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Thread: Full Alpina wheel and suspension conversion for a Z8

  1. #1

    Full Alpina wheel and suspension conversion for a Z8

    I am planning to install the entire Alpina wheel and suspension package on my 2002 Z8. I am looking forward to letting everyone know the outcome when it is done, as I have not found anyone yet in the states yet who has done that. Perhaps J?rgen knows of someone, but Axel at Alpina is unaware of any Z8?s in Europe running the Alpina set-up.

    My package will include the 20 inch Alpina Dynamic wheels, struts (front), shocks (rear) and springs. My personal reasons for the change: I like the look of the Alpina wheels - though perhaps slightly garish, they are uniquely attractive and tie into the 4 spoke appearance of the Z8 steering wheel. I also like the idea that a company like Alpina has tuned the suspension and wheel combination to basically a Z8 and that I am keeping the car a bit more ?stock?. Finally, I am drawn to the possibly protective effect of the more compliant Alpina suspension for our strut towers, as I want to go to a taller wheel. Before pursuing this, I have researched whether there may be some deleterious effect with the slightly differently weighted Z8.

    Here is what I have learned talking to Axel at Alpina in Germany, the folks at KSK Distributors (distributors for Alpina in the U.S. - 818-843-2620) Grease Monkey and other Alpina / Z8 owners on BMWZ.us, the Alpina brochure, and culling the Web for additional information.

    Where possible, I have relied primarily on formally documented information or that from Alpina. The Alpina goes by the formal name of ?Alpina Roadster V8?.

    Weight (pounds):
    Alpina - 3495 (3554 with Hardtop) The Alpina brochure states 3571 unloaded.
    Z8 ----- 3494 (doesn?t indicate with or without hardtop)
    The weight distribution of the Alpina is shown as 49.9/50.1, whereas the Z8 is shown as 50/50. The Alpina engine has been reported to be some 80-90 pounds lighter than the Z8 S62 engine. As the Z8 has been reported as being lighter than the Alpina, the weight difference advantage for the Z8 is thought to arise from the lighter weight of its manual transmission.

    Per Bridgestone, the RE040 Z8 OEM tires weigh 36 lbs. in the rear (275/40 18) and 32 lbs. in the front (245/45 18).
    Per TireRack, the Pilot Sport 2 for the Alpina wheel weigh 26 pounds in the rear (285/30 20) and the same in the front (255/35 20).
    The Z8 OE wheel / tire front combo on a Z8 weighs 59 lbs. and the rear combo weighs 64 lbs (per GM).

    Axel believes that the different weight bias of the Z8 would not disturb handling and ride advantages of the Alpina set up, when installed in a Z8.

    Suspension:

    The rear Alpina Springs are stiffer and shorter than their Z8 counterparts.
    Here is where it gets a little tricky. The front springs of the Z8 and U.S. Alpina are identical. But, the front spring of the Euro Alpina is stiffer and 10 mm shorter than the U.S. Alpina sping. The Z8 front spring was apparently used in the U.S. Alpina to meet D.O.T. standards.
    The Alpina (both U.S. and Euro) front struts and rear shocks are more dampened (read softer) than their Z8 counterparts.


    Owner opinions:

    One owner reports that the Alpina wheels are 3-5 pounds lighter than the Z8 OEM wheels.

    One Alpina owner remembers at his Spartanburg experience with 10 ?Z8?s?, that the top 3 autocross times belonged to the three Alpinas present. He also found that ?regarding handling, the Z8 is more responsive and turns somewhat flatter during high G turns?. After driving the Z8, he did find that the Alpina did have a more forgiving ride than the Z8.

    Two owners who have fitted the Alpina wheel / non-run flat combos on their Z8?s have found a more compliant ride. At least one owner found a stiffer ride with that same combo. These reports were in Z8?s without the Alpina suspension set up (stiffer springs / softer struts/shocks).

    Much has been written in the press of the more compliant ride of the Alpina versus the Z8.
    Last edited by macfly; February 20th 2009 at 15:06.

  2. #2
    DSC Off bummsbass's Avatar
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    I have the ALPINA setup combined with 19" ALPINA Classic wheels installed. I am happy with it (http://www.bmwz8.us/vbb/showthread.php?t=492).

    The weight difference of the wheels compared to the OEMs is huge. Front wheel is 11.0 kg, rear 11.8 kg, this is 5 kg less each (!) compared to the OEM wheel. And another 2 kg less each due to the non-RFT conventional Micheln PS2.

