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Front springs that last longer than OE Smart ones?

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  • Front springs that last longer than OE Smart ones?

    One of my front springs just broke, 16K miles after it was replaced, which was at 88k. I can only hope that when I call the service centre that replaced them tomorrow, they'll graciously offer to replace them for free, but given the appalling quality of these things, I'd rather replace them with some that work.

    A quick search on aftermarket springs reveals a few options: http://www.buycarparts.co.uk/smart/r...3/coil-springs

    Edit - Added a round-up of the responses for each brand so far:

    SACHS:
    TRW:
    SUPLEX: Quality manufacturing. Durability unconfirmed.
    ANSCHLER: Poor coating but durability OK
    KYB: Rubbish
    LESJ÷FORS: As bad as smart
    NK:
    METZGER:
    DIEDERICHS:
    MONROE:

    Does anyone have any experience with these or any others? I know Sachs and TRW are decent brands, but can I be sure that they'll last any longer than the standard Smart springs?

    Going with progressive springs is an option, but I haven't found any that don't stiffen the ride (ride is currently as firm as I can enjoy) and can be used with standard shocks. If there are any out there that won't stiffen the ride, please let me know!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by JimbobTheSailor; 06-11-14, 12:43 AM.

  • #2
    You need to read up more about progressive springs. They lower but soften the ride as the compression strength isn't linear. They start off soft and gradually stiffen and then suddenly become very stiff. I used to run a 450 with roadster rear wheels and tyres. With the standard springs, they rubbed on spirited cornering and large bumps. I was concerned when I lowered it on 35mm progressive springs that I'd have to get proper sized tyres. I never had the rear wheels rub again, the car didn't rock when accelerating and it handled small and medium bumps in a much more comfortable way. I used Bilstein springs but most progressive springs are better made than OEM and the coatings are usually better too.

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    • #3
      ^What he said^ I don't understand why they were not original fitment to begin with. I have a set of PI progressive springs and they are great, however I fitted a set for a friend and the powder coating quality was not as good as on mine.

      Cheers!

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      • #4
        Thanks guys, I'll look into progressive springs some more. Given that my Smart centre will probably only fit 1 spring for free, I'll have to stick with the linear spring for now and replace all 4 myself another time. Any comments on more durable standard springs to replace the Smart ones with?

        Thanks

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        • #5
          The Chinese Anschler springs sold by Eurocarparts and Carparts4less seem to last well although the coating is very much substandard. These spring have lasted two years on my Cabrio. None of the previous springs (Smart and Lesjofors) lasted that long.
          Anschler627910061.jpg
          Cheap Anschler spring (was GBP 7.99 each inclusive of delivery) after 12 months service. Powder coating is worse than substandard. Spring is also not well centred but both have not yet snapped off. I have since cleaned them up and coated them in proper two pack epoxy paint.

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          • JimbobTheSailor
            JimbobTheSailor commented
            Editing a comment
            It could just be an optical illusion, but is that Anschler trying to escape? It looks like it's too long for the shock...

        • #6
          As we all know, powder coating isn't great for items that flex but it's the easiest method the manufacturer can use to coat the springs, it gets them out of the warranty period.
          Paint is more flexible but chips easier. I like the idea of pre-painting springs with epoxy paint before the first fitting.

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          • #7
            We have had 4 smartz and done over 200.000 miles in them. In that time we had had only 1 spring snap. So why you think they're substandard I am unsure? On today's potholed UK roads snapped springs are inevitable. My step dads 2007 Ford Fusion has covered just 30.000 miles and he has had 3 instances of snapped springs.

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            • #8
              Mine has done 200k and have suffered 12 broken springs in total. The mail problem is the springs are too highly stressed. Apart from reducing weight, speed and shock load, the only permanent solution is therefore to go for larger diameter and larger section springs.

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              • #9
                In 10 years and several smarts I have never had a spring snap. Probably because the originals never stay on for more than a year.

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                • #10
                  I can only conclude your progressive springs are lower stressed.

