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Coldsnap HalfDork
11/8/15 9:34 a.m.

Damn I'd be all over this because I've been bored as hell lately. But I actually have something to do on the 15th. There's a Marketing summit in Raleigh that work is paying my way for.

flatlander937 Reader
11/8/15 9:58 a.m.

Ah there's always next season!

flatlander937 Reader
11/21/15 7:35 p.m.

Here's some pics from the final event. I was experimenting with 700lb rear springs... Just a bit too much. The rear was real skittish over big bumps. It MAY help to remove the rear sway bar and try it again.

I had my wife with me, she had some fun riding along, had a BIG stupid grin after a ride in Steve Fehr's Boxster. One day I'll get something not so pathetically slow :lol:

And video of my fastest run: https://youtu.be/kx4TbMlwstE

Paxed 33/93 and raw time 55/93. There was a Civic is STF with me but wasn't hardly prepped whatsoever so no real benchmark to go against. I feel I'd have been better off with the 450lb rears its been using.

Next up this weekend I'm going to test out the 700lb springs up front to see how tolerable it is for my commute. Then swap the 450 for 550 rear springs to adjust balance. Word on the street says this may be the way to go.

flatlander937 Reader
11/28/15 8:19 p.m.

So the 700s are in, with 450s out back, and now both sway bars removed.

It's going to be GOOD next season! The front feels incredible, the rear is fine for auto-x, just a tad bumpy over rough undulating pavement(namely eastbound on the HRBT). The other 98% of my commute its perfectly fine. You feel everything but its certainly tolerable and doesn't kill my back.

Going to run this setup another week then back to stock suspension, and ponder whether to buy some Penske singles for the rear or just revalve the Konis.

flatlander937 Reader
12/20/15 4:13 p.m.

So now we're up to 700/550# springs.

And it's better than ever.

It's roughly 3.1/3.7hz rates for reference.

Also for reference I've put about 13k miles on these struts since July. Holding up great so far. With such nice weather even in December I'm tempted to not swap back to stock.

flatlander937 Reader
1/22/16 5:51 p.m.

Latest UOA shows no problems with the DDMWorks/K&N filter.

We'll see what happens soon enough when we tune it and raise the redline to 7500+

DaewooOfDeath SuperDork
3/11/16 10:10 p.m.

Are those spring rates wheel rates?

flatlander937 Reader
4/11/16 8:21 p.m.
DaewooOfDeath wrote: Are those spring rates wheel rates?

Basically both. It has a 0.98 motion ratio at the spring front and rear.

Sorry I just saw your question now. Been making a LOT of changes since my last post... I'll try to update everything some time soon.

flatlander937 Reader
4/13/16 9:43 p.m.

So it's been a while since I've updated anything here, but a bunch has been going on...

Some stuff I've done over the winter/right before the season started...

Added a DDMWorks short ram filter. I also bought a Corksport air intake duct used and it fits mostly OK. I could cut down the tube for the MAF housing a bit to center the filter in the duct but it really doesn't matter. Plus laziness.

Replaced the radio to get bluetooth(but it turns out the bluetooth on the radio I got sucks). It's a 1.5lb Clarion FZ105BT media player(no CDs). Saves a good 3-5lbs over stock radio based on my highly (questionably) accurate bathroom scale.

It gives it a very nice 90s car feel to it, which I love. Backlighting of the buttons at night matches the stock lighting about perfectly too.

For the brakes I got some DDMWorks stainless brake lines, Carbotech AX6 front brake pads, and a Motive Power bleeder to make things easier on myself.

I also picked up some ARP extended wheel studs to fiddle with wheel spacers this season/get rid of the "sunken in" look of the rear wheels in the fenders via 5mm rear spacers.

Most importantly I sold off last year's ZII Star Specs and got some RE71Rs mounted up:

Some 17mm open lug nuts as well. Scored a 100 box of them for like $70. It was that or buy 20 of them for $35 after shipping. Now I have tons of spares or could sell some off to recoup costs.

Stuff installed:

Also for those interested, Ford Fiesta brake calipers can be made to work, and they cost about $30 each less at a parts store. After I bled the brakes, I couldn't get the damn bleeders to keep sealed on the original Mazda calipers. Where they differ is a bit of a casting mark, and more importantly the raised section where the brake line attaches. It is shallower on the Ford caliper, so slight bending of the brake line fitting MAY be needed. We're talking like 1mm of movement at the most, just make sure it doesn't rub against the caliper body.

