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shonen
30-12-06, 01:28 AM
Tonight I learned an important lesson in just how important handling is I mean I always knew it was important on paper but never had any real hands on experience to notice the differences on the road.

Being a bit of a horse power junkie I have always chased after more power, however I was never one to neglect suspension and in the near future I plan to do a complete suspension overhaul (monotube coilovers, whatever I F make for my car, nismo sway bars and a roll cage :) basically the works )

I was always aware of the importance of suspension/handling in THEORY but it never really hit home in practice until tonight.

Went out for a late night drive in my "local" area, near putty rd...yes I live out in the sticks haha....

Here is the scenario.
Two R34 GTTs, mine and a mates.

Mine:

Handling
Offset castor rod bushes, Cusco Hicas lock and Nissan factory option "Sport" springs so the car sits a tad lower than stock. Nothing much really.

Power
New turbo setup has yeilded 290kw at the wheels, starts to spool at 2000rpm and full boost hits HARD at 3400rpm.

Mates car

Handling:
Tein coilovers, with damper and height adjustment, They were either the old type flex or the new Super Streets. The ride was pretty comfy for coilovers so id say most probably Super Streets. Cusco Upper control arms to eliminate the excessive camber that skylines are notorious for when lowered.

Power:
Stock turbo with basic bolt ons, ie front mount, exhuast etc running 190kw at the wheels. Being the stock turbo he starts spooling a little earlier than me and full boost is well and truly cranking at 3000rpm.

Although I have had a bit more track experience than my mate, he is a pretty competent driver and in regards to driving skill id say we are very similar.

We were also running the same brand of tyres with similar tread % left on them and running similar sizes, although mine are slightly wider in the rear.

We went up and down our favourate stretch of twisties are few times and also swapping cars in between.

Although my car was slightly faster overall (some straightaways in the midsection can be credited for that ) I hate to admit it but his car was a better drive.

In my car I was constantly feathering the throttle and only one or two corners can I fully nail the throttle and exit on max power and even then I felt the rear wanting to step out. I felt constantly on edge and slightly uncomfortable with the amount of power on tap and always felt "restrained" and found myself holding back.

My mates car on the other hand just felt so alive and I felt so involved in the driving experiences. I was going flat stick through most corners and the car just wouldnt step out with the power that it had and it just hit the apex and darted off towards the next bend. The feeling of flooring the pedal through 90% of the run as opposed to feathering the throttle 90% of the time is just so much more satisfying and puts a big grin on my face.

I think after tonight I can understand why hachi and mx5 drivers love their cars so much as some mates I know who own these cars used to go on about how fun the cars are to drive and have commented that my car is a little scary and "uncomfortable" to drive as your constantly on edge.

The ONLY thing my car had over my mates in terms of handling was the Hicas lock, my car felt slightly more direct in steering response and I did feel the Hicas try to interfere with the fun in his car a few times..

Now more than ever I seriously cant wait to get some suspension work done to my baby and I hope that with the right settings will provide such a satisfying driving experience as my mates car.


now.......why do Ikeya Formula parts have to be soo damn expensive ?????? :(

project2
30-12-06, 01:55 AM
My suggestion would be to start of with tyres first as they make a world of a difference.

For the past week i've been playing with the damper/rebound settings on my coils and have fun the best setting for my preference.

I find that setting the drive train side on a harder setting rather then soft is better in my situation you can actually feel the power going to the ground now rather then it wanting todo fishies!

Also my mechanic advised me when lowering the car its best to have the axels sit as straight as possible. When I had generic king springs on the car the axels would sit on a higher angle like \____ (driveshaft pointing downwards to the hub)
once the car was dumped all for fun it was sitting like /__________ (up the hub) as it was 7 cm's off the ground.

reason being as when you drive over uneven roads or humps the axels will dip lower momentarily so if you had a bad lowering job this is sometimes why it feels weird when the road is uneven.

