Piston Slap: Spicy…or Spicier?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

John writes:

Wasup, Sajeev!

I have an 06 R/T Charger and I am contemplating getting a set of Eibach springs for it. What other costs might be associated aside from installation? What other products would I need to purchase, if any?

Thanks for any input,


John

Sajeev answers:

Well son, there was once a time when lowering springs ruined the suspension settings of a half-assed platform: hat tip to my dear Fox Body Ford. Hopefully your German-bred Chrysler product has none of those problems.

Eibach makes two kits for your car: spicy and spicier. That’s because the lower you go, the more heat you gotta handle.

Lowering (or lifting, for that matter) springs alter any vehicle’s suspension geometry. A wheel alignment is mandatory, and the LX forums seem to agree. Mild lowering kits (1.5″-ish max) are usually fine with stock dampers, even if a firmer shock compliments a lower and (usually) firmer spring. More aggressive setups usually need a matched set of dampers to go with, unless you care not about ride degradation.

Sometimes a full suspension kit includes an anti-roll bar upgrade too, which could help the feel and scrub understeer but the reduced left-to-right suspension flexibility isn’t necessarily that fantastic. More jolts don’t translate into faster lap times: do extensive research before you buy.

There’s also the matter of stock wheels: even the R/T might look a little silly with a lower body and boring-ass stock wheels. A bigger rim with a shorter sidewall is needed to “complete the look.” A different offset rim (see hyperlinked thread above) can also help with the inevitable: the meeting of expensive rubber with metal body parts. And brings me to the big problem with aftermarket lowering bits: driving style!

The more you have, the more likely you’ll avoid the punishment of potholes, pavement joints and puddles. If you live in a place with bad roads, or flooding, you might want to reconsider. Because nothing’s worse than a sore back, a tired ass and a hydro-locked motor if you treat a lowered car like a normal one.

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

See the slippery slope here? What exactly do you want? Looking lower requires more parts than just springs to complete the look. That’s the stance or hellaflush look, and it ain’t cheap. Going faster for the road and track? Going full aftermarket may be overkill: I’d try some factory funded engineering perfection via SRT-springs, famously high quality dampers (like Koni, Bilstein) and stickier tires on stock wheels. That won’t make you look any cooler, but you certainly will be.

[Image: Dodge/Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Blue-S Blue-S on May 12, 2014

    The ST Suspensions Coilover kit might be a good option. ST is a subsidiary of KW, and their stuff is made in Germany. The ST kits do not have the stainless steel housings that the KW products use, though. It looks like the ST Coilover kit for the '06 Charger is about $900 from several online sellers, and there is apparently a $150 rebate available through June. You would be hard-pressed to get a set of Konis or Bilsteins and a set of reputable-brand sport springs for that kind of money. Just don't go nuts with the lowering. Just because you CAN lower the car several inches, that doesn't mean that you SHOULD...

  • Raph Raph on May 13, 2014

    I was checking out Koni's site today and hit the news & event link. They are offering dampers and matched H&R springs. Pretty cool as this takes the chance of mismatching the spring and damper out of the problem. For the average guy looking to lower a vehicle this isn't a bad way to go and by average I mean the person that isn't willing to invest time into going out and evaluating their performance with concrete numbers and testing methods.

  • MaintenanceCosts "But your author does wonder what the maintenance routine is going to be like on an Italian-German supercar that plays host to a high-revving engine, battery pack, and several electric motors."Probably not much different from the maintenance routine of any other Italian-German supercar with a high-revving engine.
  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.
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