Where the purple plug is in the pic, is raised about 4mm more on a Mazda caliper:


flatlander937 Reader
4/13/16 9:45 p.m.

The Carbotech AX6 pads I've had a very interesting experience with.

When I initially installed them, they are touchy as HELL. Like after 2-3 stops(warm up a tad), it gets to the point where you just tickle the pedal and it throws you forward into the windshield. Get into ABS at 25mph coming to a stop sign in my neighborhood. It's nuts.

I drove like this for about 400mi and started getting used to it, then in traffic one day I noticed the rear brake lights come on a bit lower in travel than I'd like. I suspect that the pads may have just started to bite before the lights were coming on, so I decided to adjust the brake switch one more "click" in, so they come on a tad earlier.

So take it on a drive afterwards... the pedal feels completely different! I can modulate it! It feels like stock, except under actual hard braking it's significantly stronger/faster at slowing down. Awesome!

In a nut shell I suspect there's some sorcery with EBD(electronic brake force distribution), and believe that the switch is used as a go/no go sort of trigger before it starts adjusting brake bias or something. Read the thread for my theory on what was going on. I duplicated it back and forth by adding a penny under the brake switch to make it touchy again. Very bizarre, but it now feels awesome, stops spectacularly, and my brake lights come on early enough to give someone behind me warning before they rear end me. :lol:

I think with the new pads + braided lines, the brakes were actually starting to engage sooner in travel, soon enough that the brake switch was not being triggered just yet. Continue pressing and as soon as the lights come on, the ABS controller starts doing it's brakeforce distribution thing, and I suspect throwing some bias forwards abruptly(since the pedal is already just slightly pressed) and it gets felt as being grabby or touchy.

Pic of the penny for testing purposes:


flatlander937 Reader
4/13/16 9:46 p.m.

Now the BIGGEST change I've made overall has been the suspension.

I have been running 700lb front springs, and 550lb rears for autocross, and daily driving on 450lb rears. It's easy enough to swap out for events, they just fall out :p

I also went from the Koni Sport rear shocks to KYB AGX adjustables from a first gen Ford Focus. They are valved significantly stiffer, and are dirt cheap, it was like $130 for the PAIR at Summit. They are way the hell easier to adjust. I don't miss berkeleying around with the Koni rears. They have 8 different positions, and seem to affect both rebound and compression, possibly compression moreso. They were recommended as a budget solution by Jeff Yatsko, and while they're not ideal, they're damn close and a great cheap way to get the rear sorted. With the 450 or 550 rears, only settings 2-3 are usable, sometimes 4 on really smooth lots. Everything else is essentially useless.

To use them, you need to JAM the stock bump stops/mounts over the Focus shock shaft, it's a slightly larger shaft diameter(but same thread size so no drilling needed to the mounts). They also have more shaft exposed at ride height, so about 2-3in worth of suspension packers are needed. Or running retarded stiff springs you just leave the bump stops there for decoration, I don't use them. At some point I'll add some kind of spacers in there as a failsafe for spitting out a spring.

flatlander937 Reader
4/13/16 9:48 p.m.

Prepped and ready before the first event of the year:

My son was super excited about his new Lego set I got him for helping me change out springs and wash wheels and stuff, haha.


flatlander937 Reader
4/13/16 9:49 p.m.

This year I'm basically planning on doing all of the Tidewater Sports Car Club auto-x events, plus a few others here and there. I was HOPING to do one national event, but between my wife's school schedule and all the other stuff going on in life that probably won't happen.

(Me in passenger seat)

Our first event was an auto-x novice school. The way instructors were chosen was they basically asked all the board members and chiefs who've been doing it a bit. I'm the timing and scoring chief this year(also a first) so I volunteered.

In a nutshell it was a great experience for everyone.

We started off the drivers meeting with some basic info for safety and stuff to expect when driving and tips(look ahead, how you induce oversteer or understeer, etc).

Then broke off to our runs. My student had never auto-xed before, but had some gokart experience, and he did REALLY quite well. I had him run a few times, let him know where he can get closer to cones, how to properly weave through a slalom, where he can be more aggressive, etc. He was running like 31-32sec times or so, doing really better than I expected after 6-8 runs.

