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Old 02-08-2016, 04:34 PM   #1
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Default Anybody Interested in adjustable aluminum tophats?

Last night I was wondering how to best figure out exactly by how much to extend my tophats for my Bilstein coilovers. And I only want to do that once and do it right. But it looks like tophat extension is very much trial and error.

So the idea for adjustable tophats (quick sketch) was born:



Adjustable tophat top view




Adjustable tophat bottom view
I still need to figure out how to jam the hat insert in the baseplate. Lock nut? Set screw?

I have a friend with a machine shop who could definitely make them. But at just a set of four the programming and fixturing would be a bit much and cost per piece would be too high.

So I had the idea of a group buy. Is anybody interested? What would an interesting price point be for a set of four?

Datapoints on price:
- A set of four absolutely gorgeous 949 "blemished" billet tophats for Bilsteins runs at $424 + shipping
- A set of four kinda basic ISC tophats is $164 + shipping

So price would have to be somewhere in between, hopefully closer to the ISC price point.

Let the feature-creep begin!
Attached Thumbnails
Anybody Interested in adjustable aluminum tophats?-80-tophatassembly_top_253502220e752d7dec20a17f1ff7f068849f95e5.png   Anybody Interested in adjustable aluminum tophats?-80-tophatassembly_bottom_790ffc1976de8f2752403041c38c064cefd79e75.png  
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanst View Post
Last night I was wondering how to best figure out exactly by how much to extend my tophats for my Bilstein coilovers. And I only want to do that once and do it right. But it looks like tophat extension is very much trial and error.

So the idea for adjustable tophats (quick sketch) was born:

[IMG ]https://www.miataturbo.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=161642&dateline=145496 3696[/IMG]

Adjustable tophat top view


[IMG ]https://www.miataturbo.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=161643&dateline=145496 3696[/IMG]

Adjustable tophat bottom view
I still need to figure out how to jam the hat insert in the baseplate. Lock nut? Set screw?

I have a friend with a machine shop who could definitely make them. But at just a set of four the programming and fixturing would be a bit much and cost per piece would be too high.

So I had the idea of a group buy. Is anybody interested? What would an interesting price point be for a set of four?

Datapoints on price:
- A set of four absolutely gorgeous 949 "blemished" billet tophats for Bilsteins runs at $424 + shipping
- A set of four kinda basic ISC tophats is $164 + shipping

So price would have to be somewhere in between, hopefully closer to the ISC price point.

Let the feature-creep begin!
I have a drawing that looks just like that! I wonder if there's any off-the-shelf eBay coilover sleeves that are large enough for that. You just have to make sure the ID is large enough for the damper to have clearance, if you're low enough with a long shock. You could weld an aluminum plate on top of the sleeve to make the insert. Then find some way to keep the threaded perch in the base plate (weld, etc.), and then you'd have a big jam nut. You wouldn't have to make any threads that way.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:53 PM   #3
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I was thinking about that too. But with Ebay parts you never get consistency, so even if we find parts that work this time around, if we want to do it again a year from now, those exact parts may not be available anymore. And my Allstar sleeves don't really seem to have enough meat to increase the ID to 2.1" or more so the dampers can slide in and out.

And yes, I understand that the above sentence with "meat" and "slide in and out" will elicit some responses.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:57 PM   #4
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Allstar Performance 2.5 in. Coil-Over Kits ALL64146 - Free Shipping on Orders Over $99 at Summit Racing

Allstar also makes 2.5" sleeves. Unfortunately that would require making the holes in the chassis larger. I've actually done that on my chassis with a 2.5" hole saw, but this would have to be slightly larger. I used 2.5" OD pipe for my top hats, these would be 2.5" ID.
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:01 PM   #5
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That wouldn't work with my allstar sleeves on 99AE billies.

The allstar sleeve has two locating bosses inside, you can only really trim it down ~1" otherwise you cut the locating boss off.

