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Discussion Starter #1
I've read over all the stickies and done some research myself and I feel like now that I somewhat know what I'm talking about, I'm ready to post.
My Current Setup(daily driver)
98 coupe DX
Progress Racing Coilovers (350lb front 250lb rear)
ebay strut bars
205x50x15 Falken Ziex 912's

My Plan For The Car
I will be doing a lot of mountain driving (switchbacks and tight turns) I need something responsive and tight. Decreased understear and weight.

What I Need Help With
I want to tighten up my suspension. I was wondering how effective aftermarket LCA's and Tie Bars really are? I am also considering installation of sway bars (which is a pain for the DX). Will that throw off my balance? Will I need to do both front and rear to neutralize my suspension as much as possible? What would you guys recommend for sway bar sizes for my suspension set up? Also what are your experiences with bushings, if I am already taking everything out, should I replace those? Any other suggestions as well would be awesome!

Thanks so much!
-sikeitsryan
 

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93 DelSol S, 95 DelSol Si, 01 Odyssey EX, 04 CRV EX
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Best bang for your buck:

Full bushing kit.

Energy suspension/prothane. Do them ALL. The master kit, and the trailing arm bushings (sold separate). Theres also a few others not in the kit... toe arm, camber arm, etc. do them ALL. This will be your #1 benefitial increase over some struts and springs.

Second: braces. strut tower and pillar braces. A LCA tie bar is ok too. Key: Stiffen the body. H braces are trash and a waste of $.

third: Struts and good coilovers. The only slip-on coilover I will ever recommend are GroundControl. IF you can get the dual spring type, even better. The more you pay, the better the quality IMHO. This is how it is in the strut/spring world.


These will be the best options for handling, over all else.


My 4D civic railed like a champ once I did the ES bushings.

OMG... what a difference. all on stock suspension otherwise.


When I did the works to the ricemobile; I was set on the bushing kits, and on the GC coilovers. Great handling.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've been looking into the Koni/GC setup actually! I'm stuck on which spring rate to go with.

On the second note, I can't seem to find to any pillar braces. If you could point me in a direction that'd be awesome.
I will check out some bushings for sure! Thanks a lot for the help.
 

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93 DelSol S, 95 DelSol Si, 01 Odyssey EX, 04 CRV EX
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just find one that fits the passenger between the seatbelt hangers, ebay. Usually they will come in a kit of all 5 or more depending on model. some make an X brace for the rear.
 

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If you're going to do bushings do Hardrace / PIC Suja. I've just never been a fan of poly bushings, especially the RTA bushing.

LCA's are useless with the exception that they come with "new bushings".

Strut tower braces I'm not a huge fan of unless they tie into some other point on the body, for example.



Both of those I approve of. the bars that tie in at two points just move in parallel with the chassis.

Same goes for lower tie bars, mine was USELESS.

Here's my recommendations:

1) Tires, they're the most important. 300 tread rating or less.
2) Bushings.
3) MASSIVE rear sway bar, no front. I know it sounds weird but it'll help your car rotate in the turns.
4) Konis/GC/Eibach's (preferably 350 fr 450 rr)
5) Braces.

I'M ASSUMING THAT YOU'RE MAKING THESE RUNS AT LEGALLY POSTED SPEED. Otherwise I'd have to lock this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Of course all posts I make are assuming legal speed limits are followed and any modifications are for safety purposes only!

On the topic of sway bars and suspension though.
Wouldn't the stiffer rear springs add to the amount of understeer I'd get? (that's what I got from the stickied suspension FAQ thread). I might not be understanding that correctly.

Also Jared, I'm assuming you're talking about the B-pillar? I've been looking for a brace for that but I can't seem to find one. I might just fabricate one if I can find the right material but from what Awebb said, I'd want it to connect to another part of the body correct? Would connecting it to the lower seat belt bolts be enough support?

Thank you guys.

[Edit] Side note: that strut bar in the first picture was something I was trying to get, I noticed that my stock DX intake manifold was getting in the way. I found a Auto EX IM and tried to swap but was having idle troubles (of course) and ended up spending 2 weeks going through this site trying to find a solution but with no luck I just put the DX IM back in:/
 

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On the topic of sway bars and suspension though.
Wouldn't the stiffer rear springs add to the amount of understeer I'd get? (that's what I got from the stickied suspension FAQ thread). I might not be understanding that correctly.
Just the opposite actually, stiffening the rear end will make the car feel more solid in the turn (i.e. less rotation of the body about the for/aft axis would generate more rotation about the vertical Z axis).

