I had the BC Racing Coil Overs (BR-Type) and Jeeping by Al Upper Control Arms (JBA-UCA) installed on my silver 2009 Jeep SRT8 about two weeks ago. I figured I should give them a review for other people on the fence and provide some tips & tricks (how to) for new owners trying to get them dialed in just right.
The BC Racing custom coilovers for the WK1 Jeep SRT8ís are BR type. What does this mean? According to BC Racingís website ďOur BR Type model is the perfect choice for street driving and the occasional road course or autocross duty. With easily accessible adjustment knobs for fine-tuning your compression and rebound, plus a separately adjustable ride height, having a performance coilover system could not be any easier. You choose how low or high you want your vehicle to sit (no pre-set ride height here) and our patented concave lower locking ring keeps it locked in securely. Our systems offer optional pillow ball mounts to provide the most feedback possible from your suspension and to sharpen your steering response. Our available front and rear camber plates also allow you to get the perfect alignment setup without compromise. BC Racing offers all of these features while providing a strong, attractive-looking coilover system at a reasonable price.Ē
- Mono-tube shock design
- Full height adjustability through the shock body (not spring)
- 30 levels of damping adjustment (compression/rebound)
- Front camber plates are included on all applicable kits
- Rear camber plates included on certain applications
- Custom spring rates available as well as a SWIFT spring upgrade (upon request)
- 1-year warranty against manufacturer defect
- Completely rebuildable and individual parts are available separately for purchase
Front shock, rear stock, rear spring, and adjustment spanner (2x in the box):
I was very apprehensive about upgrading my suspension/shocks because; I didnít know how it would handle/ride after, I was concerned about the durability/craftsmanship (compared to stock Bilstein's) and most of all I was concerned about the safety (daily driven with two car seats). Well, Iím happy to say that the ride and handling have vastly improved (night and day) with the BC Racing Coilover setup. Before the installation my Jeep use to sidestep (badly) over elevated highway joints and bumps (very unsafe feeling). When I first got my SRT8 I took it to the dealer few times to get the side stepping issue fix but they never could figure it out, they just concluded ďitís normalĒ (no more side step at all with the BC Racing coilovers). The craftsmanship is top notch and the coilovers come with a 1yr warranty (good enough for the price).
I received the packages shortly after placing my orders and proceeded to unbox each item. Being the detailing nut I am, I coated each part with a sealant (not a coating) in order to provide added protection during the (endless) winter months (also made a mess with the white lithium grease). I took the time to play with the coilover adjustments but not the spring preload prior to installation. I ended up setting the rears all the way down but couldnít find any details what height to set the fronts to I left them stock (for the installation).
I had the BC Racing coilovers and JBA UCAís installed by a local installer shop I use and found the installation cost to be very reasonable ($200 for all four corners including JBA UCA Ė no alignment or adjustments). Upon seeing my Jeep, (post installation) it was clear there were a lot of adjustments to made (front was raised up from stock, and the rear was slammed). Note: removed bump stops and bump stop cups for rear stocks.
When I got home I started by measuring the distance from the ground (road) to the highest point of the fender arch to get my height (33 inches in the front and 30 inches the rear). I proceeded to lift the front (one wheel at a time) and took more measurements (distance between the lower and middle height adjustment collars). I then adjusted the height to the lowest setting possible and took more measurements (distance between the lower and middle height adjustment collars was 3.5 inches). The lowering is done by loosening the lowest collar (turn counter clockwise), then once loosened use the top-most adjustment collar to lower the sock into the mount (turn the top collar clockwise). This will not affect spring preload because your turning the collar in such a way that itís tightening against the collar below it and causing the entire shock assembly to turn into the lower mounting point thus reducing the height of the shock and the height of your car (rather than effecting the spring preload). When raising you need to loosen the lower collar again but use the middle collar to extend (unscrew) the shock and in turn raise the ride height (turn middle collar counter-clockwise). Just like with the other adjustment the middle collar will try to tighten against the top collar but canít so the whole shock will start to turn from its lower mounting base and increase in length without affecting the spring preload. The best part is that you donít need to remove the wheels to adjust the height!
