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 Post subject: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:25 pm 
Strapping on extra booster rockets

Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:52 pm
Posts: 329
Hi-All,

I've been poking-around on the UK Volvo Forum, and there is a guy there who had just developed a whole new front-end for the old Volvos - a bolt-on new cross-member which supports rack and pinion steering, ride-height adjustable coil-over suspension (struts instead of springs and shocks), and Wilwood brakes. Sway-bar bolts on if you have one. It all comes as a package, with various upgrades available, like bigger brakes, power-steering, etc.... He actually lives in the US somewhere, so perhaps others have come across this product elsewhere, but regardless, I'd like to hear your opinion(s) about what he is offering. He has got lots of other interesting stuff for 122s in the works. This link should get you to his most recent thread:

http://www.volvoforums.org.uk/showthread.php?t=127415

ALTHOUGH I have just re-done everything, this is a pretty attractive modification, and at the moment, he is offering the whole kit for just $2,000. I expect the price to go up significantly, but I am also wondering about waiting until he gets the bugs worked-out.... In a private email, he says he already "has" 50 on order for the first run. Yeah, shipping is extra, but I will be living in the US this winter.

?$?$?$?
Jim


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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:20 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!

Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:03 pm
Posts: 2859
Location: T2C
He's on TurboBricks with these too. Nice stuff. Attractive package. 50? I doubt he'll sell 20...

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Dale

'67 123GT
'67 122s
'99 AMG E55T


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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:06 am 
Strapping on extra booster rockets

Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:52 pm
Posts: 329
Hi-again.

I'm still pondering all of this. I'm painfully aware of the canoe-like suspension on the old Volvos: Turn a corner, lean, straighten-out, lean-back. It takes some getting used-to, and for day-to-day driving it means I tend to drive more slowly than I'd like. And when I don't, like turning quickly into a parking-lot and hitting a curb at the same time, I feel it. Passengers tend to get tossed-around until they get used-to it. Sooo, I just ASSUMED that coil-overs would fix that problem. Am I right, or since I have new, expensive shocks and new expensive springs am I wasting my money? Is it a stiffer sway-bar that I need? Or, is it just that the damn cars are heavy and have a narrow wheelbase??

I found this on the Net (below). They guy obviously thinks adjustable coil-overs are strictly a racing accessory.

James


Fully-Adjustable Coilover Suspension for the street? You sure you wanna do that?Are you committed to buying an adjustable coil-over suspension for the car? Contrary to Audiworld opinion, an adjustable coil-over suspension on a street car is a poor idea and can hurt the handling of the car. Allow me to explain.

The whole purpose of a fully-adjustable coil-over suspension (FACOS - not an industry term) is, as expected, adjustability (do you know that you already have coilover suspension, stock?) However, with that adjustability is a LOT of setup requirements. If you don't setup the suspension properly, you are almost guaranteed to make your car handle worse than stock. It might ride stiffer, and look lower, but it won't handle better. See, the FACOS give you not only the ability to adjust ride height, but corner weights as well. If the corner weight is not set correctly then you end up with cross-weight all out of whack and the car's handling becomes unpredictable.

Think of corner weights this way: you take a four-legged stool with all legs the same length. When you sit on that chair, all four legs are touching the ground evenly, pushing down onto the ground evenly, if you will, and the chair doesn't rock. If you were to place scales under each leg you would find that with your weight perfectly balanced in the center of the chair all four scales would read equally. Lean one way or another and you'll find that the weight will be shifting from scale to scale but the chair will continue to be steady and not rock. The reason is because of one unique thing: the sum of the opposing corners will always equal each other. In other words, the LF plus the RR weight will always equal the RF plus the LR weight.

But, suppose you slightly trim one chair leg, say 1/16". Now, the chair is going to rock slightly, because more of the weight is being held by the opposing corner legs. In fact, if you're good at balancing, then 100% of the weight will only be on two legs, while the other two legs aren't even touching the ground. The LF+RR weight will be LESS than the RF+LR weight.

This is the idea behind corner weights on a car. FACOS is adjustable not just for ride height (different length springs will do the same thing); the goal is to adjust each spring independently so that the cross weights are identical. You'll still have more weight in the sum of the fronts versus the sum of the rears (and you can adjust that to a degree with spring rates), but when the sum of the cross weights are equal the car will handle the same left to right and will be MUCH more predictable.

