Thank you Onasled Racing and TSW...

Discussion in 'Track Days & HPDE's' started by Bimmer Lite, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Background
    Well, this suspension thing has been a long saga for me, some of which I'll update in this thread. But the long and the short of it is that my MINI is handling like never before!

    I'm putting this in the track forum because it culminates with an amazing three-day event at Lightning (NJMP).

    Purchase
    After going back and forth about which suspension to put on my car, I finally decided on TSW's KW V2 setup with 450 lb/in front and 500 lb/in springs.

    Install
    Greg from Onasled Racing helped me through the decision, and given his experience setting up quick MINIs (as well as making his own custom race MINI), I thought it'd be a great idea for him to do the install and setup for the car. This was a good decision.

    I dropped the car off to Greg and he began by dyno-testing the KW springs. KW must have sent a weird pair of rears, because they ended up being progressive, which is not what I was looking for.

    As always, TSW's customer support was second to none. They weren't happy about the test results, and were as confused as we were. They accepted the springs back and will send them to KW for more testing. Obviously this is an exception and not a rule for these KW springs - I've seen others who have tested theirs and all is good. The lesson, though, is to test your springs/shocks before you install!

    So, we got around that hurdle (time was an issue) by ordering some Hypercoils with similar spring rates. If you're interested in the dynos for the KWs and the Hypers, PM me and I can help you out.

    I also purchased the Vorshlag camber plates (the ones TSW used to sell), which are beautiful pieces. It turns out that my IE adjustables had completely failed, and the only thing attaching my front suspension to the car was the weight of the car itself. Scary:eek:!

    Pics
    Here's a shot of the corner-balancing:
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    My car's "stance" before:
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    With my track wheels/tires (205/50 azenis on 15x7 slipstream):
    [​IMG]

    Greg also had a set of used 949 Racing 15x8 6ULs on basically new 225/45 Toyo R888s. Obviously, I had to snatch those up, too. Here's a pic of basic install, before any setup:
    [​IMG]

    When I picked up the car, it looked like this:
    [​IMG]

    Then I put on my street wheels/tires (16in x-lites, 205/50 GSD3):
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    Front clearance closeup:
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    Rear clearance closeup:
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    In order to get everything to fit, we had to use a 5mm H&R spacer in the rear, and Greg had to do some shaving of the inner plastic flares. Also, to get the 949s to fit properly (for track work), Greg made some hub-centering rings out of aluminum.

    Here's how the car sits on the track wheels/tires (in the Lightning paddock):
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    Street Impressions
    The car is really freakin' low. I scrape the plastic thing that hangs down from the front on almost everything. This was to be expected, though, because prior to setup, I told Greg to set it up as best he can for the track since the car sees limited street work.

    At first I was shocked at how smooth the setup was with the shocks set in the middle of their rebound setting. Then it started to wear on me a bit and the bouncing was a little tiring. The shocks/springs handled imperfections in the road well, but the new camber plates, witch put nothing between the suspension and the body except metal, make for much more noise and harshness. Hitting a pothole is rough. Good thing I never conceived this to be a decent street setup.

    Track Impressions
    The car is completely transformed. We kept the RSB (H&R 19mm) on full stiff, and Greg aligned and corner-balanced the car.

    Turn-in is instantaneous, weight transfer is much less dramatic, and it literally sticks to the road and does whatever I ask it to. It only pushed when I made stupid errors; the rule of the weekend was balanced cornering with slight oversteer (which is how I like it).

    Obviously, a lot of this transformation has to do with the addition of R-comp tires. It did take me a while to actually trust them, but once I got used to the rubber and the suspension, we were flying.

    My instructor, who also drives a MINI (stock suspension on Hoosiers) said at least three times: "Your car handles SO much better than mine; this car is set up perfectly; what else do you have in this thing!" hahaha I wanted him to drive it for a few laps, but it never worked out.

    Some action shots
    [​IMG]

    Entering the "lightbulb" and proceeding through it. This is a +- 80 mph banked bulb, one late apex, get to full throttle ASAP since it leads to the front straight. I was getting to +-120 on the front straight after this turn.
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    This last picture is at full-throttle, at the limit moving right towards the track out cone and onto the front straight. The car looks well-balanced and felt that way, too.

    This full-caged M3 was a lot faster than I was!
    [​IMG]

    Two MINIs and a Corvette (both MINIs were a lot quicker than the Vette):
    [​IMG]

    Whoever bought the Nuzzo racecar was in my group (didn't get a chance to meet him):
    [​IMG]

    Lightning is an excellent track, one I definitely prefer to NJMP's Thunderbolt. There are spots where the HP cars have the advantage, like coming out of 7 (the 90 degree left), but a smoothly-driven car that can keep its momentum is really rewarded here.

    Excellent weekend put on by the NJ and DelVal CCA chapters - can't say enough about what they do for us.

