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Old 10-14-2011, 11:41 AM   #1
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Default Trackday Pics Give Me Suspension Questions (no56k)

I had a great HPDE trackday at Sebring on the 3.7 mile course. The car felt balanced and relatively neutral-to-slightly-understeery at the limit in the big sweepers just as Shaikh's calculator predicted with a FRC at ~56.5%.

Then I see the pictures and OMG. My car looks nothing close to balanced in the pics. The front is showing lots more sway than I felt when driving and the rear is very squatted compared to the front in many of the pics. I must be really close to the bumpstops in the rear. And the front end points too much towards the sky sometimes. If I had grippier or wider tires I'd be on the bumpstops constantly or rubbing wheelwells badly.

Some pics:
























The low-budget setup is: NB Sport Bilsteins, NB tophats, stock NB Sport front springs (168lb), RB NA6 rear springs (106lb), cut down stock rear bumpstops, FM front sway 1" full stiff, FM rear sway 5/8" full soft, 949 front endlinks, 195/14 RS2s. I have also added about 1" extra preload to the springs by mounting the shock rod higher in the tophat using non-factory mounting hardware. ~56.5 FRC

The obvious answer is "Get stronger springs, dummy," but adjustable coilovers perches and springs aren't in the budget right now (unless someone has some cheap used stuff laying around) and they would also likely require a shock revalve ($$$), unless the springs had relatively mild rates, wouldn't they? I believe Hustler said the HD Bilsteins rode like crap with heavier springs that he tried once.

I always see the car without me in it and the rear height looks good and even with the front. Add 370lbs total of me and instructor plus a full tank of fuel and we're saggin'. Is this a big problem or just shut up and enjoy my trackday like a good noob? As a positive it looks like I have great front droop which is really good on rougher tracks like Sebring. Soft and compliant with good droop is what the baller drivers at Sebring tend to use from what they tell me.

Extra suspension parts I'm not currently using that may be employed: NB sport rear springs (130lbs) that make it ride high like a dually pickup in back, used Koni Yellow adjustables, stock rear swaybar, RB NA6 front springs (157lbs), NA8 stock front and rear springs (154lbs and 94lbs), etc.


Should I add the 130lb springs to the rear, remove FM rear sway and add stock the rear sway for ~FRC 62.5 perhaps? Somebody have some light duty springs and old adjusters that they have grown out of or something they recommend?


Comments? Wisdom? Laughter? Words of guidance fueled by experience?


Feel free to move this thread if I'm not "track enough" for this section. Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:52 PM   #2
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If you can afford to do track days, you can afford some serviceable used springs with respectable rates. Ebay and sccaforums are good sources. I totaled about $60 shipped for all 4 springs on my car, used Eibachs and QA1s. These are 2.5" springs for coilovers. I got the Koni sleeves which were somewhere between $150-200 IIRC for the set of 4.

Not sure what rates the NB Bilsteins can handle, but if you can use those Koni yellows they're good up to about 500 lb/in. I have 450/300 F/R on mine and no problems. The ride quality is not exactly plush, but not too horrible on the street. On the track you're going to need at least FM-ish spring rates (330/220 or whatever they are) to keep from wallowing around like a pig.

I ran both FM bars and it was a little oversteery so I ended up going back to a stock rear bar. Handling balance is great, just the ride quality isn't awesome on rough surfaces with the Konis. But you're going to be making sacrifices until you come up with A$T money.
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:10 PM   #3
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What he said. Most guys running track days are running 3-5 times stiffer springs than stock. Spec Miatas run 700lb fronts! Considering you were running stock springs that doesn't look so bad. Look for a deal and at least double those spring rates, more in the front. Big front bar and stock rear is pretty popular. Lose the FM rear bar.
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:17 PM   #4
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While Koni Yellow with high-rate springs are good for track/autocross they are just miserable on the street

Don't know about Bilsteins, but I would get some used shocks that are valved more appropriately.
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:23 PM   #5
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I think you are being over critical. Car looks pretty good considering the parts you have. Of coarse I am not one to critique considering my track experience.

The question I would ask myself is what would get you through the learning curve of track driving faster without developing bad habits. What do the instructors have to say about that?
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Old 10-14-2011, 02:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
I had a great HPDE trackday at Sebring on the 3.7 mile course. The car felt balanced and relatively neutral-to-slightly-understeery at the limit in the big sweepers just as Shaikh's calculator predicted with a FRC at ~56.5%.

...Then I see the pictures and OMG.

...The obvious answer is "Get stronger springs, dummy,

...Is this a big problem or just shut up and enjoy my trackday like a good noob?

...Comments? Wisdom? Laughter? Words of guidance fueled by experience?

Sounds like the car is a daily driver that might spend a couple of hours on track a few times a year, so that's how I'd treat it.

