The Scion xB Coilover Upgrade Instructions. With 108hp on the first generation and 160hp on the second generation, the Scion xBs are hardly “performance” vehicles. They can, however, look pretty cool when lowered with aftermarket wheels and other cosmetic changes.
When it comes to lowering your xB, you have three options: lowering springs, coilovers, or air bags. This guide will concentrate on the best Scion xB coilover setups. But first, we’ll explain the difference between lowering springs and coilovers and coilovers and airbags for the xB so you can make an informed decision about how to lower your xB.
Because the xB isn’t designed for performance, this guide will concentrate on lowering the car rather than the best performance coilovers. I’m not sure if you can track an xB, but the coilovers we mentioned are for stance, not track.
Coilovers are available in a variety of configurations and applications. We won’t go over tube design or other performance-oriented coilover considerations because we aren’t looking for it here. Instead, we’ll concentrate on the essentials: damping and camber. We’ll also go over lowering springs and air bags.
Damping can be adjusted.
xB coilovers will be available in two configurations: pre-set damping and adjustable damping. Damping refers to shocks and is usually associated with the ride’s stiffness or softness. The compression and rebound of the coil springs are controlled by shocks. They basically control how much the spring compresses and how much bounce/rebound there is after compression.
Coilovers with adjustable damping allow you to control the softness and stiffness of the ride by adjusting the damping (usually with 8 to 36 different levels). Coilovers with pre-set damping are not adjustable and are pre-set by the manufacturer to best match the spring rates and provide a balance of function and comfort.
Adjustable damping is convenient, but it is more expensive to obtain. You don’t need it if you’re on a tight budget. It’s not a bad thing to have if you can afford it. However, because we aren’t concerned with performance here, it isn’t really necessary. Coilovers with pre-set damping will still provide a comfortable ride.
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Plates with Camber
If you want to go for stance, your wheels may require some camber. Some of the more expensive coilovers will come with adjustable camber plates or can be upgraded to have them. Camber plates are not included with the low-cost options and must be purchased separately.
It is up to you and your goals whether you require camber plates. A budget set of coilovers with camber plates purchased separately, on the other hand, will be less expensive than a set of coilovers that includes camber plates.
Coilovers vs. xB Lowering Springs
If you want to lower your xB, lowering springs may appear more appealing in terms of cost than coilovers. However, when the budget allows, we almost always recommend coilovers for two main reasons.
For starters, lowering springs only provide a fixed drop, typically 1.25′′-1.5′′, and the ride height is not adjustable. Coilovers allow you to adjust the ride height anywhere from 0.5′′ to 3′′ lower and anywhere in between. This is especially important if you have aftermarket wheels and tires because the adjustability allows you to play with the ride height to avoid scraping or rubbing against the fenders.
Second, coilovers are far more comfortable than springs that have been lowered. Lowering spring rates are stiffer than stock spring rates. The damping on the stock shocks/struts is set to compensate for the stock coil springs. When a stiffer spring is combined with a shock/strut that has dampening set for soft springs, the result is a very rough ride. While coilovers are commonly thought to have a poorer ride quality, this is not the case. Coilover damping and spring rates are chosen to complement each other while maintaining ride quality.
Coilovers, on the other hand, are more comfortable than lowering springs and provide ride height control. Lowering springs are less expensive, but they are less comfortable and do not provide the same level of flexibility.
Airbags versus xB Coilovers
Coilovers for the xB will max out around a 3″ drop. Air bags are required if you want to go lower than this. The advantage of air bags is that they can be raised and lowered with the push of a button, whereas coilovers must be adjusted manually.
The downside is that xB air bag kits are around $2000 just for the struts/bags. Then you need to add a controller, an air tank, and other accessories, which easily brings the price up to $3,500-$4,000. Furthermore, they are more difficult and expensive to install than coilovers. Some forum users have claimed that you can DIY/build your own air bag setup for less than $1,500, but this is only for those who are extremely knowledgeable.
If you want to literally put your xB on the ground, airbags are what you need. If a 3′′ drop is acceptable to you, then get coilovers. Especially since some good coilovers can be had for under $500.
Scion xB Coilovers That Work
At the end of the day, we recommend budget coilovers over both lowering springs and air bags. Air bags are simply too expensive for a daily driver and not a show car, and lowering springs lack height control and comfort while being only about $200 less expensive than coilovers.
When it comes to lowering, the best coilovers in my opinion are the budget coilovers. We’ll start with our favorite low-cost set and then move on to more expensive options for those who want damping control, camber plates, and other features.
1) Raceland xB Coilovers are the best xB coilovers.
Stance, Budget-Friendly, and Entry-Level
1-3′′ reduction in height
Raceland coilovers are the most cost-effective option for the xB. They provide 1-3′′ of lowering and provide the most comfortable ride quality without scraping or bottoming out when fully lowered. They are slightly stiffer than the stock suspension, but still very comfortable for daily driving. However, they lack adjustable damping, which we believe is unnecessary given the ride quality of these coilovers. Furthermore, they do not include camber plates.
They have a twin-tube design, so they are less sensitive to small bumps and movements, making them more comfortable than the options below for a daily driver. Raceland is a good company that provides excellent customer service, a lifetime coilover warranty, and Affirm financing for those who want to spread out their payments.
In general, these are the best coilovers for the money. Particularly for an xB without monotube coilovers or damping control.
2) More Expensive Installations
If you want damping control and a higher “quality” coilover, the cost approaches $1,000. All of these coilovers have adjustable damping and lowering capabilities. Most come standard with camber plates or can be upgraded to include them. Most are also monotube shocks, which are more performance oriented and sensitive to small bumps and movements.
If you believe you will require damping adjustability, a more expensive setup is required. If you don’t care about this, these coilovers are, in our opinion, a bit overkill in terms of price. When compared to the twin-tube Racelands, monotube shocks are less comfortable and more expensive. And, as previously stated, if you need camber, throwing some aftermarket camber plates with Racelands will still be less expensive than these options.
There are less expensive options with damping control available, but the Godspeed is the only one we would recommend. Any other options, especially those that are less expensive, will be of poor quality. And because the Godspeed has a one-year warranty, we would still recommend getting something closer to the $1k price point if you want damping.
xB Damping Control Coilovers
- Good luck, MonoSS (budget option)
- BR/RM BC Racing
- RS/Rally D2 Racing
- ISC N1
- KSport Management
Summary of Scion xB Coilovers
Coilovers are the best option for lowering your xB in general. If you want it completely on the ground, you’ll need to spend at least $3k on air bags. Lowering springs are an option for a fixed drop, but they provide poor ride quality and no height control. Given that you can get a good set of xB coilovers for $419, this is our recommendation every time.