Choosing the right springs

Choosing the right springs can be a chore for some.  I often feel that some don’t quite realize what they do and how they can affect the car at times.  Springs of course vary in length and stiffness. But today we also have hi frequency and low frequency springs as an adjustment as well.  Let’s take a look at how to use that info.

Stiffness is kind of a given. The stiffer the spring, the less roll the car will have. The car won’t compress it’s suspension as far when it hits bumps or jumps. The softer is of course opposite; more roll, more compression in the bumps and jumps. Think of a spring as the item in the shock/spring package that is tasked with holding up that corner of the car.  Front springs hold up the front, rear springs hold the rear, etc.  Springs that are too stiff can lower traction. For example spring in the front that are too stiff can cause the car to roll less which in turn removes the tires ability to stick to the ground, the tires will scrub and slide instead.  Now there are instances where this isn’t true, let me explain.  In some conditions i.e.; high grip a spring that is too soft will cause a car to traction roll, or not provide enough spring pressure to keep the tires in contact with the surface.  The biggest tip I can give you is that there’s always a compromise when choosing springs. If the track is smooth generally you can look at stiffer springs than one that is bumpy. If the track has very little traction, you will be on the softer side. Where’s the compromise?  If the track is very bumpy but is somewhat high bite you will need to check lap times and see whether a softer setup gives you the fast laps, or the stiffer springs needed for the high bite surface gives you better lap times.

Springs are a huge part in the shock/spring package when jumping. We do that in off-road, and in on-road it’s generally frowned up on (So I was told).  If your springs are too soft in the front for example your cars suspension will collapse into the jump face scrubbing speed, and often causing a condition where you have little to no distance in the jump.  A front spring that is too stiff may cause a car to dart or become nose high off a jump.  Rear springs that are too soft can also cause huge scrubbing on jump faces but will often cause a “donkey kick” off the jump nosing the car down a lot and again causing a loss of jump distance. Rear springs that are too stiff will often cause the same kick but won’t affect the distance as much as soft springs can.  4wd SC truck guys take note, I see this all too often when guys complain why their truck jumps nose down…

Springs are only able to hold so much weight up. Also a common misconception is that adding preload to your springs makes them stiffer, not true. Shock collar adjustment only affects ride height, not spring pressure.  If you race a lot, check your springs for fatigue; check them if the car feels off out of nowhere. Springs are wear items and over time they will have reduced performance. When you store your cars for long periods, take the weight off the springs and raise the shock collars up to remove tension.

Spring Frequency is pretty straight forward.  The frequency is the speed at which the spring wants to react to change.  Low frequency springs offer “plush” feel on the track which can also give more grip and consistency.  Hi frequency springs are a bit more “busy” feeling on the track which in turn gives you a very fast reacting car, less grip, and while fast maybe hard to drive consistently.  Personal experience I’ve found the heavier the car, the higher the frequency I prefer on the track. 2wd SC for example feels better with hi or mid frequency springs than low frequency, at least on my home tracks. A quick way to tell is the more coils, the lower the frequency. Note that if you have 2 springs and each is 2.1lbs that is how you can tell which is which, in my experience.

I’ve had the best luck with Avid Spring kits. For the $$ they’re tough to beat, and they’re consistent.

Be sure to “Like” and “Share” this post if it helped you at all.

Good Racing!

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