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Suspension Mod help

Stellavator

Member
Apr 21, 2018
437
415
NC
Hi folks,

First to tell you what I have, it’s a stock 2018 LR AWD, with 15/20 spacers, and 19 in wheels. Nice flush and proud stance without being pokey.

What I need help on:

I’m considering a suspension mod. I want to lower the car, just a little bit, and only for aesthetics. I like the ride quality of the stock suspension, and I have no intention of tracking or racing the car. And I do not want to drop this to supercar height. Just a small drop to sharpen the look a bit.

In looking at options, it appears there are several, from single to dual rate springs, and coil overs, to name just a couple, and from different manufacturers. I am not a suspension expert, and the volumes of info and threads out there are intimidating.

My questions are, where should I start, what should I be focusing on, and is there any product or any brand I should avoid?

I just don’t know how to figure out what I want/need, for a simple and mild/modest drop, without losing anything in performance and quality of ride.

also don’t want the wheel camber etc to get messed up. I hate the look of wheels flaring out from big drops.

Thanks for your help.
 

Jayrlim

Member
Dec 11, 2020
24
53
Los Angeles CA
Hi! So this really just depends on what you’re looking for

if a simple drop without sacrificing ride quality;
Unplugged Performance Mild Springs
Eibach Pro-kit Lowering springs
Expect a camber of about .8-.9 degrees depending on the model

a more moderate drop (noted that the ride will be noticeably stiffer to compensate);
Unplugged Performance Moderate Springs
Tsportline Lowering springs
Expect a camber of 1-1.2 degrees

a more aggressive drop (stiffer ride);
Unplugged performance low
A good set of adjustable coilovers
Air ride

Hope this helps! :)
 
Dec 2, 2020
152
56
Las Vegas, NV
Hi! So this really just depends on what you’re looking for

if a simple drop without sacrificing ride quality;
Unplugged Performance Mild Springs
Eibach Pro-kit Lowering springs
Expect a camber of about .8-.9 degrees depending on the model

a more moderate drop (noted that the ride will be noticeably stiffer to compensate);
Unplugged Performance Moderate Springs
Tsportline Lowering springs
Expect a camber of 1-1.2 degrees

a more aggressive drop (stiffer ride);
Unplugged performance low
A good set of adjustable coilovers
Air ride

Hope this helps! :)

This poster has it backwards

If you want a comfortable ride go with coilovers

Lowering springs are an incomplete solution that will not rode or handle as good as the stock setup

Coil overs often ride better than stock
 

Stellavator

Member
Apr 21, 2018
437
415
NC
Thanks for the replies. So, a coil over is tunable, for height and ride? Is that generally better than just springs? Any reason not to do that other than cost?

also, is there any way to drop the height just a little without getting any effect on camber?
 

Apone

Member
Oct 7, 2020
76
53
Philadelphia Area
Yes, tunable for height and ride
Yes, much better than springs alone because the spring rate and damper rate are tuned to work together
None that I can think of since you mentioned cost
Yes, you can take a small drop with some coil over makers reporting no need for camber arms.
 
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webbah

Member
May 22, 2012
978
915
Lucerne, Switzerland
Thanks for the replies. So, a coil over is tunable, for height and ride? Is that generally better than just springs? Any reason not to do that other than cost?

also, is there any way to drop the height just a little without getting any effect on camber?
The stock dampers are tuned at stock height. If you use lowering springs you affect the dampers and ride. The only solution is to use coilovers to have adjustment for both height and dampening.

Changing height will affect camber, but lowering will only change it a little to negative camber which is not that bad. Lowering 1-1.2 inches will induce about -1 degree camber. To fix that you will need to buy adjustable camber and toe arms.
 

Jayrlim

Member
Dec 11, 2020
24
53
Los Angeles CA
This poster has it backwards

If you want a comfortable ride go with coilovers

Lowering springs are an incomplete solution that will not rode or handle as good as the stock setup

Coil overs often ride better than stock
While coilovers offer damper/height adjustments, they oftentimes lower the car more than lowering springs, and oftentimes have stiffer spring rates than lowering springs to compensate and prevent bottoming out. This is coming from someone that’s had both Unplugged Performance Moderate springs and coilovers.
 
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ULEWZ

Member
Mar 4, 2020
115
83
Northridge CA
I have the MPP sport coilovers, and have them dropped only 1/2 inch from stock. Keep in mind, whatever you do, you will need to have the alignment checked/fixed. I was able to get mine in the stock zone, but anymore than 1/2 inch would be difficult (runs out of adjustment room at the top of the coilovers (where three bolts mount it, the holes are oversize, but not that much). For you, I would suggest the MPP Comfort coilovers as you will never "track/twistie drive" the car. Way better than the stock ride, and will still get the slightly lowered look you are after. Avoid the spring only option, many have tried to save a few bucks, and have gone back to buying coilovers due to the unacceptable ride from just springs.
 
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Stellavator

Member
Apr 21, 2018
437
415
NC
Very helpful. Thanks very much.

sounds like there is more involved than just springs and a little drop. If I would be getting into replacing other components, dealing with resetting alignment and camber, etc... I think I will pass. I was hoping for a simple spring swap to get what I want, but I’m not really interested in diving deep into the suspension world, and having to deal with my inevitable errors.

appreciate all the help and comments. You all saved me some time and money.
 

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,016
5,034
FL
Thanks for the replies. So, a coil over is tunable, for height and ride? Is that generally better than just springs? Any reason not to do that other than cost?

also, is there any way to drop the height just a little without getting any effect on camber?
Thanks for the replies. So, a coil over is tunable, for height and ride? Is that generally better than just springs? Any reason not to do that other than cost?

also, is there any way to drop the height just a little without getting any effect on camber?

