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Thread: Coilovers! QA1 Front Suspension....What fits and how? The answers!

  1. #1

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    Coilovers! QA1 Front Suspension....What fits and how? The answers!

    So this has been an annoying (and costly) task over the past few weeks, however I finally have some results for those of you who want to know if you can use QA1 coilovers on the front of your truck. The short answer is yes, and hopefully this saves you a bit of time and money by avoiding the experimental process that I went through. Below I will answer all of the questions that I had initially that I was never able to find the answers for, as well as include part numbers and pictures.

    Q #1) Does QA1, or anyone else, make bolt on adjustable coilovers for the ram 50/mighty max trucks?
    A) No, neither QA1 nor any other companies that I could find offer a complete front suspension package in a coilover option. You can call them and most places are not even familiar with the trucks (I know you are all used to this already)

    Q #2) I've heard that the Chevy S10 shares similar suspension geometry, can I aftermarket S10 parts to make it work?
    A) Yes and no. If you look up aftermarket struts (struts only), both the mighty max/ram 50 and S10 trucks share the same part numbers which means they should fit (they do) and are the same length. The springs however are not the same, because the mighty max/ram 50s have an upper spring perch that is located closer to the control arm than that of an S10. These spring perches are also narrower than those on an S10, so the S10 springs have too wide of an inner diameter as well.

    Q #3) Given the above information, what are my options?
    A) So what I've come up with at the moment may or may not be to everyone's liking. I am the type of person that has to have matching suspension, and since I'm running QA1s out back, I was determined to figure this out. The 1st Gen S10 Pro Coil Kit struts from QA1 work without any issues. The part number for them is GS401.
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    You are required to modify your lower control arms in order to mount them, this is the same process S10 owners have to go through as well. The new struts bolt to the top of the lower control arm, rather than underneath like the factory ones. The mounting hardware that is supplied works fine, but at minimum you will need to drill out/grind off the factory strut mounting nuts. I chose to cut/grind off the entire factory lower spring perch since it is no longer necessary and I didn't like the way it looked.
    With the strut sitting on the control arm from the bottom, before modification:
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    Spring perch removal:
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    Perch removed, strut mounted how it's supposed to be.
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    Stock vs. modified:
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    Painted up and ready to go:
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    Now this is where it became a pain in the ass. So the struts are figured out and that's all good and well, however the S10 spec springs that come with their S10 coilover kit are too large in diameter, and DO NOT FIT. Save some money and just order the struts without the springs. Pictured are the S10 springs, which are 10" tall and have an upper inner diameter of over 4". THESE WILL NOT WORK. The mighty max/ram50 needs a spring with an upper I.D. of 3.5".
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    So after this, the goal became to find the right springs. The mm/ram50 upper spring perches are located lower to the control arm, therefore a much shorter spring is required in order to get the control arm bolted up. The only option I was able to find is QA1's Mustang II springs, which are 8" long (free uncompressed length) with a 2.5" lower I.D. and a 3.5" upper I.D. seen below:
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    Part number for these springs is 8MB375:
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    Now these springs fit. You'll notice I covered them in painter's tape and that's to avoid scratching them.. QA1 is very strict and will not take back anything that has been scratched in the slightest way. (dont even breathe on it)

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    To install them, lower the coil over height adjustment collars all the way down to the bottom of the strut. You are going to put the top of the strut through its mounting hole first, and then attach the lower control arm. The spring is short enough to get you really close, but I wasn't able to push on it enough to get the threads started until I removed the upper rubber bushing seen below:
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    With this off, you will have enough exposed threads to get the nut started (you can go back after control arm is mounted and add the bushing/washer underneath the nut)
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    Now you can mount the lower portion of the strut to the lower control arm. I used a jack to bring the control arm up slowly and install the spindle.
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    So there we go. S10 QA1 struts with QA1 Mustang II springs. The only problem I currently expect is that it's not going to sit low enough for my liking. QA1 does not offer any other tapered springs that are shorter than this and the tech at QA1 thinks anything shorter could result in too little travel, resulting in bottoming out often. These springs have a 375# rate which is the lightest I could get, hoping that they will compress a little more than something higher. QA1 says to expect 30% ish compression when weighted. Most of you running suspension like this probably dont want to be slammed, otherwise you would have went with bags or something, but just a fair warning, it's not looking like it's going to be where I want mine (1 finger gap between fender and tire, tires are 245/45/17, the truck isn't finished yet so I cannot properly weight it so see final ride height) I have ordered drop spindles and fingers crossed it'll get me there. Another potential option is to try mounting the strut to the underside of the lower control arm, but with the added pressure from the spring (before the spring was contained by only the control arm) I am not sure if that's a safe/great idea.

    Thanks for reading guys, I'll be posting updated pictures when the truck is sitting on its own, hope this helps someone!

  2. #2

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    I looked at the entire Mustang II coil over strut and thought it would work - I was close. I would not attempt mounting the bottom shock mount to the underside of the control arm as the load will be on the bolts and not the control arm. This will be a quantum leap forward for your truck and maybe the ride height will be acceptable once it's all back together and on the ground. Nice work!

  3. #3

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    very nice write up, Looking forward to seeing the ride height. keep us posted on ride quality too!
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  4. #4

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    wow very nice..i have.a [question]..how much did u spend at the end of the $$day??
    Last edited by EL.95MAX; 05-17-2016 at 10:08 AM.

  5. #5

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    Another question to add to the list - what are the OD's of the lowered Mustang II spring you ended up using? Saw a Mustang II coil over using a 350lb rated spring but the height was 10". They only listed the OD of the spring.

