Our project car hasn’t received much love in the past year and a half, so we thought we’d show her some attention this week. Since Phase I (cold air intake) and Phase II (Aftermarket wheels and performance tires) were already installed, we decided to start Phase III – Suspension. After doing a lot of research, we chose to go with the Eibach Springs Pro-Plus Performance Kit, which includes their Pro-Kit Performance Springs and their Anti-Roll Sway Bar Kit.
Eibach is one of the most highly regarded suspension companies in the world, with an unsurpassed reputation for quality and performance. They help numerous race teams and amateurs win races each day, while also catering to the needs of a wide variety of car enthusiasts and tuners. Eibach, a world leader in suspension technology, has received many awards from a variety of companies/institutions. After considering all this, our brand choice for suspension was easy…
Each of Eibach’s aftermarket suspension products are custom-made for specific years, makes and models of cars and trucks, including our own. The performance springs and anti-roll bars we acquired are manufactured to replace the factory springs and sway bars, for increasing handling performance, decreasing body roll and enhancing aesthetic appeal. Eibach uses “the world’s finest Hi-Ten spring steel, produced to exceedingly precise tolerances” and “world-renowned German CNC coilers, as well as many unique machines engineered and built specifically by Eibach.” Their Street Performance spring and sway bar products are backed by extensive research and development, including hours of professional road and track testing. All of this is done to provide the consumer with improved handling performance and aesthetic appeal, while still retaining a high degree of comfort. Though the Street Performance kits aren’t as performance oriented as Eibach’s race products, they go through the same testing and benefit from the same race technology.
After picking up the products we wanted, we needed to choose a reputable shop that could install the suspension properly. Luckily, one of the Sub5zero members is a business partner of an awesome local independent automotive repair shop. Castro’s Smog & Repair, also known as Castro’s Customs, in North Hollywood, CA, specializes in domestic and foreign automotive maintenance & repair, as well as custom performance and fabrication. Chris Castro’s shop maintains a great reputation for honest, quality work, at very competitive prices, with a speedy turn around. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better mechanics in the area than Chris and his crew.
Chris participates in every job or project that comes into his shop. While Chris enjoys working on cars of all makes and models, he has a special place in her heart for BMWs. Beside the steady flow of customers the shop sees for day-to-day maintenance needs, Chris also takes on a lot of custom projects. Aftermarket modifications and customizations are Chris’ specialty, so he was clearly the man for the job. If you ever need work done on your car in the LA area, you definitely want to swing by Castro’s Smog & Repair!
Now on to the installation of the new parts! While these parts can be installed in your driveway, or garage, it is a fairly complex job. Without a hydraulic lift and power tools, the time to complete the job is at least doubled, and becomes increasingly difficult. The task requires a great deal of physical effort, especially when compressing and decompressing the springs, and is much easier with two people. The tools required to swap the suspension components include at least 1 hydraulic jack/lift, at least 1 jack stand to support the suspended vehicle, a ratchet, a set of metric sockets, a spring compressor, 1 large pry bar, and a lot of determination.
Because our project car spent the majority of its life on the East Coast, the underside of the car, along with the suspension, were pretty oxidized. This was a bit of an unusual situation for the shop, as they typically see rust-free cars in sunny So Cal. Once the car was on the lift, Chris and his apprentice Jose, got a better look at the work ahead of them. Needless to say, the oxidation and salt damage added considerably to the effort required, especially compared to a California car of the same age and mileage. The greatest burden was to break free all of the seized bolts holding the suspension together. Luckily Chris has a top notch impact (compressed air-driven) gun, which allowed him to perform the job without undue hardship.
The first stage of the install, after putting the car up on the lift, was to remove the front and rear sway bars. In order to remove the front bar, the sway bar links had to be detached from the front lower control arms. Since the bar moved freely with the sway links removed, the sway bar mounts holding the bar to the front sub-frame were next. Once Jose removed the mounts, the front sway bar was out of the way.
The removal of the rear sway bar was very similar; the links were removed from the rear spindles and the mounts were detached from the rear cross-member. Look at those beefy red sway bars compared to the factory units!