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Spirit R/T Go Faster ideas, from suspension/handling tips, to brakes to mufflers

From Wes Grueninger : Congratulations on the new R/T! I had one for two years, sold it about two years ago, and finally got another one to replace it last week. For handling, I would say the a set of red Koni adjustable shocks and struts would be the *best* thing you could do. When you set those to full 'hard', the only play left in the car is chassis flex. Any ideas on how to mount wider tires without rubbing....or how to expand the wheel wells without too much pain? I know TSW makes a set of wheels which is a full 7" wide, and clears everything. Even on the small L-body Omni GLH. Otherwise, with the stock offset and backspacing, the only way to properly keep the tires from rubbing is to go back to 205/60-15s. Also, any quick add-ons to improve performance? I really like the idea of a sleeper car (What? ....a fast SEDAN?). K&N makes a drop-in replacement for the pleated paper air filter. Neil Emiro, whose e-mail address I do not have handy, makes custom computers for the T3, which allows higher boost levels while maintaining a safe stoichiometric air/fuel ratio. If noise is not a concern, I have heard wonderful things about removing the muffler and running a straight pipe. It is supposed to really uncork a lot of power on Turbo 3 cars. And, if you are feeling ambitious, a 2.5" mandrel-bent exhaust system is much less restrictive than the stock tubing, especially where it snakes around the rear axle. And one very important reminder: IF you ever need to replace the stock muffler, and want to just stick on another stock replacement, be sure to order the muffler for a '91 Spirit with the 3.0L V6. Many catalaogs list the 2.5 muffler for the Turbo 3, which is a smaller, more restrictive, and is not correct. The Turbo 3s came with the larger 3.0L piece installed. This will same many headached and trips to the parts store when you're doing this repair. - Wes Grueninger 1998 Saturn SL2 1991 Dodge Spirit R/T 1989 Dodge Caravan SE Turbo 1988 Dodge Shadow ES Turbo 1987 Chrysler LeBaron GTS Turbo 1985 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo ----------------------------------------
Hello all, Just wanted to do a report on the installation and driveability of our R/T after putting on KYB GR2 front struts and rear shocks, and Eibach Prokit springs on the front and rear. We also added a rear sway bar. We decided we needed to do something to the suspension after I had noticed for a couple thousand miles a fast "whump-whump-whump-whump" coming from the rear of the car area during highway driving. It turned out that our rear shocks were totally gone and the rear tires (both sides) had cupped very, very badly, causing the whumping noise. We decided on KYB GR2's and Eibachs mainly because I liked how they did on my '91 Eagle Talon turbo All-wheel-drive. The new setup made the Talon (which had had the original struts/springs for 130k miles!) handle pretty flat in the corners, and it now rides much sportier, but not punishing. On the Talon, it is definitely a setup for daily performance driving (with some red-light racing), but not for autocrossing or serious stuff, and we were looking for something similar on our R/T with 60k and the stock struts/shocks/springs. The installation of all of the parts - the front struts, rear shocks and springs all around, is very straightforward. There's really no tricks or tips to offer. The rear sway bar fits directly under the beam axle and bolts to the frame. If you have installed a sway bar before, this is no different. What a difference in the ride! Just by installing new rear shocks alone did the ride improve! Before installing the new rear shocks, when we'd take off from a redlight, the car would buck like a bronco at each shift. After installing our front struts, rear shocks, Eibachs and sway bar, there is little dive when shifting. It corners much flatter and handles very well. It is a tad stiff when going over some bumps, but seems to be very sporty without being overly harsh on the road. We like it a lot! The Eibachs lowered the car about 1" or so; we were told that it'd be around 1 to 1 1/4". We got the 3/4" sway bar and Eibach springs from Lambros Engineering (314-725-7181) for ~$483. The sway bar came with red polyeurthane bushings for the rod ends, but the bushings for the bar itself where it bolts to the beam suspension were too small, so we're waiting on new ones while we put some old rubber ones in there that we happened to have. The springs are black power coated and all are progressive rate (springs are closer together at the bottom and farther apart at the top). We got the front struts and rear shocks from RD Enterprises (800-683-2890) for around $160 total. The front struts bolt