Street Ride Quality of the Ohlins vs Stock GT - Thoughts?

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Street Ride Quality of the Ohlins vs Stock GT - Thoughts?

Postby ChristopherT782 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:04 am

Hi everyone!

First time poster and rather new Miata enthusiast! Came from the Corvette World and loving the everyday sportiest of driving the Miata. I live in the Sierra Nevada Hills and enjoy driving her every day! I have been to Thunderhill up here in NorCal six times already this year with another track day next Saturday! Yippee!

Anyways, I bought the Ohlins for my ND GT back in May after going to an AutoCross where the body roll exhibited itself much more than at Thunderhill. After some research, including reading everything on this site, I purchased the Ohlins R/T with hopes of solving the body roll issue at the track but still be able to enjoy the smooth ride the GT offers.

In the past few months, the Ohlins has proven themselves at the track with improved lap times hovering around 2:18 on the east Thunderhill track with the stock tires. Track performance has been fantastic, but I am finding off-track ride to be rough and on the verge of being unacceptable. This runs contrary to discussions on this site, so I wanted to post my specifics to learn more about what may be going on with my car and setup...

1. PURCHASE - Unfortunately, i did not buy from Goodwin, my purchase was through MiataSpeed in the Bay Area. I followed their recommendations and installed 8/4 springs which are stiffer than the 7/4 Goodwin recommends for street cars.

2. INSTALL - I did it myself and frankly was disappointed with the instructions that came with the Shocks. Through multiple texts and such, i believe i installed them correctly, but a "professional" has not looked at my install, although I did have an alignment after install. All seems to work though, the super stiff setting, gives a rough ride and the soft setting is softer, but just not as soft as I would like. There seems to be a consensus that the ride quality of the Ohlins set to comfort is comparable to the stock GT, but I am not finding this to be the case by a LONG shot. I tend to feel most imperfections in the road and get a real jolt quite often on the freeway. Perhaps I installed them wrong or have them set incorrectly? One thing, that was not in the instructions was how to turn the inner allen head screw before installation. I was told to be sure to loosen it so that the adjuster knob would engage the inner allen head screw. This made sense, but I suspect that if I did this incorrectly, then the adjuster may not be engaging the inner allen head and thus I am not be adjusting the damping correctly. Is this a possibility? Does anyone have recommendations of appropriate actions I should take to confirm that they are installed and set properly?

3. NEXT STEPS - If the shocks are installed and adjusted properly and they are still too stiff, then it seems the main culprit would be the springs. Yes, I have a slightly stiffer springs up front than Goodwin recommends for a street car, but will this relatively small change make enough of a difference? I have read that the main spring for comfort is the rear and those are the same as Goodwin recommends. Do people really find that the Ohlin's comfort setting offers a ride similar in quality to a stock GT? Seems a long shot since there is no getting around the fact that they are MUCH stiffer than the stock springs.... Perhaps my expectations are too high for adjustable performance coil-overs?

Anyways, whatever experience/input anyone has would be appreciated. Perhaps there is another approach to stiffening the body roll through sway bars instead would be a better fit for me? Maybe progressive springs? All options are on the table...

FYI, I do not commute in the car but drive it everyday. We do tow the Miata behind our motorhome to some beautiful places and enjoy having a top down, spirited driver's car. Last week we were in Rocky Mountain National Park, driving through downtown Denver and next week i am going to be at Thunderhill. I was hoping that the adjustability of these shocks would accommodate both these hugely different driving experiences. This is why i paid the premium price for these shocks over other adjustable coil-overs priced at almost half of these babies...

Chris
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2016 ND GT, Ohlins R/T
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Re: Street Ride Quality of the Ohlins vs Stock GT - Thoughts

Postby Brian » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:06 am

Hi Chris

Spherical bearing top mounts?

