I have recently purchased a set of 326power Chakuriki coilovers (14k/10k springs) for my S13 from Kunio at GTR-Garage. Since there is not much information available on the coilovers, Kunio asked me to do a write-up on them after I had gotten a chance to try them out. I have run MAX coilovers on my S13 since early 2012. I also have experience with BC Racing, Fortune Auto, Stance, Megan, Godspeed, and Tein coilovers for S-chassis (along with various other brands for other models). Lets start off with the basics of the 326power coilovers…
Taken from GTR-Garage.com…
‘Developed under the guidance of legendary D1 driver Mitsuru Haruguchi the 326 Power Chakuriki GT +S coilovers are intended to handle the rigours of drifting that occurs at professional levels. In addition the Chakuriki series has been developed specifically to allow drivers to extremely lower their vehicles without sacrificing damper performance. 326 Power specializes in “shakotan” vehicle styling.
Features include heavy-duty monotube dampers with 20mm piston rods, duraluminum pillow ball mounts, hard-anodized camber plates, spaced upper spring seats, rubber spring seat covers, 26-way damper adjustability, teflon coated casing, dust boots, unique hexagonal lock seats, a full-tap design (double adjustable), and hard-urethane mount bushings.’
Basically, the 326power Chakuriki coilover is designed to ride as low as possible while maintaining the performance of a high-end damper (such as D-Max D1 Spec). All in a totally bespoke package (customizable down to the shock boots). It all sounds very promising, but it will put a knot in your throat to drop that much money on something that you have found almost zero information about… Hopefully this review can change that! Lets get started…
The first thing that you will notice upon opening your 326power Chakuriki coilovers, is the cool custom-designed box that they are sealed within. I know it may not be a huge deal to some… but having purchased a few coilovers myself, it’s cool to see that they have thought things out all the way down to the cardboard box that they pack them in.
Inside the box, the coilovers are packaged well. They even went as far to put little plastic caps over the studs on the upper mounts. You’ll find a some cool 326power catalogs and stickers hidden in there as well!
A closer look…
Upon removing the coilovers from the box, there were a few things that I noticed right away… I would like to break this section down to cover each of these.
You’ll immediately notice the difference in the springs that the 326power coilovers utilize. The coils of the spring are much less tightly-wound, and the springs are also much shorter. I am no expert, but I imagine having a thicker spring that is less tightly-wound will give the spring a much more linear rate while maintaining its stiffness.
The 326power coilovers feature pillowball upper mounts on the front and rear. The dampening adjustment knobs also have some cool engravings on them. Another cool feature [that you won’t notice from this picture] is that you can use all of the camber adjustment in the top plate. On my MAX coilovers, the ‘seat’ of the upper pillowball would contact the plate before I could reach the maximum allowed amount. The 326power will adjust until the allen bolt hits the shock tower.
I completely forgot to take pictures of the front lower mounts, but it is fairly easy to explain/visualize. The 326power coilovers come with a pretty serious slot in the lower bracket for maximum camber. Unfortunately the issue with the slots, is that the bolt typically does not like to grab well and can slip under hard driving conditions. 326power has found a remedy to this, by using a square washer. The hole is drilled in the corner of the washer, and you can rotate it to move the bolt further towards the inside. The washer locks in place via tabs welded to the lower mount, for zero chance of slipping.
One thing you will notice right off the bat, is the heavy-duty pistons used in the dampers. The 326power front pistons are slightly thicker than the MAX front, and the 326power rear are almost twice as thick. If you pull up the dust boot, you’ll notice that the dampers are branded 326power. On other coilovers, all you will find here is a sticker with some batch numbers and ‘Made in ______ (more than likely Taiwan)’.
I did not get a picture of the collars, but you should be able to get a good idea of what I am talking about from the photo posted above under ‘Dampers’. The collars were something I have never seen before. Rather than locking the two collars under the spring together, 326power has used a single collar. The collar locks by clamping down over the shock tube with an allen bolt. The collar is then adjusted by the circular holes, rather than fighting with the aggravating standard collars. By using the round hole and a ‘hooked’ spanner wrench, it makes it so much easier to grab the collar and spin it. I have smashed my hand many of times after the spanner slipped off of a standard collar.
The 326power coilovers are world-renowned for their lowriding abilities. You can literally bring the subframe down to the concrete. I brought the front down all the way [with the lower collar still intact], and this is how it sat.
Unfortunately, the car was scraping on my flat shop floor ha ha! You could still remove the collar and go another 3/4″ lower, but you’d better be on some Shuichi Nakagawa shit with the raised frame rails if you want to roll that hard!
The rear has almost infinite adjustability, as I still have a full 35 turns from the bottom at this ride height!
First off, I would like to note that I have NOT drove the car in the street. The following review is based on track performance only.
I felt that this is the most important part of the review. The coilovers are very expensive, and leave you wondering if the ride quality is THAT good. To keep it short and simple… yes, it is! It will allow you ride as low as you want, without sacrificing the performance of the damper. In low-speed cruising you can really feel the difference in the way the springs/dampers operate. When cornering, you can feel the weight shift and the car ‘plant’. Whereas other coilovers tend to feel overly stiff and bouncy when extremely lowered. The smooth operation of the 326power was startling to me. I have been lowriding for a few years now, and become adjusted to the bouncy nature of the suspension. Keep in mind, the spring rates I am running [on the 326power] are the highest spring rates I have yet to ride on an S13. But they still feel smooth and comfortable! The weight transitions while drifting are very smooth, which translates directly into your driving style. Whether the weight is transitioning side-to-side or front-to-back, you can feel how smooth the car reacts. Other friends who have spent some time in my car were also able to notice the difference in the way the car would respond. After spending a full day at the track with the 326power Chakuriki coilovers, I can say that they made my car feel more smooth and predictable than ever. Despite the fact that I am riding lower [and on stiffer springs] than ever before.
The coilovers carry a heavy price tag, but as far as I am concerned… you get what you pay for in this case! If you are about that lowriding lifestyle and do not want to sacrifice the performance of your dampers, than these are for you! Do it right or do it twice. Pair these up with some subframe risers, and front and rear drop knuckles (rear knuckles are still on my list)… and you’ll have a car that lays frame and drives exactly how it is supposed to! Before, I felt that lowrider’s just generally rode like crap and you would just need to man up and deal with it if you are about that life… These coilovers have given me a slightly brighter outlook on the way a car handles when you are trying to tuck rim. I plan to get a set of rear drop knuckles sometime to see how smooth I can really get this car to handle. People are amazed when they go for a ride. You hear a lot of noise under the car, but the ride feels so smooth and responsive. Definitely an upgrade over anything else I have experience with.