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Old 05-29-2020, 03:19 AM   #1
DavisBRZ
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Question Coilovers: Comfort and Performance

I bought by BRZ with lowering springs already installed by the previous owner. I like how the car looks but wouldn't mind going a bit lower. I also started to get more and more annoyed by how the car rides and was looking to upgrade to some a nice coilover system. I am still pretty new to car modifications as I have only done catback exhaust and simple exterior pieces to my car. Does any have any suggestions as to a good coilover system that has room for plenty of adjustments for good performance while maintaining a decent level of comfort while driving. I am currently looking at the BC Racing BR series but wanted to know if anyone has had experience with these or other coilover systems.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:19 AM   #2
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Car is already lowered, you want to lower even more, and want more comfort?
Lowering reduces bumpfree travel. To not hit as easy bumpstops one needs to rise springrates. That doesn't sound like receipe for compliance/comfort, even though there are better then BC's coilovers out there. By your post it sounds that even with better coilovers you plan to reduce their ability to properly work by overlowering.
Imho better just set & state your priorities right.
Lowering a lot as most important? Imho not worth buying more expensive coilovers for that, they won't be able to do much for slammed car, but still will cost a lot.
Performance/comfort main priority? Then don't mod car to limit it's abilities/make it worst (except arguable looks area) past reasonable. Better coilovers in this case may net more performance (but their impact on speed/laptimes is often overrated and nets less then improvements in several other areas), and more compliance/comfort.
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:44 AM   #3
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You can get performance and comfort from aftermarket suspension even when lowered.

My MCA street performance coilovers preformed better, and were much less crashy than my 17 PP damper spring combo, even when lowered 20mm.

OEM dampers and lowering springs is asking for trouble, it is a cheap way to "get the look" though.

My advice, research and spend some coin, finding the optimal damper/valving/spring/height setup is the most important thing if you want a real improvement in performance.

Opinions may vary
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Old 05-29-2020, 08:44 AM   #4
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86MLR: "with lowering springs already" "wouldn't mind going a bit lower". that sounds much lower then your "lowering" of 20mm.
Just yet another victim to overlowering fad, evaluating looks by gap between tire and fender arch.
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Old 05-29-2020, 09:46 AM   #5
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It is possible OP. I recommend giving Fortune Auto a call and asking them this question. Their customer service is amazing. I called them and talked spring rates for about 15 mins one day and the representative seemed just as enthusiastic as I was. Just be ready to spend money. Comfortable well built dampers aren't cheap.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:35 AM   #6
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I have the Tein Flex Z on my car and for the money, I don't think you'll find a better street coilover. They're not meant for full on track abuse but light track work (lapping days and HPDE) they are perfectly acceptable. If your car is seeing more track abuse but you still want a comfortable coilover at a reasonable price, CSG Tein Flex A is the choice, or the RCE SS1.

Obviously there are more high quality choices with a higher budget, but in the range that you're looking with BC, there are only a few options that are actually engineered properly for our specific vehicles.

The car handles well with great balance, and the ride comfort is top notch. They’re quiet like the factory suspension with no weird clunks or noises even with the pillowball mounts. Due to the higher spring rate than factory, you do feel a bit more of the dots in the road (asphalt joints, etc) but it never upsets the car or feels jarring - it’s actually nice to have that extra road feel through the steering wheel. However, over larger shocks and bumps I actually feel the Teins absorb them better than stock at 7 clicks from full stiff, while still cornering flatter. Keep in mind the OEM 2017 suspension rides pretty well as it is, leagues ahead of my girlfriend’s 2015 WRX.

For longer trips or city driving with rough roads I leave it at 7 clicks - for sporty driving, 5 clicks from full stiff is perfect.
@CSG Mike has in depth impressions on them as well, here:
https://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=81829
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:48 AM   #7
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From the research I've done on coilovers and having had experience over the past 3 years with my entry level coilovers, these are the things I've learned:

1. If you're gonna go for stiffer springs (more than 5K), you need to spend more to make sure the valving and damping is able to compensate for the increase in ride harshness. Otherwise you'll be frustrated with overly floaty and vague handling while you're searching for comfortable settings, and a brutal, spine crushing ride while searching for a more sporty setting. Spending more will allow for greater overlap between comfort and performance, as a few others chimed in.

2. Do some research on the actual construction of coilovers, i.e. mono-tube vs twin-tube. From my understanding, to have a good set of mono-tube coilovers, you need to spend a good chunk. The reason why people love Flex Z is because it's got a twin-tube construction and is affordable. IMO, don't buy entry level mono tube coils (it's what I have)

3. When you do get a set of coils, don't forget the massive impact a good alignment and TIRE PRESSURES will have on the ride and handling. Even a single psi yields a detectable difference in ride quality. What I do is set a firmness level on my coilovers and then gradually dial back tire pressure (from 35 psi) until I can reach a nice compromise.
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Old 05-29-2020, 11:09 AM   #8
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The way to get good ride quality and performance:

1. Travel
2. Quality valving
3. Reasonable spring rates

All of those are important. If you REALLY screw up 1 of them you're in trouble.

So let's start with travel. From the factory these cars have pretty decent TOTAL travel. But a lot of that is droop (extension) travel and not compression (bump) travel. You're almost on the bumpstops at rest by design. With most lowering springs, you're already compressing the bumpstops before you hit a bump. It's a serious limiting factor when it comes to both performance and comfort if you want more than a mild drop on lowering springs.

