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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read dozens of posts about CRX suspension on this, and other forums. Everyone and their mom has a question about it, because it's a very complex subject. But I've yet to find a good answer for my unique situation and question. So here goes...

I daily drive a wonderful '88 Rio Red DX with a DOHC ZC, I/H/E, and 15" Rota Slips wrapped in Falken Ziex (unpredictable rain and snow force me to use all-seasons over the Azenis)

Installing the ZC and other goodies has bumped me all the way from stock into SM2 this year. But in the craziest twist of fate, there is only one other competitor in my class. That competitor happens to drive a '90 Rio Red DX with a DOHC ZC, I/H/E, and 15" Rota Grids wrapped in sporty all-season tires. If I was superstitious, this kind of thing would keep me up at night!

The first event of the year was last weekend, and the two of us ran within 3 tenths of a second all day long.

With all that in mind... I can't think of a single better way to benchmark upgrades to my driving ability (BMWCCA Driving school this summer) and to my car.

I come up with a basic list of components and pieces and brands of suspension parts I'd like to buy, but I don't want to run out and just through it all on my car at once in some vain effort to "win" the season. Instead, I think this is absolutely the perfect opportunity to learn more about how each piece is effecting the ride of the car, and learn how to adjust it, and how adjustments effect other things.

I'd like to add one piece at a time over the course of the season, but I'm not sure if I need to do it in a certain order, or if it's even possible. Here's what I was planning if I wind up living in Perfect Life Land:

Stock Shocks upgrade to Koni Yellows
Install all new bushings
Run an event or two
Stock Springs upgrade to GC Coilovers
Run an event or two
Add Camber kit
Run an event or two
Add/Change/Remove Sway and/or Strut Tower bars
Finish Season

So... can I upgrade the shocks without doing anything to the springs? Or, conversly, could I upgrade to the GC's without changing shocks? Is this a good order for upgrading? Or should a camber kit come before the car is lowered by the springs? At which point would installing a complete bushing kit make the most sense?

Again, I'm not really running to "win"... more like, I'm running to learn more about myself and my car.
 

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The springs fit over the shocks. You are best off upgrading the springs and shocks in one go. If you do one and then the other you will be doing the same job twice. The nice thing is you only need the spring compressor to take apart your old shock/spring combo. You can run the ground control coil overs all the way down with the koni yellows and not have to use the spring compressor to put the top perch on. It makes more sense when you do it. I just installed a set on my car and boy does it make a HUGE difference. I got 450# springs front and 500# springs rear. You may want stiffer springs, I don't know. I got the set for $800 at redshiftmotorsports. The konis were back ordered so it took about a month to get them in.

I am also upgrading my brake lines to stainless steel and my pads to hawk racing. This should upgrade my braking quite a bit. Right now I have really crapy super fading worse than OEM pads. My brake lines are also about ready to blow. The stock rotors are just fine and in many ways better than aftermarket rotors.

I hear many people like to add beefy rear sway bars so the cars tend to oversteer. Sounds good for AutoX where there are many tight corners but I drive my car in the curvy hills and I don't want it to oversteer. I am sticking with the stock rear sway bar. I added a cheap-o ebay rear strut brace and it helped out.

If you think your car feels like it is on rails just wait until you add the suspension components.
 

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Dren said a lot for me. I know you can't run Azenis, but the best thing you can do is tires. Do you have another set of wheels? Seriously, get another set and run some Azenis or BFG G-Force rubber. I'm not familiar with SM2 (though I may now be in it!), but do they let you run slicks? If you go to or are near a universirty that has a FSAE team, as for their pulloffs, that's what I do. 13x7" slicks can fit over Si brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Street Mod 2 allows engine swaps, forced induction, and some other mods over Prepared and Street Prepared. However, If I run slicks, I get bumped to Modified (which I'm waaaay out of league for).

I don't mind doing the labor twice... what I'm more curious about is, if I do the GC's without upgrading shocks, am I negating any benefit they may provide? That's not really clear, so let me elaborate...

Adding stiff springs will decrease the body roll on corners and the squat and dive during accelration and braking. But with the stock shocks, there will be much less dampening vs the koni's. I *assume* this might make my car bounce around alot after a hard corner or sudden brake (typical auto-x conditions) since the springs stored energy has to go somewhere. If I bounce around too much, I might be driving worse than the total stock setup. Thus, upgrading the springs alone might be more detriment than help. If I'm overestimating the rebound the springs will give, maybe I'll see a performance gain here, and again when better shocks increase the dampening amount. I'd like to feel the difference between "without proper dampening" and "with proper dampening". I just didn't know if the GC's would even work on the stock shocks.

Looking back at my post, I'm not sure changing shocks first would really do much. The stock springs don't really absorb much energy as is... *extra* dampening may not really reap any benefits.

I dunno...

EDIT: Dren, I just saw the response you made to a suspension question a few topics down. I totally agree that matching the rebound to the dampening yields best results, and that's eventually what I want to have. This is more about exploring the car's ability as I upgrade. More about "what happens when I change this piece".
 

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hmm well the car will bounce more with stiffer springs. how much i do not know. if you really want to find out go for it. it won't ruin anything, just make it a pain in the ass to drive.
 

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Upgrading springs before shocks will probably destroy the stock shocks... do them at the same time or do the shocks first. Seriously though, the best thing you can do for your car is get better tires.
 

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Falken Ziex are good street tires, my stepdad and a few of my friends use them. One of my friends ran them in the last autocross, he's had them for maybe a month, and they are dead now. I don't know exactly why, but they seemed to lose a LOT (4/32) of tread, and the sidewall/tread meeting was completely scuffed up and destroyed. Really if you want to improve handling that much, expecially to be AutoX competitive, you NEED summer tires.
 

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I did 6 alignments while I was building up my CRX for STS2. Be patient and gather you stuff, then knock it all out at once and you'll save money.

Do the bushings, springs, coilovers, and shocks all at once. Lower the car a couple of inches (not too much!) and get an alignment.

You might not want to worry about a camber kit up front...lowering the car gets you naturally more negative camber and that's good for autox. A couple of Grade-8 washers from Ace Hardware will help you get less camber in the back for a couple of dollars.

From there you can add the sway bars or strut tower bars without any alignment changes.
 
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