2nd Gen AutoX to Sport Touring - A Rebuild 2014

Discussion in 'Car Builds, Projects, Idea's Experiments' started by GreyLens, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. GreyLens

    GreyLens New Member
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    #1 GreyLens, Aug 6, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
    I bought the GreyLenz in 2008. It was one of the first 200 Factory JCW's off the line. I spent the first four years doing AutoX and some track time and over time built the Lenz into a pretty good performance machine. I did several threads in the AutoX forum the biggest one is here:

    http://www.motoringalliance.com/forums/autox/4091-scca-stx-class-build-experience.html#axzz39XjXHe4z

    I had a great deal of help from a really great guy, k-huevo. Several of his "Today's Job" posts, appreciated by many, were based on work he did on the Lenz. I've never worked on cars before and I learned a great deal from Keith in those days. Keith has not been active in quite awhile and I also took this last year off of really fun stuff for the sake of work. (I hate when that happens.)

    If you look at the mods on the Lenz you can see it was a pretty aggressive set up for AutoX STX class, at first, and then later moved to DSP, and it all worked well at the track. I also want to mention I got good support and help from Way at Way Motorworks as well. I always did pretty good locally but never had the chops or time to go to the nationals. At any rate, it was all great fun!! And I got a lot of great advice from you guys on MA. And, I'm a much better driver today than when I started.

    However, I'm looking to use the Lenz in a different capacity over the next few years. I've been planning a "North American Tour" for some time. Essentially, I'm going to start hooking up with more of the MINI events around the country as well as travel a bunch of the non-interstate roads from Barrow Alaska to Miami. My daughter gave me a book on those roads many years ago and I'm finally prepping to take the Lenz on all of them, eventually.

    So, I'm looking to reconfigure the Lenz as a quiet, fast, nimble, comfortable traveling machine. Right now it is a bit harsh and noisy for my wife. I'm thinking I can kick off the "Tour" with the next MTTS so that gives me a couple of years to transition.

    This thread may prove to be a bit mundane given the way cool projects currently in play. What I need to do to the Lenz is not that exciting. If so, I'll just fade it away. I'll give some particulars soon to get it started.
     
  2. GreyLens

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    Ride Comfort vs Handling

    The first issue to address is the ride comfort vs handling. Right now, with the AST 5100's and 70 nm Swift Springs in front and 60 nm Swifts in the rear the handling is great (on a smooth road/track) and the ride, while ok for me for daily driving, could be much better for long trips...and the wife.

    I've been reading threads on suspensions on MA and the other place. Lot's of info...no clear direction. So, I'm considering just putting the stock (non JCW) suspension back in place and driving awhile. I'll, of course, keep the NM Eng 22mm rear anti sway bar, 15 mm wheel spacers, wheels and tires, etc. I've not driven the stock suspension with the upgraded rear sway bar...I assume it will handle better than stock suspension with the stock sway bar. Ride height will go back up, of course, which is desired for the general daily driving and long trips.

    But, I'll be deciding on an upgrade from the stock suspension in the coming months that will improve ride, if possible over stock, as well as improving handling over stock, though I don't need the aggressive set up I currently have. Something in between will do nicely.

    Questions:

    1. Are the Koni yellows that much of an improvement over stock shocks with the stock springs?

    2. What about the Koni FSDs?

    3. What about KW 1's? Willing to do a less aggressive coil over if the ride is improved over stock.

    4. What about NM Engineering variable rate lowering springs or something equivalent? I don't really want to lower the ride again...but I'll consider it if the ride is reasonable....NM Springs and Koni yellows??

    5. I love the Swift springs...maybe I just go to lighter springs....50nm front and rear and keep the ASTs in place??

    6. Also, if I keep the AST 5100's in place I'm not sure how to adjust the ride height back up a bit without preloading the springs. Any guidance here would be much appreciated. Frankly, k-huevo set these up for me and I haven't really thought it through yet. Can't find any good info on how to do this...

    Any thoughts welcome.
     
  3. GreyLens

    GreyLens New Member
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    #3 GreyLens, Aug 8, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
    Swift vs TSW with Koni Yellow's

    Swifts:

    I'm a big fan of swift springs. In reading other threads I found one mention of swifts used on an R56 with Koni yellows. I looked them up and found that the Swift Spec-R springs for an R56 is the 4X902R which run at 251 lb/in front and 308 lb/in rear which is pretty close to stock, I believe. They lower -1.1" front and -1.0" rear. The swifts never sag, are lighter, very linear and because the wire is thinner there is a bit more travel available. Con: Probably Expensive. Pro: I plan to drive the Lenz for a long time and they will never have to be replaced for sag.