I didnít end up making a video how to adjust them because I happened to come across one that was already made:
Needless to say I played with the height adjustment till I was blue in the face (6 different ride height adjustments total Ė for the front). The first thing I did was lower it to the max (3.5 inches collar to collar or 29 inches ground to fender in the front 30 inches in the back with rear adjustment collars still on). I liked the look but not the ride, my JBA UCA were rubbing on the plastic inner wheel guard and I had to cut it a bit to make space. I went for another test drive and was still bottoming out (front shock compressing to its maximum and making a loud thud/bang) on only some large potholes I hit. On smooth roads it was a dream but it was too much bottoming out for my taste so I raised the front 1.5inches (it measured 5 inches from lower adjustment collar to mid collar). Much to my surprise the 1.5 inches of lift on the shock was somehow exaggerated by the other suspension components when dropping the car back on to the street. I went from 29inchs in the front up to 32 ĺ inches from the ground to the top of the fender arch (3 ĺ inches height change for a 1 Ĺ inch raise on the shock)Ö I hit the drawing boards with the numbers I had and decided to lower the shocks another 1 inch so that they would be 0.5 inches from lowest possible setting and took it out for a rideÖ
Setting shocks at 3.5 inches collar to collar (as low as they can go):
3.5 inch collar to collar stance:
Setting shocks at 5inch collar to collar:
5 inch collar to collar stance:
5inch collar to collar ride height:
Worked night and day to get them set up just right:
Setting stocks at (my) ideal height of 4inchs from collar to collar:
4inch collar to collar stance:
4inch collar to collar ride height:
The test drive was a huge contrast to the previous test drive. This time it didnít bottom out once and there was no more JBA-UCA rubbing. The ride was sublime! I went back home to take height measurements from the street to the fender and to commence adjust/tune the damping. The final ride height is 30 3/4 inches in the front and 30 inches in the rear around.
Next I moved on to adjusting the dampening (no pictures sorry, itís easy to do). To tune the dampening you will need to unclip your middle fuse box (4 tabs need to be pushed in simultaneously and lift the fuse box) to access the drivers side shock tower top. Once you have access to the top of the shock, just slide the adjustment Allen-key-nob into the top of the shock and turn to full firmness (the goal is to tune out the pogo effect at low speeds and all adjustments should be made by going full firm and then back down to the desired setting). The passenger side shock tower is under the coolant tank which is very easy to remove. My coolant tank only had one screw and a plastic push pin holding it in place. I set both front shocks to the stiffest setting and took a cruse (I didnít play with the adjustment on the rears). I noticed the ride was just slightly too soft (bouncy/pogo) so I dropped the firmness by two clicks (28/30) and continued my test drive. I noticed there was much less bounciness at slow speed but there was still some, so I dropped it down another two clicks (26/30) and hit the road. This time it felt just right (yeah like the 3 little bears). I bent down to play with the rears and took note of the stock setting (lost the paper I wrote it on), I did the same thing in the end I keep making the rears softer and softer until they were back down to the factory setting and found this was the best setting for the rear damping.
There was only one thing left to doÖ. Wash it! Who am I kidding it was time for the semi-final test drive. I was thoroughly delighted with every aspect of the ride height and shock dampening at all speeds. Next it was time for the alignment as it was visually obvious I had a lot of positive camber. As alignments have always been a total bleeping mystery to me I took it to a high-end alignment shop that had many exotic cars under their belt (pictures of Lamboís and Ferrariís all over the wall, even a few SRTís). The alignment was costly IMHO at $127Ö
My Jeep was finally ready for a grand tour of Montreal so I canceled all my plans for the day, turned off my cell phones, took off my watch, filled her with gas, picked up a 6 pack, rolled a phatty, and turned up the music. Needless to say I felt like Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear with all these imaginative phrases that I planned to use to describe the handling but I was totally overcome by the drive. The best way I can put it to you is; itís like a chick thatís too hot to describe and has to be seen in person to do it justice. I drove like never before, weaving in and out of traffic like a crotch rocket, over speed bumps, on the roughest roads, trough expressway tunnels at double the speed limit, even went on a 300 year old cobble stone road and never once did the BC Racing coilovers disappoint! I quickly lost count of all the turned heads and broken necks on my tour. I finished off at the local car meet spot (Orange Julep) for some more refreshments and food.
Photograph of the Orange Julep:
I absolutely recommend the shocks and Iíd go as far as to say they have been the single best mod Iíve done up to date. *I likely feel this way about the coilovers because my other shocks had been broken for quite some timeÖ
Note: I will not disclose the price/cost of the BC Racing Coilovers or JBA - UCA as requested by the vendor because Iím located in Canada it only further complicates the pricing issue.
P.S. I plan to update this thread regarding the durability of the shocks over the next year (letís see if they hold up to Canadian winters and the crazy pothole infested roads)