    Springs and shocks are Eibach and Sachs as the OEMs are, difference is that they are manufactured due to Alpina specs. The suspension is more comfortable than the original, much better handling - it makes a big difference. A clear suggestion!

    I am looking forward to reading your comments after installation of yours.

  3. #3
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Are you using..

    any additional sway bars, like Dinan? And, with the front lower and rear at stock Z8 height, does the "rake" look OK? Are you sure the rear height in unchanged?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    DSC Off bummsbass's Avatar
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    no additional sway bars. The front is 2cm lower, indeed, and rear unchanged. It can be seen if you know it, however, I can live with that. You have to know it, otherwise ... look at the picture, no big deal.

    I think Alpina did it by intention to improve a) the handling, and b) the stability at higher speeds.

    Btw: the Performance Package is installed.
     
    Last edited by bummsbass; November 5th 2006 at 20:38. Reason: spelling

  5. #5

    It looks really good to me....

    and I don't mind the fractional height at the rear. It is interesting to note that it was infact the team at Alpina who did much of the original suspension work on the Z8, as you can see in 'The Book', so it makes sense that when they had a chance to revisit it they were able to improve upon their original work. You can always make things better second time round, and it seems that they did here.

    Since Ted started this train of thought I too have been asking around, and it seems that every single person who has driven both cars at speed says the Alpina is the better handling car of the two, so I think there is much to be gained from this upgrade, in handling, comfort and frame protection.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  6. #6
    My understanding is that the Euro Alpina Roadster V8 sits 10 mm lower at both ends.

    I am not planning to add the Dinana swaybars until I am more sure that they are needed. I have not come across an Alpina owner who has placed different swaybars. It would be good to hear the opinion of Alpina owners in this regard.

    Ted

    p.s. Perhaps Alpina makes a special swaybar for the car?!

  7. #7
    DSC Off bummsbass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Bender View Post
    My understanding is that the Euro Alpina Roadster V8 sits 10 mm lower at both ends.
    I can tell you for sure that the front is 20mm lower, and the rear is unchanged.

    Btw: I had already an Alpina B10 V8S, and my dealer is the oldest Alpina-Partner abroad, importing Alpinas exclusively to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

  8. #8

    Ah, the mystery continues.

    My information came in writing from Alpina directly in the last week, though they did have to check internally.

    It is my understand that the suspension pieces of these three cars do differ -
    1) the Z8 (U.S. and Euro)
    2) the Euro Alpina (Roadster V8)
    3) the U.S. Alpina (Roadster V8)
    [They differ in springs, struts and rear shocks. The sway bars are the same]

    I can tell you from the Alpina catalog that the Z8 and U.S. Alpina front springs have the same part number 31 33 1 096 090. The Euro Alpina front spring is 31 33 619 (and supposedly 10mm shorter).

    The Z8 rear spring is 33 53 1 096 095.
    The Euro Alpina rear spring (Alpina part number 33 53 628) is, according to Alpina Germany, identical to the U.S. Alpina rear spring (part number 33 53 8 022 575).

    Hopefully, this discourse will lead to a consensus.

  9. #9
    DSC Off bummsbass's Avatar
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    It is possible that the specs for the US are different.
    I have my information from the Alpina dealer and the authorisation office (an approval is needed here for such changes).

  10. #10
    Z8 Guru 2112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bummsbass View Post
    The front is 2cm lower, indeed, and rear unchanged. It can be seen if you know it, however, I can live with that. You have to know it, otherwise ... look at the picture, no big deal.

    Btw: the Performance Package is installed.
    If you also installed the performance kit, and that is supposed to add 10mm in height, and you are now 20mm lower, wouldn't that mean the alpina srings are 30mm lower than stock?

  11. #11
    DSC Off bummsbass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
    If you also installed the performance kit, and that is supposed to add 10mm in height, and you are now 20mm lower, wouldn't that mean the alpina srings are 30mm lower than stock?
    Due to my knowledge the performance kit makes no difference in height. How should it? It has nothing to do with the suspension etc.

    The 20mm difference were before and after the installation.

  12. #12
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I think some are confused that the new strut attachment component and the top rings change the suspension geometry, which they do not as you correctly state.
    thegunguy

  13. #13
    Z8 Guru 2112's Avatar
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    Yes, I believe on the other site, someone said the replacement strut attachment added 10mms due to increased thickness.