  6. #6

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    never mind i just did a little research
    for jegs QA1 Coil-Over $178.99 each
    springs $70.99

  7. #7

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    Geezer- Yeah you were close if you were going that route. I agree with the shock from the bottom being a terrible idea. I have considered boxing the control arm at the bottom and mounting the shock there, which would move it down a decent bit. I will post pics once the drop spindles arrive. The Mustang II springs that I used can be found here: http://www.qa1.net/suspension/spring...system-springs
    they are all 8" length, I went with the 375# ones. Lower ID is 2.5", upper ID is 3.5" thanks!

    Rymar- thanks a lot! ill be sure to update this thread once I have it on the ground and everything sorted out as well as any part numbers that may change and help you guys out.

    EL.95MAX- yup those prices are correct. Not bad in comparison to most coil over options for Japanese cars, but a little more than struts/springs

  8. #8

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    Welding a bottom reinforcing plate would be better but it would have to be top notch work or the metal will tear. It would give you at least another inch of clearance.

  9. #9



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    If you remove the factory bottom plate off the arm, open the hole in the arm, then weld on a new plate that is heavier for the lower mount on the coilover, that would be the best route. I have seen that done on these arms somewhere before.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by pennyman1 View Post
    If you remove the factory bottom plate off the arm, open the hole in the arm, then weld on a new plate that is heavier for the lower mount on the coilover, that would be the best route. I have seen that done on these arms somewhere before.
    100% agree. thats my plan if things dont sit low enough once the truck is on the ground. I'm really hoping that the drop spindles save the day.

  11. #11

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    Nice writeup. Looking forward to more.

  12. #12

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    Any updates? Was this MOD driven and completed? Would like to follow suit but pending positive results.

  13. #13


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    I have a set of ground control coils and sleeves I was going to use. Slides around the struts no problem. Didn't get around to trying it yet. Was leftover from an old civic build.

  14. #14

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    Good work. Hope it rides the way u like.

  15. #15

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    UPDATE: so i finally have the truck on the ground (kinda) and the ride height isnt nearly as bad as I expected. Wheels are 17s and tires are 245/45s for reference. The front suspension is adjusted as low as it will go and I have drop spindles as well. Now the engine in the truck is a mock up motor, so a substantial amount of front end weight is missing right now. Intercooler/radiator/crankshaft/pistons & rods/tubular core support all are yet to be installed. So it will probably sit pretty well. Unfortunately for me I got impatient and already started modifying the passenger side shock tower (lowering the strut mount) and control arm (lowering the shock mount). Should have more updates soon, sorry for the super long wait.

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  16. #16

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    More updates. So took the plunge and decided to modify the control arms and what not. Just couldnt stand the idea of having adjustble suspension that was maxed out without the truck being very low lol. I cut 2" of height out of the upper strut mount and welded a plate back in using 3/16" mild steel. For the control arm, it was cut out and clearanced for the coil adjustment collars (looks ugly, my least favorite part). I then cut a 1/4" mild steel plate to fit the bottom side of the control arm. I cut the factory lower portion of the control arm out to make room for the strut to mount. The biggest and most important thing to watch here was that the strut wasnt being setup with any sort of angular force on it. Dont want it to bind during driving. So I got everything fitted up, tacked it, checked it, and welded it all in. 1/4" may be overkill for the control arm, but mehhh itll work until I get the truck drivable, then I'll work on a tubular option. Plate joints were welded on the bottom and on top inside the arm. I now have it too low and could go at least another inch lower if wanted (tire would never clear) and of course, my spring rates seem much too soft now. I will switch them out with something higher once the truck can be weighed/corner balanced and aligned.

    thanks for reading

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  17. #17



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    Looks good and nice work, but thinking you should have welded some metal on the sides of the control arms since you cut so much of the top away. Big stress riser there now.
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    +2 on the side rails - that arm could fold up like bending a sneaker. Lay 1/4 rod on the sides would work
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  19. #19

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    the 1/4" plate on the bottom extends over 1/2" in each direction past the factory control arm steel. You guys think the stress on the ball joint could cause it to bend upwards? there's no space left where the strut goes through to add any material, however I could do a 3/16" or 1/4" strip across both sides of the arm

  20. #20



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    If the opening wasn't cut to the upright part of the arm, there would be no issue. without the strips at the top, even with the plate at the bottom, the top will flex and with a sharp impact, such as a pothole, would allow the arm to fold. If that plate on the bottom ran to the edge of the arm at the ball joint, there would not be the issue, but the 2 plates causes a flex point. You did beautiful work on the arms and the other parts of the truck, I want to see that you don't have problems that cause damage to your truck or harm to yourself or others.
    Pennyman1
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  21. #21



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    I would just weld some metal plate (3/16" probably) on the outside sides of each arm where you cut the opening.
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  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by DroppedMitsu View Post
    I would just weld some metal plate (3/16" probably) on the outside sides of each arm where you cut the opening.
    Yeah thanks guys, I'm going to do that. Might box in the insides as well, definitely cant hurt. Anyone have any insight on running a different tie rod end or switching to rack and pinion? my tie rods are currently hitting the insides of the wheels, unless I use a 16mm spacer, effectively making the offset 14mm. Probably going to find a qa1 rod end that will thread on

  23. #23



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    Shouldn't matter what tie-rod end you use as long as the mounting points still are in the same stock locations, otherwise will throw your steering geometry off and might have lots of bump steer or other ill effects.
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  24. #24



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    Power Steering?

  25. #25

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    manual. hate the look of the hydraulic lines haha, plus my truck has a manual box already

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