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...
2016 ND GT, Ohlins R/T