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....This car would be an excellent candidate for the Miata springs eq1 noted above. With slightly stiffer rear springs, chassis roll would be reduced a small amount. Road noise in this car seems lower on account of less chassis to suspension coupling points.
Funny this would come up now after all this time. I pulled my front bar recently and I've been trying to get some stiffer front springs in place... Without the front bar it does seem a little quieter, but nothing major. It's like one layer of say 3 or 4 layers of noise from the front has now been removed...

edit: fyi, I got those springs installed. I'll try to write something up a bit later...
 

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So the Silverado bumpers alone are a HUGE difference from the brutal bottoming out of the stock ones. My neighborhood has terrible expansion seams in the blacktop, so I can test them easily with a simple cruise around the block. Now, it doesn't feel like my hatch is going to vibrate apart over every seam.

Such a huge difference in fact that I went ahead and sprung for the GAZ/Spring upgrade to complete the rear. Parts on the way.

Now to start hunting the junkyards for Corolla springs for the front. I REALLY appreciate all the research you folks have done and the time you have taken to document.

PS: Interesting side note - the GL1800 Goldwings suffer from the same issue - an under built suspension for American roads/American body weights. I am not obese, but 6'7" 205 lbs seems to be a bit much for either of these otherwise excellently designed Honda vehicles. Furthermore, my 2001 Goldwing is for sale in case you want one. http://denver.craigslist.org/mcy/5460617081.html :)
 

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On front options, I just completed a 'no front bar, higher spring rate' alternative that seems - I don't know, pretty good to me. Suspensions are pretty complicated so I don't want to go too far in saying 'this works'. So let me just describe what I got and how it seems.

First, I took out the front bar and ran stock springs for a day. Note that I have cut 1st gen Miata rear springs in the rear, about 9 1/2 inch free length, 150 lbs/in (there's pics and stuff somewhere above). As I mentioned earlier, 1 out of say 3 or 4 layers of noise disappeared. It was a bit quieter. I took the car to a wet parking lot and tried to push it through 90 degree corners. There was a lot of body roll, but the balance felt pretty even. I wasn't getting the front end to push (under steer) or the rear to swing out (over steer) - on wet pavement...

I wanted to try a higher spring rate at the front to see if it'd help the body roll. Long story short, I ended up buying a set of 'lowering' springs for a 2006-2009 Honda Civic. The fronts were listed as 230 lbs/in, the rears were listed as 140 lbs/in. Total gamble - I just figured they looked like they might work, and if they lowered the 2006-2009 Civic (the ad said 2 inches), they might keep the Insight roughly the same. etc etc.

The rears didn't fit - the bottom coil was just a tad too big, but I wasn't planning on using them anyway. The fronts - I needed to order an extra right side spring; the civic has left and right hand springs, whereas the Insight front springs are the same left and right...

I measured the fronts and calculated the average spring rate as 204 lbs/in - but they're a progressive design. I'm not an expert, but the way the springs work is that the 3 middle coils have a larger diameter and they compress first; the top and bottom coils are smaller and do most of the heavy lifting. I calculated the spring rate for the middle 4 coils as being 170 lbs/in, whereas the top and bottom coils combined come out to 510 lbs/in... There's very little travel at the 170 lbs/in rate; the middle coils are almost fully compressed with the car's weight on each corner. There seems to be enough 'middle coil' travel to absorb your average bump nicely; and then, when you push it through a corner, the higher rate portions of the springs seem to hold up each corner well...

I've only driven once with this setup and didn't really push the limits. Overall I'd say it rides nicer than stock now; without the bar, each wheel absorbs single wheel bumps easily. I have little fear, now, of hitting bumps -- I used to try to avoid them but on this inaugural trip I was hitting all the bumps I could find and none of it felt violent, at the least...

Ride height in front dropped about 1/4 inch - which is good for me because my cut Miata rears dropped the rear about 1/2 an inch as I recall (it was either a 1/4 or 1/2)...

