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280ZX rear coilover conversion using standard Tokico HP shocks

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So my friend wanted some coilovers for his 280ZX, the fronts were easy, just did what everyone else does with GC sleeves and Tokico HP front inserts. Now he just needed the rears, but he wanted to keep the matching Tokico HP’s all around, so he had me build him a pair of adjustable height coilovers for using the standard 280ZX Tokico Blue shocks, and I figured I might as well make a write-up on how I did it.


This is A LOT like how slownrusty did his conversion, but he was using some other, now discontinued shocks for a 280ZX.


First, start with your standard 280ZX Tokico HP rear shock:



and you also need some steel pipe. I chose to use the exhaust pipe because it’s readily available, and I don’t think it should have too much of a problem holding the weight of the car (I cut mine to 8†long just to leave me some room for adjustment):


whatever you choose to use, just make sure that one tube is small enough to fit tightly into the coilover sleeve you choose to use, and the other one fits over the first pipe and is large enough for the sleeve to sit on.


Then put the shock in the vice facing down, and hit the lower spring perch with a hammer (it’s only pressed on, should come off fairly easy)



now you’re left with this:



what you need to do now is grind the upper washer looking thing on the top of the spring seat so that it will fit inside the first pipe (make sure to not make it too small):



should fit like this, I was able to achieve a bit of a press-fit so I could put the top in the pipe by hand, and still have it snug enough to hold it’s weight:



what you want to do now is cut the upper portion of the spring seat off, as low as possible while still fitting inside the pipe (so as to still maintain the press-fit originally designed):



you should end up with this:


discard the larger portion, or save it for scrap metal, I don’t care lol


now put the smaller part (let’s call it upper washer from now on) inside the pipe and put it on the shock like so:


I also put one of the rubber grommets the sleeve kit I used came with to center the pipe over the shock, and made sure the upper washer was completely flat against the top of the shock so as to make sure everything was straight.


Also make sure the upper washer is clean of any debris:



Now tack the washer into the pipe like so (I chose to leave a lip on the upper portion so I could weld the crap out of it and not have to worry about grinding too much of for it to fit inside the sleeve):


be sure to not use too much heat or you could blow up the shock in your face!!!


now take the whole pipe off of the shock and complete the weld:


I know it looks like crap, don’t flame me too much haha


While you’re waiting for the pipe to cool off, you might as well cut the lower pipe to length and prepare it for welding:



cut the smaller part off so that it will fit on the pipe no problem:


and discard the reducer.


Now clean up the weld after it’s cooled off (not necessary if you’re really good at welding):



one of the hard parts is figuring out where you want to put the sleeve for the coilover. I chose to make it so that with the collars adjusted all the way up, there was slight preload on the shock using the 330lb/in springs I’m using (I know, too stiff for HP’s, but it’s what the owner wants)


put the sleeve on the pipe and tack the other pipe into position as flat as possible against the sleeve (sleeve isn’t pictured, sorry lol):



take the sleeve off and finish the weld:



wait for the pipe to cool off


Put a couple of O-rings on the shock to insulate it from the pipe:



and put the pipe back on:



lightly tap it down onto the shock and make sure it’s seated:



put the sleeve on:



and reassemble the whole assembly similar to this:


I didn’t put a bumpstop in there because my friend is using his own shocks and these are damn near used up.


You might also want to figure out a way to make an upper hat for the spring to make sure it stays centered, but it may be difficult using the stock upper hat with the large bushings.


And also paint or powder coat the pipes to keep them from rusting.


And that’s how I converted my Tokico HP rear shocks to coilovers!

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^actually I rode on those shocks at my height for about 6 months and never had a problem with them, and they still appear to be in decent condition! It amazed me haha These shocks without springs in them will let the frame sit on the ground (found out on accident once lol)


also this isn't what I was debating on posting lol just something I did for a friend

Edited by PurePontiacKid

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yea if you are running this why not save alot of money and just get a few pairs of springs (if you are moving it alot) and cut them to different heights and just change them out accordingly. I know you have to take it all our but its 4bolts and not like the fronts, or rears on a Z, like posted above its a useless "mod" unless you want to spend alot of cash on sleeves, etc when you could just buy the rear shocks with springs and cut them or cut the stockers and have a couple sets for adjustability for alot less.

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Well cutting springs is not a very good idea unless you love super soft springs....


Also buying a few sets of springs, not cheap. It would be cheaper and easier to whack some S13 rear coil-overs in and then you only need to get a 2 to 3 bolt pastern changer, or just drill the strut tops its a quick safe and cheap option.


But Ill give you 20 points for inventiveness, It was people who think out side the box that invented the wheel.

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Hey, so I know this is an old thread, just thought I would offer a suggestion for anyone who isn't quite as good at fab work. 

I am working with a local company called Fortune Auto, one of the coilover experts made a suggestion that using a 240sx s14 rear coilover with the top hat switched over to the stock 280zx one will give the desired adjust-ability. I am going to be posting my conversion once it is complete, however, he did test to see if it would work and everything seemed to line up as it should. 


My apologies on the post before. 


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i really like the original idea of this thread. might try that out. i did the s14 coilover swap. i had k-sport coilovers. the problem i had with that was the 240sx has alot less travel. i have a LS motor in mine so it likes to squat. i was bottoming out the coilovers hard. only got about half of the original travel...if your running a stiff setup or not alot of power they will work fine but you wont get too low of ride hieght with them. ive since had 420Lb. springs custom made and had them made with a 2in drop. squats just the right amount now. here is how bad it was when i just had some eibach springs.


Edited by G-Tech

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It has been a while since this thread has been replied too but I'm looking to do an adjustable rear end suspension. I want to have the rear end go lower but not bottom out like the stories I've heard. I'm going off a limb here for ideas but what if you could create a sort of spacer to lower the bottom strut bolt hole to drop it roughly 2 inches? And then go with an idea from the thread? Any problems that I might not be thinking about?

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that would get you more travel, you will just start running into camber and toe-in issues. as the car squats it pulls the tire forward in the wheel well and cambers in real bad and toes-in as well. if your going for that "stance" look then your ok but for performance our 280zx's are just not made for too much lowering. also the half shafts hit the bottom of the car eventually. everything i have stated can be fixed with alot of work though. you could make clearence for the half shafts but the hardest mod i havnt came up with an easy solution for yet is raising the mounting point of the control arms so it thinks the lowered height is the stock ride height, and while your there move the mounting point rearward so the wheel is in the center of the wheel well. please do fix all this so i can do what you did :)  

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