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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 09-13-2009, 08:29 PM   #1
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Adjustable Suspension

What are the rules about it? I personally know a few people who have got their vehicles passed VI's with air bags or hydraulics, as the installs were done professionally and they still had all shocks etc in place. I also know that there are lots of public vehicles with adjustable suspensions, for example public transit buses that drop down to help out people with wheelchairs get aboard.
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:16 PM   #2
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As I understand it, the parts need to be certified for highway use and the controls must be kept outside of the passenger compartment.

Prohibition

7D.01 (1) A person must not drive or operate on a highway a vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 4 500 kg if the vehicle's suspension can be independently controlled by a person riding in the vehicle while it is being driven or operated on a highway.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a vehicle equipped with a suspension controller accessible in the passenger compartment provided the controller is designed and installed by the original vehicle manufacturer at the time of manufacture.
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Old 09-14-2009, 08:37 AM   #3
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As Skidmark said above...plus, a car with aftermarket hydraulics should not pass an inspection...you need to retain all the shocks, springs, alignment dimensions etc to pass one...and installing air bags and hydraulics means you remove them. I have stopped ones bearing inspection pass stickers and towed them on the spot and went to MVB Inspectors to get the inspector's license yanked. The inspection book is quite specific.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zulutango View Post
As Skidmark said above...plus, a car with aftermarket hydraulics should not pass an inspection...you need to retain all the shocks, springs, alignment dimensions etc to pass one...and installing air bags and hydraulics means you remove them. I have stopped ones bearing inspection pass stickers and towed them on the spot and went to MVB Inspectors to get the inspector's license yanked. The inspection book is quite specific.
If the owner of the car truly believes that the car has passed the inspection (pass sticker from a designated inspection facility), why would you put them through the ordeal of having their car towed on the spot if the "defect" doesn't pose an immediate safety hazard? Unless a wheel is about to fall off, what's wrong with issuing a fix it order?

On another note: Vehicle manufacturers are allowed to install suspension that is adjustable from inside the car. Why is aftermarket equipment that does the same thing illegal? Surely it is safer than pulling to the side of the road, getting out, crawling under the car, fiddling with the damper knobs, etc.. when you get to a rough road.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:18 PM   #5
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Because aftermarket versions haven't passed road safety tests. They weren't made for the car during production, therefore it wasn't deemed safe with that vehicle from production.

Damper controls are different. They retain the shocks and springs etc. Airbags replace the springs.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:23 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=sebberry;6592040]If the owner of the car truly believes that the car has passed the inspection (pass sticker from a designated inspection facility), why would you put them through the ordeal of having their car towed on the spot if the "defect" doesn't pose an immediate safety hazard? Unless a wheel is about to fall off, what's wrong with issuing a fix it order?

Because it is unsafe and illegal to opetrate a vehicle with that kind of suspension. His problem is with the inspection station that passed his vehicle for any of the following reasons...and I have see them all. 1) he is an unskilled inspector/mechanic, 2) he is a friend of the guy owning the car, 3) he is a friend of a friend who owns the car, 4) he works for the shop that did the mods and wants money over safety, 5) he took a bribe to pass the defective vehicle, he really thinks him liking the mod is better than complying with the law. ...make your own list.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by SpuGen View Post
Because aftermarket versions haven't passed road safety tests. They weren't made for the car during production, therefore it wasn't deemed safe with that vehicle from production.

Damper controls are different. They retain the shocks and springs etc. Airbags replace the springs.
Just scanning through the MVA - Regs... the only thing that they specifically do not allow is to control the adjustment of the suspension... there is nothing as far as I have seen that bans airbags or any other form of alternative to coiled springs.

And the language is quite clear.

Quote:
Division 7D — Manual Suspension Control Prohibition
Prohibition

7D.01 (1) A person must not drive or operate on a highway a vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 4 500 kg if the vehicle's suspension can be independently controlled by a person riding in the vehicle while it is being driven or operated on a highway.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a vehicle equipped with a suspension controller accessible in the passenger compartment provided the controller is designed and installed by the original vehicle manufacturer at the time of manufacture.

