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Chassis

Progress Group CSII/CSIII Spring Rate Guide

Progress Group coilovers are configurable with a variety of spring options for all different sorts of use profiles. Here is a blog to help understand what the different spring rate selections will do for you!

ALWAYS CONSIDER the following:
* Primary vehicle use
* Secondary vehicle use
* Weather and road conditions
* Driver skill & experience

CONSIDER…
For the sake of comparison, typical OEM spring rates for these applications are approximately 220#/in front, and 110#/in rear. With the numerous Civic & Integra applications, there is a range of spring rates, and these C.S. (Competition Series) systems are significant-to-dramatic upgrades from your OEM damper and spring calibrations.

SHOP: Once you’ve decided on a spring rate choice for your car, shop Progress Group CSII & CSIII Coilovers on Heeltoeauto.com

CSII Non-Adjustable Damping

D-SERIES/Single cam applications

350/250: Best ride for a daily driver. Great for commuting. The front may bottom out if set up too low.

350/350: A good compromise, less understeer & more fun. A modest concession to ride quality. This may be choppy for some drivers with short wheelbase models; Civic Hatch and CRX.

350/450 or 350/550: Offers minimal understeer, quick turn-in, less roll, fast & fun, with the 55 rears being even better for a good for drag launch. Rides rough on bumpy or poor roads.

B&K-SERIES/Twin cam applications

450/350: Best ride for a daily driver. Fun and well-mannered. Modest understeer. Recommended for street/performance & daily drivers.

450/450: Good compromise, less understeer, less roll & more grip.

450/550: Minimal understeer, awesome handling, quick steering response, good for drag launch. Rides rough on bumpy or poor roads.

550/550: Good for track cars equipped with a front end spoiler or splitter. Also for street cars running super-wide wheels & tires and low ride heights. At this point, you should know you are signing up for a huge compromise in ride quality. Very stiff!

Here is MORE DETAILS about these combinations:

** STREET-PERFORMANCE
FRONT HEAVY setups (350/250, 450/350 etc.)
Good for Daily Drivers (DD), poor weather and road conditions because these setups do not upset the ride on the highway and during cornering. The softer rear suspension tracks nicely and rides better because it is more compliant. These calibrations ride well on uneven road conditions if set up at a reasonable ride height around 1.0 in.to 1.5 in. less than OEM (12.5 in.). Expect a dramatic improvement in handling capability and steering response. These setups will still have some mild understeer, less than OEM but still easy and forgiving to drive every day and in all weather conditions. This is the choice for sport-tuned Daily Drivers.

** STREET-SPORT
SQUARE setups (350/350, 450/450 etc.)
These setups are a compromise between ride quality and all-out handling. Some impact on ride quality makes for less understeer and faster vehicle response. The stiffer front springs also help prevent bottoming out. This combination is plenty stiff, and NOT recommended for true daily drivers (TDD) on poor roads, or drivers rolling a lot of commuter miles. Good for ‘fun cars’ driven by more experienced drivers.

** AUTOCROSS-TRACK & DRAG SPECIFIC
REAR HEAVY setups (350/450, 450/550 etc.)
Much more aggressive. This calibration has more grip, and is intended for use with ‘performance/track’ alignment settings and sticky tires. If ride quality is a major concern, don’t go here because the stiffer rear springs make for an uncomfortable (and choppy) highway ride. This is a more balanced and LESS FORGIVING setup intended for enthusiast TRACK days and AUTOCROSS events. These combinations will also launch well for mild drag applications on DOT tires. Expect a HUGE improvement in handling capability. This would also be a great low-budget setup for new (road racing) drivers going to a (track) DRIVING SCHOOL or TRACK events.
Faster chassis response, less forgiving, and MAX GRIP in most cornering situations. The chassis balance will be very close to ideal, having minimal understeer with ‘track-oriented’ alignment settings and good UHP tires. This is a BIG compromise in ride quality and will require more DRIVING SKILL to drive at the limit (on the track please!) NOT RECOMMENDED for wet/snow/poor weather and road conditions.

