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Suspension Modifications: GAB Super R and M2 Coilover Install and Alignment Specifications

Any beginner can complete this installation. Allow about 4 to 6 hours if you've never done this before. An expert can probably do it in under 1.5 hours.

Required Tools:

12mm socket (3/8")

14mm Socket (1/2")

17mm Socket (1/2")

flat head screwdriver (medium size)

Rubber Mallet

14mm open end wrench

1/8 inch hole punch

jack stands

Stout forearms


Step One: Assembly

Unpack the shocks (Do not lose the 14mm nuts packed with each shock.) and remove the stock spring perches. This can be accomplished by holding the shock upside down and striking the spring perch with a rubber mallet while slowly turning the shock. Do not let the strut hit the ground as you may damage the shock! Remove all of the perches and, of you like, toss them. Note that a shiny metal flange will now be visible where the perches rested. This flange will become the support for the threaded coilover sleeve. You may choose to paint this flange as exposure to the elements may cause this area to rust.


Step Two:

Remove the brass cartridge "plugs" from each strut. This can be accomplished using the same technique above- holding the shock upside down and gently striking the flange of the cartridge plug. Of course, you must aim more carefully. Set these aside for later. For the rear shocks, cut the flange support to gain additional lowering capabilities. I used a hacksaw and cut the flange near the base of the support to gain an additional 1.4 inch or so. Be careful if you do this as you can cut through the shock cartridge. I recommend lightly sawing a small area at a time and peeling back the cut sleeve to check for penetration.


Step Three:

Now you can begin the assembly. Unpack the threaded sleeves and spring perches from the M2 coilover kit. Be sure to avoid mixing up the shock tower plates as the fronts are different from the rears. Select your shock of choice and one threaded sleeve. Not that one end of the sleeve is anodized and the other machined. The objective is to install the sleeve onto the shock, machine side down, holding the shock upright. Slide the sleeve  down as far as it will go. You'll note that the weld at the top of the cartridge assembly/strut will interfere with your ability to slide the sleeve down any further. I don not recommend grinding off this weld. Rather, pound the sucker over it with the rubber mallet. Seriously, the welds are only slightly interfere with the sleeve and applying a little force will not hurt. I recommend placing the bottom of the shock on a firm, nonabrasive surface and, using the rubber mallet to strike the top of the sleeve. Pound the sleeves down as far as they will go- to the top of the old spring perch flange. Repeat for the other three.


Step Four:

Screw on the perches, add springs, strut washers for the front shocks and washers, lower sets of  rubber bushings, shock tower plates, upper rubber bushings, 14mm non-flanged nut. Save the 14mm flanged nut for later.

 


Step Five: rear coilover installation

 

 Figure 4.

Figure 5.

Figure 6.

Figure 7.

 

I recommend removing and installing one coilover at a time. That way, if you can't remember how to assemble something, you still have a reference. Jack up the car and set the rear of the on jack stands. Remove the rear wheels. Remove the 14mm nut from the rear stabilizer bar. Remove the 17mm nut from the lower shock mount (Figure 4). This bolt may be tough to remove, hence the stout forearm recommendation! Leave the bolt in place for now. Remove the plastic covers from both rear shock towers. Just grab 'em and yank. Remove the center nut and rubber support from the shock (the side you were working on before). Save the rubber support. Remove the 3 14mm nuts on the shock tower(Figure 5). These are the remaining mounts for the top of the coilover assembly. Now remove the lower coilover bolt. Push down on the A-arms and remove the entire coilover assembly. Remove the plastic gasket from the stock shock assembly and re-use (Figure 6). Now, reverse this procedure, except, of course, replace the old coilover with the new (Figure 7).


Step Six: front coilover installation

Jack the front end and remove the wheels. Pick a side. Remove the 17mm nut from the lower shock mount and the 14mm nuts from the upper control arms. Do not remove the bolts-yet. Remove the 12mm nuts from the front of the upper control arms supporting the ABS sensor wire. Additionally, remove the 12mm bolt holding the ABS sensor to the hub. Now would be a good time to remove all of the dirt and metal filings from this magnetic sensor as well. You may let the sensor hang freely from its own weight. Using a large flat head screwdriver, remove the brake line spring clip from the shock mount. Loosen and remove the the 14mm nuts from the shock towers. Remove your shock tower brace if you've one. Loosen and remove the center 14mm nut from the shock tower and the rubber donut mount. Working from below, remove the lower shock mount bolt and upper control arms bolts. You can remove the shock now, but be careful as the front caliper and hub has much more room to move about thanks to the removal of the upper control arm bolts. I recommend gently prying the lower part of the shock first. The rest is easy to figure out. Replace the old with the new and reverse the procedure. 


Alignment Specifications:

Once you've installed all of the shocks, get your car aligned and, if you're real serious, corner balanced. Some recommended alignment settings are depicted below.

Venue

FRONT

REAR

Toe

Camber (degrees)

Caster

Toe

Camber (degrees)

Thrust

Wheel Diameter

Wheel Diameter

16"

17"

18"

16"

17"

18"

Pettit Racing Recommendations

Street

1/16" in

-1.2

-0.9

-0.8

6

0

-1.1

-0.3

0

0

Long Track Event

1/16" in

-1.5

-0.9

-0.8

6

0

-1.3

-0.5

-0.2

0

Short Track Event

0

-1.8

-1.1

-1

6

0

-1.5

-0.5

-0.2

0

Autocross

1/16" out

-1.8

-1.3

-1.1

6

0

-1.5

-0.5

-0.4

0

Mazda Recommendations for 16" Wheels

Street

1 +- 4

-0.6

6.4

2 +- 4

-1.1

0 +- .8 deg.

M2's Recommendations for 18" Wheels

Road Race or Autocross

0

-1.5 to -1.8

6

1/16" in

-1.2

0

Tri-Point's Race Recommendations

Road Race or Autocross

1/32" to 1/16" in

2.25 to 2.5

6 to 7

3/8" to .5" in

2.25 to 2.5

0