    TSWs:

    They lower the ride by 1" front and 3/4" rear. Seem popular. Made to be linear...maybe not as linear as Swifts. They're "cold wound" like the Swifts so sag shouldn't be a problem, I guess. I can't find the specs yet...but I assume they're a bit stiffer than OEM...probably close to the Swifts. Likely a better buy at the price of $229 for the set.

    Both makers claim better comfort for the ride over OEM springs which is what I'm after in addition to reasonable handling.

    Has anyone here had experience with either of these with the Koni Yellows?
     
  4. old81

    old81 Club Coordinator
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    My 07 has the swift spec-r and koni yellows with a 19mm H-Sport swaybar.

    I dialed the yellows to full soft and it is still pretty damn stiff. I have driven a few long trips with this setup. It is very good for the off and on track lapping day. Not great on a harsh road.

    I had TSW Springs with stock shocks on the previous build, the shocks blew out at 42K.

    Don
     
  5. GreyLens

    GreyLens New Member
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    How was the ride with the TSW springs compared to the Swifts? I already live with a pretty harsh set up...just looking to lighten it some.

    Your experience confirms much of what I've read...stock shocks with the TSW's didn't last too long...though 42K seems pretty good to me. I will likely do the Koni's with either spring. Did you ever find the actual rating specs for the TSW's?

    Thanks for posting! I'm trying to get all the input I can in the next couple of months before I buy.

    Where did you buy the Swifts from? They still don't sell direct...
     
  6. GreyLens

    GreyLens New Member
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    Camber Plates

    I currently use Vorshlag Variable Camber plates...the newer ones in red. They're great. But, truth is I never really used them as intended. I set them to a very aggressive negative camber setting (-2.3 degrees) and left them at that setting. I also set tow in to half the stock spec and had a reasonable turn in and very stable on the highway and little wear on the inside of the front tires.

    I have an unused set of Ireland Engineering fixed camber plates I bought about four years ago. I think they are set at about -1.2 degrees?? I believe that will provide better isolation from the road noise. The metal to metal config of the Vorshlags definitely increases road noise.

    Any thoughts?
     
  7. old81

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    GL, I do not run any aftermarket Camber Plates, just what I can push the 07 fronts.

    As for ride, I like the ride better with the Swift springs, I liked the TSW springs, but was looking for the little bit lower ride. I got that with the Konis and the Swifts.

    Never did get rates on the TSW springs, they are pre-way TSW, but Way may have the spring rates for the TSW units, he owns TSW eng. if my memory serves me correct.

    Good luck bringing it to what you want. My current setup is great, but as I get closer to 70 (old person here) I might go back to a progressive type lowering spring like the NM to soften it up a bit for long trips.

    Metalman runs this setup too.

    Don
     
  8. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    Way will not tell anyone the TSW Spring rates but they are very easy to find on the NAMless site. :ihih:

    Front Springs: 60mm ID, 200mm length (8"), 6kgf/mm (336 lb/in) spring rate
    Rear Springs: 60mm ID, 140mm length(6"), 6kgf/mm (336 lb/in) spring rate

    I will save you the time searching and just give it to you straight. I have a set and above are the specs and they are still the specs for what Way sells. I replaced the TSW /WMW "custom" springs because they were too soft for me. I replaced them with Swift springs. 400 fronts and 450 lbs in the rear.

    TSW coil overs history:

    North American Motoring - View Single Post - TSW's new coilovers...
     
  9. GreyLens

    GreyLens New Member
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    #9 GreyLens, Aug 10, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
    Thanks guys. You've been a big help.

    Dave O, I've been searching for info on the TSW's and had not run across this post. That info plus you're statement that you moved from the custom springs to the KW TSW coil overs to get the heavier springs, I assume because you're still doing some track days (??), is also helpful.

    I'm running the 60mm, 7", 70N/mm (about 400lb/in) in fronts, and 60mm, 7", 60N/mm (about 336lbs/in) in the rears on the AST 5100's. K-huevo set these up for me. He highly recommended I put the 450bls/in, or more, in the rear. I have a set of four of each rating, 336 and 450. I didn't follow his advice based on a misguided notion of keeping the ride a bit more comfy. Bottom line, it would likely handle better with the 450's in the rear but I never got around to changing them and I still reached my goal at the time of winning the annual club trophy.

    The AST's are really a good set up for the track and perhaps overkill for autoX but I got them at a good used price from WerkinMini. They are very good shocks and very strong. I will still likely do some autoX and occasional track day with this new set up just to understand the handling limits and keep up the driving skills a bit. The AST's should last a long time.