Set it up to how you like it on the street and track it that way.

None of the pictures or things you mentioned are problems. Stock-like springs and shocks are perfectly fine, they just let the car roll more than stiffer setups would allow, but roll isn't necessarily a bad thing. What you experienced is pretty much what you should expect on a mostly-stock Miata. As a new track driver, you should be focused on having fun, driving the car, learning the line, and playing well with others. As long as the car is in good mechanical condition and the suspension is reasonably set up, you are good to go.

Spend your cash on seat-time until you are faster than the car.
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Old 10-14-2011, 02:56 PM   #7
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Oh you're being a worry wart, Steve. Sure you're sagging like a cholo but if it felt good to you and you had a good time on your budget setup don't sweat it. How's your ride height loaded on loaded front to back? Do you have anything close the ideal ~6mm of rake?
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFW View Post
If you can afford to do track days, you can afford some serviceable used springs with respectable rates. Ebay and sccaforums are good sources. I totaled about $60 shipped for all 4 springs on my car, used Eibachs and QA1s. These are 2.5" springs for coilovers. I got the Koni sleeves which were somewhere between $150-200 IIRC for the set of 4.
Yeah, I know it takes pay to play. I really can't afford to go to the track right now but also haven't been able to afford it for several years and am tired of not affording it. I told myself I was going to stop denying my wants and do it for me because (Stewart Smalley says) I'm worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFW View Post
Not sure what rates the NB Bilsteins can handle, but if you can use those Koni yellows they're good up to about 500 lb/in. I have 450/300 F/R on mine and no problems. The ride quality is not exactly plush, but not too horrible on the street. On the track you're going to need at least FM-ish spring rates (330/220 or whatever they are) to keep from wallowing around like a pig.
I may have to try the Konis out. I'm worried about putting too light a spring on there for them and having them jack down over bumps. Also no coilovers yet so I can't even test them out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFW View Post
the ride quality isn't awesome on rough surfaces with the Konis. But you're going to be making sacrifices until you come up with A$T money.
I keep thinking about these sacrifices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soviet View Post
While Koni Yellow with high-rate springs are good for track/autocross they are just miserable on the street
So I have heard. That is part of what concerns me.

I'd love to pick out some awesome spring and coilover combo and have Shaikh rebuild my Bilsteins to match but $$$.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildo View Post
Sounds like the car is a daily driver that might spend a couple of hours on track a few times a year, so that's how I'd treat it.

Set it up to how you like it on the street and track it that way.
Well, it isn't a daily driver but it's a weekend driver. But I get your point. Unless I'm going full race compromises lay everywhere in between. Maybe my real questions are "Do I have a problem?" and "What's the cheap road from here to make incremental progress?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildo View Post
None of the pictures or things you mentioned are problems. Stock-like springs and shocks are perfectly fine, they just let the car roll more than stiffer setups would allow, but roll isn't necessarily a bad thing. What you experienced is pretty much what you should expect on a mostly-stock Miata.
And that is the answer to the question, "Do I have a problem?" You are saying mostly no. And I agree it felt pretty good. Was it fast? Doubtful. But I was out there and I got my jollies all over 17 different turns so mission accomplished. I guess I want to set it up better and make improvements to go faster but on the cheap. I have some 15x7s that need some sticky 205/50/15s on them but looking at the pics that will never happen with these springs. I would be chewing them up all over the fenderwells. Stickier tires would make the forces greater and everything would be compounded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildo View Post
As a new track driver, you should be focused on having fun, driving the car, learning the line, and playing well with others. As long as the car is in good mechanical condition and the suspension is reasonably set up, you are good to go.

Spend your cash on seat-time until you are faster than the car.
I like this advice. It makes sense to me in many ways.

I was told by a few friends that I needed to hurry up and get the turbo on there now and I said "hell no!" Going faster would only complicate things and make me outdrive my tires, suspension, and brakes. Dangerous stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rccote View Post
Oh you're being a worry wart, Steve.
Like I've never heard that before, lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rccote View Post
Sure you're sagging like a cholo but if it felt good to you and you had a good time on your budget setup don't sweat it. How's your ride height loaded on loaded front to back? Do you have anything close the ideal ~6mm of rake?
Measure it for me? You can probably look at my car and determine how much precision went into its setup. I guess I should just chill and tinker with it a bit. Maybe I'll stumble up on a deal or two also.

On a different note, my SA2010 full face helmet that had been backordered for 5 weeks showed up last night, woohoo!
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:36 PM   #9
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Curious what you were expecting with stock springs.

