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pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
9/11/21 1:54 p.m.

For some reason, ever since I got into cars, I've perceived adjustable coilovers as a pain in the ass. Fussy to set up and install, fussy to dial in, and enough adjustability to drive you a bit insane. The kind of thing that makes sense for a track or race car but not for a street car.

Well now I'm shopping for suspension to fix the wonky factory setup on my NC1, and I'm realizing that the well-liked Koni shock/Progress spring combo is about the same price as some nice coilovers with gushing reviews (MeisterR ZetaCRD specifically).

I live in California now, so the salt-frozen adjusters I had previously encountered in Wisconsin probably aren't a worry, and the roads are nice and smooth for the most part so I don't have to worry about the potholes and cracks that used to drive me crazy on lowered cars. The initial setup  still seems like a pain though.

Is my perception of adjustable coilovers as a pain in the ass generaly justified or should I give them another look?

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
9/11/21 2:31 p.m.

Give them another look.

The initial setup is kinda a pain in the ass,  but not horrible. Especially when you disconnect the sway bars. Set ride height, then alignment, then drive to settle it. Double check it. THEN reconnect sway bars. You may need adjustable end links to allow for no preload on the car from the sway bars 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
9/11/21 3:16 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

Give them another look.

The initial setup is kinda a pain in the ass,  but not horrible. Especially when you disconnect the sway bars. Set ride height, then alignment, then drive to settle it. Double check it. THEN reconnect sway bars. You may need adjustable end links to allow for no preload on the car from the sway bars 

Nailed it!

Set them and forget them. You should hit ride height right off and may need a bit of jiggering to get stiffness set where you like it but after that you can just forget about them.

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
9/11/21 3:54 p.m.

On my vintage race car they are set and forget for the most part.

The easy button is to measure the ride heights before you make the change, set the coilovers to that height and then take the car to a reputable race shop for the final adjustment.

With all that said for purely street cars I would never bother with coilovers. I've always gone with some mild lowering springs and a good set of shocks/dampers.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
9/11/21 4:12 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

With all that said for purley street cars I would never bother with coilovers. I've always gone with some mild lowering springs and a good set of shocks/dampers.

Adjustable perch coilovers do two things -- they let you set corner weights, and they let you set ride height.  Corner weights on street cars may not be a big concern, but being able to set the ride height exactly where you want it is useful.  Also, most of the higher end shocks are only available in coilover setups.

I have no experience with "MeisterR" coilovers so I can't comment on the quality.

 

dps214
dps214 Dork
9/11/21 4:55 p.m.

It's pretty overkill for street use and is annoying but not as bad as you're probably thinking. But konis are already cheap and not the highest quality stuff out there, I'd be skeptical of coilovers for the same price.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/11/21 5:27 p.m.

MeisterR doesn't understand preload, but as long as you're able to get reasonable bump and droop travel (the rear is limited on an NC) you'll be okay. Can't comment on their damping quality but it's hard to beat the lifetime Konis in that price range. 

I've got a couple of videos out on preload and cornerweighting that you might find useful. Setup is easy enough, even with "adjustable preload" because there's only one right setting :)

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
9/11/21 6:03 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

Understood; my son's LS400 has coilovers which we used to set the lowest workable ride height (read keeping it low but still driveable) 

With that said I personally don't like street cars dropped more than an inch or two. So again the coil overs (for me) aren't worth the bother on a street car.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
9/11/21 6:29 p.m.

Yes they are. 

Without a full understanding of the application/spring rate/damper coefficient/travel ,matrix, you are just guessing at a lot of complicated physics.

That said, the old saw of " Amy suspension will work if you don't let it move" still works for a lot of us. Putting coil over suspension on with out a predefined test to measure results is just a bling exercise. Often, "stiff ride" is the acceptable result as measured by a butt dyno.

 

That all said, they do look cool, so if that is the objective and you are happy, that is all that matters!

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/11/21 7:16 p.m.

Honestly?  I'd buy dampers and springs from FM before looking at some rando company that likely shilled for reviews.

That said, adjusting adjustable spring seats and dampers isn't too bad as long as you have a good alignment shop to work with and can put the proper miles on the car.

84FSP
84FSP UltraDork
9/11/21 9:17 p.m.

A nice setup is indeed typically a do it right once thing.  Taking the time in a lightweight car to set the height then have it corner weighted by a decent shop makes so much difference in the balance.  Your frozen faster/perch issue is remedied by marine grease when assembling.

BlindPirate
BlindPirate Reader
9/11/21 10:21 p.m.

I got coilovers for my NC 1 to be able to fix the crazy factory ride. I didn't know if Koni and springs would get me where I wanted to be.I set them to what FM suggested, made a few little tweaks after they were installed and haven't messed with them since. There is a Miata web site that has its preferred vendors and I wonder how unbiased their reviews are. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/11/21 10:36 p.m.

There are a few Miata web sites :)

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
9/12/21 10:39 a.m.

I think both FM and Goodwin sell good parts with their fans in the Miata community, but it kinda seems like FM is backing away from the NC. There's just not much available from FM anymore while Goodwin seems to be heavily supporting the NC.

I am leaning towards FM springs if I end up going the fixed suspension route, though. I didn't realize how soft the Progress springs were. Sadly it seems like FM is out of Koni Yellows, I wonder how these springs do with the Orange/STR.T?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/12/21 11:18 a.m.

FM is not backing away from the NC. We're investing more into that platform than any other at this point by an enormous margin. But that's the story NC owners keep telling themselves, and then they don't come to us for parts, and then parts get discontinued because we can't afford to have parts gathering dust on the shelf. 

