Piston Slap: From Dull Corolla to a True Sprinter?

piston slap from dull corolla to a true sprinter
Lucas writes:Hello, Sajeev. I have a 1993 Toyota Corolla (Aussie spec, pictured here) and 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?Sajeev answers:I have a grudging admiration for the E100 Corolla, growing more admirable with every subsequent generation of less “compact” Corolla. Considering the high(er) performance Sprinter model, this should be your upgrade template.Aftermarket support is pretty thin, but if the Internet doesn’t lie, the Eibach Pro-Kit is indeed your starting point: complete with the same spring rates as the TRD springs. Generally, aftermarket products sold by the OEM (i.e. Toyota) are designed for most folks looking for a mild upgrade. So if TRD’s rates are the same as Eibach, and if they are (supposedly) TRD’s spring vendor, you have nothing to lose!But with lower and stiffer springs comes the need for stiffer shocks. Koni street dampers are likely to make a shocking (sorry) improvement to worn out, stock Corolla dampers. You can go with a cheaper alternative (KYB comes to mind) but there’s a reason why Konis are so pricey, so desirable: they even made the boneheaded Fox Body suspension of my 1988 Mercury Cougar handle curves and bumps like a far superior vehicle. Okay, fine, I am sure those Bilsteins are also a great upgrade.With your lowered stance you probably don’t want stock wheels (though that probably already happened!) and high profile tires. I think a 16-inch wheel is the perfect blend of wheel-to-body on the E100, but no matter, just like getting Konis/Bilsteins, don’t cheap out here. Do your homework on tire compounds/treadwear/performance classification on one of the many Australian tire websites. Regarding wheels, every extra pound adds rotational mass that degrades acceleration, steering, braking, and often ride quality. If you gotta go heavy, stay as close to stock weight as possible.And since this is close to a 30-year-old car, check and replace worn suspension bushings. Consider avoiding urethane bushings, as they are quite harsh and disturbingly noisy on the street. From there, adding chassis stiffeners is great, but avoid pivoting strut braces: that defeats the purpose of a chassis stiffener.From there you can also add a rear sway bar (if applicable), but odds are that’s a consideration in the distant future.So, what else do you need when installing Eibach lowering springs, Best and Brightest?[Image: OP]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.
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  • JimC2 JimC2 on Feb 10, 2020

    The factory original suspension, when brand new, was probably underdamped by quite a bit- they usually are on most cars because that's what most buyers like on a test drive. In general, I agree to replace the shocks before spending money on stiffer springs. Do your homework and research on the choices of aftermarket shocks. The suspension bushings on a 27 year old car probably badly need replacement. I doubt there are many choices other than either the OEM or very low quality knock-offs when it comes to this make/model/year, but if you're into it then there are might be aftermarket polyurethane bushings (instead of the original material, which is basically hard rubber; polyurethane is more like medium hard plastic). That means a harsher ride over cracks and little bumps, but it will make the car handle a lot better too. You could probably get a competent race shop to fabricate these one-off by providing a set of OEM bushings... that's an expensive way to go about it but it might be the only way if it's what you want to do with your car.

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