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                  • #11
                    Google quickly returns progressive springs for rear axle. Nothing at all for the front. Do we have to winds them ourselves?

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Progressives come in sets (of front & rear). So probably not a good idea to mix Standard (even wound) & Progressives (unless you like unpredictable handling).
                      Although standard springs with thicker coils & thus stronger (but heavier) coils may be all you need; If you DON'T want to lower her. Which is what progressives are for (while retaining a reasonable ride).

                      P.S I think* suplex springs have thicker than standard coils for Roadsters.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by 137699 View Post
                        We have had 4 smartz and done over 200.000 miles in them. In that time we had had only 1 spring snap. So why you think they're substandard I am unsure? On today's potholed UK roads snapped springs are inevitable. My step dads 2007 Ford Fusion has covered just 30.000 miles and he has had 3 instances of snapped springs.
                        It's great that you've had only 1 spring out of 16 go, but this is a common problem on Smarts so I would dare to suggest they are substandard. The roads in the UK are not that bad, although it's definitely speed bumps that stress the springs most around where I am! To go through 3 springs in 35k miles, as I have since I've owned my car, is totally unacceptable. Smart knows exactly what European roads are like and has simply chosen the wrong material for the job.

                        The fact that mine have all gone in cold weather, and that Tolsen has gone through 12 (TWELVE!!!) up by the north pole, supports this. A classic story of the effect of cold on poorly-specified steel is that of the Liberty ships in WWII, which were built extremely quickly but were literally breaking in 2 in the cold due to brittle fracture (more on that if anyone's interested).

                        That's from the early years of materials science. Smart has clearly chosen to ignore the lessons of history and instead go straight to the price list, as it seems Ford has on your step dad's Focus.

                        Although standard springs with thicker coils & thus stronger (but heavier) coils may be all you need; If you DON'T want to lower her. Which is what progressives are for (while retaining a reasonable ride).

                        P.S I think* suplex springs have thicker than standard coils for Roadsters.
                        This could be a good thing. To get the same stiffness with a thicker spring, they would have to be made out of a more flexible material, which might make them less likely to break. Or they could just have more coils wound, which I don't think would make them less likely to break. Do you remember where you saw these? I can't find any info or a reliable photo anywhere.

                        Anyone else with good/bad experiences of replacement springs?

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Springs are made out of steel hence the material stiffness (modulus of elasticity) is same as steel regardless of manufacturer.

                          The only solution is selecting a spring with lower material stress. Stress drops with increase in overall diameter, increase in section diameter and increase in number of coils.
                          Pattern springs are normally worse than OEM since cheaper material quality more susceptible to brittle fracture is used.

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                          • #15
                            [QUOTE=JimbobTheSailor;n869572]
                            Originally posted by JimbobTheSailor View Post
                            The fact that mine have all gone in cold weather, and that Tolsen has gone through 12 (TWELVE!!!) up by the north pole, supports this. A classic story of the effect of cold on poorly-specified steel is that of the Liberty ships in WWII, which were built extremely quickly but were literally breaking in 2 in the cold due to brittle fracture (more on that if anyone's interested).
                            Liberty ships broke due to poor welding practices. Early days of arc welding and the concept of pre-heating had not been thought of.



                            Originally posted by JimbobTheSailor View Post
                            It's great that you've had only 1 spring out of 16 go, but this is a common problem on Smarts so I would dare to suggest they are substandard. The roads in the UK are not that bad, although it's definitely speed bumps that stress the springs most around where I am! To go through 3 springs in 35k miles, as I have since I've owned my car, is totally unacceptable. Smart knows exactly what European roads are like and has simply chosen the wrong material for the job.
                            No doubt the speed at which some people traverse speed bumps causes suspension damage - but then again, the point of the bump is to slow the car...
                            Up here in the frozen north some suspect the high prevalence of road salt contributes to spring failure. True or not, I have no idea, but when my standard springs broke - it was in winter.



                            Originally posted by JimbobTheSailor View Post
                            Anyone else with good/bad experiences of replacement springs?
                            Replaced with Pi (25-30mm lowered) springs now, no problems with them so far.

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