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Yet another S-Tune suspension install and review...

Old 07-03-2003, 07:43 AM
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droideka
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Thumbs up Yet another S-Tune suspension install and review...

After months of waiting and being lied to by my original vendor, I was finally able to score a set from the fine folks at Gruppe-S. Once I gave up on my original order, I decided to take the NISMO sway bars that Mike had in stock before the suspension came in. I installed the sways in preparation for an upcoming HPDE as i wanted to try and eliminate the horrific plow the car suffered at my first event back in April. This will be a bit of a twisted plot in explaining all components, so bear with me.

NISMO sways, RAYS Track wheels, S-03s
Installed the sways and ran my Track wheels with fairly worn front S-03s. I had to replace the rear tires last-minute because of a puncture. The sways IMO are a MUST HAVE upgrade for anyone looking to drastically reduce the plow found with the stock suspension. No matter the brand, NISMO, Cusco, 350ZEVO, you will find a MUCH MORE responsive car with this simple upgrade. Once the sways were on, I found the Z transformed with a decidely "slot-car" like handling. There's virtually no delay in the car setting itself up to make a fast lane change around moving chicanes (SUVs). On the track, the understeer was basically non-existent. Any plow experienced now was driver induced by turning in too soon. The first time out in April I ran on stock suspension with my stock 18s. I plowed so much that weekend that I wore the outside edges of the front tires almost completely off, so much so that those tires will now not stand straight up on the contact patch and will instead fall over on their sides. With the new sways, I was able to keep the wear on the fronts to a minimum, even though I was running average laps speeds 10-15 MPH faster than in April.

Full NISMO Suspension w/sways, Stock 18s, WORN OUT S-03s
One week after the HPDE, I had my suspension installed. I'm running on the stock 18s so I can save my new rear tires on the Track wheels until I replace the fronts. First things first. IMO, the "bounce" has been eliminated. I was an early objector to the bounce in the stock suspension and described is as an "echo" bounce that continued after the intial impact for a couple of seconds. It is my belief this has been cured simply by reversing the spring types in the NISMO suspension. The stock springs are progressive fronts and linear rears. The new NISMO springs are now linear fronts and progressive rears. I think that having the linear spring in front now in which the spring rate never varies changes EVERYTHING in the way the car reacts to various impacts in the road surface. As mentioned by others before, turn-in and steering response is greatly increased with the full suspension, even on the shitty tires I'm running. I honestly don't think I'll feel the full potentional of the car until there's new rubber at all four corners.

I have a nice stretch of road in which I compared the three stages of build-up. It's a long, clear S-turn with a sharp, high-speed, right-hand sweeper at the end. There are no outlets on this road so I can go full-bore without worrying about any cars pulling out from a side street. With stock suspension, 80 MPH through the sweeper was about as comfortable as I felt, as well as the point I'd really start to plow. With only the sways installed, I easily hit 90 MPH and still felt very stable. With the full suspension and shitty tires, mind you, I hit 95 MPH this morning before letting off. With new rubber I feel that 100 MPH is easily attainable. Not that I have to try, but at least I know it's a goal that could be met. With the full suspension, you have to re-train your instinct for steering input. SMOOOOOTH is the word. No longer are you wrestling with the wheel to make minute corrections mid-corner.

Any questions?
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Old 07-03-2003, 11:52 AM
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J Ritt
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Thanks Droid,
I got mine the other week from the fine folks at Gruppe-S as well. Once I saw the US pricing, I said F that! I lucked out, and got a set from the same shipment that yours were on I believe.

Anyway, I'm running the S tune spring/shock combo with the 350Evo bars. The car is soooo much better than it was stock. Per BJ's recommendation, I have my front sway set to full stiff, and the rear set on medium stiff. So far, I've only run this setup on my street wheels/tires, which are 245/40 and 275/40 Kumho Ecsta MX's. This is how the car should have felt from the get go...I can't explain how much happier I am driving the thing. Any sharp turn, and you can just feel the back of the car following the front right around. As Raceboy had mentioned a bunch of times, you can get on the power much earlier in a turn.
I'm not going to go into too many details at this point on the drive. I'll just say that your assessment of the bounce, etc. seems logical, and I agree. I wasn't one of the people in the 'bounce camp' to begin with...I found the stock setup acceptable for a sports car. However, once it's gone, you realize the bounce was there! The S Tune is much better at quelling those small movements.
I'll be autoXing next weekend most likely, and I'm runng Pocono South on the 18th. I'll be able to give good impressions of the ride after I can get some more time on the edge of adhesion. Putting around town can only tell you so much, but I can feel the change in the car tremendously, even at moderate speeds. I can't wait to turn it up a notch or ten.
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Old 07-03-2003, 01:34 PM
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Great review! How has the comfort level changed in daily driving?
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Old 07-03-2003, 01:48 PM
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Thanks for the excellent review.

