Maintaining coilovers is a task that must be done every once in a while, but there are some things you can do to prolong their lifespan. We here at ES have put together a list of 10 tips to help you with maintaining your coilovers. These tips were compiled by our very own enthusiasts who also happen to drive cars sporting air suspensions, so they know what works best.
1. Before Starting the Actual Work
Before touching anything make sure the car is on an even surface and parking brakes are set for safety reasons. Make sure all tools/equipment needed to be used for this job will be available before starting, because it can get pretty frustrating if not done properly or worse – incompletely. Vacuum cleaner should always be nearby when cleaning components! Finally, a good idea would be to try and organize things in a way that makes sense for you, e.g.: coiling up cables or distinguishing nut/bolt types to make things go a lot smoother.
2. General Inspections and Disinfecting (Optional)
Before starting, it’s always a good idea to be aware of any general problems with your system: leaks, rust spots, component malfunctions etc., because you might not need unnecessary work done if there is no problem at all. These inspections take only a few minutes and can save you from headaches down the road. Keep in mind that this step may vary depending on what components are being disassembled – some people like doing it before every single job involving their suspensions while others prefer doing so only at major services, such as replacing hydraulics or tweaking settings. Disinfecting can be done either before starting this job or even during the process; if you choose to do it before, make sure all components are dry and free of any dirt/grease. If you think your coilovers were exposed to some toxic materials (e.g. brake fluid) then disinfecting should be done after disassembly!
3. Disconnecting Hydraulic Lines
First step would be disconnecting hydraulic lines which will make disassembling easier since there will be less pressure applied to components while making adjustments. This is pretty simple – find proper plugs/fittings on both ends of the lines (usually located near shocks), remove them by hand (the best way is to hold one side with pliers while turning other side counterclockwise) and then just let fluid drain into a container. Make sure you plug the lines back in when done, otherwise you will have to do this process all over again!
4. Tucking Away Cables and Hoses
In order to maintain maximum performance from your coilovers it is highly recommended to tuck away as much as possible, especially those components that are not being handled at the moment. This includes power steering hose/pipes, brake hoses and ABS sensor wiring – if these parts of the car are exposed to heat or covered with anything that can melt then they will start deteriorating very fast, which usually results in malfunctions or even worse: shorter lifespan for surrounding parts (brake rotors wearing faster etc.). Every cable and hose should be properly fastened in these areas, which is usually done with zip-ties. Removing them can be a little difficult since they are pretty strong, but once done it’s better to keep them in the same order/proper location in case you need to put things back together.
5. Checking Soft Lines and Rubber Bushings
For this step all you need to do is take a proper look at all rubber components (bump stops, bump rubbers etc.) because they might be visibly damaged or even completely worn off; if that’s the case then replacing would be your only option – yet another job that should not be neglected since soft lines will eventually develop leaks without proper care! Rubber bushings can also show signs of wear over time and this can affect your ride quality, but replacing them is a much simpler job than soft lines: simply remove the old one and press-fit new one.
6. Removing Springs Using Coiling Bar
Now we will start removing actual coilovers! Before we do that, using a coiling bar or similar tool (crowfoot wrench or anything that has extended part) to hook onto spring top which you should find it on top of the assembly – this process makes loosening/tightening nuts much easier since you don’t have to hold the entire weight of the spring with pliers. Make sure you are being safe while doing so because lowering suspension too far may damage components nears shocks. Coil are usually held in place by two or three nuts/bolts depending on the assembly, so make sure you have them off before moving forward.
7. Adjusting Lower Mounts
Now that springs are out of the way it is time to focus on dampers. First step would be adjusting lower mounts which are being held in place by two bolts each – just turn them at least half a rotation until they stop then use wrench to tighten both sides of the mount evenly. If you find some play between coilovers and top hats at this point do not worry about it because we will adjust them later! Keep in mind that if your car was lowered after installing new coilovers then there may be problems with alignment of upper mounts (top hats) since they might wear out unevenly.
8. Removing Coilovers from Car
It is time to remove your coilovers completely, but there are two components left on top of the assembly which need to be removed before moving forward: adjusting collars and upper/lower mounts (as one piece). Both can be found under top hats so make sure you have them freed up before continuing! When done it’s time to actually start removing the entire assembly by taking off all nuts/bolts that hold it in place (use same coiling bar for this), then slowly lower it onto ground – do not rush this process or else you will lose control over whole unit and most likely drop/damage something near shock area; also don’t forget about soft lines because they may get caught on car frame so be extra careful not to break them!
9. Storing Coilovers for Winter
Once you are done with coilover installation the only thing left is putting your car back to stock height (if lower) or adjusting it slightly if it was already lowered – do this by simply cranking up nuts/bolts back into place using wrench. Once that’s done take some old fabric and wrap it around dampers, after that stack whole assembly on top of each other then cover them completely with protective fabric – I use tarp because I don’t like sleeping bags but anything will do as long as its water resistant 🙂 Now comes the hardest part: placing them somewhere safe where they won’t get stolen. Most people keep their coilovers in car’s trunk but I prefer to take mine inside where it is much safer… To make this happen you need to remove tires first then lift your car high enough so that wheels won’t hit the stack of coilovers when turning! Do not park your car next to anything – if its front end goes over something even slightly then chances are that coils will crack, bend or both.
10. Enjoying Your Work!
After all parts were safely stored we can finally enjoy job well done by driving around and having fun with lowered suspension!
Lowering your car is simple process and can be done by anyone who has basic tools and know how; working with coilovers requires special attention to all nuts/bolts and knowing which one goes where – if you don’t, doing it wrong may end up very bad (but probably won’t kill you) but that’s about it.
If this guide helped you in any way please share it with others so more people will benefit from this! Also check out my other guides on modification of your car! Good luck and safe driving 🙂