Tag Archives: Coilover

Reducing the Vibration, Upping the Performance

3 Oct

NISMO Rear Performance Damper 350Z

NISMO Front Performance Damper 350Z

There is an old expression in the sports car world “handles like it’s on rails”. In other words, a car that changes direction with such eagerness, authority, and minimal loss of energy, that its akin to a train following a track. To this end, people often go about fitting the stiffest springs they can, with the biggest possible swaybars, and rubber-band thick tires, hoping to reduce lean and roll. This works great on cars with huge sticky tires and lots of downforce (and thus high speeds), and ideally, driven on perfectly smooth tracks. While many try to mimic this on a street car, it’s usually not the case. Normal roads, and even many racetracks around the country are anything but glass-smooth. We’re genernally not running slicks or even R compound tires when we drive to the local diner or for a weekend blast down some backroads, and while we may have installed them on our cars, we’re not generally using dive planes, functional splitters and spoilers to their potential due to street-legal speeds. The same car that handles on rails is also crashing over every imperfection out there. Expansion joints might as well be speedbumps, uneven pavement akin to driving over road spikes. Geometry aside, these super stiff setups often compromise road car handling, more than they improve it. Chassis stiffening is not the same as suspension stiffening, and this is an often-overlooked feature. The chassis of the car is like the skeleton of a high rise building. It’s made of steel girders, because it’s the backbone of the structure. Similarly a cars chassis is the skeleton of the car: it supports everything else.

When NISMO developed the 350Z NISMO edition, mane shunned it as merely a cosmetic upgrade. The engine afterall was the same – but it wore a wildy out there (for a factory car) body kit – a long front bumper with low splitter, a long rear bumper overhang, and a decidedly “Fast and Furious” style spoiler. Delve deeper and you find what makes it so special. The chassis is fully seam welded. Meaning every joint, where 2 pieces of aluminum are bonded together, are full sealed. There are no gaps, there are no open joints. This increases chassis rigidity by a decidely large amount. This is one of the things people often do when bulding a race car from the ground up. To that chassis, Nissan fitted significantly stiffer springs (one of the stiffest out there on a road car) with heavy duty dampers. While the bushings and swaybars remained the same compared to other NISMO cars, the car was noticeably stiffer. But this is, afterall, a road car. While it is very much at home on weekend track days and club events, it’s designed to be a fun, sporting day to day means of transportation. Had it been left alone, it would have been panned for being too obnoxious on the road, too upset by the concrete jungle. To solve those issues NISMO worked with Yamaha to develop a Z-specific pair of body dampers. These attach fore and aft of the shock pointing points, between the 2 biggest “holes” in the chassis – at the front bumper, and in the rear spare tire well. Why there? When a suspension compresses and rebounds, energy is created, stored, and released in very quick succession. The stiffer the spring, the more aggressive the shock valving, the quicker this process happens. Which is why from inside the cabin, that uneven pavement can be downright punishing….whereas in a Toyota Camry, it’s just soaked up effortlessly. The dampers Yamaha and NISMO developed are designed to specifically combat these vibrations, without toning down the benefits that the spring/shock combo gives the handling aspect of the car. When you look at them out of the box, they are basically a strut brace, with a little shock built in. They compress and rebound, like a strut does. However they mount veritcally, whereas shocks mount horizontally. So they combat the natural vibrations the chassis will face when hitting potholes, uneven pavement, and normal bumps in the road. This minimizes energy losses, and lets the spring and shock more efficiently do their job, while keeping the driver comfortable, and thus confident, behind the wheel.

Think it’s still just marketing hype? F1 cars began using similar devices in the 2006 season. Or, just try it for yourself: we have. A 350Z with coilovers (pick your poison, it even helps with wife-friendly coilovers such as Bilstein and KW). With the typical set of low profile 18 or 19 inch tires, and at the typical lowered stance these cars look so good at, it turns the car from a bit erratic over bumps, to downright stable. The suspension is now more able to work in unison, left and right, front to back, whereas without the dampers, it’s a bit of a free-for-all, with the driver being asked to control it all on the fly. It is truly eye-opening how these simple bolt on devices stabilize the vehicle.

The neat thing about these, is they are available for several carswe get here in the US, including the Subaru WRX (02-07), 350Z/G35. Need one for your car? Just drop us a line!