If, for instance, you have too much weight LF/RR than RF/LR, the car will turn in nice and sharp to the right, but will understeer in transit through the corner, and probably during exit. To the left the car will lean over more, transfer a lot of weight during the turn in, and then probably oversteer through the corner. It won't be fun to drive either way, and you'll be scratching your head trying to figure out why it's an evil-handling car.

To set up a car properly with a FACOS, you:

- install your suspension and set the spring perches about where you figure you'll need them for ride height, and equal all around.

- put the car on the ground and test ride height. Ride height is set to either race prep rules (minimum ride height) or to the lowest you can for the conditions. Those "conditions" are either external limitations (don't want the exhaust or spoiler to drag the ground) or internal (wheel clearance or bump stops.) That ride height also has to be adjusted based by testing to determine that you have enough suspension travel and the suspension doesn't bottom out; if you bottom out the suspension you're making your "spring rate" go infinite and you've just wasted all your money on an adjustable suspension. Also, don't forget the ride height is adjustable front and rear, left and right.

- After the ride height is set then the car needs to be aligned to spec. That "spec" is either to the factory limits (which you will likely never be able to obtain with a lowered car) or to values based on track testing, tire pyrometer temperatures, tire pressure results, and driver feedback.

- Once the ride height and alignment is set, then the car needs to be placed on four independent scales. These scales will give you the corner weights that you need to know to set the suspension properly. The nifty versions of the scales are digital and radio-transmitted, and give you a display box you can take with you around the car while the car is on a lift on the scales and you adjust the suspension with another display that does the math for you (about $2000 minimum for ones like that). What you want to do is adjust each spring perch independently so that the sums of the cross-weights match. If a corner is low, you extend the spring perch (chair leg) to put more weight on that corner. Of course, that will then affect all 3 other corners, so you have to go around and around until you get the numbers you want.

Of course, this is all assuming that you're running the springs you want, because a change in the spring rate will cause height to change and all those adjustments to go out the window...

- once you've made all the corner weights perfect, you have to go back and check the ride height, because it's quite possible that all the corner weight adjustment has changed the ride height. If so, start all over again. Don't settle on "good enough"; the whole point of getting FACOS is to get it RIGHT, right?

Then, once it's all set, it's time to go to the race track. Start on the skidpad and check handling. Slight changes in alignment and ride height will help you here (with associated updates to corner weights), but if you need to change front-to-rear bias for better handling you have to change springs (but, of course, one of the big advantages to FACOS is that it uses standard springs - you get to pick-and-choose your spring rates for each end.) Change the springs, start from the top, Maestro! You can also tune the corner-weights for a particular race track, like Lime Rock which is all right turns save one; of course that will make it suck on the street where you're going to be hard-pressed to find only right-hand turns...

You asked if the springs can be installed for $200? Dude, you can't even properly align and setup the car with the springs INSTALLED for $200!!!

Whew! Have I gotten my point across?

I have a FACOS on my little Nissan race car, but I have a $1200 set of scales. We'll spend an entire day on initial suspension setup, and constantly twiddle with it at the track.

I would NEVER install FACOS on my street car. The ironic part is that any "tuner" worth his salt has gone through all the above with an adjustable suspension, tested it to perfection of spring rates, travel, and ride height and alignment, and then took those specs and developed a comparable off-the-shelf replacement spring to give you something probably DAMN close to what you're gonna end up with on a FACOS. It just makes no sense to have all that adjustability, ESPECIALLY considering that when you finally get it set up you'll likely NEVER change it! Because if you do, you've got to start all over from the top. Kinda silly to have that adjustability when it ain't ever gonna be adjusted...

Installing a fully-adjustable coil-over suspension on a car without properly setting it up is either posin' or pissin' in the wind. It may look nice in your sigline, but you're actually hurting the car's handling.

As an alternative, consider the costs of finding a top-notch set of adjustable shocks and aftermarket springs, and paying someone to swap out the springs twice a year like you would for snow tires. You'll pay a bit annually in labor, but you'll be using a proven solution that anyone with an alignment rack can deal with.

Unfortunately, since I'm not very knowledgeable about the TT specifically, I'll have to defer specific suspension suggestions to others. What I suggest is to drive other same-type cars that have the various combinations you're interested in. It's *you* that has to live with those combos, not me and not the guy that claims his suspension is the best, and your tastes will vary from mine and his. There's nothing better than actually riding in or driving a car that has a spring/shock candidate. Don't take others' words for it, try it yourself and decide what your compromise is.

