In the pursuit of happiness (and fantastic lap times), it quickly became apparent that my old humble Bilstein Shock Absorbers and Eibach spring combination just didn’t cut it anymore. I know I know, Fridge the heavy R33 was never intended to be a track car let alone be equipped with spine shattering springs. Something’s got to give and it ended up being the comfort factor.
So yeah, MCA X-Series Race coilovers were ordered with 10 kg/mm up front and 7 kg/mm at the back.
Some would argue that this is way too stiff and unacceptable in a car sometimes driven on the street. You know what? It turns out they aren’t actually all that bumpy, aren’t at all that crashy and certainly aren’t all that bad compared to the previous Bilstein and Eibach spring combination. They are actually quite comfortable on the contrary!
However, this is only a DIY and a DIY it shall be – more on the review at a later date!
- Breaker Bar
- Torque Wrench (optional)
- 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm Sockets
- Trolley Jack & Jack Stands
- Rubber Mallet (optional)
Duration: 3 hours
Profanity Level: Medium
Jack up your car and securely lower it on a set of solid jack stands with the wheel removed as per the photo.
Locate the front shock absorber’s mounting points, at the top 2x 14mm nuts and at the bottom 1x 17mm nut .
Time to get physical, firstly unbolt the bracket that holds the ABS sensor line (only on ABS equipped vehicles), then undo the bottom nut followed by the two at the top. Gracefully then wiggle the shock absorber out, this is where a rubber mallet “might” come in handy when trying to pull the shock out from the bottom mounting point.
Note: Might be wise to have a second set of hands holding the shock absorber as you remove the top 2x 14mm nuts as it will drop down. If you’re good with multitasking, holding the shock with one arm whilst you’re removing the 2x 14mm nuts works too (that’s what I had to do because Flop wasn’t around)
Time to get that business on! but first, some mirin’ time and side by side comparisons!
Pretty much reverse of what you’ve done to take them out, starting with the top 2x 14mm nuts, followed by the bottom 17mm nut. Note that because of the new shock absorber aka coilover suspension, there is a lack of droop which may make it difficult to align the suspension mounting points to the upright. A simple solution to this is to use a trolley jack and load up the lower control arm till it aligns with the bottom eyelet of the coilover.
Once you’ve tightened up everything, just admire the detail of the suspension hardware.
Time for the rears, same as the front jack up the car securely then lower on jack stands
Pull out your rear seats, by first removing the bottom bench which will expose 2x 10mm bolts that hold the backrest in place. Remove those bolts, and lift the backrest upwards as it will come off the hangers. Once the seat is fully out of the car, remove the parcel tray by pulling it out on an angle (it will make more sense as you attempt it).
Locate the suspension strut tops of either end of the rear. You will see there’s a parcel tray support bracket, simply remove the front 10mm nut holding it and slide it across so you have direct access to the strut top. Now remove the 2x 12mm nuts holding the top of the suspension.
Locate the bottom mount of the shock absorber, again this wil be a 17mm nut. Simple remove this nut (I’m lazy thus you see the cordless impact wrench).
Similar to the front shock absorber, you may need to give it a whack with the rubber mallet to separate it from the rear spindle.
I suggest a beer at this point, as removing the rear seats was probably not fun nor exciting. Whilst smashing down a few cans, admire what you’ve just purchased and compare it to what you had previously (it’s a great feeling).
Time to bolt shit back, pretty straight forward – reverse the process of when you removed them.
Step 12 (Optional):
If you’re like me and love tinkering and adjusting shit all day, MCA have these optional strut top adjustment extenders for the rears (of course not free but worth investing). These flexible rods allow you to adjust the dampers without the need to pull out the parcel tray OR cut massive holes for your hands. Pretty straight forward, measure and trim the rod as required then they simply just hook up to the adjuster tops and tighten up with a small 3mm grub screw. I chose to butcher up my parcel tray and feed them through, alternatively they would still work wedged up between your seat and parcel tray.
Repeat for the opposite side of the car, yippee!
All done, time to rock and roll. If the height requires adjustment, please follow MCA’s instructions. Also don’t forget to hit up a wheel alignment shop and re-dial in the toe settings for the front and back. If you have the luxury of camber arms, get those checked too and dialed in accordingly as changing height will affect other aspects of the geometry.
So the real question is, will my car now handle better? Let’s find out, Fridge is scheduled for a track battle at Wakefield Park at the end of the year. Fridge’s personal best is 1m12.7s let’s see if either myself or Flop is able to shave the lap times down!
Do you have any experiences with MCA? Comments below!