canyon carver suspension setup

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canyon carver suspension setup

Postby matthew-m » Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:48 am

I have been reading about suspensions, and from what I understand everything is a compromise. Could someone comment on my most recent thoughts:

I find my 2007 PRHT MX-5 with sport package kinda' harsh for long interstate drives, and susceptible to loss of traction over bumps when aggressively driving my favorite canyon roads in Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo Counties, CA. I bought Enkei 17x8 RS+M wheels with 235/40's hoping to increase traction, but that had no affect. I currently have 215/45's on those wheels (because they weigh less). I don't plan to do autocross or track days, and I suspect my favorite roads will only get bumpier as California tries to solve it's budget issues!

I would like to make my car more comfortable on the highway, yet corner flatter and stay on my intended path, despite the bumps. Does any company sell softer springs, or progressive springs, to be used in combination with a larger sway bar? I hope to get a combined spring rate equal to the stock springs and sways, and affect the change I hope for. I assume I can use the stock Bilstein shocks to control it all. Is this possible, or recommended?

Would coilovers be better, even though I don't want to lower the car? I understand the only way to corner weight is with coilovers. Would corner weighting be beneficial in my quest for the ultimate canyon carver?

Does anyone have other ideas suited to my driving style? Thanks in advance for any advice given, Matthew M.
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Re: canyon carver suspension setup

Postby Schain » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:46 am

You're asking for a lot out of a suspension setup. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but won't all coilovers lower the car a little bit even at max height? The NC1 comes so tall from the factory that a little lowering won't hurt. You might want to look into a setup like Tein Flex Coilovers with EDFC. The EDFC stands for Electronic Dampening Force Control I believe and it has a remote that you can change the shock settings from inside the car. I don't know how easy it is but it may be possible for you to change it from stiff to soft for canyons and long trips respectively. To be honest it just sounds like you need a second commuter car for the long trips if you think it's too harsh.
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Re: canyon carver suspension setup

Postby Brian » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:35 pm

All aftermarket springs are stiffer. Some are quite mild in the increase and the amount of lowering but all are stiffer than stock (see our Progress Springs which Mazda used for the MSR handling package that now dominates stock class MX5 autocross).

The lack of grip is because the factory springs are marshmallow soft...just 110 pound front rate is much softer than Mazda used stock on all earlier generations. The result is that the MX5 wallows and squats and dives severely when driven aggressively....which means the contact patch is not flat on the ground doing it's job for you.

You can compensate somewhat with sway bars which help fix that lateral softness and help keep the contact patches flat to the ground and sways don't impact ride much at all. The sways wont' help the squat and dive....you need spring and/or shock upgrades for that part of the mix and additional lateral contact stability beyond what the sways get you.
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Re: canyon carver suspension setup

Postby matthew-m » Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:23 am

I don't want to lower the car because I've done it in the past and I am not willing to drive around dips and speed bumps anymore. I suppose a 1/2" drop would be fine.

If I just upgrade the springs (the Progress Springs I suppose) with matched shocks, could I make the car as comfortable (or more) on the highway yet correct (or reduce) the car's tendency to skip over bumps while driven aggressively?

I brought up coilovers because that is the only way to corner weight, correct? Is corner weighting not necessary for my driving style? I only want to upgrade my suspension once - if coilovers are the best way to go then I will save up and buy them.

Thanks again - Matthew.
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Re: canyon carver suspension setup

Postby Brian » Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:58 am

Street cars don't need corner weighting...dedicated race cars do.

The MSR package Progress Springs will make it feel more controlled, planted, particularly with a shock upgrade.
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Re: canyon carver suspension setup

Postby rpmchris » Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:18 pm

Quality shocks - valved correctly for the springs being used - make more difference in the ride than do the springs, lowered or not. Not sure I believed this in the past, but the last few years with several different suspension setups has made me a believer.
'06 MX-5 Sport 6-speed
Autocross junkie!
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Re: canyon carver suspension setup

Postby Evo2NC » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:06 am

Brian, how do the Progress Springs differ from the Racing Beat? The drop and weight/lb seem almost the same.
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Re: canyon carver suspension setup

Postby Brian » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:45 pm

Similar indeed...just a little difference in rates as noted in product descriptions. Both have worked well for customers....but the Progress choice has been getting the highest praise of late from customers here and elsewhere.
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Re: canyon carver suspension setup

Postby matthew-m » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:40 pm

[quote="rpmchris"]Quality shocks - valved correctly for the springs being used - make more difference in the ride than do the springs, lowered or not. Not sure I believed this in the past, but the last few years with several different suspension setups has made me a believer.[/quote]

So what shocks should I choose for the Progress Springs? I would think the Bilstein, Tokico, etc choices will be compromises. Does any one offer custom shocks valved specifically to a spring/car combination?
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Re: canyon carver suspension setup

Postby Brian » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:06 pm

I have not been impressed with Bilstein shock choices for this application (I much like their PSS10 coilover kit but that is a different matter). That really leaves KONI or TOKICO and the koni will lower the car another half inch or so....and the Tokico will give you just the lowering of the spring itself. I prefer the KONI for the autocrossers but the TOkico for everyone else...particularly with the optional rear adjustment cables.
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