ALWAYS CONSIDER the following:
* Primary vehicle use
* Secondary vehicle use
* Weather and road conditions
* Driver skill & experience

CONSIDER…
For the sake of comparison, typical OEM spring rates for these applications are approximately 220#/in front, and 110#/in rear. With the numerous Civic & Integra applications, there is a range of spring rates, and these CS-II systems are significant upgrades from your OEM damper and spring calibrations.

CSIII Adjustable Damping

The above infor for the CSII mostly applies to the CSIII, although there is some additional capability with the CSIII that allows for higher rates than the CSII. Here are some notes for the CSIII’s expanded range.

550/450 – 550/550: Very stiff front and softer rear for poor roads and bumpy race tracks. Good for track cars equipped with a front end spoiler or aero-splitter. Also for street cars running super-wide wheels & tires and low ride heights. At this point, you should know you are signing up for a huge compromise in ride quality. Very stiff!

550/650 – 550/800 – 650/650 – 650/800: These setups are aggressive for track-only applications on smoother tracks with race tires or UHP shaved tires. At this point you should have some track experience and have some idea about what you are getting into. Call in and we can discuss these track-only setups and select one that best suits your application and specifics.

* FRONT HEAVY setups (350/250, 450/350 etc.)
Good for Daily Drivers (DD), poor weather and road conditions because these setups do not upset the ride on the highway and during cornering. The softer rear suspension tracks nicely and rides better because it is more softer & more compliant. These calibrations ride well on uneven road conditions if set up at a reasonable ride height around 1.0 in. to 1.5 in. less than OEM (12.5 in.). Expect a DRAMATIC improvement in handling capability and steering response. These setups will still have some mild understeer, less than OEM but still easy and forgiving to drive every day and in all weather conditions. This is the choice for sport-tuned Daily Drivers.

* STREET-SPORT ‘SQUARE’ SETUPS (350/350, 450/450 etc.)
These setups are a compromise between ride quality and all-out handling. With some impact on ride quality, you will have less understeer (more neutral balance) and faster vehicle response. The stiffer front springs also help prevent bottoming out. This combination is plenty stiff, and NOT recommended for true daily drivers (TDD?) on poor roads, or drivers rolling a lot of commuter miles. Good for ‘fun cars’ driven by more experienced drivers.

* AUTOCROSS-TRACK & DRAG SPECIFIC
REAR HEAVY setups (550/650, 550/800 etc.)
Much more aggressive. This calibration has more grip, and is intended for use with ‘performance/track’ alignment settings and sticky tires. If ride quality is a major concern, DO NOT go here because the stiffer rear springs make for an uncomfortable (and choppy) highway ride. This is a more balanced and LESS FORGIVING setup intended for enthusiast TRACK days and AUTOCROSS events. These combinations will also launch well for mild drag applications on DOT tires. Expect a HUGE improvement in handling capability. This would also be a great low-budget setup for new (road racing) drivers going to a (track) DRIVING SCHOOL or TRACK events. Faster chassis response, less forgiving, and MAX GRIP in most cornering situations. The chassis balance will be very close to ideal, having minimal understeer with ‘track-oriented’ alignment settings and good UHP tires. This is a BIG compromise in ride quality and will require more DRIVING SKILL to drive at the limit (on the track please!) NOT RECOMMENDED for wet/snow/poor weather and road conditions.

Check out this cool CSIII Unboxing Video on our YouTube Channel!

Categories
Chassis Heeltoe Explains

BC Racing BR Series, Swift & Extreme-Low Unboxing & Product Lap

Heeltoe Automotive offers the complete line of BC Racing Coil-over damper kits, including all the custom options you want to get the perfect set for your car!