  14. #14

    Smile Outcome of the conversion

    Approximately 4 months ago, I decided to convert my Z8 to Alpina suspension specs. My thoughts and goals have been to add change my ride to one totally tuned by one of the world’s foremost tuning houses – Alpina. I figured why try to mix and match when Alpina built a custom setup with the matching 20 inch wheels. Fortunately, I find the Alpina Dynamic wheels very attractive and they match the theme of the car.

    While seeking information from the nice folk at Alpina as to what outcome to expect, they explained that they had no first hand knowledge of the exact effect of such a conversion and that mine would be the first fully Alpina (suspension) converted Z8 in the world , so here is my experience to date.

    I worked through Dana Caldwell (Service Manager - “the Z8 Meister)” and Matt Carver (The Master Technician) at Peter Pan BMW in San Francisco to do the work - and an exceptional job they did, indeed. Dana ordered all the Alpina suspension components through BMW (cost considerably cheaper than ordering through Alpina’s distributor in the United States – “KSK Distributing”). I did choose to install the European front springs as they are 10mm shorter. Since BMW does not sell those in the United States, I did have to buy them through KSK at a cost of over $300 a piece plus a fortune in shipping. I don’t want to even figure out what that turned out to be per millimeter. With those prices I would seriously consider using Maximillian Importers(Bimmer.com) or some other place to get the stock Alpina springs from BMW in Europe where the prices would be considerably lower. Alternatively, one could easily stick with the stock front U.S. Z8 springs which are identical to the U.S. Alpina front springs. For those seriously interested in such a conversion, you can contact Dana who is planning to (or has already) put together an Alpina conversion package. (For details such as part numbers and such, look lower in this thread and on RealOEM.com.)

    What about the results? Well I have driven the car for over a month so far and I am very happy. Where my prior stock Z8 with the OEM wheels and the Run-Flats was a blast to drive, it was not enjoyable to do any long distances on the LA Freeway system. Our concrete surfaces are very pockmarked making my old Z8 feel more like a ’68 Corvette. The Alpina conversion has seemed to add to my new Z8 some manners of a boulevard cruiser. Dare I say that the roads feel smoother. Of course, we all know that making rides more cushy generally makes handling more mushy, but the Alpina folk stated that they went to great lengths to actually improve the handling of the Alpina Roadster. How could this be done? Well the better handling with the shorter sidewalls of the 20” tires could offset the greater compliance of the struts and shocks. The non-Run-Flat Michelin PS2’s, of course, go a long way to improve both handling and ride. As I have not taken the car to the track, I can't comment on is whether there has been any sacrifice in the handling. Andrew is having his car converted by Dana as we speak, so he, hopefully, can speak to this matter later. What we do know is that a stock Alpina (without a LSD) on the show “Top Gear”, while trashed by Jeremy Clarkson, also had a very fast lap times – equivalent to a Lambo Murcielago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qqhuPYv-Jw

    Finally, there may be a bonus with this more compliant ride. There has yet to be a report of an Alpina Roadster with strut tower deformity.
       
    Last edited by Bend; February 7th 2007 at 07:26. Reason: formatting

  15. #15
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    First, that is a great color combination. I have an Alpina which I purchased last year. In the 12 months that I have owned the car I have put 3,000 miles on it (thereby doubling the miles on the car) and have taken it into Manhattan about a dozen times. While I have never driven a Z8, I find the ride on the Alpina to be the right combination of handling, and slight smoothing of the bumps on the road. I have done my fair share of pot hole dodging due to the low profile tires (mindful of the potential frame issue as well) and have to admit to never quite relaxing while driving in the city, more worried about pot holes then taxi drivers! Having said that I agree that the Alpina Dynamic wheels are very attractive and like them the best of all the different wheels I have seen posted on the site so far.

  16. #16
    The Other Red ZAchterbahn's Avatar
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    Gorgeous car, Ted! Your report on the improved "smoothness" is very interesting. As I am not taking the car on the track the Alpina suspension sounds like a sensible thing to do. Would it not also help ease stress on frame and body?

    Enjoy,

    Christian.

  17. #17
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Good report, Ted. The car looks great!
    thegunguy

  18. #18
    Thanks, guys, for the complements.
    I do think that what I am feeling in the seat is being translated through the chassis. So, yes, short of bottoming out in a pothole, there seems to be a protective effect of the Alpina suspension setup.

