Imagine a 1993 TBI car with 25k miles. A new car, pretty much. Only problem: It has the "Soft Ride" suspension setup. Ever tried driving something like that? It's plain ridiciulous. I have seen pillows with better handling
Shouldn't be too hard to fix, though. Springs, shocks, swaybars - ok, the body- and control arm bushings are somewhat softer, but that can't make all that much of a difference?
So I took a set of Hotchkis Impala SS Lowering Springs (because they were there), KYB Gas-A-Just Shocks (Sedan up Front, Wagon Shocks in the rear, same reason as above) and added a rear sway bar from a 91 9C1.
I didn't expect much in terms of finely tuned handling, I just wanted some of that very soft ride to go away, and certainly, Hotchkis Springs, KYB Shocks and a 9C1 sway bar, that's gotta be SOME improvement? I was going to swap out the smaller Soft Ride front bar for a 9C1 bar, too, but first I took the car for a test drive.
Oh boy. Not only did I make most of the soft ride go away, I've also created the worst handling, off-balance Caprice I have ever driven. What was an overly comfortable car is now something evil and unpredictable. On flat ground at moderate speeds, it gives a very false impression of a stable, low and level ride, but as you speed up, the front end bounces over every bump in the road, and takes much too long to stabilize, much like a car with bad shocks, while the rear has the perfect combination of stiffness, level ride and comfort. The setup seems to work incredibly (and I mean incredibly, absolutely neutral handling) well in long, fast turns, but try to take a tight turn, and the car will suddenly shift all its weight to the outside front corner.
Now I'm quite sure adding the 9C1 front bar will take care of the cornering issue, but what's up with the bouncy front end? It can't just be the imbalance between Sedan Front and Wagon Rear Shocks.
Long story, short question: Hotchkis Impala springs, KYB Gas-A-Just shocks - any comments? I noticed neither of the two brands come up a lot in the suspension discussions around here.