Anyway, moral of the story at this point is simply that, if you're looking for alternative front springs, you might consider looking into two right side 2006-2009 Civic lowering springs. They fit almost as well as the stock springs. The middle coils are a bit bigger than stock, yet I don't see any clearance issues, and the 'top' isn't quite as flat as the stock; they're not ground down, for instance... I bought my set for the grand total of $70 - from an ebay seller called Ipex motoring. I didn't explain that I was trying to fit them to the Insight - after I discovered that I needed another right spring. I just said I needed another right spring and after a couple emails back and forth they sent it to me (I did offer to pay extra and did offer to send the left one back, though). I was afraid of getting stuck with 4 useless springs and $70 poorer, otherwise I would have been more up front. If something like stronger front springs, progressive, with 1/4 inch of lowering, sounds like it might be right for you, you might want to try Ipex and ask them to sell you 2 right front springs. But alternatively, there's a bunch of different options - like Tein, for instance, who make similar springs. They're more expensive, though. These 'Ipex' springs are probably bottom of the barrel...

Oh, btw, the front bar is really light, whereas these alternative springs are quite a bit heavier than stock. I didn't weigh anything, but I'd say it's probably about a wash - lose the bar, lose some weight, get heavier springs, gain that weight back...

Here's a couple pics, I'll have to take a couple more with them installed:

 

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I drove a bit more today, fairly aggressive, and can't say there's too much I don't like about this setup. The weaker portion of the progressive springs 'smooths' the road; the stronger portions resist body roll very well in hard turns. 'No front bar' also smooths the road, reduces noise more than I was saying earlier - I hear much more wind noise, now, as the road noise is reduced... Overall, driving is a much more peaceful experience, yet it's also more solid and reassuring. This goes along with my 'no power steering' mod I did recently, too... Here's a couple more pics.

This is what the spring looks like compressed:

I'll have to try to do some more exacting calculations on the spring rates for each 'progressive' section. The middle 3 coils are probably less than 170 lbs/in, probably more like 130, while the next coil or so is higher, and the next higher. The result is that there's maybe 3/8 inch of travel at the lowest rate (from car-weighted compressed state), and that absorbs road imperfections; the next section handles typical bumps, maybe an inch and half of travel; and then the next section handles the heaviest stuff... Granted, there's not a lot of travel all together, but coming from a Miata it's more than I had there with my raciest setups... Oh, forgot to mention - I also pumped-up the tire pressure to 44 psi. I usually keep it at about 40 psi, but even that's too high from a comfort perspective; if I didn't want to maximize fuel economy I'd have it lower. But now, I could probably go even higher than 44 and the ride wouldn't suffer...

And here's a couple not-so-great pics of the 'stance' and wheel gap. With the cut Miata springs on the rear, the rear was dropped a bit. Normally the skirts cover half the "H" emblem, but with those springs it covers the entire emblem. And you can see how these 06-09 Civic front right 'lowering' springs match that well - the 'rake' of the wheelbase is pretty flat now (with stock front springs it was slightly negative rake - front was a tad higher than the rear)...



Ride height, measured from the top of the hub cap to the fender line, is 10 inches; with stock springs it was about 10 1/4 inches...
 

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Eq1 - Enjoying your research and experimentation, thanks! Are you coming to InsightFest?

Hmm, I DO like the idea of not having to go junkyard hopping or grind down the springs once I find them. I do not like the idea of this low car being even lower. 1/4" in the front I could probably live with and never notice, but losing much in the rear would make it even more fun for my 6'7" tall arse to get out.
 

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Yeah, that's one of the reasons I put in the effort - I was hoping to find a reasonably affordable, drop-in replacement pair or set that worked well enough. I'd be pushing this set more if 1) the rears worked without modifications and 2) the fronts could be had without getting the seller to sell you 2 right side springs... As it is it might be more convenient and doable for some people with the fronts, but you'd still need something different at the rear... The rear springs that came with the set I bought would probably work if you ground down the bottom coil maybe 1/4 inch so it recessed into the spring seat (the coil diameter is a bit large)...

