How To Measure & Set Coilover Spring Preload

Updated: 8/18/16

Getting the correct coilover spring preload is the first step in setting up your suspension. So what is preload?  Preload is the initial (pre) tension (load) on your springs before carrying the weight of the vehicle.  Coilover spring preload is measured in inches, in other words, how many inches have you compressed the springs before applying weight.

Setting Initial Preload on New Springs or Coilovers:

Follow this procedure if you have just purchased new springs or shocks from us.

  • Start with the springs and shocks installed on the vehicle.
    • Springs loose
    • Dual rate nuts high on the body, spring slider not touching dual rate nuts
  • Screw the preload nut down while gently rattling the springs, when they stop rattling that is Zero Preload
  • Measure and record how many inches of threads are showing above the preload nuts
  • Every inch you screw the preload nut down is another inch of preload
    • Every inch you screw it up is one inch of negative preload
    • Screwing the preload nut down one inch will also increase the shaft showing by one inch
  • Screw the preload nut down to give you the target preload
    • Contact us if you’re not sure how much preload you are supposed to have
  • Adjust the preload up or down to give you the desired amount of shock shaft showing at ride height


If you have negative preload, or your preload is more than  +/-1″ from our target we should swap springs.

Read our article How To Calculate New Preload And Springs By Using Existing Springs in order to take measurements for the new springs.





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2 replies
  1. Jodie B
    Jodie B says:

    hello ive got a set of king offroad racing shocks 3.0. My truck is on a custom 4 link suspension with 49 inch tires. i need advice on how much preload to set the shocks at. truck is a 2002 f150 4 door
    thanks for any help

    • Web Admin
      Web Admin says:

      Sounds like you have a very custom setup. For universal fit coilovers we like to have 1″ of preload front and rear. Assuming the spring rates are correct.


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