And it will be a compromise. "The Ultimate" for the track will be unacceptable for going to work, while a sportier suspension will give you a better handling car without leaving most of your undercoating on the parking lot speed bump or requiring monthly dental visits.

I just thought of something else you really should do with FACOS: have adjustable-end swaybars. In racing, swaybars are a tuning device, not a suspension device; you size the suspension springs to give you the weight balance and anti-roll that you want, THEN you apply swaybars to tune the balance of the car.

If the bars are attached during the suspension setup phase, then a bar may have a load (or "torsion") applied to it, screwing up your actual cross-weights (one end of the bar will lift a wheel, while the other end is pushing down). AFTER the car is set up you install swaybars with adjustable Heim-joint end to install it with no preload at all. If you don't have adjustable end bars, you'll have to force one end into place, preloading it, and screwing up all the work you just did.

For the street, bars are a nice compromise. Since street cars need to have a somewhat-compliant ride, swaybars are a way to make the car "feel" like it has stiffer springs on the outside corner of a turn. When a car rolls, the inside wheel drops relative to the car, pulling down on the bar which pulls down on the outside tire, forcing it into the pavement. It "thinks" it has a stiffer spring. Of course, if you lift the inside wheel off the ground then you've reached the limit of the bar's capability and it doesn't work any harder.

Lots of things to think about. I'd like to think the off-the-shelf "tuners" have put that much thought into their products.


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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:36 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Location: Calgary, Ab
Mustang II and Pinto suspension are good upgrades for hot rods with solid front axles, but there isn't much there that's any more sophisticated than the suspension on your Volvo. I wouldn't expect it to ride or handle any better than stock, but I'd have to see the two side-by-each so that I could eyeball the roll center and steering geometry for myself before drawing any conclusions.

The ability to adjust your spring rates and your ride height, as well as the dampening values, is nice, but unless the suspension and steering has been well engineered I can't see it being a significant improvement over the stock stuff. Just looking at it I anticipate quite a bit of roll steer in that new kit - the rack is way too wide and placed too high up to align properly. The steering rack would be nice, to replace the worm-and-sector gearbox, but only if it tracks properly. AFAIK nobody has driven one of these yet, so it's difficult to say how it would behave on the road.

In my opinion it's not worth the money unless you're looking for the ability to lower the car to the ground or are willing to do a lot more engineering work on your own.


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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:09 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:19 pm
Posts: 3126
Location: Lethbridge, AB
I'm actually in touch with the guy that builds the cross member kits that this guy is welding for people. He is willing to work with me to develop a kit specifically for the 122. I'm skeptical about the guy selling the "kit" - first, he wants $2500 per kit and doesn't really want to work around the existing design (which is a mustang 2). Second - when pressed about the details of suspension geometry, he has never answered a single question. This leads me to believe that while he's doing the fabrication, he is not a suspension engineer or even particularly well versed in the concepts. He is going to put 13" brakes (Wilwoods) up front...I asked about that as well and was told that they look good with larger wheels. No engineering there either - I've got Wilwood front brakes on my 122 and they are only 11.75" - I'd make the leap to go larger but on a car that light you're going to cause some issues with brake balance and modulation if you go big on the front and have nothing (stock drums for example - which of I don't have anymore for this reason) in the rear.

When I pressed about the sway - he said the stock one is fine and will work great. Guess he hasn't had it over to lock in either direction with wider rims yet. I may have been asking for a reason (mount it to the rear a la mustang and be done with it) :roll: .

I'm in no rush and was thinking about getting something done this winter. Stay tuned if you want something. For me the biggest advantage is the power rack and less junk around in the front for later engine swaps.


As for your current handling - get some stiffer springs front and rear (around 400 lbs/in front and 250 lbs/in rear) and a set of Bil's for shocks and some IPD bars and you'll be going around corners like crazy - this is my setup.

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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:23 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:40 pm
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Location: Calgary, Ab
Are your springs only 400 in-lbs in front, Craig? Due to the motion ratio of the LCA, that puts the wheel rate at around 100 in-lb, maybe lower. With 250 in-lb acting right on the rear axle, that seems a bit unbalanced to me.


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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:05 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!

Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:03 pm
Posts: 2859
Location: T2C
The fronts on Craig's car are progressive 250-500 lb/in...

