NickD
NickD Reader
12/28/15 3:13 p.m.

Alright, so I'm looking at finally tossing my garbage Tokico Blue shocks and unknown springs (That seem to be made of marshmallow) out on my 1990 Miata and taking the plunge. Thing is, suspension stuff is honestly black magic to me. I'm more of an engine guy. So, I'm turning on the Miata Light and aiming it at the clouds and hoping for assistance.

So, the car as it currently sits:

1990 Miata B-Pack:

-Tokico Blues with unknown springs

-Full Energy Suspension polyurethane bushing kit

-Flyin' Miata adjustable sway bar kit

-Flyin' Miata front shock tower brace

-Flyin' Miata rear subframe brace

-15x8 Jongbloed with 205/50R15 Dunlop ZII Star Specs

-Alignment with 1.5* of camber and 0 toe all around

The car sees about 8000 miles a year on central New York roads (read: not great) as well as long roadtrips (I drive it to TN and NJ once or twice a year) so I'd like it to not beat me to death. I also compete with the CNY SCCA chapter at 8-9 events a year.

My self-imposed budget is sub-$800. I'm aware that Fox or Ohlins coilovers are the best but I can't swing that can't of stuff on a humble mechanic's budget. I'd also like to avoid the whole "make-your-own" coilover deal or getting stuff revalved. I just don't really have the time or space to deal with it. I want something I an bolt in, align it and rock and roll.

The two options that fit my budget that I have been looking at are the FM/VMAXX Classic and the Tein Street Advance. I know that Tein makes a pretty good setup and for the price through Track Dog Racing they seem pretty solid but honestly can't find a whole lot on them otherwise. Anyone have any experience with them?

I'm not super hung up on "coilovers" but it seems like for the price of 4 shocks and the springs all separately, you almost end up at the same point in price and don't have the ride height adjustability.

Thanks in advance.

LuxInterior
LuxInterior Reader
12/28/15 3:24 p.m.

Another option: Build your own Bilstein Coilovers

Edit:

Also: Swank's Budget Bilstein Tread

Edit to the edit. Missed the part where you don't want to build your own.

NickD
NickD Reader
12/28/15 3:31 p.m.

In reply to LuxInterior:

No problem, man. It's just that I have a 1-stall garage and about 5 other vehicles that I have to try and keep running, so I don't wanna tie it up while I'm fiddling around because that is ALWAYS when something else implodes.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
12/28/15 3:32 p.m.

No experience with the Teins, but I've had the VM/VMaxx Classic on my last NA. They were firm, but not unpleasantly so. They were fine on longer trips, too, including bouncing around the potholes of the Bay Area.

If I wanted another set of sub $1k coilovers for a Miata for the performance and not the stance, I'd happily call FM an order another set of VMaxxes.

NickD
NickD Reader
12/28/15 3:36 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim:

I figured the VMAXX would be the resounding answer. Was just curious about the Tein's as they do add damping adjustability and I know that Tein coilovers are pretty good (At least their Honda applications are)

KyAllroad
KyAllroad SuperDork
12/28/15 9:28 p.m.

A friend just bought the Teins for his NC. I scoured CL till I found something cheap. Spec Miata suspension now but only because racecar. I had the Tokico whites (FM 2.5) before and while it was good for the street it was too soft for racing.

I'm sure Keith will show up soon to tell you the same thing but quality costs. If you can swing it, get FM. If you're more constrained, get what you can and live with it.

DaewooOfDeath
DaewooOfDeath SuperDork
12/29/15 3:40 a.m.

Buy fm stuff used ... find a race shop and ask what they have floating around. I just scored a very nice set of Tein coilovers for the Avante with the spring rates I want for 250 bucks.

NickD
NickD Reader
12/29/15 6:43 a.m.
KyAllroad wrote: I scoured CL till I found something cheap. I'm sure Keith will show up soon to tell you the same thing but quality costs. If you can swing it, get FM. If you're more constrained, get what you can and live with it.

Yeah, I tried finding stuff on the Craigslists in my state but had no real luck. Literally the only suspension was some NIB Spax garbage that has been up for over a year now.

rodknock
rodknock New Reader
12/29/15 7:37 a.m.

I had the Vmaxx on my NB and I found the ride to be fairly compliant, especially compared to some of my friends' cars with cheap coilovers. For your budget they are a really solid option.

NickD
NickD Reader
12/29/15 9:32 a.m.

In reply to rodknock:

I'm now 99.99% certain VMAXX is the way I'm going. I figured that would be the resounding champion.

RedGT
RedGT Reader
12/29/15 10:10 a.m.

I'll add another vote for the FM stuff, given the price point and no-self-assembly.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/29/15 12:48 p.m.

I'm not going to argue with what's been said here Personally, I've never driven a Tein setup that impressed me that much. Maybe they do well on other platforms and that's where the reputation comes from.

