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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This tutorial is based on the recent installation of Progress Lowering Springs and Bilstein Struts on my 2017 124 Classica. The car originally came with Tokico Struts and some relatively soft springs. Here's what I did to complete the job:

Tools Needed:
Jack and jack stands
Allen wrench
Hand Saw
Coil Spring Compressor
10, 12, 14, and 17mm wrenches and/or sockets
Impact wrench (not needed but is surely helps)

Once the car is raised and securely on jack stands, remove the wheels from the car and set them aside.
Note: Pay attention to how much effort it took to remove a given bolt. You'll want to use a similar amount of pressure tightening it all back together. If you don't think you can observe that kind of finesse, then consult a repair manual for the proper torque.

FRONT STRUT REMOVAL AND INSTALL
Open the hood and start removing the strut mounting bolts (14mm). If you have a strut brace on the car, remove it as well.


Remove the two 12mm bolts securing the hydraulic brake hose and the ABS wire to the upper control arm:



Remove the two 17mm bolts connecting the upper control arm to the frame:



Remove the 14mm nut connecting the sway bar link to the lower control arm:


Remove the 17mm bolt and nut from the bottom of the strut:


You now can lower the strut assembly from it's upper mount and pull it out of the car:


Once the strut assembly is out of the car, you'll need to use the coil spring compressor to remove the tension from the top hat, then remove the 14mm nut holding the top hat onto the strut.



Here is the layout of the order the parts go onto the strut:


If you are lowering the car, it's a good idea that you saw off some material off the bump stop so the strut does not bottom out too easy.



Reassemble the strut in the order shown above, make sure you line up the arrow on the dust boot to the scribe mark on the top hat, then make sure the arrow is lined up with the small hole on the bottom of the strut bracket


Install the strut in the same order you removed it and you should have it installed in the car. Finger tighten the upper control arm bolts and lower strut mount bolt and nut and then jack up the wheel assembly from under the lower ball joint. Once the wheel is lifted to the poin of laving the jackstand, tighten all the bolts hen lower the wheel assy
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
REAR STRUT REMOVAL AND INSTALL

Luckily, the rears are a little easier to remove and install than the fronts. Start with opening the trunk and removing the carpet panel push pins so you can reach the two 14mm bolts on either side. I removed the 5 10mm bolts that secured the fuel filler protection plate in order to have easier access to the drivers side top strut nuts.

14mm nuts removed:



Remove the 14mm sway bar link nut


Remove the 17mm bolt on the lower strut


Press down on the wheel assembly to gain enough clearance, then remove the strut. Once out, disassemble the same way the front was done.
Parts order of rear strut:


Cut the rear strut bump stops


When re-assembling, pay attention to the arrow on the dust boot and scribe on the top hat, and line them up with the lower hole just like the fronts. Also, do not tighten the lower mount bolt without adding preload to the wheel assembly. This can be done with a floor jack my placing it under the wheel and lifting the wheel assembly until the car is barely resting on the jack stand. At this point go ahead and tighten the lower strut mount bolt.




Re-install the wheels, lower the car, and go enjoy your transformed ride :)
 

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NICE!!!!

Don't forget the part about adjusting your headlights when lowering the car. On ameridan's blog. HEADLIGHT AIMING

Aloha mike
 

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NICE!!!!

Don't forget the part about adjusting your headlights when lowering the car. On ameridan's blog. HEADLIGHT AIMING

Aloha mike
Mahalo @Mike34. Just an add to your post. The Ameridan fix is for Lusso and Abarth cars with the adaptive headlight option. If you don’t have that option, your headlights will be ok. For those with the option this is a very important step.

Aloha, Dan
 

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Thanks for taking the time to post this. I hope I don't offend you if I write a tutorial of my own (which I've had in progress). There are some details I want to add to this process. I have a set of Goodwin Roadstersport springs going on the 124 soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Mahalo @Mike34. Just an add to your post. The Ameridan fix is for Lusso and Abarth cars with the adaptive headlight option. If you don’t have that option, your headlights will be ok. For those with the option this is a very important step.

Aloha, Dan
I'm guessing the adaptive headlamps have to do with the LED lamps? If so, you just gave me a reason why I'm glad I do not have LED headlamps.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
@zonker. Very nice tutorial. The spring compressor is must have.

Dan
Yes, it is worth spending the $ for. Although for many they might be able to rent them for free from an O'Reilly's or Autozone.

