Tag Archives: Suspension

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!

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Teutonic Thursday

2 May

Some recent spots

Nicely lowered A5

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And an ’86 911 Carrera

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2 totally different cars with different functions, but clean and classic lines.

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

New Tanabe Suspension for 2011 WRX Hatch and Sedan

10 Jul

Brand new from Tanabe are 3 new suspension goodies. Designed to keep your tires firmly planted.

First, the strut tower brace. Ties the front strut towers together for improved overall geometry and better turn in response. Plus, it looks cool, finished in the signature bright red. Priced at just $130.00

Next, the multipoint lower arm bar/underbrace. This unique 4 point underbrace ties together the suspension mounting points for the front subframe. Featuring triangulated reinforcements, making it very rigid. Again, this keeps geometry in check when going over uneven roads, particularly when turning. Immediate improvement in steering response will be felt as well. Priced at $226.00.

Lastly, the S-OC coilovers for the 2011+ WRX are here! These affordable, high quality adjustable coilovers allow you full control of rideheight. Unlike many of the el-cheapo coilovers on the market today, these are built application specific, with spring rates and helper springs designed to maximize comfort and performance. Featuring a short stroke damper, which allows maximum suspension travel even when lowered. Allows you to lower the car from -.25 inch to -2.25 inches front and back vs stock. Spring rates are 5 kg/mm front (279.98 lbs/inch) front and 4 kg/mm (223.99 lbs/inch) out back. If you want a comfortable, affordable coilover from a name you can trust, these are built for you! Priced at $1025.00 for the full set.

Contact z1sales@z1auto.com to order yours!

New Tein Suspension Components for Subaru BR-Z/Scion FR-S

2 Jun

Tein, one of Japan’s pre-emininent suspension tuners, has just released several new parts for the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S.

First up are their H-Tech and S-Tech Springs.

The H-Tech are a street friendly spring designed to be used with stock dampers. They offer a modest drop (25mm up front, 20mm out back) with a street friendly spring rate (3.0 kg/mm front, 4.6 kg/mm out back). They come with a no BS comfort, noise and sag guarantee for 1 year from date of purchase. Priced at $285/set. Preorders now being accepted.

The S-Tech offer a more aggressive drop (35mm up front, 30mm out back) and stiffer rates (3.3 kg/mm front and 5.0 kg/mm out back). Once again features Tein’s 1 year warranty against noise/comfort issues and sagging. Priced at $275/set. Preorders now being accepted

Next up are the Tein Flex Coilovers. The Flex have been a long time favorite of street enthusiasts as they combine wide height and damper adjustability, and several innovative features. Allows height adjustment of +5mm (from stock) to -55mm up front and +5mm to -45mm out back. Dampening is 16 way adjustable, and, the option EDFC can be added, allowing you to make the ride softer or stiffer from inside the car! Spring rates are a performance oriented 7 kg/mm front and rear. Priced at $1720 shipped in the 48 states. Preorders now being accepted.

Next up, are the Mono-Flex. These take the Flex design to the next level with a monotube damper design. Monotubes are better suited for harder core enthusiast driving and emphasize overall driver feel. They are also better suited for track use, as they tend to keep the oil in the shock cooler, and prevent cavitation. Spring rates are 8 kg/mm front and back. Allows for a height adjustment range from -10mm (from stock) to -55mm up front and +5mm to -45mm out back. 16 way dampening adjustment allows you to tailor performance for a wide range of road conditions. Again, these are EDFC compatible (optional), allowing you to adjustment stiffness/softness from inside the car! Preorders now being accepted for late Summer arrival. Priced at $2099 shipped in the 48 states for a limited time.

For those who intend on hard core track days, Tein also has their Racing Spec coilovers coming soon. These are a more bespoke setup, allowing the user to choose their own springs (sold separately), for a truly custom setup. Features independant compression and rebound adjustability, dual height adjustability, and remote fluid resevoirs. Scheduled arrival is late September 2012.

For those enthusiasts who want to dial up the feel of their new FR-S and BR-Z, especially those who will be using the car for auto-x, performance street driving, or track days, Tein also has a range of urethane bushings. These bushings replace the soft, factory rubber units with stiffer, more durable polyurethane versions. Urethane offers an immediate and more direct feel, is significantly more durable than rubber, but without the noises or harshness associated with full solid bushings. The bushings available now include:

FRONT LOWER CONTROL ARM REAR BUSH, REAR TOE CONTROL ARM INNER BUSH,REAR UPPER CONTROL ARM INNER BUSH, REAR TRAILING ARM FRONT BUSH, REAR LOWER CONTROL ARM INNER BUSH, REAR TRAILING ARM REAR BUSH, GEAR BOX CROSS MEMBER BUSH, STEERING RACK MOUNT BUSH, REAR SUSPENSION CROSS MEMBER BUSH. Bushing prices start at just $33.25 and go to $332.50 depending on the location. They are sold complete, ready to install.