If you do want damping adjustability, look at the V-Maxx XXtremes. But the bang for the buck on the Classics is fantastic.

A tip about the V-Maxx - if you want to run a higher ride height, ask for the long front springs. It'll give your suspension a bit more room to move, useful on NY surfaces. That's a no-cost option.

NickD
NickD Reader
12/29/15 1:19 p.m.

Like I said, I figured VMAXX was the best option, but I was curious about the Teins or any other suggestions. Hopefully this will take care of the car taking corners like a nun carrying a mattress. I am aware that No roll does not equal fast, but this seems a little excessive

 photo CCC Auto-x 2015_zpshej2qmd6.jpg

Actually, when racing at Cherry Valley Motorsports Park and at the Tail Of The Dragon the body roll was so excessive that I was having tire rubbing issues. And through the chicane at Cherry Valley the car would get so unsettled when it was rolling around that I would have to back way off

Desmond
Desmond Reader
12/29/15 1:29 p.m.

But no roll does equate to more driver confidence! Also seems like the car responds quicker to inputs with less roll.

Vmaxx is probably the way I'll end up going, unless I decide to go really crazy and turbocharge my car. Then I'd go with something like Xidas or Ohlins, or maybe the Fox FM setup.

kazoospec
kazoospec SuperDork
12/29/15 1:50 p.m.

Roll doesn't really seem excessive to me. I'm running stock springs and Koni yellows. (With a FM front sway). I would say I have similar amounts of body roll. I'm in E-Street on stock sized wheels though, so rubbing isn't the issue for me that it is for you.

Here's me for reference:

NickD
NickD Reader
12/29/15 2:04 p.m.

In reply to kazoospec:

It's not excessive for a Miata but it sure is excessive. And like Desmond pointed out, less roll can mean more confidence and it does equate to faster inputs because you don't have to wait as long for the suspension to react. And I don't appreciate my fender trying to rub a hole through tires when I'm driving already treacherous roads/tracks

KyAllroad
KyAllroad SuperDork
12/29/15 2:29 p.m.

It's likely your rubbing is on the plastic fender liner. The only time I got rub on the fender lip with 205/50 15s was turning into the driveway and going over that bump at big steering angle.

As you move up to increasingly sticky tires, Miatai will continue to lean farther and farther as the centrifugal forces increase.

RedGT
RedGT Reader
12/29/15 2:33 p.m.

The 8" wheel (what offset?) and relatively little camber is not helping you with the rubbing either. With coilovers I bet you will decide to lower the car from stock too so the total compression at a loaded corner will probably be about the same as it is now. Other side won't be 3 miles high though. This does mean you might have the same rubbing issues unless you can add some camber or lose some wheel/offset.

NickD
NickD Reader
12/29/15 2:41 p.m.

In reply to RedGT:

They are 15x8 +36 (And apparently no longer available through FM). I did find the majority of the rubbing to be the tab at the top of the wheel well that holds the inner liner in. I removed the screw and then folded the tab upwards to hold the wheel well in with the tab itself and that fixed it for the most part.

DaewooOfDeath
DaewooOfDeath SuperDork
12/29/15 7:06 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: I'm not going to argue with what's been said here Personally, I've never driven a Tein setup that impressed me that much. Maybe they do well on other platforms and that's where the reputation comes from.

Exactly. I've driven an NA on Teins and it wasn't very good. The Teins on my Avante are wonderful but I was mostly using them as an example of what you can find by hanging around race shops and begging for table scraps.

NickD
NickD Reader
12/31/15 4:15 p.m.

Well, took the $786 plunge and ordered the FM/VMAXX Classics. Now I just have to put the Subaru Loyale back together so that I can get the Grand Cherokee in and work on that so that I can get the Miata in to give it the winter overhaul. Oh and put intake gaskets in the '98 K3500HD duallie somewhere in there too.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/31/15 4:38 p.m.

I unloaded a 20' container of V-Maxx this morning, and every single cubic inch of that thing was full of shocks. Thanks for helping clear some space in the warehouse

Your to-do list sounds like mine. I accidentally tore my whole garage apart and reorganized it this week so I could work on the CRX.

NickD
NickD Reader
12/31/15 5:09 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: I unloaded a 20' container of V-Maxx this morning, and every single cubic inch of that thing was full of shocks. Thanks for helping clear some space in the warehouse Your to-do list sounds like mine. I accidentally tore my whole garage apart and reorganized it this week so I could work on the CRX.

No problem, Keith.

And yeah, it's frightening. It always seems like my cheap junk is the only thing running while everything else blows up all around it all at once. The $500 Jeep should not be the most reliable vehicle in the fleet.

Our Preferred Partners
sCZPZuCcYt2518BdoON8fGX0Q7RukfGXbaZrASwwcwoCPUFXRskswbv0lYpjka9j