QA1 – Brand Feature Friday

At QA1, they believe vehicles are meant to be driven.

From bolt-on products that get you behind the wheel faster, to experienced technicians available to help decrease your 60’ times or handle curves with confidence, everything QA1 does is designed to get you out on the road.

Whether your goal is a Saturday night sprint across the checkered flag or a slow, easy cruise down the main street, QA1 has the suspension and driveline products you need for the experience you want.

Their #1 priority at QA1 is quality, which is why their quality system is certified to the ISO 9001 standard. QA1’s products are designed, built, and tested to ensure consistent quality, ultimate reliability, and unbeatable performance. QA1 follows strict processes, uses precision machinery, and inspects all of their products to ensure the quality meets their high standards.

Many of QA1’s employees are racers or automotive enthusiasts themselves and understand the needs and goals of their customers from firsthand experience. They know that dyno testing, computer evaluations, and endurance tests are only valuable if they can also result in real-world performance. QA1 often works with well-known industry icons to get feedback during the prototype and testing phases. They make sure every product is test fitted, track tested and driver or racer approved before it begins production.

QA1 is committed to providing quality rod ends, spherical bearings, shock absorbers & related products, fabricated suspension components, composite products, and OEM custom components. This is achieved by meeting quality objectives, customer expectations and the requirements of the Quality Management System. This is accomplished through teamwork, data analysis, continuous improvement and communication throughout QA1.

Ground Up SS396.com now carries the full line of QA1 Suspension products for a range of applications covering Camaro, Chevelle, El Camino, Nova, and G-Body line-ups. Whether you’re looking to decreasing your 60’ times or handle curves with confidence, Ground Up SS396.com has you covered on the QA1 Suspension products you need at the best price around!

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QA1 Street Performance and Racing FAQS

Q: I noticed QA1’s prices are higher than other websites, why is that?

A: QA1’s pricing is the retail price of the products since we are the manufacturer. We have a fantastic group of dealers who we do everything we can to support, so we need to be careful not to become a competitor with them. Price matching or undercutting our dealers isn’t a good way to build a long-lasting relationship, which is why we leave our pricing at the retail price. We are here to provide you with a customer and technical support, guide you to the parts that are right for your vehicle, and help with tuning questions when you’re out at the race track.

When it comes time to order, we’ll recommend a dealer you might already do business with or is geographically nearby. They will often times have a better price and they might have some other unrelated parts you’ve been meaning to buy. This can consolidate your shipping to fewer places instead of buying each item direct from each manufacturer. Use our dealer locator to find a stocking dealer close to you, or to see a list of national dealers. In the end, we want people to remember you’re still our valued customer regardless of where you buy our parts from. Call us before, during or after your purchase if you ever have a question or need some advice.

Q: Will QA1 assist me in determining which product to use for my application?

A: We are always glad to assist you in making your product selection. QA1 technical support staff is very experienced and knowledgeable about QA1 products and their use. When requested, we will use information supplied by you to assist you in determining which QA1 product is best suited to your application. However, the final decision as to part selection and the correct installation and usage of the product is yours. Please call for assistance if a QA1 product does not appear to fit your application – there is always the possibility that another part will work better. Parts that have been installed or damaged/altered in any way are not eligible for return.

Q: What’s an important aspect to know before purchasing coil-over springs?

A: Know your numbers! When looking for a set of coil-over springs for your vehicle, it’s a good idea to have the actual weight of your vehicle, rather than a guess or description. Knowing the true weight of your vehicle will make it easier to pinpoint the spring rate that makes the most sense to maximize your vehicle’s ride and performance. While scaling the vehicle, make sure to get not only the overall weight but also scale the vehicle to find the weight distribution. Meaning, weigh the front of the car separately and weigh the back of the car separately.

Generally, the front spring rate doesn’t depend on the rear weight of the vehicle, and vice versa. Several factors should be considered when purchasing a set of coil-over springs, such as the intended use of the vehicle, but just knowing the weight of the car is a great place to start. If you don’t have a set of scales at home, local shipping centers, recycling centers or truck weigh stations many times are the next best place to scale the car.

Q: How do I measure my car’s ride height?

A: Measuring your race car’s ride height is an important step in the overall suspension setup. Here’s what we recommend: compressed and extended mounting lengths are measured from the center of the loops to the shock/stud shoulders. If the measurements are taken from the mounting surface to mounting surface, subtract 5/8” for each shaft/stud end. The preferred measurement in most cases is taken with the car sitting on the ground ready to go. If setting up the chassis for the first time, simulate the approximate ride height before measuring. In most cases, we recommend the shock to be half-way compressed at ride height to ensure adequate compression and rebound travel.

Q: Is there a difference between shock ride height and chassis ride height?

A: Yes. Chassis ride height in racing will have to do with class regulations and chassis set up for weight transfer and distribution. In the street world, it often comes down to the look. Does it have the stance to make it “cool”? Shock ride height is a specified range that is measured from mounting point to mounting point that the shock is designed to work within under normal operating conditions. This measurement is taken or set with the chassis ride set where it needs to be for the specific application. It is designed to allow the shock enough to travel in both directions so that the shock will not top or bottom out.

Q: Are QA1 drag racing and street performance shocks rebuildable?

