fit the shock housing and the ae diff Then just need shocks that fit and are short enough and run just one leaf. Sounds like it will work in theory.

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    The Lowball King! john84ie's Avatar
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    If you used coilovers would the mounting plate for the rear shocks be stong enough if u used coilovers and ditched most the leafs?
    Its pretty light metal

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    Ok, if it were me, I would have the springs reset and then (because of the towing) add a couple of airbags between the top of the spring pack and the chassis. These make a huge difference when towing, specially due to the added weight on the rear end.

    When you arent towing you can let the air out and essentially drive on the suspension, then hook a trailer up and add 40psi into the bags. It will reset the ride height and take the load off the already lowered suspension.

    Alternatively you can buy rear wagon shocks from a commodore that have the airbags intergrated into them. THey are short stroke type units and would be good in this application.

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    Yeah a bit of strengthening may be required but it would be hard to weld in some plate steel

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    Senior Member Futo_gt86's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat.
    Blocks are illegal in QLD - don't know about other states...
    1st hand experience with blocks, they make the rear end axle tramp like a scary whore, its not cool.
    but, will give you desired look, and cheap as, Autobarn sell 2" ones that fit for like $40.

    Flip will also give you desired look, but I hear the same tramp issue raises its ugly head...however never driven on flips.

    If you fit a coilover into a wagon or panno using the stock top shock mount, I believe you will destroy it.
    It was never designed to do so, I seriously doubt it will be up to the task.
    If you some how reinforced it, it might work, but wouldn't want to take the risk towing.

    Reset the leaves, add extra leaf for stiffness.
    If the thing tramps, get tramp rods made up - there are universal weld up kit available.
    This is what I am going to do

    I'm not going to tow with mine, however, I am fitting a tow bar so police can't say my suspension is to stiff.....

    Air bags on rolla wagon....this could be an issue.
    The Red bag kits are designed for load leveling...i would be more inclined towards these on a rolla wagon.
    I have seen the heavy duty black bags snap chassis when used with a stiff rear leaf set-up...mostly on Navara's and Triton's, but these things have 3.5T towing capacity.
    They take the pivot point away from the ends of the leaves and put it on the chassis and middle of the leaf....not what they are designed to do..remember, these little Toyota's are only light metal..
    Just my 2cents worth

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    Veteran slide86's Avatar
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    Oh sorry, i was referring to the red bag kits.....not actual airbags that the guys use to create 'stance'

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    Yeah, I am aware that the shock mounts are not made for load, but to strenghten the top chassis side looks well easy and simple...... The bottom support cant be rocket science......

    Quote Originally Posted by Futo_gt86 View Post
    I'm in the same boat.

    If you fit a coilover into a wagon or panno using the stock top shock mount, I believe you will destroy it.
    It was never designed to do so, I seriously doubt it will be up to the task.
    If you some how reinforced it, it might work, but wouldn't want to take the risk towing.

    Reset the leaves, add extra leaf for stiffness.
    If the thing tramps, get tramp rods made up - there are universal weld up kit available.

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