Edit: For reference, I've been daily driving (not weekend driving) SM-valved Bilsteins with 550/325lb springs. It isn't buttery soft, but it is far from the end of the world. I think anything softer than those would be even comfier.
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Curious what you were expecting with stock springs.
Touche'
Why awesomeness, of course! It is a Miata after all. I guess I'm surprised at how much flatter it felt than it looks now seeing the pics. I'll take that as an indication of disparity between my perception and my reality. This phenomenon repeats itself in other aspects of my life as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stinkycheezmonky View Post
Edit: For reference, I've been daily driving (not weekend driving) SM-valved Bilsteins with 550/325lb springs. It isn't buttery soft, but it is far from the end of the world. I think anything softer than those would be even comfier.
As it makes the inevitable spiral down to mostly track car lack of money becomes a greater hindrance to me than worry about comfort.
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:34 PM   #11
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As it makes the inevitable spiral down to mostly track car lack of money becomes a greater hindrance to me than worry about comfort.
Feel you there. Why I'm "daily driving" instead of "rolling bitches at VIR" currently
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I guess I'm surprised at how much flatter it felt than it looks now seeing the pics. I'll take that as an indication of disparity between my perception and my reality
Just think how much more potential there is in that little car, and I know you will eventually reach futher into that potential. In due time.
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:38 PM   #13
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I've said it many times before, but my 700/400 spring rates on ASTs are more comfortable than my daily on stock springs. If I had one car to track and daily, I might consider 500/300 spring rates, but I'd most likely go with 700/400 for a daily driven vehicle. Its firm and the only time I feel discomfort in the track car is on rhythmic bumps. Driving down the highway is smoother and speedbumps are sucked-up much easier than on the stock springs.

XIDAs are the way to go even more so for a daily driver, its the best of both worlds.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:25 PM   #14
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Send your **** to the weekend racer he'll take care of ya.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:34 PM   #15
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you think thats bad?

agx, ebay coilovers, stock sways. circa 2007



also, those pics don't change the fact that the car felt balanced. usually refers to the difference between frt. and rear end traction. the right balance of which makes the car easier to control and inspires confidence.
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:02 AM   #16
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sorry Steve, I had trouble reading your post with that avatar of yours.... good lord.

In my NA, I bought it with RB springs and Koni yellows, and the car had some serious roll, felt like crap. Just changing to the FM springs only and adding the FM bumpstops, it feels like a completely different car. I'm on a budget as well and didnt feel like dropping a lot on some coilovers, but I love my Koni/FM springs setup. Stock swaybar btw... i might add a larger front bar sometime soon.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:46 AM   #17
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you think thats bad?

agx, ebay coilovers, stock sways. circa 2007



also, those pics don't change the fact that the car felt balanced. usually refers to the difference between frt. and rear end traction. the right balance of which makes the car easier to control and inspires confidence.
Wow. Yours looks like it is experiencing much more travel in the front than mine but a little less in the back. I guess you didn't have an instructor helping to weigh down the rear. You were probably running stickier tires than my RS2s so you were pushing it harder. What were the spring rates on the car in the picture?
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:49 AM   #18
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In my NA, I bought it with RB springs and Koni yellows, and the car had some serious roll, felt like crap. Just changing to the FM springs only and adding the FM bumpstops, it feels like a completely different car. I'm on a budget as well and didnt feel like dropping a lot on some coilovers, but I love my Koni/FM springs setup. Stock swaybar btw... i might add a larger front bar sometime soon.
The FM swaybar made a huge difference for me. Now I just need stronger springs and the shocks to help control it. I may be trying the Konis out here soon. I hope they aren't blown or anything. I may have to revalve my Bilsteins one day if they are.
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Old 10-15-2011, 12:12 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
The FM swaybar made a huge difference for me. Now I just need stronger springs and the shocks to help control it. I may be trying the Konis out here soon. I hope they aren't blown or anything. I may have to revalve my Bilsteins one day if they are.
If you're going for the Konis I would highly suggest the Ground Control kit since it's only $400 and you can choose whatever spring rates you want. I'm currently running 550/350 and it's perfect for daily + tracking. Very comfortable and not harsh. It is 'firm', don't get me wrong but it's nothing to complain about.

Like hustler said, you can run higher spring rates are shocks of better quality and it will be as comfy if not more comfy than stock suspension. I understand your budget concerns though but this may be something to look forward to later down the road. I'm running Moton Club Sports on my S2000 with 850/700 spring rates and it's great for daily driving aside from the rhythmic swells on the highway like hustler mentioned.
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:51 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by miata2fast View Post
I think you are being over critical. Car looks pretty good considering the parts you have. Of coarse I am not one to critique considering my track experience.

The question I would ask myself is what would get you through the learning curve of track driving faster without developing bad habits. What do the instructors have to say about that?


If have to agree. It's not what the car looks like but what it feels like on the track. I'm running 700/450 springs and I still get some roll. But the car feels perfect so I don't worry.
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