QA1 is one of the industry’s preeminent leaders in high performance and racing suspension technology, and the Minnesota-based manufacturer certainly didn’t reach that status without knowing a thing or two about shocks, struts, and the many other related components that they offer. Fortunately, like so many other manufacturers today, the QA1 staff passes this in-house knowledge base on to its customers in the form of detailed tech-tip video shorts, like this pair of interrelated videos that first dig into the basic process of measuring your ride height, followed by the slightly more in-depth steps for adjusting the valving on a coil over shock to achieve the desired suspension setup for your race car.
Narrated by QA1’s Dave Goldie, the fist video illustrates how to measure the on-the-car ride height of a vehicle, which is a fairly quick and straightforward process. To do so, you simply measure from the ground to the center of the wheel opening, straight though the centerline of row wheel itself. Goldie suggests ensuring that your suspension is fully relaxed (in other words, don’t drop it from a lift and measure the ride height without rolling around to take out the tension) in order to get a true and accurate ride height measurement.
With the ride height measurement in hand, if you wish to customize your vehicle’s ride height and valving with an adjustable shock, you can do so by adjusting the coilover shocks, as outlined by QA1’s Dave Kass. As Kass points out, once you have an idea of how you want to set up the suspension (for drag racers, this will depend more on performance than on looks), you can use a Spanner Wrench to raise or lower the collar on the shocks to adjust the ride height up or down accordingly. Then, with the shocks on the car and the ride height set, you can begin adjusting the valving, which involves compression and rebound and plays a critical role in how the vehicle drives and performs in any given use or environment.
The valving adjustment is usually done on aftermarket shocks like those available from QA1 with one or two dials (two for double-adjustable shocks) located at the base of the shock. For street cars, QA1 suggests around 4-6 clicks from the softest setting for the front valving. For the rear, about two clicks otter than the front is considered a good starting point. For performance and racing applications, these settings will generally start at around 8-10 clicks on the front and, like street cars, about two clicks softer on the rear than up front.
Of course during and after making your adjustments, you’ll want to drive the car around or make a pass down the track, get a feel for things, and adjust accordingly.