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Discussion Starter #1
I just had my Koni Sports installed today, at Road Holder Suspension in Kirrawee.

It wasn't the easiest of jobs. While the rears are pretty simple, the front coil overs are an effort and a half to put in. I'd estimate that in the time it took to put one front damper in, we could have done both rear dampers.

We set the dampers to full softness, to run them in and to see how it feels. Testing them while they were out, the difference between full hard and full soft is quite marked.

Another thing I noticed is that Koni does not provide an adjustment tool for the rear dampers. You get the white dial for the front dampers, but no allen key shaped tool for the rears. Most of the semi-decent Jap suspension comes with spanners all round, so I was a little disappointed.


Driving it around afterwards, that "initial bounce" you get driving over minor imperfections on the road feeling still isn't gone. The car still feels pretty tight. Not surprising really, since its the springs that absorb that load and those are left standard.

However, hitting bigger bumps shows where the softer damping comes from. Driving over speedbumps or potholes is noticably gentler on the car. While I wouldn't fly over speedhumps like I do in a Commodore (not entirely a fair comparison since I've only ever driven rental ones, and everyone knows rental cars can go over speed humps, gutters, stairs, etc at any speed) you don't feel like you're jarring loose bits of trim when driving over them anymore. It feels more like you're making them knock together, instead.

Strangely, the ride feels harsher on my car than nuff's even though the suspension mods are the same. Possibly its because of my tyres. The sidewalls, while approximately the same size, are a lot stiffer than OEM.


The other thing I have noticed is that the car is far less stable while cornering. It'll make my tyres squirm a little now, and there may be a little more bodyroll. Not dangerously so, so I wouldn't advise against this setting for normal use, but don't expect to attack Putty on the softest setting and expect the car to corner like factory.


I will be out at Eastern Creek tomorrow and I'll see if I can get some testing in. EC may not be the best track to test on. As a MotoGP track, its dead smooth and so I can probably run the dampers at full hard and not find the car unstable (until I try and refuel).

More information as it comes, and pics when I process them....
 

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I will be out at Eastern Creek tomorrow and I'll see if I can get some testing in.

Thanks for the report, and have fun at EC. Don't forget to bring someone along with a stop watch ;-)
 

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My car seems to be about what Nuff had... I don't think he was on full soft though.

With the aftermarket springs I have no bounce.

As for cornering, it still feels sharp but you just know that it can't perform as well on a perfect flat surface (compared to stock)... alas Sydney doesn't have any perfect flat surfaces! :)

Max/max setting is hard. But to me it's still not as hard as stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bring someone with a stopwatch? Which version of the 350Z have you got? I bring my own!

Due to the amount of traffic, I only managed one decent lap where I could push it almost as hard as I wanted to and I got it just under 2 minutes with the dampers set to minimum softness. Give me a couple of sessions to "feel out" the car, and play with the suspension, and I could probably knock a couple of seconds off that.

The rest of the time got washed out, and Formula R tyres, dampers set to max stiffness, and a race track that has just been rained on makes for some hairy moments. I was averaging one big oversteer moment per lap, and I pitted in after 3 out of fear.


On the next session I wound them down to 1 revolution harder than minimum softness, and the car was a lot more controlled. It smoothed out the bumps quite a bit.

A combination of that, the rain letting up, and an oil-free line developing on the track meant that I could carry a much nicer pace around the track with a fair amount of confidence.

I gave it another half a revolution harder, and the car felt better again (even though the heavens opened up again). Its not entirely fair since I lack race-driver consistency, so it might have just been me getting a hang of the conditions. It actually felt near-stock, especially on my way home. Maybe a little softer, but not much.


I must have different suspension to the everyone else, because on full hard my car felt a lot stiffer than standard. It was bouncing all over the place, and it made Eastern Creek feel like a typical Sydney road. I'll have to wind it up on the street and give it a go since its not fair to compare it with a stretch of road I haven't driven on in 6 months, but I'm hoping that any harder than my 1.5 revolutions from soft will be firmer than factory.