On ride height, I never liked the look of it stock - it was kind of jacked-up in the back. I installed the cut Miata springs - shorter yet stronger - plus a short bump stop at the bottom and all this resulted in more travel, no bottoming out, and overall better - despite losing 1/2 an inch (which I wanted anyway, though you and others might not)... It's not like I'll be auto-crossing the car or going off-road, so the travel and height I got now will probably be fine...

....but losing much in the rear would make it even more fun for my 6'7" tall arse to get out.
Sounds like one of the 'real' suspension mods (Julian or Tycho's), with taller springs, would be more appropriate for you.

Not sure about insightfest. probably not...
 

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I'm loving this no-bar, stiffer front spring option way way much. I've now driven all over the place, pretty much everywhere I've ever driven, and it's weird - all the usual ripples and bumps and stuff that I had become conditioned to avoid are just gone. I.e. the no-bar and progressive springs make all that heretofore cringe-worthy stuff disappear. Where once there was a jarring rattle and shimmy and shake, there's now just a solid yet subdued "thud"...

Plus, I've been ripping through corners as if I were in my former Miata. Little body roll, very predictable and controllable, nothing untoward. I haven't taken it to the limits yet - yet I've been driving so much faster and more aggressive than I ever felt comfortable doing in this car, that anything more would be way over the top for my driving style... It's just so nice to be able to drive without thinking about avoiding bad pavement or about slowing down for corners...

I took a drive today up 101 east of the Olympics, winding road, it was quite a treat... The car feels so much better now - that it makes me wonder: How could Honda have gotten it so wrong?

The Insight's a great car - but I think Honda had to cut corners. The more I 'mod' stuff and dig-in to the car, the more I see the purse strings tightening on an ambitious plan, i.e. Honda had an ambitious plan for the Insight, but the deadline was looming, the money was running out, and 'team leaders' started to throw stuff together, crossing fingers... The electric power steering, the battery management, and the suspension are three things that come to mind as being not-quite-ready-for prime-time (the ABS sucks big time, too)...
 

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You have to "remember", Honda wasn't building a "racer". There were building a very efficient, capable of high mpg. vehicle. They accomplished their goals.

Willie
 

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What are the down sides of removing the bar?
 

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^I don't really know, I can't really see any...

One is that you'd have to replace the front springs with something stronger if you wanted to maintain or improve body roll. I tried no-bar with stock front springs for a day and when I pushed the car hard there was a lot of body roll. Normal driving I couldn't really tell the difference, except for a decrease in noise and better handling of one-wheel bumps...

Another is that it's possible the front bar is more about preventing roll overs under extreme conditions? Given the major improvement without the bar but with stiffer springs, I started to think that crash tests and stuff force car manufacturers to install bars to help prevent the car from rolling over under the most extreme circumstances... They have to play it safe... As my car stands now, I could see say one of the front springs becoming fully compressed in an extreme turn, maybe a high speed avoidance maneuver, and then that corner of the car - there's no more give, it becomes a pivot point and the car rolls over. With an anti-roll bar, you might reach that extreme point, yet the bar is pushing down on the other side of the car at the same time...

Another thing I've noticed, yet I'm not sure what it's all about, is that my steering wheel has a slight shimmy at about 65-70 mph, now. I've been messing with the front suspension a lot so maybe the alignment changed a bit. I've been trying to adjust that on-the-fly, just the toe, and I think I'm getting somewhere, but it's hard to do with a tape measure and the seat of one's pants... It looked like I had a little bit of toe-out just after I swapped springs (and I don't know what it was before, it could have been the same only now, without the front bar, there might be a little more 'play' in the suspension). I gave it a bit of toe-in and most of the shimmy is gone. I was thinking that, when I get going faster, with zero or a bit of toe-out, the front of the front wheels starts to get pushed back and out, and they begin to oscillate side to side. Point is is that it's possible that without the front bar, the alignment is more sensitive. I don't know, it doesn't really seem like it'd make a difference though...

