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ITS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT GOING FAST!


They always say its where the rubber meets the road that counts. [sniff] My old SSR's. Kinesis pic coming soon!


My Viewpoints on Handling and Suspension
Anyone can make a fast car go fast in a straight line. But in my opinion the difference between a good car and a great car is the ability to go fast in a straight line AND go fast in a corner and stop on a dime. Making power is easy (relatively) but putting that power to the ground and in a manner that gets you round the track quickly is as much an art as it is a science. So with this in mind you can probably tell that I am not at all into the drag racing thing. My philosophy, "why go fast down the drag strip for 11 seconds when you can go fast round the race track for 30 minutes?" With all this said it appears that the more I modify my car the less street worthy it becomes BUT the quicker on the track it is. Nothing is without its tradeoffs. My car is not completely unstreetable and after each track weekend I can "detune" it for street use, which usually means changing out the brake pads, swapping wheels and tires, softening up the shocks, and folding away the harnesses among other things. So after all this its quite livable on the street. I'm happy with the compromise, and in fact it's to the point that when on the street I rarely use the radio so into driving the car I become. But enough waffling. 
MY SUSPENSION AND BRAKE MODS
Street wheels: Kinesis K58 18"x10" 50mm offset front and rear. Street Tires:Bridgestone Potenza S02A 285/30ZR18. More on how I came upon these HERE
Track wheels: Complete Custom Wheel 17"x10 1/2" front & 17"x11" rear (offset unknown). Track tiresHoosier R3S03 Road Race Tires 275/40ZR17 front and rear. More on how I came upon these HERE
Custom reconditioned OE rims 16x8 50mm offset w/7 coats of silver flake & clearcoat paint that alas no longer fit my car due to the big brakes.Toyo Proxes T1 Plus high performance tires 245/45ZR16 on the OE rims (Street use)
AP Racing/NTech Front Big Brake Kit (13" two piece rotors w/CP5200 alloy calipers) INSTALL NOTES HERE which have replaced a Mandeville front Big Brake Kit
1999 Mazda RS/RZ rear big brakes with Precision Brakes Company two piece slotted curved vane rotors.
Mazda 929 Master Cylinder
Ground Control coil over conversion with Eibach ERS springs 550lbs/in front & 400lbs/inch rear
Tripoint Modular Adjustable front sway bar (35mm tube dia.) w/adjustable hiem joint end links
David Breslau Widefoot Sway Bar Mounts
Racing Beat front sway bar brace
Prothane Urethane sway bar bushings, front and rear
Dedicated front brake ducting using NTech brake duct backing plates
Goodridge SS brakes lines (DOT approved)
ATE Super Blue DOT4 racing and Valvoline Synthetic DOT4 brake fluid
Hawk Brake Blue (9012) race compound brake pads and Performance Friction PF01 (front) PF90 (rear) race compound brake pads (Track use)
Koni Adjustable shock absorbers
M2 Competition Toe Links and Trailing Arms.
Speedbleeder valves - front, rear, and clutch slave cylinder
Polished all alloy suspension members.

So how does it handle? Quite a bit better than stock! I began with some simple mods, such as a set of PFS Comfort Sport progressive rate springs that were initially done to lower the car and improve it's looks, but I steadily progressed to the more hard-core stuff. Perhaps the biggest step for me was the 17-inch wheel and tire package. In my position this is a very large chunk of change so it was with great trepidation that I bought the setup. And how happy I was! [FAST FORWARD TO 2003] My how the times change! My once set of track wheels and tires, the SSR's have now become my street wheels. Enter the CCWs with Hoosier race tires. Now for some SERIOUS GRIP!

