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S197 Handling Section For everything suspension related, inlcuding brakes, tires, and wheels.

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Old 07-08-2013, 12:00 AM   #1
steev
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Default Feeling those handling issues more than usual...

I have a 4.0 V6 and since November have been happy with the handling (although, I think that may be due to me not driving particularly fast).

Now I feel happier about the weather, I'm holding gears higher through the rev range, and enjoying the way it drives a bit more. However, the rear end is feeling floaty, the braking is feeling pretty weak (although, that always has been a sore point for me) and it just doesn't feel how I want it to for summer driving.

It still has the stock 16" wheels, but I am getting those swapped in August for a set of AMR or GT500 style 18" wheels. I kind of have my heart set on 18s after reading up on them. Mainly because I can fit GT rotors and caliper brackets under the front wheels. But should I get a staggered set or 9" wide all round?

Also, I understand the V6 didn't even come with a rear sway bar, so should that be pretty high on my shopping list?

My several year plan with the car leads to either an Xcharger or a 4.6 (maybe even a 5.4) swap, so I also plan on getting an 8.8 rear end, Tokico D spec shocks and struts and some progressive rate springs, but I am not that tempted by power mods in the near future (not much power can be eked out of the 4.0 without forcing air in, it seems).

So yeah, handling and braking wise, am I looking at this the right way? It's a kind of daily driver (more a weekend, fun car though).
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:13 AM   #2
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The GT500 wheels are 18 x 9.5 and fit all the way around. As long as handling has a priority, you're better off with the same size wheels and tires on all four corners unless (until?) V8 forced induction enters the picture. You can get some pretty good tires in 255/45-18, 275/40-18, or even 265/40-18 if you don't mind a little more tire to fender gap. With a 4.0, you don't need more tire for most any purpose I can think of short of ESP-class autocross or serious road course open-tracking.

The very first thing - even ahead of wheels and tires - should be shocks and struts (I'm assuming that yours are probably 7 years old at this point). That alone will make the car's behavior a lot more composed. My own preference here would be for Koni Sports (aka "yellows").

What you'll want in stabilizer bars is for both to be adjustable. You'll have a better ability to dial the handling in to suit you and any future powertrain changes (the extra weight lives mostly at one end of the car).

Stick to moderate lowering only. Much past an inch, maybe an inch and a quarter starts becoming an "appearance first" choice that can be costing you some of what goes into "good handling".

There is a lot to be gained by opting for better brake pads, and up to the point where you're running hard on a road course GT-size brakes should be sufficient. Not to discourage you from the GT500's 14"-ers, though.

Performancewise, you'll be better off with a performance street pad that does not contain the word "ceramic" anywhere in its name. Think Hawk HPS or equivalent. You'll need something better still if you start road course open-tracking, keeping in mind that track pads are generally poor choices for street duty (they're dusty, noisy, and eat rotors).


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Last edited by Norm Peterson; 07-08-2013 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:07 AM   #3
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Tires, tires, tires.

If you can engage ABS on your brakes now, that means your brakes are stronger than your grip.. brake upgrades not helpful unless you are getting fade with a lot of highspeed/heavy brake runs. Same with the handling, more traction can better keep that tail in line and cut down the nose push.

Norm is right, struts/shocks are also right up there.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:42 AM   #4
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Thanks Norm and Shotokan1509.

I'm not activating ABS at the moment, even braking fairly quickly, but I'm not totally stamping on the brake pedal... I would like to start going down to the Nassau Coliseum for Autocross at some point though.

The main reason for the wheels is that my wife said she'll buy me a set of wheels and tires for my birthday as she can't think of anything else worth getting me (I wouldn't ask for purchases like that, I usually hate asking for expensive things as gifts, I'd just save for a little bit to get them myself) and they have a big effect aesthetically, so she'll be happy saying to her friends 'I got Steve his wheels and tires' rather than 'I got Steve some shocks and struts'. If there's no need for a staggered set, then I'm going to go with the 18" AMRs.

