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Old 05-15-2009, 12:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lowering your car

I know that lifting 4X4 vehicles usually makes the gas mileage worse, so what effect would lowering do. I just found some springs last night that will lower my car 1.5". Is that something that would improve the gas mileage? I may do it in the future anyway because it is supposed to stiffen up the handling a bit.

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Old 05-15-2009, 12:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Less air under the car should equal better MPG, especially if you add and airdam.
Although depending on how much the springs cost, I'm not sure how fast it would payoff in gas savings.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi,

Actually, going too low will increase the drag -- the optimum is somewhere around 6", I think.
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Maybe I'm wrong, but driving a lowered car in saskatoon just sounds like a bad idea. Keep your winter drivability in mind.

Also, lots of ricer clowns that think they know cars put some random lowering springs on their car because their friends think it is cool. You can tell these people by the bouncy back end. Always ensure that you shocks are properly matched to your springs. Lowering 1.5 inches and going to a higher spring rate (most "sport lowering springs" are stiffer) will generally put major stress on OEM shocks. You will notice a reduction in body roll and dynamic suspension motion making your cornering much more enjoyable. You'll also get a reduction in ride quality, so you live near a lot of potholes or dirt roads, forget about it.
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have a lowered Del sol and a stock one. The stock is way more comfortable and far less noisy to drive. If you drive on concrete its fine. . .but I drive on pavement. Going off the edge of the road might just be a .5 drop but it feels like I broke something. . .

The lowered car does handle better because you get a better ratio of momentum to normal force in cornering(the CG is lower and therefore more lateral stresses are applied down on the tire instead of trying to roll you).

You chose. I just left mine lowered because thats how it came. Has a good chance of messing with other things like alignment, traction patch, you know. . .
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Lowering It Does Help

I lowered my truck four inches and picked up 1 MPH - a 4% improvement.
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I could list about half a dozen "economy" versions of regular European vehicles, each of which has been lowered (by the factory) by about 10-20 mm as part of a series of mods to improve aerodynamics.

But the other comments (warnings) raised here are valid.

Neil, can you point to a source for the info that there's an optimal ride height? The Top Gear USA project Sipster series also mentioned an optimal ride height, but provided no source (other than their aero "consultant"). I've not read about an optimal ride height before. Seems like too much of a generalization.
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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OK, how would you go about lowering a mid-80s Toyota 4x4 pickup? I only drive it a couple thousand miles a year, hauling stuff or occasional hikes with trailheads on roads too rough for the Insight, so I wouldn't want to spend too much time or money, but it would be a lot more convenient (and nicer to drive) if it was 4" or so lower.
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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trucks might be impossible. If the chassis extends flat out from behind the cab and there are no spacers to lift the bed up off the chassis, its impossible to do it that way.

The only other way would be spring clamps or new springs. New springs would be expensive, as others stated damage absorbers and clamps put extra strain on the unpinned coils because you have the same stress going through just 7 turns instead of 8(the two pinned together might as well be one as the stress will translate mostly through the clamp to the next turn).
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi Darin,

I've started reading the Hucho book, and they mention about the Schlör "Pillbug" that raising it decreased the drag (page 35 IIRC).

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