Lowering springs, aftermarket wheels & DISASTER> - DodgeIntrepid.Net Forums - Dodge Intrepid, Concorde, 300m and Eagle Vision chat
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2009, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Lowering springs, aftermarket wheels & DISASTER>

Many of you know that for a long time I have said that unless you really know and understand the ramifications of the use of lowering springs, and after market wheels, that certain disaster could befall you, up to being outright killed.
I have said for years, that the struts and springs MUST me matched correctly, as well as wheels must fit the hub correctly.
A lot of members over the years have sluffed it off as crap and/or the "old" guy knows not of what he speaks.
Anyway, I'll leave you all to ponder the above for the rest of the day before I post all the pictures of what can happen, and explain why it can happen if not approached correctly.
(Of course, some of you "older" guys will know exactly what I am talking about here, but the pictures are really worth the look)


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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2009, 11:49 AM
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never heard you say taht, and i actaually am one looking into both. After reading that i can kind of understand waht happened but im curious of th pictures to see the results. Thanks for the info TFC.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2009, 07:20 PM
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I know whose ride this is...........and I REALLY want to see pics. I never actually looked THAT closely at the suspension set up on the car in question.



...........hmmmmmm, I have a set of 20's slapped on, with a set of H&R lowering springs slapped on, and a random set of struts slapped on :(



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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2009, 07:32 PM
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pics yet? i'm interested to see
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2009, 09:45 PM
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i might have an idea whose car this is
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2009, 09:49 PM
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2009, 10:06 PM
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So who trashed their car??
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2009, 10:27 PM
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The tension's killing me!

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-17-2009, 10:42 PM
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There's a pile of complex mathematics and assorted mechanical engineering performed by teams of registered professional engineers that goes into suspension design. It can not be made better or improved in anyway by someone with a high school education armed with a credit card and a mail order catalog.

I'm obviously...one of the 'older guys'.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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OK, so the suspense is over, here are the pix and the explanations for each, causes, and of course the potential for disaster is evident:

First, here is how the struts looked after jacking the car and removing the wheels:

as you can see, it is grossly out of alignment with the body of the car.

Next, you can see here why:

The upper mounting plate has serparated from the strut casing, and completely pulled out from it's pressed in upper bearing.

Here it is after removal:



Now, this was because the "mechanic" that instaled the lowering springs put in two spacers to make up for the difference in height between the spring and the strut.
This resulted in the strut becoming the supporting device for the car instead of the spring. The strut is not meant to support the weight, the spring is, so consequently, every time the car bounced on the road, the strut's upper mount took all the beating and eventually failed and came out of the upper retainer.
At this point, the only thing keeping the strut under the car was the weight of the car.
Any amount of bounce encountered on the road could have cause the strut to either come out of the upper tower completely, or at the very least wedged itself into the "floating" spring.
We can all imagine the outcome to that.
Both isdes were identical, so forget the argument that it was a faulty strut to begin with - not so.

A further disassembly of the knuckle from the strut showed this:


The holes in the strut mounts were drilled oversize in order to get correct camber due to the lowering.
This is absolutely not recommended. The holes are designed as an interference fit with the bolts, which are splined in order to stop any movement when hitting pot holes or curbs. There is no provision for any adjustment with the stock bolts, and in order to make camber adjustments, a PROPER bolt with smaller shank should be used, and it is only supposed to be used to allow between 1 & 2.5 degress of adjustment.
The method here was at best stupid.

On to the hubs:
Here is a pic of the left hub. This one had the studs tightened to well over 150 ft lbs. So much so, that the threads no longer are the correct pitch. ( Pic of that later).
The one broken would only allow the nut to move about 1/2 turn before jambing, and eventually broke. However, it was almost completely fractured from either the installation, or the resulting stress when driving, as you can see by the large area around the actual breaking point that I did.:


I'll post a better pic of that later too.
You can also see by the shiny threads, the lack of depth that the nuts were on the stud.
There is almost 7/16" without surface contact.
This places all of the stress on the few thread that were engaged, which results in stretching of the unloaded threads, excess stress on the loaded threads, and eventual loss of correct stud/nut torque.
In the case of this situation, it allowed the wheels to move during stops. Since the holes in the wheels are not of the correct size, it allowed the movement to the point that it actually left thread marks in the insides of the holes.
One stud had also beaten itself out of the hub.
More on this later.

Further to this all, the installer did not put spacer plated under the engine mounts, so both half shafts were damaged due to the improper angle of attack and had to be replaced.
I made 1/2" spacers for the engine and 1/4" spacers for the trans mounts in order to get a somewhat better alignment of the shafts.

Now, in regards to the wheels. Reread what Great White posted.
He is 100% correct. They must fit correctly, in not only stud spacing, but also in relation to stud length, mounting taper and concentricity to the hub.
In this case, since the LH cars are all designed to be hub-centric
the studs are designed to ONLY hold the wheel from falling off the car, not to actually take the weight of the car. While a large margin of safety is built in by the manufacturer, they can and will fail is undue stress is put on them. It is imperative that the correct length and type of stud for the application be used.
In most cases of after market wheels, the factory studs are far too short.
The wheels in question here, have a throat distance (between the end of the nut taper and the mounting surface) of almost 7/16", the holes are about 1/16" over-sized compared to the stud, and the wheel centres are 81MM, which is not even close the the LH hub size.
Generic nuts were used, so the taper was not even close to the wheel taper.

So, I am replacing the suspension, the owner has supplied what are supposed to be the correct tapered nuts, and will (or should) get longer studs installed in the new hubs, and also is having s custom centre spacers made to fit the hub.

Hopefully this will make the car the way it should be as far as the wheels are concerned.


goal - have one of my parts on every DI car:biggrinfl
Honoured to be January 2007 COTM.THANK YOU ALL.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 12:10 PM
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It just never ends Ross....and you love it!!!
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 12:25 PM
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Thats crazy
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 12:30 PM
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Yup, that's my car, from what Ross tells and has shown me, I'm lucky I haven't killed myself.

Makes me pretty glad none of my kids ever get in this car.

All the work was done by certified supposedly "reputable mechanics"

I never checked any of the work or had any reason to question it,I mean if you can't trust a mechanic, who can you trust? (a little sarcasm there)

I'm in the aotumotive industry (manage car parts store) these are people I deal with several times a day doing this work.

Thanks for posting this and making people aware Ross.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 12:32 PM
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Wow Al.........just WOW.



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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 12:42 PM
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If I know Ross, it'll be better than perfect when you get it back Al
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