Tag Archives: coilovers

Coilovers on a TR6

When bowtie6 was built the first time, we used coilovers on the rear suspension.  A special bridge was made and welded to the frame to hold the top part of the coilovers and tabs were welded on the aluminium control arms to hold the lower part of the coilovers.  This was nice, the horrible “lever shocks” used on stock TR6’s were removed and all was good.

We thought about using coilovers up front but the way the original Triumph frame is constructed did not allow for a very good placement.  So instead, I used SPAX shocks with upgraded aftermarket “racing” springs.  This setup worked quite well – but with a huge shortcoming.  What shortcoming?

We all know factory Triumph TR6’s require the dreaded “spring compressor” to take the front suspension apart.  This in itself is not a big deal (provided one uses the correct type of spring compressor), however the constant tension from the spring loads up the front suspension something fierce.  This load forces the driver use great effort when turning the front wheels at parking lot speeds.  What??  Well – until you drive a TR6 with coilovers you will have to take my word for it.  With coilovers, one can turn the steering wheel with very little effort.  Huge difference.  Coilovers also allow the use of different spring rates.  One can tune the suspension to his needs very accurately.  Finally, one can control ride height very nicely with coilovers.

The downside is price.  Good quality, rebuildable coilovers are not cheap.  Sure, one can source coiloves from eBay or some half-quality supplier.  Good ones will run you about $400 a pair.  By the time you order the appropriate springs you can have $1000 a set.  But they are worth it!

The following gallery show some pics of my coilovers mounted on the new frame.  There are some pictures of the front as well as the rear suspension, with the solid axle.  One interesting note:  Take a look at the frame:  there is nothing that hangs below the frame line.

Oh and the coilovers, yes, they perform as nice as they look!

Final Pics of the New TR6 Frame

Here is a final set of pictures of the new frame serving as bowtie6’s backbone.  The body has now been permanently bolted on, so this is the last set…

Some misconceptions have surfaced as to the origin of this frame.  Suffice to say this is NOT (repeat, IT IS NOT) a RATCO frame.  Those folks produce a nice aftermarket frame but this one is all bespoke and designed for the ECOTEC and the solid rear axle specifically.

Why so many entries on this blog about the frame?  Well, simply put:  I am very proud of it.  My cousin Jim Thompson has put together a very clever, lightweight and strong frame using modern frame-building techniques and materials while being able to retain some of the original TR6 bits.

The front suspension is almost all stock TR6.  The “A” arms, ball joins, steering rack, sway bar, trunions, hubs and rotors are all stock Triumph.  The calipers are Wilwood.  The springs/shocks have been replaced with coilovers.  The coilovers offer several advantages:  no spring compressors, spring interchangeability and the ability to control ride height.  However, they are not cheap but worth every penny.

The rear is all new and it is trick!  The axle is an 8” Ford, custom sized.  It was cut on both sides and custom cut axles have been sourced from Moser.  The gears are from Motive; posi-traction (of course) with a 3.80 to 1 ratio.  Disc rotors and calipers are used on the rear end (with full emergency brake capability using the original TR6 cables and lever), as well as matching coilovers.  There is a four point suspension holding the axle in place with Heim ends on all four control arms.  We tried polyurethane ends, but they did not survive the power from the ECOTEC.  Enter the Heim ends.  Again, only the best have been purchased.  These are precision ground steel (normally used on sprint cars) along with special boots to keep debris out.  Brake and fuel lines are all hand made, hand fitted and hand formed from stainless tubing; with teflon lined, braided lines going to all four calipers.  Again, only the best has been sourced.

This is the second frame built using this design.  The first frame is under Jim’s TR4 and it has proven to be astounding.  It is very stiff – gone is the ‘flex’ that the original frame exhibits.  The new frame is made from much stronger square tubing.  This tubing is a solid square, not a “U” channel with a cap spot-welded as in the original design from Triumph.  I repeat, this is very strong stuff.

