UMI lowering springs; still suck? UMI or another brand?

arlowf

Apprentice
Thread starter
Feb 11, 2022
81
8
Sorry to see you have a negative experience. I have seen others complain that they didn't get the drop they expected from these springs. A few things to consider/questions that came to my mind:

The shop you describe sounds nice. What kind of cars do they normally work on? These cars are up there in age and many of the youngsters don't know how to work on them.

We're your stock springs for the V-6? If so, that could explain why the car is at the same height as I'm assuming the new springs are for a small block. These cars set pretty high from the factory by today's standards. The center of the wheel on a stock setup is usually in line with the bottom of the rocker.

At the end of the day, more times than not, you have to trim springs to dial in the desired ride height. That's been my experience. I hope you get it where you want it soon. When you do, please come back and tell us what you did and share some pics.
Thanks for being so cordial.

Question: can you explain what you mean when you said this:
"We're your stock springs for the V-6? If so, that could explain why the car is at the same height as I'm assuming the new springs are for a small block. "

A v6 weighs less than a v8; I have a v8 now. Am I wrong about that? My thought process there is that if these were made for a stock gbody (v6, which is a sbc) that a v8 sbc would be heavier and thus lower the ride height on springs made for stock.
 

307 Regal

Royal Smart Person
Oct 21, 2009
1,649
113
Northern Indiana
I believe UMI's test mules were V8 cars. (I know they have Green Machine now but I think that they used to use a Monte Carlo Luxury Sport.) A stock Monte Carlo with a 305 V8 should be very similar in front end weight to what you have now. If you're comparing the ride height of your stock V6 springs holding up a V8 to brand new stiff V8 drop springs, that could partly be why they're so similar in height. But also make sure that the springs are seated in the lower A-arms correctly. It's been a while since I put my Eibachs in, but I think that the lower spring pockets have a low spot. If so, make sure that the end of the spring is in there.
 
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Northernregal

Sloppy McRodbender
Supporting Member
Oct 24, 2017
3,334
113
Red Deer, Northern Montana territory
A v6 weighs less than a v8; I have a v8 now. Am I wrong about that? My thought process there is that if these were made for a stock gbody (v6, which is a sbc) that a v8 sbc would be heavier and thus lower the ride height on springs made for stock.

And here is the culprit. You should probably stop before you get your feelings hurt.

V6 stock springs are a lower rate (measured in lbs/in) than stock V8, so they will compress more with the extra weight without any extra age sag. You put in lowered V8 springs, which will easily sit the same height, and complain about the vender.

You probably shouldn't bring up the shop, the tech gets a work order to replace X part with X part and does exactly that, they aren't going to care that you didn't get the drop you expected because they are just filling a work order. If you want the shop to care, go to a custom shop and tell them what you want, then pay them the extra to make it happen.
 
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Texas82GP

Just-a-worm
Apr 3, 2015
7,731
113
Spring, Texas
If, when the small block V8 was swapped in, the car was still equipped with the stock V-6 springs, then the front of the car would sit lower than stock. The factory strove for identical ride height no matter how the car was equipped. They accomplished this through changing spring rate and spring free height.

If stock V-6 (relatively soft) springs were removed from the car and replaced with performance (stiffer) lowering springs for a V-8, then the expected outcome would be to end up at about the same ride height.

As you trim springs, the spring rate (stiffness) increases proportionally with the amount trimmed. If you like the ride of the new springs (shouldn't be boaty), you might consider drop spindles to achieve the desired drop. If you're interested in going that way, be sure to check the fine print. They may not work with smaller diameter wheels (upper balljoint gets closer to the inside of the wheel hoop).
 
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64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
5,119
113
Upstate NY
Thanks for being so cordial.

