Review & Install Video
Adam: Hey, guys, Adam here with americanmuscle.com. And today we're taking a closer look at and installing the SR Performance Lowering Springs available for the 2008 and newer Challenger, excluding the SRT. As you can see behind me, we've got it installed on our 2013 RT and right off the bat, you should be checking these springs out if you're looking for a pretty mild drop in the category for your Challenger to close up some of that wheel gap, but also if you're looking to improve your suspension and handling performance. Now, this kit here is gonna drop your vehicle two inches in the front and 2.1 inches in the rear. So a slight change to the factory rake, just dropping the rear end just slightly lower than the front, which I think looks pretty good. Now, like I said, it's a more mild drop in the category, which means it's not gonna really slam your vehicle like some of the other options out there. This is a good choice for the guy who's looking for something for a daily driver or something for a weekend warrior.Now, these are progressive springs as opposed to your factory linear, and I'll break down that in more detail in just a little bit, but know progressive makes for a really comfortable ride under normal driving conditions but will progressively get stiffer as you put it under harder load, like harder launches, tighter cornering, things like that. So it's really adaptive and has a variety of feels and sportiness to it depending on your driving style. Now, the cool thing about a set of lowering springs is they're almost always affordable. This kit comes in right around $200, which means it's a lot more affordable than a full set of coilovers or adjustable coilovers.Now, as far as that handling is concerned, anytime you lower your center of gravity on your vehicle, you're immediately improving that suspension handling. Taking corners, your body's gonna stay a lot more leveled. It's gonna feel a lot tighter and a lot stiffer going through those tight corners and also under hard launches, you won't feel as much excess squatting and it's gonna be a lot more under control. Throw on a set of sway bars, man, and you're really hooking up your suspension there.With all that in mind, the install can be pretty intense. I'm gonna give it three out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter. It requires very specific specialty hand tools. I'm also using air tools for this which makes life a little bit easier, and I'll take you through some of those options and some of the alternatives if you don't have air tools. You wanna have a spring compressor on deck, that's gonna be the most dangerous. You wanna make sure that you're using extreme caution if you're using that spring compressor. Of course, I'll take you through how that works in just a little bit as well. Overall, the process will take you about four hours, maybe a little longer, maybe a little less. It all depends on your personal experience. For us, we're gonna start in the front. It's the easiest to tackle. I'll take you through taking your factory strut out, decompressing that spring and removing it from your strut, swapping them out, and reinstall and we'll move on to the rear. What do you say we get started?Tools used in this install include a 3/8 impact gun, a half-inch air gun, dead blow hammer, variety of extensions, 13, 15 and 18-millimeter deep sockets for the 3/8, 15-millimeter deep and short sockets for the half-inch, 18-millimeter deep and short sockets for the half-inch, 21 and 22-millimeter deep socket for that half-inch. Fifteen-millimeter and 18-millimeter wrenches, flat head screwdriver, and a variety of pry bars.First up here, guys, get your car in the air and supported properly, whether it be jack stands or a lift. Grab a 22-millimeter socket and get your wheels out of the way. First step in the front end we're gonna start here is to remove or pull off the plugs for your ABS lines. Now, we wanna remove the tension from the lines, that's why we're doing this. We wanna get as much slack as we can so you're not tugging on it. There's a couple of lines all along here. I'm just gonna really pull down on them just to give them that excess slack. And the last one's right here on the back of the hub. From here, we're gonna disconnect our sway bar end link from the strut. Now, what you're gonna need is a 21-millimeter deep socket and typically a regular impact gun or a wrench even won't have enough torque to get this off, so having an air tool definitely makes things a lot easier. All right, now if you break it loose a little bit but it's still struggling, the bearing itself tends to spin. So what you might wanna do is put a pry bar on the inside, the opposite end here, just to hold that from spinning. So let's go ahead and get a pry bar. There we go. All right, and once you break that loose, take the nut off, remove the sway bar end link. And what I like to do is just couple of threads, put the nut back on so you don't lose it.Next step, guys, we're gonna tackle the upper control arm. Now, the upper control arm to the hub itself is held on by an 18-millimeter nut. Now, this, again, also has the tendency