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'67 123GT
'67 122s
'99 AMG E55T


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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:59 am 
Strapping on extra booster rockets

Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:52 pm
Posts: 329
Yeah Craig,

I pressed him too on his qualifications and he just said the design was "time-tested." And there was some too-and-fro about proportions with another fellow on the UK volvo forum, but I couldn't follow it. Are you saying the design was originally for something else?

I think I have the same progressive springs as you do (from John Parker), and new Bilsteins. I'm going to wait and see how I like the ride before I decide on a sway-bar or not. You-know, I've owned 4 or 5 nice 122's, but never driven one with the IPD sway-bar. A friend of mine has my car right-now and is test-driving it - I'm "stuck" out on an oil well - gotta pay the bills.

HOWEVER, you have to admire the guy for ambition. There must be some knowledge behind all those big plans he has; hopefully he doesn't just make junk. The fact that businesses like VPD can stay in business tells me there is a market desperate for this stuff, I say wish him luck.

Thanks for all of the advice off the radar, so-to-speak. I didn't want to be overly blunt on the UK site which he is on. I never ordered anything. We will see, I guess!


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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:37 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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It is literally a standard Mustang 2 kit - the 122 and the Mustang 2 share the same frame rail dimension...so he figured out the mounting plates...big whoop. That subframe (K member) is a $200 kit - the arms, spindles and the rest is all mustang stuff and pretty cheap.

The sways are great - but you may want to try the springs first then swap in the big bar. Makes a big difference.

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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:14 pm 
Strapping on extra booster rockets

Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:52 pm
Posts: 329
Good to know! I guess they might still work alright, time will tell I guess.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:26 pm
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122_Canuck wrote:
It is literally a standard Mustang 2 kit - the 122 and the Mustang 2 share the same frame rail dimension...so he figured out the mounting plates...big whoop. That subframe (K member) is a $200 kit - the arms, spindles and the rest is all mustang stuff and pretty cheap.

The sways are great - but you may want to try the springs first then swap in the big bar. Makes a big difference.



Craig! Why didn't you tell us that earlier!

Is the track close I wonder... hmm!


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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:14 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Posts: 3126
Location: Lethbridge, AB
rockmonton wrote:
122_Canuck wrote:
It is literally a standard Mustang 2 kit - the 122 and the Mustang 2 share the same frame rail dimension...so he figured out the mounting plates...big whoop. That subframe (K member) is a $200 kit - the arms, spindles and the rest is all mustang stuff and pretty cheap.

The sways are great - but you may want to try the springs first then swap in the big bar. Makes a big difference.



Craig! Why didn't you tell us that earlier!

Is the track close I wonder... hmm!


Sorry Eric - this all happened after your build. I could have told you about that frame dimension thing earlier I suppose :lol: . The track would be a standard Mustang track. I've got to get a few measurements done, but have been a little busy on a few instrument builds for work and haven't had a chance (litterally) to get to this.

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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:29 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Ugly Duck wrote:
Are your springs only 400 in-lbs in front, Craig? Due to the motion ratio of the LCA, that puts the wheel rate at around 100 in-lb, maybe lower. With 250 in-lb acting right on the rear axle, that seems a bit unbalanced to me.


Okay, so according to the green books, the stock front 122 spring is 267-286 lbs-in, stock rear is 110-119 lb-in. I'm not sure what the motion ratio is on the front suspension, but it's obviously not as low as I thought it would be.


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 Post subject: Re: New Front-End Kits for 122s
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:14 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Posts: 3126
Location: Lethbridge, AB
Ugly Duck wrote:

Okay, so according to the green books, the stock front 122 spring is 267-286 lbs-in, stock rear is 110-119 lb-in. I'm not sure what the motion ratio is on the front suspension, but it's obviously not as low as I thought it would be.


It's not like I've done the calculations either...from the track, I'd say that's a pretty good balance, although perhaps a little more front and rear would be better. The car was a handful, but neutral handling. If the steering was lighter it would make things a little easier on the track as well as on the street. Driven briskly, you don't notice...driven savagely, you do notice the strength required to turn in hard.

I would really shy away from this kit...the front brakes would be WAY to much. Given that my car was out-braking everything on the track and if anything the amount of force exerted by the fronts was unweighting the rears and would cause them to lock at the limit. Unless you're going to add a really large heavy engine and make the car about 1000 lbs heavier, there is no need for more brakes.

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