Question: can you explain what you mean when you said this:
"We're your stock springs for the V-6? If so, that could explain why the car is at the same height as I'm assuming the new springs are for a small block. "

A v6 weighs less than a v8; I have a v8 now. Am I wrong about that? My thought process there is that if these were made for a stock gbody (v6, which is a sbc) that a v8 sbc would be heavier and thus lower the ride height on springs made for stock.
I agree with Northernregal . This is not the way this works, unfortunately. You're making the same assumption that I did the 1st time I tried adjusting ride height with different springs from different engine setups. I tried two different sets of springs and ended up putting the original saggy springs back in. And they were in that car until it's untimely demise. That car had varying front end weights as the power plant changes occurred. And FWIW, as the heavier the front end got, the better the stance - and the handling didn't get worse. Of course this is my opinion, but I can safely say that car was glued to the road as compared to my MC.

In my current car I have V6 springs from a V6 car with AC and they look original for whatever that's worth. I've deleted all of the heating and a/c system including inside the car. I've added a 4L80 (+100lbs), 4.5 gallons of ATF (20+ lbs), T6 turbo (+50lbs), piping/intercooler/piping/30x12 trans cooler/etc. (+40-50lbs) - and it rides great in straight line, but not much for handling with skinnies on the front. Point being, the V6 springs are adequate and my ride height is not too low. You can find pics of the stance here if you look.


If, when the small block V8 was swapped in, the car was still equipped with the stock V-6 springs, then the front of the car would sit lower than stock. The factory strove for identical ride height no matter how the car was equipped. They accomplished this through changing spring rate and spring free height.

If stock V-6 (relatively soft) springs were removed from the car and replaced with performance (stiffer) lowering springs for a V-8, then the expected outcome would be to end up at about the same ride height.

As you trim springs, the spring rate (stiffness) increases proportionally with the amount trimmed. If you like the ride of the new springs (shouldn't be boaty), you might consider drop spindles to achieve the desired drop. If you're interested in going that way, be sure to check the fine print. They may not work with smaller diameter wheels (upper balljoint gets closer to the inside of the wheel hoop).
I agree 200% with what Jared is indicating. I was told this by my local spring shop guy, that was a genuine hotrodder in his younger days. He explained this to me when I was swapping springs and the problems caused by cutting springs and how the results are somewhat of a crap shoot. Others might disagree, but ......


arlowf This thread is describing every reason why guys swap to coil overs. Every coil over manufacturer has various springs for rate and height specs. Regarding your shop doing the work and multiple calls to UMI, I'd be concerned that you might at the point where you're wearing them out. I know when this happens to me (similar business), I get to the point of telling the customer 'yes' to every question just to get them out the door. I know that isn't the right thing to do, but when someone isn't picking up what I'm putting down, then it's time for me to move on.

Either cut the springs as UMI has suggested or save for an a-arm/coil over package - my best advice.
 
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DarrinWI

n00b
Jan 2, 2022
4
1
Madison, WI
I installed 2” drop UMI springs in my V8 Elky and am happy with the stance. I just swapped in a 5.3 so I hope it sits the same when I get it back on the ground.
 

gbodytoys

Master Mechanic
May 1, 2014
439
93
Detroit, MI
Excuse my ignorance, but does "stock" mean anything on vehicles that are all at least 30+ years old?

Direct comparisons are something that some of us seem to want, but I believe that term is reserved for things that haven't changed since the manufacturer created them. I am guilty of this as well, as I don't know all of the factors that can cause something to vary from car to car when I purchase something. In my own cars, I've changed screws, shifted a panel, etc... and I don't know how those things could change the fit for someone 20 years from now when they're reference a stock appearing car. Just something to think about.

I believe that any company can be bashed, including a "supported vendor", but your data and research will need to be scientific.
 
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Northernregal

Sloppy McRodbender
Supporting Member
Oct 24, 2017
3,334
113
Red Deer, Northern Montana territory
Stock is generally how it left the factory. If was a V8, V6, factory AC, heavy duty ride or whoever options it had and the OEM setup for those options. We all kinda have to assume that our cars are not as per stock from factory, it's kinda why we are here, so mods can be frustrating on stuff like springs and ride height.

