Suspension upgrades for autox - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Suspension upgrades for autox

(11-09-2011 08:36 AM)Chill2008 Wrote:
Setup target - Brands
Mild - Racing Beat springs and sways, Koni FSD shocks
Medium - Mazdaspeed Acc. springs, Cobb sways, and Koni Yellow shocks
Hot - Tein S-Tech springs, Hotchkis sways, and Bilstein shocks
Hotter - BC coilovers, JBR sways
Wild - Mazdaspeed Acc./KW3 coilovers, Tri-point sways
Racecar - super high spring rates (600-1000 lbs.), no front bar and huge rear bar, AWR strut housings, custom valved Koni SAs


I found this list on a non Mazda forum and though I would post it up to get some feedback from Mazda 3 owners.

I am thinking that I would like to upgrade my suspension for autox in the spring and would love to get some advice.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 09:59 PM
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Haha the BC's will probably cause a little debate! Lol....




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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2012, 12:17 AM
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how did you find it on a non mazda forum but it includes mazdaspeed coilovers, racingbeat and tripoint
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2012, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Mazda 3 owner asking autox crowd.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-10-2012, 08:36 AM
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Haha wow, I wrote that on my local car club's forum like a year ago.

If you notice the progression, BC coilovers are entry level coilovers and they were what I considered the most popular brand of the cheaper priced options at that time. The point was that they offer higher spring rates and more adjustability over the spring/strut combos.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 07:18 PM
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That list is bunk, what a load of nonsense.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by tripleskate View Post
That list is bunk, what a load of nonsense.
Why? I got a long list of posts like this on the club's forum, but nobody enlightened us as to why. And don't say brand names.

Look past the brand names and look at the numbers. Each step is higher spring rates, lower drop, bigger bars, and more adjustability. Theoretically yielding better performance with each step. We can argue all day about brand names and quality, but that wasn't the context of the list in the first place. The kid wanted a progressive "stage 1,2,3..." setup list with brand name association, so I took 2 minutes to put together the list of brands that popped to mind fitting his criteria.

FWIW: the tread title was streetable autocross setup. Obviously "streetable" is subjective...there are people in this world who think spring rates above 200 is not streetable. If the list's target was autocross only, then yes this isn't a good list.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 12:15 PM
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That's just not how "performance" works. Stiffer =/= faster or better, ESPECIALLY in an Autocross where the pavement is likely to be rougher and de facto less grippy than a racetrack. For example, H-Stock Mazda3's in our area run faster times when they "upgrade" to Mazda5 oem shocks which are softer and have more suspension travel, simply because they absorbs bumpy pavement and keep the tire in contact with the ground much better. This is especially crucial for our cars and their open-diff one tire fires that occur even at partial throttle in 2nd gear.
Long story short, your suspension should only be as stiff as you have tire grip for, otherwise it's just a waste of money. Also, adjustability is rarely a good thing for the Average Joe, as most people don't even begin to understand how to tune suspensions for optimum grip, they just say "crank the shocks to max stiff, must be better." The best mods for any sort of racing: tires, and driver mod.


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripleskate View Post
That's just not how "performance" works. Stiffer =/= faster or better, ESPECIALLY in an Autocross where the pavement is likely to be rougher and de facto less grippy than a racetrack. For example, H-Stock Mazda3's in our area run faster times when they "upgrade" to Mazda5 oem shocks which are softer and have more suspension travel, simply because they absorbs bumpy pavement and keep the tire in contact with the ground much better. This is especially crucial for our cars and their open-diff one tire fires that occur even at partial throttle in 2nd gear.
That may be true in your area, but I garantee you nobody at nationals is running anything close to OEM anything shocks...if they don't do it there must be something to this stiffer = faster. I'm also listing this as a package deal. I'm not picking out just the shocks. I'm also talking about mods outside of SCCA Stock rules...more Street Touring. Where undoubtedly, stiffer is faster...obviously like everything else in life...to a point. Our club (which once again is the context in which this list comes from) doesn't use SCCA rules anyway, we use the NASA-X points based system. I have $5k worth of mods on my car and I'm still in the same class as when it was bone stock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tripleskate View Post
Long story short, your suspension should only be as stiff as you have tire grip for, otherwise it's just a waste of money. Also, adjustability is rarely a good thing for the Average Joe, as most people don't even begin to understand how to tune suspensions for optimum grip, they just say "crank the shocks to max stiff, must be better." The best mods for any sort of racing: tires, and driver mod.
Agree with matching suspension with grip. Absolutely agree with the best mods being tires and driver. These were clearly expressed in the club's thread that this list was pulled from. I agree as well with your adjustability assessment to a degree. Yes, Average Joe is going to do exactly/or exactly opposite of what you described. Or Average Joe could show some intuative and ask questions and learn and experiment if he is truely interested in going faster.

I am one who supports not driving daily in full autocross trim. When I go racing I adjust sway bar stiffness, rear ride height, compression and damping settings, front toe, as well as putting on my sticky street tires. I'll add camber to that list when I get plates. Adjustability in my mind isn't just for tuning, it's for livability on the street too. Lastly, a great autocross setup on a 3 is not terribly rewarding on a mountain road. It's nice to be able to somewhat neutralize the car.

My experience in my 3 is stiff + low + adjustable + sticky street tires = multiple seconds faster than stock no matter what the surface condition is.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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This is great info. So the next step is turning this into some recommendations. I am new to autox but already placing top 10 in every race I enter and have taken first in novice for the last 4 races. With the season ending I am hoping to spend some time in the off season learning how to help the car. Tires is a definite. Suspension is next...
How about Swift springs as a start?
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