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Best setup currently available?

Old 12-07-04, 01:16 PM
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Best setup currently available?

Hello,

It's been a while since I've thought about putting a full suspension on my R2, but now is the time for me to get serious. I'm looking for something that will be primarily a street vehicle but will be used on several track/auto-X days. I don't need the most competitive setup, and ride quality is an issue. I think a good target for me is somewhere between the ride of a Mitsu Evo and an E46 M3.

Adjustability is a big plus, especially if I can dial rebound and compression separately. The following things are very important to me:

1) crusing ride quality
2) adjustability
3) build quality

I've considered a custom set of Penske or JRZ/ProTrac/Moton but the feedback from the Porsche guys is they work great when dialed in but require lots of attention, i.e. rebuilds every year or so. I've seen the Advance stuff and like it in principle but I am not sure about the quality. There are the import kits which seem nice but rarely allow independent adjustment (and are not rebuildable).

So I would love to hear opinions, especially of performance drivers who are not willing to completely throw ride quality out the window. Thanks,

-ch

Last edited by hyperion; 12-07-04 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 12-09-04, 01:35 PM
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check the suspension section and read some of the stickies over there. Also search for threads by SleepR1 as he's got some goodies in there too.
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Old 12-09-04, 01:50 PM
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How many times have you been to the track? Those setups you mentioned above would be rediculous to use in a primarily street-driven car -- they are designed for pure race cars.
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Old 12-09-04, 02:13 PM
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It's pretty simple, all the dampers you mentioned, including Advanced Design are not meant for the street. They will not last, and will require frequent rebuilds. This is not a short coming, the manufacturers recomend rebuild EVERY season, assuming 7-10 events, practice, and trailering(your suspension is working even while ona trailer). They are light weight, to very specific tolerances, and require alot of attention due to the great amount of adjustability. Based on your description of need, I would look at Tein , or JIC FLTA2. A single adjustable will get the job done for all but the most serious racers. Hell, many EP cars dampers are not even adjustable, they are just set up correctly the first time . Even the JIC, and Teins will require rebuilds every 10-20K miles. Tein rebuilds the damper, JIC replaces the cartridge. Tein charges ~120 a corner for a full rebuild with a new shaft, not sure about JIC. Anyway, I own a full blown widebody FC road race car witth Advanced Design double adjustables, and a 97TT Supra with JICs(often tracked, ask Rynberg ), I would not run race shocks on the street.(that's a period) Carl
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Old 12-09-04, 02:14 PM
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I've never been to the track in my RX7 (it's an FD! It never runs!) but I've tracked my STi, my MR2, and a bunch of other cars before. I had a long discussion with the owner of ProTrac and he was convinced that he could valve a set of his 3-way dampers to match the stock R2 profile when on the lowest settings. But as I mentioned, I've heard that the racing shocks are a maintenance nightmare, especially if used on public roads.

What I'm really looking for is recommendations from RX7club memebers like "I've driven a new 911 recently and suspension XXX on and FD feels like that" or something similar. I'd just like to hear impressions. "This suspension is too harsh for street" or "not enough adjustability". I can read product descriptions all day but that doesn't really help me choose a direction for the car.

Thanks,

-ch
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Old 12-09-04, 02:25 PM
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Carl,

Thanks for the insight. You echo some concerns I've heard from others, i.e. that the race stuff is too sensitive for road use.

Do you have an opinion on the APEX'i dampers? I think I was in an FD with JICs and found it a little harsh, but I have no idea what settings the driver was using.

Maybe that's a good question: of the coil-over packages with adjustable damping, which has the softest settings on the low end of adjustment?

-ch
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Old 12-09-04, 02:49 PM
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Sounds to me like the last thing you need is a widely adjustable damper. Adjustment will cause more trouble than it fixes when you are in over your head. I'm with Carl Byck. Stick with a Tein, JIC or perhaps Koni yellow with a coilover conversion that are all single adjustable. Those are already overkill in the majority of cases.

Just as you wouldn't want to learn to drive in a racecar with a dog box and a 6 puck clutch you don't want to learn about shock adjustments and their effect by starting out with super duper quad adjustable wunder shocks. You'll never know what the heck is going on.

Last edited by DamonB; 12-09-04 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 12-09-04, 03:53 PM
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Why don't you take the car to the track a few times with the stock suspension and see what it drives like? Do you really NEED coilovers? You can use springs and Konis and have less body roll and have adjustable shocks for about $800. This setup will remain reasonably comfortable on the street and will be DURABLE.