We also tend to curate our catalog somewhat, so instead of selling 5 different sets of springs that are all just slightly different we choose 1. This makes it look like we're not supporting the platform if you don't pay attention.

Koni is having trouble meeting supply and our bumpstop manufacturer just shrugged and said "sorry, no parts". We're trying to get parts on the shelf. I would not recommend pairing the STR.T with FM springs.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
9/12/21 11:27 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

That makes sense. I'm a new NC owner so I'm still figuring out who has what. I just noticed that FM no longer offers a NC exhaust, for example, while Goodwin has an overwhelming number of options. But I would like to support FM when possible, in no small part because of your always-helpful insight on this board, even on non-Miata subjects smiley

Do you have any estimates on when the NC Koni Stage 2 package might be available for order again? After reading up on stuff for most of last night, I think that's the setup I will ultimately be happiest with.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/12/21 1:12 p.m.

I think it's the surprise lack of bump stops that's keeping them out of stock. We throw in the bumps as a value add because most NCs need replacements by now, and I know our engineering team is scrambling to find alternatives. I'm not on that team so unfortunately I don't have any insight into timeframes right now. Doesn't mean it's going to be a long time, it just means I don't know. 

rkammerer
rkammerer New Reader
9/13/21 9:46 a.m.

I have an NC1, used to have Konis w/ stock springs (Street class autox); now have Flyin' Miata/Fox coil-overs (Yay STR).  I haven't found the adjustable suspension a problem - as mentioned, a little fiddling to find your happy settings then leave alone.  I keep "street" and "autoX" and "track day" settings on hand.  I even fiddle with the ride height, raising it in winter and back to fun height in the spring.

One plus I found buying from FM, they have good support.  Instructions are clear, and include recommended starting points on the dampers.  My notes that vary from the insructions are (1) I used plastic spacers in place of the "black spacer" referenced for wide tires.  I did this to have the smallest spacer height, engaging bumpstops just before tire contact.  Easy to to, pull springs, run through range of travel, add spacers until you don't get contact.  (2) on the rears, my passenger side was getting some small rubbing of the shock body on likely the lip around the shock tower of the unibody.  I fixed this by tightening the shaft nut to Gut-n-Tight torque, that seems to have eliminated the shock moving as much on the upper mount.

Another source of bump stops I've used is RE Suspension - they have the same Red/White/Blue stiffness bumps that some other Miata vendors sell.

I too have read the gushing reviews on the Meisters, and agree with your Grain of Salt.  They may indeed be a fantastic value, I'm just leery of all the group think on that site.  FM/Fox were pretty new when I got them so not too many reviews, but based on FMs reputation that's what I went with.  If you'll be using this as a street car, I'd recommend the Sport springs.  I have both those and the Race springs.  Race springrates work great at autoX and on track, but a little rough to daily here in the frost-heaved midwest, YMMV.

OldGray320i
OldGray320i Dork
9/13/21 12:44 p.m.

I'm a slave to fashion, but I don't want to totally give up performance, either.  It's a challenge, but with enough thought, patience, and research you can get there. 

I'll adjust in 1/8 increments for the right look, most people just don't care that much.  That means a fair amount of effort on my part, but it's what I want to do. 

I've also done just springs, and for me that sometimes means "settling" for a look, and even that's after removing rubber spring pads, etc. 

Meister R seems to have the right combination of price performance, they really hit the fat part of the bell curve for their target market.   Disagree with Keith that they don't understand preload, they do, and they know what their product is and who it serves.  

OP seems to have made a great choice for what he wants, though.  

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
9/13/21 1:49 p.m.

IMO Coilovers are easier to deal with than doing non-adjustable struts and springs. Better adjustability, easier to install - you don't compress the springs, etc. They're generally more compact in my experience as well, easier to situate and install. 

I wouldn't over-think it. 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
9/13/21 8:28 p.m.

Yeah, the problem for me right now is that the setups I'm most interested in are both out of stock! cheeky

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/14/21 8:27 a.m.

Keep in mind with "affordable" suspension setups, there is a lot of confirmation bias. Because many of those people have never had a car on a good suspension setup, so that's why you end up seeing people giving glowing reviews of cheap garbage like BC.

It's hard to find a quality coilover setup for less than $2k. 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
9/14/21 8:42 a.m.

I run them quite a bit, I'm partial to Bilstein PSS coilovers.  Once I've set the ride height and dampening the way I want, I get the car aligned (if street, corner weighed too if track) and then never touch them again...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/14/21 1:29 p.m.
OldGray320i said:

I'm a slave to fashion, but I don't want to totally give up performance, either.  It's a challenge, but with enough thought, patience, and research you can get there. 

Meister R seems to have the right combination of price performance, they really hit the fat part of the bell curve for their target market.   Disagree with Keith that they don't understand preload, they do, and they know what their product is and who it serves. 

We obviously disagree strongly on the "preload" thing - Meister R has yet to actually explain how they think it affects driving dynamics. My belief is that anyone who adjusts preload and notices a difference is actually reacting to the change in bump travel - the preload number is a side effect, the travel is the primary thing being adjusted. And if you talk to other top suspension guys like Emilio, they'll back me up.

I agree that Meister R has marketed their products extremely well and taken aim at a big juicy chunk of the market.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
9/14/21 2:21 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I personally believe 9/10 of people would extract the same 'performance' if they had top shelf single adjustable components or reasonable bottom shelf components (I'm not talking maxpeeding kinda stuff, that's like .... basement stuff). Alignment and rake are more important for the most part.

I have plenty real-world experience with that - now in the double adjustable world I don't have experience. My next set on my road-race car will be double adjustable. 

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