I.E. reduce the back end from doing this:



You'll increase the back end doing this:


less the tire smoke.

The converse, stiffening the front end will have the same effect on the front. Thus providing more understeer. This is why I tend to stay away from front sway bars and front braces.

FWIW, most top autocrossers that run the Civic platform use a similar setup.

Word of caution though, understeer is easier to manage than oversteer. Hence why most cars are designed to understeer.

Also Jared, I'm assuming you're talking about the B-pillar? I've been looking for a brace for that but I can't seem to find one. I might just fabricate one if I can find the right material but from what Awebb said, I'd want it to connect to another part of the body correct? Would connecting it to the lower seat belt bolts be enough support?

Thank you guys.
Yes he's referring to the B-pillar. Lower seat belt bracket should actually provide a very sturdy chassis point. I've always liked the looks of the X braces to be honest.

This one for instance:
 

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Side note: that strut bar in the first picture was something I was trying to get, I noticed that my stock DX intake manifold was getting in the way. I found a Auto EX IM and tried to swap but was having idle troubles (of course) and ended up spending 2 weeks going through this site trying to find a solution but with no luck I just put the DX IM back in:/
Sorry to go off topic but, you need to get that thing back on! Maybe make a new thread or just bump your old one and we will get it figured out. Did your intake manifold happen to come from a 99-00 EX?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That actually makes a lot of sense!
It's interesting how all the concepts I've learned in my physics classes are now being put into effect in something I love so much. (stay in school kids!)

I really like the way the X braces look too, especially on that RHD teg!! The only thing is I would like to keep my trunk available. Does anyone manufacture the type of brace that would connect to both seat belt brackets? I haven't been able to find anything.

Thank you for that warning as well. I will take the modifications one step at a time so I don't go from one end of the suspension spectrum to the other in one leap. It's definitely something I'll have to get used to seeing how I've been driving a car designed to understeer like you said.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sorry to go off topic but, you need to get that thing back on! Maybe make a new thread or just bump your old one and we will get it figured out. Did your intake manifold happen to come from a 99-00 EX?
I'm not sure to be honest. I will definitely be pursuing that again I'm just waiting for a good break from work and school to be able to work on problems as they come up. Like I said this is a DD so I can't have it be out of commission for a while!

Once I have the proper time I'll be sure to start a thread, post pictures of everything, and try to get that back on there. Thanks for your concern though, I have to admit you guys on this site are pretty damn awesome! haha
 

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Your sway bar selection should be largely based on your spring rates. Considering it is a street car I have always used and recommended relatively low spring rates and stiff sway bars as a means of maintaining driveabillity but still posessing good handling characteristics.

There is also a great deal of personal preference that goes into setting up a car and other issues of suspension dynamics to account for. For example, Johnny Autocrosser may love a stiff rear bar with no front bar but Joe Hillclimber finds it to be too tail happy.

Also, while removing the front bar may help with getting the car to rotate, it will also increase front body roll, how much will largely be determined by your front spring rates.

The best thing you can do to increase the handling of your vehicle is 1) Get the best tire that you can afford and 2) Worry less about buying suspension parts and more about fine tuning the knucklehead behind the wheel.

Spend $40 and attend a local autocross. Get firsthand experience of the limits of yourself and of your car in a safe environment. THEN worry about buying parts once you have a better idea of how to prioritize where you should spend your money.

While we are on the subject and to drive home my point, do you know how to take advantage of "rotation" in a front wheel drive car? Perhaps you do, but many people reading this do not (aside from what they may have read). Once you have determined this yourself first hand by actually driving your car (not reading about how to do it), then I say you should start figuring out how you want your suspension set up.
 

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^^ Very good points there ^^

Autocross is great. By the end of my first day doing it I had dialed in the suspension settings to the point I was steering the car with the pedals as much as the wheel.

Learned an incredible amount about the car I thought I knew too.
 

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I had GC's and Tokico Blues with 250 fr 400 rr on my crx.

It handled like a champion, but you almost needed a back brace to ride down the street on it.

I daily drove it and you get used to it.

Next setup I would use is going to be GC's and Koni Yellow's 250 fr and 300 rr with a thick rear sway bar.

Reasons: The amount of under steer was very little and easy to handle with my old setup, it was just too bouncy. So a thick rear sway bar may compensate the under steer from the softer rear springs. Also: The Koni Yellow's kick Tokico Blues butt 8)

Have fun on the mountain :TU:
 

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I've been thinking about what Atmosfear posted and to be honest (I know my advice contradicts his) but I agree with him.