So, that extended sleeve would slip over the shock body and contact the sleeve.
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acedeuce802 View Post
Allstar Performance 2.5 in. Coil-Over Kits ALL64146 - Free Shipping on Orders Over $99 at Summit Racing

Allstar also makes 2.5" sleeves. Unfortunately that would require making the holes in the chassis larger. I've actually done that on my chassis with a 2.5" hole saw, but this would have to be slightly larger. I used 2.5" OD pipe for my top hats, these would be 2.5" ID.
I'm pretty sure the Allstars you list above are the sleeves I have on my Billies right now and also mentioned earlier. They are for 2.5" springs.

If you use sleeves with too large a diameter, they won't fit inside the 2.5"ID springs, so we are SOL when we move them down.

I definitely need to check the size of the hole in the body to make sure the extension can actually fit. Good point!
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:18 PM   #7
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That wouldn't work with my allstar sleeves on 99AE billies.

The allstar sleeve has two locating bosses inside, you can only really trim it down ~1" otherwise you cut the locating boss off.

So, that extended sleeve would slip over the shock body and contact the sleeve.
I moved the c-clips on the shocks down by an inch. Cut the inch at the top of the sleeve, you gain two inches that can be inserted into the hat. Easy-peasy
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:40 PM   #8
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Instead of making them adjustable you should figure out how much extension is needed. Math?

Pick your ride height, decide how much bump and droop you want.
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:46 PM   #9
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But Mom! What if I don't like the ride height I picked? I don't know what my driving future holds.
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:47 PM   #10
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Cut and weld
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:56 PM   #11
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If you can find a way to add spring locators that allow the upper spring perch to stay coaxial with the shock you'd have something, I think. Otherwise I'm not sure the limited room for adjustment would be worth the cost over ISC hats. If people aren't using helper springs the extra droop travel you could adjust back in won't do anything anyway. If there's too much bump travel, just add spacers under the bumpstops. Droop's lost already, with no helpers...

Supermiata has 2.25" spring perches that sit on the radius of the NB hat, so as the suspension moves the upper perch can flex on the radii a bit.

The 2.25" spring perch won't clear the shock body though, not my billies. If they were machined out they would loose the spring locating tab. Something else would need to be made, I haven't found anything similar on google yet.
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:57 PM   #12
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I usually cut and weld like four times. Even after measuring 3 times.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deezums View Post
... Otherwise I'm not sure the limited room for adjustment would be worth the cost over ISC hats....
Finally someone gets close to answering one of my questions: How much is it worth to you?
So how much cost over the ISC tophats would it be worth?
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:03 PM   #14
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If you could get it under $200 for a set of four I would definitely buy a set. I almost bought a set of ISC top hats when I did the Allstar/Bilstein setup on my NB, but I think you have to enlarge the hole in the body to make them fit. I've always wanted to play with droop/compression travel/bump stops, but didn't want to spend the time/money on the ISC top hats that might not have done what I wanted.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deezums View Post
If you can find a way to add spring locators that allow the upper spring perch to stay coaxial with the shock you'd have something, I think.
I was going to add this too, but I couldn't come up with the term "spring locator"

Seems obvious now...
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:30 PM   #16
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I'd say a simple coaxial spring locator with normal NB bushing on the top shock shaft and a little cup for a piece of bumpstop up top, basically budget baller billies with more bump, I'd pay ~$75-100 a corner for that.

Even without the adjustment that stuff would be worth it, ISC is raw, as is.
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:35 PM   #17
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Why does it have to be aluminum?
Why couldn't you just use a piece of threaded black pipe with the top piece welded in?
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deezums View Post
I'd say a simple coaxial spring locator with normal NB bushing on the top shock shaft and a little cup for a piece of bumpstop up top, basically budget baller billies with more bump, I'd pay ~$75-100 a corner for that.

Even without the adjustment that stuff would be worth it, ISC is raw, as is.
You can buy that plus spherical bearing up top from 949 for $106/corner already. Or am I missing something here?
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Why does it have to be aluminum?
Why couldn't you just use a piece of threaded black pipe with the top piece welded in?
lightweight yo?
dissimilar metal corrosion?
doesn't sound as good?
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanst View Post
You can buy that plus spherical bearing up top from 949 for $106/corner already. Or am I missing something here?

Aren't those just for xidas?
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