    My goal in all this is to move to a more comfy ride and yet still maintain reasonable fun handling. Based on your guys' input I'm thinking about a different approach.

    The 5100's, even used, were a big investment. Instead of replacing the whole set up maybe I just replace the front springs with a lighter set. In fact, maybe I move the front set to a lower rating than the existing 336lbs/in set I already have in the rear. That will give me a lighter ride and put the front to rear ratio back into a better set up...lighter in front, heavier in rear, which is really best for our MINI's.

    Swift offers 60mm, 7", springs in 280lbs/in. That would put me with 280's front and 336's rear with the AST's in place. Minimal cost and I can keep the very accurate and easily accessible adjustability (one advantage of the inverted configuration) of the AST's...12 clicks and twelve very distinct rates which you can feel.

    Question: Would I be risking putting too much load/strain on the AST's going to such a low spring rate? I will try again to research the spring rate ranges they're designed for...but the info seems hard to find. I'm really not very knowledgeable in this area and not sure if I understand the issues that well.

    In the end, though I'm a few years younger than old81, not much, I'm ready to smooth the ride out for long travel but I still want it to handle well. Maybe this approach will work? Am I on a wrong track here?

    Thanks for your patience...I know this is not exciting stuff to discuss...
     
  10. Dave.0

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    I think as long as you keep the Swift springs at the same length you should be ok and get the ride you want. With softer springs you will want to set your AST's to firm and work you way back to softer to avoid damaging them with full shock compressions at speed.

    Swift springs are by far the best suspension mod I have done to my MINI.

    Here is the full Swift spring coil over replacement chart with part numbers.:Thumbsup:

    Swift Springs USA
     
  11. GreyLens

    GreyLens New Member
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    Excellent. That's what I'm thinking as well. Actually, I had a backwards notion of risk of damage to the AST's...now I understand better...the big issue with weaker springs of bottoming. So, start tight and loosen up till I get the ride.

    Thanks a bunch. This will save me some bucks to do the other things on my list.

    I agree about the Swifts...best on the market for me.
     
  12. GreyLens

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    Sound Dampening

    Several years ago there was much discussion about sound dampening. I don't see much about it these days. I'd like a quieter ride but I'm not too keen on adding a bunch of weight to the car. Does anyone here on MA have any recent experience with sound dampening products? Does anyone still think this is worth the cost and effort?
     
  13. Dave.0

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    I have used them in the past and my car is covered with them now. Yes it will add weight but I like my car quite inside when I don't have my LOUD exhaust on.

    Dynamat if very good but cost too effen much. I used cheap sound deadening from Jegs and Summit racing to kill the metal sound in my car. To me its worth it.
     
  14. GreyLens

    GreyLens New Member
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    Thanks. I'll start on some research, then. The ultimate goal is to upgrade the stereo but I'll do that early next year. I'm doing a rear seat delete in the next couple of months and I'll get the sound dampening thing done as well. I just don't see hardly any posts about it much past 2009-2010 so I wasn't sure if folks still thought it was worthwhile.
     
  15. Dave.0

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    It's worth it. On the road at speed (high speed) my car is nice and quiet inside especially in the rain. My car feels and sounds more solid then my wife's Lexus.

    The sound deadening will also improve the sound of your future stereo upgrade and stop all kinds of little rattle sounds all MINI's make as they get older.

    Here is an older post on mine with links to the sound deadened I used.

    http://www.motoringalliance.com/forums/car-entertainment-nav/21135-audio-systems.html#post247501
     
  16. mrntd

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    I tried to order TSW springs this last spring. They were out of stock and I was told they may not make any more. So I bought Swift. Highway ride is better. Handling is better. Ride is just a little lower. I'm still on stock shocks and I'm thinking they may be a little under damped. It's a little to harsh on big bumps. I'm looking at FDS.
    Go with the iE plates for better isolation.
    I got some great sound deadening from Amazon. 25ft roll with roller and cleaner. It's called GT something. I also got a can of sound deadening spray. It came with a straw like WD 40. So I could spray it in to tight places. It made a huge difference. I would get 2 rolls to do the back, quarters and doors. It was the perfect time to do it while I was replacing the rear speakers.
     
  17. CHKMINI

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    Nick, FSD's are not recommended with lowering springs. I have used Koni Yellows with great success.
     
  18. GreyLens

    GreyLens New Member
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    What is the rating on the Swifts you used...336lbs/in?
     
  19. GreyLens

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    #19 GreyLens, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    Impact of plan on AutoX Build

    I've been doing a lot of research and getting good advice/guidance/ideas here. Part of my plan is solidifying so I thought I'd summarize for now.

