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Seedy Al's Guide to Home made coil overs.

Seedy Al

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Alright, So you have a sweet ride, but its way to Jack and you cant get no love from the ladys because they can Limbo under your veilside Side skirts. Well heres a little artical i wrote, And I hope you do it, note for note, but dont worry, Be happy.

Anyway, Secondly, This is my disclaimer, follow this as a general guideline to what I have done in the past, its not gosbel, and if anything happens to your stuff Dont blame me, push a push pop. I would like to note, i Have had a few sets of these Certed in the past, But you never know what might happen, so consult your nearest Cert guy.

Right, The fun Stuff. The struts used in this build are from a 1981 Toyota Cressida Wagon, however they are the same as pretty much all 80's corona's cressidas and the likes. Ae-86 etc are equally as easy, you just need to use AW-11 or AE92 strut insert, instead of the GT-4 celica ones used here.

I always try and water blast the shit out of the struts once removed from the car, makes like so much easier and nicer, plus your less likely to drop a strut on your nuts. So you pretty much have something like these.


Then its into the workshop, Where I recommend some fucken sweet beats, and some fucken sweet beer.

I chose Deftones, and Flame in this case.



Next, pull all the shit off the strut like brakes, hubs etc, the lighter the strut, the easier to man handle, Like your mum.


I also find the easitest way to get two piece brake hoses off is to very very carefully, attack it with with a hacksaw so you can bend them open. I have never had an issue when it comes to putting them back on.


So you now have something like this.


Then its time to remove the dredded spring. Note, I would always recommend using a spring compressor, as It is safer and better than note. (however in this instance i didnt, So.......whatever)

Once compressors are on (not shown :) ), undo the nut the holds on the top hat, and remove both, along with the spring. You can now choose to throw away the spring, or weld them to your roller skates for max fun.

So you should now have a lovely springless strut,



This Pics shows what happens when you dont use compressors. Shit likes to explode



Next step is to remove the smelly shock insert. i find it heaps easer in the vice. I tend to use pipe wrenches, but you can use punches, drifts, hammers, All that sort of stuff.

I would also reccomend putting a tray under your vice, as if you still have origianal oil shocks, its going to want to spew that everywhere when you try and pull them out. This in it self can be a mission. I tend to refit the top hat and give it a bit persuasion with a hammer.



tray Shown here


One shock top nut


Shock coming out of its closet


Once you have removed that Pesky insert, its time to remove the spring platform. I usually grind a ring round just just just above the weld, being very carefull not to cut major deep.


Then its hammer time




From here, you can see how much longer the orginal MX72 shock is compared to the new gt4 shock.



Which leads me to the next bit. you need to figure out how much of the strut housing you need to remove to make this new shock insert captive. I do this very simply;

Insert new shock into housing,

Refit strut housing nut, (note, fit it so 1/2 to 2/3 or the nut is wound in, but leave a bit for error etc)

Push insert all the way down to the bottom of the strut so the shock housing is max low,

Mark it, then pull strut so its set as max hight, then measere from the nut to your original mark.

this is the measerment you need to remove from the strut housing. (in my case I think it was about 57mm)


Measure the length when its like this


Next its time to cut your strut, this can be done two ways.

With a drop saw.....


Or with a grinder.


If using a drop saw make sure its set up perfect, and if your using a grinder, I tend to find the easist way to get a equal cut is to wrap a piece of tape round it making sure it joins up square. Then grind round the mark. Magic!! ALSO! WHEN YOU DO YOUR FIRST CUT AT THE TOP, MAKE SURE YOU DO IT RESONABLE AMOUNT BELOW THE INTERNAL THREADS OF THE STRUT HOUSING

Then mark the measurement you had to remove, and remove it. Also make sure to try and cut it to the inside of you measurements, allowing for thickness of grinding disc etc, otherwise you will end up short..

I tend to v the ends a little for a bit better pentration, something like this.


next I chuck the new insert in the strut, put top part one, and fit the nut, till the two sections are meeting up nicely



Then its the super fun part, tack welding.

I have these sweet welding magnets, they help making everything nice and straight.

