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Old 04-02-2009, 12:32 AM   #1061 (permalink)
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What!!!



I never get mad! That makes me so mad that you said that!

Flaming Anger!

I'm so happy you got those new springs! I can't wait to hear how it turns out. I'll have to do the same eventually.

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Old 04-02-2009, 04:53 PM   #1062 (permalink)
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Spring Fever!

I finally got a set of heavier springs.

Now I just have to cram them in there.

The Ford Ranger springs are about 3 inches longer than the Geo Metro springs.

I also found the the "pig-tail" on the Ranger springs is a much tighter circle than on the Metro, where it only pulls in a bit.

First, I tried compressing the Ranger spring with some ratchet straps. I was actually able to compress it pretty well with 3 straps used in parallel.

Still, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the spring compressed enough to fit into the car.

Thinking about it all again, the Ranger springs are LONGER, they are also THICKER, and rated for a much greater total weight. That means that at the same LENGTH they should still carry more weight than the stock Metro springs.

I decided to attempt to cut one of the springs down to the height of the original spring. That way, it should fit in, but compress much less once the weight of the car is on it.

Using the angle grinder, I cut off a coil or two to match the height of the original spring.

I now had a giant pointy end on the spring! Now even MORE dangerous than before!

I cut off the "pig-tail" end so that I wouldn't have to deal with the strange small size. The rubber cup that the top end of the spring goes into fit the cut end OK. Not perfect, but close enough.

The spring now fit in without much work.

Once I re-attached the shock absorber, and mounted the tire, I lowered the car.

Visibly, the left side (with the new spring) was higher than the right. I measured from the pavement to the car body, centered on the hub cap. The left side measured 25.5 inches, and the right side (with the original spring with some of those little rubber things jambed in there) measured 24".

25.5 inches is about right for original ride height. Even if it isn't exactly, it LOOKS RIGHT.

So, I now had about an inch and a half lift compared to before. Pushing on the rear bumper, the car actually had a bit of bounce to it! Unlike before, when it was almost rock hard!

I went for a ride around the block. Other than the steering pulling a bit to the right, the car road really well. It felt like cornering was better than before as well. There were a few creaks from the spring at first. I think it was just settling into place.

I should be able to get the suspension finished off in time for Paul's Cougar Controller to show up.

144V is a lot to cram into a poor little Metro!

Hmmmm - Heart of a Forklift, Soul of a Cougar, Springs of a Ranger. This car certainly is building character.
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:21 PM   #1063 (permalink)
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When I cut my springs I did them together to get them the same length (I used a grinder with a cut-off blade). Although I suppose you could match the pieces that came off to find the correct place to cut the other spring.

It is pretty dangerous to run a car with different spring heights like that, I really don't recommend it. I'm glad to hear you were OK.

This is excellent news, I can't wait to hear what your range is in the summer with a double battery pack. (Speaking of, what are your temps like over there?)
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:51 PM   #1064 (permalink)
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I didn't think the springs would need that much cut off but whatever works I used a spring compressor to mount a spring on my car stock sized and I thought it was going to break the strut it was pushing so hard against the stop. I was thinking with the extra weight on yours one coil would do it.

Bet there is going to be a shortage of front Ranger springs online for a while now as everyone starts looking for them
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:00 PM   #1065 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyote X View Post
Bet there is going to be a shortage of front Ranger springs online for a while now as everyone starts looking for them
Nah, there are plenty of Explorers and Mazda pickups and SUV's (AKA 'Ford Rangers') in the junkyards around here.
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:17 PM   #1066 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nubie View Post
It is pretty dangerous to run a car with different spring heights like that, I really don't recommend it.
I only went around the block once to try it out. No traffic down the street at all. (Just watch the speed limits!)

I was able to do the second spring as well. I tried to cut it as close as I could, but the right side ended up being about half an inch taller than the left. Maybe I will need to go back in there and grind down a bit more.

The car ended up being higher than I was expecting! I wasn't trying to install a "lift-kit", but the pavement to body of car centered over the middle of the wheel is now 26"/26.5".

But wow! Actual suspension! I can push on the back of the car and it goes up and down!!!

It rides over bumps! Amazing!

If I still had a back seat, I think the suspension would actually handle people sitting back there!
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:54 PM   #1067 (permalink)
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Add more batteries to lower it instead of cutting the springs


Actually you can get the spring compressors that clamp 2 coils together to lower the car with instead of cutting them down all the way. That way you can undo them when you really do add more batteries
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:15 AM   #1068 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I only went around the block once to try it out. No traffic down the street at all. (Just watch the speed limits!)
All's well that ends well

Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
The car ended up being higher than I was expecting! I wasn't trying to install a "lift-kit", but the pavement to body of car centered over the middle of the wheel is now 26"/26.5".

But wow! Actual suspension! I can push on the back of the car and it goes up and down!!!

It rides over bumps! Amazing!

If I still had a back seat, I think the suspension would actually handle people sitting back there!
Very awesome. Those springs were made for the front of a fairly beefy pickup with a V6 (for some reason Ford Rangers always remind me of Ford tractors). So it stands to reason it could really push up the back of a Hatchback with some batteries.

I am glad you have some safety back in the suspension, it is really painful to drive overloaded on the suspension stops. I once took an 80 mile trip through a canyon, down one side and up the other, in a VW Rabbit with probably 1300 pounds in it. Four big 6ft 230lb+ people and my tools and all our stuff, plus a computer or two I think. But VW's are built like tanks compared to a Geo.
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:42 AM   #1069 (permalink)
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Ben, great work. You're becoming a rather accomplished hack!

I have a bit of a worry though... the massive increase in spring rate is going to require some beefier shocks. Your stock metro shocks just aren't made to see the forces that they are seeing. Keep an eye on them for leakage and keep the "feel" of the ride in the back of your mind so you will notice when the shocks go.

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Old 04-03-2009, 10:15 AM   #1070 (permalink)
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MazdaMatt, I'll keep an eye on the shocks, but I am surprised at how well the hack-job suspension has turned out.

When I push down on the back of the car, it really moves the way it should, smooth, not bouncy, good speed. Car drives over bumps well.

Maybe I will go out for a ride with some cornering tests today.

Here's some photos to help visualize what I have been up to lately.



The best tool for working with foam? An electric carving knife.

Here's the back seat hollowed out (And any conductive wire inside gets removed)



Here's the stock Metro rear coil spring next to a Ranger front coil spring.
Guess which is which?


In this photo, the Metro spring is in the middle, the Ranger spring is on the right, and what I cut off the first Ranger spring is on the left.


Ranger spring number 1 installed.


Cut-down Ranger spring on the left. Metro spring on the right. I cut the spring with an angle-grinder. I tried to cut on an angle as best I could to end up with a somewhat flat top end.


I used ratchet straps to compress down the spring and inch or so, just enough to slide it into the car. (No, I did not want pointy springs flying around!)


Compressed Ranger spring installation in right rear of Geo Metro. It was fun getting those straps back out...

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