[en. B.C. Reg. 36/97.]
So if I am wrong... please show me where it specifically BANS air bags or any other replacement for coiled springs...

And for anyone who wants to read them... the MVA Regs... http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/...s/26_58_00.htm
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:52 PM   #8
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Im in for this answer!
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zulutango View Post
As Skidmark said above...plus, a car with aftermarket hydraulics should not pass an inspection...you need to retain all the shocks, springs, alignment dimensions etc to pass one...and installing air bags and hydraulics means you remove them. I have stopped ones bearing inspection pass stickers and towed them on the spot and went to MVB Inspectors to get the inspector's license yanked. The inspection book is quite specific.
not true at all. it is quite possible to keep shocks and springs on all 4 corners. the hydraulic ram goes INSIDE the middle of the spring, that is the only change. i happen to know a lot about hydraulic suspension, not so much about air bags. it is also possible to have the wheels aligned at a specific height. so the question remains, if all 4 shocks and springs are retained, and the switches are kept in the trunk, would it be legal?

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Old 09-15-2009, 06:26 AM   #10
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You are prohibited from removing the suspension etc parts that are installed by the manufacturer. Cutting springs, removing a couple of leafs, not having shock absorbers...is not legal. I cannot see how having a suspension suystem that functions as normal, and having a system that permits the car to rest on the ground, is possible. How do you have fully functioning leaf springs on the rear of a S -15 and yet the truck will lay on the rails? As far as the alignment goes, my local master mechanic told me that every time you raise or lower the vehicle you disturb the alignment and the camber & caster are knocked out of line.
The only legal adjustable hydraulics are the ones that are designed by the manufacturer for that vehicle. Any aftermarket system must be approved for on road use by Transport Canada and must meet all Provincial MV Regs requirements. I have followed vehicles with installed and "inspected" hydraulic setups and they stand out as they are bouncing all over the road. Every small variation in the road surface causes it to ride like a go-kart. Not safe. In response to your final question...if it is not original equipment, it must be federally and provincially approved, meet all the standards, not require the removal of normal suspension etc parts and the controls must not be adjustable from inside the vehicle...and it must pass a Provincial inspection as you now have a vehicle with parts of the body lower than the rims, light hights may no longer comply, among other things.
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:59 AM   #11
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From what is said here, it also sounds like taking a regular road car and putting coilovers on it and setting up a slightly more aggressive alignment would be illegal?
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:34 PM   #12
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Depending on what mods are made, it might well be illegal. There are also alignment specs you have to meet.
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Old 09-15-2009, 01:28 PM   #13
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So if someone feels that their stock suspension is underdampened and is dangerous at highway speeds (say for example on the Coquihalla where the hills are steep and the curves can be tight, or even the Malahat for that matter) where the car feels like it is flopping around almost uncontrollably thrugh sweeping curves, what would they have to do to ensure that upgrading the suspension to a coilover system is legal?
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Old 09-15-2009, 03:05 PM   #14
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So if someone feels that their stock suspension is underdampened and is dangerous at highway speeds (say for example on the Coquihalla where the hills are steep and the curves can be tight, or even the Malahat for that matter) where the car feels like it is flopping around almost uncontrollably thrugh sweeping curves, what would they have to do to ensure that upgrading the suspension to a coilover system is legal?
no... that would be logical... don't forget that logic doesn't always come into play when it comes to making laws... especially those that pertain to the road...

Are DOT standards and european standards for parts not acceptable on canadian roads?

How is a factory installed air suspension system more safe than one that is installed properly with DOT approved fittings, lines, tanks etc that has been done by a licensed technician? Air technology is not what it used to be. The technology has gotten to the point where it is very comparable to coil over suspension and high end spring/strut combos. Quality components from bilstein, koni etc are being used in the strut construction and air bags are supremely advanced and the construction is almost bulletproof and I would say no less reliable than a coiled spring/strut suspension.

I would honestly like to see someone tell the difference watching a car with a high end air suspension system drive around and a car with a coil/strut combo.

