Stewart Development shock/damper review Part II - Miata Turbo Forum - Boost cars, acquire cats.

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Old 04-02-2012, 08:30 PM   #1
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Default Stewart Development shock/damper review Part II

So, over a year and a half ago, I ordered my first set of SD dampers. They were a custom valving on Spec Miata springs (700 lbs./in. fronts and 325 lbs./in. rears) and they were awesome. So I had to do it again.

How awesome? Not only was I able to go faster on my fave mountain roads or local autocross track, but my DGF jacked my car and she claimed that it was lots fun to drive to work with and much safer.

No, I did not get divorced, nor did I loose my toy during weekends. I just shared a nice driving experience at 5.25" front pinch-weld ride height and 5.5" rears. The ride heights were dictated by a combination of DGF's DD and driveways and speed bumps and my track days, and my autocross.

Anyway, I decided to develop a better all around set-up revolving around SM ARB's, 450 lbs./in. front 7" springs and 275 lbs./in. 8"rears.

I drove down to see Bernie from SD (1600 miles R/T), and we spend a day and some discussing various things. I came back with my new re-valves! Visisting Richard Petty's Garage did not hurt a bit, lunch break.

Results: this Saturday I swapped out the coil-overs and also installed some adjustable ARB links. During the test drive, I noticed a more pronounced dive, but within my desired limits. Awesome! Very controlled pitch rate! A few few quick transitions, delivered some nice feedback. Not much different than before. A bit of delay in taking a set, which is what I asked for (to reduce understeer), and it takes a set just when expected. I run RE-11s or AD-08s so I need the dampers to give time for the tires to bite and hold. They do now. This is good stuff. The first set-up would have been perfect with r-comps but I was not running those tires.

With the prior SD dampers I would record up to 1.25 Gs peak in slaloms. I expect 1.27 or better now.

I do realize that those roundy-round racers (NASCAR types) do know their stuff. None of them run adjustable dampers, nor do F1 teams. They run dampers tuned for a specific track.

A local curve that has a posted 35 advisory can be taken at over 55 in the rain and over 70 in the dry despite a manhole cover mid-turn and some ripples in the asphalt. The f-in tires just stick!

No, I am not affiliated with SD and their dampers on my car use the FCM top-hats with GC bump-stops. I paid FCM and SD for their products and I am not sponsored by either.

This is good stuff!

PS. My DGF is bugging me to take the Miata to work again to see if she likes this. I will oblige for one day, as I have to re-adjust the ride-height and then get the car aligned and corner-weighed at 5.25" pinch weld heights with me inside.

I love Cottage Industries, and I hate them sometimes. At the end, the results sooth any pain and suffering experienced before.

Hope this helps you and hope that SD and FCM continue to support our needs.

My first set-up was actually great on the bumpy tracks in my region. They were a track set-up that traded off some autocross prowess in exchange for track excellence. However I auto-crossed more than I track day-ed!
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:41 PM   #2
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You're one of the very lucky few that got their ----.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:58 PM   #3
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I got my ---- last year, after some time, and I drove down this year to meet the man and to get them done because I had some commitments. It is easy to sit and type but not that much harder to meet the man face to face. He is young and believes in what he does. That has value to me. He over-extended himself and shot himself in the foot in the process. We all make mistakes and sometimes we **** off people in the process (parents, friends, etc.).

That being said, I thought that it would be nice to share my trek through this very difficult topic. The topic being the person behind the magic. How did he learn his trade? Who are his customers? Why is it that us, cheap, frugal, Miata owners want the best for nothing? And where do we fit in, in the business where a NASCAR customer that can outspend us by 5:1, customer that demands that SD drop everything and build a few sets for this weekend's race?

It took my shocks half a shift to complete. Can you make a business case for re-valving 4 shocks for about 100 bucks a piece if it takes half a shift to properly complete a set?

It makes me wonder what other shock builders do!

I know what Bilstein does, as little as possible. Their re-valves are not worth 65 bucks a piece. Not since their top man passed on!
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:09 PM   #4
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Easy to sit up and type? There's a 16 page thread of bs called the steward development paradox. If you haven't seen it.. check it out.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:17 PM   #5
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FFS!!

You can sit here and write what a saint he is for taking orders from the little people in his busy RACERCAR LIFESTYLE all you want. He doesn't need to advertise he does "side work" if that's all it is to him.

For the folks that remember what happened last time, our minds wont be changed. Those who don't know should search around for that thread and do some reading before you hop in line to jump on cloud 9. ---- that.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:25 PM   #6
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I did not jump on any cloud, I drove 800 miles to see and to understand what is going on. I did read all the posts, and I found the alternatives quite unpleasant. Salesmen BS'ing their way through your wallets. The only viable alternative is Penske shocks tuned to your specific needs. I did not have the budget for that. So I trecked my own path. If you have a decent alternative, I am willing to consider it. Believe me I am. I did not wish to start another bash Bernie or I survived SD thread, I wanted to share my experience. If you do not care for it, sod off.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:33 PM   #7
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PS. I think SD may be ready for Prime Time in a short while, though I do think that the clientele will not be here. CR and M dot net may get some crumbs but the hardcore NASA racers and the SM folks will reap the benefits in a few months. The NASCAR folks will continue to have their choice picks of shock builders and they have no problem spending 2-600 per shock in order to win. I have my popcorn and waiting to see how all this develops. Meanwhile I am getting ready for my Autocross season as well as Track Days with DL1 ready to record.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:11 AM   #8
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so many not cares.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
so many not cares.
I have to corner-weigh the car on the 12th and then off to the track. EMRA has an event at Lime Rock on the 14th. I may do that or an autocross. See if I can best 1.27 gs peak on RE-11s or on Advan AD 08s.

I am curious at a price point of under 1.5k who can built the best custom valved coil overs for dual duty: drive to track and do well.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:37 AM   #10
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If you can get your shocks by the race season
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:16 PM   #11
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If you can get your shocks by the race season
Read my first post. I do have them. And they are installed. This is the second set and working on a third (SD not me).
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:31 PM   #12
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i was speaking in generalities.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:45 PM   #13
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i was speaking in generalities.
Ooops!

Do you like my pictures though? What is the 2nd picture of? You Turbo guys should appreciate this one.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:46 PM   #14
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Also, speaking of love/hate of Cottage industries, I have an FCM Top Hat kit on order but no reply to e-mails or phone messages. And I can't drive to Cali though I may fly out some day. I'll bite my lip and wait.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:15 AM   #15
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I run what is basically a one person business so I have an understanding of some of the issues SD/FCM and others are probably facing. Bernie made things right by me and they are pretty darn good shocks.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:27 AM   #16
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I run what is basically a one person business so I have an understanding of some of the issues SD/FCM and others are probably facing.
You don't respond to your customers for weeks?
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:26 AM   #17
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You don't respond to your customers for weeks?
Sometimes Months!
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:39 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by triple88a View Post
You don't respond to your customers for weeks?
Sometimes it does take me a couple days to get back to someone if I forget to check my messages. Don't get me wrong, Bernie screwed some stuff up but in my case he did make things right by me. But buyer beware is always a good policy.
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:08 PM   #19
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Hope this helps you and hope that SD and FCM continue to support our needs.
No lifetime warranty no care
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:09 PM   #20
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You're one of the very lucky few that got their ----.
Here we go again.... Did you actually order any or are you "speaking" for others?
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