Anyway... I think I'll put aside enough for some Koni Yellows, some GT rotors/brackets/pads that don't say ceramic and adjustable sway bars (these are stabilizer bars, right? I always knew them as anti-roll bars in the UK).

*AH, also, is it ok to switch the shocks and struts but keep the existing springs, or should I do those at the same time?

Last edited by steev; 07-08-2013 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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With street pads, you can go pretty hard on the brake pedal without tripping the ABS if you sort of squeeze into them rather than stomp on the pedal like you're trying to put out a small fire. Track pads that have greater initial bite require a more sensitive foot, because you get a lot more braking response from the same levels of pedal pressure that you'd be used to with street pads. The difference between Hawk's HPS and HP+ pads just on the front brakes (HPS on the rears in both cases) is huge.


FWIW, "sway bars", stabilizer bars, anti-roll bars, and "sta-bars" all refer to the same parts (as far as "common slang" goes, anyway). The industry term is "stabilizer bars", frequently shortened to "sta-bars".

"Anti-roll bar" has started to pick up an association to those really stiff rear sta-bars intended only for drag racing.

Strictly speaking, a sway bar is something that has more to do with trailer towing, but the term has been creeping into its current common usage courtesy of magazine writers and advertising literature.


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Old 07-08-2013, 09:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
The GT500 wheels are 18 x 9.5 and fit all the way around. As long as handling has a priority, you're better off with the same size wheels and tires on all four corners unless (until?) V8 forced induction enters the picture. You can get some pretty good tires in 255/45-18, 275/40-18, or even 265/40-18 if you don't mind a little more tire to fender gap. With a 4.0, you don't need more tire for most any purpose I can think of short of ESP-class autocross or serious road course open-tracking.

The very first thing - even ahead of wheels and tires - should be shocks and struts (I'm assuming that yours are probably 7 years old at this point). That alone will make the car's behavior a lot more composed. My own preference here would be for Koni Sports (aka "yellows").

What you'll want in stabilizer bars is for both to be adjustable. You'll have a better ability to dial the handling in to suit you and any future powertrain changes (the extra weight lives mostly at one end of the car).

Stick to moderate lowering only. Much past an inch, maybe an inch and a quarter starts becoming an "appearance first" choice that can be costing you some of what goes into "good handling".

There is a lot to be gained by opting for better brake pads, and up to the point where you're running hard on a road course GT-size brakes should be sufficient. Not to discourage you from the GT500's 14"-ers, though.

Performancewise, you'll be better off with a performance street pad that does not contain the word "ceramic" anywhere in its name. Think Hawk HPS or equivalent. You'll need something better still if you start road course open-tracking, keeping in mind that track pads are generally poor choices for street duty (they're dusty, noisy, and eat rotors).


Norm
Looks like Norm beat me to the punch, and as usual, his response was spot on.

I'm running the full UPR S197 Handling Package on my car and it handles very well, but it's totally livable as a daily driver.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steev View Post
*AH, also, is it ok to switch the shocks and struts but keep the existing springs, or should I do those at the same time?
Aftermarket performance shocks/struts will work just fine with factory springs and you'll still get a significant improvement in handling without aftermarket springs.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:13 AM   #8
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I'd replace my shocks/struts with something like Koni Str.T's. That will help a little with the floaty feeling. I'd also consider putting on some Eibach Pro springs.

If you put on a rear sway bar, replace the front sway bar as well. I have the Eibach adjustable sway bar kit on my car.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:52 AM   #9
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*AH, also, is it ok to switch the shocks and struts but keep the existing springs
That is a perfectly acceptable way to go. If anything, it'll let you enjoy the car a bit better while taking any pressure off you to choose springs. Worst case, it'll cost you a few one-time-use fasteners and an alignment.

If it helps you any, I'm still on the OE springs with Koni yellows after at least two years.


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Old 07-11-2013, 10:52 AM
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