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Thread: Suspension Advice for Track/AutoX

  1. #1
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    Default Suspension Advice for Track/AutoX

    I have a 1990 Miata with all stock suspension, Front sway bar (Racing beat, I think the tubular one) and an unknown rear sway.

    The suspension appears to be stock.
    I went to 15x7 Chaparral wheels (huge improvement) with 205/50/R15 Bridgestone RE-71Rs (also huge improvement). I went to Gran turismo East for an excellent alignment (HUGE improvement).

    I am now considering upgrading to something for track days and AutoX. The 'interwebs' says 'Buy the Xidas and be done with it' but money is tight. So that is not really an option.

    * Does not have to be cushy at all I do not DD the Miata often
    * Track Days are super fun - want to do more, but again, limited $$
    * AutoX is almost as fun and only $35, so that is maybe more important

    Do I need to freshen up the other suspension bits too, bushings and such?
    Will I feel an improvement for less than $1k?
    Bilstein HDs with FM Springs or something?
    Should I wait and do it once or get something budget and upgrade later?

    Advice is appreciated.
    Last edited by patrickclay; 10-08-2017 at 05:37 PM. Reason: I need to not hit the 'back button'

  2. #2
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    Hi Patrick - welcome! Yes, the XIDAs are nice. I upgraded to them last year. But I didn't get any faster at the track than when I was running the $700 Tein Flex Zs. I highly recommend those for a great budget setup. The FM VMaxx is also worth a look. Rick02R puts down really fast laps in his Exocet on VMaxx.

    How many miles are on your car? Have you inspected the bushings? A 1990 is almost 30 years old at this point, and rubber doesn't last forever. I like the Energy Suspension kit, but there are some downsides to poly bushings. There is a lot of information out there already about rubber vs poly vs other options - I won't try to recap it all here.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    I have not inspected the bushings, but I assume they should be replaced. Car has 99k miles.

  4. #4

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    I'm on Teins and love 'em. But they are also the first set of coilovers I've ever bought so I don't have much to compare them to.
    Whatever you get, make sure they have at least three separate adjustably controls- Ride height, spring preload, and dampening.

    Also your going to need a new alignment from GTE once you get your coilover of choice installed- they can also help you with setting proper ride height/rake.

  5. #5
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    Some chassis bracing will help some as well. The 90 doesn't have the front lower control arm brace or the rear chassis brace that the later NA's come with from the factory.
    95M

  6. #6
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    If your focus is AutoX, be careful about adding bracing. Some of that will knock you to a higher category.

    In my opinion, the best bang for buck is a set of Koni Yellows with threaded sleeves and fairly stiff springs (700/450 or something like that for street tires), and the big Racing Beat hollow front sway bar. Easily under $1k, and you'll DEFINITELY notice a difference. Don't waste time & money messing around with lowering springs if ride quality isn't super important. The spring rates on those are often WAY lower than what you'd want. Disconnect the rear swaybar for Autox, probably reconnect it based on how the car's balanced at track days.

    Xidas are going to be better, for sure, but 3-4x the price for fractional improvements at that point. It's a classic 80/20 situation. You can get 80% of the improvement for 20-ish% investment. But the other 20% improvement will need way more investment.

    FWIW: I run revalved Konis (to deal with higher spring rates) on my car.


    Are you the same Patrick who let me co-drive your car a few events ago?
    Last edited by amaff; 10-09-2017 at 11:02 AM.
    ~Andrew
    Atlanta Region SCCA
    D Prepared Miata

  7. #7
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    What's your budget?

  8. #8
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    I have the xidas because I got a good deal, but Mike from track minded performance ran some of the fastest lap times in an NA miata at AMP on Megan racing coilovers.