The Aardvark

25 Feb

A bespoke built Datsun 260Z, with a Jenvy ITB equipped VQ35, and a host of custom fabrication work.

Can’t wait to see some in car videos at the track!

Regress=Progress

5 Feb

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The trickle down theory may not quite be a perfect operation in public policy, but in the Motorsport world, it certainly holds true. Technological developments born on the track eventually find there way to our daily road cars.

The rage among higher end “reasonably priced” coilovers of the past several years has been the idea of digressive valving. Simplified, its a damper (shock) where the rate of damping force decreases as shaft speed increases. In a traditional damper the damping force increases as shaft speed does. The harder the shock works, the stiffer it gets. Digressive slows this curve down, to better allow the tires to maintain grip and life the harder the car is pushed. as developments on both tire and aero continue, the need and desire for a next generation shock became apparent. I say reasonable in quotes because its a very variable term.

Penske is forever at the forefront of damper technology. Their units can be found in every professional starting grid the world over. NASCAR to GT and everything in between. One of their developments in the last few years has been with regressive valving. This shock works by actually dropping the damping force as shaft speeds increase. In doing do, you are essentially controlling the oscillations the damper would normally experience after it hits a jarring bump. Like the candy canes on a track for example. This lets the spring be controlled more efficiently, keeping the tires planted. The more the tire footprint stays on the ground with an equal level of force acting upon it, the faster the car is. You can brake later, turn faster, put the throttle down sooner. In past setups, on order to maximize the use of downforce, both via front splinters and/or rear spoilers, very high rate springs had to be used. Without them the car would get pushed to the ground…literally. When a super stiff spring is being asked to be controlled by rapid shaft speed, you are forced to dial in very high rebound rates, which in turn kills tire life. But with this new regressive valving, Penske has found they can control the chassis better by dialing in reduced rates of high speed damping force, with increased rates of low speed force. So now instead of that kerbing tossing your 140 mph car airborne, or sideways, it’s better able to remain planted. The former speedbump becomes more akin to nothing more than a pebble.

Now, these are still at their relative early age of development, but with the I created top speeds and aero designs of modern road cars its only a matter of time before this stuff finds its way to the typical sports car/sedan.

Tein’s New Active Suspension

15 Jan

Tein has announced a new revision to their electronic damper controller (EDFC) called the EDFC Active. Available beginning in March 2013, this newest version has some significant improvements vs the previous generation.

More Aggressive Damping Force Control: To control damping force more actively according to driving conditions, 2 automatic adjustment modes are available; “G-actuated automatic adjustment mode” and “speed-sensitive automatic adjustment mode (optional GPS kit is required)”. Damping force adjustment levels can be set in 3 different types; 16-level, 32-level or 64-level.

Simplified Installation/Wiring: Motor driver units, located at front and back of the car, and controller unit are connected wirelessly, to reduce troublesome wiring works. Controller unit has all the sensing functions, with built-in optical sensor to detect brightness in its surroundings and connectivity with optional GPS kit to detect vehicle speed. The power supply cable is the only wiring required between the controller and the vehicle, making it possible and easier to install onto wider varieties of vehicle models. Well-considered size and design enable controller unit to be installed to most desirable position easily without any bulky wiring.
Better Visibility & User-Friendliness: Larger display is used for improved visibility and one-dial operation allows for easier handling.

Useful Added Features: EDFC ACTIVE offers lots of extra features including adjustable display color and G-force display. In addition, with optional GPS kit installed, vehicle speed, altitude, longitude, latitude, trip meter and/or clock can be displayed.
Extensibility: One controller unit can control up to 8 motors, with additional motor driver unit installed. This comes in handy for damper kit with separate compression/rebound adjustment.
Reasonable Price: Despite all the advanced features, EDFC ACTIVE is very reasonably priced.

●Manual Mode
There is only one simple dial to set front and rear damping force separately to desired levels. Up to 10 presets are available to store and quickly recall preferred settings, according to the changes in situation.
Examples

G-Actuated Automatic Adjustment Mode
This mode enables automatic adjustment according to the changes in G-force measured with built-in G-sensor. 2 separate modes available; “G-Arrange Mode” to adjust damping force when G-force reaches the preset value (max 10 memories) each time, and “G-Linear Mode” to adjust linearly according to the preset G-force values, automatically supplementing the values in between.

