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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, I need new struts and shocks in the near future. I don't think they're real bad right now, but the shop suggested putting new ones in because they are "pretty weak" and "look like the originals". So here's a few questions I have.

1) First off, would a thunderbird with stock rims look stupid lowered, like 1.5"? They aren't the sport rims, just the stock 97 rims (which aren't fan blades either)

2) Would I need a different type of strut/shock since it'll be lower, or do I used replacement shocks, and just different springs?

3) Is this a good list of things I need to lower:
Shocks/Struts (I'll need them either way)
Springs
Shorter end links (Do I just need the rear?)

Is there any other thing I would need? Maybe those spring cup insulator isolator whatever. I may do the front UCA while I'm in there because they could probably use it, and maybe tie rod ends (one mechanic says they're bad, the other says it's the wheel bearings that need to be repacked)


Edit:
I thought I'd put this up here because not everyone scrolls to the bottom of the page.

This is my list of things I'll get if I do this. Tell me what you think.

$414 Tokico Kit (4 shocks, 1.25" lowering springs) HPK221 http://proamauto.com/page20j16.htm
$xxx Upper shock mount (haven't looked around much yet)
$110 front hub assembly (Rock Auto, 513092)
$14 hub nut (Rock Auto, 05113) It's called an Axle Spindle Nut, that's the same thing right?
$30 shorter end links (SCP)
$110-$140 UCAs (Rock Auto, Moog or Motorcraft? Moog LH K8596 RH K8598, Motor LH MCS10763 RH MCS10764)
$70 alignment (Jensen Tire, really close to my house)

$746-$776 Total (plus price of USM)
 

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1 - they look way better lowered. you won't regret it.

2 - yes to the front strut. dont think the rears matter. i have used inexpensive monroe stuff....waste of money. OE sport front struts were OK. if you can, get some konis or bilsteins. they are pricey but worth the money. i've had to redo mine 3 times. you get what you pay for.

3 - that is a good list. i replaced the spring isolators at that time. cheap part....you have it out already.

good time to do outer tie rods or wheel bearings too. the wheel hub is not serviceable. you buy a replacement. you also must replace the hub nut....it is not reusable. 36 mm socket if memory serves. 250 ft lbs to retorque.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
IF I lower it, what front struts do I go with if they are different than the stock ones? Could I get some part numbers, if not I'm sure I can find it after some searching around.
 

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The shocks you use would be the same irregardless of if your car is lowered or not. Changing the springs is just a good opportunity to throw some quality shocks on your car. This is in regards to the front and rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, so I just buy the same shocks regardless of it getting lowered or not. I would have to get one of those spring compressor tools right? Can I rent those from AutoZone or similar place?
 

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To be completely honest with you, I would just bring the springs/shocks to a shop and have them mounted. They can be assembled with a cheesy spring compressor, but the proper compressor is a wall-mounted one (sort of big bucks). That being said, shorter springs are easier to install onto a shock than the stock length ones, but you are still dealing with a lot of force that puts even more energy into the spring. This energy wants to unleash itself possibly into your face/gut/hands, etc.

I have assembled shock/spring assemblies with so called 'spring compressors' which are glorified clamps, but I also have a LOT of experience using the proper machine. Even then I was a little uneasy with the situation and was very very careful. I wouldn't recommend a first time spring swapper to tangle with this with inadequate tools.

Is it possible? Yes... but not worth the maybe $80 a shop will charge you. A couple bucks now is well worth the possible frustration/spring through your stomach later.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
So the front of my car has a coil-over type setup, but the rear is separate, I don't know the technical term, so I'm thinking maybe order the front struts, rear shocks, and lowering springs. Take the front struts and springs to a shop and have the springs mounted. So then I should just be able to bolt the front in basically right? But on the rear the shocks and the springs are separate. So I'm thinking. Have a shop mount the front, then when I have a day to work on it put that in (so it will have a 1.5" drop in the front and no drop yet in the back) and replace the rear shocks. then take it straight to the shop to have them do the rear springs and alignment.

It would be easier to have the shop mount all of the springs right? Or where you just talking about the fronts?

How about the ACDelco shocks/struts. Or anything that could be found on Rock Auto, Auto Zone, Advance Auto. What are the best struts/shocks for under $100 a piece?

What stabilizer bar end links do I need?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
How about this:

http://proamauto.com/page20j16.htm

The kit at the bottom. On the Tokico website it says it comes with springs and shocks/struts (the HP Blues). If that came pre-assembled (springs on front struts) that would be awesome. I believe according to the online catalog it would be a 1.25" drop. Can someone verify that this would work and is all correct.
 

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To be completely honest with you, I would just bring the springs/shocks to a shop and have them mounted. They can be assembled with a cheesy spring compressor, but the proper compressor is a wall-mounted one (sort of big bucks). That being said, shorter springs are easier to install onto a shock than the stock length ones, but you are still dealing with a lot of force that puts even more energy into the spring. This energy wants to unleash itself possibly into your face/gut/hands, etc.

I have assembled shock/spring assemblies with so called 'spring compressors' which are glorified clamps, but I also have a LOT of experience using the proper machine. Even then I was a little uneasy with the situation and was very very careful. I wouldn't recommend a first time spring swapper to tangle with this with inadequate tools.

Is it possible? Yes... but not worth the maybe $80 a shop will charge you. A couple bucks now is well worth the possible frustration/spring through your stomach later.
True, no one should remove springs as their first or second suspension job.

And do not use harbor freight spring compressors. The one Advance Rents is pretty beefy and decent. All spring compressors have risk, handle it like a loaded weapon.

Also, check local high schools or automotive colleges, they may help you.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
These cars dont have struts.

I'm running the full tokico kit on mine, I had to buy new mounts seperatly and had to assemble it myself.
That's what the shop I took it to called them, and they are very much different than the rear shocks, to it helps it me to word what I'm trying to say. What is the technical terms for the front and rear shocks then?

Which mounts did you buy and where did you buy them from?

Did you get shorter end links? Where from? What's the PN on those?
 

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The shocks you use would be the same irregardless of if your car is lowered or not.
This is INCORRECT information regarding the front. certain shocks/struts are valved for specific ride heights. i know this from experience. i used a set of monroe shocks that were for stock ride heights and the car bounced in the front. it was dangerous at highway speeds.

make sure the front shocks are specific for lowered cars. there are PN on this site for the konis and bilsteins.

i recommend taking the shock/spring assembly to a local shop, tip the mechanic $20 to swap the springs using a wall mounted spring compressor. make sure the lower shock mounting holes are aligned correctly during reassembly (mark the original spots).

get rear endlinks for lowered cars from addco.

there is an old MN12 Performance tech article that i used to do this work. it is a good article:

http://www.tccoa.com/articles/mn12how-to/springs/lowering_springs.htm
 

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Were they sensa-tracs or regal rides? That was your problem. Sensa-tracs have a tapered shaft inside and regal rides just suck. Let me rephrase... Any decent/'performancey' shock will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think I might go with the Tokico kit, and then I'd have to get end links still right? Where is a good place to get those?
 
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