Overall it seems like the front suspension on the Insight is susceptible to... wonky-ness. The rubber bushings at the rear of the front control arms deteriorate and that seems to offer less-than-precision alignment. Mine are slightly cracked, too, the rubber. I just went to swap them out today for some used ones I bought a while back, but it turned out that the rubber bushings in my current arms are better than the bushings in the replacements - so after taking one off, I decided not to do the swap... I'll go get my wheels balanced soon and see if that helps. It's not a big deal, the slight shimmy, at this point. But I want to get it as close to perfect as possible. Plus, from my measurements I've now got quite a bit of toe-in - and I don't know if I like that (but then, my measurements are surely prone to error)...
 

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You have to "remember", Honda wasn't building a "racer". There were building a very efficient, capable of high mpg. vehicle. They accomplished their goals.
You make it sound like I'm criticizing Honda because the Insight falls short of being a "racer." Yet bad EPS, battery management, suspension, ABS, (and motor mounts) are not exclusive to racey cars... In truth, I'm not really criticizing Honda, but rather, I'm maybe taking a jab at IC'ers who tend to treat the Insight like it's some perfect work of art, finely engineered by Honda Jedi-Masters, as if Honda engineers could do no wrong... But in reality, the Insight is a 'rolling test bed', a 'research project', to use some words I've heard around IC before... The economics or what-not simply didn't allow them to refine the product, I guess. Over time they could have refined the EPS, IMA/battery management programming, probably the ABS, too; engineered a stronger rear motor mount; maybe put some better springs on the car, at least. But the economics didn't pan-out and they moved on to bigger and better things...
 

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I recall seeing only 1 or 2 people around here talking about using that kit - JoelR is one of them, I think, and 'bluesight'? or something like that (but not 'blue-civic-hybrid'). Here's a thread that talks about the kit when it was first being made, has some pics but didn't really see any reviews:
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...issues/18424-ground-control-coilover-kit.html

Other than that, search for the few threads that JoelR posted about suspension mods, and maybe search that 'bluesight' name (he's some dude that was autocrossing his car, grey beard, if anyone remembers more precisely please add-on)*...

In general I kind of like the idea of adjustable ride height and more importantly, standard springs that you can buy in any length and rate you want. But I could never get myself to spend $400+ for such a kit...

*edit - Here's a link to a post Bluesight made (it is "bluesight") about his ground control install: http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...s/25935-gaz-rear-shocks-gcs-3.html#post482033
 

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I've read some of the threads that talk about the GC kit. It's a good option for someone looking to lower the ride height and doesn't mind the cost. Also, I believe they will let you specify a custom spring rate. However, I think they're always linear and thus may not result in a 'better quality' ride over stock. Our OEM front springs, and the ebay ones that EQ just is trying out, both have progressive rates.

I believe Bluesight was/is using the GC springs for autocross purposes. Maybe he can chime in on them.
 

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Y... I'm maybe taking a jab at IC'ers who tend to treat the Insight like it's some perfect work of art, finely engineered by Honda Jedi-Masters, as if Honda engineers could do no wrong......
If it was perfect, it would still be production. Love the car but the mods and improvements made by ICers make it even better.
 

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For an easily removable anti-roll bar modification to add stiffness ...

I have installed an adjustable rear sway bar that I designed and it's working great but I want a bit more front stiffness now especially to go with the highest setting.
Great stuff. I've been interested in a rear swaybar. Here's a "Rally Trick"
to enhance the amount of anti-roll in a vehicle. [as done on rally type highly modified FWD vehicle] Perhaps it can be made to work in the front.