right in - and as usual when replacing struts, you'll have to take the old one apart to get the upper and lower rubber isolators and dust cover to reuse on your new struts. We went to AutoZone and 'bought' a spring compressor for $40 to get the old struts apart and get the new ones together. AutoZone's policy allows you to take the compressor back for a full refund (if you don't break it to pieces), so you really don't end up paying anything for it. The rears are simple shock absorbers that also bolt right in. The spring on the rear is separate; it's not a strut assembly like on the front. If you have any questions about our installation or our ride, just drop us a line! -- Julie Julie and Jim Moore, http://www.mooresmopars.com/ ><> Moore's MoPars! ><> ---------------------------------------------
Hi again, anybody know anything about brakes for an R/T? Mine just reached 55k miles and needs front brakes badly. I have a rotor out of round and that makes stopping from speed interesting... :-0 Especially with a top speed over 140 MPH :) Does anybody have any advice about brakes for R/Ts? Should I replace the rotor without even thinking about it, or should I first see about having them turned? Is there anything special about the rotors or pads? Will they be hard to get and are they different from regular Spirit brakes? Before you order rotors, make sure you know if it is the front or rear which are warped. As crazy as it sounds, both of my Spirits had warped rear rotors when I got them. I personally am not a big believer in having rotors turned. This may be because of my experience with my grandfather's Park Avenue (GF - "The peckin' brakes on this car are bad!"; Me - "Why don't you get new rotors?"; GF - "Well I just had the peckin' things turned three times, and they keep goin' bad!") The rotors for the R/T are the same as any Spirit with 15" wheels and 4-wheel disc brakes. Ditto the pads. On both my cars, I have excellent luck with the combination of Bendix rotors and Mopar pads. Are there any interesting upgrades that people have done. Herb DaSilva once mentioned getting rotors/calipers from a caravan and replacing the stock brakes with these bigger ones. Anybody got any other suggestions. Personally, I think the brakes on the R/T are more than adequate. The slight increase in braking performance you may notice from a minivan brake upgrade is not worth the time and labor involved in doing the swap. Take care, Wes Grueninger ----------------------------------------------
On Sun, 10 May 1998, Wes Grueninger wrote: Is there anything special about the rotors or pads? Will they be hard to get They will be quite easy to get indeed. The same brakes came as standard on the Spirit ES, and were available as an option on other AA-body models. My experience is with MoPar pads. There may or may not be available these high performance "Carbon Metal" type pads. I haven't looked seriously into it. I personally am not a big believer in having rotors turned. This may be because of my experience with my grandfather's Park Avenue (GF - "The peckin' brakes on this car are bad!"; Me - "Why don't you get new rotors?"; GF - "Well I just had the peckin' things turned three times, and they keep goin' bad!") This most likely is to do with the trend towards ever-thinner, ever-lighter rotors to trim costs and weight and keep MPG up to meet the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy nonsense. Thin/light rotors cannot dissipate heat nearly so well as the older bulky items, and so many new rotors tend to warp quite easily. This has been a problem on new ('93 and later new designs) Chrysler products as well as just about every other make and model of standard passenger car. I believe the rotors on the ES-R/T disc brake package are substantial enough NOT to be notably affected this way. Just the same, if I wanted to make a set of brake rotors *LAST*, I'd go buy a new set, have them cryogenically processed, (Popular Science, 1987) and have them turned. I'd lay money I'd never have to replace them or worry about warpage ever again. This is going to extremes, however, and I see no need to do so on the Spirit. Rotors are available and inexpensive. I might go to this length to fix the problem on late model "tiny rotor" cars or on early disc brake systems (such as that on my '65 D'Valiant) for which rotors are scarce and expensive. Personally, I think the brakes on the R/T are more than adequate. Agreed. I dislike the "disconnected" feel of power-boosted brakes, but suspect that pedal effort might be impossibly high without a booster on the 4-wheel disc system. I very much like the progressive, connected feel of the nonboosted discs in the D'Valiant. Maybe someday I'll experiment with unboosting the brakes in the Spirit. Daniel Stern

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