I think it's illogical to purchase coilovers for a car you've never had on the track before....

Anyway, the Tein Flex, Endless Function B6, or JIC FLT-A2 all suit your criteria the best. Stay away from the Apexi, HKS, or other Teins that all use equal rates front/rear (that are too high).
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Old 12-09-04, 04:02 PM
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Fair enough. I'm familiar with suspension setup but you have to learn everything all over again with each new car and track.

My feeling--and please understand that I'm not building a dedicated track car--is that a solid, predictable suspension is more valuable to me than a dialed one, even if it turns out a little soft or sloppy. I've had some experience at some bumpy, uneven tracks and I wouldn't want a stiffly sprung car there, especially in the wet. I think that rough tracks reveal the need for road cars to have some give, so what I'm trying to build is a very predictable road car. Some adjustment will be necessary as I'm changing things like the tyres and weight distribution, but nothing too dramatic.

So of the single adjustables you mentioned, which do you think provides the best overall ride quality? My instinct would be the Konis, but I've heard some people say that they are a little harsh even on the softest setting. Assume that I'm going to select a linear spring package that is slightly stiffer than the stock R2 setup.

(I ran the yellows on my MR2 and found they had too much compression damping and not enough rebound for the springs I was running.)

-ch
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Old 12-09-04, 04:14 PM
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Rynberg,

Thanks again for the comments. I'd love to try out my stock suspension except that I purchased the car with 97K miles on the original parts. So it's hosed. Coilovers are not a requirement but aid in setting the ride height that I'm looking for. Is there some CW on appropriate spring rates to start off with? I'm historically from the big bars-soft springs camp but again I'm looking for people with experience to let me know what works.

I can't tell you how many cars I've ridden in or driven where the owner was really excited about how dialed in the suspension was--and it turned out that it was WAY too stiffly sprung, zero roll, porpising all over the place and jumping around under braking. The factory guys that tune the M3 or 911 suspensions do an unbelievable job of balancing ride quality and performance, and that's what I'm shooting for.

If you think a stock R2 suspension does this then maybe I should just replace my tired setup with new parts? Sounds like I could do better, but I am always open to suggestions,

-ch
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Old 12-09-04, 05:19 PM
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Chris-

Why not just get a Ground Control coil over kit with Koni yellows. You tell them what kind of driving you want to do and they will pick the spring rates. Since you bought the kit from GC they will also rebuild your Koni's as they are an authorized rebuild center.

I'm installing GAB Super R coilovers. I believe the spring rates are 550/400 and they are single adjustable. Many people say that this is a perfect match for the street. Any stiffer spring rates and it becomes a harsh ride. I too want a street car that can be dialed a little stiffer upon demand and brought to the road race courses and do well.

BTW- the cheapest source for new Koni yellows is eBay. But then they aren't warrantied.

Ask Carl about the fiasco he had to go thru with JIC to have them replace a leaky shock on his Supra.... I've heard JIC's customer service is in the toilet.

Good luck,

GNX7

Last edited by gnx7; 12-09-04 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 12-09-04, 05:27 PM
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Mark,

You're everywhere! Thanks for the insight.

Can anyone else compare/contrast the Koni/GC setup against the GAB Super R's in light of ride quality?

Also, if 550/400 pretty well accepted?

Thanks again--this is very helpful,

-ch
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Old 12-09-04, 05:29 PM
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Off the shelf the GAB's are stiffer than the Konis.
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Old 12-09-04, 05:38 PM
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Excellent, Damon, thanks. I've been doing some research on the stock setup and there is a lot of conflicting information. The stock springs on the R2 are supposedly somewhere between 265-275 lb/in front and 190-200 lb/in on the rear. (That's searching and checking scuderiaciriani.)

The 550/400 setup that Mark referenced is a 100% bump across the board in terms of stiffness. My sense is that assuming this is well suited to the GAB shocks it will be underdamped with the Konis. Is there a CW spring rate for Koni shocks for comparison's sake?

-ch
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Old 12-09-04, 08:19 PM
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I run 400/290 rate springs with Konis and I don't think I could handle much stiffer for street driving, not unless the shocks were specifically valved for the spring rate (ala coilovers). I can tell you that there is not much body roll, especially with the Konis set to full hard. You are right that there are compression issues with the Konis at times. In some situations, you can tell the Konis valving does not specifically match up with the springs.

