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meareweird
meareweird New Reader
4/27/19 7:18 p.m.

     This will be my ramblings, thoughts, and request for knowledge as I embark on a journey that, as you will shortly see, is limited without serious enginerding and creative problem solving. I am attempting to take a car that was never meant to be lowered, a 1996 Suzuki X-90, and make it better at dodging cones. If I can make it stable or low enough I would like to try some track days as well

     I purchased this thing after stumbling on a craigslist ad. It was one of those things that even if you didn't buy it you had to see it in person. I should do my savings a favor and stop looking at those kinds of things cause they usually end up in me buying them! After a test drive and look at all the mechanical bits I bought this funny looking red car and used it for a daily for quite some time catching up on maintenance and adding a tow hitch and wiring for small trailers. For those that are not aware these are basically a rebodied Sidekick/Tracker. They come with the 16 valve 1.6 engine front mounted rear wheel drive in my case but had the option of a transfer case and four wheel drive same as their mechanical siblings. The body on frame constructions is great for towing small things and fabricating. well I'll let the pictures do some of the talking.

This is how she currently sits lowered two inches via cut 4 door tracker springs. I have summer wheels and tires I am putting back on shortly. I will post more and answer any questions!

meareweird
meareweird New Reader
4/27/19 7:19 p.m.

I have had to daily this thing from time to time and hope to take her off the road for a time to address the following:

This is the worst of the rust and there are a few other spots as well as the clearcoat you can see bubbling in other pictures. but the frame and other bits are in good shape:

So the idea is to run autocross. OVR graciously allowed me to run in SMS as a catch all, and because I do not currently have a catalytic converter. With the smaller summer tires and cut springs it was low enough and wide enough for them to give me a chance. It ran stable if with a touch of body lean from my impression. Results are easily found on their website. I am a complete novice so keep that in mind but i think the car is faster and I would like to find out just how much :)

meareweird
meareweird New Reader
4/27/19 7:19 p.m.

So here are some stats and mods for the, umm...  vehicle, calling it a car doesn't quite sit right.

Here's some pictures of the hitch and wiring I made.

Just cut and welded a generic hitch, tried to make it look factory.

Converter box for JDM to American trailer wiring.

Look closely you will see the passenger side green wiring for taillight/blinker I ran it through the rear cross member there in the trunk.

Enough length to hook up when towing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

meareweird
meareweird New Reader
4/27/19 7:19 p.m.

But enough of that how do we turn faster? By my reckoning I may be able to run it in STS class and chase the back of the pack. Worst case scenario I find a fun setup for a street car and learn to drive better. On the other end of the spectrum I can learn a thing or two about fabrication and suspension as I waste time and money on this endeavor. But is it wasted if im learning and enjoying? Okay philosophical detour over. Lets's get down to brass tacks.

     Since the X-90 doesn't show up anywhere in the SCCA Solo rule book it has to abide by the height/weight ratio. Here are a few pictures I can find of stock height.

Yes that trailer is larger than the car.

Stock height and tire size, looks a wee tippy, eh?

Stock springs but these tires are 2 inches shorter in diameter and bring my height down an inch.

Here is a profile of stock tires on cut springs

 

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
4/27/19 7:26 p.m.

Speedy cop road raced one in Lemons. I raced him and it wasn’t fast but it wasn’t embarrassing. Of course he’s a way way better driver than me. 

meareweird
meareweird New Reader
4/27/19 8:05 p.m.

In reply to dculberson :

Yes, I did see that. From what I can tell in my searching he swapped in some Miata bits. If you have a lead on any info for his setup I would love to take a gander!

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
4/27/19 8:20 p.m.

I think the real solution is not to lower a car not meant to be lowered, but keep it stock height and chase cones like that instead.

rallycross!!!

(well, this photo is close enough, since i can't find any evidence an X-90 has ever been rallycrossed :) )

Image result for suzuki x-90 rallycross

meareweird
meareweird New Reader
4/27/19 8:41 p.m.

In reply to irish44j :

If it was 4wd I would go that route. Either way one issue is the stability. Stock height is 61 inches tall to a 56.2 inch Track width.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
4/27/19 9:48 p.m.

In reply to meareweird :

If you can swap in the larger 4-cyl(2.0?) from a later version it’s a noticeable bump in horsepower. Also, double check the tubes that tie the frame rails together. I had a Sidekick where the front one had rotted to the point that basically only the paint was holding it in place. It still looked ok on the outside. 

meareweird
meareweird New Reader
4/27/19 9:58 p.m.