to spin so you might need to do a pry bar on the inside of that coil and pull down just to put some pressure on it to keep it from spinning. Again, air tools definitely make this easier. Once you to have that loosened up, keep the pressure on the upper control arm. This'll pop out if you just remove it quickly. So you wanna make sure you're just threading this off, still holding pressure on that pry bar, and now you can slowly get those to disconnect. See, this is gonna come down. You don't wanna get bonked in the head, so make sure you got that held on. Bring the control arm back up, and again, I just like to put them nut on there just so we don't lose it.Next step here, we're gonna remove the 18-millimeter bolt holding on the bottom of your strut. Can keep that 18-millimeter socket on there, gun this off. Might wanna have a hand on the strut just to wiggle it back and forth to get this out of there. There you go. Now we can drop the car and tackle the three bolts at the top. Now, our Challenger under the hood has a Mopar strut tower brace. If yours doesn't, this may not apply to you. What we have to do is remove our cap here. And holding on the top of our strut at our strut tower are three 13-millimeter bolts. This is the last thing holding on that strut, so what we're gonna do is pop these three off, but at the same time, you wanna have a hand underneath to hold the strut. Because this is loose down here, it's gonna start dropping out. You wanna have a hand there, make sure you grab it.All right, got our 13. You don't wanna use air tools for this. Simple deep socket will do the trick. Hold onto these nuts because they will be reinstalled later. And when you get to the last one, have a hand on that strut. Now, to remove it, you may have to push down here, so that's what we're gonna do. Just gonna push down, lift up and there you have it. Once you have one side done, do the exact same thing for the other side of the front. The next step is to take your strut and your factory spring. You wanna head over to a spring compressor. Now, we've got one fixed at the wall at our shop here, but if you've got a loose one you guys wanna make sure you're using extreme caution because they can be very dangerous if not operated properly. Now what we have here is we've got a stool propping our strut up because we don't want it to fall through. I've got the bottom coil set in our slots, the top I'm gonna put straight to the strut hat. Now that's gonna put the pressure on it. We're gonna compress the spring, remove the nut at the top, take the strut hat off, and then our spring will come out once we decompress it. What I will recommend now is removing the top bushing and the spacer from the nut. Now, those are in the way, so what we're gonna do is just pull those straight off. Come off pretty easy. You can just thread that off, just a rubber bushing. Our washer, I'm gonna put those aside. Now we'll start compressing.So now you can take your 18 socket and remove that top nut while the spring is compressed. All right. Once you have that nut off, you can lower your strut and decompress your spring slowly. All right. Once that spring's decompressed, pop this guy out and we can remove our hat. Once you have your strut hat off, dust cover comes with it. You can set this aside along with your spring and just repeat the other spring. Now, guys, we've got our factory springs off the front end of our Challenger and they're on the table next to our SR Performance front springs. Now, all the information I wanna take you through the similarities and differences will apply to the rears as well, but we have our springs off from the front, so let's take a look at them now.Now the big differences between the two kits, factory and SR Performance are two things, drop in ride height and the spring rate. The drop in ride height, we've already covered, 2.1 inches in the rear, 2 inches in the front as far as drop is concerned, but the spring rate, here, taking a closer look at that, your factory ones are linear springs. Your new ones are progressive. Now, the linear springs are pretty simple. They're very predictable and they don't change depending your driving style. Predictable linear springs are typically chosen in the aftermarket world by guys who are dragging their car doing some autocross. They want something that they know exactly how it's gonna perform every single time on every launch at the strip. Now, if you're looking for something you want a really sporty feel, but you also want it to be pretty comfortable on the roads, progressive is gonna be the way to go. It's got a variable spring rate. So, under normal driving conditions, it's very comfortable. Rough roads, it really adjusts itself properly, but once you start getting into it, wide, open throttle, you're doing hard launches, you're taking hard cornering, they'll compress, get a lot stiffer to handle that a lot better. So, progressive springs typically chosen by guys who are daily driving their Challenger or who want the best of both worlds, which is why it's my pick for typical lowering springs, but, of course, it's all personal preference.Now, as far as putting