As I hinted at a couple weeks ago when writing about Ryan’s old SW20, I’ve bought in completely to the street class mentality. Part of me was afraid to do this because it seems so incredibly boring. The car stays plain. Tuning options are limited. I don’t get to go fast.
As I’ve known all along though… the right wheels can make any car interesting. Real important tuning is about fine tuning. The best way to go fast, is to drive faster.
So for 2017, my ZN6 will be exactly the same, but different.
I’ve been frustrated by the availability of 5X100 wheels. Of the few interesting wheels that I’ve managed to find, most have not been the appropriate size for CS. The Tecnocast Corsia, I had were, and I loved their look. For some reason I sold them… and maybe right here and now I am vowing to never again sell anything that I buy on YAJ.
Exchange rate to Japan right now, makes buying brand new wheels seem affordable in comparison though, especially when they can be quite lightweight. The Motegi Tracklites that I ran this year were a very practical choice, but one I regret. Hard to ever take pride in a car that runs on five spokes.
The less spokes… the more pride? Maybe I have been spending money on YAJ again… even when a dollar only equals a few yen. I’ll have to do better than these Enkei RS-III to be truly excited. I’m sure I can find something with pedigree that is even more unsightly.
There is not that much that you can do in street, but that gives ample opportunity to focus on a couple important pieces: sway bars, shocks and alignment. In 2 seasons of solo, I haven’t really do anything in that regard. I just bought the biggest front sway bar I could find, did a ratchet strap alignment… and then replaced sway bar end links as needed.
I’ve been on the stock shocks all this time, simply because I imagined that if I was going to do upgrades, I would upgrade all the way to a proper coilover. For street class shock upgrades there are a couple of options.
I really really wanted to buy some Bilsteins, because I’m in love with the brand. I’ve worked with Bilsteins on numerous occasions and am always impressed with quality of construction. On my own vehicles, they completely transformed my Power Wagon from big lumbering truck to a comfortable and controlled machine on all surfaces. On my WRX they had huge amount of travel and always soaked up the biggest hits on the lake without any complaints. For a “street” shock however, adjustable damping is a key feature, and Bilstein simply doesn’t have anything adjustable in the same cost universe as Koni.
This is my first set of Koni’s. I’ve always hated the them because of durability issues I’ve seen others experience. It’s pretty hard to argue with their performance on track though, and rebound only adjustable damping is a pretty meaningful benefit versus other affordable adjustable shocks which adjust both compression and rebound in unison. What you do get with those other brands though, is rubber bushing that aren’t painted yellow, and strut tubes that aren’t bare metal at the very top. No I didn’t buy someones used dampers and fail at refreshing them myself. This is how they came out of the box!
Bilstein if your listening… there is an opportunity here!
Still… adjustable rebound damping grants you much more flexibility in tuning vehicle handling. With sway bars alone, we can really only tune mid corner attitude, or make a big compromise mid-corner to get a different behavior on turn in. This is essentially what I’ve done with a big Hotchkis front sway bar. Lots of front roll stiffness makes for a car that is stable and predictable in wild transition, but also consistently plows mid corner and on throttle. I’m excited about the idea of perhaps a big rear bar to add some neutrality mid corner and on exit, and then using damping and/or alignment settings to find stability in transition.
Yah, instead of spending my money on parts I can spend it on track time. Instead of spending my time turning wrenches, I can spend it driving. Pretty damn simple.
Snow is flying today, meaning that this is going to be a long winter. Feels like lots of time to find a couple sets of bad ass 7J wheels. 😡