Then chuck 3 very careful, short and sweet tacks around it to hold it together. you dont want much heat getting into the shock insert



Then remove the insert, and finish welding it up.



I then give it a grind down so its pretty smooth(like how I like to grind on your mum). This makes its much easier to fit the sleeve.



Which now brings me to the sleeves.

I use 50nb running tube from Steel and tube, its what plumbers use, can order at any length. I also got the nuts from steel and tube.

price wise came to $65 inc for 600mm of tube and 4 nuts. You should be able to get away with 300mm of tube, Usually allow 150mm each side.

Anyway, cut this to length, and I have found with the last lot I got I had to file the inside abit where the seam is, to get it to slip over. In the past I have never had to do this before, so not sure what thats about. I had to press these ones on, Which is probabaly a good thing anyway


So thats on, then wind on both the nuts, as once you weld the sleeve you cant get them on. SO DO IT!

I tend to cover the sleeves with tape, to stop any welding splatter etc to stick to the sleeve. However, if you do, can usually fix it with a hacksaw and a small file anyway.



Then its sleeve welding time.



Right, next is the springs. 50NB tube has a daimeter of around 62mm, and I have found that springs around 65 internal will be fine.

In this case, i went to the local wreaker, and got some aftermarket lowering springs from a 1989 Honda civic. For $40.


Next is simply jabbings these in, and seeing how it all looks, setting hight of nuts etc.


But wait, there is more. The top hat needs a way to hold the springs. I happened to get my hands on some none threaded 50mb tube, so cut short lengths, just long enough to go atleast 3/4 of the length of the top spring so it cant go anyway.

Centering them can be hard, I tend to do it by eye, and then weld them in with three decent welds.




Always clean up the area to be wleded, makes for a Nicer job



However, there is one more small job to do, and that is to make it so that the springs can stop turning on the struts

I did this by fitting the top hat, and marking where the spring ends.

then putting a massive blob of weld on. its not the neatest, and you could make a little piece of steel etc to do the job instead. but it works



Then, fit top hat on, maybe do some painting on the welds etc.


And put a decent smear of grease over the threads, will make adjusting easier, and stop them from rusting at the same time.


Then just slam it all back together,

Then fit in car, do your measure up and then, DONE!



Max low struts at a max low price.

So what did you need to buy,

Strut inserts, usually around $130 if you know anyone in the trade etc. Dont pay repco prices, they are crazy

50NB sleeve and nuts, $65

Springs, $40

So $235 all up.

I happened to get my inserts from a mate at $40, so this made my whole job cost $150.... so yeah pretty damn cheap.

What else to note...... Not much really, I have found with this style of strut mods your camber ends up pretty bad, as in close to Possitive, so Some adjustable bottom arms or similar would go down a treat.

As would some RCA's, as your now rocking 4 inch's lower than before.

Also i have made these for a Nissan 910 bluebird, now in Hemis ride, Was pretty much just as easy. just needed to get some spacers made up to support the shock insert (I used gt-4 again) inside the housing. To a cost of $60. so still mint.

Anyway.these ride pretty nice, Non lowered springs would make for a harder ride, which I have in my corona, And it drives pretty damn nice too, but to get the hight, I am runnign them un captive.

Anyway, fucken done. Any questions, go nuts.


look out for more, like how to make adjustable bottom arms, and an Adjustable Pan hard rod.

Seedy Fucken Al

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ah, right you are. I see I see.

How about cutting the end of the orig insert off a bit and tappin' a thread back on it.

and you also want a shorter body on the insert, so that the strut tube can be shorter so that you still get decent travel distance at lower heights.

But the body of the non-orig insert is shorter, meaning less overall travel?

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you want the shorter body, as there will be more travel.

if you had two shocks with the same overall height, but one with a short body, then the one with the shorter body has more travel.

so if you made the original insert shorter (the chrome bit) to keep springs captive, you would have less travel than a new insert with a shorter body.

make sense?

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Nice Writeup,

Could you just use the shorter insert with the factory length strut and put a spacer down the inside of the strut tube to save having to cut the threaded portion of the strut off and weld it back on?

Or would you run out of downwards travel in the shock?

EDIT: loos to have been covered above... (I think)

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