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I'm looking for suggestions for a heavier duty suspension for the OG 9-3. I have my "nice" 9-3 with the Eibach springs and Koni dampers, but I also have my "not so nice" 9-3 that I use for camping trips and bombing up logging roads to get to the trailheads. I'm interested in ideas for the latter! Are there any off-the-shelf setups that would give my beater Saab a beefier more truck-like suspension? Has anyone had custom springs fabricated for a stiffer ride? Other ideas? Examples with pictures?

Yep, yep, I know I know: "your ride quality is going to be complete ****!" Or "dude, just buy a truck!" But that's not the point :) I like taking my Saab camping, and driving it maybe a bit too hard up logging roads! And also: this car was $2000, doesn't look pretty as it is, and I like to tinker. I'm currently running the original, stock suspension on this vehicle, and I think - after a summer exploring the woods of the northwest - I might have blown a front damper. Now is the time for me to do something fun - or stupid - or both.
 

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There used to be more local guys around who would custom springs... now, not so much. But, a quick Google does find a number of them out there:
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=custom+made+automotive+coil+springs

Musing a little...
I would think you'd need to measure the rate and height of your current stock springs, front & rear (likely slightly degraded) to get a starting point. Or better, send them to the company you choose to do that on their equipment.

I wouldn't go more than 10% stiffer, maybe an inch higher. If you have a car with Eibach, that's about what they are (10% stiffer) and I think more would be very harsh. Also, I wonder if there are any shocks that will accommodate another inch of height and still have room to work without pulling the rod out of the shock. Maybe the best choice would be stock height and 10% stiffer.

There are two ways to make a spring stiffer: Fewer coils or thicker wire. With bigger wire you'll need to watch the spring OD and how it will fit into the mounts and base, as well as the wire OD to make sure it fits in the channel in each. They can taper wire to fit in the channel as well as make the springs progressive, but that might get expensive for a one-off. The other choice would be stock size wire with fewer coils and perhaps vary the coil to coil space for something more progressive but you're passing out of my knowledge area on the progressive aspect.

You will want good shocks... like Koni so you can tune it.
 

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How about some spring rubbers, that will effectively give you a slightly higher ride height (or more correctly less lowering of the car when it settles under its own weight) and also an effective stiffer spring rate. Bonus they are cheap and easily removable so you don't have to sacrifice everyday ride on the road.
 

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Do you get Kings springs there?
You can order practically anything through them as longs as you get a sales guy with a brain.

At their recommendation my brother has some sort of Nissan springs in the back of his 635CSi, they're better than my Eibachs.

Otherwise speedway suppliers will have springs in any configuration.

Also, Scale Suspension has a good coilover setup. http://scalesuspension.com/ They're in Canada.
 

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I would have thought that a stiffer suspension on a rough road would just lead to the wheels and car bouncing all around. I think what you really could use is a long-travel suspension with good dampers. Not sure how easily that can be accomplished.

Taller tires would be a good start. Good-quality 195/65-15 should work.
 

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Do you get Kings springs there?
You can order practically anything through them as longs as you get a sales guy with a brain.

At their recommendation my brother has some sort of Nissan springs in the back of his 635CSi, they're better than my Eibachs.

Otherwise speedway suppliers will have springs in any configuration.

Also, Scale Suspension has a good coilover setup. http://scalesuspension.com/ They're in Canada.
ya I checked this out just now. Swift springs are not made in Canada btw lol. Looks like they warehouse stuff. It took a little digging as their web page does not say where they are located. Looks like they are located in Quebec City, for whatever that's worth.

I can look into it more closely but I suggest there may not be a lot of there, there.

Its easy enough to have parts made in asia and brand them. Asia is closer to you than Canada. Cheap coil overs are made all over, but HSD are the largest manufacturer, out of Taiwan, and private label "stance" brand among others...In my view. if coil overs are not Penske or Ohlins, then you might be better served with using Bilsteins in a stock config spring...tough to find good oem springs. And yet mine are ok to tell the truth...I media blasted them checked them out, powdercoated them and put them back on the car...

Best springs for track and street are made in USA by Hyperco... Swift springs are very good, I did talk to them a few years ago when I was looking at engineering some springs. Two year lead time.
 

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Swift is made in Japan I think.

I don't know where Scale is made.
I got the name from a Touareg forum, they seem to be happy with them.
 

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Swift is made in Japan I think.

I don't know where Scale is made.
I got the name from a Touareg forum, they seem to be happy with them.
swift is made in Japan. Good product. If you could use a flat ground race spring Hyperco have a kazillion springs in multiple lengths diameters rates etc. Hyperco springs have been used on every indy car 500 winner since the 1960's .

But OEM springs are generally not flat ground and its a expensive undertaking to create springs...The rear of a 9.5 and perhaps a 9-3 you can probably make an adaptor and come up with something. But then you have to chose a rate, and even at 125 each for a flat ground race spring if you could use it, then conceivably you could chose the wrong rate and then waste money.
PS . most anything is better than eibach in my experience.

easier to stick with stock. Spring rubbers work but you would get more than 25 pounds of rate increase with them. I use spring rubbers for testing and racing....then again spring rubbers are rarely made for large diameter oem style springs like you find at the front of a mac strut saab....

my .02
 
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