Swift springs are offered to improve the quality and consistency of the ride. Custom spring rates can be selected at no extra charge, and include appropriate damper valving changes. The Extreme-Low option gives you a shorter damper to allow for the lowest drop possible (for those looking to lower 3.5″ or more).

Check out this video from Heeltoe showing you more of the features of the BC Racing coilover kits, in living color!

Categories
Chassis Electronics Heeltoe Explains

Tein’s EDFC: What Is It, Why Get It, & How To Order It!

TEIN (rhyms like “vein”) is one of the foremost suspension suppliers for the aftermarket industry. With a wide array of coilover damper choices to suit all kinds of cars in all kinds of uses, there is almost a Tein kit for anyone. But one of their most innovative items is the  EDFC , or Electronic Dampening Force Controller. This simple electronic controller and motor package is designed to make adjusting your TEIN suspension kit’s ride and handling settings as simple as, well, doing nothing! We’ll explain…

What is the EDFC and why would you want it?

The EDFC is a kit that can be used with various TEIN suspension kits (most any kit which has the adjustable knob on the top to allow for you to adjust the firmness of the suspension) to adjust the firmness from inside the car using a cool electronic controller.

“Wow how cool!” most people exclaim upon hearing this. But the next comment is usually “but I don’t change my settings much. If i just ‘set it and forget it’ why would I get this?” Here is Heeltoe’s take on it…

Yes, many people will set their suspension firmness once and then leave it alone. So if you don’t see the inherent value here, we understand. But consider that the reason they are not changing it around is that doing so is a pain in the ass. If it were as easy as pushing a little button, we think more people would adjust their suspension settings more often to suit their mood and needs at the time. Not all roads are created equal, nor are all cars or drivers. The EDFC allows people to take control over how their car is riding and handling over different surfaces and will allow them to get better overall value out of their suspension investment.

The Stuff You Need

First, you need a Tein suspension kit which is EDFC compatible. We try to list the EDFC parts needed under compatible TEIN damper kits, but if you are not sure if yours is or not, please contact us for help

Second, you need an EDFC controller kit. As of this writing, the options are the EDFC II, EDFC Active, and EDFC Active Pro.

  • EDFC II: A 1/4 DIN unit that allows adjustment of the front and rear suspension firmness from the driver’s seat with a push of a button. Change settings in 16 or 32 increments for fine damper control with up to 3 memory settings.
  • EDFC Active: With the use of an optional GPS sensor, this more modern unit will actively adjust firmer or softer based on the vehicle speed and acceleration. Plus, easier to install with partial wireless connectivity.
  • EDFC Active Pro: The full capability of this kit allows the driver to program the suspension to adjust each corner of the car individually to suit different g-loads, accelerating, decelerating, or cornering. It also will target varying speeds as well as offering auxiliary inputs

Third, you need an EDFC motor kit. There are various motor kits available and they are always selected based on the damper-shaft size. We try to list the EDFC parts needed under compatible TEIN damper kits, but if you are not sure what motor kit you need, please contact us for help.

There’s some Optional Stuff

The one main optional thing everyone would think about is the Anti-Tangle Kit. This is only needed for cars with STRUT suspensions. So, you wanna know the difference. This article will help you understand the difference between shocks and struts.

The EDFC Active GPS kit is needed in conjunction with the EDFC Active and EDFC Active Pro if you want to utilize the “Active” functions of those controllers.

A Brief History Of the EDFC

TEIN first released the EDFC in 2002 and such as system was largely unheard of in the aftermarket. The kit consisted of a two-part package. There was a controller kit and a motor kit. The motors were designed to replace the adjusting knobs at the top of each damper, and were hard wired with supplied harnesses to a central controller that could be mounted to the dash or wherever.

Original Silver EDFC in it's display-box.

This is the very first unit offered, it was silver in color and featured front and rear controls for individual adjustment. Another neat feature was that while the suspension kits were normally adjusted to 16 points with the hand adjustment, fine motor control allowed the dampers to be adjusted to 32 points, offering finer tunability.