You obviously need travel to soak up bumps and for mechanical grip (harsh spikes in load from bottomed out shocks is bad). It's important for comfort and handling.

Coilovers are usually designed with a drop in mind from the start, so that's good. You sometimes get more bump travel at a lower ride height...at the expense of limited droop travel. Both are important. Unfortunately travel numbers are rarely advertised by anyone. Our RCE coilovers have about 142mm of total travel in front, about the same as same as OEM and more than most coilovers. You end up with more compression travel than stock at our recommended ride heights with a still good amount of droop.

You'll often see separate ride height and spring preload adjustability advertised. This is IMO almost always misunderstood and misused even by suspension companies. MCA in Australia is one of the few places I've seen that gets that it's more about ratio of bump to droop travel than anything else (and in practice it's usually a cost-saving measure).

Valving is also something you don't see in marketing and can be difficult to interpret anyway. Things like linear, digressive, and progressive valving are generalizations that are tossed around but there's much more to it. Digressive is usually thought of as the ticket for street and circuit driving, but there's a lot of nuance beyond that. There are plenty of crappy shocks out there with digressive pistons, or shocks with good quality components that are just valved poorly. For comfort, the enemy is mostly excessive rebound...especially with limited travel. Rebound is the force from the damper that tries to hold up the wheel after it compresses. It acts against the spring extending and has to be designed with that in mind. Lots of rebound with a softer spring can lead to packing down, which means the damper is holding the wheel up too much. The wheel doesn't extend in time for the next bump, so you have even more limited bump travel and it just gets worse.

This is by far the most complicated part. It takes some math to figure out where to start and with the way dampers function over different kinds of inputs...it can do well in certain situations and worse in others. An adjuster can help dial things in but sometimes you're limited in your range OR there is no 1 good setting (the range might be from soft and crappy to stiff and crappy, with nothing but crap in between). Shocks are complicated.

Spring rates are IMO kind of the least important of the three, but all 3 do have to work together. A really good set up can have spring rates 3 x as stiff as stock and still ride better than stock if it has good valving and travel. But they have to be dialed in. There are rules of thumb about appropriate spring rates for different applications and tire choices that are usually a good start. Stickier tires need stiffer springs is the short version. But a lot of those formulas are just that...a good start. Testing and experience will have you shifting things a little in either direction to get the most out of the car on track or to find a good compromise for different usages.

Anyway, that's just the start of things really. Happy to answer questions here or by PM or give us a call to chat. We have our own springs and coilovers, and also sell a few other brands that we have learned to like in our almost 20 years in Subaru suspension. We're also not afraid to say when another company makes a good product that we don't sell. We just like good suspension.

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Old 05-29-2020, 11:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StraightOuttaCanadaEh View Post
3. When you do get a set of coils, don't forget the massive impact a good alignment and TIRE PRESSURES will have on the ride and handling. Even a single psi yields a detectable difference in ride quality. What I do is set a firmness level on my coilovers and then gradually dial back tire pressure (from 35 psi) until I can reach a nice compromise.
This too! Alignment and set-up have a HUGE impact on handling especially, but also comfort. Lots of adjustment with coilovers means lots of potential to make things better or to screw things up. Highly recommend working with an experienced tuner that knows this platform well.

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Old 05-29-2020, 11:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Racecomp Engineering View Post
This too! Alignment and set-up have a HUGE impact on handling especially, but also comfort. Lots of adjustment with coilovers means lots of potential to make things better or to screw things up. Highly recommend working with an experienced tuner that knows this platform well.

- Andrew
Ditto. My car drove like absolute garbage right after installing my Flex Zs. Car was crabwalking everywhere... first thing I did was drive the car (carefully) to my local performance shop to get an alignment and corner balance done - any good shop that knows the platform will tailor the alignment based on your usage. It is essential.

I will never understand how or why people install suspension parts and never get an alignment at minimum. Baffles me.
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:25 PM   #11
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My guess is that many commoners miss importance of alignment is: 1) because they are cheap and want to save on everything they can (hey! but car still drives!), 2) some rely on arguable quality but nevertheless "free" bundled extra alignment in some shops when buying & mounting new tires there, 3) some handling issues caused by bad alignment pop at the limit, not apparently obvious to steady daily driving on good road (eg. such people notice only if car does not track straight or steering wheel not centered. But things like extra tire wear, nervousness of steering due toe-out, or different behaviour in right vs left turns due not even camber/toe on sides, or excessive understeer or oversteer, way less so, usually only on track .. or in winter or in wet with limited grip even at "normal speeds". Track crowd that drives on grip limit, sees impact of various alignment issues sooner)
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:03 PM   #12
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Ditto. My car drove like absolute garbage right after installing my Flex Zs. Car was crabwalking everywhere... first thing I did was drive the car (carefully) to my local performance shop to get an alignment and corner balance done - any good shop that knows the platform will tailor the alignment based on your usage. It is essential.

I will never understand how or why people install suspension parts and never get an alignment at minimum. Baffles me.
What exactly is crabwalking? Sometimes I struggle to find a word for a handling symptom so Iím curious which one that is
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:48 PM   #13
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What exactly is crabwalking? Sometimes I struggle to find a word for a handling symptom so Iím curious which one that is
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:50 PM   #14
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As in sideways movement? In what situations? During cornering?
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