New Tanabe Z40 Coilovers – Maximum Comfort

12 Jan

Tanabe Z40 Coilover

Tanabe has just announced their Z40 line of coilovers for select Japanese vehicles. These coilovers feature KYB 40 way adjustable dampers, dual height adjustability (preload independant of rideheight), nickle plated threads, and a host of other features. Valving is specifically set up to provide day to day ride comfort while still allowing a broad height adjustment range. Springs used are the same compound as found on several GT500 class cars (Tanabe being one of the few ISO certified firms set up to wind their own springs).

These are being offered for:

Honda CRZ, Honda Fit, Honda Insight, Infiniti G35 coupe and sedan, Infiniti M35, Lxus GS300, Lexus GS400, Lexus HS250h, Lexus IS250 (RWD), Lexus IS350, Lexus LS430, Mitsubishi Evo X, Nissan 350Z, Nissan 370Z, 2008+ Subaru STi, and the Toyota Prius. For full specs and details, contact us at z1sales@z1auto.com or click the picture above

Free Shipping on all Hotchkis for January

9 Jan

For the entire rest of the month, ALL Hotchkis springs, swaybars and Total Vehicle kits get free shipping!!! In stock or special orders both qualify. To order, give us a call at (631)863-3820

Thanks!

Get Stiff Stuff!

18 Aug

GT Spec now has a bevy of suspension braces for the 2008+ WRX/STi. Everything from lower chassis braces, to adjustable control arms, trailing arms. Everything you need to keep the tires on the ground and the car pointing forward. Contact us for full details! All can be viewed on our site: http://z1auto.com/submodel.asp?model=wrx&cat=handling

H&R Now Available

13 Aug

The H&R philosophy is simple and effective: To manufacture the best suspension products, using only the highest grade materials, and then back all of our products with unparalleled customer service. This philosophy has made H&R what it is today – the industry leader in high performance, quality suspension components. Be it on the street or on the track, H&R has become synonymous with consistent, proven suspension performance.

In the late 1970’s, Mr. H and Mr. R saw the need for improved suspension on the street. Each having years of professional and personal automotive experience, they came together with the shared belief that with improved suspension vehicles would have more control and better handling. Werner Heine and Heinz Remmen combined their years of driving experience and suspension expertise to design, manufacture, and produce high quality springs—creating a whole new look in the automotive world with a ‘correct’ vehicle stance. Their commitment to doing it right and producing a quality product allowed them to obtain TÜV certification and the European performance spring market was born. Their commitment to doing it right continues today. From the beginning, Mr. Heine and Mr. Remmen have been leaders and innovators with great influence on the aftermarket suspension industry.

Over the years, H&R has developed a diverse line of products and suspension applications for the street. H&R now produces four different spring product lines, six different coil over product lines, two different Cup Kit product lines, a sway bar program, the largest wheel spacer and adapter program in the industry, along with camber adjustment bolts, our lightweight line of I.D. Race Springs, and the ever popular Quick-Safe Wheel Bolt Stud conversions. Every suspension application is designed to be vehicle specific and all of our products are manufactured and produced to enhance handling potential, personal style, and retain vehicle ride comfort.

All H&R products are 100% made in Germany and exceed ISO quality assurance standards. H&R has an established heritage of industry respect and customer confidence due to the quality of our products, the definitive edge we give our customers’ vehicles, and the additional benefit of knowing H&R works right out of the box.

Energy Urethane Steering Rack Bushing 350Z/G35

27 May

Get rid of the slop in your steering rack with these direct replacement urethane bushings. Includes the mounting bushings and center bushing, these urethane versions will eliminate the tired, dried out factory rubber ones. The reward is much better steering feel and quicker overall response.

We’ll be doing a full install write up soon!

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

Deconstructionism

13 Jul

So Kwame got off his lazy ass today and dropped his damaged, stock subframe. A brief encounter with a guardrail in the rain left this one with a fracture. Next up, swap the new one in, complete with the Whiteline and SPL bushings, as well as convert all the remaining rear rubber bushings to the Whiteline urethane ones as well. Rome wasn’t built in a day, this car sure as hell won’t be either (in fact it’s been exactly 1468 days since the car has been driven!)….but it will be worth it when it’s all done. There won’t be another Z33 out there as well balanced as this.

Improving my Elastokinematics…

12 Jan

…I finally got the rest of my Whiteline Polyurethane Bushings in. Win! 🙂

Late nights ahead...

Eibach Pro Kit – Lancer Ralliart and Sportback

10 Jan

Eibach Prokit Lancer Ralliart/Sportback

If you’re looking to lower your Ralliart by a sensible amount, without breaking the bank, and without compromising ride quality, then look no further. Eibach’s Pro Kit lowers the car 1.2 inches front and rear. Spring rates are progressivr, at 142-262 lbs/in up front and 114-211 lbs/in out back.

Order yours by clicking here

GT Spec Rear Lower Tie Brace 370Z is Here!

18 Dec

Brand new and in stock! This rear lower tie brace for the 370Z, connects the rear lower subframe together, at the points where the rear camber arms meet the subframe. The net result of installing this is improved rear traction during corner entry and exit.

Click here to order yours! In stock and ready to go for $95 shipped!