Finally, the ECOTEC 2.4 litre engine sits on special plates (on the frame side) that allow the use of the original Solstice engine mounts as well as tranny mount.  The mounts are really nice because they are made with rubber to help isolate vibrations.  Furthermore, the GM mounts have a locking mechanism that if the rubber ever fails the engine will only rock a very small distance and the locks keep it from making undesirable and expensive damage.

Finally some thoughts:

  • I realize this frame has nothing in common with the ‘original’ frame.  My condolence to the purists – but the idea is performance and this frame works and works very well.
  • I’ve read where folks discuss the shortcomings of the AISIN gearbox and say the gearing is all wrong.  Depends what you want to do:  bowtie6 is not built as a drag car.  Yes, first gear is a bit tall and that might not sit well with folks.  I don’t mind it.  From the experience gained from my prior setup and my cousin’s TR4, the car excels like a dream in second, third and fourth.  These three gears are quite simply awesome.  What about fifth?  Well, suffice to say that at speed and in fifth gear all you have to do is punch it and the car will take off.
  • The last thing about the new frame has come as a bit of a surprise to me.  In my cousin’s TR4 the steering “effort” has been reduced significantly.  The “far-back” engine placement has something to do with this.  But there is also the extra pressure of the original spring pushing on the “A” arms that has been deleted.  The new “feel” is much more positive, lightning-quick and a delight to use at parking-lot-speeds.

Here is the final picture gallery of the frame prior to the body being permanently installed.

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bowtie6‘s New Frame – Check It!

The new custom frame is done.

After much anticipation, the new custom frame is finished.  It has taken a lot of work by my cousin Jim and I could not be happier.  There are plenty of pictures – they are at the bottom of today’s entry in a gallery, but first here is what we have:

The frame looks different from the original setup.  This was done for several reasons, but mainly for strength.  The next was the ability to mount the rear solid axle.  One of the main concerns I always had in the back of my mind was whether the hubs/halfshafts would fail.  This time, the new axle will handle all the power on tap with no reservations.  This time, the diff is posi-traction with a 3.80 to 1 ratio.

The rear calipers I had on the old frame have been adapted to work with the new axle.  As you will see, the front calipers are the same Wilwood’s from the original build.  The original mounts were retained.  All brake lines going to the calipers are the ones used in the past build – braided teflon lined.  And, there is also a picture below showing the location of the Wilwood proportioning valve.  All brake lines have been scratch made from stainless tubing fitted by hand.  They look killer!

Coilovers have been used on all four corners.  This part took a bit of research and the spring rates took some careful consideration.  These are the same settings used on my cousin Jim’s TR4.  Not only do they look awesome but they perform equally well.  They are quite pricey but just the fact there will not be any more spring compressors involved makes it worth the trouble.

The ECOTEC 2.4 engine is now mounted using the original Solstice mounts.  Special pads were made to go on the frame and this is where the mounts anchor.  Ditto for the transmission mount.  This is all done with a very specific purpose:  to make room for the exhaust and have nothing ‘hanging’ below the frame.

There is a ton of more subtle details – I am sure you will find them.  If you have any questions/comments drop me a line.  Here is the new frame gallery.  Enjoy!

bowtie6 Starts to Come Apart (Again!)…

This feels like déjà vu!

In order to save from getting a busted gut when we get the broken frame out, the body has to be a little lighter…

So, the process of taking bowtie6 apart has begun.  The bonnet, doors and boot lid have all come off.  This time, it has been much slower than when I first took the car apart:  I’ve got a very expensive paint job to watch over!

Here is a quick preview of what the new front suspension will look like:  gone will be the days when a spring compressor is required to take the front “A” arms apart.

The new coilovers for bowtie6 were ordered and UPS brought them to my door this week.  They look just like the ones in the photo.  As you can see, the stock “A” arms are still there, and since the frame is custom made, a new mount has been built for the top of the coilover.  The bottom is attached to a new mounting plate that screws to the bottom of the lower “A” arms (much like the way the stock front shocks mount).

The coilovers are fully adjustable for rebound, can be rebuilt and the springs are interchangeable (of course).  This makes it very nice for fine-tuning travel.  The rear suspension will feature a similar setup, except that the coilovers will mount to the new axle.