A: Yes. QA1 shocks can be rebuilt by authorized rebuild centers throughout the U.S.

Q: How much shock travel do I need?

A: The amount of shock travel needed depends on the type of suspension you are working with (solid axle, or independent) so it is best to consider wheel travel as well. Most street-driven vehicles should have a minimum of 2.5″ to 3″ of compression travel at the wheel and 2″ to 2.5″ of rebound travel as a good rule of thumb. Now that the wheel travel has been established we can look at shock travel for different suspension types.

A solid axle suspension generally has the shocks mounted to the axle where shock and wheel travel will be the same (1:1 motion ratio). An independent suspension has a motion ratio that will generally be in the 0.5 to 0.66 range and does not require as much travel in the shock because the shock is only moving 0.5″ to 0.66″ for every one inch the wheel travels. This is why the rear suspension on most cars with a solid axle should be using a shock with at least five inches of travel while the independent front suspension can use as little as three inches of shock travel.

Q: How do I adjust the ride quality of my shocks?

A: Simply by turning the knob(s) located near the bottom of the shock.

Q: How many adjustments do QA1 shocks have?

A: QA1 single adjustable shocks have eighteen clicks of adjustment. Double adjustable shocks have eighteen clicks of independent rebound adjustment and eighteen clicks of independent compression adjustment for a total of 324 valving combinations.

Q: Where should I mount the T-bar when installing QA1 GM Pro Coil Systems?

A: QA1 commonly receives questions about proper mounting points for our GM Pro Coil systems. The front Pro Coil kits utilize a specially designed conical shaped spring that fits into the factory upper spring pocket on the frame and onto the QA1 coil-over-shock at the bottom.

With these kits, QA1 recommends mounting the T-bar on the top side of the lower control arm, rather than on the underside, like the factory shock mount. Mounting the T-bar on the top side of the control arm puts the load on the T-bar and the control arm rather than on the two shock mounting bolts, helping to distribute the weight of the car.

Q: What are the ways to make sure my shocks last through the cold winter?

A: If your winters are anything like the ones we experience here in Lakeville, MN, you know just how cold it can get. If you have a racecar or a summer car and don’t plan to have your shocks rebuilt in the cold winter months, we recommend keeping your shocks in a warm environment.

The constant hot and cold temperatures that shocks can see during the winter is tough on the seals and o-rings inside the shocks and can cause wear. By keeping them warm during the winter, your shocks will thank you in the springtime!

Q: What are some easy, beginning-of-the-season suspension areas to inspect?

A: As the racing season gets underway, it’s the perfect time to make sure your suspension components are all operating properly. Some of the most important items to inspect include your ball joints, rod ends and shocks. A bound up rod end or shock eyelet bearing or a bent ball joint can cause weeks of car setup frustration. Starting out the year right will make for a much more enjoyable season!

Additionally, if any of these components become loose, worn-out or improperly aligned, it’s not only unsafe, it can also greatly affect your car’s overall performance and put you behind the competition.

Inspecting and cleaning ball joints and rod ends and correcting alignment angles are good places to start when checking important suspension areas. Many of these parts are easy to diagnose at home or by a chassis or alignment shop. Remember to regularly inspect these components throughout the season as well, as it will save you time and money during the racing season.

Q: What are other important suspension setup areas to inspect?

A: In any type of racing, when most of us think about the suspension, we think of just shocks and springs. It can sometimes be easy to overlook other critical and equally important suspension components such as rod ends, ball joints, steering linkages, brackets, etc. Similar to shocks and springs when these components become loose, worn-out or improperly aligned, it’s not only unsafe, it can also greatly affect your car’s overall performance and put you behind the competition.

It’s a good idea to regularly inspect these suspension components throughout the season, and especially now during the offseason when you have more time to inspect and make any adjustments or improvements. Inspecting and cleaning ball joints and rod ends, correcting alignment angles, and replacing tie rod ends are all good places to start when checking important suspension components. Many of these parts are relatively inexpensive and easy to diagnose at home or by a chassis or alignment shop. Checking out these suspension components will not only save you time and money during racing season, but you’ll be putting yourself another step ahead of the competition.

Q: How tight should the nut be on stud top shocks?

A: It’s important that the nut on stud top shocks are correctly tightened. If the nut is too tight, it can cause premature wear and binding in the suspension. If it’s too loose, there won’t be enough thread to install the jam nut, which could potentially cause the shock to fall out of place.

We recommend that the nut on stud top shocks be tightened until the bushing is the same diameter as the steel washer. This will help to ensure all mounting hardware is tight enough to hold the shock in place. When tightening or loosening the nut, we do not recommend using an impact gun, as it has the potential to break the stud or unscrew the piston from the piston rod. The piston rod is machined with “flats” allowing it to be held with a wrench while tightening or loosening the nut.

Q: Can I evaluate a shock by hand, or is a dyno required?

A: It is impossible to accurately evaluate a shock through stroking it by hand. The shocks perform much differently on a race car when the piston velocity is much quicker than they do when you are stroking them by hand. It is important to evaluate the shocks at low, medium and high piston velocities to have an indication of how the shocks will affect handling. Therefore, a shock dyno is necessary for any evaluation.

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