Gauging Interest: FUNCTIONAL lowering springs for R53 and R56, and possibly coilovers

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by andyroo, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. andyroo

    andyroo New Member
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    #1 andyroo, Nov 15, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
    I work for a suspension and brakes design company specializing in the Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi EVO platform. We work with major suspension manufacturers to design and build coilovers, springs, swaybars, brake ducts, etc. All parts made in the USA or Europe and backed up with nice warranties and plenty of support. Our coilovers have won SCCA STU nationals and our parts are on several time attack cars, endurance cars, and have been on Speed World Challenge cars. We are FAR from a "huge" company, but we are dedicated and have been around since 2003 (with experience going back farther than that). Being small means we are flexible and can focus on our core niche well and provide the support our customers need. Anyway, enough buzz words.....maybe. :lol:

    I broke the mold last year at the company and picked up a Mini Cooper S (R53) instead of something AWD, turbocharged, and heavy as poop. I'm loving it and although we never really intended to jump into the Mini market, I've been bugging the business owner long enough that it could be an option soon.

    Our philosophy is very much function over form....case in point: we have a lowering spring for the Subaru STI that lowers that car all of 5mm. BUT with a large increase in spring rate matched to the OEM dampers and shorter bumpstops for added bump travel. So it's a "lowering" spring that essentially ADDS bump travel. The result is fantastic. That's on the extreme end of our catalog, but our biggest drop springs are barely an inch.

    Proper spring rates, geometry, and suspension travel are key points for our springs.

    A lot of people are looks first, function second and that's totally cool. There are some pretty good products out there right now for the Mini and solid vendors behind them but we know that we could add some significantly improved options for those that track and autocross their cars (and still daily drive the car). Hopefully some vendors could get on board with our parts as well.

    What we are thinking:

    1. Springs for the R53. Minimal drop, as in 5 to 10 mm front and rear. Probably an even drop. Rates would be around 250 to 280 lbs/in (280 lbs/in = 5 kg/mm). This should be perfect with Koni Yellows or Bilstein Sports.

    2. Springs for the R56. Admittedly this car looks like a monster truck in comparison to the old one, but luckily it might have a little more travel. So maybe 10-15mm of drop at most for this car. Rates probably around the same range but could change depending on shock dynos. We will try the stock shocks, but will probably recommend you get Konis or Bilsteins or JCW.

    3. Coilovers for R53 and R56. We'll have to work really hard to get this to happen but it would be a great option under 1500. I know everyone's heard that before, but really, these would be a game changer IMO. Short version is they would sacrifice damping adjustability for preset damping that doesn't suck really bad like (almost) everything else under $2k. Monotube, very high quality. Timeframe would be a little longer on these.

    Obviously rates/drops/details could change....we always shock dyno everything and measure, remeasure, remeasure again everything possible, and test, test, and test again. We would like to include replacement bumpstops if possible.

    Springs are made in the USA by a major suspension manufacturer that everyone has heard of for a very long time. Coilovers are made in Germany by another well known suspension manufacturer. Two of the really big names involved in motorsport for ages.


    SO....is this something you would like to see? A mild drop performance spring? We need a certain level of interest to commit.

    I have an R53 so that would speed up that development process nicely but if R56 guys yell loud enough that could get moving quickly as well. We have done this enough times in the past that within a couple of months we could be delivering springs. Selfishly I want some springs for my R53 right now. :)



    This is NOT a group buy, I am not mentioning the company name per Nathan's request, please do not post it here if you have figured it out, and please post here, do not PM. :) I am not a vendor here yet but if the interest is positive we will get things going as quickly as possible. We really just want to see what everyone thinks and get some input!
     
  2. Rally

    Rally New Member
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    Unfortunately, the numbers suggest that if the R56 has any additional travel, it's minimal at best. Some of the numbers I've seen show it having only a few tenths of an inch more and then you're just getting into weight and balance issues.

    With that said, I'm full support of this. Sounds like a cool venture. :Thumbsup:

    I've worked with another suspension company to develop special "Function + Form" coilovers and it has been an awesome experience.
     
  3. werD

    werD Club Coordinator

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    I'd be totally down with a set of better performing springs vs. the usual slap it down stuff people focus on (not that going low is bad at all - but here in Nashvega$, I need the pothole/uneven pavement clearance).

    Had a set of M7 springs on my last R53 and while it looked good, they were not the answer for performance when actually pushed hard.
     
  4. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
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    I would be interested in the coilovers if they included an adjustable camber plate.
     
  5. andyroo

    andyroo New Member
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    #5 andyroo, Nov 15, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
    We generally offer camber plates as an option when we do coilovers. With plates, still close to 1500.

    EDIT: But the coilovers would take some time....springs are the first step.