If/when I go for a motor swap I would like to go for a 13b or an s2000 drivetrain but I have considered a Suzuki engine. Thanks for mentioning the cross members. The rearmost one was quite rusted but that got cut out for the hitch, there is one I need to address in front of fuel tank but it holds nothing more than the filter, evap, etc. from what I can tell. Strange how only certain parts of these like to rust while other parts may be just fine.

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
4/27/19 10:29 p.m.
meareweird said:

In reply to irish44j :

If it was 4wd I would go that route. Either way one issue is the stability. Stock height is 61 inches tall to a 56.2 inch Track width.

ah, yeah that *might* be an issue, though rallycross rules are not the same as autocross rules. OVR has a good rallycross program too. nothing says you can't do both!

As to 4WD....bleh. Rallycross is way better with RWD. Usually half of our entries are RWD around here. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
4/27/19 10:43 p.m.

I saw one of the car shows on TV some time ago where they swapped a GM Vortec V6 into a Sidekick - I guess that's a thing, and there are kits for the swap.  If the X90 is based on the Sidekick platform, that may be worth considering.

I haven't seen any X90s on the street for years around here, and when I did they almost always had a big Red Bull can on the back.  smiley

 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
4/28/19 3:55 a.m.

61.0" tall

56.2" track width

4.8" too tall

-1" for shorter tires

3.8" too tall

-2" for the addition of 1" wheel spacers to each side

1.8 too tall

- X for cut springs (not stated) is that 1", maybe 2". If 2" then legal by. 2".

There is also. 5", 1.5" and 2" wheel spacers available too. 

1" spacers $79

1.5" spacers $89

meareweird
meareweird New Reader
4/28/19 8:04 a.m.

As John points out with some quick math we are fighting a losing battle and yes two inches from the springs is accurate. On summer tires I currently sit at 58" overall height.

     Height is harder and harder to lose so I must go wider. Back to that in a moment. I wanted to see just what would be the limit to dropping low and possibly fabricating suspension.

Here is a profile sitting on the bump stops. Let's look underneath and see what is close to what.

So the Rear differential would start eating into floor pan but with some clearancing of that crossmember I can get another inch or so  of up travel here. What does the upper link look like?

That is definitely at its limit. I would have to play with a suspension calculator but it appears to have room to relocate for better geometry. For the rear suspension these are the hard limits with out floor pan modifications. I did not take a picture of the wheels wells or frame rail to axle clearance but there is ample room there. So that's the rear suspension then. What about the front? Let's take a look.

That steering linkage angles up this could be problematic.

 Well the sway bar has an inch clearance at full bump so problematic if we go lower.

Tie rod to frame at full bump. another issue for going lower. Hmm...

This is from center line we can see some of the steering here, perhaps c notches would give the steering clearance and the sway bar could be moved below the control arms possibly.

Plenty of room below the engine considering this area was designed to hold a front differential. Maybe an engine drop is in the future?

So I am pretty limited on drop without getting into serious geometry considerations. Speaking of let's see how we are sitting with our cut springs. 

     So already kissing the bump stop and I can attest this is not comfortable. The control arm sits level from my angle finder on the flattest spot. I was not able to get a picture of the rear at ride height but I have about an inch before getting into the bump stop which appears very similar to the front for size and shape. The frame does sit level at ride height. It was one of the considerations when I was cutting the springs 1/4 coil by 1/4 coil. I will say that the car was prone to understeer stock and now is very neutral to slight oversteer which is my preference. I have about an inch of Strut travel left at full bump. One thing that does not help is my struts and shocks are definitely not doing any work except maybe rebound damping. This is especially problematic powering out of corners as I tend to spin the inside easily. Perhaps an antiroll bar in the rear would help this somewhat.

     I apologize for the rambling but it helps organize my thoughts and gives the full background. Let me state what my current goals are before going full race car and fabricating new geometry. Another inch of uptravel would be great in the front, a mild c-notch is well within my skillset and comfort  zone. These frames are very beefy for the size of these cars. My Struts I would like to replace but I need shorter ones or inserts. I would like to stay within a class ruleset as much as possible but I know I will hardly be competitive anyway so that is not a hard requirement.

 

Questions for the hive mind.

-Are there any examples of cars that have very little suspension travel?

-Is there any possibility of the second generation tracker steering rack fitting in these frames? It might help with space and steering feel compared to a box and 3 linkages. If anyone has one some measurements would be great!