For cheap*easily removable anti-roll bar modification to add stiffness ...
[*proviso:Where there is an existing stock albeit weak swaybar present on a vehicle and extra salvaged parts can be had etc....]
an increase in the sway bar's effective strength can be accomplished with superimposition and attachment of another stock anti-roll bar over the existing bar
Effective anti-roll bar spring strength is increased by attaching two bars together. [likely not a 2x increase but appreciably extra strength]
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fwiw: I purchased a former champ ice race car [5yrs] that was highly modified*.
I had experience affixing a doubled up rear sway bar setup using a dozen or more hose clamps binding the two bars together. The AB homebrewed easy-to-D-I-Y hose clamp and doubled-up stock swaybar setup worked exceedingly well on a stripped out 1600lb fwd racer.
[ nb. the system was deemed safe: the 'doubled-up swaybar setup'passed Tech official's inspections: CARS/WCMA/NASCC
*The small light fwd car had no front bar [removed for better traction out of corners]; softer springs in front [ditto: less wheel hop, better hookup on inside]; and a doubled-up rear anti-roll bar setup, [which allowed for the Scandinavian flick, a.k.a. Finnish flick, Manji drifting, 'pendulum turn', allowed for late apexes].
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The doubled-up stock bars merited more clamps near the ends. The stock bar only ties to the existing bar itself, no end link attachment required. All clamps were tightened and/or replaced periodically , but most hose clamps held well enough and were used several seasons].
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I consider the point of attachment of the batches of hose clamps over the doubled up bar and clamp tightness alter the amount of additional spring effect.​
 

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....However, I think [GC springs] are always linear and thus may not result in a 'better quality' ride over stock. Our OEM front springs, and the ebay ones that EQ is trying out, both have progressive rates.
GC springs (Eibach) for their coilover kits are linear. Stock springs are linear too. I actually had always steered clear of 'progressive' springs, but now having used them on the Insight I can see how they make some sense - for the kind of 'street' driving I do, and most likely, that other Insight drivers do... It does seem to make a difference - soft and easy for that first 1/2 inch or so of travel, a little stiffer for the next inch or so, and really stiff for the remainder...
 

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After 15 years of driving my car, I am so used to its suspension that I can not tell if it's good or bad or whatever! It is bumpy, but it could just be the nature of the car as well.
I was kind of in that boat as well. I only vaguely recall what the stock REAR springs felt like - cuz I pretty quickly installed the cut Miata rears after first getting the car... I recall it REALLY sucked. But then I drove for years with only the cut Miata springs (about 150 lbs/in). I actually didn't think I had much of a problem with the front - it felt fine (enough) to me. But I DID have a problem with the noisiness of the car - the road nose, the general rattling here and there... So, when I read Tycho's post about removing the front bar and the noise reduction, I was pretty keen on trying that out... I knew I'd probably have to go with stiffer front springs though, plus, with the stiffer rears, I always knew I should be running stiffer fronts as well...

Removing the power steering, no front bar, and the stiffer progressive springs in front have totally transformed the car - for the better... I had been thinking I might need a rear anti-roll bar, but so far I'm not seeing that that will be necessary... Though I still haven't pushed the limits yet, so not quite sure...

BTW, I did get my front wheels balanced - they were a little off - but it didn't do anything for the slight shimmy. I also messed with the toe a bunch of times and contrary to what I said earlier, the shimmy doesn't seem to go away - it seems to just slightly change the speed at which it occurs... Not sure what the deal is. Maybe I messed up the 'alignment' having messed with the front suspension parts so much. Yet it seems like all we can adjust is toe - so having pretty thoroughly tested my toe options (from toe-in to a bit of toe-out) and not having any luck, not sure how I could have messed up anything else and not sure where to go from here...
 

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If it was perfect, it would still be in production. Love the car but the mods and improvements made by ICers make it even better.
Yeah, not so sure about that. My "perfect" is probably someone else's nightmare... Kind of like the styling of modern cars (think big, obnoxious, joker-like grinning grills) - I can't stand modern styling - but someone somewhere probably thinks it's perfect... Maybe everyone does - and that's why the styling seems to be propagating...
 
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