Anyway, Greg Selby from Roadholder Suspensions (who sold me the gear and installed it) will be giving me a hand with the setup. Big thanks to him for doing a good job on it, and offering to help me set up the handling when he has time to come out on the track with me.
 

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Bring someone with a stopwatch? Which version of the 350Z have you got? I bring my own!

I have a hard time using 'that' stop-watch ... in particular while I'm driving. I always prefer someone else timing me as it's hard to know how objective/accurate you're being.

I only managed one decent lap where I could push it almost as hard as I wanted to and I got it just under 2 minutes with the dampers set to minimum softness.

I've never been there, but I think that's not bad at all. I pressume that it's not that easy to get sub-2min there as I'm now aware of any S2000 guys managing that. Though, it has a lot to do with the driver as (if I remmeber correctly) Dean Evans has managed 1:54.xx lap in the 350Z on the OME tyres.

I take it you were on R-spec tyres, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah. I was on R-spec tyres and full-soft dampers. I think had I had time to play with the dampers and a bit more dry track time, I could have gotten close to Dean Evans' time in a stock car :(
 

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Message from sunny thailand here :D

You guys have to remember that I also have a track and when I have drove your car it has felt a lot softer then mine stock, even tought you had 18" tires, could it be that nissan puts different springs in Touring and Track?

By the way, I'll be back on 16th and I've to run now, I will add more to this thread then.
 

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I must have different suspension to the everyone else, because on full hard my car felt a lot stiffer than standard. It was bouncing all over the place, and it made Eastern Creek feel like a typical Sydney road. I'll have to wind it up on the street and give it a go since its not fair to compare it with a stretch of road I haven't driven on in 6 months, but I'm hoping that any harder than my 1.5 revolutions from soft will be firmer than factory.

Peter showed me how the Konis were softer than stock even when they were set to full stiffness. When the shocks were out of the car I was able to push the Konis down alot easier than I could push the stock ones down.
 

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could it be that nissan puts different springs in Touring and Track?

It does not seem to be noted anywhere by Nissan, but I was of the same impression when me and Lionking met up. My car (Track) seemed to be stiffer that his (Touring) ... more than one would expect just from 18" rims/tyres.

Yeah. I was on R-spec tyres and full-soft dampers.

One would think that the R-spec tyres would prefer stiff supsension. I think they should be worth good 3secs around a track like EC.

I think had I had time to play with the dampers and a bit more dry track time, I could have gotten close to Dean Evans' time

You're never going to set good lap-times it it's wet ... if anything its a receipe for diaster if you try. I had one wet track-day this year and there was a fair bit of carnage. Seemed poinless to me as I was good 20sec of my dry-times ...it's not like I had a shot at bettering them.
 

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Hey, not stealing this thread, but I just ordered some Hotchkis springs for my zed this week, so I will post a review when I get them installed.
I'm just a little excited!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
When the Sydney guys went out on the Putty Road run, nuff noticed that my car's suspension tune seemed softer than his. I had the Track wheels on at the time, and I doubt the difference in unsprung weight from the different brakes would make that much of a difference.

Tell you what, though, the ride difference between Touring and Track rims is quite marked. When I was tooling around in my car, I never understood the magazines complaining about the ride. It was firm in a sportscar manner, but not harsh. As soon as I put the Track rims on, it was crashy-ride city.

I also noticed that, with the Track rims, my car was far more understeery than on the 17's. Once again, something like this would point to suspension differences (although I'd need to drive a stock Track to verify, maybe the Tracks just are more understeery).


I'm sure the R-spec tyres would have preferred harder dampers, but I did the first session in "street" setup to get a baseline. Unfortunately, the first session was the only dry one so I didn't get to test squat.

Consider that sub 2min time to be a baseline that I can work with next time I head out to EC.


I wasn't expecting to set down blazing times in the wet. I almost filled my pants on the first session, and after that I just went out in a "testing" mentality, to feel out the limits of the tyres in those conditions. It was a great learning experience, and nothing focuses the mind after you've gotten "used" to track experience like trying to drive on cold R-spec tyres on a wet race track, that isn't in an open paddock with no walls nearby.


