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Q: What is the design philosophy at Northwoods Performance?
Most of us use our vehicles as daily drivers during the week, then load them up on the weekend to get us to the trailhead, the kids activities, or our favorite remote camping spot. To accomplish all this we design with three primary goals: reliability, simplicity, function.
Q:What kind of ride can I expect from a Northwoods Performance suspension system?
We call it subtly dramatic. What? That sounds like a contradiction! Maybe, but here is how we design our springs and tune our suspension: We increase the spring rate an average of 10 to 20%, depending on the vehicle and the application. Then on most spring sets we design a rising rate spring—soft at first then increasing in rate under compression. The result is during your normal commute, driving at sane speeds you will not notice much difference—‘subtle’, and certainly not harsh on the pavement. Then as you push your vehicle, the difference will be more ‘dramatic’. You will experience far less body roll when pushing through the twisty canyon, you will glide over the potholes and ruts on the trail, and the increase spring capacity will haul all the gear without bottoming out. You’ll feel the difference!
Q:Where and how do you source your parts?
Our shop is in North Idaho, with all our favorite test trails and test tracks just down the road. And we like to keep as much business right here as possible.
We design our fabricated parts in house, have most of the parts CNC laser or plasma cut locally based on our CAD .dxf files we provide, and then perform the welding and assembly in our shop. We do our own QC, and use a local powder coating shop; they have a brand new atmosphere controlled spray booth to produce our great finishes.
We have partnered with a US spring manufacturer to design and produce our springs. We work with their engineers to get the spring design, rate, and lift height. Then they produce a prototype for us to test. We make any changes necessary, test again, then go to production. Our coil springs are then produced right here in the US on a CNC coil machine for consistency and quality.
Our shock and strut components from KYB, Bilstein, Monroe, and others are supplied from our wholesale supply houses.
Q: Some of the Northwoods suspension system kits seem pretty pricey. I can just order struts and shocks off a web site and save a bunch of money. Why would I pay for a Northwoods Performance kit?
Excellent question. At Northwoods we offer our full suspension kits with all new parts and components in order to provide bolt-in, tested and proven performance for our customers.
We source all our parts new from leading manufacturers of both OEM and established aftermarket companies. This includes KYB, Monroe, Bilstein, AC Delco, Gabriel, and others. The problem we have found is not every manufacturer provides all the parts individually (KYB does not offer lower spring insulators for the RAV4), or provides incorrect parts (KYB has more than one part number listing for the RAV4 that is not correct for the bump stop, boot, and other parts). So through our trials and testing we have found correct parts that fit and work. Sometimes we have to find parts listed for other vehicles and years that fit our application. Then we assemble it all with our Northwoods components (springs, CAD designed and laser cut spacers and brackets, hardware) and pound the heck out of it with our test mules on the roads and trails of North Idaho. Mountain tested, mountain made!
We fully endorse and promote folks doing some backyard mechanics, and going through all this process themselves to find what works for them, or even re-using some of their own OEM parts. We have done this countless times ourselves. And we offer products such as our performance proven springs individually in pairs to support this. But at Northwoods Performance we also offer a full suspension system, with fully assembled struts ready to bolt in without dealing with dangerous spring compressors, all fully tested and proven over tens of thousands of miles.
Our customers can bolt in proven performance in a few hours, and then head out on the next adventure!