  19. #19
    Great report, and also a great idea too - thanks for setting it all in motion. I'll add my thoughts on the conversion once I pick up my car. The extra protection offered by the Alpina's gentler set up was a big part of the reason I decided to do this conversion. This isn't my track car, it is my 'classic car' and it's principal purpose in my life is to be a special event sporty tourer. My Z8 will never see the track in anger, but it is certainly good to know that the Alpina equaled the Lambo in that BBC test. I intend to keep adding parts to the car, including many of the beautiful Cartridge parts, in a gentle evolution towards both visual and driving perfection.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  20. #20
    I can now confirm that the EU Alpina kit both improves the steering feel, handling and the ride of the car. Now I understand why so many journalists have told me that they prefered the Alpina over the Z8, it's simply because it handles much better. The more compliant damping will protect the frame, the smoothness of the 'Alpina' ride absorbs everything on the road like a hovercraft, yet it drives like a rabbit on rails at a greyhound track.

    I can fully recommend this upgrade. If you are in the USA just contact Dana Caldwell at Peter Pan BMW - 650 294 2123, as he knows how to source the parts from the EU that are required having done both Ted's car and mine.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  21. #21
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    We should get an auto-rag guy to run tests side-by-side. I think I may be able to arrange that, should I look into it?

  22. #22
    I'd prefer we do it ourselves at Buttonwillow, and have Craig Santon as our 'referee'. The last C&D the journalists were doing laps in the Exige S at the same times I'm doing in my n/a Elise!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  23. #23
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    In order to isolate the differences in the suspensions, you will need to eliminate any differences between the vehicles, such as modifications, but I believe the most important thing to hold constant would be the tires. Since the PS2 are now available in both sizes, I would suggest using them.

    It would also be good to comare to a Dinan outfitted car.
    Last edited by thegunguy; March 2nd 2007 at 14:29.
    thegunguy

  24. #24
    I think that if we can get a selection of Z8's and Craig Stanton we'll just have to test what is available. We'll need to find a stock car, then Ted's car doesn't have the Dinan parts on it as yet, so that should give us a three way comparisson.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  25. #25
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    plus a car with the full Dinan system (stock struts).
    thegunguy

  26. #26
    I'm not aware of any cars that have the full Dinan suspension anymore. I think Siliconvalleyman was the only owner here that had it, but he hasn't been around since the beginning of the frame issue.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  27. #27
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Dogsbreath's Avatar
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    My car has the full Dinan set up (ie stage 3 suspension) if that is what you are referring to - and I still have my stock wheels - but with dunlops on them

    Dave P

  28. #28
    Excellent, now we have a full set of cars. I'll see if there is a track day coming up that we could join onto to do the testing. It costs around $1200 a day to hire Craig, and it is usually $360 a day for each persons share of the track rental. If we get four cars it'll cost us around $660 each, but you will get almost two hours one on one driving instruction from Craig, who is one of the very best teachers I've had. Here is a link to his site.

    So who wants to come and do a side by side Z8 set up day at BW?
    Andrew Macpherson

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  29. #29
    I'm in!

  30. #30
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I might have to fly out for this one! Can I borrow the Elise?
    thegunguy

  31. #31

    Sway bar contribution

    Andrew asked that I post our off-line exchange here:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by The Bender
    Andrew,
    I have a question for you.
    I have noticed a certain sloppiness in making sharper turns (a seemingly excessive rolling out of the front end of the car). Almost like, dare I say it, what Jeremy Carlson noted in driving the car.
    You don't seem to notice that. Do you think that may be due to your installation of the Dinan front and rear swaybars?
    Ted



    Hi Ted,

    Yes, I am certain of it, because without the swaybars I would expect that to happen, and indeed was expecting it when I got to the 58. However the sway bars allow the suspension to remain unloaded/affected by the weight transfer, and thus maintaining all it's ability to keep the tires planted.

    I think that once we get a track day planned I might actually make my sway bars a little stiffer, and see what that does, but overall the combo of all these parts really works very well together.

    Talk soon, all the best......Andew

  32. #32
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    The caster plates also allow more for more rubber contact with the ground in a turn...less understeer.
    thegunguy

  33. #33
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Dogsbreath's Avatar
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    Let me know when !!