For example, on streets, damping force is set to softer level while driving at constant speed to absorb unevenness on road surface smoothly and set to harder level when accelerating/decelerating to suppress unnecessary vehicle movement for better handling and ride comfort.

On circuits, understeering/oversteering can be controlled by setting damping force to increase stability while braking and setting up front/rear damping force separately to correspond to degree of acceleration/deceleration.

Damping force is adjusted automatically according to G-force value, to xx-level higher or xx-level lower than the manually-set level.
Up to 10 adjustment points can be set, within 0.1 to 2.0G for both acceleration and deceleration in 0.05G increments.

Speed-Sensitive Automatic Adjustment Mode (optional GPS kit is required):

This mode enables automatic adjustment according to the changes in vehicle speed measured with GPS sensor. 2 separate modes available; “S-Arrange Mode” to adjust damping force when vehicle reaches the preset speed (max 10 memories) each time, and “S-Linear Mode” to adjust linearly at all speed according to the preset points, automatically supplementing the values in between.
For example, on streets, damping force is set to softer level while driving slower for softer ride without any bumpy feel and set to harder level when driving faster for better stability and handling.
On circuits, damping force can be controlled according to speed range to change handling performance, such as reducing understeer a bit at low speed corners and reducing oversteer a little at high speed corners.

G+Speed Integrated Control Mode (optional GPS kit is required)
This mode allows using Speed-Sensitive and G-Actuated Automatic Adjustment Modes simultaneously. By automatically and comprehensively adjusting damping force in response to changes in both vehicle speed and G-force, most desirable control is achieved at wide varieties of conditions and for various purposes for optimum performance.

Damping Force Adjustment Modes
Damping force adjustment levels can be set in 3 different types; 16-level, 32-level or 64-level. Most TEIN damping force adjustable dampers come with 16-level adjustment. Use of EDFC ACTIVE adds 32-level and 64-level adjustment capabilities within the same range for finer adjustments especially in automatic adjustment modes.

Wireless Control
EDFC ACTIVE features wireless control system for easy installation / wiring. Controller unit is connected wirelessly to motor driver units which control motors, eliminating the need for troublesome wiring such as putting cables through bulkheads and/or placing/anchoring cables inside the car.

With the latest wireless communication technology, 16.77 million ID patterns are available for motor units and hence there is no chance of confusion with other units. Motor driver units are built to provide tougher protection against dust and water, to make it possible to install outside the vehicle

Controller Unit
G-sensor, wireless transmitter and various functions are all fit into a compact controller unit, which has wide 22x60mm display for better visibility.

A wiring gutter on the back of the controller unit offers greater flexibility in positioning the controller unit and the cable.
Optional GPS kit can be connected to the controller unit via a one-touch coupler, without troublesome wiring to speed pulse signal.

Triaxial Acceleration Sensor
Controller has a built-in triaxial G-sensor, which offers the ability to install controller unit at any desired angle & direction.
Automatic Display Dimmer Function
Brightness of the display can be automatically adjusted according to the brightness of its surroundings detected by an optical sensor. This eliminates the need for connecting cables to vehicle’s illumination power supply. This function can be turned off.

One-Dial Operation
Simple one-dial operation is adopted with emphasis on convenient handling. This user-intuitive interface requires only a few basic operations to remember; turn the dial to select/adjust, push the dial to confirm and push 2 buttons above the dial to switch between the different functions.

Display Dimmer Function (level 0 to 3)
Display brightness baseline for automatic dimmer function can be set by the user between level 0 (off), 1 (dark) and 3 (bright).

Switchable Display View Angle (2 patterns)
Viewing angle of display can be adjusted in 2 different angles to offer better visibility even when the controller unit is installed at an angle.

Buzzer Volume Adjustment (level 0 to 3)
Volume of “button sound/buzzer” and “auto-adjustment buzzer” can be set separately between level 0 (mute), 1 (low) and 3 (high).

Lock Function
Operation of both buttons and dial can be locked to prevent operation mistakes.

Self-Diagnostic Function
The self-diagnostic function checks the status of driver unit and/or wireless communication. If it detects any errors in driver unit (disconnection / short circuit) and/or problem in wireless connection, the result will be shown on display.