    - Andrew
     
  6. versus

    versus Active Member

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    You have my attention :popcorn:
     
  7. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

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    I'm listening...
     
  8. PGT

    PGT Wheel Whore

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    Andy, I wouldn't do 10-15mm on the R53...you'll be on the bump springs. What most people need (but don't know it), is the 'regular guy' type spring. 5-10mm max...not look cool but it's the most you can before ruining performance*

    * this info provided courtsey of Lee Grimes at Koni (not my opinion but his after years of SCCA/NASA support)
     
  9. Doggybags

    Doggybags New Member

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    You certainly have my attention for the springs.
     
  10. andyroo

    andyroo New Member
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    Agreed and I personally would like to do 5mm for my own car. I tend to believe Lee Grimes too....

    I edited as we're leaning towards 5-10mm.

    - Andrew
     
  11. andyroo

    andyroo New Member
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    I've been gathering this too... kinda sucks. Hoping to get an R56 in to mess with. Eventually I'll need a test car for that platform. Your's is mostly stock right? ;):lol: (yes i'm kidding)

    - andrew
     
  12. danf

    danf New Member

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    I'd be interested in the coilover. The lack of an adjustment knob wouldn't bother me as long as the shock curves match the spring rates. For the springs I would want linear narrow type 2.5" width springs. I would want the rear rate to be approximately 35% stiffer than the front rate. I would like the shocks to be an easily rebuildable type like a Bilstein. I wouldn't need camber plates but would like these to work with Vorschlag plates.

    I can wait for these as I'm not looking to upgrade at this time.
     
  13. andyroo

    andyroo New Member
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    You nailed a couple things we are looking at for the coilovers. The good thing about the coilovers is that they will work for R53 and R56. We work quite a bit with Vorshlag by the way and they probably would be the plates we package with the coilovers as an option.

    Right now we pretty much have to choose between doing R53 or R56 springs first. That's a tough call. Selfishly I want R53 springs for my own car but perhaps there are more buyers out there for the R56. Any thoughts on that?

    - Andrew
     
  14. Zeyk_Shade

    Zeyk_Shade Member

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    I'd be interested in the coilovers that you're describing at that price point. I can't slam my car due to my driveway(my Impreza makes short work of it, my R53, not so much).
     
  15. BThayer23

    BThayer23 Well-Known Member

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    There was a hole in the R53 market for a linear moderate drop spring until TSW (now WMW) started selling theirs. H-sports were the spring to have for a few years (circa 2003-2007), but they're progressive. The same hole existed in the R56 market for about 2 years, but it seems performance drivers are gravitating towards the TSW, ABF 127-spec, and NM Engineering springs. I'm sure you're aware of the competition.

    However, one thing that almost nobody offers is revised bump stops. Most spring manufacturers just recommend cutting the existing bump stop in half, but then the shock dust guard wiggles around, and it seems inadequate. Integrate a revised bump stop and you might be on to something.
     
  16. andyroo

    andyroo New Member
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    The problem is those springs still lower the car too much IMO. Yes, .75 to 1.2 inches for some of those listed is still "mild" to some, but on a MINI especially there's just so much to gain by NOT going that low.

    A reviesed bumpstop is complicated by the dustboot but I agree that would make a nice little addition.

    - Andrew
     
  17. Redbeard

    Redbeard JCW: because fast is fun!
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    I'm VERY interested. I don't have VW syndrome where the car has to be slammed just cuz. I really don't mind the stock ride height at all.

    I have an R56 that I autox (in STX, just because I run street tires not R-Comps) and run HPDE's (considering running Enthusiast Class in RTA next year too). I would be all about a spring that would work with the stock shock and not slam the car but give me a better spring rate.
     
  18. andyroo

    andyroo New Member
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    ^ great to hear! you sound like the kind of person that would be a good fit for these springs.

    hopefully some updates in the next few weeks.

    - andrew
     
  19. Redbeard

    Redbeard JCW: because fast is fun!
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    Well, if I wasn't on the wrong coast I'd offer mine up as a test mule. :D
     
  20. andyroo

    andyroo New Member
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    So, I'm not sure where to proceed. The feedback here has been really great. I posted threads on NAM and I'd say it hasn't gone quite as well. Not terrible, but it's definitely a different crowd and unfortunately a larger one.

    Overall I'm not sure if we will go ahead with the projects. The coilovers have the advantage of fitting both platforms and thus there's more of a market, but it's a much bigger risk for us to commit to. We're just scared of having 50 or 100 sets of coilovers made, then selling 3 or 4. Same goes for springs.

    I guess what we're looking for is a vendor to work with that has a good presence and can work with us on developing and selling good quality suspension parts.

    - Andrew
     

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