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Best "first" mods for a hardtop?

This is a discussion on Best "first" mods for a hardtop? within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; Hi all, I'm looking to start doing some suspension work on my '99 Z28. The car is an A4 hardtop, ...

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    Best "first" mods for a hardtop?

    Hi all,

    I'm looking to start doing some suspension work on my '99 Z28. The car is an A4 hardtop, factory 1LE car. As it sits right now, the only modifications to it are a K&N drop-in filter, HPP3, and a set of wheels (17x9.5" AR 200S.. can't remember the tire size off the top of my head...) -- so basically it's 100% stock suspension.

    My question is, with a budget of $500 maximum, what suspension mods are going to give me the biggest noticeable difference in handling?? The car is used mostly just around town and on back roads to cruise in; though it'll probably see the occasional trip to the drag strip or a road track as well.

    I had been thinking STB and SFCs originally, but after reading on here I'm wondering if those may not be the biggest bang for the buck....

    Thanks!

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    Member Bowtie Guy's Avatar
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    Shocks are the biggest bang for the buck. I just put on Koni SAs on all four corners. Completely changed the car. If you dont want to spend that much money, go with revalved Bilsteins. Talk to Sam Straino, hell fix you up.
    Bowtie good! Blue oval not so good! Bob in the PRK

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowtie Guy
    Shocks are the biggest bang for the buck. I just put on Koni SAs on all four corners. Completely changed the car. If you dont want to spend that much money, go with revalved Bilsteins. Talk to Sam Straino, hell fix you up.
    Shocks? Interesting.... probably one of the last things I would've thought to change for a major improvement. I'll have to look into that; thanks!
    Last edited by 99Z28 1LE; 03-27-2006 at 08:40 PM.

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    ruff ruff rotwiler's Avatar
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    skip a STB, I like mine, but not for a first mod. Skip lower control arms, until you add more power. Bilstein shocks($300) are good too(is what I have), but if you decide to lower it then you will need the revalved ones. $500 isn't alot to work with. If you don't plan on lowering then the regular Bilsteins will be great. I would also get some SFC's either bolt in or weld in..these cars have flex no matter if hardtop or not. If you get the bolt in ones and put them in yourself it will save some $ and they can be welded later(I never welded mine and they are always tight everytime I check, just put on some thread lock). So, shocks $300 and SFC's around $100 plus install for the shocks should put you right around the $500(maybe a little over). Don't go out and get some cheap Monroe or local shop over the counter shocks, you will end up disappointed and later want to change them. You may want to focus on other things right now...A simple Lid and catback or just put in a magnaflow muffler on your stock setup could be done for probably around $100 and you could gain around 10-15 rwhp and still have enough left over for the SFC's and a few other cheap mods.
    Last edited by rotwiler; 03-27-2006 at 08:18 PM.

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    OK... now I'm curious. Should I look into doing just the rear shocks, or should I look at the front struts too? I know the struts are going to cost quite a bit more, that's why I'm wondering which part of that I can get away with skipping for now, and apply the money to some other things.

    Also, which bolt-on SFCs do you have, rotwiler? I've been looking at two or three different ones and couldn't decide. I will say for certain that I'm leaving it at stock height, though.

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    ruff ruff rotwiler's Avatar
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    LT's, 3400 stall, FIPK,CB
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    Our cars have shocks on all 4(kinda makes it confusing when people call the STB a strut tower brace..should be a shock tower brace lol), you will not need the bigger SFC's like I have(is simular to the SLP double diamond ones). Just find some regular ones and wont break the bank. The Bilsteins HD's are around $300 for a set of 4. I was told a alignment would be needed after the shock install, went after I had them done and car was perfect, so you could probably get away with skipping it. The SFC's do more than help handling...They keep the rattles inside from coming out, help body flex and possible dimples from flex or cracking and help keep the body panels lined up longer. My car used to wander on the highway and after the SFC's, it's perfect.
    Last edited by rotwiler; 03-27-2006 at 09:39 PM.

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    Senior Member mrr23's Avatar
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    an alignment is not needed after you install shocks on the car. always a good idea if you haven't had one done in awhile.

    being a 99, the shocks are getting old. i noticed a handling difference with just trailing arms and panhard rod. both drag and cornering.

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    Alright, great info guys. Thanks again! Time to start shopping for parts and try to find a shop that rents lifts!

  9. #9
    Gear Head
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    Best first Mod

    Although it's technically not a "suspension" mod, my opinion of the ABSOLUTE first mod (something that should be done the day you pickup your F-body from the dealer) are Sub Frame Connectors!
    You will definitely notice how much tighter the car feels after they are welded in. Once the chassis is stiffened up THEN I would begin with the suspension mods.

    - Joel

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    Bilstein Heavy Duty Shocks: $350-400
    Subframe connectors: $150

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    Shocks, sway bars, T2R diff.. but not sure how they compare to a 1LE

  12. #12
    Slomaro
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    I can vouche for not wanting Monroes. I killed my last set in about 8 months. I have Konis on the back now, and am saving for the fronts. (I know that's backwards, long story) I would have to agree with what has already been said. SFCs and new shocks. I don't have SFCs yet, and I REALLY wish I did. They really help cars...especialy ones with t-tops.

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