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Old 14-08-2013   #1
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Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Ok, as some of you already know I just fitted a Koni FSD / red Brembo Abarth SS suspension to my 500 TA.

There is a problem.

The rears are fine and show about a 25mm - 30mm drop from stock but the fronts have caused a rise in ride height over the stock suspension by 5-10mm.

Before (stock)
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After (SS kit)
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While I was searching info on this I also came across Ryan McCullys post which reported the same thing, although it was SS springs with stock shocks. We put it down to the rear shocks being worn : /

https://www.fiatforum.com/500/328978...rings-now.html

Please can anyone who has to an Abarth and a Fiat 500 please take a look at the component that attaches the shock to the hub/control arm. Is the mounting point for the strut in a different position in relation to the wheel centre?

Also, is there a chance the drop links on the ARB could be 'holding' the suspension up? I don't think this is the case as the ARB would also be maxed out in rotation and I would think make a noise. There is no noise / clunking.

There must be a logical explanation.

Performance wise, they work amazingly well, totally transformed the handling.

Please, any ideas?
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Last edited by The Twins; 14-08-2013 at 08:38.
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Old 14-08-2013   #2
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Quote Originally Posted by The Twins View Post
We put it down to the rear shocks being worn
Wear in the shocks will not affect the static ride height.
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Old 14-08-2013   #3
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Yes, it has to be down to the spring length, strut length or mounting point of strut in relation to the hub.
I need someone (more technically qualified that me) to see if there is a component difference between the Abarth and standard 500 that is causing the issue.
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Old 14-08-2013   #4
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Quote Originally Posted by The Twins View Post
Also, is there a chance the drop links on the ARB could be 'holding' the suspension up?
You could check this quite easily by temporarily unbolting the droplinks.
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Old 14-08-2013   #5
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Your car will be lighter than an Abarth, hence the springs will give it a higher ride height.
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Old 14-08-2013   #6
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

I know very little about suspension but I'd go along with Maxi, the TA engine will be substantially lighter presumably?
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Old 14-08-2013   #7
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Quote Originally Posted by Mercky View Post
I know very little about suspension but I'd go along with Maxi, the TA engine will be substantially lighter presumably?
Kerb weights:

1.2 Lounge 865kg
TA Lounge 930kg
A500 1035kg

So the car is about 100kg lighter, almost all of which would logically be over the front wheels.

I'm with Maxi's suggestion too.

I'd be interested to know how much the ride height changes with two folks sitting in the front.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 14-08-2013 at 09:21.
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Old 14-08-2013   #8
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

I weigh about 80kg and if I sit on the part that goes across the engine bay under the bonnet it only drops by about 5mm. Nowhere near the drop that would be needed to look lower than stock, which would be 25mm. So I'm not convinced its all to do with weight. I accept that it may not look as low as an Abarth with SS but its too much of a difference.
Also, if this was the case you'd think aftermarket suspension guys would have the same issue with ride height
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Old 14-08-2013   #9
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Quote Originally Posted by The Twins View Post
I weigh about 80kg and if I sit on the part that goes across the engine bay under the bonnet it only drops by about 5mm. Nowhere near the drop that would be needed to look lower than stock, which would be 25mm. So I'm not convinced its all to do with weight. I accept that it may not look as low as an Abarth with SS but its too much of a difference.
Also, if this was the case you'd think aftermarket suspension guys would have the same issue with ride height
Yes but you are not sitting on the engine? You are sitting in the cabin which is behind the engine. Try sitting on the bonnet, see how much the suspension drops = )

(My knowledge of physics is not so good so please forgive me if this advice ends up being considered stupid by the engineers of the forum = ) )
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Old 14-08-2013   #10
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Quote Originally Posted by ahmett View Post
Yes but you are not sitting on the engine? You are sitting in the cabin which is behind the engine. Try sitting on the bonnet, see how much the suspension drops = )

