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The NEW Tein Street Basis & Street Advance: What’s the hubbub about?

  • Posted: 06-28-2011 07:06 PM
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Originally posted 6/28/11 with the release of the Street Basis kit, this article was updated on 1/1/12 to include details on the Street Advance kit. Updates found at the end of the article.

Recently Tein launched the new Street Basis damper kits for select models, in replacement of the Tein Basic damper kit. So the natural quest has to be, why? Wasn’t the Basic an awesome setup? Well, yes, it was! And still is for most cars. But as all good companies will tell you, those who fail to improve product over time will be left in the dust. Thus is born the Street Basis, featuring many advancements beyond the standard on Tein’s entry level range.

Here she is, the Street Basis. This one in specific is a front damper from a 99-03 TL. Other kits will have similar features, with slightly different shapes.

Let’s blow it up!

Street Basis, blown apart.

The main improvements all happen at the spring seat and threaded sleeve. First you notice there is a white ring (plastic? Nylon?) where there used to be a black rubber seat isolator. When the Basics were installed in the car, any amount of pre-load on the rubber isolator made spinning the adjustment collar a difficult task. Invariably you’d need to lube the rubber to allow for easier spinning, but this has the nasty side effect of breaking down the rubber material causing it to deteriorate, which could result in noise.

The spring seated against this thin plastic isolator allow for a much smoother and easier adjustment of the car’s height, even when there is pre-load dialed in.

Revised spring seat isolator allows easier adjustment of vehicle height.

Likewise, the spring seat used to be a smaller diameter than the spring that it was supposed to hold up. This always baffled me a bit, as though Tein calculated all the measurements of lowering the car ideally but couldn’t get this measurement right. The offset sizing of the Basics only promoted further deterioration on the rubber isolator, and shifting of the spring that again could have been causing noises over time (I never substantiated it, but it could be…)

The Street Basis has a properly sized spring seat to allow positive seating of the spring, without shifting. Of course, Tein’s innovative collars with the wrench-holding flanges on the edges are retained, possibly one of the best features Tein has come up with in the last 5 years or so since graduating from the HA/etc.

With new spring seats, the springs sit properly on the dampers without shifting.

And what about the threaded collars themselves? The black color is a special coating that resists corrosion in the threads. The idea here is to keep the system free from thread-clogging debris and rust to ensure longer life (again, the corrosion issue was not specifically widespread, but plenty of people in harsher climates seriously appreciate this feature).

Threaded collars now how Tein's proprietary corrosion-prevention coating on them. It almost feels like Teflon, but technically it isn't.

And notice how the sleeve is no longer welded to the shock body? It is located with a key-way to prevent spinning, but it is not actually attached to the shock. Saving this weld and making the sleeve out of a less expensive, coated material helped to allow Tein to reduce the cost of their Street Basis 10-15% below the cost of the Basic. Lower price? WIN!

Last but not least, one of the lesser publicized improvements seen in the Street Basis, brought to you by Heeltoe, is the new bump stop and dust boot! The old bump stops were loose on the damper shaft, so they would fall and sit at the base of the damper shaft. The dust boot fit over top and attached around the rim of the damper body. This setup allowed the bump stop to constantly rub on the piston shaft, and in extreme cases wear it down and be a potential location for a leak. I even saw one kit that was riding on the bump stop so long the rubber itself ripped apart and a chunk of it got wedged in the shaft seal!

Not only that, but the dust boot was constantly being tweaked and rubbed and distorted every time there was full compression. The boot would ultimately get damaged and torn, and in some cases even started rubbing against the coils making an annoying noise (which I HAVE substantiated).

Even the bump stops are new!.

The new bump stop design features a snug fitting part that sits at the top of the damper shaft (just like OEM ones do) and does not fall down. It never rubs on the shaft and only works when full compression is realized. The dust boot is a longer part that sits atop the bump stop and drapes gently down around the shock tube, without contacting anything. This new design will ensure a longer life on the dampers (they already lasted a long-ass time, but better is better) and less noises from torn dust boots.

There you have it! Now the money-shot: BUY HERE! And remember Heeltoe is the ONE company selling Acura parts whose specialty is professionalism, honesty, and excellent service. And we know what we are talking about as well ;)

UPDATE 1/1/12!

At the end of 2011, Tein announced the lanuch of new Street Advance damper kits, which are evolved from the formidable SS kit! Among the great new features of the Street Basis, the Street Advance features 16 level dampening force adjustment to tune in the ride to your liking.

This feature, which is carried over from the SS, is improved over that verison with a brand new piston/valve design. This new design is supposed to improve the damper adjustment RANGE significantly over the previous SS kit...a 200% wider range to be exact! This range adjustment should allow the Street Advance to closer compete with dampers such as the Koni Sport, which are known for being very tractable and allowing use with a wide range of springs.

Additionally, the new valve design is claimed to offer longer life. This would be impressive as we already know of people using SS kits long after the 100,000 mile mark!


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