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What upgrades should I do before getting an alignment and corner balance?

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What upgrades should I do before getting an alignment and corner balance?

 
Old 07-12-2019, 06:49 AM
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Default What upgrades should I do before getting an alignment and corner balance?

I'm in a phase, where I'm all about improving handling. This is a "while I'm in there, might-as-well..." post.

The story starts off with the s2ki member Pinky working on my AP1, and finding damaged Lower ball joints. Okay, I can watch some youtube videos, learn to replace them.
Then I learned I need an alignment afterwards. I'm going to schedule an appointment at a suspension specialist (Performance Chassis in Cary, NC) to get that, and might-as-well get it corner balanced.

Since I'm paying for that service, I might-as-well add some upgrades that would also require an alignment afterwards:
  • Lower ball joints, Front and back - rubbers on all 4 are damaged from wear-tear.
  • Front and Rear Stabilizers for the sway bars - rubbers looks old and cracking.
  • Spoon rigid collar s2000 for the subframe.

Here's what I don't know:
  • Those Hardrace Front Offset Roll Center Adjusters peaked my interest. I just learned more about Roll Center, and I would like to improve that just for fun.
  • I don't know the benefits of aftermarket adjustable toe arms and tie rod ends.
  • I'm leaning towards NO on the full polyurethane bushing kit. Expensive, and I don't know if it's that much of a difference. My bushings and motor/tranny mounts are in good condition.
  • I don't know if I'm going to notice a difference in any of these upgrades since I'm not tracking this car.

Any other suggestions?

Notes about my Ap1:
  • I'm on 17x9 +42 wheels with 235/40 and 255/40 tires.
  • It's lowered only a little bit, from ground to the top of the wheel well fender liner is 24.75" (I actually don't know where I should measure for ride height)
  • I don't plan on lowering it by alot. I'm more about function, than form a the moment.
  • This is not my daily. I only take it out to drive on curvy backroads. Might get into autocross, but not taking it to the track. Can't afford the maintenance.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:41 AM
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What suspension do you have?

I would advise against the poly bushings. I know you already decided against them for cost. But I think they are a performance detriment, not an asset.

They add stiction. Big, hard bumps actually become smoother, as they easily overcome this stiction, and the poly then allows more suspension articulation. But smaller bumps, andmuch more importantly undulations in the road, there is often not enough force to initially overcome the stiction, and suspension doesn't articulate at all at first. Its like no movement, no movement then finally enough force and movement all at once. Kinda like trying to open a stubborn bag of potato chips, and you keep pulling harder and harder, then suddenly it lets go and chips go flying.

The other stiff you mention, roll center adjusters, adjustable toe arms, etc, are all things you only need if you're lowered to the point that these things need correcting. How much lower than stock are you going to be?
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:10 AM
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Do you have adjustable coilovers (Aka adjustable ride height) or just lowering springs? You need adjustable ride height to corner balance properly.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:26 AM
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And for your usage, I would agree on not dong the poly bushings or any of the toe arm or roll center adjusters. You will not need any of them to set the car up to handle great for your usage. And if you do autorcross, you cannot change anything that moves supsension pickup points in STR class, so some of those mods would move you squarely into prepared classes. You may not care about that, but if you do, read the SCCA solo rulebook closely as even most non scca clubs follow those rules.

Honestly, for your usage, I would recommend not lowering to an extreme amount (about an inch from stock is fine), running springs no stiffer than about 650F/500R. Most serious STR setups are much stiffer, but you pay for that on bumpy public roads. Get some good dampers to match those rates (revalved koni yellows are one option, but above the spring rates I mentioned do not perform as well due to the smaller piston diameters). Run a big front bar and if you want to make it even better, get some 17x9's with proper offsets to run a square setup (Aka +60mm offsets minium) and runn 255;s all around which also allows you to rotate them and even out the wear.

With all of that, stock camber adjustment should get you near -2.5 degrees all around which works pretty well. You could run ajustable balljoints and still be STR legal for autocross days and get more camber, but to be honest, I run -2.5 all around and have never felt it needed more for autox or short track HPDE's.
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:07 PM
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What suspension do you have?
fortune 500's
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:10 PM
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Yes, adjustable coilovers
Fortune Auto500 Series Version 3. Default spring rate, but I forget the rate. I didn't upgrade to the swift springs.
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:08 PM
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Depending on generation of FA, stock spring rates are like 9k or 10k, same spring front and rear.

With FA you have to run them at least about 1" lower than stock to keep the ipper front control arm from contacting tbeor massively hefty shock body. But that's about a perfect street ride height anyway. You don't really gain anything going lower than that(or even gain much going that low to begin with other than looks).

Lower them about an inch, which you need to do anyway, leave everything else stock except swaybars is my advice.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:30 PM
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Spoon sub frame and steering rigid collars, they work.
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