    It's the man, not the machine. That being said I recommend looking at the options from MeisterR as they seem to be reasonably priced and work very well. I may very well end up with a set on my ND at some point.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    Andrew - Yes, same Patrick.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickclay View Post
    Andrew - Yes, same Patrick.
    Ah! Cool. The "clay" threw me
    If you want to grab a bunch of hardware and put it together after the season's over, we can spend a weekend in the workshop getting it assembled, scaled and aligned.
    ~Andrew
    Atlanta Region SCCA
    D Prepared Miata

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by amaff View Post
    Ah! Cool. The "clay" threw me
    If you want to grab a bunch of hardware and put it together after the season's over, we can spend a weekend in the workshop getting it assembled, scaled and aligned.
    I use the "Clay" to hide from co workers and such - Sounds like a good plan.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kung fu jesus View Post
    What's your budget?
    If you ask me in front of my wife I would say $500... but I really should stay below $1000

  13. #13
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    Ok. Just from my experience, yes you would notice fresh bushings in the arms. With that budget, I would likely recommend springs and shocks. It won't be popular, but I'm not sure I would trust used coilovers at that price ($500), and I think it gives you a more consitent platform to learn from. With some of the posts above, you can see the times aren't really getting better for the advanced drivers with X or Y suspension. Shocks and spring will be great for continuing to grow with the car as a driver until you are sure you have plateaued. Just my $.02, take it for what it's worth.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickclay View Post
    I use the "Clay" to hide from co workers and such
    I like it.

    If you're at the event next weekend, come by and we can jack the car up and let you take a gander under her skirts.
    ~Andrew
    Atlanta Region SCCA
    D Prepared Miata

  15. #15
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    heres another vote for the tein flex, love mine
    1997 mx-5

  16. #16
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    Thanks to everyone for chiming in. I have been reading up and honestly, the more I read on the web, the more unsure I have been. I think with my budget I will go the shocks and springs and maybe threaded sleeves for now. Andrew (Amaff) lives about 3 miles from me so I will make sure to pick his brain and take him up on the offer to help me get setup.

    I may spend most of my time lurking, but this is a great forum! No flaming for me asking what has been asked over and over and no one preaching that their way is the only way. I like it here.

    Will make sure I update the thread when I get my stuffs.

  17. #17
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    I have3 old Koni's for cheap. Get them serviced at Koni and buy 1 more and springs/sleeves and you're there. The HD Bilstiens from Mazda Motorsports are a great starting point too. They have threaded collars and you can swap to stiffer springs if needed. You'll just need to send them results each year.
    David Luney - Suwanee GA
    miatastuff@bellsouth.net
    2004 RX-8, 2005 MCS, 08 Red GT, 1992 Spec Miata and a parts car or two.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by miatastuff View Post
    I have3 old Koni's for cheap. Get them serviced at Koni and buy 1 more and springs/sleeves and you're there.
    I don't know how cheap is cheap, but this + $80 worth of sleeves and $200 worth of springs, $150 for a sway bar, $70 or so for endlinks and an afternoon of work and you're there.

    Quote Originally Posted by miatastuff View Post
    Mazda Motorsports ... You'll just need to send them results each year.
    Yep, this is a no-brainer for anyone doing any sort of competition with a Mazda. Costs you nothing, nets you lots. Plus, cool stickers add horsepower!
    ~Andrew
    Atlanta Region SCCA
    D Prepared Miata

  19. #19
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    I'd hold off on the bushings unless yours are visibly failing or you get the other major stuff sorted to your liking. I would also HIGHLY recommend the FM style steering rack depower (though be aware that will may affect auto-x classing).
    2012 Spirited Green Mazda2 Touring 5MT
    1999 Emerald Mica/Tan Miata 5MT
    2007 Frontier Nismo Crew Cab 4x4

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyeballs View Post
    I would also HIGHLY recommend the FM style steering rack depower (though be aware that will may affect auto-x classing).
    Yep, that's why when I was running STS (same class as Patrick) back in the day, I had to do a full conversion to a manual system. At the time, different steering wheels weren't allowed and the only way to get Manual steering in my car was with a vinyl steering wheel, so I had to track one of those down to be fully legal. Thankfully that has changed.


    Now that I have the EPS column in, I've got a depowered rack going in later this year / early next year
    Last edited by amaff; 10-13-2017 at 01:05 PM.
    ~Andrew
    Atlanta Region SCCA
    D Prepared Miata

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