Heavy duty rear springs swap - 1st gen xB - Scionlife.com



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Old 11-02-2012, 04:06 AM   #1
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Default Heavy duty rear springs swap - 1st gen xB

Hello all-

First time poster. Please be gentle.

I've got a 2004 xB I bought last spring for the express purpose of converting it to electric power. It's got 148K miles on it and while overall in decent shape was ready for an overhaul in several respects so it is a good candidate for this.

What I'm looking for here is advice/ideas on where I might find some comparatively heavy duty coil springs that could fit the rear of the scion (where it will gain about 500 pounds in lithium batteries over the rear axle)

I know there are plenty of lowering spings available with 10, 20, 30 percent or so higher spring rates versus stock. The problem is with the lowering and the extra weight these springs won't really work.

Air springs would probably solve my problem, but I don't want to spend that much or add that kind of complexity to the car.

What I'm hoping for is ideas on springs out of other, somewhat larger vehicles, such as minivans, midsize cars, etc. that might work in a swap scenario. This means same diameter ends as the scion and similar length to the stock springs, but with a spring rate maybe 30 to 50% higher than the stock xB springs.

I'm going shopping at the local pick and pull to see if I can spot anything as well. But maybe somebody has already done this.

Thanks!
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:02 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madderscience View Post
Hello all-

First time poster. Please be gentle.

I've got a 2004 xB I bought last spring for the express purpose of converting it to electric power. It's got 148K miles on it and while overall in decent shape was ready for an overhaul in several respects so it is a good candidate for this.

What I'm looking for here is advice/ideas on where I might find some comparatively heavy duty coil springs that could fit the rear of the scion (where it will gain about 500 pounds in lithium batteries over the rear axle)

I know there are plenty of lowering spings available with 10, 20, 30 percent or so higher spring rates versus stock. The problem is with the lowering and the extra weight these springs won't really work.

Air springs would probably solve my problem, but I don't want to spend that much or add that kind of complexity to the car.

What I'm hoping for is ideas on springs out of other, somewhat larger vehicles, such as minivans, midsize cars, etc. that might work in a swap scenario. This means same diameter ends as the scion and similar length to the stock springs, but with a spring rate maybe 30 to 50% higher than the stock xB springs.

I'm going shopping at the local pick and pull to see if I can spot anything as well. But maybe somebody has already done this.

Thanks!
I've abandoned the idea of finding compatible springs for xA after several trips to PullApart and junk yards alike.
Give friendly spring guys a call @ http://www.gittspring.com/. I have!
Im getting set of custom made springs (F450lb-in/R400lb-in) made for my xA ...pricey but worth the trouble as noone else makes decent spring rate coils w/o ridiculous drop.
P.S
Perhaps Megan springs will suffice your need. F 280lb-in Rear 230Lb-in ...

Last edited by MidnightScion; 11-02-2012 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:28 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply.

I actually used Gitts for my last set of custom springs on an electric 1985 Toyota MR2. Unfortunately I had a bad experience. First they made totally wrong springs (completely, wildly different dimensions than the stock springs I gave them as templates) and then they took forever to make the right springs, and then they lost the originals I had explicitly stated I wanted returned, and then they never owned up to it, saying every time I called that they were still looking, even a couple months later. I finally just gave up trying to get the originals back.

In fairness to them, the springs I finally ended up with were exactly what I asked for and are performing fine to this day, and all this happened six years ago, so perhaps things have gotten better.

Thanks for the suggestion though.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:33 AM   #4
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I have over 500lbs of stereo equipment in my xB, and had some massive sagging (See my thread in the ICE section). A few days ago my helper bags came in and I installed them. So far so good, the ride is great, the car is level. Its pretty cheap too, $88 from Amazon. This is the one you want:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o00_s00_i00
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:46 AM   #5
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Update/Followup on my problem.

I initially tried some acura integra and honda accord front springs. They have about the right diameter to fit the spring perches, but are too long and too high of spring rate to work with the xB rear. Trimming them and making modifications to allow the springs to fit might have worked but that got too extreme for me.

I dug around a bit more and eventually found a solution a lot closer to home. I realized that the 2nd Generation xB has very similar rear suspension to the 1st gen. except the rear axle GAWR is about 1950lbs instead of the 1st gen 1650lbs. Looking at various pictures I deduced the geometry of the 2nd gen rear springs is very similar to the 1st gen, though stock 2nd gen springs are going to be too long.

However, this means that lowering springs for a 2nd gen xB might end up making great stock-height overload springs for a 1st gen car, which is exactly what I am shooting for.

Given this I went out on a limb and ordered a set of TRD lowering springs for a 2008-2012 xB.

Attached picture is a comparison of what I got against a 1st gen TRD rear spring.

According to info found in various places on the web:

Stock 1st gen rear spring rate is 160lb/in; ~12in free length.
TRD 1st gen rear spring rate is ~176lbs/in, 11.5in free length; 7 coil turns.
TRD 2nd gen rear spring rate is 217lb/in, 12.5in inch free length, 8.5 coil turns.
1st gen vs 2nd gen spring end and body diameters are essentially identical.
2nd gen spring is slightly heavier diameter wire as might be expected.

so I am going up by about 35% over stock 1st gen xb rear spring rate and 23% over the 1st gen TRD springs with an extra inch of travel. Given that I am adding about 600lbs over the rear axle (Batteries) This seems about right.

