The pony front strut design is almost identical to the AE86.
For a killer front setup, try something like this:
Get a set of coilover sleeves. Not cheap weapon-R ebay crap.
Ground control makes a great set. So does QA-1. I went with QA-1 as it was only US$135 for the sleeves and springs, and they are well known in the race world as high quality units.
Then get a set of shocks that will fit your car. Do you know what OD strut insert your front struts will accept? If it will accept a 43.5mm OD cartridge, you may have a large selection to choose from. It you need a smaller size like 41mm OD then your choices will be more limiting, though there still are options in that size like Tokico Illumina 5-way adjustable.
I've used a zillion different types of shocks, from KYB AGX adjsutable, KYB GR2, tokico blues, tokico illumina, Tokico HTS 45-way adjustable, TRD race, Koni sport, and Koni Race. I am currently running on Koni Race series.
Now there are two paths you can choose to go down. You can go with a full length, full stroke strut that is the same dimensions in all areas as the stock setup. Or you can go the extra mile and do a short stroke conversion that will be optimized for your lower ride height.
If you wanna go the easy route and stick with the full sized strut housings, take a grinder and grind off your stock spring perch:
If you wanna do the short stroke conversion, you will want to actually cut your strut housing into three pieces and weld the two together to get a shorter strut body. This will gain back all the suspension travel you lose when you lower your car. If you want to do this, then you can either hacksaw the strut, use a power cutting tool, or use a pipe cutter. I use pipe cutters as the cut is very clean and straight:
Here is my cousin (Red_AGT) cutting the strut with a pipe cutter:
I cut above and below the spring perch instead of grinding the perch off. Less work. But you will have to know at this point how much of your strut you want to remove. This depends on your chosen ride height and choice of shocks. If you go the short stroke route, it is likely that your strut cartridge will be shorter than your strut body. You need to either machine a spacer to fill the gap at the bottom of the strut, or go to cheap route like me and throw a bunch of washers into the strut.
Now put it all together for a test fit. IT should look something like this:
What I did next was make some new spring perches for the sleeves to sit on. I used some flat steel and bought two bi-metal hole saw bits. If you have a lathe, that's even better. One hole saw was the same as the OD of my strut body (almost exactly 2 inches) and the other was 1/2 inch larger. Using a drill press, punch the small hole, and then the big hole and now you have a nice spring perch. You can also purchase what some call "weld rings" from places like Ground control.
Now you position the perches onto the strut and weld them on! Then you weld your strut body back together so it's one piece again. Throw some paint on to keep the rust out! It should like like so:
Now put the washers/spacers into the struts, pour some oil into the strut, put your cartridges in, slide the coilover sleeves/perches/springs on, close the top gland nut, put the spring top hat on, put the strut mount on and you're good!
Here is my old setup using TRD shocks, QA1 coilover sleeves/springs, and cusco camber plates. (You can use your stock strut mounts)
If you want to reduce noise in your suspension (and minimize risk of improper seating after taking air) then you may want to run a helper spring too.
This is my current setup using Koni Race shocks, QA1 coilovers, Eibach helper springs and spring couplers, and Project Mu height adjustable camber plates:
On the car:
One thing you may notice when you lower the front of car is increased bump steer and less stability, more twitchiness, and general unhappiness. This is because the roll centre of your front end has been compromised with lowering. What you can do is put a spacer under your strut close to restore the angle of your front lower control arms. This will improve handling and even put less stress on your steering as everything is working at the angles it was designed for (including your stabilizer bar).
Here is a pic of my spacer to correct the front Roll centre:
For the rear... well... I don't know much about leaf springs.... can you convert to coil? How stiff do air springs get? Can you get custom made leafs that drop your car and give you a higher spring rate? I have no idea if that is easy or if it costs a fortune. I had a crazy Pony friend who used Monroe heavy duty mega stiff rear shocks made for a freaking RV.... I asked him before posting here and he said for near stock ride heights, use Monroe 555004. If you are lowered a couple inches, use 555003 which is shorter and allows for more travel.
Hope that gives you a couple ideas...
[Edited by AccentAE86 on Jul 17, 2006 10:22 AM]