    And the car was incredible. I stopped counting how many people would walk by it in the paddock, look under it, examine the hood, look for the suspension, scratch their heads and then ask, "what's in this thing?!" I'd just say, "A great suspension and a magical setup :D"

    - Marc
     
  2. M^Cubed

    M^Cubed Member

    May 24, 2009
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    Very cool!

    One thing I don't get though is how some vendors do the higher spring up front and others do them in the back.

    I am currently apart of the higher up front club with the Cross setup.
     
  3. goaljnky

    goaljnky New Member

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    #3 goaljnky, Aug 25, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
    I am not an engineer and I don't stay at the Holiday Inn unless me and Snoop are chillin' with our peeps, but with an average weight distribution of about 60/40 on a Mini it would make sense to have stiffer springs up front. Even if you are stiffening up the back to loosen it up and to induce rotation it would seem unlikely that the rears should be stiffer then the fronts.

    Can anyone confirm or deny?
     
  4. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Don't know the specifics of it either - just left that one up to Greg, and it was supported by some other people I speak with at the track (FWD, front engine). I'll try to find out and post back in a bit.

    - Marc
     
  5. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    #5 Bimmer Lite, Aug 25, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
    So, I'm not an engineer either, and I stayed at the country inn this weekend, but here goes:

    - stiffening up the rear for better rotation is one reason
    - motion ratios is the other. Ask your local expert for an explanation, because I know mine won't suffice. Greg tried to explain motion ratios to me, but I'm hopeless, as are many of us who just sort of repeat stuff that's said by people who actually do the work and the math.

    For a full explanation that's not diluted through me, give Greg an e-mail.

    In any event, whatever the engineering behind it is, it works for me so far!

    - Marc
     
  6. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    #6 Nathan, Aug 25, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
    Greg is welcome to join the site and add to the discussion.

    Use the Invite a Friend feature found in the main menu. Sends off an email with a link, and you get credit for the referral adding a ticket to the Referral Contest drawing.
     
  7. goaljnky

    goaljnky New Member

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    Marc,

    What were you running before. Did you by chance get to compare the before and after times on the same track?
     
  8. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Stock suspension before. Lap times? No, sorry I do driving schools and not timed events.

    - Marc
     
  9. M^Cubed

    M^Cubed Member

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    How are those 888's holding up for HPDE?
     
  10. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    This was my first time on any r-comp tire, and as everyone says, the difference in grip is substantial. I was still heating them up significantly and could still feel them going away as I would with my Azenis, but their ceiling is just so much higher. Wear after the event (they were slightly used when I picked them up) looks to be normal - still lots of tread left for rain excursions (of which I had one on Saturday).

    I started them at 32 psi, and when I'd check them hot, they were at 38-39, but this is after a cool-down lap and some time in the paddock, so I'm thinking they were up around 40-42 hot, which might be a bit too much.

    - Marc
     
  11. M^Cubed

    M^Cubed Member

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    Keep us updated about the spring choice. I'm holding off on installing mine until I hear a little more about this.
     
  12. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    I can understand the purity and no timing devices rule for an HPDE but we still keep a watch on each other at least informally in the paddock. Otherwise it's hard to see progress.
     
  13. Ryephile

    Ryephile New Member

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    #13 Ryephile, Aug 26, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
    Congrats on the TSW/KW V2 setup :Thumbsup: It looks like Greg really took care of you. I like his corner weighting "plates" so there's easy access to drop links and spring perches. :yesnod: That is strange your 500Lb/In were wonky out of the box. That is strange coming from KW. Perhaps they picked the wrong item off the shelf. You should be able to reference the silk-screened part number on the spring with KW's race catalog.

    Your spring rates, sway bar choice, and driving impressions certainly align. For those wanting a more neutral setup would opt for same spring rates front & rear with the same RSB. For those wanting to run stiffer swaybars [like H-Sport Comp front & rear] to make highway cruising more comfortable and get the same dynamic wheel rate would opt for 400Lb/In front & rear. The reason different coilover solutions offer varying spring rates has everything to do with their intended purpose and the anti-roll bars they choose to use with them.

    The R888 should handle HPDE's just fine; it's what they're made for! While I haven't run them personally, I'd assume hot pressures of 42 aren't way off base. To keep the rear end in-check, I'd opt to run a few PSI less in back. Next time out, play with the pressures, but initially shoot for something like 39 hot front and 36 hot rear. That is a bit less than where I start with my Hoosiers, which typically need a bit more pressure than other tires.

    Cheers,
    Ryan
     
  14. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Yea, I see that, but I'm just not into it. Weird, right? There are so many variables in a driving school environment that I'd doubt you could find an accurate lap time to go on anyway, especially from someone holding a watch in the paddock! And you're right - it's not the spirit of the event.

