The big long Suspension write-up for my Suzuki Swift GTi. What I've done, what settings I use and even how to get old bushings out, as well as install some of like the new bushings.
The Koni shocks are adjustable, from full rebound to no rebound. If you drive at the track, set the rears to no rebound (stiff), and the fronts about half-way (or softer). If you do not drive at the track, then having the rears on no rebound will jar your spine and your chiropractor will not be proud of you. Setting the rears to half for street use is a million times more comfortable in comparison. The Konis are the usual annoying Koni inserts in the front where you have to drill through the bottom of your original strut and then insert in your Konis. Be sure to tighten the bolts to spec and use the proper inserts. Having it bang around is annoying. No install tips/pics here... they are pretty basic and you should be able to find some others on the net to guide you through.
The springs I chose were H&R springs. H&R makes an excellent spring for a lot of cars out there, and the Swift GTi is no exception. In comparison to back to back runs with my koni+ H&Rs vs. my friends Konis+Intrax at the track... The H&Rs provided much better turn in and response. It was something we both noticed. the Intrax are a good spring to lower the car, and they 'settled' lower than my H&Rs have.. but if you want handling stick with something like the H&Rs or Eibachs or some of the more reputable for track racing names.
and rear pic
Next stage for me was the rear sway-bar... not only did this help turn-in, it helps keep your front tire planted while in a corner. If you have ever driven your GTi hard around the corner you know that the inside wheel loves to let loose, even on a relatively stock car.
Poly Bushings and their details.
If you have 200,000kms on your car like mine, chances are your old D bushes are shot. Because of the rareness in setting these up, I'll include a quick babble on how to install them.
On the left of the picture above, you can see the poly bushings I picked up for the rear of the car, and in the right side of the picture is a display of how I set up the bushings for the front of the car. For the rear there is the large square bushings, these are offset. As well as the rear anti-sway bar 'D' pushings and the rear anti-sway bar drop-link bushings. For the front I picked up a caster bushing set... off-set and includes the large control arm 'D' bush as well as the front bush which includes spacers to adjust the toe. Below that set of bushings is the front anti-sway bar 'D' bush set, and the drop-link bushings. Basically, I picked up every bushing available for the GTi minus the rear inner control arm bush set, and the rear knuckle bush set. The problem with poly bushings were the control rod goes in the knuckle is that under heavy racing it can bend that control rod do the stiffness of the new bushing.
How to install all of these you ask, and how much time can you expect. For them all, I would say in between 4-8 hours depending on tools you have and how badly you want it. :)
For the front caster poly bush kit which includes the large d bush and the round inner bush, basically you might as well remove the front control arm completely as it will save you hassle and it is easy to disconnect. All that is needed is to pop it off from the lower balljoint and take the two big bolts holding the bar to the frame. When I did this I had two extra control arms from a sohc Swift lying around that I used.
Looking around the net I see a lot of horror stories about how it takes you 8 hours and getting these bushings off/out without a torch is impossible. These were not on a swift however and this is how I did it quickly and easily without a torch. The bonus here is that mother nature loves me for not giving myself or anyone else the 'black lung' from torching it out.
First of all I took the big 'D' bush end of the control arm and clamped it into a vice that was mounted on a permanent shelf. All that was required for me to remove it was twist the entire control arm and push up at the same time. The vice kept the bushing locked in place and the play in the rubber allowed me to slowly push up while twisting. All in all, it took about 2 minutes or less of solid effort for each. I know that certain models/years had a completely solid bushing (as opposed to the hollow ones my olders ones have)... this may make a difference in using this method. As for the other circular bushing.. after you remove the piece from the middle that attaches to the body. I took a grinder and ground off the 'excess' rubber that covers the hole so that as I was pushing it back through it would go through easily. After that, I took a bolt of the right length added a few nuts for spacers (had a bolt lying around), and then a washer and a bolt on the other end to hold it tight to the metal insert in the middle of the bushing. And then just simply pounded it out with a hammer in about 1-2minutes per side. One bushing was easy and only required average hammer. The other needed 2 small whacks from a sledge (not wild swing, up close like hammer), before it came out. I tried an air hammer but found this to be completely ineffective in comparison. You can try it without the bolt but hitting the metal insert accurately and once it goes deeper in the hole will be a challenge to say the least. Using just something to hammer against it will also waste a lot of the energy from your hammer that should be going to pushing it through. I do not have superhuman strength, as I would like to think, so anyone should be able to do this.
A picture of the bushing after it was hammered out... explains itself.
Rear d bushes I did not have any extra control arms lying around.. plus getting the bushings off the inner arm and knuckle can take you a lifetime without a torch (hehe, well for what I needed, I did not need a torch). Anyways this part is a little trickier but can be just as easy if you have an air hammer. Once you take the bolts and bracket holding the D bush to the body off, you can start. Everything is likely rusted on, however this was still quick for me. All that is required now is an air hammer. The metal insert inside the big bushing has a gap in it from the factory. Use your air hammer in this gap to push the metal insert away from the arm.. on both sides... even with supreme rust mine opened up nicely and once it was free I was able to just simply spin the entire bushing off.
As for the rear drop-link bushes. They are a larger ID diameter than the stock drop-link bushes, but I was told that they are correct and will work because the forces are axial not radial. Also, the stock drop-links have 3 metal washers on them total... due to the size increase of the poly end-link bushes, I had to take one of the metal washers out in order to put the nut on. I left the very top and bottom washer on.
Alignment settings will be taken from Whitelines site.