Ability to Adjust Display Color
In addition to 4 default colors (white, green, amber & blue), fine-tunable custom colors are available

This new generation of EDFC is backwards compatible with all EDFC useable coilovers. So, if you bought the Flex 5 years ago for your Subaru but never got the EDFC, you can use this newest version! What’s more, if you do have an EDFC, so long as your unit has the revised stepper motors (introduced in 2010), you can just buy the control unit, and take advantage of all the new features!

Contact z1sales@z1auto.com to get on the waiting list

When only the Best Will Do (Suspension Content)

14 Nov

Ohlins is regarded in many circles as the premier suspension engineering company in the world. Their products have proven themselves on street and track for decades. Where others prefer the glitz and glam method of suspension design – using inferior dampers in a shiny box, Ohlins knows the reward is the results.

Their Road and Track series was introduced a few years ago to set the bar higher for a true, dual purpose suspension. Track days are certainly a very popular activity for performance car owners. They allow you to dial in your car, learn it’s limits, and improve your overall skill in a controlled environment. Many have the misconception that a trackable suspension means one solely suited for a race car. They couldn’t be more incorrect. The right suspension setup for a typical Club type track day is vastly different from one used on a full tilt race car. Unless you’re intending to change your entire suspension AT the track, your goal is generally a suspension setup that gives you meaningful, real world levels of adjustment regardless of the environment. The Road and Track series has set the standard here. These coilovers go from street to track without skipping a it. Their DFV valving is unique at this price point, and unlike many other ‘sweatshop’ coilovers, the damper adjustments on these actually work!

This is a great video put togehter to show the Ohlins Road and Track installed on an Evo X.

We’ve used this suspension ourselves, and can set you up with a complete package for your car. Whether you’ve got an Evo, WRX/STi, 350Z/G35, Porsche, S2000, etc, we can help put together the right Ohlins package for your needs. Contact z1sales@z1auto.com

Bilstein Coilovers 350Z/G35

18 Jul

The new PSS10 is a step up from where the PSS9 left off. Adding an extra level of dampening adjustment (now 10 total clicks of adjustment front and rear), these units have monotube dampers, fully galvanized housings, and feature spring rates of 370 lbs front, and a progressive rear rate of 240-420 lbs rear.

The biggest change to the PSS10 vs the 9 is the adjustment knob – the new knob is much easier to use, with larger numbers. Since the size increased, it’s now easier to feel the adjustment clicks as well. They also added an additional level of adjustment. Total span of adjustment between full stiff and full soft is approximately 30%. These are the ideal coilover for someone who wants the ability to adjust height and dampening, but who also demands a quiet, solid, european inspired ride (firm, but well controlled, without being rigid and unforgiving).

Priced this week only at $1729 SHIPPED in the 48 states!

To order, just give us a call at 631-863-3820

Tein Basis Coilovers

11 Jul

Tein has made a Japanese coilover for the economically minded consumer. The Street BASIS damper is the evolution of the popular BASIC coilover. Developed to provide a sporty and aggressive stance. The shortened shell case design provides optimum damper stroke at lower than standard vehicle ride height. Vehicle ride height is adjustable via the ZT coated threaded sleeve. Updated internal components and external coatings increase durability and product life. Street Basis dampers are great for daily driving and spirited driving for all types of drivers. Made in Japan under strict quality control standards and developed by highly trained suspension engineers.

Additional Features
• Steel Construction
• Twin Tube internal construction
• Larger piston diameter for strut type front and rear (22mm)
• Ride Height adjustable via spring seat
• Powder coated damper body
• Non-welded ZT coated Adjustment Tube
• Full-Length Dust Boots
• 1-piece Aluminum Spring Seat with Delrin Thrust Washer
• Available for Overhaul
• 1-year Manufacturers Defect Warranty

Applications Acura TL, Lexus IS300, Subaru Impreza/WRX, Nissan 350Z, Honda Prelude, Honda Fit, Acura TSX, Scion Xb

New Suspension for the 350Z

20 Sep

Just got a box with Ohlins new Road and Track Coilovers for the 350Z/G35. I will be evaluating these in my own car in the coming weeks. Just from a cursory look at them today, construction is top notch. The machining on the strut housings is much nicer than even the previous Ohlins PCV setup. The casings are These are their newest dampers, so feature the DFV valving, which is the ultimate setup for someone looking for a truly dual purpose coilover. One that is as much at home on the street as it is on the track. Stay tuned here soon as we post a full installation and comprehensive review

