Looking for opinions on how to further improve handling
I am looking for people opinions on what would be the best way to increase the handling performance of my car. The car is daily driven however I am looking to do something to increase the fun in the corners for the occasional spirited driving session with friends and the even more occasional track time I might see in the future.
The car / engine:
2002 ZX3 – 2.0 litre zetec with JRSC BBK installed with full exhaust and WMI.
Handling and suspension parts already installed:
- SPAX RSX coilovers;
- Eibach front and rear sway bars;
- Focuswerks front upper, front lower and rear strut brace; and
- The car is currently sitting on Sparco Assetto Gara wheels (17x7) and Bridgestone RE760 tyres.
Thoughts I have had so far to improve handling:
- Install front a rear camber and toe adjustment parts and get a track orientated alignment.
- Upgraded front lower control arms (ie. Dominant or CFM’s).
- Full poly bushing kit.
- I know this won’t get me through or out of corners faster but upgrade to SVT brakes.
If anyone has an opinion to what would best progress the handling ability of the car out of the above options or something I haven't considered I would love to hear it. I am leaning toward the LSD however given the cost involved I was just wondering if there were any other options that would provide a noticeable handling improvement that might be easier to install and a little more cost effective.
do you have adjustable front links on the swaybar?
Continental extreme contact dw tires for summer/rain, bigger sway bars, adjustable end links, wheel spacers (if your low enough even though it wont make a huge difference with spacers), and other than that you have pretty much everything else
From where you are now:
These are the 3 big things I would go after. Camber plates are critical, if you're serious about handling, FWD strut cars need serious negative camber up front. The LSD is not specific to handling, but it will help you get more power to the ground sooner, which is always a good thing. Bushings will help tie everything together and tighten up the whole package. Front LCA bushings are the biggest help here, the improve the feel on turn in.
Even though I don't know your spring rates, the eibach bars are probably more than stiff enough. The adjustable endlinks are a nice addition, but the best way IMO to use them is to eliminate any binding or preload in the system. Your sway bars should move freely with no bind, allowing them to work at the predicted stiffness, and improving tuning the handling of the car.
Start taking some pro driving courses and getting some proper track time. Other than what others have said, that to me would be your best choice. Assuming your tires are still in great shape, you will be the most noticeable improvement [strongman] imo
#1 by a long shot: driving instructor.
#2 track tires (for track use, they suck on the street)
Stay away from adjustable control arms, especially if you plan on running anything wider than a 7" wheel with sticky rubber.
The problem is when you add camber this way you lose clearance at the inside and top of your wheels.
Get yourself some good camber plates, KMAC is based in Australia I believe, those are a MUCH better solution because you change the angle of the entire strut assembly.
Also, as was somewhat mentioned above your sway bars are probably way too thick for the spring rates of those SPAX components. Does the car have a propensity to understeer or oversteer currently? Will it rotate quickly? Is it unstable at high speed? What kind of surface conditions do you normally see?
Just throwing big bars at the car won't make it handle well, especially with soft springs.
I'll definetely take a look a the camber plates.
I took a look at the KMAC website and their camber plates are $380 AUD. Would these likley be better than the Fswerks camber plates which are noticeably cheaper? Shipping from the US isn't too expensive on smaller items.
If I go with the front camber plates should I look at getting the necessary items for rear camber adjustment and toe adjustment?
As for how the car handles currently I would say it prefers to understeer however if I throw it into a corner with too much speed, get off the throttle and turn in sharply I can get the back to step out, understandably I don't go about my driving like this I am just saying I can get the back of the car to step out but I feel like I really have to try to make this happen. It doesn't appear to rotate too quickly when it does step out either. At high speeds the car seems pretty stable - or at least it doesn't appear noticably unstable.
As for driving conditions. The majority of my "spirited" street drives are through mountain/hill roads with mixed surface conditions depending on age of the road and alot of tight corners. The few track experiences I have had have been at Queensland Raceway which is one of the V8 supercar tracks over here. Overall this track is quite smooth.
Given the comments thus far I think I will definetely source some camber plates and bushings kit.
Any further recommendations would be great.
The FSWerks ones are just fine, but they need to be welded in whereas the other makes are simply bolted on. Being welded in makes it necessary for you to run coilovers from then on an obviously the plates would go with the car if you sold it.
Stay away from SPC camber plates up front, but SPC camber arms in the rear are just fine and would help a bit for rear stability as well.
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