A Treatise on Building and Installing Custom Suspension:
It’s not easy.
Install fully new suspension encompassing new springs and struts which lower the car approximately one-inch from its stock ride height. Do this without compromising safety and performance while maintaining daily driveability.
- 2x Koni Yellow B15 Sentra front adjustable strut inserts
- 2x KYB AGX rear adjustable gas struts
- 4x Hyperco Hypercoil Generation 2 lowering springs
- Reuse stock front strut housings
- Reuse all top hats and mounting bushings etc.
- 2x bicycle headset spacers
- Remove front struts and springs and disassemble
- Cut housings, drill out bottoms, and remove “blood n’ guts” to insert the Koni struts
- Modify Koni strut bottoms to clear CV boots, insert and reassemble with new springs
- Rear is the same as the front, only the rear struts are a direct replacement
Look at those tight coils (old vs. new)
Front bumpstop (cut 50%), boot and top hat.
Stock front SensaTracs
This is easy compared to getting the compressor tool in between the rings on the Hypercoils. BTW the pressure the springs are under in this maneuver is astronomical.
Exceptionally manly moment about to ensue.
So pretty. Not their prescribed purpose – these are for a 2000 Sentra really.
The contents of two Monroe SensaTrac struts. Don’t breathe this.
Slicin’ / Dicin’
This is the rear assembled (these were WAY easier than hollowing out the fronts)
The two rears assembled
My axle fell apart during this and had to be replaced. That is not typical. The upside of this is a shimmy on the highway appears to have departed with the bad axle. The strut spindle (center) in the front did not bolt to the stock top hats as expected, there was approximately 1.5-2.5cm of space that needed to be filled. I used approximately 9qty. 1/2″ interior diameter washers to fill this gap. Getting the Konis into the housings was quite a battle – my fronts were not original though and were Monroe Sensatracs. I cut the stock bumpstops by about 50% and reused those and the boots on both ends of the car.
Hard to see from this angle, but the drop is very minimal which is good. Can’t be scraping around LA.
Performance is excellent. I’ve ridden on Ground Control coilovers with AGXes in the past on a Nissan NX2000 and this is WORLDS better than that. I’ve also had Tein SS coilovers on a P11 Infiniti G20 which was bone jarring compared to this. So far, this setup is excellent.
This is my experience with the famous $50 automotive paintjob. Total cost here was about $50, maybe $65 with the addition of the cheap Harbor Freight buffer I bought. Equipment list:
- Quart of Rustoleum gloss white paint
- Odorless mineral spirits
- Cheap foam brushes galore
- 600, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit (wet) sand paper
- Rattle Spray Can of Rustoleum gray primer
- Harbor Freight palm orbiting buffer
And starting at day one (600 grit sand prep)…
Sanded, then masked off for Primer
Rustoleum Automotive Rattle-Can Primer Gray. Could have called it done right here if this was a Camaro.
Coverage = Bad, the paint is thinned with mineral spirits nearly 50/50
This is like 6 coats in, wet sanding with 1000 grit every 2 coats.
8 or so coats
Roundabouts 10 coats
With the license plate back in place and the bottom of the bumper refastened.
Wet sanded with 2000 grit, then buffed with the buffer and some wax/polish/compound.
Thoughts gleaned from the experience:
- The Rickwrench site above is pretty much right on. I would recommend getting as good of a primer as you can underneath it all, preferably the color you’re painting it as the coverage is terrible.
- I bought a buffer from Harbor Freight which did a lot for the sheen, but this job is definitely in “good enough” territory. It’s nothing special.
- It feels durable but we’ll see what it does with the test of time. Looks great though, especially at 4 feet away