We had a pizza break in the early afternoon(the tasty tasty Pungo Pizza!), then driving resumed.

They all took a few more runs then all the instructors took 1-2 runs in their student's car.

So I hopped into his 02 GTI(which I've never driven) and ran a 29.0 maybe driving 8/10. After that I let him drive again, I think feeling the rear end come around a bit on corner entry and seeing how I used the brakes to induce rotation really helped things click for him.

After that within about 3 runs he was crushing 28.7, 28.6, 28.5, etc. He was solidly knocking down low low 29 sec to mid 28 sec runs, the 28.5 being his fastest. He was doing VERY well compared to some of the other novices(who many had much harder-to-drive-fast cars... S2000s, CTS-Vs, etc).

I COULD have taken another run in his car but opted to let him drive more as he didn't have much left to improve on other than get more seat time.

Afterwards the instructors took fun runs in their own cars with the novices. The look on my student's face was priceless after a 27.2 run in my Mazda2. ;)

flatlander937 Reader
4/13/16 9:50 p.m.

The day after our novice school, we had points event #1.

It rained all day and forgot the GoPro so have no pics... but it was very good. I ended up PAXing 3rd behind a very fast Boxster driver in AS and a very fast Fiesta ST driver in HS. I do know I have a lot more practice as a driver, I should have been able to go faster.

(Insert results here... the TSCC link is down right now)

Back on the novice school day, I swapped cars for one fun-run with a quick STR S2000 driver/friend. He had a freaking BLAST and couldn't stop talking about how much fun he had driving my car...

So the next weekend there was an ODR-SCCA event, I'm not running all their events this year for points so can use them just for fun/practice. I had Charlie co-drive my car to help with some setup/driver tips.

Unfortunately the course was incredibly E36 M3ty IMO... requiring THREE downshifts to first. I admit I suck at that, and it is super damn awkward in my car(and with my feet!). Otherwise it was fun, but if courses are like this regularly I won't even bother doing ODR events at Pungo.

But I confirmed what I suspected, I am leaving a lot of time out there as a driver... Charlie beat me by 1.339 seconds in my own car. He is much much better/smoother at the 2-1 downshift thing(because S2000, and seat time). I just wasn't able to put together a run that I didn't completely screw up all THREE downshifts, AND didn't forget some portion of the course.

Charlie PAXed 16/69, I did 27/69.



My fastest(but still slow) run:


Charlie's fastest run:


I am finally going through the process of getting the tuning software going on my car with Dynotronics... hopefully unleashing some more power helps a lot. It made a massive difference on my 09 Mazda3, and from everything I've seen these cars gain a LOT with a good tune.

flatlander937 Reader
4/13/16 9:56 p.m.

Front tires after about 22 runs or so:

Playing guess that noise...

I found the rear motor mount bolts loosened up a tad causing a horrendous clunk when accelerating. Probably not coincidental that it was the day after the downshift-happy autocross course...

For any oil nerds... this car is very easy on oil. Been monitoring silicon levels ever since right before the DDMWorks filter install(uses K&N). Silicon levels are higher than with an OEM filter, but no extra wear metals, and it seems to be trending downwards which is to be expected as the filter gets "packed."

Now we're caught up to this week... where Levi helped me swap the rear springs to 700s(so 700/700) for street tuning/hooning purposes. And for science.

I REALLY like the 700/550 setup with no sway bars. It is very easy to drive fast, has lots of grip. It is incredibly controlled in the way the rear steps out when you lift, but it just doesn't do it quite enough/fast enough. It is so smooth when it does though and I want to retain that. With the rear bar it is considerably more abrupt, but it also induces a weird "oscillating" feeling over bumps, you can feel the inside rear wheel wagging up and down in the air. It is more noticeable with heavier rear rates.

Also as seen/heard in the videos above, corner exit wheel spin can still be a problem. Not as much in 2nd gear, but you really have to wait to get back on it if you've downshifted to first. Stiffer rears will help prop up the chassis and keep the inside front tire planted more.