In 2006, the EDFC got an update. The silver case was replaced with a black one…

Black gen 2 EDFC case

This more detailed image shows that the EDFC also offered up three memory settings. Our suggestion to customers was always that you could have a “Commute” setting, a “Fun” setting, and a “Mother-in-law” setting. Also, all EDFCs had been backlit with a green light.

More importantly, TEIN also changed the motors and harnesses. The motor on the left was the original motor, and the smaller one on the right was the newly released one.

Teein EDFC motors compared

These changes were hugely welcome, as the large motors made the installation in tight spaces a bit difficult. With the smaller motors, it would now be possible for the motors to be installed on the dampers before they are installed in the car. It probably would seem a lot more of a benefit if you’d done the job a few times in various cars. We definitely liked it.

Furthermore, the plugs on the harnesses were all smaller as well. Fishing EDFC wires through the interior is no harder than running stereo wires…but honestly any help in making things smaller is a definite improvement.

The most recent version of the standard EDFC is the EDFC II.

Tein EDFC II Controller

The EDFC II is functionally the same as its predecessors but it is aesthetically it is stepped up with LED lighting.

Sadly, the EDFC II was discontinued in 2020.

But the EDFC Active…Oh So Advanced

When the EDFC Active was released the whole EDFC concept seemed thrust into the 21st century.

EDFC Active from TEIN, with dimensions.

The features here are numerous, and so we are going to refer you to our EDFC Active product page for more details, but here are some bullet points:

  • Wireless Control: Instead of running wires from each motor to the controller, the front and rear motor pairs wire to shared wireless modules that communicate with the controller. So the system is not completely wireless, but installers no longer need to fish through the firewall or the interior.
  • Optional GPS kit allows active functions: With an options GPS kit, the EDFC Active can automatically adjust with speed or g-force (accelerating or decelerating). You can program the EDFC Active to vary the front/rear dampening balance as you are speeding up or slowing down to set positions at varying speeds. That’s awesome!
  • Variable color display: You can change it to match your interior color.

Those features are super awesome. And the EDFC Active uses the exact same motors as the EDFC II.

And then TEIN got really bonkers with the EDFC Active Pro, in which the ante is raised even further. With varying speeds and g-loads, the driver can now program the dampening force to adjust at each corner of the car., and it can do this based on lateral g-forces! So it can firm up the outside wheels in a turn, and even have the rear firm up a little more if, say, more over-steer is needed.

But then, it can be adjusted differently if the corner is a faster or slower one! OMG, there is so much capability with this unit. Truly innovative!

That’s a lot of info on the EDFC

But with a purchase like this, sometimes it’s best to chat over it. Feel free to call for a consult at any time!

Categories
Chassis Heeltoe Explains

What is the difference between “shocks” and “struts,” and what is a “damper” and a “coilover?”

It is a major pet peeve of ours. The customer calls and says they need to replace their shocks and struts. Or just their struts. This wouldn’t be so bad but invariably the car they are calling about doesn’t happen to have any struts at all. If they are calling Heeltoe it is probably a Honda or Acura and bunches of them don’t have struts.

Then you’ve got companies like TEIN making replacements for these units they call “dampers?” And then some guy in the forums is telling you to forget it, and you need to buy “coilovers.” Huh?

Shocks and struts are both dampers. 

Shocks and struts are both types of dampers (do you say damper or dampener?) A damper is basically an absorber. The springs hold the weight of the car and allow the suspension to move as the car goes over bumps and dips. Without springs, the car would not be compliant at all. But while springs spring over thing things they should, they will keep springing long after you want them to stop. There needs to be something keep them in check. If you hit a spring it would “sproing” and shake and bounce around for a while before it comes to a rest. It is called vibration or oscillation. This is no good in a car because that means the car would bounce around up and down over the slightest of bumps and you’d have little or no control.

Where springs give compliance, dampers bring control.