    Dave P

  34. #34
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    Depending on timing, it might be something I could come over for too. Let us know.

  35. #35
    Let me know when would be good for everyone, and I'll ask about a date on Friday as I'll be at the track with the Elise. I go whenever possible, so it really comes down to picking a time that suits you guys. We only rent the track on weekdays, as it is much too expensive at weekends, so everyone who is to bring a car needs to commit to taking a day off work. Buttonwillow is pretty near Bakersfield, where there are a couple of decent hotels for folks coming from far, but it is only two hours up the 5 from me in Hollywood, so I'll drive up in the morning.

    I'd suggest a date in late April, the weather should be perfect by then, and it gives everyone time to make suitable plans.

    Our run groups are always very small, 12 cars is all we allow, and all of the guys are regulars, so it is a very safe run group. As I m entioned the cost will be around $360 a head for the track rental, and $300 each for Craig Stanton if we get four us.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  36. #36
    Andrew,
    A special request, if possible. I am very firmly engaged on Friday mornings, so if there is any way to make it on a Tuesday, that would be great.
    Ted

  37. #37
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    An early day in the week is good for me too, but I'll only fly out to observe and socialize.
    thegunguy

  38. #38
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    I'm in....

    My car will have (if needed):

    Stock suspension
    PP
    S03PPs
    Stock wheels
    With or without sway bars

    If we don't need my car, I may bring something else orange, I mean fun.

    Will anyone be running the Euro spec Alpina parts with original 18" wheels?

  39. #39
    I have my run flat shod OEM rims here at the house, so we could consider getting those up there somehow too, and doing a wheel swap at the track. I'll get back to everyone once I have some prospective dates that are early in the week.

    Just to sum up what we have is 5 cars so far.
    macfly............Alpina Susp + Dinan sway/castor + 20" + MPS2
    dogsbreath......Dinan Susp + 19" + Dunlops
    the bender......Alpina sus + 20" + MPS2
    jawz..............Alpina sus + 20" + MPS2
    norcal............Z8 sus + 18" + SO3
    Andrew Macpherson

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  40. #40
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    To complete your last post - I have the original MPS2 with 28K on them. Depending on timeframe, I may have new shoes by then, but planning on staying with MPS2.

  41. #41
    OK, here is the plan - on Tuesday April 24th the group I run with has 5 spots available for us at Buttonwillow, so I have reserved them for us, and I will now continue this planning by directly emailing each of you. Everything you need to know will be there, but if for any reason you don't get an email by tomorrow am please contact me directly.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  42. #42
    Z8Mania
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    Thanks for sharing this.

    I love the topaz/ crema/ Alpina combo. I was never a big fan of the Alpina wheels on the Z8 because I feel they are too modern looking for the more retro Z8, but with your color combo and ride height, I think it looks terrific.

    Im also glad to read that the car drives even better. In a way I am not surprised. The more stiff the setup, the more the car will skip across road irregularities.

    Im looking forward to reading what you fellas report from your meet.

  43. #43
    Sport Button On
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    Andrew....I have been slow to act here....too much work of late....but should you have room for another I would love to participate on the Buttonwillow adventure. Happy to be a standby if necessary. Nearly total stock Z8 excepting racing exhaust.

    rwwinsz8

  44. #44
    At present we have just two Z8's and a GT3rs, so it would be really great to have a stock Z8 there for comparisson. I will send you the email I sent to the others so you have all the info.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  45. #45
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Talking Wish I could attend but you fellas have fun!

    Ted, the car looks great! I am not a particular fan of the Alpina wheels but on your blue car -- looks awesome. Glad the ride and handling are improved to you satisfaction.

    Andrew, curious how yours interpretation of the upgrade differs from Ted's as aren't you still using the Hamann 20", which are about the same weight as the OEM 18" wheels?

    I empathize with Ron, just too much work and family commitments lately and I can not believe how many posts I have missed -- I have alot of reading to catch up on!!
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  46. #46
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Ted, could you summarize the parts list...

    by posting the BMW / Alpina parts numbers for the entire set up as well as an estimated cost for the parts to make it easy for anyone to follow in your footsteps?

    Andrew, do you still have your Dinan Sways and did you keep them with this new set up?
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  47. #47

    Alpina parts list

    Hello Jeff,

    I will actually refer you to the source that I used to draw up the parts that I wanted ... your excellent post at http://bmwz8.us/vbb/showthread.php?t...ighlight=parts. I prefer the online catalog "realoem" over the newer one, since realoem includes prices. Though the prices might not be totally accurate, it's a place to start.