Truth be told, I used the spring compressors only during assembly. For dissasembly, I wrapped the strut assy in a horse blanket and used my impact gun to quickly remove the nut. Fastest way although not the safest.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for taking the time to post this. I hope I don't offend you if I write a tutorial of my own (which I've had in progress). There are some details I want to add to this process. I have a set of Goodwin Roadstersport springs going on the 124 soon.
If you have anything to add, you're welcome to add it here. Writing a whole new tutorial smells a bit like one-upmanship.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to post this. I hope I don't offend you if I write a tutorial of my own (which I've had in progress). There are some details I want to add to this process. I have a set of Goodwin Roadstersport springs going on the 124 soon.
If you have anything to add, you're welcome to add it here. Writing a whole new tutorial smells a bit like one-upmanship.
I don't think that's fair, he mentioned he was going to do one weeks ago.
 

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Zonker, nice tutorial. I'm not necessarily planning for this work myself, but apparently it isn't as bad as this non-mechanic would think it to be.

Owning the same car, I am very curious about the changes it made to the ride comfort. I imagine the car handles better in twisty situations, but how does the ride feel in the driver's seat when rolling over bumps, heaves, dip/holes, rough surfaces, etc. compared to stock? Are they just as smooth (or smoother) than the stock Classica, or did it make the impact of the poor surfaces more... noticeable (vs. using the words rough or harsh)?

My greatest reason for buying the Classica over the Abarth was ride comfort. Tourism and comfort over sporting performance. The Classica had a smoother feel over those poor road surfaces compared to the more performance oriented suspension of the Abarth. (I test drove both back-to-back). My dream is a smooth, plush ride on any surface (even better than stock) with improved body roll resistance in the curves and twisties. Is that just a dream, or could it be a reality?

Thanks,
Steve.
 

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If you have anything to add, you're welcome to add it here. Writing a whole new tutorial smells a bit like one-upmanship.
I'm disappointed to hear that. As rglass noted, I've had a tutorial in the works for weeks. I was sponsored a set of springs from GWR over 2 months ago, where I noted a tutorial would be coming. I have a format and list of requirements I like to see for effective tutorials, and some elements of that are missing in this one.

Like I said, I appreciate the effort and the thorough pictures. I'm not trying to "one up" anyone, and I really don't like adding to or modifying other peoples' tutorials. Everyone has a style for how they like to present instructions and I don't want to take away from that.
 

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My greatest reason for buying the Classica over the Abarth was ride comfort. Tourism and comfort over sporting performance. The Classica had a smoother feel over those poor road surfaces compared to the more performance oriented suspension of the Abarth. (I test drove both back-to-back). My dream is a smooth, plush ride on any surface (even better than stock) with improved body roll resistance in the curves and twisties. Is that just a dream, or could it be a reality?

Thanks,
Steve.
You could retain the comfort of the factory springs and still improve roll resistance by simply upgrading sway bars. That's the next step after I have the springs installed.
 

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You could retain the comfort of the factory springs and still improve roll resistance by simply adding sway bars. That's the next step after I have the springs installed.
Great, I'll watch for that one as well.

Thanks,
Steve.
 

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Thank you for shedding a little light on your decision to write another how to. I understand a little better now as to why you'll be doing another write up and do agree with your findings that everyone has a different takeaway from the process.

I also think it's beneficial to offer up other methods to further educate other members here so with that I apologize and look forward to what you have to put out there.

I do find your write ups articulate and knowledge filled and an asset to this community. Besides, if you promised GWR you would do a write up in return for a special deal on the springs, then I think you are obligated to do so.

Peace.
Thanks for understanding, and thanks again for your write-up. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Zonker, nice tutorial. I'm not necessarily planning for this work myself, but apparently it isn't as bad as this non-mechanic would think it to be.

Owning the same car, I am very curious about the changes it made to the ride comfort. I imagine the car handles better in twisty situations, but how does the ride feel in the driver's seat when rolling over bumps, heaves, dip/holes, rough surfaces, etc. compared to stock? Are they just as smooth (or smoother) than the stock Classica, or did it make the impact of the poor surfaces more... noticeable (vs. using the words rough or harsh)?

My greatest reason for buying the Classica over the Abarth was ride comfort. Tourism and comfort over sporting performance. The Classica had a smoother feel over those poor road surfaces compared to the more performance oriented suspension of the Abarth. (I test drove both back-to-back). My dream is a smooth, plush ride on any surface (even better than stock) with improved body roll resistance in the curves and twisties. Is that just a dream, or could it be a reality?

