Shock absorbers are typically good for around 80,000 - 120,000 kilometers. When they start to leak and show signs of aging, the driver might notice a compromised ride and poor handling characteristics. Our customer's EM1 Honda Civic is a commuter with well over 300,000 kms and began to show such signs of wear. Not only that but the ride height became noticeably uneven with the old suspension. We looked into options for replacing the shocks and keeping the existing springs, but for the cost of shock absorbers, we also looked into aftermarket coilovers which offer adjustable ride height.
Tein Street Basis Z
This is when we came across the new Tein Street Basis Z (P/N: GSH98-8USS2), an evolution from the older Tein Street Basic and Street Basis series coilovers. This entry level coilover includes matched dampers and springs and utilizes the stock upper shock mounts. The spring rates are 9kg/mm in the front and 4kg/mm in the rear. As with any Tein product the build quality is exceptional, even these entry level coilovers offer excellent rustproofing, quality springs, and high-performance damper oil. In this particular application, the full set of coilovers are priced under $700 CAD, a tremendous value and a nice upgrade from factory suspension in terms of aesthetics and handling.
Because they utilize the stock mounts, a spring compressor is required to remove the top hats from the old suspension. The fitment of these coilovers was perfect and it is a simple bolt-on installation. Compared to just installing shocks, there is an extra step which involves setting the ride height. We recommend setting the ride height, going for a short drive, and checking again to see if the ride height is balanced and to your liking. Due to the uneven ride height on this particular Civic, we took the extra step of adjusting the height to balance out the wheel gap before sending the car out for an alignment.
Tein Street Basis Z vs. Tein Flex Z
Unlike their more premium products, the Street Basis Z does not offer a threaded lower perch so adjusting the ride height does have an effect on the preload of the springs. We don't recommend setting the ride height to the lowest possible setting as that results in no preload on the springs. According to Tein's literature, the Street Basis Z offers up to a 2.4" drop in the front and 2.8" drop in the rear.
For those looking for a very low ride height, we recommend stepping up to the Tein Flex Z which offer their own upper mounts and a threaded shock body so the spring preload and stroke length do not have to be affected by changes in ride height. The Flex Z series also offers adjustable damping to further configure ride comfort/handling. In a way the Flex Z are also easier to install since you don't need to disassemble the original strut/spring. Both the Street Basis Z and Flex Z are great street coilovers and a tremendous value.
To place an order for a set of Tein coilovers or to set up an installation appointment, contact us today!