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 Has anyone lowered their Riv?

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100percentjake
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PostSubject: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:45 pm

I know there's a thread similar to this but all the pictures are broken and information is sparse. I've got a '97 and I'm aware of the bizarre one-year-only strut mount setup (mumble grumble) and am planning on replacing my blown front shocks with a KYB set from Rockauto. However, though my ride shall be smooth and far less ship-like the car will still have a ride height comparable to my sister's Silverado and a wheel gap you could shove a small toddler into. I'm not looking for #mad tyte stance or anything like that, just a couple inches of lowering. Looking around it looks like people have put springs from the Park Avenue, a ~150lb heavier car, into the Riviera and the result was a stiffer ride but an even higher ride height. No bueno. Would the Buick LeSabre 2000, a ~200lb lighter car have springs with a lower spring rate and result in a lower ride height on the Riviera? I'd have to do some fiddling with the level control switch to keep it from freaking out and jacking up the rear, but I'm curious if anyone's tried this or lowered their Riv some other way (universal coilover sleeves intended for a Civic?) and if they'd share pictures and how they did it.

rice

EDIT: So I did some messing around on Rockauto and discovered that Moog posts the spring rate and load of their springs in the "info" window. The Riviera, LeSabre, Deville and Park Avenue (ultra) all have 160psi spring rates. HOWEVER, the LeSabre, Deville and Park Avenue have a "load" of 1121 lbs, whereas the Riv has a load of 1004 lbs. I'm not quite sure what "load" translates into as far as if the car will sag more and thus ride lower or anything like that.


EDIT2: So the Riv struts use a pigtail type spring but I found several options for springs from Summit Racing for generic coil-over usage.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-72-12-150/overview/

These have a 150lb spring rate which is similar to the OE spring (as it turns out 160lb spring rate springs aren't terribly common) and is 2.5 inches shorter. My concern is that the strut base and strut hat are designed for a pigtail and the spring might sit cockeyed or crooked in the strut and will most certainly rattle without some stiff rubber isolators of some kind.
And this doesn't help with the rear, either. The semi-trailing nature of the Riviera seems like it would make a lowering spring impossible, especially shoving in some random $35 spring from Summit racing.


Last edited by 100percentjake on Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jack the R
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:37 pm

AFAIK the Eibach springs are the only proper way to lower a Riviera.

While I love the lowered look too, I'd think long and hard before doing it as the Riviera does not exactly have the approach and departure angles of a Jeep. I've scraped mine a few times with the stock ride height. I had to have it towed a few days ago and the exhaust tips scraped going on to the truck, and coming off the truck.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:00 pm

Where would one find these Eibach springs and how much do they lower a Riv? Anybody have pictures?
Yeah, the Riviera has overhangs like nobody's business. Fortunately I don't deal with steep angles on a regular enough basis for that to be a concern, and if it becomes one then it's a good excuse to make a really badass skid plate. Quite a different world from my '98 Civic which also rode on Eibach lowering springs.
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moestippich
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:34 pm

If you're only looking to lower it an inch or two you could try metal spring boosters. They bolt onto your springs and can be used to either reaise or lower the car's stance by up to a couple inches. They are sold at any auto parts store, and are fairly cheap at around $10 for a pair. Need to make sure you get the metal ones with the bolts, since the rubber ones will only raise the car. And you need 2 clamps per spring, so buying one pair doesn't mean that you can do both sides.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:37 am

^ That sounds really ghetto. Might as well heat the springs with a torch if you are going to do that.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:47 am

I wouldn't use the spring boosters.

Go with the Eibachs and select a decent performing strut to match the rate of the spring. I'm not sure if they make Bilsteins for the Riv but that might be a good one to look at.

Lowered Rivs look dead sexy. However, I do agree with what was said previously about scraping issues. Just be mindful that the Riv, being FWD, does have a bit of overhang in the front.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:07 am

100percentjake wrote:
Where would one find these Eibach springs and how much do they lower a Riv? Anybody have pictures?
Yeah, the Riviera has overhangs like nobody's business. Fortunately I don't deal with steep angles on a regular enough basis for that to be a concern, and if it becomes one then it's a good excuse to make a really badass skid plate. Quite a different world from my '98 Civic which also rode on Eibach lowering springs.