There's so many factors to look at.. but its alot of fun doing the tuning yourself! but thats what I would suggest looking at trying to get the most power to the ground before you start to slip

Babalouie
30-12-06, 01:56 AM
A good set of coilovers will make a huge difference, and as long as you don't lower it too much then the camber should stay reaonably optimal. Just go out and get some Teins, by themselves they will be a huge upgrade.

Also what LSD does the R34 come with? Viscous or torsen? If it's viscous then you will get a huge improvement in predictability by throwing it in the bin and getting a real LSD :D

shonen
30-12-06, 02:05 AM
hmmm dont quote me on this but I THINK the autos are viscous and the manuals are helical. Mines a manual.

Dont worry a Nismo GT Pro 1.5way is on the wish list :)

R-Tune
30-12-06, 09:11 AM
now.......why do Ikeya Formula parts have to be soo damn expensive ??????


because they are the best !!! .


Power curve sounds nice.

The R34 GTT is quite heavy maybe you look at weight reduction. This will improve all aspects of the cars performance.

Justin Fox
30-12-06, 10:22 AM
Well written Shonen.

I think it's more about power than suspension in your case as your car is making a lot more than your mates.

I used to think my Alfa 147 with KW Coilovers was the best handling car in the world but in retrospect I think it's because the car was underpowered.

You're making a lot of power for a RWD car and for sure you're going to have to feather that throttle a shitload more than say an MX-5 where you'd be completely flooring it at most times.

In the end of the day it's apples and oranges, MX-5 to GT-R. MX-5 I can go fast in (late braking) and the GT-R I just have to stand on the brakes a lot. Definitely slow in fast out.

EGG80X
30-12-06, 11:07 AM
Shonen, in the end its personal preference too, are you willing to sacrifice comfort for stiff hard back breaking coilovers and noiseyl knocking diff? If you are going to track your car frequently, better invest in those handling mods...... Like Mike said "tyres" will a world a difference too and get a good wheel alignment too

scathing
30-12-06, 01:20 PM
Shonen, in the end its personal preference too, are you willing to sacrifice comfort for stiff hard back breaking coilovers

That depends on your setup and goals. If you get a street oriented suspension, you can get something that rides comfortably and makes the car handle. Given that Australian roads aren't exactly smooth, a more compliant ride will actually be a better handling car.

For about 2 years I ran Koni Yellow dampers and Roadholder swaybars with stock springs. On the track it wasn't too bad (the dampers adjusted bound as well as rebound so it would stiffen everything) but on the street it was perfect.

The car still rode comfortably, and I could drive on the Old Pac at a fair pace with a great deal of confidence.


Recently I installed Tein Flex. Now the track its quite good (although its still a bit too soft, I've dialled the dampers up to almost as stiff as they'll go and I can still feel it leaning) but on the street I know about every leaf I drive over. And, on the Old Pac, I'm now slower. I can't trust the car to stick to its line since it skips everywhere, and I now have to modulate the throttle.


When I get tired of track work, I know I'll still enjoy a spirited drive in the country, so I'll pull the Japanese suspension out and install something like Bilsteins, or buy another set of Koni dampers and run Eibach springs. The Europeans worked out a long time ago that "stiff" does not equal "handling", and to be honest they tend to be right.

Which is why the older 350Zs we got (with the JDM suspension) gets panned for being such a harsh ride, but all the subsequent revisions to the suspension which have improved its on road manners have basically been an installation of the European setup.

Justin Fox
30-12-06, 01:27 PM
The MX-5 Mania car runs the bottom of the line Tein Super Street coilovers at Wakies (1.05!). Wakies is a damn bumpy track after-all so it seems to make sense.

Tosh
30-12-06, 01:53 PM
Thomas,

Sunline Racing suspension parts aren't as expensive as Ikeya formula.

And a very good point about handling... James with the white R33 GTR has spent 95% of his modification budget on handling rather than power and he is loving his car to death... With only an exhaust, intercooler, 1.1Bar and an ECU for the engine he has managed to put himself around Wakefield in 1:10 and saiys the car is so easy to drive at the limit it's not funny. I have driven his car around Wakefield and I agree... it is one of the easiest and most "nerve settling" cars I have driven around Wakefield, it feels so stable and surefooted it's great.