The subject of Springs vs coilovers and whether Springs are a less expensive but still adequate option gets kicked around and discussed and debated on this forum more than perhaps any other aftermarket modification besides wheels and tires.

You'll get a lot of different opinions but people who've done both report almost without exception the changing the Springs without changing the shocks is usually a mistake. Additionally many of the aftermarket Springs are noisy, don't seat properly, and just create headaches.

On the other hand Mountain Pass has extensively tested, tuned, and refined their Sports and adjustable Comfort coilovers to the point where they are an extremely sorted out and high-quality kit. Not only is the suspension adjustable in terms of height, it is adjustable in terms of dampening and adjustable both in compression and rebound differently. This is important, and has several advantages the details of which I won't bore you with as this post is already too long.

The short form of a long story is if you want your car to look better and have a more aggressive ride height and you don't want a car that is dysfunctional, and you want to get significant improvements in both ride and handling, wait until you can afford to do it right. Don't do it half-baked no matter how much money you think you're going to save. We have both the Comfort and Sports coilover kits on our two model 3s, and they are worth every penny. If you're planning on keeping your car for more than a couple of years, they are worth investing in. The only way you're going to be able to decide if it's worth the money is if you can get a test drive from somebody who's got one of those kits. Consider that before you do anything.
 

Stellavator

Member
Apr 21, 2018
437
415
NC
The subject of Springs vs coilovers and whether Springs are a less expensive but still adequate option gets kicked around and discussed and debated on this forum more than perhaps any other aftermarket modification besides wheels and tires.

You'll get a lot of different opinions but people who've done both report almost without exception the changing the Springs without changing the shocks is usually a mistake. Additionally many of the aftermarket Springs are noisy, don't seat properly, and just create headaches.

On the other hand Mountain Pass has extensively tested, tuned, and refined their Sports and adjustable Comfort coilovers to the point where they are an extremely sorted out and high-quality kit. Not only is the suspension adjustable in terms of height, it is adjustable in terms of dampening and adjustable both in compression and rebound differently. This is important, and has several advantages the details of which I won't bore you with as this post is already too long.

The short form of a long story is if you want your car to look better and have a more aggressive ride height and you don't want a car that is dysfunctional, and you want to get significant improvements in both ride and handling, wait until you can afford to do it right. Don't do it half-baked no matter how much money you think you're going to save. We have both the Comfort and Sports coilover kits on our two model 3s, and they are worth every penny. If you're planning on keeping your car for more than a couple of years, they are worth investing in. The only way you're going to be able to decide if it's worth the money is if you can get a test drive from somebody who's got one of those kits. Consider that before you do anything.
Thank you! Very helpful.
 
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dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,016
5,034
FL
Thank you! Very helpful.
Glad to be helpful. Obviously it's a serious chunk of money to get a coilover kit and then to get it installed. Unless you wrench it yourself you're talking about nearly three grand. The $64,000 question which no one can answer for anybody else is "is it worth it?" I've done about 5 coilover kits on seven different cars. I've had all kinds of outcomes from great value to a poorly designed disaster. I've never seen a coilover kit of higher quality than the KW MPP kit. That doesn't mean there aren't kits of equal quality but I've never seen one higher. Other than wheels and tires there is no other modification that can make a bigger impact - and I'd say it's kind of a toss-up between those two options (coilover kit, lightweight forged wheels/best possible tires) for which has the biggest impact on the cars behavior on the road. Even if you never plan to track the car, a well-made coilover kit can really improve how much you enjoy the car.

We plan on keeping the cars for as long as the battery pack is viable. We don't know how long that is, but it certainly going to be more than a couple of years. We're at 2.5 years and counting on one car and just over two years on the other. Couldn't be more pleased overall with the MPP coilover kits. My wife has the Comfort adjustable kit and I have the sport kit. This way we don't fight over ride versus handling and we both get a kit that's tuned to our preferences.

That's another great thing about the Comfort coilovers is that you can actually get a significantly better ride and better handling, while the sport coilovers give you I think a better (more controlled) firmer ride combined with way better handling. Roll is markedly reduced with the sport coilover kit and somewhat reduced with the Comfort coilovers. With the sport kit you really don't need roll bars unless you're planning on tracking the car all the time and with track tires to get the last bit of lateral acceleration out of the chassis. I actually like a little bit of roll because it tells me how hard the car is having to work. Additionally, a car with a lot more roll stiffness than the stock Model 3 is really not much fun to drive on anything but the smoothest possible surface as it tends to skitter across bumps and it's just unpleasant. But once again that's an individual preference item, and also where track tuning and best street behavior are at least somewhat mutually exclusive.

See if you can find somebody with either kit in your area and make sure they clarify where they have the shocks set because that makes a big difference in how the car behaves. For example I have the sport kit set at 10 / 8 compression / rebound, which is really quite firm and probably firmer than a lot of people would like. My wife's car has hers set at 12/10 (the recommended default) and I believe the shock valving is slightly different on the Comfort Adjustable coilovers (and of course with softer Springs) and its ride is really quite smooth and more liquid as I describe it. I like both cars over the stock suspension and I prefer my car over hers. But not by much.
 
Last edited:

mcbarnet007

Member
Oct 10, 2016
787
556
San Jose, CA
I am also running MPP Sport coilovers and agree with everything @dfwatt said. I am running the damper at 12c10r all around and on 19 inch touring tires the car feels like a luxury eruopean sports car that's perfect for daily. You can still feel the stiffness and support but all the bumps and dips are mellowed out. Switching the damper to 2c2r and sporty tires then the car becomes a flat cornering grip monster. It's the best upgrade you can do for your car's enjoyment. Even my wife who is not a car person mentioned that the car feels more comfortable after I swapped the coilovers. Do it once right so you don't have to buy twice like I did.
 

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