I absolutely hate picking springs. I went coilovers because it's the best solution.

And FWIW I have the UMI stage 4 suspension in my cutlass, and I have nothing but positive reviews for the team there and the products I got from them.
 
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81cutlass

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 16, 2009
4,367
113
Western MN
Preaching to the choir here but yeah, expecting a drop spring to universally drop a 30-40yr old car with galaxy wide different weights and tire sizes is wishful thinking.

A quick case study-

Both of these cars are moog 5660 front springs with .5" taller lower ball joints and are full interior, AC, zero weight reduction cars with new body bushings with a 25.7" tire.

The cutlass has a iron turbo buick 6 with a 2004r, aluminum core support and front bumper. These springs had to be cut 3/4 of a coil to get this height.
1666970463604.png


My 2+2 with an iron LS, t56, arguably the same ride height, totally uncut 5660.
1666970591846.png


There was 1.5" different in ride height between the cars. Now imagine a 78 malibu without AC, with an NA aluminum LS, without inner fenders, fiberglass hood and without tall lower ball joints. I bet that would sit another 1.5" taller even with a 5660 spring. So a brand new spring all on a G Body can have 3" different in ride height. Add in tire size, fender shape..... It all compounds. That's almost impossible to target and give a firm number as an aftermarket supplier who has a small sample size

It's not uncommon for a Gbody to weigh 2800lb all the way to 3800lb. I think people need to temper their expectations.
 
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dgmeadows

Greasemonkey
Supporting Member
Mar 29, 2017
162
63
Georgia
Because I was in the OP's position in looking for replacement springs, I can understand where he is coming from. V6 or V8 springs are a valid OEM comparison consideration, however neither UMI or BMR's website (or any other aftermarket vendor I have seen) offer differing spring rates for the G-Body (until you get into adjustable coil overs, etc). The vendors advertise "drop springs" for the G-Body and provide the number of inches of drop. The vendors don't offer "V6 or V8 drop springs." When I asked my questions a year ago, I was told to presume it would be a drop of "X" from the stock specifications. I did ask about different engine/trans sizes and weights, primarily because I was concerned the design focus may have been on Regal turbos and there might have been a significant weight difference there. The BMR guy told me they used a Monte SS as the guinea pig, so it would have been presumably a 305 iron block V8 and 700R4 transmission, likely with AC. The UMI guy could not specify, but suggested it was safe to assume we were talking about a mid 80s V8 stock ride height comparison. My car had a 260 diesel and 250THM transmission, and I was going to a 6.0 LQ9 and 4L80, so I assumed I was adding more weight, but then we considered aluminum heads in the new engine versus iron in the old, headers vs manifolds, and 2 lead acid batteries in the diesel replaced by one AGM in the new set up, etc., etc., and we agreed it was hard to speculate, could probably assume it was going to be at least the same, and likely a little heavier but probably not hundreds of pounds difference.

Bottom line though, if you are buying something that is advertised as "drop springs" for a G-Body, the average (non-expert) buyer is going to presume they can expect that the ride height appearance in their G-Body car with an average or heavier V8 in it (plus AC and other weight adders) would be lower than a stock ride height of the same vehicle. Several very valid suggestions have been made to check on the installation process to make sure it was done right. If all that checks out, and the ride height is still at or above stock appearance, I would understand the OP's frustration if the vendor's response was "guess you'll have to cut them to get the height you want."

The ironic thing is one of the reasons I chose the 1.5" BMR kit was I thought the 2" UPI advertised drop might be too much. I guess I am fortunate that my results were exactly what I was hoping for, but I also got the complete tubular suspension kit, not just springs. I would assume just the springs in the factory suspension would probably not yield exactly the same ride height as the fully engineered kit. I hope the OP can get his worked out to his satisfaction. I know we all hate to have to accept results that don't meet expectations or advertised specifications.
 
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