Dampers (shocks and struts) keep the springs in check by allowing them only to be as springy as they need to be to provide comfort, but not so springy as to allow the car to float around and feel as though it were not connected to the ground. But really, all you really need to grab on to is the damper controls the ride, the handling, the body motion, and the response of the suspension to road inputs. A system is “under-dampened” when the damper is too weak to keep the mass of the car from bouncing around on the springs (like a Caddy). A system is “over-dampened” when the dampers are very firm and resist movement of the body, even with a softer spring in place. Some movement is needed for the suspension to work properly, or the car will slide over instead of grip the road. What you are shooting for is “critical dampening,” which is when the damper is tuned to match the spring and the mass in such a way that any given input results in the car returning to its neutral position on the spring as fast as possible without oscillating.

But now, on to the rear question: If shocks and struts are both dampers, what is the difference?

The difference between a shock and a strut is in their mounting. To understand the difference you need to “zoom out” and think of the whole suspension system.

The wheel is connected to the hub, which rides on a bearing, which is housed in a hub carrier (also known as a knuckle or an upright). The hub carrier is also the thing that the brake calipers bolt to. The hub carrier can be held to the car in a few different ways, and herein lies the difference between a shock and a strut.

A Subaru WRX has a strut. This is a front strut in a WRX (that’s a Tein FLEX damper):

What is it missing in the above picture that this TSX with a shock configuration has?

If you said UPPER CONTROL ARM, you get a gold star!

The simplest way to think of it is that if you were to take the shock out of a car, the wheel would still keep the same geometry and alignment as with it because the hub carrier is not located (positioned, held in place) by the shock; it is located with arms. There can be two, three, or even five arms holding the hub carrier in place. But the shock is not one of the things doing that job. It doesn’t move other than to compress and rebound over bumps. The mounts are rigid and the only compliance from bushings is there to provide comfort.

By contrast, if you were to take the strut out of the WRX in that pic above, the hub carrier would not be located. It would flop around and not be able to hold a wheel straight. The strut serves as both the damper AND a suspension member. It turns with the steering, so there is usually a bearing in the upper mount to allow it to spin to allow that movement.

Shock = damper. Strut = damper + suspension member.

This should help explain why you won’t ever see Skunk2 making camber-adjustable front upper arms for RSXs and Civics newer than 2001; they all have struts. And it should also explain why the upper mounts in TSXs and TLs will never have camber adjustment; moving the location of the shock mounting won’t change the alignment because you need an adjustable upper arm for that.

So, know the difference, and when talking about your car say the right thing. When someone says it wrong, you can either correct them or find someone else who is more well versed to talk to.

Hopefully, that clears things up a bit, and we’ve held on to you thus far. Now, what is a “coilover?”

Coilover is really a term that is short for “coil-over shock” or “coil-over strut.” The damper in the suspension system need not be all in one assembly like most of our customers see it. Many trucks have leaf springs in the back, and a separate shock. Likewise, the 1984-87 CRXs and Civics that Heeltoe caters to have struts in the front with a torsion bar for the spring.

The damper above is a strut because there is no upper arm, but also notice there is no coil spring! This is not a coil-over strut. Also, you’ll see a lot of cars where the rear suspension has a trailing arm, and the shock is mounted separately from a coil spring, such as on the later RL or later model Civics.

Coil-over literally means there is a coil spring and the coil is over the damper.

A stock TSX a coil-over shock suspension design.

But “coil-over” and “coilovers” are different. These days it is common that an adjustable-height suspension, one where there is a threaded spring mounting, to be called a coilover suspension. It is really nothing more than a damper and a spring, but you can adjust the height.

Aside from a pretty color, coilovers are typically shorter in overall length allowing adequate shock stroke when the car is set to lower ride heights. They usually come have all kinds of features such as adjustable ride-firmness and new upper mounts (and if you have a strut-type car, you’ll probably get camber adjustment on those upper mounts).

So, hope that clears things up for you!