Makes me want to toss out the RE040s for S-03s and get the sways right away.
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Old 07-03-2003, 01:59 PM
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Brad,

Excellent report! I'm convinced. Interesting about the spring types. Glad you mentioned the bounce. Now to save some money!!!!! I think with the full S-Tune kit w/sways, NISMO exhaust and shifter my Track will be complete.
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Old 07-03-2003, 08:21 PM
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EnthuZ
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GREAT REVIEW!

I'm doing basically what you've done.....

If my math is close(and I repeat, my math is rough), you're 10 to 15 mph improvement would be great......BUT I seriously doubt a 5 second per lap improvement with the Nismo springs & shocks. If true, I'm sold! Sh*t, I don't think R compound tires would give that much improvement!

If I remember, YOUR track is close to 2 miles or less......

BTW....what do you think of the StopTech's/Panther's?
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Old 07-04-2003, 05:45 AM
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Who was your original vendor, so we know not to use them?
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Old 07-04-2003, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: Yet another S-Tune suspension install and review...

Originally posted by droideka
The stock springs are progressive fronts and linear rears. The new NISMO springs are now linear fronts and progressive rears. I think that having the linear spring in front now in which the spring rate never varies changes EVERYTHING in the way the car reacts to various impacts in the road surface.
Any questions?
I think your've got linear and progressive backwards. The stock springs are very much linear front and rear. The NISMO springs are progressive, just like Eibach springs. I'll take what your trying to say to mean that the NISMO rears are linear.

As you can see in this picture of a (red)G35 spring and strut assembly and (black) 350Z spring and strut assembly, both car's use linear front springs


And here's a shot of a G35 rear spring on the left and a 350Z rear spring on the right, also plainly linear.



BTW, I applude your description of the "bounce" haven't seen anyone else get that right.

Last edited by Gsedan35; 07-04-2003 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 07-04-2003, 09:03 AM
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GaryM05
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Thanks for the great multi-stage review of the S-tune setup, Droideka.

I have a question about the handling. With the stock setup, it took quite a bit of effort to get the rear to step out, but once it did, it was pretty easy to bring it back inline. What are your thoughts on the ease of inducing oversteer, feeling it coming on, and then correcting it with the S-tune setup? Is it still easy to feel exactly what the car is doing under all throttle/cornering conditions? Thanks!

Gary
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Old 07-04-2003, 10:29 AM
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Buub
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So how hard is it to install a new set of sway bars yourself? Is it something your average amateur mechanic can do himself on a weekend day, or better left to a qualified shop?
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Old 07-04-2003, 10:32 AM
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If you can change your oil, you can install a sway bar. Quite easy if you are the slightest bit of mechanical knowledge. Besides installing modifications yourself brings a much better joy than shelling out 75 bucks to some guy to do it on their schedule.
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Old 07-04-2003, 11:36 PM
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fairladyZ in Japan
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droid...

Congratulations and FINALLY ! It seems that you have waited for this mod as long as I waited for my Z.

Your impressions are the same as mine regarding the S-tune -- when I posted after getting my install last April.

Also, as I just posted on the exterior/interior forum ... another quantum jump in driving handling/pleasure.... is to get rid of the stock "soft seat" bounce by installing a different seat. The Recaro install is ranked up there with the S-tune, IMO.

Enjoy !!

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Old 07-05-2003, 11:03 AM
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uro279
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Originally posted by fairladyZ in Japan
droid...

Congratulations and FINALLY ! It seems that you have waited for this mod as long as I waited for my Z.

Your impressions are the same as mine regarding the S-tune -- when I posted after getting my install last April.

Also, as I just posted on the exterior/interior forum ... another quantum jump in driving handling/pleasure.... is to get rid of the stock "soft seat" bounce by installing a different seat. The Recaro install is ranked up there with the S-tune, IMO.

Enjoy !!
What did you do with the side airbag when you replaced the seat? How hard is it to replace? And what did you do with the passenger's seat?

Thanks.
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Old 07-05-2003, 06:30 PM
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fairladyZ in Japan
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Uro... Friend of mine at Nissan did it when I brought the Z in for its 5,000 kilometer checkup this past week.

The drivier's side now has no side airbag...but the side air curtain is functional.
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Old 07-06-2003, 06:55 PM
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Originally posted by ZZtopp
Great review! How has the comfort level changed in daily driving?
It's the tiniest bit stiffer than stock. I like it, A LOT, especially now that the bounce is gone.
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Old 07-06-2003, 07:07 PM
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Originally posted by EnthuZ
GREAT REVIEW!