them on the car here, it's gonna be the same process but in reverse. So what we're gonna do is drop this onto our factory strut. We're gonna head over to the spring compressor, put the top hat back on, and tighten those down. Now, if you're picking up new struts, now is the time to do it. You don't wanna have to do all this over again in just a little bit. So, if you're picking up new struts, you wanna install those onto the springs, but for now, let's use our factory ones and head back over to the spring compressor. All right, now that we have our SR springs ready to go on our struts, what we're gonna do is take the smaller coils. We're gonna go in first with those and line it up to the isolator on the bottom. Now, the isolator does have a walled seat here for the end of the coil. You wanna put the end of the coil right up against that. Now, for the top, take your boot and your strut hat, insert that over the piston there and line it up as well. So the strut hat also has a wall. You'll see that here, wanna rotate that until it lines up with the end of the top coil as well. Now, from here, what we're gonna do is just compress it enough to put in our nut. What you're gonna wanna do is push down enough just to get a thread on there and once you do, we can start compressing on the spring compressor. All right. Once you have the arms lined up on the spring compressor, you can start compressing. All right, once you have that compressed, you can put that nut on and you can tighten her down.Now, when you're decompressing, this can rotate, so you still wanna make sure that the bottom coil is meeting up with that isolator wall. So, as you decompress, just keep checking, make the rotation if you need to. Once you have that taken care of, move your arms out of the way, grab your spacer, and that rubber isolator, put it right back on top of that stud. Repeat for the other side. The first step of reinstalling your new spring and strut assembly is to line up the strut tower studs in the strut tower. Now, what we're gonna do is go up first and line that up, putting those studs through the holes. Once you have those studs in the holes, can take your nut and just thread it on at least one of the studs to hold it in place, that way they won't fall. Now, as you can see, the mount for our sway bar end link is facing the wrong way. We need this on the inside and sometimes I can happen and get turned around like this when we're done our spring compressor job, so what we're gonna do is once the top strut hat is, you know, in place, we can rotate this by grabbing the shaft and just twisting. You wanna make sure that the end link mount is facing the end link. From there, we need to mount this around so we're gonna push down on the hub assembly, bring that around to the mounting holes. Now we can grab that bolt and set it in place. Lining this up might take a couple of things. You might have to push this up and down in the hub assembly. You might have to rotate your strut. You wanna line these up however you can. Now, before you get to gunning, you wanna make sure it goes all the way through to the threading. From there, grab your 18 socket and tighten that down.Now what we're gonna do is work on our upper control arm. Now, just wanna remove that nut if you put it on like I did. We're gonna push up the hub assembly, pull down on the upper control arm, hold it in place, and just thread the nut on the stud. And you don't have to go all the way, just enough that it's gonna hold itself. Now you can grab your pry bar again to pull down on the upper control arm and tighten it up with your 18 socket.Next up, we're gonna do our sway bar end link. Take that nut off again if you did it like I did. You're gonna insert that into the mounting location on the strut. Once that's in, thread this in by hand a little bit. Grab your 21-millimeter socket and tighten that down. Now, again, this might be one of those cases where you'll need the pry bar in order to get it to stop spinning, but we'll try to apply enough torque with our air tools. Now, sometimes the trick may be to just angle it a little bit and if you go up and down and start angling it, you might get just enough leverage to get it tight. Now we can reconnect our ABS lines, reconnect those to the rubber grommets, and then the last one's, of course, right on the back of the hub. All right, now we can drop it down and finish up with the three nuts on the top of our strut tower. Just make sure all three of them are in place. Grab your 13-millimeter deep socket and tighten them down. Once those are tight, grab your end cap and just screw that back in place. All right, now our driver side is taken care of. Before you move on, grab a torque wrench, look up your torque specs, and make sure you're torquing down all of those bolts to spec. Once that's taken care of, just repeat for the other side. The fronts are the same. All right, our fronts are out of the way, so we're moving on to the rear. Now the rear is a little bit of a different story and it can be a pain in the butt. The uninstall is fairly simple. The reinstallation can be the pain. So I'm gonna walk you through it. Starting