I did test fit the 2nd gen xB spring in my 1st gen car; It is going to fit. It will be a while before things are together and I can test drive and report on the handling though.

This also means that more aggressive springs like the eibachs, megan, etc. might make for lowering AND overload springs on a 1st gen xB.

Possibilities, Possibilities.
Attached Thumbnails
Heavy duty rear springs swap - 1st gen xB-springs_small.jpg  

Last edited by madderscience; 12-13-2012 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:05 AM   #6
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Like I said, the helper bags are a pretty good option, and they're adjustable...
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:59 PM   #7
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Safest+correct fit
Sale Under $83.00 shipped,
http://www.suspensionconnection.com/...r-springs.html

Helper bags rated for 1,000 lbs air bag helper springs keep your Scion xB level and riding comfortably when hauling or towing. These totally adjustable air springs mount inside the existing coil spring of your Scion xB to provide load control through the use of air pressure. Rated at 1,000 lbs for additional level suspension load capacity. All Air Lift air bag helper springs are custom fit for a simple bolt-on installation. An optional air control kit (air compressor kit) can be added (not required) for additional $$

Good Luck......
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:25 AM   #8
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Today I called SWIFT springs and talked to one of the techs.
There is a 12 inch long 2.5 OD barrel coil springs rated at 6.3Kg = 350lb/in
Im sure it will not only support rear of ur ride but might even lift it up a bit
Give them a jingle...
Cheers!
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:21 AM   #9
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Great find! How are you planning on doing your electric conversion? will it be hybrid or full battery? You should make a build log or something!
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:47 PM   #10
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The car will be fully electric. It is a 'direct drive' setup meaning there is no transmission; only a fixed ratio gear reduction (belt and gen2 celica gts differential in my case) between the motor and the wheels.

I'll build a site or start a blog once the car is mostly done; til then I'd like to focus on the building, not the blogging.

Attached is a picture of the rear suspension put back together with the xB2 TRD springs in place. As you can see, they fit fine.
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Heavy duty rear springs swap - 1st gen xB-img_2680.jpg  
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:15 AM   #11
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Very cool. Ill be watching for your progress. Did you put the box down on those springs? They still look like theyd give a bit of a lift without your proposed wieght. Also, if you wanted to do a little testing, you might persuade the local lumber yard to loan you some sandbags, and drive around a bit. Glws!

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Old 08-19-2013, 03:04 AM   #12
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Default update - heavy duty rear springs

Hi All-

I finally got my EV conversion xB running earlier this month, and can now provide a final report on the suspension.

the xb2 Trd rear springs I initally picked felt pretty good insofar as handling despite having about 600 pounds of battery pretty much centered right over the rear axle. Unfortunately they did end up sitting about 1.5" lower than the front axle (which already has xb1 trd lowering springs)

So I tried a set of stock xb2 rear springs, which I know from prior research have the right general shape, but which i initially thought would be too long to install. However as it turns out they do fit, and they ride about 2" higher than the xb2 trd springs did. the ride is a bit softer but still fine.

Attached pic is of the xB with 1st gen trd front springs, OEM xb2 rear springs, and 600lbs of battery in the back. case closed.

BH
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Heavy duty rear springs swap - 1st gen xB-img_3035.jpg  
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:40 AM   #13
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Wow! Nicely done! Do you have a write up of your conversion? I'd love to see more details!

The worst Instagram you've ever seen.... @ dawiz711
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:00 AM   #14
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I haven't posted/published anything about the build yet, but I am planning to. Right now too busy playing with it to spend a lot of time blogging about it. Having fixed the suspension issue, I am now adjusting the gear ratio and changing the drive belt type to a quieter one.
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:10 AM   #15
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August 22, 2013 was so long ago....
What's new?

Quote:
Originally Posted by madderscience View Post
I haven't posted/published anything about the build yet, but I am planning to. Right now too busy playing with it to spend a lot of time blogging about it. Having fixed the suspension issue, I am now adjusting the gear ratio and changing the drive belt type to a quieter one.
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:17 AM   #16
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Far from done, and the URL/paths may wander around a bit, but I am slowly working on it:

http://amphibike.org/blog/scion-xb-ev/

BH
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:13 PM   #17
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I realize this is an old thread, but the Blog about the EV conversion is definitely worth a read.
Nice work, Brian!
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Old 10-23-2015, 02:43 AM   #18
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Thanks!

The car is still running, in use for daily commuting, and will hit 20,000 EV miles in another month or two.

Reliability has been good all things considered. Since getting it running and working out the initial kinks, the only repairs have been:

1 battery cell (out of 100) replaced due to low capacity
1 minor charging component replaced
A couple BMS cell boards replaced due to inconsistent behavior
Diff rebuilt with new bearings (was a pick and pull unit to begin with)

Motor, drive belt, inverter, charger, suspension, all the rest of battery pack, etc. all still going strong.
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2005, duty, gitts, heavy, lift, megan, problem, rear, scion, spring, springs, supports, suspension, toyota, xb

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