The test drive went VERY well. It rides better than the old-old setup of Koni sport rear shocks and 450lb rear springs. The rear AGX shocks set to #5 is about right, maybe #6. The kid bounces around less with the shocks on 5 though :lol:

Corner exit wheel spin is essentially gone as checked in my cough cough calibrated test intersections. Body roll is less(like you'd expect).

[B]To anyone interested in seeing what this thing rides like or feels like at an event, I always welcome ride-alongs.[/B]

Our next autocross event is at NCCAR on April 24th in North Carolina, it is basically an auto-x event on a road course. I will probably NOT run the 700s out back because it will be a higher speed event from my understanding.

The following weekend I'm going up to New Jersey to a MSNE auto-x event and Jeff Yatsko will be codriving my car... I'm interested to hear his impressions since he took his 2 to national events and has a hell of a lot more experience than me. The 700 rears will definitely be played with here.

Then we have an ACU-4 test and tune(May 21) and TSCC points event #3(May 22) back in VA Beach. Will certainly see some playing with spring rates between runs to see what the clock says on a course. Hopefully the tune process is also far enough along(or done) that I can have at least some response from the throttle pedal :lol:

mazdeuce PowerDork
4/14/16 6:47 a.m.

I'm glad to see you still developing this car. Still following along even if I don't comment much. It'll be nice to have a blueprint to follow when these get down to lunchbox money.

flatlander937 Reader
4/16/16 6:50 a.m.

I'm glad someone is following this, this forum doesn't show "views" so I can't tell if I'm sharing this here for no reason or not.

Anyways... after the last auto-x event I put my shock settings back how I normally have(1.5 turns from full stiff up front/#2 setting in rear and the next day to work the ride was stupidly bouncy. On the 700/450 setup it's not a massive bouncing... But sharp oscillations you feel in your neck.

I wasn't sure if it was in my head or not, but it seemed to ride better on the way home.

After playing with shock settings all over the place, after about 3 days of no real improvements, I played with the tire pressure. All 31-32psi. Not abnormal. But previously I've run 35ish.

Holy cow! So much better! I ran 36psi (cold) and all the stupid double-bounce sharp harshness crap is gone. I continued to fiddle with shocks, with the front 8610 inserts on 1/2 turn from full soft, and rear Focus KYB AGX shocks on their softest #1 setting, it rides insanely well now. Especially considering the rates.

The only thing it really still is rough over is large bumps when hit with both wheels at the same time and constant whooping bumps over one of our craptastic bridges. Takes small harsh bumps/dips(like expansion joints) like a champ, and just kind of floats over the road now.

Just sharing this in case anyone finds it useful. I guess when the spring rates are excessive, it's compressing the tire much more and since the tire is just an undamped spring, it was adding bounce/harshness.

OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/16/16 8:31 a.m.
flatlander937 wrote: Afterwards the instructors took fun runs in their own cars with the novices. The look on my student's face was priceless after a 27.2 run in my Mazda2. ;)

loved this. And please keep documenting. It's a record for yourself to look back upon as well as info for others.

vwcorvette GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/16/16 2:39 p.m.

A second for more documentation. Not doing much with my 2 currently as I have an ITB GTI to play with. Plus monthly payments!

flatlander937 Reader
4/18/16 8:26 a.m.
vwcorvette wrote: A second for more documentation. Not doing much with my 2 currently as I have an ITB GTI to play with. Plus monthly payments!

Who says I'm not making payments on it?

Now 23k miles added since last July sitting at 73k miles now.

Can't wait to go autocross again the next 2 weekends. NCCAR next week, then Metlife Stadium in NJ on May 1st.

4Msfam Reader
4/18/16 10:29 a.m.

Just dropping a line to say I love the build thread. Carry on. :)

flatlander937 Reader
4/18/16 3:23 p.m.

Apparently my wife signed up for Amazon Prime to buy a bunch of stuff for our new place... so of course I'll sneak in some goodies under her account for my car.

Nothing big, just some maintenance items because racecar. I think my motor mount bushings are starting to get a bit of slop under hard launches, so I'm buying another set of $15 Energy Suspension 9.9483 bushings for the homemade engine mount.