I'm doing basically what you've done.....

If my math is close(and I repeat, my math is rough), you're 10 to 15 mph improvement would be great......BUT I seriously doubt a 5 second per lap improvement with the Nismo springs & shocks. If true, I'm sold! Sh*t, I don't think R compound tires would give that much improvement!

If I remember, YOUR track is close to 2 miles or less......

BTW....what do you think of the StopTech's/Panther's?
Bruce,

I can tell you without a doubt that the sways alone make a huge world of difference in reducing the plow. Now maybe, just maybe my ***** were a helluva lot bigger knowing I had the StopTechs on, but I did run a 10 MPH faster lap in my first session with the PCA over my last session (after two days to get used to the track) lap speed in April.

As for the StopTechs, HOLY ****! I thought they were good on the street, but man, it was like hitting a brick wall when I got on the binders. I ran the Panther XPs up front and the Panther + in the rear. I wore through almost 1/16" of the XPs in only three sessions. I don't think these pads will last that long at that rate. Maybe three weekends at most. I personally felt the Panther + were too much for the rear. They literally didn't wear at all that weekend and will last a good while longer than the fronts. I of course never had any complaints about rear wear to begin with and NEVER ran with the VDC on.
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Old 07-06-2003, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: Re: Yet another S-Tune suspension install and review...

Originally posted by Gcoupe35
I think your've got linear and progressive backwards. The stock springs are very much linear front and rear. The NISMO springs are progressive, just like Eibach springs. I'll take what your trying to say to mean that the NISMO rears are linear.
Maybe I've got it ****ed up. I *thought* that progressive springs were those in which the coils were spaced out unevenly, like maybe the top half of the spring has coils close together and then spaced out progressively farther apart. If you take a measurement on those three center gaps in the stock, front coilover, the coils are definitely closer together as you move down the strut.

Anyway, that doesn't really matter anymore now that the NISMO set-up is on. Take a look at this pic of the NISMO rear springs. Are those not progressive springs like I originally said?

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Old 07-06-2003, 07:31 PM
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Originally posted by GaryM05
Thanks for the great multi-stage review of the S-tune setup, Droideka.

I have a question about the handling. With the stock setup, it took quite a bit of effort to get the rear to step out, but once it did, it was pretty easy to bring it back inline. What are your thoughts on the ease of inducing oversteer, feeling it coming on, and then correcting it with the S-tune setup? Is it still easy to feel exactly what the car is doing under all throttle/cornering conditions? Thanks!

Gary
Gary,

I've never had a problem breaking the rear-end loose in stock form and bringing it right back in line with a little steering input. I've played around a bit with the S-Tune set-up and it feels about the same coming around, but with less throttle input. What JRitt mentions about the *** following the nose is completely true. Makes you want to apex every turn on the streets.

I can't really answer the question until I hit the track again in Sept. There's this one, uphill turn on the course I run that can be driven all of the way around with just the throttle. I can hug the inside curbing and modulate the throttle all of the way up with the rear-end teetering on the edge of completely breaking loose. It's an exhilarating feeling to drive the car like that and I can't wait to get it out there again with the full suspension and new tires.
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Old 07-06-2003, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Yet another S-Tune suspension install and review...

Originally posted by droideka
Maybe I've got it ****ed up. I *thought* that progressive springs were those in which the coils were spaced out unevenly, like maybe the top half of the spring has coils close together and then spaced out progressively farther apart. If you take a measurement on those three center gaps in the stock, front coilover, the coils are definitely closer together as you move down the strut.

Anyway, that doesn't really matter anymore now that the NISMO set-up is on. Take a look at this pic of the NISMO rear springs. Are those not progressive springs like I originally said?

Your picture of the nismo springs show's they are progressive. And I see where you got the assumption that the Z front's are progressive. They are not, the spacing differance in them does not promote them to act in a progressive manner. None of the Z's coils will bind to force a rate change. Also their is no differance in wire diameter from the top to the bottom of the springs, nor are their any coils that have had a flat bottom profile added as some progressive springs have to effect a rate change.

I didn't disagree on the nismo springs, just trying to grasp how you can to say the front stock springs were progressive, now you've cleared that up. I'll add something I didn't say before, it's always nice to see members that are willing to shaire their product experiences and help everyone.
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Old 07-07-2003, 04:27 AM
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I thought the problem all along was the stock springs were linear and the NISMO springs fix it. They are progressive. Brad thanks for proving what I felt all along. The Eibachs seem to fix the bounce too. They are progressive springs also...................
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