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Help! What suspension modifications should I do?


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This is one of the most commonly asked questions asked here and it is also a tough one to answer, due largely to the varied usage of our cars. From the factory the only adjustable alignment angle available is the front toe. One of the main features of a high performance suspension is the ability to adjust the suspension angles, so as the stages progress the adjustablity increases.

 

IF YOU INTEND TO RACE YOUR CAR, GET THE APPROPRIATE RULEBOOK BEFORE YOU START ANY MODIFICATIONS TO MAKE SURE YOU REMAIN LEGAL!!!

 

REFURBISHING A STOCK Z CAR

 

If the car is a street driver and the intent is to have a cushy ride, it may be that a simple refurbish of the stock suspension is all that is necessary. A typical rebuild of the stock suspension will include:

1. New outer tie rod ends

2. New ball joints

3. New rubber bushings and steering coupler

4. Repack/retighten front wheel bearings

5. Replace rear wheel bearings if needed

6. New shocks (KYB GR2, Monroe, etc)

7. New springs OEM replacements and slightly stiffer Euro springs are available from http://www.courtesynissan.com

 

These few things will restore the ride to close to factory stock.

 

MODIFYING A Z CAR FOR BETTER HANDLING

 

If the goal is to stiffen up the car for better handling, then a lot more can be done. I'm going to attempt to show "Stages" of modifications. These are loose guidelines and parts can be mixed and matched, but these are what I feel are typical mods on the Z's that I've come in contact with over the years.

 

STAGE 1 replaces all old parts with stiffer components. This will give you a firmer sporty ride.

1. New outer tie rod ends

2. New ball joints

3. Polyurethane bushings

4. Repack/tighten front wheel bearings

5. Replace rear wheel bearings if needed

6. Aftermarket front and rear swaybars

7. Lowering springs (Eibach, Suspension Techniques, Tokico, MSA, AZC)

8. Aftermarket shocks (Tokico HP, Tokico Illumina, Koni Red)

9. Bumpsteer spacers

 

STAGE 2 is similar to Stage 1 but starts to allow adjustment of alignment angles.

1. New outer tie rod ends

2. New ball joints

3. Polyurethane bushings and Gmachine control arm bushings and TC rod kit (these allow camber adjustment front and rear and also toe adjustment in rear)

4. Repack/tighten front wheel bearings

5. Replace rear wheel bearings if needed

6. Aftermarket front and rear swaybars

7. Lowering springs (Eibach, Suspension Techniques, Tokico, MSA, AZC)

8. Aftermarket shocks (Tokico HP, Tokico Illumina, Koni Red)

9. Bumpsteer spacers

 

STAGE 3 takes adjustability a step further.

1. New outer tie rod ends

2. New ball joints

3. Polyurethane bushings and Gmachine control arm bushings and TC rod kit (these allow camber adjustment front and rear and also toe adjustment in rear)

4. Repack/tighten front wheel bearings

5. Replace rear wheel bearings if needed

6. Aftermarket front and rear swaybars

7. Coilover spring conversion to 2.5" springs. Street springs generally under ~250 in/lbs.

8. Aftermarket shocks (Tokico HP, Tokico Illumina, Koni Red)

9. Bumpsteer spacers

10. Biscuit style bolt in camber/caster plates (EMI, DP racing)

11. Strut tower bars front and back, preferrably triangulated to the firewall in front

 

STAGE 4

1. New outer tie rod ends

2. New ball joints

3. Adjustable control arms (Modern Motorsports, AZC, Z Select)

4. Repack/tighten front wheel bearings

5. Replace rear wheel bearings if needed

6. Aftermarket front and rear swaybars

7. Coilover spring conversion to 2.5" springs. Street springs generally under ~250 in/lbs.

8. Aftermarket shocks (Tokico HP, Tokico Illumina, Koni Red), might be thinking about sectioning strut housings and getting appropriate shorter shocks to fit at this stage

9. Bumpsteer spacers

10. Biscuit style bolt in camber/caster plates (EMI, DP racing)

11. Adjustable TC rods (TTT, AZC, Z Select)

12. Strut tower bars front and back, preferrably triangulated to the firewall in front

13. Roll bar

 

