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Suspension Newbie - Need Advice

Grant 302

basic and well known psychic
To the best of my knowledge, we didn't, but may have tried it at some point, I remember the Roush guys walking buy with about 6 rear bars in their hands, some looked like spaghetti strings, but we always seemed to graduate to the 18mm or no bar. Remember once the setup was dialed in fairly close, AJ and Kurt were making spring changes as low as 25#. Those guys, especially AJ, lived on the shock dyno and these days shocks mean about everything, in some ways that's unfortunate because you build a car around a $10K set of Penskes, what HPDE guy can afford that? That's one reason I say just bolt on the FRPP/FP stuff and live with it.
One takeaway for that is to spend the most on damping for whatever your budget is.

No regrets from me over the money spent on the CorteX JRi.

I think people generally undervalue what good or ‘well matched’ dampers will do for them.

Norm Peterson

Corner Barstool Sitter
I'm of two minds on the "buy everything from one manufacturer" rule. It's certainly the "easy button" approach, especially for components that affect wheel rate - springs, sway bars, shocks. A good suspension engineer (or a team of them at Ford) should be able to design those items to complement each other. The spring rate and sway bar rate are balanced for single-bump wheel rate, roll stiffness, and dive/squat control, and the shocks are valved to control the spring/swaybar rates. In addition, you should trust that parts that connect to each are designed to fit together properly.

OTOH, there are times when it may be desireable to substitute one of the items when using a suite of parts from one source. For example, I really like the gussetting on the upper "tab" of the Maximum Motorsports rear LCA brackets; it seems much more robust than the single-plane piece of thin plate steel used by most other manufacturers. Does it make a difference - I don't know, and all the other vendors seem to sell enough of their designs - but it's a personal choice I made. But I bought the upper & lower control arms and Watts link from BMR because I liked the engineering and price. Well, I did get the diff-to-UCA bronze bushing from Steeda because I think it has better motion compliance than the BMR urethane bushing, and I don't care about NVH (everything else is rod ends). So there's a second example. In both cases, it was a well-considered personal decision, and if things don't fit, I accept it's on me.

If you choose the "mix & match" route, to some extent you become the suspension engineer. Be prepared to accept all the research and development that may entail.
I see two sides to any "buy everything from one mfr" coin as well. It's easy, and if you ask no questions and just bolt everything up it will certainly work. You just won't know if different springs, or a different bar, would be any better for you.

Most OE-style springs with a claim to handling improvement over production-line OE seem to fall within a fairly narrow range of stiffness. So I'm afraid I can't see there being much difference whose lowering springs you'd choose when the stiffnesses are within a few lbs/in and the amounts lowered similar. Either way, you'd fine-tune with bar stiffnesses. Obviously in a race series where specific part numbers or part origins are specified, you don't have that freedom, but it's wide open for HPDE on the less serious end and at least less restrictive for TT classes at a more serious level.

Yes you do have to have some inkling about what you're trying to accomplish, and you do in essence become your own chassis & suspension engineer. But as a HPDE'er or an individual TT'er or W2W'er you're already wearing more hats than just a driver's helmet.


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