Flyin' Miata FOX suspension for the ND chassis
- Product Review (submitted on November 9, 2018):
These things are fantastic!
Ok, I was finally able to install the Fox coilovers. The install was really easy, as far as car work goes. Maybe all that training on the 20-30 year old german cars paid off, because wow... So much more simple.
I really took my time, which added up to about 5-6 hours of actual work. The instructions were extremely clear, and made a lot of sense. I had the Eibach springs on there, and I didn't even need a spring compressor for the rears. The springs are so soft that all I needed to do was put some weight on the coils and that would release all pressure on the retaining nut and upper mount. So, anyone who is going to do this and has the eibachs, you should be just fine.
I ended up not disconnecting the sway bars at all. In the front it was actually super easy with the upper A arm bolts loose. Just lean on the hub a little with everything undone, push against the lower mount for the old strut, and it will fall right now. Then weave it up and out of the assembly. Put the coilover assembly in there, and attach the top hat to the car. That way, when you put downward pressure on the hub assy, it will not drop down along with it, and adds stability.
In the rear, I think the trunk lining and that fuel pump shield took more time than either one of the corners. Again, I didn't pull the sway bar links. What i did was release the upper nuts first, used my impact wrench on the lower bolt, and let it run itself out. Then I put a bunch of sudden weight on the hub, and shoved the lower part of the rear strut out of the way. It took a couple tries, but wasn't that hard. Use the force! Reassembly is the reverse of this procedure. Again, get the top nuts in place, and then you'll have to use a bunch of strength to get that lower mount of the shock into place. Really, you just need to get it on top of the link. Don't worry about lining up the bolt hole, yet. Once you have it in place, use a flathead screwdriver, inserted from behind the shock, between the lower control arm and the shock body. Then just rotate the screwdriver, and it will lift the shock up, allowing you to find the proper alignment to get the bolt into place. There ya go! Now you just need to tighten things up and you're all set.
I then drove around the block and thought i got the suspension to settle a bit. Then i went around and set the ride heights. I ended up just below 13" for the front, and then just above 13" for the rear, with .5" difference, per flyin' miata's recommended heights.
I set the shocks to the recommended stiffness, front at 17 from stiff, and rear at 22 from stiff. My first drive was astounding. I could even tell a difference when i was backing out of my driveway. My fiancee excitedly jumped into the passenger seat (she had been bugging me for hours about wanting to be there for the test drive), and we drove around SF for about 20m. Anyone who has been here is aware that we have what are likely to be the worst roads in the country. Rough, full of potholes, undulating, etc.. But this new suspension handles all of it with aplomb. I was overwhelmingly excited about how the car felt.
On Monday, I did my standard commute down 101 to San Mateo, which is about 20 miles. I can't begin to articulate just how much nicer the car is to drive. It is so much more comfortable, with a beautifully supple ride. Before, with the eibachs, the ride was busy, jiggly, and a bit bouncy. Any quick steering inputs would be met with significant roll and delayed steering response. Fast lane changes would feel wallowy and irritating. Now, all of that has changed. There is still body roll, but it is quick and extremely well controlled. The car responds beautifully to sudden steering inputs and inspires a lot of confidence.
Then yesterday, I decided that there wasn't enough rebound dampening at that stiffness setting, and upped it by 4 clicks. I figure that a good system for targeting proper shock stiffness is to go in 4 click initial changes to truly notice a difference and tell if I need to be stiffer, softer, or stay the same. If I need to change it, I will decide which direction to go, and move it 2 clicks. And then, if I'm still not satisfied, 1 more to truly hone in on the proper stiffness.
So, after driving it for another day, i think those 4 clicks were too much. It's just a little too jiggly and stiff now. So, I'm gonna back it off 2 clicks, and see how it goes. What i'm not completely sure about is how to determine if I need to change the front to rear balance. I know that the rear shocks help determine ride quality, so I think I need to work from that assumption.
So, verdict as of today? COMPLETELY worth every single penny. I was SO close to getting the Xidas, but the difference in price was nearly 700 after factoring in sales tax. I could almost justify a 500 dollar difference, but couldn't figure out 700 considering I'm not really ever planning on competing with the car, and this is really just an overly built street car. The whole setup seems well designed, and the quality is very good. I'm amazed at how light they are.
Bravo to everyone at Flyin' Miata! Thank you, thank you!