Babalouie
30-12-06, 02:17 PM
That depends on your setup and goals. If you get a street oriented suspension, you can get something that rides comfortably and makes the car handle. Given that Australian roads aren't exactly smooth, a more compliant ride will actually be a better handling car.

For about 2 years I ran Koni Yellow dampers and Roadholder swaybars with stock springs. On the track it wasn't too bad (the dampers adjusted bound as well as rebound so it would stiffen everything) but on the street it was perfect.

The car still rode comfortably, and I could drive on the Old Pac at a fair pace with a great deal of confidence.


Recently I installed Tein Flex. Now the track its quite good (although its still a bit too soft, I've dialled the dampers up to almost as stiff as they'll go and I can still feel it leaning) but on the street I know about every leaf I drive over. And, on the Old Pac, I'm now slower. I can't trust the car to stick to its line since it skips everywhere, and I now have to modulate the throttle.


When I get tired of track work, I know I'll still enjoy a spirited drive in the country, so I'll pull the Japanese suspension out and install something like Bilsteins, or buy another set of Koni dampers and run Eibach springs. The Europeans worked out a long time ago that "stiff" does not equal "handling", and to be honest they tend to be right.

Which is why the older 350Zs we got (with the JDM suspension) gets panned for being such a harsh ride, but all the subsequent revisions to the suspension which have improved its on road manners have basically been an installation of the European setup.
That's odd..I used to run King springs and Konis and when I swapped to Teins the grip improvement was massive, on road and track. Maybe you've set your flexes too low and are running out of travel?

Gorilla
30-12-06, 02:30 PM
Upgrade your bushes to Poly urethen too, I dont know how much differnece it will make in your car, being newer than mine, but it was a big improvement for me.

scathing
30-12-06, 03:09 PM
That's odd..I used to run King springs and Konis and when I swapped to Teins the grip improvement was massive, on road and track. Maybe you've set your flexes too low and are running out of travel?

The car's at a near stock ride height. Not quite stock, but when I installed them I asked that the car not be lowered. They got it as close as they could.

The 350Z's stock setup is also quite good for a street car. The swaybars were a worthwhile upgrade, but the dampers themselves didn't make the car that much better drive.

But I may have the height, and travel, looked at. I believe I'm not bottoming out but I'll have to double check.

wilch
30-12-06, 09:47 PM
...should've bought that GTR.....

lol j/k'ing.

Babalouie
30-12-06, 11:01 PM
The car's at a near stock ride height. Not quite stock, but when I installed them I asked that the car not be lowered. They got it as close as they could.

The 350Z's stock setup is also quite good for a street car. The swaybars were a worthwhile upgrade, but the dampers themselves didn't make the car that much better drive.

But I may have the height, and travel, looked at. I believe I'm not bottoming out but I'll have to double check.

In the Flex series, the travel is independent of the height, since it's double adjustable. It's possible that they got the height right but screwed up the travel....do the wheels droop much when you jack up the car? If you poke your nose into the wheelwell can you see how much travel there is before the bumpstop (black plastic concertina thing) comes into play?

shonen
31-12-06, 01:58 AM
sorry guys, been out all day painting walls hahahaha...

Thanks for all your thoughts and for sharing your experiences...

Shane: Yeah the power curve aint too shabby, Hitman was suprised and said the power delivery was like a GTR, be that good or bad....I havent decided yet haha

Tosh: pffft....Sunline, although I LOVE their R34 GTR. Ikeya Formulae will be going in my baby :)

Alan: Have you driven or had a ride in a car that was running the new tein Monoflex ?

I have been in 2 S15s running it and driven one of them as well.

The ride is almost unbeleivably comfortable for a coilover and the car seems to soak up the bumps very nicely.

Josh has had nothing but praise for them and says even on the EVO 9 they perform really well and doesnt unsettle the car during road tests.

Ill definetley be getting myself a set when finances permit :)

boxheadmr
01-01-07, 12:20 PM
I must add too that on country roads i have found the Tein Flex to be great, sure it is bumby but actual road holding has been excellent.
On the track same story.

shonen,
I would caution about going all out first up with your suspension as you will not be ready for it and you will end up with something that is worse then you expect.