I wasn't able to find them with a quick google search, but I assume they're still available somewhere.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:56 pm

hehehehe
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:08 pm

So I did some searching and found a '95 Bonneville that has a full coilover system using sleeves and springs with a 600# rate, which seems obscenely high if Moog is correct and our OE springs are roughly 160# in the front. I'll pick up a spare strut to screw around with and see how difficult converting it to a coilover is, but I dunno how to go about lowering the rear of the car. Letting air out of the shocks does nothing since the springs still hold up the car, so I'd have to replace those springs as well. Maybe I could get rid of the stock spring and install a coil spring/shock strut combo where the air shock currently resides? My concern then would be putting the whole weight of the car on the strut tower, but since an air assist shock goes there anyways I assume it's reinforced more than most traditional semi-trailing arm shock tower-equipped cars.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:47 pm

You could go with QA1 coil overs. They are fully adjustable.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:59 am

I'd leave the Riv stock and play with the Mustang or Miata.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:09 am

The Miata is in the midst of a slow-moving turbo conversion, and the Mustang is going bye-bye to make room for an old truck. Or something I don't have to make payments on. My thoughts with the Riviera are that I have to replace all four corners of the suspension anyways so I may as well make them better and make the car look a bit cooler in the process.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:12 pm

I totally agree about there being too much room in the wheel well. My solution was to go with 20 inch rims and tires. I don't like low profile tires (too many potholes where I live) so I used 265/45zr20. Those are TOO big, and give my wheels the same dimensions as 22s with low profile. I wasn't going for that look, but I'm stuck with it until I buy new tires. Probably 265/40r20. But anyway, back to the stance. By doing this I found out that the car sits slightly liwer in the back, and my wheels poke out past the fender in the front. Easy to fix the front. I have 2 inch spacers all around, so I'll just reduce the front spacers (probably have to bend the shield on the struts so the tires don't rub) But the back is harder. I already have the gas shock conversion from Monroe, but the shocks seem weak. I want to replace those with some stronger coil over shocks, but I have to find out the dimensions for a shock that would fit. I have those clamp on spring boosters, but I haven't put them on yet, because I really don't want my car ghetto rigged either and would rather go with a spring that's an inch longer or add a half inch to the top and bottom insulators.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:58 pm

Eh, big wheel/tire combos reduce wheel well room, sure, but they raise the ride height even more and make the whole car look like a donk. Totally not my style. 17" or 18" is the biggest that I can stand on a car like this.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:06 pm

100percentjake wrote:
Eh, big wheel/tire combos reduce wheel well room, sure, but they raise the ride height even more and make the whole car look like a donk. Totally not my style. 17" or 18" is the biggest that I can stand on a car like this.


werd
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:26 pm

We're going off subject here. The point is to find the right spring and shock combo to get the stance you want. I prefer to stand mine up a little, but that's MY preference. Higher or lower, we'll be using a similar concept so let's stay on subjet and see what we come up with.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:29 pm

Right now I'm looking into the shock dimensions, trying to get some that are adjustable. If anyone knows the dimensions for our shocks, please post them.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:46 pm

Grand Prix GXP lowering springs in the front with Gabriel struts, custom coilovers in the rear. You'll need 98+ struts and 98+ knuckles.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:46 pm

We've been toying with different cars/options for years now. Plain and simple, there aren't any. Unless you can find the ever-so-rare Eibach STS lowering springs, it really cannot be done easily or cheaply. Sure, you can "mad max" together some coil overs and butcher the knuckles/mounts to make them fit. However, there is really nothing else that fits correctly on the Riv.

Your next closest bet are Grand Prix parts.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:41 am

If you still have the leveling system installed, you can adjust the sensor. This can be done manually (the service manual has step by step instructions) I might be able to pdf that to you. Or there is also a testing tool (Kent Moore J-34825) that allows you to make adjustments.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:57 am

here's a link to the instructionshttps://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.gmforum.com/howto/1998SM/suspension%2520electronic%2520level%2520control.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwiklpqx4qHMAhXCKiYKHanrB_gQFgghMAA&usg=AFQjCNEU29Nwc70LcWgUg7nwmag2dYu1Ew&sig2=iT3gRsUFnsQ20gY1aKd3yQ
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:05 am

Messing with the leveling system can only raise the car, not lower it. The base "unloaded" ride height of the rear of the car is determined by the springs. I can drain all the air from my shocks and the car won't sink down any lower than it was sitting on the ground with nothing in it.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:23 am

100percentjake wrote:
ride height of the rear of the car is determined by the springs

werd
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:54 pm

Abaddon wrote:

100percentjake wrote:
ride height of the rear of the car is determined by the springs


werd
Not entirely. It's the shock and spring combination that determines the ride height. Note that cars with worn out shocks or broken air systems are sagging in the rear. Mine was when I got it, and it was main reason for converting to coil overs.
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PostSubject: Re: Has anyone lowered their Riv?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:54 pm

moestippich wrote:

Abaddon wrote:


100percentjake wrote:
ride height of the rear of the car is determined by the springs



werd

Not entirely. It's the shock and spring combination that determines the ride height. Note that cars with worn out shocks or broken air systems are sagging in the rear. Mine was when I got it, and it was main reason for converting to coil overs.

Correct, and there is one other thing, there is camber change as the rear suspension goes from extension to compression. Camber goes negative under compression. When I first bought my Riv, a friend was following me in another car, and he remarked how the tires in the rear seemed to tilt in at the top. Thinking I needed an alignment, I brought it in to a shop that told me there was no adjustment for camber in the rear. When we physically raised the car, you could see the tires straighten out. Turned out my ELC was inoperative and the back of the car was low. Proper camber is therefore dependent on proper ride height.

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