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Spring Rate, What is it?

Spring Rate, What is it?

Spring rate is expressed as the amount of force required to compress a spring a set distance. The measurement is expressed in metric (kg/mm) or in standard (lbs/in).

What is spring rate?

Spring rate refers to the amount of weight that is needed to compress a spring one inch. If the rate of the spring is linear, its rate is not affected by the load that is put on the spring. For example, say you have a 200 lb. per inch spring – it will compress 1” when a 200 lb. load is placed onto the spring. If another 200 lbs. is put onto the spring, the spring will compress another inch. At this point the load on the spring is 400 lbs. The rate of the spring, however, remains constant at 200 lbs. per inch.

How can I Convert Spring Rates?

for a metric spring rate (kg/mm) to a standard spring rate (lbs / in) use the formula

XX kg/mm x 56 = ( Spring rate in lbs/in )

Example 8kg/mm x 56= 448lb Spring

For a standard spring rate (lbs / in) to metric spring rate (kg/mm) use the formula

XXX lbs/in ÷ 56 = ( spring rate in KG/mm

Example 500lb/in ÷ 56 = 8.9K Spring Rate

So for a 8 kg/mm spring you would have a 448lb spring, and a 500lb spring is equal to a 8.9 kg/mm spring.

What is the Difference Between a Linear Spring and a Progressive Spring?

Linear Springs

Linear springs have the same spring rate through out their travel range. The spring force increases linearly until it’s limit. This makes for a very predictable and steady handling experience at the cost of some ride harshness.

Progressive Springs

Progressive springs can come in many types. They can be multiple rate progressive springs, or they can be a fairly standard progressive profiles. The profile of the spring from top to bottom starts out narrow and gains width as it reaches the base of the spring. This has the effect of steadily increasing the spring rate for every inch of travel. This makes for a car that seems timid at low speeds but very rigid during strong cornering loads. While this seems to be an ideal situation for a street car the actual result is a car that seems to be somewhat unpredictable, especially during those last few inches of compression length.

Higher isn’t Always Better

There is a point where you can have too high of a spring rate. When you have too much spring rate the car will be harsh riding and will begin to understeer / oversteer sooner. It might feel very responsive and feel like it “handles” better, but ultimately you’ve made the car less capable. Bear that in mind before you run out and slap some high rate springs on your car.

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