STAGE 5 - at this point you're pretty much race only

1. New outer tie rod ends

2. New ball joints

3. Adjustable control arms (Modern Motorsports, AZC, Z Select)

4. Repack/tighten front wheel bearings

5. Replace rear wheel bearings if needed

6. Aftermarket front and rear swaybars

7. Coilover spring conversion to 2.5" springs. Springs generally over ~250 in/lbs.

8. Aftermarket shocks in sectioned strut housings(Koni 8610-1437RACE single adjustable, Koni 8611-1259 double adjustable, Ground Control Advance Design, Bilstein Sport VW non adjustable P30-0032)

9. Bumpsteer spacers

10. Cut to fit camber plates (DP racing, Carrera, Ground Control, AZC, TTT)

11. Adjustable TC rods (TTT, AZC, Z Select)

12. Strut tower bars front and back, preferrably triangulated to the firewall in front

13. Roll cage with tie ins to front strut towers

 

Above and beyond Stage 5 you get into modifying the chassis itself to allow for modification of the suspension pickup points. There are also people who have adapted suspensions from entirely different cars into the Z chassis. We've had members install 240SX IRS, Corvette C4 rear suspensions. Also for drag racing there have been quite a few "backhalves" where the entire rear section of the frame is cut off and a new frame built in the rear to allow installation of a solid rear end. Popular choices seem to be Ford 8.8 and 9 inch and Chevy 12 bolt rears.

 

Front suspension swaps aren't as popular as of yet, but many GT2 Z racers have fabricated their own SLA (short and long arm) front suspensions.

 

Modifying your suspension is potentially dangerous and you do so at your own risk.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Jon. One thing I did not see mention of was quick steering knuckles. I have those installed with lowered springs. I think they are adding to my bump steer problem. I do not have any strut bump steer spacers installed. I am thinking I will go back to the stock knuckles and bump steer might be better. What do you think?

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  • 4 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
STAGE 5 - at this point you're pretty much race only

1. New outer tie rod ends

2. New ball joints

3. Adjustable control arms (Modern Motorsports, AZC, Z Select)

4. Repack/tighten front wheel bearings

5. Replace rear wheel bearings if needed

6. Aftermarket front and rear swaybars

7. Coilover spring conversion to 2.5" springs. Springs generally over ~250 in/lbs.

8. Aftermarket shocks in sectioned strut housings(Koni 8610-1437RACE single adjustable, Koni 8611-1259 double adjustable, Ground Control Advance Design, Bilstein Sport VW non adjustable P30-0032)

9. Bumpsteer spacers

10. Cut to fit camber plates (DP racing, Carrera, Ground Control, AZC, TTT)

11. Adjustable TC rods (TTT, AZC, Z Select)

12. Strut tower bars front and back, preferrably triangulated to the firewall in front

13. Roll cage with tie ins to front strut towers

 

 

 

John are the front struts you mentinoned above actually shorter then the stock front strut length? I need a strut that is about 3 inches shorter then what the stock fronts are.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well i finally got my vw struts. the body is 12.5 inches long and the strut total length is 19 inches or so.. This is perfect and will lower the car ALOT and gain some suspension travel.

 

They are larger in diameter then the konis i had which means they dont slip up into the the strut tube nut like the konis did. Is this bad? do i need to get a different upper strut gland nut? if so anyone have a part number or ideas?

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OBTW here are the struts I got fro my MOCC up. They were Cofap OEM Scirocco strut insert

Part number 30017

Fully extended 20 inches

Body length 12.5

 

The konis that I had installed were 21.5 fully extended and the body was 15 inches.

 

If I figured it right I will be able to section the struts 2.5 inches and this will put me right where I want to be as far as ride height

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  • 11 months later...
Guest d260z-turbo

well i really like to be at stage 4 or stage 5 no more no less that is it for now. so i just like to get a really good coil over set up for it

so can you guys let me know what a good coil over set up that i can go with

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well i really like to be at stage 4 or stage 5 no more no less that is it for now. so i just like to get a really good coil over set up for it

so can you guys let me know what a good coil over set up that i can go with

 

Ummm? dude? i read in another thread you posted in that your datsun is RB'ed with awd.Now i cant help but wonder how you accomplished this and still have an s30 based suspension to work with for upgrading.Do you have any pics of this alleged setup?

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