Prognosis Negative (Camber)

22 Mar

One of our good customers out west just forwarded me some pics of his latest setup. Steve’s been a good customer for awhile now, and this past winter, we set him up with a bunch of new stuff. First was a deal on a set of AME Circlar Spec R’s in blue (19×9.5 +15, 19×10.5 +15). Then just after the new year, we sent out a new box of goodies, including SPL Front Adjustable A Arms, Eibach Rear Camber/Toe Kit, Powergrid Front/Rear Endlinks and 15mm Project Kics Spacers. The car is lowered on Zeal Function Xs Coilovers. The Ings hoods are just dead sexy on the Z’s too.

The camber? Yeah, there’s alot. Not quite sure exactly how much just yet, since this was the trial run, but it’s a work in progress. As Steve put it “As for the camber, unfortunately, running an aggressive stance is a trial and error type of deal. This is my first attempt at it, so I had to make it fit with tires that are too wide. I’ll probably go with something like 245s or 255s in the rear next time (prob in 2 weeks when these wear out ), which will allow me to dial out some of that neg camber. As it is, I had to raise the car a full inch in the rear, and roll the s*** out of my fenders just to get the car to move!”

Stay tuned here for the final pics once everything is fully setup!

Bilstein PSS10 Coilovers for 350Z/G35

7 Dec

We just got a new shipment in, so figured I’d let everyone know

The new PSS10 is a step up from where the PSS9 left off. Adding an extra level of dampening adjustment (now 10 total clicks of adjustment front and rear), these units have monotube dampers, fully galvanized housings, and feature spring rates of 370 lbs front, and a progressive rear rate of 240-420 lbs rear.

The biggest change to the PSS10 vs the 9 is the adjustment knob – the new knob is much easier to use, with larger numbers. Since the size increased, it’s now easier to feel the adjustment clicks as well. They also added an additional level of adjustment. Total span of adjustment between full stiff and full soft is approximately 30%. These are the ideal coilover for someone who wants the ability to adjust height and dampening, but who also demands a quiet, solid, european inspired ride (firm, but well controlled, without being rigid and unforgiving).

We are pricing the new sets as an introductory special of $1595 shipped in the 48 states – we’ve got 6 kits ready to go at this price

Don’t have a 350Z?  No problem!  We have these ready to go for BMW, Porsche, and still have some PSS9 for Evo and Subaru’s at year end prices!

KW Variant III Coilover R35 GTR

25 Nov

Another new product announcement in the world of the GTR!  KW has just released their famed Variant III coilovers for the R35.  These have been long time favorites of ours, as they are one of the few coilovers that literally can go from street to track without compromising performance in either venue.  That’s a tall order for an aftermarket suspension to do. 

The Variant III feature dual height adjustment front and rear, allowing you to lower your GTR without affecting spring preload (which preserves full damper travel). In addition, you have 14 way low speed compression adjustment, as well as fully independant adjustment of rebound, allowing you to tailor these to suit and road, track, and tire combination you can think of!

These reuse existing upper mounts, allowing for a car that remains civilized on even the roughest roads, free of the noise and clunks that plague many lesser aftermarket coilovers.

We have them available for immediate shipping, contact us for best pricing!

kwv3r35gtr

COBB Tuning R35 GTR Coilover Sleeve Kit

2 Oct

Looks like those manufacturers who have purchased an R35 since their inception are looking to make their money back as soon as possible by way of getting products out to the public as soon as possible. Thats great news as its a win-win for everyone. The companies get to sell more products and those of us with our addictions get to feed the need.

I just received the product release for the COBB Tuning R35 GTR Coilover Sleeves. This retains the factory adjustable shock absorbers which helps to keep their cost down. In the R35 GTR world these are deemed “affordable.” There definitely is no ballin-on-a-budget when it comes to modifying the R35.

Click on the picture below for more details.

COBB Tuning R35 GTR Coilover Sleeve Kit

COBB Tuning R35 GTR Coilover Sleeve Kit

COBB Tuning R35 GTR Coilover Sleeve Kit – Press Release