ARC shock actuator question

Smoke92

Registered User
Hi guys, I own a 97 V8 TBird that i did a T45 5 speed swap in, and I’m using 94/95 SC console. When I put my NOS H&R springs in I also put in some tokico illumina 2 shocks. I finally have the actuators for the shocks so I can wire up the ride control switch in my center console to make it functional. (Since my car doesn’t have the arc module etc. the “auto” function of course won’t work so the auto position will just leave them in the soft setting). My question is—which direction does the small adjuster inside the top of the shaft on these illumina II shocks (or oem I guess) sets the shock to firm vs. soft? If I had to guess I would say clockwise is the firm setting and counter clockwise is the soft setting but I’m not sure. I’m just wanting to make sure I have the actuators wired correctly so when you set the oe rocker switch to firm the shock adjusters are moved into the correct firm position also (and vice versa) Hope that makes sense. Thanks guys.
 

KMT

Registered User
I don't think the actuators are designed to be simply spun one way or the other. The actuators are tied into the ride control system and the OE switch is just an override. The module reacts to not only the console switch but also road speed, braking, throttle and steering angle.

Just using a switch direct might mean keeping the actuators energized and even if you could suss the direction needed, they might burn out over time unless they have the ability to self-limit.

Have you wired one up directly yet to see if it opens the circuit when it reaches limit either rotation?
 

DOUG H

SCCoA Member
The switch doesnt actuate the shocks/struts directly. It sends signal to the control module, which then sends a signal to a set of relays that reverse polarity depending on firm/soft comand from module. Cant see any way of wiring switch to do what you had hoped.
 

KMT

Registered User
Curious if you've ever driven a SC and experienced ARC in action...

Even if you made this work, and were lucky enough to have fresh tokicos, there is a good chance you would notice little difference between settings.
 

KMT

Registered User
...sends a signal to a set of relays that reverse polarity depending on firm/soft comand from module.
My EVTM shows that each actuator is 4-wire. I think the relays are just there to help w/circuit loads, and the module lights the actuators to rotate L/R based on circuit, not polarity?
 

Smoke92

Registered User
Hey guys. I have not wired one up yet to see if it open the circuit when it reaches the limit of rotation, maybe that should be the first step. I have driven a 93 SC that had the ARC intact and working and I felt like I could tell a difference when it was set to firm vs. the auto setting, but it wasn’t my car so I didn’t really drive it very hard either. I had KYBs on this car before and they were terrible. Way underdamped. Maybe I would be better off to just set these to firm and forget having it be a selectable setup with the switch? Although I’m not sure which way or how far to turn them so they are in the firm setting either I guess. If I could have found a set of tokico blues, konis, or bilsteins I would have been fine with those. But these illumina 2s were the only set of quality dampers I could find for the car in the last few years. I know you can run 99-04 cobra shocks on the rear but it seems like the front is pretty limited. Anyways, since I had these shocks I thought it would be kind of cool to make them selectable since they had that capability on the Super Coupes.
 

Kurt K

SCCoA Member
I believe the shocks and actuators are only 1/4 turn. You should be ble to tell this with the actuator off the shock from somebody's SC. Personally, I don't see why this wouldn't work with just the switch and probably a relay for the power feed (provided the ARC module normally supplies 12 v).

FWIW, I used to remove the front actuators from my front shocks when at the track so they would stay "soft" in hopes of slightly better weight transfer. I have no idea if it really worked. I only mention this because the first couple of times I accidentally tried to reinstall thr actuator while it was in "firm" mode and the shock was in "soft" mode....I seem to remember the orientation of the shock and actuator being 90⁰ off.

Ken is right that the difference between soft and firm is subtle, but I can definitely feel the difference in my car.
 

MadMikeyL

SCCoA Member
The adjustment is made by turning the blade 1/4 turn. It isn’t a left or right thing because the blade in the shock can keep turning, there is no stop built in. With the spring off the shock, you can turn the blade a little bit at a time and feel when it gets stiffer and when it gets softer. I have a set of ARC front shocks on my 97 Sport, and I just set them to the firmest position, then I squirted some RTV into the opening in the top so they won’t move out of adjustment over time. I think that would be your best bet. Trying to wire them up to a single switch would be a really complicated circuit with multiple relays. It would honestly probably be easier to wire in the complete module and all ARC related sensors than to recreate the effect with wiring and relays.
 

Smoke92

Registered User
Based on the info you guys have given me I think will probably abandon the idea of making the switch functional. I’ll try to get them to the firm setting and leave them there. Hopefully I can tell where that is on each corner with them already installed on the car.
 

MadMikeyL

SCCoA Member
You will never be able to tell in the car. They aren't an on/off kind of thing, they get stiffer, then softer, then stiffer as you rotate the blade. The only way to feel the difference is to have them out of the car with the springs off of them.
 

KMT

Registered User
I don't think you'd have any trouble selling used Tokicos here - might be best to offload them, then put that money into something new and appropriate for the car and your needs.
 

Smoke92

Registered User
I wish I could find some front bilsteins or konis. I have considering doing the coil overs that SCP sells or at least the fronts since there’s plenty of damper options for the rear-but I haven’t decided yet.
 

Norm-L

SCCoA Member
I wish I still had the link, but someone here had started a thread that explained that the top of the front shocks from a Nissan 350Z are an exact fit to the SC and the lower shock clevis only requires very minor modifications to fit. I think it was a as simple as drilling the mounting hole slightly larger and either spreading the clevis or adding a spacer to accommodate the difference in width. It might be worth researching that. I have no doubt that the 350Z would offer many more shock options than could ever be found for the SC.
...just a thought.
 

Norm-L

SCCoA Member
I wish I still had the link, but someone here had started a thread that explained that the top of the front shocks from a Nissan 350Z are an exact fit to the SC and the lower shock clevis only requires very minor modifications to fit. I think it was a as simple as drilling the mounting hole slightly larger and either spreading the clevis or adding a spacer to accommodate the difference in width. It might be worth researching that. I have no doubt that the 350Z would offer many more shock options than could ever be found for the SC.
...just a thought.
Found it.... https://www.tccoa.com/threads/front-shocks-new-options-2022.189905/
It wasn't on this site.
 

Smoke92

Registered User
That’s a great idea. Will definitely look into it. I’m offer on tccoa, not sure how I missed this. I guess I’m just not as active on there as I used to be. Thanks guys.
 
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