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Stupid shock vs strut question...

1969 Views 11 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  mtnghost
I'm no car guy, but my Abarth Spider is getting me addicted. When doing some research on suspension upgrades, I got really confused on some websites' wordings.

My stupid question is "Does the Spider utilize both front and rear struts and shocks?". I saw somewhere that the two were never used together and can't be exchanged for one another insert reasoning here, but I see front/rear shocks and struts for the 124 all over the place.

How can you have both if it's one or the other and not interchangeable? Or was that source nonsense? Am I misreading?

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Strut has the spring as an integral part of it the shocks are just the dampening mechanisms. Usually in a shock you have leaf or torsion bars in a truck or traction bars like the fiat 500. Cars like ours have a coil spring that go around the shock, and the shock has a mount to support the spring making them struts. Hopefully this clears the confusion. You were actually quite close as at least you knew the two aren’t the same.
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If you don’t have an Abarth you could try and go with the Karcept sway bars first. Just cut out the old bar. They are pricey but I believe they will fix most the lean issues. If you want to lower ride height for looks and performance just jump into a quality coilover. Realistically you should just drive it how it is until the shocks need replacing and then do the coilovers. That would be the most logical and economical solution. Reducing body roll will also cause you to get better tires and so on and so forth to tune the suspension to your liking. Welcome to the rabbit hole, now jump in!
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Sorry just checked out your profile. So in my opinion the Abarth is not bad as is. Look at your pic, it really doesn’t lean as much as the ride height would suggest. I know it feels a bit much but now knowing you have the Abarth just drive it as it is you will learn to drive it the way it was designed to be driven. Now if you are all out racing check out @Spoolin32 build and follow his advice as I don’t think you can get better race car specs than his.
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Ok I see what your saying. Now this won’t help the lean but will definitely help grip, have you done a performance alignment? I see the angles of your tires are all out of sorts in that picture. To me it looks like you need more negative camber. It will help keep the tires flat with maximum contact patch to the road when turning like in the picture. Your grip will raise exponentially with an alignment and it costs the least and doesn’t require replacing parts. Try getting as close to @Spoolin32 alignment specs as you can with stock suspension. Then change out parts if you want to. BTW do not cut out the bar on the Abarth! It is worth money and highly sought after by Miata community. Pay someone to pull it if the task is too daunting to do yourself. From what I have seen you have to pull the front bumper and belly pan and move or remove the intercooler hoses to get it out. First things first do an alignment and come back to let us know how it goes.
Best description for the Spider is 'coil-over shocks': they are not true struts, which are an integral part of the suspension. Changing both the springs and sway bars will affect (improve) the lean. There are a lot of options from a few hundred bucks for springs and sway bars, to several thousand to upgrade to adjustable shocks. You can get a big upgrade at the low end, and if canyon carving (rather than racing) is what you will be doing, then there is no big advantage to adjustable shocks. The Abarth has bilsteins, so the shocks are pretty decent to start with.

Get an alignment afterwards - the tolerances out of the factory are too large. This will help significantly with the steering, even on a daily drive.
You are absolutely correct my bad. I was thinking along the lines of toyota and Subaru. I’m an ex Subaru mechanic. Now I’m with mazda so should get more familiar with the proper terminology.
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