JUST AN INCH
March 20, 2010
After growing tired of listening to my exhaust pipe bottom out every time I mashed the throttle, I decided that I needed to raise the ride height of the rear suspension on my 510.
I looked under the car to see if I could figure out what I could easily change, and took this picture:
From the picture, it looked like the isolators on top of the springs were toast. I asked around on various forums and on the 510 mailing list about what I needed to do, and got this tip:
It's 2 bolts Josh!! ... You have a crossmember that goes from left to right mounting points.. you have a left and a right control arm , each with a spring in front of axle .. both sides are held together with the lower shock mount to limit they're travel in the back of the control arm.. undo the 2 shock bolts and bang the control arm hangs down, and you can take out the spring and isolator.. Just go out with a wrench and get your hands dirty.
Figuring that two bolts couldn't take much longer than a half hour, I decided that this morning would be perfect for installing the new set of insulators I picked up from T.E.P. Between the lift I'd get from replacing the trashed insulators already in the car, and the additional 1/2" lift that the new ones would give me, I could get the lift I needed in the rear.
As it turns out, two bolts was only the beginning. The two bolts was enough to disconnect the shocks, which allowed the control arms to hang down, but they didn't hang down low enough to simply pull the springs and isolators out. It took a LOT of work. And in addition to disconnecting the shocks, the only way to drop the control arms low enough was to also pull the half-shafts from the wheels. And even then, I had to pull the wheels off to have enough room to work. This worked just fine for the driver side suspension, but on the passenger side, I actually had to use my floor jack to force the trailing arm down!
As it turns out, the isolators weren't as bad as I thought they'd be. I expected them to be flattened out, and I assumed that replacing them would give me more lift. So, to make sure I got the additional lift I wanted, I decided to use the old isolators as a spacer on top of the new isolators. (I cut them so they'd fit on top)
After another half hour of getting the springs back IN the car, the result is perfect. The car is entirely level. Additionally, the driving experience is much better. It won't bottom out no matter how hard I slam on the throttle pedal, which allows me to be quite a bit more aggressive with it. Fun.