    And I guess this comes down to our definitions of "progress." If that = lap times for some, then that's cool. If that = trying and being able to do different lines, techniques, etc..., then I guess that's cool too.

    You won't see any video cameras in my car anytime soon, either.

    - Marc
     
  15. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    #15 Bimmer Lite, Aug 26, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
    Will do. If I were you, I'd start asking around. It also depends on your ultimate goals - are you looking for a dual-purpose car, or do you think it'll be a track car at some point? Also, how do you like the car to handle? For me, I'm very comfortable with the tail being twitchy. One thing to remember is that the MINI's suspension is NOT balanced out of the box - it understeers like a pig, right? I hate that, so I wanted to do what I could to balance it. My car is not dangerous by any stretch of the imagination. I definitely could have gone for stiffer springs all around and even stiffer rear springs. To the point, I had one session in a monsoon - the entire track was standing water - and the handling was as predictable as it was in the dry. Understeer for ham-handedness, and oversteer for ham-footedness (abruptness on/off the brakes, in turns, etc...).

    Not that racing is a realistic goal for most, but I wonder what we'll find if we can get the spring rates for FWD racecars like the Koni Civics, MINIs, Acuras, etc...

    Edit - that reminds me of something Randy Smalley said about his racecars' rear sway bars: they couldn't buy one stiff enough, so they had to make it themselves.

    - Marc
     
  16. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Thanks! There was an odd marking on the springs that seemed to show a range of rates; I think at the end of this we are going to find out that they just put the wrong springs in there as well.

    Yea, the R888s represent a new learning curve for me.

    One thing I haven't quite grasped yet is what the best way is to go about adjusting the V2s for performance. Greg set them to near the middle range, and it was a bit bouncy. I stiffened the rear to 3 clicks from full stiff and the front to 5 clicks from full stiff. I liked this better since oversteer was quicker and less dramatic.

    The adjustment is just for rebound, correct? Any tips?

    And sorry for the multiple posts to respond to quotes - when I press the multiquote button it doesn't insert the material, or perhaps I'm doing something wrong.

    - Marc
     
  17. Ryephile

    Ryephile New Member

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    Hey Marc,

    Since TSW and KW valved the meat of the damping curve for the 60 N/mm springs they normally include with the V2's. As such, your much stiffer springs will require significantly more rebound damping. I would take TSW's recommended setup sheet and go a handful of clicks harder on rebound to start with. Yes, the adjustment on the V2's is for rebound only. From what I've gathered it should be broadband rebound, meaning both high and low speed. It sounds like you've changed the rebound to be pretty close to the hard end of the scale, so I'd guess that you're pretty close to where you need to be.

    In the seat, the car should never feel bouncy nor sharp/jolting. There will be a happy medium where the spring rate will be critically damped by the damper. It will feel firm [especially with your 500 Lb/In rear spring] but not bouncy or jolting. Bouncy means you need more rebound, and jolting or hammering means you have too much rebound. Find those bookends and then center it.

    The KW race springs should have markings something like "80-170*" and "90-140*" for you, assuming they're the same straight-from-the-catalog of KW Competition just like I have on my TSW/KW V3's. The first number is spring rate in N/mm, and the second number is free length in millimeters.

    Cheers,
    Ryan
     
  18. cct1

    cct1 Well-Known Member
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    Marc,

    When you get a chance, could you measure your ride height on all four corners on your track tires (BTW, --since you're corner balanced (and I'm not), I'd love to see where you ended up for my own personal selfish reasons. Which size 15's on the Toyo's did you end up with--225/45 (that's what it looks like in the picture)?

    I love the setup too--my springs aren't as tight as yours, but it's really a nice setup. I may have been too low to begin with, I raised up a bit, now I'm too high, car felt much better lower...I really need to get to a good suspension shop!
     
  19. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Ride height, according to Greg's documentation that came with the car after install:

    Front: 3" from bottom of jack pads
    Rear: 3.75 from bottom of jack pads

    That's with the track tires (225/45/15 R888).

    I refuse to mess with ride height on my own because it seems to me that it would then change the alignment settings which I am not equipped to manage/change/check on my own. So the ride height stays. I should also mention that Greg shimmed the inner ball joints to keep the roll center in-tact.

    I feel great about going with TSW's setup - I wish the springs would have worked out, but the Hypercoils dynoed as well as a set of good KWs would have, so I'm not too worried about it.

    - Marc
     
  20. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Thanks, that's what my behind told me - that the stiffer setting was actually more compliant and better behaved. There was a high line available through that bulb that a lot of cars were taking (and then diving down to the apex), but my car hated it because it was bumpy up there. After I stiffened the shocks, it was fine up there, but definitely felt quicker on a lower line. Well, I don't know if it was quicker, but I was carrying more speed there which = 5-8 more mph at the end of the straight. Don't yell at me - I wasn't looking at the speedo, it was my instructor!

    - Marc
     

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