The Syncro Tin Top Springs are a dual-purpose on / off road spring matched to the damping of Old Man Emu shocks and designed for use on lighter syncros. These springs are true to the Syncro's heritage and provide real off-road performance and capability while still providing good on-road performance.
When used with Old Man Emu shocks and struts, the Syncro Tin-Top Springs provide the most economical way to obtain a matched set of springs and shocks that deliver outstanding performance.
Goals & Objectives
These springs were designed with the goals of:
(1) increasing ride height and suspension travel while remaining within VW specs ,
(2) increasing stiffness moderately in order to improve handling and stability, and
(3) providing a high quality spring that performs well on and off the road.
VW only made one spring for all US Syncros, whether they were for light passenger vans or heavy syncro westfalia casmper vans. The Syncro Tin-Top Spring is designed for use primarily on the lighter Syncros, such as Tin-Tops, DOKAS and SINKAS. The Tin-Top springs can also be used on a Westy if lowered height is desired (about 18.5"). By narrowing the focus of this spring to a smaller range of vehicle weights and characteristrics, we are able to provide a spring that performs better on those vehicles than stock springs, or any spring sold by our competitors.
With the use of shims for fine tuning, these springs allow a range of possible ride heights from roughly 19.25" to 19.75+ on a stock syncroTin-Top. This range of possible ride heights permits optimal suspension performance. The vehicle has enough "sag" under static weight to move up and down over terrain utilizing the maximum range of travel the suspension provides. The increased height also provides additional suspension travel.
We do not advise a ride height above 19.6" for a number of reasons. Heights above 19.6":
(1) result in a loss of range of suspension travel and performance;
(2) result in greater stress to CV joints and higher rates of failure;
(3) may not permit the vehicle to be aligned to VW spec., and
(4) result in more "lean" and increased risk of roll-over on paved roads at freeway speeds (as is true with any taller spring on any vehicle).
We advise syncronauts who drive almost entirely on pavement, and who do not have extra large tires, to use the springs without shims (except to level the van , as needed - see below.) This setting and ride-height will provide the best and safest on-pavement performance while still maintaining very good off-road performance with a decent increase in ride height.
Those with larger tires, or who desire maximum height, can obtain the desired ride height easily and simply through the use of fine-tuning shims, as discussed above.
The spring rate on the Syncro Tin-Top Springs is the result of over a year of testing multiple sets of springs with different rates and heights. We worked closely with a veteran spring engineer to translate our testing into a design that wouild achieve our ultimate goals.
The result is a spring rate that strikes an ideal balance between on and off-road performance, and a rate that works very well within the damping specs of off-the-shelf shocks for the syncro.
The ride is more stable and firm on paved roads than stock springs, but it remains supple - as the syncro suspension was intended to be. It is a little more spirited than stiff springs designed for pavement-only would be, but the overall stability, handling and cornering is very good.
Off-road, the springs perform very well. They are softer than any other after-market spring. As a result, they soak up the bumps better. They also provide superior traction. The springs are not harsh on bumps and freeway joints, like stiffer springs are. The shocks perform better than with stiffer springs as well since they are within damping specs.
We Do Not Use a Progressive Coil - These are Straight Wound Springs
The springs are straight wound coils. We do not use variable-rate coils because they result in a performance compromise and often do not work as intended. Variable wound coils entail a loss of travel. In addition, the weight-range under which the softer coils are actually effective is quite narrow - with the result that they are often fully, or nearly fully compressed (and hence non-functional) under the static weight of a moderately loaded heavier syncro.
Straight wound coils provide a more consistent and progressive feel throughout a greater range of travel, resulting in superior overall suspension performance.
Chrome Silicon Steel
The springs are made of Chrome Silicon pre-tensioned steel. Chrome Silicon is the best material available for automotive springs primarily because it does not sag like other spring steel does, but also because it can be wound to closer tolerances as well, meaning more accurate and consistent spring rates across the manufacturing process.
Leveling Your Van
We strongly endorse using leveling shims to level and fine tune your ride height. Shims can be used in the front and rear. For best suspension performance, level your van with shims front-to-rear and left-to-right. Ideally, aim for a level van when it is loaded with the weight you typically carry in the van. For more information on Leveling Shims, see our Shim page.
The Importance of Shocks
The performance of your suspension depends not only on the coil springs, but also on the shocks and struts. Worn shocks will cause your new coil springs to feel too bouncy and cornering will suffer. Make sure your shocks and struts are in good condition when you instal your springs. For best performance, we advise using Old Man Emu shocks and struts. See our Syncro Shocks page for more info.
The Importance of Tires & Tire Pressure
Most people do not realize it, but tires also act as part of the vehicle suspension system when they flex and rebound. As a result, your overall suspension performance depends in part on your tires. If you have the wrong tires mounted (not stiff enough side-wall), or worn tires, your suspension performance and handling will suffer. Be sure to use tires rated for the GVW of the Syncro.
Tire pressure is also a factor in suspension tuning, handling and traction. On paved roads, tire pressure has a direct and significant effect on tracking around turns, responsiveness, and stability. Expermentation is the best way to determine correct air pressure, using VW specs as a starting point, and well worth the effort.