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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for an inexpensive way to get suspension back on my car and I am considering putting an OEM strut back on since I have them laying around.

I've heard that using an OEM strut with lowering springs typically not a good idea, but is that because they really aren't matched well (length) to the shorter spring length? Or because of the progressive spring rate (is the factor spring progressive)?

I've also heard the OEM struts are the same length as the KYB AGX's I used to have on with these lowering springs. Is that accurate? I don't have the old AGX's anymore to measure. I couldn't find any direct research related to overall dimensions on either product to compare.

Has anyone actually done this before and could speak from experience?

What is the likely outcome with ride quality and how long could this setup last?

Thanks.
 

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I have and will be selling soon my old set up which is H&R springs on KYB struts OEM spec. I have never had any problems with them.Still plenty of life left in them. Ride is a bit more stiff, but i liked it.
 

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I have H&R on OE struts and from my experience it only last about less than a year. Ride height was perfect but once it starts to go bad i can hear the strut noise from speed bumps. Not a good setup and waste of money to lower your car on OE struts.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have and will be selling soon my old set up which is H&R springs on KYB struts OEM spec. I have never had any problems with them.Still plenty of life left in them. Ride is a bit more stiff, but i liked it.
Yeah, I found the ride to be the same. It worked great for the hole shot at the drag strip, but less enjoyable around town. I really like the look in the fender well with these springs though.

Keep me in the loop on selling the inserts down the road if they are the adjustables. I'm in need of a short term solution for now, but will be better positioned to get another set of struts down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have H&R on OE struts and from my experience it only last about less than a year. Ride height was perfect but once it starts to go bad i can hear the strut noise from speed bumps. Not a good setup and waste of money to lower your car on OE struts.
Yeah, I suspect they don't last very long. I wonder why that is though? What makes the aftermarket strut work *better* with the lowering spring? Do they change the length or effective dampening rate to better match with a progressive spring rate or something?
 

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The H&R lowering springs do ride low and that would cause the OE struts to go bad fast especially when driven daily going over pot holes and stuff. A couple of the vendors here have some nice coilover setup which would be a better way to lower your car.
 

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Hard to say what 'better' is, the shock inserts offered in those Chinese coil-overs are medocre at best, though the associated hardware is fine.

One thing about replacing your dampers w/ Koni shocks is you can adjust ride height in the future because the engineering allows you to change the stroke range without fail - OEM shocks quickly fail once they're out of their 'comfort' zone for too long.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Interesting. I wonder how the length of each aftermarket or replacement strut compares with OEM. Does anyone know who the OEM supplier is?

Also, so I just removed the struts from the front last night and found the springs are actually Suspension Techniques springs. Ugh. The car was in storage for many years and I know a friend used my suspension back in the day, but I thought for sure I had H&R. :)

Good news is they don't sit quite as low as the H&R I guess. :)

I also learned all my original strut bodies are not *mine*. :) All the upper mounts are bad. I think I can clean and reuse the rears, but the front bearings are all bad. Need a good used set. :)
 

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Interesting. I wonder how the length of each aftermarket or replacement strut compares with OEM. Does anyone know who the OEM supplier is?
All of the after market inserts that are designed to be drop in with stock / aftermarket springs are the same length (or should be anyway). In my experience Tokico, Koni, and OEM are all the same anyway.

The only way I am aware of to get shorter is to go to a Koni Race insert, although other options may exist.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
All of the after market inserts that are designed to be drop in with stock / aftermarket springs are the same length (or should be anyway).
So, if I'm interested to choose a replacement strut for my car with aftermarket lowering springs (say 1.6"-1.8" shorter spring), how do I choose a strut for that application? Does the manufacturer market that information? What if my lowered height is less than 1"?

I know that KYB lists their struts as an OEM replacement, but they also work for my lowered application. Why? It's almost an automatic response for people to get a Koni, Tokico, KYB for lowered applications - but what makes them valid for a lowered application relative to the OEM spring height?

It doesn't make sense to me that any strut (Toyota or aftermarket) would last very long if they were installed into an application that isn't matched (spring height). Perhaps the aftermarket struts just handle abuse better and therefore will last a bit longer than the Toyota strut when used in a lowered application that is really outside the design application.

What is the general rule of thumb I'm missing here?
 

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So, if I'm interested to choose a replacement strut for my car with aftermarket lowering springs (say 1.6"-1.8" shorter spring), how do I choose a strut for that application? Does the manufacturer market that information? What if my lowered height is less than 1"?

I know that KYB lists their struts as an OEM replacement, but they also work for my lowered application. Why? It's almost an automatic response for people to get a Koni, Tokico, KYB for lowered applications - but what makes them valid for a lowered application relative to the OEM spring height?

It doesn't make sense to me that any strut (Toyota or aftermarket) would last very long if they were installed into an application that isn't matched (spring height). Perhaps the aftermarket struts just handle abuse better and therefore will last a bit longer than the Toyota strut when used in a lowered application that is really outside the design application.

What is the general rule of thumb I'm missing here?
I don't have any data to back this up, but my feeling is that the most likely reason for OEM struts having issues with lowering springs has nothing to do with the height, and everything to do with the usual increase in spring rate associated with the lowering springs. At the very least, if the OEM dampers aren't valved for the stiffer springs performance and ride will suffer, and I could see it causing issues with longevity as well. Perhaps I am wrong and there is also some design element in the OEM struts that make them only work at stock ride height, but at the very least I suspect that the spring rate is a factor.

The aftermarket dampers that you listed are all valved for stiffer springs. Valved poorly in the case of the Tokico and the KYB, but none the less they are designed to manage the spring rate.
 
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