On the plus side, I did manage to get around an R33 GT-R in those conditions :D
 

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I not long ago put track 18" rims & tyres on my touring. I really don't feel much difference between the two. I suspect the 45 profile tyres may contribute to a 'slightly' harsher ride than the 17" 50 profile tyres.

The roadster (which rides on 18") now comes from Nissan set to "european" specs for the ride (softer), which I think is equivalent to the touring.

Maybe the 03 Track models (&touring apart from the tyre profiles) came with harsher suspension set-ups than they do now?

Explains why the reviews on the roadster all point to a more compliant ride than the earlier track models.
 

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Having now fitted Koni, Cuzco, Bilstein, Tein & D2 & various brands of springs to the Z. My personal preference is the stock shock with the Eibach progressive spring.
Now this preference is only based on the breif drive I get to do on the less than ideal streets around my workshop & some of the cars have had 19" 35 series tyres fitted.
I like the progressive spring because the first part of the spring gives a slightly better ride than stock for that 50kph city street driving we all have to do,but when those coils bind up under higher cornering forces & the stiffer secondry part comes into play & I think this is a good compromise for street & track.
The stock shock is very stiff on both compression & rebound & is probably the reason the car gets bad revues for ride when the journo's take it for road tests.
But the Z always comes up trumps & impresses these same journo's in multi car track tests
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That's one thing Greg Selby from Roadholder noticed as well, when he drove the car.

His first taste of the Z was on a race track, and he thought the springs and dampers were just fine, and maybe some swaybars to work on the handling would have been the way to go.

After driving it on the street near his shop (and most of Sydney's streets would qualify as "less than ideal") he also agreed that the stock dampers were too stiff on compression.

I'll probably roll with these shocks for a while, have a bit of a play with them (and provide some feedback for Greg) before getting some progressive springs. The car still doesn't absorb minor bumps and road undulations too well.

I also need the springs to not lower the car. I have to crabwalk out of my driveway to avoid scraping the undercarriage already - lowering the car will make it even more of a pain in the ass to leave my house.
 

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Thanks Nizmopete for the quick write-up on shocks, nothing beats
personal experience!
When I get my Hotchkis springs you will have another type to compare.
These are linear compared to the progressive Eibachs.
We will see how they compare?
 

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Originally posted by mickyboy@Dec 10 2004, 08:58 PM
I not long ago put track 18" rims & tyres on my touring. I really don't feel much difference between the two. I suspect the 45 profile tyres may contribute to a 'slightly' harsher ride than the 17" 50 profile tyres.

The roadster (which rides on 18") now comes from Nissan set to "european" specs for the ride (softer), which I think is equivalent to the touring.

Maybe the 03 Track models (&touring apart from the tyre profiles) came with harsher suspension set-ups than they do now?

Explains why the reviews on the roadster all point to a more compliant ride than the earlier track models.

Tire height does make a difference when it comes to road noise and ride comfort.

I was looking at either the Hotchkis springs, the Espelir GT springs, or the Eibach prokit. I think the Hotchkis are cheaper here than the Eibachs, but I don't know why. Espelir GT's are a little cheaper than Eibachs.

I'm not looking for a major drop in the Z, nor am I concerned about ride comfort. I personally like 'bouncing' while driving, but I don't bounce that much due to the quality of roads here.
 

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I don't think there is a difference in the Track and Touring shocks. Im sure Nissan would have capitalised on this more if it were the case. In the states they have 5 different trims of 350z and the touring is the second highest.

I will be going to Peter's tomorrow so I'll take one of my touring shocks to compare to one of his track ones. I'll also compare the part numbers to get a accurate result.
 

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Im sure Nissan would have capitalised on this more if it were the case.

Yeah, one would think so, but it seems there's a fair few things about the 350Z that Nissan does not seem to 'advertise'. Like:
- the different rev-limits for manual and auto
- different petrol recommendations for the earlier and later models
- Not being able to disable the VDC 100%

Also I don't think it advertises the fact that the Roadster has a diferent suspesnion setup.
 
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