Brian
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Re: Street Ride Quality of the Ohlins vs Stock GT - Thoughts

Postby ChristopherT782 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:45 am

Thanks Brian. No, reused stock top hats.
-------------------
2016 ND GT, Ohlins R/T
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Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:22 am

Re: Street Ride Quality of the Ohlins vs Stock GT - Thoughts

Postby Brian » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:05 am

Okay. The difference between 8k and 7k front is, as you note, not so big that it will make or break the ride quality because indeed we are essentially sitting on the rear 4k spring that is just about 1 foot behind our backs. Nonetheless, 7k or 6k front would certainly help.

Tire pressures? Stock wheels and tires? Try dropping tire pressure to about 27psi.

When folks say the ride is same as stock GT, what I think they mean is that ride is comparable....yet different. My experience is that the ride is more firm over the minor surface chatter and yet better over the bigger indulations that would make the stock suspension slam into the bumpstops. If you have added sways...you might want to go back to stock sways.

Adjusted final height makes a big difference. If you lowered 2 inches or more...perhaps go back up about half an inch in height. Can the install be done wrong and impact ride? Yes, you have so much adjustment that it is possible to put the travel where it is not helping you. See our discussion in our Ohlins install thread here for pics and detailed discussion and check that against your install.
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Re: Street Ride Quality of the Ohlins vs Stock GT - Thoughts

Postby ChristopherT782 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:13 am

Hey guys. It seems to me that what we need here is an objective way to measure the comfort rating of the various suspension options. So i do not break any rules here on the forum, I am going to be rather vague here - I want to propose the "jiggle" test which refers to women that do not wear a bra that ride in our cars. (And maybe some of us men haha.) Anyways, in my F150, Fusion and other cars, it never gets mentioned and even the stock GT was never a concern, but it was noticed a lot during our trip to Denver. Denver does not have the best roads, but it still gets noticed on our CA roads and highways, but less so. Perhaps it is unreasonable to expect adjustable coil-overs to have the range in adjustability to pass the jiggle test?
-------------------
2016 ND GT, Ohlins R/T
ChristopherT782
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:22 am

Re: Street Ride Quality of the Ohlins vs Stock GT - Thoughts

Postby ChristopherT782 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:30 am

Brian wrote:Okay. The difference between 8k and 7k front is, as you note, not so big that it will make or break the ride quality because indeed we are essentially sitting on the rear 4k spring that is just about 1 foot behind our backs. Nonetheless, 7k or 6k front would certainly help.

Tire pressures? Stock wheels and tires? Try dropping tire pressure to about 27psi.

When folks say the ride is same as stock GT, what I think they mean is that ride is comparable....yet different. My experience is that the ride is more firm over the minor surface chatter and yet better over the bigger indulations that would make the stock suspension slam into the bumpstops. If you have added sways...you might want to go back to stock sways.

Adjusted final height makes a big difference. If you lowered 2 inches or more...perhaps go back up about half an inch in height. Can the install be done wrong and impact ride? Yes, you have so much adjustment that it is possible to put the travel where it is not helping you. See our discussion in our Ohlins install thread here for pics and detailed discussion and check that against your install.


Thanks Brian. Tire Pressure is up there as i tend to leave it high for track days, so will reduce and see if that helps. Stock tires and wheels. Stock sway bars. Car lowered only about 3/4" from stock. I will check out the install thread... I found one that is called "NC Coilover Install....OHLINS, JIC, etc..." is that the one; is there an ND specific thread?

BTW, clockwise turn of the Ohlins Adjusters makes for more dampening (race), and counter clockwise for less (Comfort). I have mine set at 25 clicks per the manual, but perhaps just unwinding them all the way is a better comfort setting?
-------------------
2016 ND GT, Ohlins R/T
ChristopherT782
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:22 am

Re: Street Ride Quality of the Ohlins vs Stock GT - Thoughts

Postby Brian » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:50 pm

If you are 25 clicks from stiff that's about as soft as they get. Indeed if you have tires at high pressures for track day no reason to run high for street duty...always must check for track days anyway right? So, what pressure are you running in the tires? IF 32 and more, that's much of your issue...try 27 for a week and see what you think

Yes, you found the correct thread, but at just .75 inch under stock height it would be hard to have lost the zone of travel.
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