I'm coming at it from Johnny Autocrosser and driving on a road course or even doing a canyon pas might take a more evenly tuned suspension.

Autocrosses typically see large amount of load over a very short amount of time, what you're doing will see a slightly smaller amount of load over a much longer amount of time (in comparison).

So ya, just play around with it but definitely start with tires and bushings!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Spend $40 and attend a local autocross. Get firsthand experience of the limits of yourself and of your car in a safe environment. THEN worry about buying parts once you have a better idea of how to prioritize where you should spend your money.

While we are on the subject and to drive home my point, do you know how to take advantage of "rotation" in a front wheel drive car? Perhaps you do, but many people reading this do not (aside from what they may have read). Once you have determined this yourself first hand by actually driving your car (not reading about how to do it), then I say you should start figuring out how you want your suspension set up.
Thanks for mentioning that, I should definitely get out to an autocross event. Up to this point I've thought of autocross as just something fun that you would do on the weekend but like you said it would be a great (and safe) opportunity to push my self and my car as far as I can. I think you're very right about what you said regarding working on my driving before my car. I actually don't know much about rotation in a front wheel drive car. Do you think you could elaborate?
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
^^ Very good points there ^^

Autocross is great. By the end of my first day doing it I had dialed in the suspension settings to the point I was steering the car with the pedals as much as the wheel.

Learned an incredible amount about the car I thought I knew too.

I definitely need to find an autocross event around me soon! It's funny that you mention this though because while I was practicing on the hill today (at legal posted speed) I started to get a new found feel for the effects of breaking an acceleration within my turn. Previously, I would break to what I thought was a safe speed before entering the turn (stupid). I was thinking on the way to the mountain about what Awebb had said regarding the axises (axees?) the car rotates on and started applying that to my driving.

What I Think I Learned (correct me if I'm wrong please!)
1. Breaking and Gas shift the momentum and weight of a car enough to have serious effects on the turn
2. Breaking moves the momentum of the car forward placing more weight on the front
3. Breaking heavily into the turn will cause understeer because the car will be more inclined (hill pun) to continue its forward movement rather than turn.
4. Breaking at the end of the turn will have the opposite effect. The front of the car will have exited the turn but the back end still has to come around thus the decreased weight will cause it to oversteer.

I'm assuming acceleration will have the adverse effects but for some reason I wasn't thinking about acceleration and was more focused on the breaking.

[EDIT] There's a huge difference between knowing the concepts and knowing where, when, and how to apply them. I need to work on that.
 

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3 & 4 need some work.

Braking hard into a corner is fine. To a certain point.


Braking hard into a corner won't cause understeer unless you actually lock the wheels. You want most if not all of your braking done before you start to corner hard.

The front wheels have a lot of work to do and they only take load in multiple directions to a certain point then you reach the limit of adhesion.

A tire that is trying to go faster or slower than the car will tend to want to slip more than one that is rolling at the same speed as the car when asked to do the same corner.

Braking at the end of a turn is almost unheard of. Unless its a chicane with a tight second turn or something like that. The car scrubs speed off while cornering off-throttle, and if you're braking post apex then chances are its because you slid, took a bad line or otherwise fucked up and now you're trying to save the car from hitting whatever it is you see coming toward you at XXmph
 

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The short version of it is, it's a balance between grip and weight.

EDIT:

I definitely need to find an autocross event around me soon! It's funny that you mention this though because while I was practicing on the hill today (at legal posted speed) I started to get a new found feel for the effects of breaking an acceleration within my turn. Previously, I would break to what I thought was a safe speed before entering the turn (stupid). I was thinking on the way to the mountain about what Awebb had said regarding the axises (axees?) the car rotates on and started applying that to my driving.

What I Think I Learned (correct me if I'm wrong please!)
1. Breaking and Gas shift the momentum and weight of a car enough to have serious effects on the turn
2. Breaking moves the momentum of the car forward placing more weight on the front
3. Breaking heavily into the turn will cause understeer because the car will be more inclined (hill pun) to continue its forward movement rather than turn.
4. Breaking at the end of the turn will have the opposite effect. The front of the car will have exited the turn but the back end still has to come around thus the decreased weight will cause it to oversteer.

I'm assuming acceleration will have the adverse effects but for some reason I wasn't thinking about acceleration and was more focused on the breaking.