The way things are being described... it sounds like it would be illegal to go out and buy a bilstein strut/h and r spring combo and replacing the garbage that they put in the cars from the factory.

I would be more worried about someone who took a grinder to their stock springs than someone driving around with a properly installed air suspension system that cost anywhere from 6 to 10 thousand dollars after its all said and done...
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:39 AM   #15
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Some DOT and European standards are, you would have to research which ones in particular. Unless you are a mechanical engineer with major experience in the design and construction of cars and particular experience in the particular mods you are planning on that make and model of car, then you or I would not be qualified to answer your question in the 3rd paragraph. The stock system is designed, tested and approved by such folks and accepted in international markets...a local modification with a combination of off the shelf products that were never desgined by different manufacturers to work with each other, has not been checked or approved. Every vehicle I stopped with modded suspension, I stopped because it appeared to have a suspension setup that was different from stock setups...and was usually visible because of the rigid ride qualities or lack of, or excessive, ground clearance.

I am equally concerned about grinder guys suspensions and + $10,000 systems. I have stopped vehicles with systems that cost over $12,000 and the vehicle was immediately removed from the highway. Big bucks doees not guarantee a legal or safe product. Just that you gave someone lots of your hard-earned cash.
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:49 AM   #16
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How is a factory installed air suspension system more safe than one that is installed properly with DOT approved fittings, lines, tanks etc that has been done by a licensed technician?
Nobody said it isn't. Read what zulu wrote again:

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Originally Posted by zulutango View Post
Any aftermarket system must be approved for on road use by Transport Canada and must meet all Provincial MV Regs requirements.
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:51 AM   #17
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How many aftermarket coilover suspension systems are Transport Canada approved? Where can one get a list of approved coilovers?
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:38 PM   #18
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Contract Transport Canada with a list of the ones you proposed using.
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Old 09-16-2009, 01:54 PM   #19
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Hint: "coilover" != "adjustable". Any suspension where the damper resides inside the coil spring is, by definition, "coilover".
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:02 PM   #20
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Hint: "coilover" != "adjustable". Any suspension where the damper resides inside the coil spring is, by definition, "coilover".
Hang on, we must have different ideas of what adjustable means. Any coilover system I have seen is adjustable in multiple ways.
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:59 PM   #21
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Hang on, we must have different ideas of what adjustable means. Any coilover system I have seen is adjustable in multiple ways.
Take a look at the stock suspension on my '87 Accord - the ONLY adjustment you can make is to the front toe.

The term doesn't apply to other suspension adjustments like camber, caster, toe, or anything else that's in no way connected to the springs and dampers.

Most guys who talk about "coilovers" are talking about *adjustable-height springs*, period. How many other "multiple ways" are there to adjust a coilover, aside from maybe variable-stiffness air shocks?
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:57 PM   #22
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Take a look at the stock suspension on my '87 Accord - the ONLY adjustment you can make is to the front toe.

The term doesn't apply to other suspension adjustments like camber, caster, toe, or anything else that's in no way connected to the springs and dampers.

Most guys who talk about "coilovers" are talking about *adjustable-height springs*, period. How many other "multiple ways" are there to adjust a coilover, aside from maybe variable-stiffness air shocks?
There's adjustable preload for the springs, adjustable damping..

I'm not a suspension mechanic and I certainly don't pretend to be one, but what is is about the adjustability of coilovers that makes them legal when an adjustable air system is not?
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:39 PM   #23
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For starters, how about the coilover will not go flat and permit the lowered vehicle to drag on the road or the coilover will always rebound in the identical way when hitting a bump?
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:39 PM   #24
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There's adjustable preload for the springs, adjustable damping..
While "multiple" does technically include "two", it is generally used to indicate three or more...
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:41 PM   #25
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For starters, how about the coilover will not go flat and permit the lowered vehicle to drag on the road or the coilover will always rebound in the identical way when hitting a bump?
I suppose the equivalent would be a broken spring... which I HAVE seen result in cars being towed off the road...
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