    For Alpina part numbers, look at http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partgrp.d...3&mospid=47736

    My conversion (taken from the Alpina Roadster) included the:
    1. U.S. Front Struts
    2. Euro Front Springs (Alpina part # 31 33 619 - which are 10 mm shorter than the U.S. Alpina springs). If you are ok with the U.S. Alpina Front Springs, you'll save a lot of dollars, since you won't have to buy them, since they are identical to the U.S. Z8 front springs.
    3. Rear shocks
    4. Rear springs
    5. Alpina wheels
    6. Alpina wheel locks (not available in the U.S.)
    7. 4 x part # 36 13 017 high polished anti theft ALPINA wheel bolt 51,5 thread
    8. 1 x part # 74 00 137 wrench

    Additional complementary gear to the Alpina suspension:
    Michellin Pilot Sport 2's
    Dinan Front and Rear Sway Bars
    "Performance Package"

    I bought my Alpina springs from KSK - Alpina's U.S. distributor - and that was a really uncomfortable experience, after I discovered their markup. I have heard that your best bet is to find an overseas BMW dealership to get the Euro parts.

    I hope that helps.

    Ted

  48. #48
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Thanks Ted, I am wondering...

    and curious what a partial conversion would be like -- as I have the Dinan Stage 3 suspension upgrade. The Dinan Springs alson have a different dampening rate which is variable as opposed to uniform, which is what the OEM Z8 springs are. If I kept the Dinan Springs but switched from the OEM Sachs struts front and rear to a set of Alpina Struts (Bilsteins)-- I wonder if the ride and handling would be enhanced?

    I also wonder if ordering a set of Bilsteins that are replacement shocks for the Alpina from a aftermarket supplier would save a significant amount.

    I plan to call Dinan to discuss the project with them and report back.

    I agree on the MPS PS2s, I have the Performance package too (seems a bit stiffer in the corners to me) and I am working on a 20" wheel as we speak.

    Thanks again -- your Z8 is gorgeous!
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  49. #49
    Andrew, do you still have your Dinan Sways and did you keep them with this new set up?
    Yes indeed, have a look at this post, and also I will post a full review with interview and notes from Craig Stanton after our trackday when we will also be working to try and optimize the swaybar set up for the Alpina kit.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  50. #50

    Alpina suspension & Dinan swaybars set up.

    After spending a day at Buttonwillow with Craig Stanton trying different swaybar settings on my Alpina suspended car we ended up using the stiffest swaybar settings all round because it allowed for flatter more stable transitions, and an overall more planted feel from the very compliant ride of the Alpina suspension.

    It is worth noting that we started the day out on the mid-point settings which felt very stable and comfortable on both the 58 and the Angeles Crest Highways, two of most enjoyable twisty roads in SoCal, but these settings allowed for far too much body roll and 'porpoising' on the tighter transitions at the track. Being able to sit next to Craig doing a sets of hot laps after each alteration was a real eye opener. With each increase in the stiffness the car became more and more precise, predicatble, and faster around the track. Even from the passenger seat the changes were really noticable, and the areas where the car was initially unsettled and unsettling at the beginning of the day were no longer there at the day's end.

    Craig felt that Ron's stock Z8 handled better than my (Alpina suspenison + Dinan Swaybar) car until we arrived at the final stiffest swaybar settings at all four corners, at which point he said he preferred the feel of my car. It is still just a bit too soft for the track, but the stiffest settings allowed it to remain pretty flat and very stable and predictable. However if one was going to use the car like Dieter I'd certainly step up to a full K&W or better still Cartridge kit.