-What are some the best examples of live axle cars to mimic if/when I think geometry on the rear?

meareweird
meareweird New Reader
4/28/19 8:23 a.m.
John Welsh said:

61.0" tall

56.2" track width

4.8" too tall

-1" for shorter tires

3.8" too tall

-2" for the addition of 1" wheel spacers to each side

1.8 too tall

- X for cut springs (not stated) is that 1", maybe 2". If 2" then legal by. 2".

There is also. 5", 1.5" and 2" wheel spacers available too. 

1" spacers $79

1.5" spacers $89

One of the difficulties of this bolt pattern is a lack of lightweight wheels. Since  need to add width anyway I considered these to also adapt to a more common size. I would have to get a machine shop to lath out the inner diameter to a depth of about 10 MM or so for the hub face. Thoughts?

MrChaos
MrChaos Dork
4/28/19 8:46 a.m.

imo the only reason you dont see them is because they are Geo Trackers/Suzuki Sidekicks with a "sports car" body. because the tracker and sidekick are banned by name for scca stuff.

Also the engines have been turboed with decent results in the off road community.  iirc there are some turbo manifolds on ebay.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
4/28/19 10:01 a.m.

I don't think that Jeep or Dodge Truck wheels are going to open you up to a world of lightweight wheels either.  I would stick with Vitara Tracker wheels.  They offered many 16x7" alloys which are a reasonably good size for sticky rubber.   

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
4/28/19 10:11 a.m.

Bigger wider wheels take more oomph to get moving.  Go.  Have fun.  Learn.  Move on.

dps214
dps214 New Reader
4/29/19 9:28 a.m.
meareweird said:

This is especially problematic powering out of corners as I tend to spin the inside easily. Perhaps an antiroll bar in the rear would help this somewhat.

Front bar. Rear bar will just unload the inside tire faster and make it spin more/sooner Is there any way to get a diff into it? That's the real solution. In my experience putting a diff in a car with even minor wheelspin issues is the single most noticeable setup change you can make.

Am I understanding your post correctly, that as it sits now the front control arm is parallel to the ground and it's touching the bump stop? If that's the case, then lowering it beyond that is going to start causing big geometry issues. I'd probably just shorten the bump stop mounts to get a little bit of clearance and see how that works. Ideally I'd remove that bump stop entirely and put it on the strut, but I see it's a weird divorced spring/strut setup so the strut mount might not be able to handle the extra load.

I was at that OVR event. I saw the X90 sitting in paddock and was prepared for it to be atrocious. I was seriously impressed by how composed it looked, and it seemed like you were driving it pretty well too. Definitely soft especially in the rear, but stiff cars are terrible on that surface. Cars that are soft-ish with good dampers tend to dominate there.

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
4/29/19 10:05 a.m.

ooooh!  I've been bench building these things since I first saw one on the street and said "What the berkely is that?!! I need to slam one and auto-x it!"

Following with a shade of jealousy found only on GRM.

tdrrally
tdrrally Reader
4/29/19 12:15 p.m.

i have a complete 2.0 with a 2wd auto trans complete with wiring harness up for sale at the right price.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
4/29/19 3:06 p.m.

In reply to meareweird :

That lower ball joint looks like it might bind if there’s more than an inch or so of bump movement?

tdrrally
tdrrally Reader
4/29/19 3:24 p.m.

raise the lower A arms mounting location a couple inches 

GoLucky
GoLucky Reader
4/29/19 5:48 p.m.

Body drop? 

meareweird
meareweird New Reader
4/30/19 11:37 p.m.

Thank you all for the comments. I will do some digging to see if any of the other front bars that bolt on are stiffer. The ball joint/a-arm I wondered if I might be able to mount the ball joint below the spindle depending on finding a balljoint that works or going to a heim setup. That is also dependent on wheel clearance. Speaking of wheels I am following up on an earlier comment about finding some 16x7 Grand Vitara Wheels, they may need spacers but should be lighter and have good tire choices for the size I need. Here is a picture of my summer shoes and what I autocrossed with.

15x8 Steel with backspace sufficient to bring the track width as measured center to center to 58.5" just a hair wider than my overall height of 58"

They stick out just a bit but don't rub anywhere.

Despite the weight I feel the car is quicker with these due to shorter effective gearing. That and keeping it low enough limits my tire choices to below 23 inches overall diameter, however that is all moot until I wear these out.

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