SOME NOTES ON THE UPGRADES I HAVE CHOSEN
Previously I had a set of 17"x9" SSR's which were a treat to look at, weighed only 16-18lbs, and were relatively inexpensive. Trouble is they could only be purchased in a maximum width of 9" and have since been discontinued. Which means if you "break" one it cannot be replaced and you are stuck with a "set" of three rims. These have been sold.
Originally I had used Yokohama A032R tires as my "street" tire compromise. I actually wanted a track tire but something I could use on the street as well. When used as a dual purpose tire they perfomed quite well. Not the best street tire (noisy) but yet grippy enough and which would outperform most every high performance "street" tire on the track. Plus the A032R's lasted much longer than most other "track" tires which equaled more $$$'s to spend on other stuff. The AO32R's aren't a very good autoX tire because they heat up too slowly but were more than adequate for my needs when I did decide to dabble in AutoX.
The Kinesis wheels were another one of my second hand used wheel finds. A beautiful set of street wheels, too heavy for the track, but shod with 285/30ZR18 tires about as much rubber as anyone could want for street use. Oh and they look stunning.
The CCWs were "stolen" at a bargain basement price (bought used) and are a well known track wheel. Light and durable. The Hoosiers need no explanation if you are into racing. Simply the stickiest DOT certified tire on the market. They don't last long though!
What happened to the PFS springs? The PFS springs are a great first step in improving handling BUT I began to notice I was running out of "spring." By this I mean with the stiffer front sway bar I was dragging the sway bar brackets on road undulations, and was noticing considerable dive under hard braking. Thus, I wanted/needed stiffer springs, the PFS springs being only "20% stiffer than stock." If I was going to get stiffer springs I might as well do the coil over conversion while I was at it so decided on the Ground Control kit. My spring choice was based on front to rear ratio of the stock springs and by the recommendations of other track compatriots running ultra stiff spring setups.
X drilled brake rotors? Well I know the theories about cracking and the like and I was actually quite happy with the stock rotors using the Hawk Brake blue pads but I got the them cheap as they were used so I slapped them on for looks and to, I guess, see how valid the theories are.
Well, the theories are true. After only three days on the track my front Xdrilled rotors cracked. Tiny microcracks emanating radially from each hole can be seen. Some only an 1/8 inch long or so, some almost 1/2" long. I'm really disappointed that it would happen so quickly. The solution: Big Brakes! See Mandeville Big Brake Kit and AP Racing Big Brake Kit. Also to address the overheating issue I installed a set of the Crooked Willow Composites carbon fiber front brake ducts that direct air straight to the eye of the front brake rotors.
After attending the MSCW spring MADS event in 2000 at VIR my *rear* drilled rotors cracked and in 2003 a set of rear slotted rotors also cracked. These cracked radially from the inner edge of the pad to rotor contact surface right to the outer edge of the rotor. Very scary.  The rear brakes have been replaced with larger more robust Mazda RS/RZ rear big brakes. We shall see how they fare on the track.
What's this Valvoline Synthetic DOT4 fluid stuff? I looked at all the comparisons of brake fluids and their wet and dry boiling points and then saw their prices...YIKES! So off to Pep Boys I went and low and behold there is the Valvoline stuff. The wet and dry boiling points are within 30 degrees of the more expensive DOT4 fluid. I was able to use this for many years before speed and expereince required more brakes and thus a fluid with a higher boiling temp. Hence my switch to ATE Super Blue fluid. I bleed my brakes before every track outing and have never experienced any brake fade or failure using either fluid.
With the installation of dedicated front brake ducting for additional cooling the CWR brake ducts were removed. As much as I loved these carbon fiber ducts and as good as they are for moderate track use they aren't quite capbable of providing enough forced cooling to the brake rotors. Details of the CWR ducts when I had them installed can be found HERE. CWR is no longer in business as far as I know and the Carbon Fiber brake ducts cannot be purchased anywhere.


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This page last updated June 10, 2006
rotorphiles have visited this page since April 17, 2001

If you would like to contact me and converse about my experiences with my 7:
please feel free to send an e-mail to crispyrx7@yahoo.com

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