Suspension Improvements for a 2nd gen Sephia ☺ - Kia Forum
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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Suspension Improvements for a 2nd gen Sephia ☺

Improving the "KiaStein"

Since long ago, I wanted to lift a little bit the "KiaStein" and also get rid from the saggy butt it had; seems like the engineers that calibrated the suspension on the second gen of the Kia Sephia, thought that these small sedans would carry one person only, and rarely move under full load... they were so wrong, at least for the LADM (Latin American Domestic Market).

The Front Suspension is pretty Sporty, with rapid recuperation from potholes, road bouncing, and feels pretty Strong; However, the Rear suspension is pretty Weak, and the car
"sits" when is under full load, I mean five passengers on the cabin, and some luggage on the trunk, but without weighing too exaggerated, always under specs of load, the car seemed to go very Low on the Rear, and had too much Bouncing, even with healthy Shock Absorbers.

In fact, I admire the Simplicity and Strongness from these Kia's Suspension, it has survived sixteen years of use and abuse, and besides some Wear on the Shock Absorbers, everything seems to be alright, and the guys at two different alignment shops, confirmed that to me, everything seems to be under specs.

But I insist that the Rear feels pretty Weak, and never had the same Sporty feeling that the Front has; and I had to do
"Something" to fix that situation...



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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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So I spent over a Month (Literally) actively searching online, information regarding the Suspension of these second gen Sephias, learning mainly about the Coil Springs; things like how much lbs per inch they can bear, spring rate, load capabilities, etc... and then searching for a suitable replacement that could bear a little more weight, without being too stiff, nor having too much preload on the coil, in order to keep the Ride as great as it could be.

My conclusion was that the Front suspension is alright as it is, but the Rear suspension really needed a change on its Coil Springs: in order to get better handling loaded, sportier feeling in the Rear like the car already has in the Front, and get rid from the saggy butt, I needed to find Coil Springs that must be a little Taller and little Harder for the Rear Suspension.

The union from the Shock Absorber + Coil Springs is known as
"Strut" and since the Shock Absorbers were alright, I started to hunt for better Coil Springs to improve the rear struts.


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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Remember that you can Not go too Stiff on any suspension, nor too Weak, because the car will be unsafe to drive: Going too Stiff will make the car to Bounce and Rebound on potholes and other road's imperfections, and thus leads to loose control, which is pretty Dangerous; in the other hand, going too weak might also make you loose control of the car under certain circumstances, especially while it is driven with load.

I have much previous experience in Suspension modifications and "Upgrades" as you can read one example, here:


~►
Suspension Improvements / Lifting Procedures for...

However, I must always write my Disclaimer:
Use all the information and photos that I share, at your own Risk!


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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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My Research showed that the rear Coil Springs that are closer to the Sephia's ones, in shape and almost everything, but being a little Taller and Harder, are the ones from the 1990's decade Toyota Camry.

Here I Share a composite Screenshot with the Specs of Both, together:



Next, I disassembled one of the Rear Struts from the "KiaStein" and I went to hunt for the Camry's rear Coil Springs, among the local Junk Yards...


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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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Despite that the information found online, regarding the Camry's rear coil springs, states that the same ones were used on all the Camry lineup models during all the 1990's decade, I found that the Newer Camry ('95+) used Coil Springs with Wider Base, that does Not seat on the Sephia's rear Shock Absorber; but the older models ('94-) had Narrower base that sits good.

So I obtained a Pair of Rear Coil Springs, from a '94 Camry ... ... here you can see together, one of them, next to the one I took out from our '00 Sephia:





Left = Camry / Right = Sephia


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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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What I did for your easy understanding of the relation, was to paint the ones from the Camry, with a Yellow leftover paint I had, take photos of both Coil Springs' real-life Measurements, and build this Comparison Chart for you:



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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Installing those Coil Springs on the "KiaStein" will lift the Rear at least " so, I needed to lift equally the Front without modifying the Suspension. Long years ago, I purchased a set of Rubber "Donuts" for my Subaru, and due to an internet connection error, Amazon placed the order twice; so I had this set sitting inside a Box on a shelf, since year 2003:



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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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So, This simply solution that I found, for the Suspension of the second gen Kia Sephia:


Not only gets Rid from the saggy butt while gives better Handling, Also Lifts the car without loosing maneuverability, improves the Handling while provides the same straight Sporty Feeling to the Rear Suspension, that the Front always had; even more: the car does drive way much better under load, without bottoming out.

Really, it is Amazing how much a car's Handling can improve with better Coil Springs, despite of being installed on the original, old shock absorbers...


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I installed the above pictured set on the "KiaStein" since December 21, 2015 and the car has been driven more than five hundred miles with it; I did many tests in order to ensure the safety of the car, such like like Racing on unpaved roads without load (to analyse the Bouncing), Racing up to -almost- 90 MPH on Highway, drive slowly on Potholes, Normal city driving, average usage unloaded and loaded, etc... then I did my Christmas family trip with it, went fully loaded to visit Family members far away... The car Really performs Flawlessly.

This is the Best modification I've done to the
"KiaStein" so far.


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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-01-2016, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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All my cars always carry Five Boxes on the Trunk, plenty of Tools, Fluids, etc...




...so, the improved cargo capabilities are a Plus on this small sedan.

Kind Regards.


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