Also finally starting to get some pinging and popping from my front springs more often. For 23k miles I'm pretty happy overall. I had them apart I think twice to blow out with compressed air, wipe down and soak in lithium grease, then reinstall. I have another set of torringtons/races on the way to take care of this... I have a local friend/autocrosser with a 3D printer who I'm going to try and get to prototype an idea of mine to help extend the life of these bearings... basically it will be a plastic cover/housing that semi-seals or at least shields the bearing from getting crap directly thrown at it from the tires.

My OTHER idea if this doesn't extend the life adequately, is to get some 2.5in ID conical roller bearings, and have my friend print a spring seat that adapts to the bearing race. A 3/4in thick conical roller bearing should last CONSIDERABLY longer than torringtons. Larger rollers means grit won't stop them from rolling as easily, and also because angled downward could potentially be ejected down and out of the rolling surfaces.

I have PLENTY of space on my coilover sleeve without any tire clearance problems so I can pull it off. Not sure if it's an item anyone else would be interested in, as depending on where your coilovers are set, could require buying springs that are 1in shorter(and potentially worry about spring bind depending on rates and application).

flatlander937 Reader
4/23/16 8:18 p.m.

Operation motor mount went fine. The old bushings weren't LOOSE, but I wanted to at least rule out them causing stupid amounts of wheel hop at the last event. I noticed the engine/trans feeling like they were shifting around a bit, most noticeable when accelerating and then letting off then getting back on it again in first gear. It wasn't anything like the stock Jello mount, but was bugging me.

The old bushings didn't have physical play in them, but you could spin the inner sleeve inside the bushings easily by hand... the new bushings you cannot do that again.

We'll see how it works out tomorrow :)

RedGT Reader
4/24/16 7:05 a.m.

In reply to flatlander937:

So...as I just disassembled and reassembled 8 coilovers, 4 of which had been on the car for a year and a half, my approach to the roller bearing thing was two ss rings and a Teflon ring between. Full of grit but still slid fine and I have hefty helper springs that rotate a lot as they compress. I was going to go to roller bearings but I don't think they'd be any better due to the dirt problem you mention. Also crap I never got back to you about those lugs.

flatlander937 Reader
4/26/16 8:25 a.m.

No problem, were you the one who contacted me on the other forum? I can sell 2 full sets.

Anyway yesterday the course was AWESOME.

NCCAR is an amazing facility, I REALLY wish I could have made it for the Gripfest event on Saturday(basically standing start single lap around the whole road course timed auto-x style)... I'm definitely planning on doing the event on October 29th!

Here was my fastest run, the car definitely had sub-90sec capability, just not me :unamused:

So I was originally going to run 700/550 because it is on a road course and I was expecting higher speeds, after walking the course I chose to try the 700s out back... holy E36 M3 am I glad I did!!

My first run the amount of grip and amount of throttle you can give it just had me grinning like a complete idiot. I really wish I had an external microphone for my Gopro, otherwise you could have heard me going "Holy %&#@ this is awesome!" around nearly every slalom and off of every corner exit. :lol:

So I was running 700/700 springs, front shocks 1 turn from full stiff, rear shock dial on #5, and ran 33/38psi the whole day. I had no issues whatsoever with the setup, I just wanted to focus on driving the new setup more than anything.

There were not any spots that required a lot of rotation so I can't comment too much on that front, but higher speed stability was perfectly fine, throttle down and the rear plants, let up and it steps out without any wild snap oversteer or trying to swap ends or anything. This is by far the best the car has ever felt.

My first run was a 93.563+2(snagged one in the slalom along turn 1 on the actual course and one in the last Chicago box), second was 92.440+1 with Charlie(my codriver at the last event) to show him how the new setup felt, and my third run was a 90.621 clean, which ended up being my fastest run.

Run #4 it suddenly got some horrible understeer in every slalom. I wasn't expecting this because the tires were never hot to the touch, but that must be because of the ~1.5mi drive on the last half of the road course to get back to grid. Internally I'm guessing they were hot. I ran a 90.695, so just a hair slower.

I sprayed the tires and on run #5 I had already promised a ride along for another friend, in which I ran a 90.500 but +2.

It was a great time, and can't wait for a chance to go back again!

Here was my fastest run... still with plenty of room for improvement. Watching back I can see I wasn't getting left far enough to enter the slalom along the sweeping right turn 1 of the course. Would have helped overall corner speed for sure. Plus the launch in this one, and general un-smoothness.


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