Thanks,
Steve.
My takeaway from how the ride is so far compared to stock is as imagined, the road undulations transmit a harsher ride not unlike what you noticed when driving the Abarth vs the Classica.
One of the reasons I made sure to include Cheryl in my first drive was to get her passenger feedback on how the car felt now after the changes.

She was pleased that the ride did not fall into race car territory and barely noticed any change.

From my perspective I noticed a little more harshness and a little more bobbing over expansion strips but overall it was very minor.

My recommendation for someone who wants to keep a smooth ride is to get springs that mimic the stock rate a little closer, or even cut your existing classica springs.

I've cut springs in the past and even did the rear coils on this car prior to the progress upgrade and found the ride change nil with no drawbacks (providing the cut is done correctly).

Also, and this plays in hugely, is your choice of tires and wheels. The larger and heavier the wheel, as well as the lower the aspect ratio of the tire, harsher the impact.

That being said, the stock Classica wheels and tires are the softest combo, and the stock Abarth is the harshest. If ride is a huge part of your enjoyment of the car, then sticking with a 16" wheel and tire will probably assist in your end goal.
 

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My takeaway from how the ride is so far compared to stock is as imagined, the road undulations transmit a harsher ride not unlike what you noticed when driving the Abarth vs the Classica.
One of the reasons I made sure to include Cheryl in my first drive was to get her passenger feedback on how the car felt now after the changes.

She was pleased that the ride did not fall into race car territory and barely noticed any change.

From my perspective I noticed a little more harshness and a little more bobbing over expansion strips but overall it was very minor.

My recommendation for someone who wants to keep a smooth ride is to get springs that mimic the stock rate a little closer, or even cut your existing classica springs.

I've cut springs in the past and even did the rear coils on this car prior to the progress upgrade and found the ride change nil with no drawbacks (providing the cut is done correctly).

Also, and this plays in hugely, is your choice of tires and wheels. The larger and heavier the wheel, as well as the lower the aspect ratio of the tire, harsher the impact.

That being said, the stock Classica wheels and tires are the softest combo, and the stock Abarth is the harshest. If ride is a huge part of your enjoyment of the car, then sticking with a 16" wheel and tire will probably assist in your end goal.
I wonder if the stiffer ride is more a result of the shocks than the springs themselves. I've heard one of the vendors (it was either GWR or FM) say that the stiffer springs actually improve ride quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I wonder if the stiffer ride is more a result of the shocks than the springs themselves. I've heard one of the vendors (it was either GWR or FM) say that the stiffer springs actually improve ride quality.
From my own experiences, Higher spring rate can decrease float, so perhaps their comment plays into that?

I did put the bilsteins on the rear prior to the progress spring install, and I did not really notice any change in the behavior of the rear relative to the tokicos so I think the springs more than the shocks are in play for me.

Typically, higher spring rates mean harder ride. I think you nailed it on the head earlier when suggesting increasing sway bar diameter over spring rates to reduce the lean on turns without affecting the touring style ride quality.
 

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Some strategic quote snipping...
My takeaway from how the ride is so far compared to stock is as imagined, the road undulations transmit a harsher ride not unlike what you noticed when driving the Abarth vs the Classica.

From my perspective I noticed a little more harshness and a little more bobbing over expansion strips but overall it was very minor.

Also, and this plays in hugely, is your choice of tires and wheels. The larger and heavier the wheel, as well as the lower the aspect ratio of the tire, harsher the impact.

That being said, the stock Classica wheels and tires are the softest combo, and the stock Abarth is the harshest. If ride is a huge part of your enjoyment of the car, then sticking with a 16" wheel and tire will probably assist in your end goal.
Thanks Zonker, your feedback hit the nail squarely on the head for me. I agree about the tires and wheels. Only one thing would get me to leave the 16" wheel, and that would be the North American Unobtainium Euro Retro 4-spoke wheel, a 17-incher that I am in love with (click the thumbnail below). Anyway, when it is tire replacement time, I could even see researching bumping up from the stock 195/50 16" to a 205/50 16". It would gain me another 0.4" diameter (helping fill that wheel well a little bit while contributing to the cush), still plenty under what some are shoving into the wheel wells of their Abarths. Tires are the most important suspension component on the car. And the OEM 16" wheel is the lightest of the 3 available wheels.

I'm looking forward to XR's future sway bar installation tutorial. Going with a non-3-season sport tire of a taller size, and sway bars, may be the combo that could work for me. It's only money.

Steve.
 

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