    I am delighted with the results of our testing and tuning at the track, but being on track isn't my Z8's mission, infact the hundred miles it did yesterday will be it's one and only track day. The Z8 will never beat a Porsche GT3 or a Lotus at the track, in my stable it is a classic touring fast country drive car for doing events like Meet in the Middle, and if that is what you want it for then this suspension set up is simply fantastic. Compared to both the stock Z8 and my SL500 my Z8 is now a more sure footed and far more comfortable Grand Tourer, so the kit as sold by Dana at Peter Pan gets a resounding two thumbs up!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  51. #51
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I think the Alpina & Dinan combo are the perfect setup for the Z8 owner that wants to use their car around town and across country, GT duty. With time in my car at the track on Saturday and Andrew's on Tuesday, I'm positive that Dinan S3 is better suited for performance driving, but it's not as pleasant as the Alpina kit. The differences aren't very much, but I have to say that as soon as I get a dedicated track car, the Dinan springs will be replaced by the Alpina setup.
    thegunguy

  52. #52
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Robert Linton's Avatar
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    Gentlemen:

    You have made me happy. When I look at the Cartridge Z8 Suspension including:

    Front:

    a. Aluminum Front Uniball Camber Adjustable Front Strut Mounts With Titanium Washers

    b. Billet Aluminum Front Struts With 2-Way Adjustable And Ride Height Adjustable Dampers

    c. Titanium Beta C Springs - 10% Stiffer Than Alpina Springs

    Rear:

    a. Enhanced Rear Control Arms

    b. Aluminum Uniball Rear Damper Mounts With Titanium Washers

    c. 2-Way Adjustable And Ride Height Adjustable Rear Dampers

    d. Titanium Beta C Springs - 15% Stiffer Than Alpina Springs

    Anti Roll Bar System:

    a. Ti-nitrided Titanium/Anodized Aluminum Double Adjustable Front Drop Links With Titanium Locking Nuts

    b. 5-Position Electroless Nickel Coated Adjustable 4130 Chromium Molybdenum Steel Tube Front Anti-Roll Bar With Machined 4130 Ends

    c. Billet Machined Anodized Aluminum Front Anti Roll Bar Mounting Blocks With Titanium Fasteners

    d. Machined Orkot® Front Bushings

    e. Enhanced Welded Aluminum Rear Anti-Roll Bar Body Brackets With Dual Fastener Provision

    f. Ti-nitrided Titanium Adjustable Rear Drop Links With Titanium Locking Nuts

    g. 3-Position Electroless Nickel Coated Adjustable 4130 Chromium Molybdenum Steel Tube Rear Anti-Roll Bar With Machined 4130 Ends -- 15% Stiffer Than Alpina Rear Anti-Roll Bar

    h. Billet Machined Anodized Aluminum Rear Anti Roll Bar Mounting Blocks With Titanium Fasteners

    i. Machined Orkot® Rear Bushings

    I believe we might have dialed in an excellent combination of damper adjustability, uniball damper mounts for more responsive handling, somewhat increased front and rear spring rates, front anti-roll bar with extra adjustabiity settings, somewhat stiffer rear anti-roll bar and reduced front and rear unsprung weight that will give an excellent car for a multiplicity of purposes.
    Last edited by Robert Linton; April 26th 2007 at 04:01.

  53. #53
    Bob, as always I know your work will be the pinacle of excellence, my only concern is that unless we take it to the track with Craig, or someone of similar ability, we'll never know just how good it really is.

    Once all the work is done if you do decide to put it through it's paces we can plan another Z8 track day at which we can compare several cars against the clock, interview the test driver, create a bunch of great images, and possibly even make a short film of it all. If it is several seconds a lap faster than all the other assembled Z8's then it will be proof positive that excellence excels.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by bummsbass View Post
    I can tell you for sure that the front is 20mm lower, and the rear is unchanged.

    Btw: I had already an Alpina B10 V8S, and my dealer is the oldest Alpina-Partner abroad, importing Alpinas exclusively to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

    most likely the height difference at the front is due to the weight of the stock engine of 192 kg vs. 153 kg of the Alpina engine. May be this has been taken into consideration with Alpina?s kit for the American market which retains the stock springs at the front.

    Has anyone experienced the difference between the European and the American Alpina setup?

  55. #55
    I can tell you from the Alpina catalog that the Z8 and U.S. Alpina front springs have the same part number 31 33 1 096 090. The Euro Alpina front spring is 31 33 619 (and supposedly 10mm shorter).

    The Z8 rear spring is 33 53 1 096 095.
    The Euro Alpina rear spring (Alpina part number 33 53 628) is, according to Alpina Germany, identical to the U.S. Alpina rear spring (part number 33 53 8 022 575).
    I think you'll find all the answers above, but the reason I was given as to why the US Alpina cars used the front Z8 springs was for US Federal headlamp height laws. The same is true, but in a different way, for the Lotus, which arrives here jacked right up on their adjustable front suspension ride heights to get them past inspection, then when you do the proper alingment you end up dropping them 25mm or so.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  56. #56
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    ... Finally, I am drawn to the possibly protective effect of the more compliant Alpina suspension for our strut towers, as I want to go to a taller wheel.