with the uninstall, what we need to do is remove this bolt as well as the bottom bolt on our shock in order to lower this side of your lower control arms. We're gonna bring that down in that decompresses the spring and allows you to take it out. Now if you're also changing your shocks, now's a good time to do so. But instead of just doing those two, you'll remove the two bolts at the top of the shock. We're not doing that today, so we're gonna leave our shock in. Now, this bolt, as you can see, it's impossible to get out because our tailpipe's in the way. Now, I know we have an aftermarket exhaust, but this still applies to the factory exhaust. That tailpipe is just in the way. So what we need to do is lower the tailpipe down in order to clear that bolt. So what we're gonna do is grab an extension and a 13-millimeter socket and we're gonna start above our muffler. The muffler is held on with hangers to isolators that are attached to your frame. Remove the 13-millimeter bolt holding on both of those above the muffler. Now, that might be enough to do it and we'll see once we get these out. We got one down and our second one is right behind our tip. Now, as you can see, this is starting to rotate down, but since we have an aftermarket one, it's connected here. We need to lower it from the other end. If you have a factory exhaust on your Challenger, you should have a flange right here, in which case, you can just bend that down and not have to do anything else. But if you don't have a stock exhaust, do what we're doing and start lowering this tailpipe. So this will come down just a little bit. And it's looking like that might be enough to clear. So we're just pulling on down on this and doesn't look like we have to loosen up anything else. Just removing those two 13s gave us enough clearance, we can go right over this pipe and get to that bolt.Now, the next step, since we're working on a lift, I'm gonna use a pole jack and we need to support our lower control arm. If you're working on the ground, a hydraulic jack does the exact same thing. Might actually be easier for you guys. So what we're gonna do since we're in the air here is grab our pole jack and support that weight right under the lower control arm. There's a little pocket here under your spring. Gonna put one end in there, basically hold it up just like this. Now, if you're using a hydraulic jack, you wanna position that pad evenly so when you're dropping it, it doesn't come down sideways. You wanna make sure it's coming down flat.Next up, we're gonna remove that bolt and the nut holding on the bottom of our shock. So you're gonna grab a 15-millimeter wrench and hold the bolt head from the inside with an 18-millimeter socket to remove that nut. Now you can pull the bolt through. Next up, we're gonna remove the bolt holding on that lower control arm. So now, it's really crucial that you're supporting that weight. If you could take this bolt off, that spring's gonna decompress and we wanna hold that up. Grab a 15-millimeter wrench to hold the bolt head and an 18 socket on the opposite end to take the nut off.Now to get that bolt out, you might need a hammer. All right, grab your hammer and tap on the other side of the bolt to get it out. Now, if you're having trouble getting his bolt out, you can try to spin it out from the other side using your socket. So, grab your socket and try to gun this off. And as you saw, the lower control arm started to move that spring and that's why we have our pole jack under there. This point, you wanna slowly, and I mean slowly decompress that spring by either lowering your pole jack or rotating the handle on your hydraulic jack to lower it down. You really wanna take caution and make sure you're going slow. Once it starts getting a little easier, you feel it decompressing, taking the weight off of that spring, start to get a lot looser, just lower it down to the point where you can actually take it out. So you can see the top of our spring is coming off. So this is totally loose. We got to bring that lower control arm down enough to clear it to come out. Perfect. There we go. All right, now the bottom isolator's still in there, so we're just gonna pop that guy out too. Now that we're working on our lowering springs in the rear, I wanted to stop down with our new SR and our factory one here. Now, I know we already went through some of the progressive versus linear characteristics earlier, but I wanted to really show you guys because here you can really see it very clearly. This is our linear rear and this is our progressive rear from SR Performance. And with our new spring, we have tightly-wound coils and looser coils. So that's a pretty clear example of what a progressive spring would look like. It has two different sides to it. So we're gonna reinstall our new spring. I'm gonna put this one down here and what it's gonna do is use our factory isolators. Now, the isolators, I'll show you guys how that goes on. This is our top one. The top one has these ribbed edges here. Now, if your isolators coming off the factory springs are beat up, if they're torn in half, if they're cracked, if they're just not in good