It might be best to do it in stages and get the right products the first time, maybe coil overs and alignment arms that are required first. Body bracing and chasis stiffening next and then looking into things such as roll cages and the like last.
Clearence issues, engineering and no back seats all come into play when installing a cage so it is best to leave this sort of thing on a street car till last i believe.

Ikeya Forumla is very good but there are some other japanese suspension parts that are of similar quality but a bit less expensive. Cusco make some very good suspension arms as do Kazama, as for the coil overs i think you are on the right track with the Tein.
I have been using the Flex for a while and they are great and i have heard good things about the super street that fulcrum have designed with the added bonus of a factory warrantee in Australia you really can't go wrong, Josh is also reseller i believe and has sound advice suspension design.
I have nothing but praise for the flex and wonder why people are buying these cheap copies when you can get a quality product like the Tein for not much more money.

Good luck
Matt

scathing
01-01-07, 12:24 PM
In the Flex series, the travel is independent of the height, since it's double adjustable. It's possible that they got the height right but screwed up the travel....do the wheels droop much when you jack up the car?

I will have a chat with my mechanic the next time I bring the car in for something, since he did the install.

The wheels don't drop much at all. When I jack up one side of the car, it lifts the wheel on the same side but opposite end of the car.

I will have a look at how much distance I have from the bump stop later.

scathing
01-01-07, 12:27 PM
Alan: Have you driven or had a ride in a car that was running the new tein Monoflex ?

Not yet.

Unfortunately (for me) the Mono Flex were released to market literally 1 week after I ordered the coilovers. Had I known of the existance of the Mono Flex, I would have paid the premium and bought them for sure.

I can't afford to sell these Flex off and buy Mono Flex (I have other things to spend on the car) so I might get them in the future when these wear out instead of rebuilding them or something.

denka
01-01-07, 02:22 PM
I bought my fulcrum/tein super streets 3 months ago and after probably sitting in one of the cars that shonen mentioned with the monos, i'll be saving up to buy a set and seling the super streets when the monos are in. Can't wait.

Babalouie
01-01-07, 10:32 PM
I will have a chat with my mechanic the next time I bring the car in for something, since he did the install.

The wheels don't drop much at all. When I jack up one side of the car, it lifts the wheel on the same side but opposite end of the car.

I will have a look at how much distance I have from the bump stop later.

Ya, good plan.

If the wheels don't droop much, it could be that they just installed it and then wound the spring height up to get to stock height without raising the bottom mount to compensate for the loss of droop travel.

IIRC the couple of sets of Teins I've had come pre-set at roughly one inch and a half down, so raising it that much would reduce your droop travel heaps. When you jack up your car you want the wheels to droop about 75mm or so. If you only have 40mm of droop then that's what they've done wrong and when set up correctly should be like night and day :D

Measure the distance from centrecap to wheelarch lip, jack it up until the wheels get off the ground and then measure what the new distance is.

CoffeeBoss
04-01-07, 04:35 PM
Finally, someone understands what my bretheren and many MX5 drivers are often harping on about!
I had the extreme pleasure of driving a custom turbo Altezza RS200 along some gorgeous twisties in New Zealand, just outside of Christchurch in November. The turbo was large, and boost came on about 3500rpm, at which point it held 8psi all the way to the 7800rpm red line. From 3000rpm to 4000rpm the dyno showed a doubling of torque.
Anyhoo, I enjoyed the linear nature on boost, it was like a supercharger. But with the high compression of the 3SGE BEAMS, it was more power than the car needed for what it is best at ie. corners. What impressed me nearly as much was the 50:50 of the RS200 and the front end which was notably lighter and quicker on turn in than my IS200, despite fairly standard setup (bilsteins and eibachs) and heavier 18" wheels.
So, similar experience has been had here too, although sadly i didn't have my car present to make a back to back comparison. But certainly, in the Altezza Club we have found we have learnt alot about our cars and moddifying such when we swap keys.