Archived Message
Spax settings
A little while ago when I had John Cumming as a passenger in my RV8 he asked me what setting I had adjusted my front Spax shock absorbers to. In fact I had them set to 12, which is what conventional wisdom seems to indicate to be normal: 12 to 15 is what many people use I believe.
John advised me to reset the Spax units to 3, THREE!!!!, and I have to tell you that I was very sceptical about this. With IRS on the car I only have Spax shock absorbers on the front and the banging and crashing from the front, combined with a certain amount of pattering on bumpy roads, was what I thought to be normal for an RV8.
Having just returned from a walking trip within the Yorkshire Dales, with one day touring in the car, I have to tell you that I am absolutely astonished at the difference in the ride quality. No more banging about or pattering over the rough lanes but now a much quieter car that has become a pleasure to drive through the country lanes or along the faster roads that we experienced in Yorkshire and on the way there and back. The point of this note is to try to persuade those of you with Spax units on your car to try a very much lower setting if you are using 12 to 15. Try them at 3. I wanted to work my way down in even increments to see what the incremental difference would achieve, but John was quite adamant . . . to the point that he adjusted the settings to three for me.
Thank you John for the good advice and apologies for my being so sceptical. Hopefully John will post to indicate what your rear Spax settings should be.
Angus Munro
22/07/2012 @  15:46
Under topic: RV8
Archived Reply(ies) received for this Message
Spax settings
When I installed the Spax shocks on #590 last year, I set them to 7. Did the trip to Reno, NV and found the ride smooth enough. I should have experimented with settings but getting under the car for adjustments can be a challenge. I've since reset the rears to 5 for experimenting but haven't driven the car enough to notice a difference. Good info from Angus and John regarding setting 3. Will have to try that one.
Simon Austin
23/07/2012 @  01:12
Spax settings
That is useful feedback on the bespoke Spax shock absorbers that were developed by Spax for Clive Wheatley back in late 2007. In RV8NOTE278 released in January 2008, Rob Collier reported his encouraging feedback on fitting a set of the new front Spax shock absorbers to his RV8 and a few days later some rear Spax too. His comments then on the settings he had used were "the ride is very much improved and the handling much tauter. There is a dip on an A road near to me and I no longer take off from the seat and bang my head on the hood rails! I have adjusted the front shocks to 7 and the rear to 9 and this gives a taut ride without being 'jiggly' at low speeds. I may experiment with the settings as the rears can be adjusted with a knurled knob by simply reaching around the rear tyre, whilst the front can be adjusted with a screwdriver when full lock is applied." You can see that note at:
V8 Webmaster
23/07/2012 @  01:31
Spax settings
Angus you have changed my life! I have re-set my Spax to 3 front and 6 rear. The ride has been transformed and far more comfortable for normal use an ever greater pleasure to drive.
Hugh Boddington
24/07/2012 @  05:47
Spax settings
Angus, thanks for passing on the information re front Spax settings.
Like you I have a John Hoyle IRS rear end with Gaz adjustable shocks. As the IRS has been on the car for five years I have forgotten what the shocks are set at but recently have felt there is a little too much bounce in the rear when pressing on and was about to have a look at the settings. What are your's set at and what sort of ride do you get?
Robert Crowson
24/07/2012 @  14:31
Spax settings
Sorry for the delay in answering but I had to nip over to the garage to check the setting for the rear. In fact I had the shock absorbers set to eight and got a very good ride at that setting. In between the time of finding that setting and today I have replaced the rear springs from the original 300lb/in to 350lb/in. It was the spring change that made the most dramatic change to the car: Gone now the tail dipping and general soggy feeling on acceleration and corners. The ride is now simply superb but, of course, we are no longer comparing apples with apples as we have different spring rates. You are very welcome to try my car at any time, should the opportunity present itself.
Back to the point however, when checking this morning I took the opportunity to reset the shock absorbers to six, not for any good reason other than to see what the result might be. If the car feels a little bouncy I will reset them to eight.

Really glad that you are pleased with the result. Much as would like to claim credit here it was, of course, John Cumming who pointed me in the right direction. In fact he insisted to the point that he changed the setting on my car for me. What a man.
Angus Munro
25/07/2012 @  20:02
Spax settings
I no longer have my RV8 but my car had Clive Wheatley polyurethane bump stops and new front springs but I found that my RV8 had very little (about 15mm) suspension travel before the bump stops 'bottomed out'.

I found that too soft a setting on the front spax shocks actually gave a worse ride as the suspension reached the end of its travel and bottomed out. 7F 9R worked fine for me.
Rob Collier
26/07/2012 @  05:39
Spax settings
Hi Rob. After a trip in Yorkshire last week and some previous testing on the seriously bumpy North Norfolk roads, with no bump stop impact noted, I find it interesting to note that your car impacted the bump stops. That should have nothing to do with the dampers, which only serve to stop the spring oscillation after bump impact and the subsequent compression, but rather that the new springs themselves must have been too soft, or softer than the originals. A soft spring will, of course, be supported by a harder setting on the damper, as you did with your settings, but that is not the purpose of the damper in reality.

Changing tack a little here, in fact, I have never known what the RV8 original front springs are rated at. I seem to think that they are 500lb/in but I have no idea why I think that. I also believe that the air con cars have a stiffer front spring to the front.
Can anybody enlighten me here?
Angus Munro
26/07/2012 @  18:09
Spax settings
With help from Angus I have swept the material from this thread into a new RV8NOTE364 so it can be available to fellow RV8 enthusiasts for future reference. You can see the note at:
V8 Webmaster
27/07/2012 @  05:32
Spax settings
Hi Angus, Perhaps I should have mentioned that my car also had 17" split rim wheels with correspondingly lower profile tyres.

My car drove very well indeed with 7F 9R, but of course the beauty of the Spax shocks is that they can be adjusted to personal preference!
Rob Collier
28/07/2012 @  15:06
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