condition overall, toss them. Now is the time to get new ones. You don't want those falling apart on the vehicle, so now's a good time to replace them. Ours looks pretty good, so we're gonna reuse them. So popping this on, you can see it has that wall just like the front springs did. So we're gonna put this on and rotate it until it hits that wall and stops. The bottom, similar, but a little bit different. Doesn't have those ribbed cuffs, but it does have that stop wall. So put your spring through and you might have to slide it through that tunnel there and seat it properly. This is gonna be the bottom. We're gonna put our tightly round spring at the top. Reinstalling this just in the reverse order is pretty simple. Now, when you're dropping this into place on the bottom isolator, you'll see it has this little top notch. You're gonna line that up with the notch in the bottom of the lower control arm and that it seats all the way down in that lower control arm.From here, we're actually gonna do something a little bit different for the reinstallation. We've got our spring in place, but we wanna jack this back up and line the holes up with the subframe. In order to do that, we can't use a lift. Using the pole jack to lift this up on a lift, it starts to pick the rear end up off our lift pads. That's not safe. So what we're gonna do is actually do it on the ground with a hydraulic jack. So we're gonna leave our spring just like this, lower the car back down on the ground, grab a hydraulic jack, and put our pad here. That way, with our front wheels on, we don't have to worry about the car lifting off of our pads. So it makes life a little easier. So now we can lower it down.All right, now that we have the car lowered, our front wheels are on, weight supported, what we're gonna do is grab a hydraulic jack and position it just under here just like this. We're putting the pad right about there. Now, the goal with this is to jack up our spring when it's in position just like that. Line up our bolt holes and put our lower control arm bolt backs through. And what you're gonna need to do at first is guide that spring in so it seats properly. You wanna make sure this thing's going right on that perch. It's looking good. Now, when you're doing this, you have some control over the direction by rotating this very cautiously. Now, we don't have a lot of weight on it right now, but this gives you an idea. You can see the back of the control arm moving back and forth. Now, that's an indication of how you're gonna control this to get those bolt holes to line up. So slowly, gonna jack this guy up trying to guide those control arm holes into position. Keep in mind, guys, the spring, once you're compressing it like this, spring's under a lot of tension. So you wanna make sure your pad is secure before moving forward. You wanna check it every so often. Looks like our hole's almost lined up, so I'm gonna go down there and check it out. Now, you can see, guys, the hole in the lower control arm is almost lined up, about halfway there. It's a good spot though to start. What we can do is take a screwdriver, or a pick, or something that's, you know, durable enough and you can stick it in the hole and try to like maneuver it so you can line those holes up. Pry Bar also works. You can also use a pry bar right here on the end. Try to pick this into position. Just wanna make sure you're out of the way. Now, what you can try to do under here is pry up enough to get your bolt started just in the hole. Perfect. Now let's see how the other side's lined up. All right, so the other side looks like we're lined up pretty good. We can grab our hammer and tap that through. Now we can thread our nut on the other side. All right, grab your 15-millimeter deep socket and your 18-millimeter wrench and tighten them down.All right, now we can replace our factory bolt on the bottom of our shock. So we might need to move that shock around, getting that to line up too. That's through. If you need to, you can grab a hammer to tap it in. Thread your nut on the other side and then you can tighten her down. And that's also with a 15 socket and an 18 wrench. All right, guys. Once that's taken care of, we can lower our jack slowly. You'll see the spring will settle. Car might settle a little bit. Now what you wanna do is make sure you're grabbing your torque wrench. Torquing those bolts down to spec, really it's the lower control arm, one going to the subframe and the bottom of your shock. Now we can put the car back up in the air. We're gonna bolt up our exhaust tailpipe again and then repeat for the other side.Now we can lift that pipe back into place, whether it's factory or aftermarket. Wanna line up that hanger to the frame, put back in your 13-millimeter factory bolt. Do the same thing for the other one. Thread that in by hand and tighten it down with your 13 deep socket. All right, now you can repeat and you're good to go.Well, guys, that's gonna wrap up my review and install for the SR Performance Lowering Springs available for the 2008 and newer Challenger, excluding the SRT. You can pick these up for about 200 bucks right here at americanmuscle.com.