Fitting Coilovers

This is an area for discussion about modifications to Vivas.

Fitting Coilovers

Postby HC Fairley » Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:06 am

I must thank 1972Nail for the advice and suggestions surrounding this topic, many messages were exchanged regarding spring rates, manufacturers, adjustments and the obvious silly questions from me.

I received my GAZ coilovers yesterday and got stuck into fitting them. I was unable to find a thread for fitting them but if it is out there I apologise for replicating. This is an easy suspension modification as it requires no changes to your standard setup, just bolt off bolt on. It also leaves it easily reversible should you ever wish to turn your Viva back into a boat. Personally I've had enough of scraping my door handles going around roundabouts :D

The coilovers are only for the front. I have adjustable GAZ dampers for the rear which I will be fitting with my standard springs. I may change my rear springs in the near future if I can source stiffer ones that fit at a fair price. I have read numerous comments on this forum about the strength of the rear turrets and the consensus is coilovers are not suitable on the rear unless you wish to fabricate in some reinforcement.

They arrived in a nice box



And they almost looked too clean and shiny to install.



You can also see from this photo I have helper springs on my coilovers as well as the main spring. I had to ask for these to be included but they came free of charge.



Fitment was relatively easy provided everything has been freed up or previously cleaned and greased. A few things I noted to make installation easier.

I tried to use spring clamps but I couldn't get them to fit in very well and they didn't compress the spring enough anyway, just drop the bottom arm. You will have to drop the bottom arm anyway because the coilover has a larger diameter than the standard shock and will not pass up through the hole in the arm like the shock does. I did this by unbolting the ball joint of the upper arm, this means you can work with the brakes out of your way.

Lord 13 mentioned in another thread that you need to keep the adjuster screw turned in towards the centre of the car otherwise you can't access it to adjust your dampening, I can second this and I learnt it the hard way yesterday. You can see this in my above photo.

You also have to compress the coilover spring by about a quarter in order to keep the locking ring off the bottom arm, this is easier to do off the car before fitting. If you don't you won't be able to get the eye low enough to pass the mounting bolt through to the damper brackets underneath the arm.

Then it is just a matter of bolting everything back together and adjusting your height and dampening so that both sides are the same.

I did a quick test run and am very pleased, the car handles and corners far better and feels more solid but not an uncomfortable rock hard. I have yet to fit the adjustable rear shocks but they should be much more straightforward.
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Re: Fitting Coilovers

Postby rizzo » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:11 pm

How did you find the rear shocker lower sleeves fitted the mounting?, mine were 1mm too large internal diameter, you might not notice unless your as anal as me lol, currently waiting from another set from machine shop.
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Re: Fitting Coilovers

Postby HC Fairley » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:45 pm

I wouldn't have noticed that but I an fitting mine right now and measured them to see. The rubbers on my old shocks all tell different tales, I have 3 different I.Ds depending which side of each shock I measure, I have 12mm 13mm and 15mm. The 13mm Gaz sleeve seems to be a good medium :D
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Re: Fitting Coilovers

Postby rizzo » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:49 pm

i'm referring to the lower steel inserts that the cable ties are holding in.
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Re: Fitting Coilovers

Postby HC Fairley » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:55 pm

So am I, I measure them at 13mm internal diameter. You say yours were 1mm too large I.D I assume you mean in comparison to your old shockers ? That's why I included the comparison with my old shocks and the differences between them...
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Re: Fitting Coilovers

Postby rizzo » Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:35 pm

No i meant the id of the sleeve against where it fits on the axle, lol :D
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Re: Fitting Coilovers

Postby HC Fairley » Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:51 pm

Sorry Rizzo I seem to have got confused. I didn't have any fitment issues that I noticed, everything went together very well and nothing seemed to be too loose or too tight.
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Re: Fitting Coilovers

Postby HC Fairley » Fri May 01, 2020 1:01 pm

Rear shocks fitted last night and a quick test run followed. Car handles well with no bottoming out anymore. I count 24 clicks on the adjuster, I currently have the front at 8 and the back at 6 but intend to experiment with them in the coming weeks.
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