(My knowledge of physics is not so good so please forgive me if this advice ends up being considered stupid by the engineers of the forum = ) )
Read it again Ahmett, I said I was sitting on the part that goes across the engine bay, under the bonnet, and that is forward of the engine so the cantilever effect means that my weight is worth more on that point than it would be over the wheels.
I'm convinced there is more to it than just weight. Sure I can believe that I will not get the same drop as in an SS but to be 5mm + above stock means that I'm 30mm out of specification. Even 100kg weight would not drop it by that much surely.
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Old 14-08-2013   #11
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Quote Originally Posted by 306maxi View Post
your car will be lighter than an abarth, hence the springs will give it a higher ride height.
Quote Originally Posted by mercky View Post
i know very little about suspension but i'd go along with maxi, the ta engine will be substantially lighter presumably?
Quote Originally Posted by jrkitching View Post
kerb weights:

1.2 lounge 865kg
ta lounge 930kg
a500 1035kg

so the car is about 100kg lighter, almost all of which would logically be over the front wheels.

I'm with maxi's suggestion too.

I'd be interested to know how much the ride height changes with two folks sitting in the front.
I mentioned this in the twins original thread,

Quote Originally Posted by grimwau View Post
also, you need to factor in the additional weight of the 1.4 engine with turbo as the spring rates would have been calculated based on this amongst other factors.

I wonder how much less the ta engine and transmission weighs.
Glad I am not the only person with this conclusion and thanks to JR for coming up with tangible figures so that what is needed is to add this difference in weight to the front of the car to see if the problem is resolved. If not then further investigation will then be required.
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Old 14-08-2013   #12
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Quote Originally Posted by grimwau View Post
I mentioned this in the twins original thread,



Glad I am not the only person with this conclusion and thanks to JR for coming up with tangible figures so that what is needed is to add this difference in weight to the front of the car to see if the problem is resolved. If not then further investigation will then be required.
Yes, I agree with everything above but if I sit on the front of the car (on bonnet slam panel) with all my 77-80kg weight it only drops a tiny amount - a lot less than 10mm so I can't see how it can be all down to weight. I don't expect I would get the full 25mm drop but to actually get a 5mm rise means the weight difference would be worth 30mm compression of the suspension. I just can't see it.
There are other parts on the Abarth that also weigh more than the TA other than engine.
Have you felt with weight of the side skirts, they are really heavy. Rear spoiler is bigger too. Exhaust back box on the Abarth is also a lot heavier, bigger wheels and tyres. So all the weight difference between the two is not just over the front wheels.
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Last edited by The Twins; 14-08-2013 at 11:07.
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Old 14-08-2013   #13
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

The front springs on these cars sags noticably over time. Your new ride height looks like my stock ride height - maybe even a touch lower (3000km - so minimal sag thus far). Presumably the SS springs will sag a touch over time too.
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Last edited by UFI; 14-08-2013 at 11:38.
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Old 14-08-2013   #14
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Quote Originally Posted by The Twins View Post
There are other parts on the Abarth that also weigh more than the TA other than engine.
Have you felt with weight of the side skirts, they are really heavy. Rear spoiler is bigger too. Exhaust back box on the Abarth is also a lot heavier, bigger wheels and tyres. So all the weight difference between the two is not just over the front wheels.
I think your "Twinair" spec TA has the Abarth spoiler? Mine does.

The engine weights are actually similar owing to TA's having S/S. The intercoolers weigh around 20kgs though and they sit right at the front of the nose. Fiat claim the TA as being 15kg lighter than the 1.2, but I presume that doesn't even account for the turbo and intercooler. There's also a lot of weight in the brakes which of course don't act on the suspension.
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Last edited by UFI; 14-08-2013 at 11:37.
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Old 14-08-2013   #15
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Re: Why does Abarth SS suspension raise the ride height?

Thanks UFI.
The rear spoiler on Twinair is smaller than Abarth. Only 'styling by Abarth' Twinair got the bigger spoiler.
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