    The big question and point of this thread is to think through the issues to address a move from a config geared to the D Street Prepared classification for SCCA Solo II to a more travel/DD friendly set up.

    Engine: I'm keeping the same set up. The main factors that put me into DSP from STX are the tune (I run Accessport stage 2 all the time) and the upgraded Intercooler (I run a Helix). I'm installing an NM catch can, DDM Ram Air scoop and a couple of other things just for fun but they have no effect on classification for DSP. I'm at 59K miles and will do a carbon blast in a few months.

    Interior: I'm doing the rear seat delete which technically moves me out of the DSP class and into "Street Modified" class. I will be installing considerable sound deadening material which will more than replace the weight loss of the back seats which is, obviously, the main reason for the change of class for removing the rear seat. I think I will at most add about an extra 30 lbs as the delta to overall weight. Technically most of the new weight is at a lower center of gravity than the seats but I doubt anyone will worry that issue. So, I plan to run in the DSP class locally because no one will likely care about the changes. If they do, no biggy...I'll continue to run autoX mainly for fun and skills maintenance in whatever class they put me in. It is always fun to see if I can place in the top 20% in raw scores. Given the heavy talent in the San Antonio/Austin area that is a tough goal. It will be interesting to see if I can do that with a much more street friendly ride.

    Suspension: Here is where my research and advice from MA has paid off the most so far. I was convinced that I would likely need to change out my suspension to get back to a reasonable ride and yet still have reasonable handling. I was looking at lighter springs and Koni yellows...a very good set up. But, I'm convinced now I'm just going to change out the front springs from the 400 lbs/in Swifts to 280 lbs/in. That will leave me with the 280's in front and the 336lbs/in in the rear. I think this will improve the ride and still allow for some pretty decent handling. I don't want to lose the AST 5100's for many reasons and hope I can make this work. (I will have to get the right rear AST rebuilt and just found out that it will not be as much hassle as I thought.) I also have as yet to install the NM Engineering aluminum rear control arms I bought over a year ago...will do so in a few weeks when I get the new springs for the front.

    Wheels and Tires: The only classes in SCCA AutoX that still need/allowed to use R comp tires is Street Prepared, Street Modified and Modified. But, I'm going to quit using them in DSP and see what happens. Modern extreme performance street tires are incredibly good compared to just 5 years ago and they're half the price and last longer than r-comps. Again, not likely to take the annual trophy this way but I'll see how a "travel configuration" works in autoX.

    That is the main changes I've decided on that really affects the autoX issues. Not as much, in the end, as I thought.

    As far as the investments in the "Travel/DDing" config...it is a bigger investment. Labor wise the sound dampening is probably the biggest effort and will likely have the biggest desired impact for me for traveling. The goal now is to finally address a much quieter ride and an upgrade to the sound system. The stereo upgrade will be a big effort just deciding what to do. I'll sort that out early next year.
     
  20. GreyLens

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    #20 GreyLens, Aug 30, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
    Longevity - Exterior

    The R56 has several weaknesses as a car. Expensive, decent handling but nothing to brag about, weird ergonomics for many folks (I love them), and reliability problems. I've had several reliability/quality issues with mine...turbo failed in the first 10K miles...dual mass flywheel failed...needed new clutch, etc...k-huevo helped me deal with all of that.

    But, this is simply the most fun car experience I've ever had. And, I've owned some fun cars in the past. Currently the GreyLenz is a sweet ride. I've done a lot to it to get it that way...probably far more cost wise that many would deem prudent. Still, every time I go to drive a possible replacement I'm disappointed. And, I can afford some pretty cool replacements.

    I'm more committed than ever to put 300K+ miles on the GreyLens. And, at the end of that time I want it to look no more than 3 years old and perform then as well as it does now. Crazy, I know.

    So, I'm looking at spending a little more on longevity issues.

    Exterior protection: That leads me to some investments in the exterior. Simple question: I'd love input on Opti-coat as a sealant...expensive, I know, just wondering if anyone has experience with it? Has anyone put it on the wheels to any good effect? Did you do it yourself? I think doing a full polishing before hand is essential and I don't know I'm up to do that myself.

    Also, going to get another clear bra. I just took a 5 year old clear bra off, pretty easy, I might add. It probably had several more years of protection available but it was looking a little ratty. The installation of it was good but not great. I'm not inclined to do it my self...but I've watched some recent video's that I think I could follow. Any recommendations on clear bra?

    I've read several threads on the subject...just wondering about opinions here.
     

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