As far as coilovers go, the problem with the Ground control setup is that stroke length is dependent on ride height. I don't consider that acceptable for $1200, when for a little more you can get the Tein Flex system. Again though, the GC setup using Konis will last a lot longer in street driving.

My car is a daily driver that sees approximately 8-9 track events a year (plus a few auto-x). The only reason I'm considering coil-overs is so that I can raise the ride height back up a little bit -- of course, other springs like the RSR Race springs are now available that have stiff rates with minimal lowering.
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Old 12-09-04, 08:24 PM
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If you decide to go with Konis get a quote from www.shox.com. I bought mine there years ago and delivered they were still cheaper than they go for on ebay now.
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Old 12-09-04, 09:19 PM
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Damon--thanks for the tip on pricing.

Rynberg,

I talked to GC today and their Koni setup is limited to 6" front and 7" rear springs which forces them to run no less than 500/400 to avoid coil binding. Is this the stroke length issue you were talking about? Also, I'm a little confused about your own setup. Are you running the GC Koni kit, or Konis with some other kind of spring?

-ch
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Old 12-09-04, 09:39 PM
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No, the 6 and 7" spring issue isn't the stroke issue. Because the GC kit mounts do not have separate height adjustments, when you lower the car, you are reducing the amount of suspension travel possible (another side effect of this is that the springs will actually come loose when the car is jacked up). It also pre-loads the spring differently per how you set the ride height. The Tein Flex, Endless Function B6 and JIC FLT-A2 have separate adjustments so changing the ride-height does not reduce suspension stroke.

Look at these pics for an example of dependent vs independent height settings:





I am running HKS springs with Konis. No coilover kit.

BTW, www.tirerack.com also has Konis for a very good price. I've dealt with the Tire Rack for over 6 years and have never had anything but excellent customer service with quick (and reasonably priced) shipping.
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Old 12-09-04, 11:24 PM
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You Cali guys are lucky. We can't get away with spring rates that stiff over here or with the solid pillowball/upper shock mount bushings on this side of the continent.

I don't want to go more than the ~350lb front spring rates of the H&R or Eibachs on the street.

Another thumbs up for shox.com. Been buying stuff from them for longer than I care to remember.
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Old 12-10-04, 01:53 AM
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Rynberg,

Thanks for the clarification. I remember when the fully threaded body was very, very rare about five years ago. Now everyone has it!

I've been checking out the Endless/Zeal catalog:

http://www.endlessusa.com

Looks like the B2 is no longer current and only the B6 is available. I like the fact that the upper mount incorporates some damping, but I'm intrigued by the Function Xs as well (which apparently does not have the same upper mount). But these bad boys are pricey, esp. compared to the Tein and JIC.

Regarding the quality of JIC, I've been perusing the board and I can only find a few people who have had first hand experience with issues. There's a lot of chatter about poor quality, though, so I don't know what to think. Seems like my choice is really between the Tein and the Zeal.

Still love to hear more opinions,

-ch
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Old 12-10-04, 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by hyperion
Still love to hear more opinions,
I still say drive the car at a few events before deciding what you want to do....
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Old 12-10-04, 03:13 AM
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In all seriousness, if the car is running before June '05 I will drive it at the track if I have to slap a used civic suspension on it. But at the rate I'm going, it'll be forever and a day.

-ch
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Old 12-11-04, 12:27 PM
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I ran GC/Konis with 275lb rear 7", and a 450lb 6" front, streetable, and competitive, no problem with binding ever. Good for 2:08s at Thunderhill w/~300rwhp on 235-40-17 RA1s on 17x8 rims, on an FC.Carl
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Old 12-11-04, 12:56 PM
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Thanks, Carl. You know, the best lap I ever had at Thunderhill was in my MR2 with Koni yellows and H&R progressive springs. After I went to GC coil-overs I never quite got the balance right again. The Konis just couldn't handle the uprated springs. That's how I learned that a responsive car is not necessarily a quick car.

-ch
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Old 12-13-04, 02:47 PM
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Regarding the quality of JIC, I've been perusing the board and I can only find a few people who have had first hand experience with issues. There's a lot of chatter about poor quality, though, so I don't know what to think. Seems like my choice is really between the Tein and the Zeal.
jic FLT-A2 are the only ones I have experience with and I have no complaints so far.
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