[EDIT] There's a huge difference between knowing the concepts and knowing where, when, and how to apply them. I need to work on that.
Autocrosses are an excellent cheap way to get a lot of seat time and find out what your car will do under sudden load changes. Because I've been through a ton of events I can immediately feel when my car is understeering on my way home (there's one overpass that I can feel it on), it's so subtle that most people don't feel the limit but I know where to back off at. I terrify other people who ride with me on occasion (not cause I'm driving recklessly but because I'm taking turns at just below speed, which they're not used to).

Going into a turn is an interesting experiment in physics. I'm gonna break this down in steps cause I think it'll be easier to follow:

Assumptions: This is a left handed 90* turn that you're entering at speed.

Example:


1 ) As you enter the turn you apply the brakes hard, this in tern shifts the weight of the car forward compressing the front coil springs and shocks. This will lead to a counterclockwise rotation about the "Y" axis from above example.

Under this scenario you go from have 25% of the weight at each wheel (hypothetically) to having 70% of the weight at the front to 30% at the rear. Keep in mind I'm making these numbers up, for example purposes only.

2 ) Once the weight is shifted forward the front wheels now have an advantage, the have a greater capability to dictate where the car goes (they are after all supporting 70% of the weight).

3 ) At this point the driver turns the wheel to the left, the car responds by rotating about the "X" axis initially. Thus causing the passenger side to compress and the driver side to decompress. In this scenario the front pass tire has for example 40-50% of the load, the front dr tire has a reduced load, the rear dr tire has the least amount of load on it of the 4, and the rear pass tire has a slightly increased load. (Again, just using these numbers as a hypothetical).

When this compression happens the car is pitched about the roll center and can cause a rotation about the "Z" axis. Thus making the car "rotate" in a turn. NASCAR uses the phrase "Lose" or "Tight" to describe this.

4 ) Once the turn has been initiated the tire (if it loses grip) will understeer but if it maintains grip, it will sail on through the turn.

This is essentially what happens with load as you brake and make a turn. I'm not going to delve into camber and toe cause I'm just wanting to make a broad overview post.

NEXT, to address the 4 points you made.

1. Breaking and Gas shift the momentum and weight of a car enough to have serious effects on the turn Braking and gas do shift the momentum / weight of the car as I've discussed in the above example. Next time you're doing this try to feel and calculate which tire has the most load. Secondly, (something I didn't get into) gas can actually channge your steering angle. Yes it sounds weird but go find a parking lot and drive in a circle with the steering wheel locked at a specified angle, then only alternate the gas. This is called a Skid Pad, if you add more throttle in the middle of a turn you're more likely to oversteer because the front outside wheel will lose grip since the car will be rotating clockwise back about the "Y" axis (I.E. the nose will lift up), if you decrease speed the nose of the car will dive down and the effect of the steering angle will be greater (I.E. you'll see the car turn in slightly sharper).

2. Breaking moves the momentum of the car forward placing more weight on the front See above post, same concept kind of. You can also research "Trail Braking".

3. Breaking heavily into the turn will cause understeer because the car will be more inclined (hill pun) to continue its forward movement rather than turn. Actually lifting to hard will cause understeer, what you might be experiencing is to much braking entering a corner. Took a friend to an autocross once, he flew into every corner, locked up the fronts, turned the wheel as hard as he could, and nailed the throttle on the way out of the turn; he couldn't figure out why his times were getting worse. He was driving the car WAAAAAY to hard.

4. Breaking at the end of the turn will have the opposite effect. The front of the car will have exited the turn but the back end still has to come around thus the decreased weight will cause it to oversteer. This is possible (at least I can see it). If you are accelerating through turn and break at the end, you'll reduce the amount of weight over the rear and cause the nose to dive more left thus yielding a potential spin.

If anyone has anything to add/critique/disagree with, feel free to.
 

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If you don't want to read my experience just skip and go to next post and I will totally understand. Lol

I have a very bumpy pass the I use to take all the time to get home now I live in Fl so no hills but the road was not in best of shape so still diffacult to drive I learnd loads from driving it and soon i could run at 60 mph the whole time. speed limit was 55mph... In the straights.

My set up was new stock shocks Monroe's eBay coils in front as high as I could get them stock springs in back with subbox made the car level out a little and stock 19 mm front sway bar up front and 13mm rear sway bar in rear. I liked this set up better for this road then my current set because the road is so bumpy with my current set up the car become unsettled mid corner and would want to make the rear loose where with the softer spring the car would stay flat and the supention would take the bumps allowing me to accelerate through the corner with more confadence.

Current set up k sports 11k front 10k rear every thing else the same oh and poly bushing and stock 13 mm rear sway bar made the biggest difference in how the car handled much flatter cornering from the poly bushing compared to old wore out stuff.
 

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