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Thread: compression or tension struts

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    compression or tension struts

    I am building an escort for track and road and i am looking at how to set up the front suspension. I have adjustable bilstiens and tca,s and need help with the sway bay. what do compression or tension struts do? which is better? any help you can give is most welcome, thanks

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    Spanner Monkey davemk1's Avatar

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    I'd like to know the Pros and cons of these setups too!
    I welded brackets for comp struts so I could try both.
    It's not on the rd yet so I'm as green as you are my friend.

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    Mechanic Matt75's Avatar

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    There are many many threads on here discussing this but my understanding is that tension struts for track and compression struts for rally

    Cheers

    Matt

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    yes i know there lots of threads about this, thats the problem, the information is buried inside semi related threads. most of them assuming a level of competence and knowledge i can only dream of

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    Pit Crew Forest_rallying's Avatar

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    Having not driven an Escort with tension struts so I am not really qualified to say how good they are. However they are a lot more expensive than a pair of compression struts and brackets especially when combined with a rose jointed anti roll bar.

    The Escort that I have built has compression struts with a rose jointed roll bar set up. I can't say how it drives yet because it's a long on going project that is n't finished.

    I have driven both Sierra and Escort Cosworths with compression struts and the steering, braking and turn in all felt very positive unlike the spongy anti roll bar mounted Tca's that forever had constant geometry changes.

    To summarise the compression struts are the cheaper option if you're on a budget, you might have to go slightly up on spring poundage to compensate for no ARB and you'll need to weld the brackets onto the chassis. The tension struts are the more expensive of the two, no brackets to need welding to the chassis as they bolt directly to excising ARB mounts.

    Look on Gartrac or West Wales Rally Spares for prices. I hope this is of some sort of help for you.

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    On my Mk2 (road car) I tried both setups and I like the tension struts better. (Gartrac system with 5/8" antirollbar).
    Both systems keep the strut in its place (fore/aft) in stead of the std antirollbar.
    If you want to fit compression struts keep in mind that you need to swap the TCA's from side to side.
    If you hit something solid with a front wheel with a tension strut it will take the front strut etc off the car.
    With a compression strut it will damage the chassis rails as the forces of the impact are going into the compression strut and subsequent the chassis rails.

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    Not necessarily, i bent a compression strut a few years back, they are hollow and not as strong as you think, there was no damage to the chassis.

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    Quote Originally Posted by Erikmex View Post
    Not necessarily, i bent a compression strut a few years back, they are hollow and not as strong as you think, there was no damage to the chassis.

    True, an old friend of mine did similar years ago. But his sheared in half and left the strut waving around in the wheel arch, it didn't damage the chassis but it made a mess of the inner wheel arch bowl.

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    For any competition work compression maybe better as quite a lot of front end damage can be sustained without affecting suspension geometry and hence you can carry on competing. I remember Barry Lee of Hot-Rod fame saying this and tested this theory when I T-boned a car plenty of inner wing and front chassis rail work needed but front suspension stayed fine.

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    Quote Originally Posted by Miniliteman View Post
    With a compression strut it CAN damage the chassis rails as the forces of the impact are going into the compression strut and subsequent the chassis rails.
    Regards.

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    Same applies to a tension strut, you could damage the front crossmember, but a properly engineered strut will always be sacrificial and fail first.

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    Excellent, i've been asking a few people about this too.

    I've been told that compression struts can be too harshj for the road and you generally need to up the front spring rates so for a road car either stock TCA's with an ARB or tension struts.

    Do tension struts replace the ARB?

    Interested to see that RetroPower have gone with Nitron coilovers, compression struts and no ARB on the front end of the Gordon Murray mk1. He'll be a tough man to please.

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    The Retropower mock built initially had a twincam ARB, have they now changed it?

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    compression or tension struts

    Gordon also said most sporty cars have a hefty arb
    Iíve got compression struts drop link arb and feels ok ish
    Thats with 300 lb coil overs Gaz shocks but cosy turbo engines weigh ton


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    Yes Baron tension struts do replace the std anti roll bar, however there's a thin anti roll bar that can be used with the tension struts. the complete kits retail at approx £600.

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    The GRP4 type setup for tension mainly comes with a 15mm anti roll bar, which was what was on the Retro Power GM car, ie too weedy for road/track use.

    Gartrac do a tension strut anti roll bar which can be bought in different thickness's, I cant comment on how well it works (because the car is still in a million pieces), but I have a 22mm one on tension struts.

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    Re: compression or tension struts

    I use compression struts on my car with an anti-roll bar, (grp4fabrications kit, the smallest ARB they do), it’s a tarmac rally car with 13X8” super sticky tyres, 250-280 progressive springs, & Bilstein struts.

    My car handles like it’s on rails, the front turns in like a go kart. Maybe it would be better with tension struts, but I think in the real world it’d be splitting hairs. At the time I built the car I couldn’t justify the cost of the tension strut kit, and to be honest I doubt I could tell the difference between the two from the driver’s seat anyway.

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