    ... The rear Alpina Springs are stiffer and shorter than their Z8 counterparts.

    ... But, the front spring of the Euro Alpina is stiffer and 10 mm shorter than the U.S. Alpina sping.


    How can stiffer springs be more compliant? This seems to be a contradiction.

    I'm having the performance package installed right now. On this occasion I decided to have the Alpina suspension installed as well, as the front suspension has to come off anyway. But I want to keep the stock rims (with non RFT Pirellis) and not to switch to Alpina wheels.

    I can't wait to find out the difference in ride comfort and handling.

  57. #57
    Remember you will need to fit either the Dinan swaybars or the H&R swaybars to really get the best from the new compliant ride, and counter the increased body roll in fast transitions on twisty backroads.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    Remember you will need to fit either the Dinan swaybars or the H&R swaybars to really get the best from the new compliant ride, and counter the increased body roll in fast transitions on twisty backroads.
    Thanks for your answer

    The swaybars are the next parts on the wish list and may be the Racing Dynamic RD 2 wheels. I heard that the Dinan swaybars are no longer available. Are the H&R as suitable?

  59. #59
    I have the H&R swaybars at home, but haven't had a chance to try them out as yet - they are thicker/stiffer than the Dinan's, but not adjustable, so my guess is that they will be about the same as the Dinan's on full stiff, which is the best setting with the Alpina kit.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  60. #60
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Don't forget the Dinan Castor plates.
    thegunguy

  61. #61
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    somehow missed this...

    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    I'm not aware of any cars that have the full Dinan suspension anymore. I think Siliconvalleyman was the only owner here that had it, but he hasn't been around since the beginning of the frame issue.

    I have the Full Stage 3 Dinan Suspension along with Rifle (castor plates, Springs, sways) as well. But... with the lighter Beyern wheels and 20" Michelin Pilot Sport 2s, (and Brembos), I find the ride very compliant on the highway and great handling, and at this point, I see no reason to change to any thing else. You can try it out on the track and street when you come in September. Who knows, you might change yours .... again!

    I might at some point consider just installing the Euro Alpina Front and rear Struts but keep the Dinan set up. Curious how that may improve or detract over what I have now.

    One thing for certain, to each his own and it is sure fun having a forum to discuss it with! Thanks Andrew!
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  62. #62
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    My plan is to convert to the Alpina setup sometime in the next year or so. The Dinan S3 setup is wonderful as it basically improves the handling immensely while only giving up a slight bit of ride comfort when compared to the stock setup. On the other hand, the Alpina/Dinan combo does not require a trade-off compared to stock. Both comfort and handling are improved.

    Here's how I would numerically describe the systems using the stock systems as the baseline.

    Ride 0 to 100 (higher number = greater comfort)
    Handling 0 to 100 (higher number = better handling)

    Stock:
    Ride - 50
    Handling - 50

    Dinan S3:
    Ride - 40
    Handling - 80

    EU Alpina & Dinan Combo:
    Ride - 70
    Handling - 70

    ACS & Dinan Combo:
    Ride - 30
    Handling - 90

    Obviously, these numbers are subjective based on seat time in each suspension type, including a fair amount of time at the track in all but the ACS.

    In my personal case, I plan to keep the Z8 for many years and perhaps take it to the track only once a year for special events. So, I'm happy to give up a little handling performance with the full Dinan S3 for a greatly improved ride.
     
    Last edited by thegunguy; August 1st 2007 at 14:24.
    thegunguy

  63. #63
    That would seem like a pretty accurate assessment to me too - I just did a day in an ACS Z8 for an upcoming story in Roundel, and the ride was simply terrible on the rough roads of California. I'm sure on the billiard table smooth roads in Germany such a set up might make sense, but out here on the back roads that traverse the wild west it is all shudder and thump.

    I was so shocked at how badly the car was thrown around and upset by every ripple and dip that I'm amazed I kept my first on ACS for the two years I had it, but then again I was taking it to the track quite a lot, and that is where the ACS works best. Ahhh the folly of youth!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  64. #64
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    One key thing that is different in the Dinan and Alpina kits...

    With the Dinan setup, if you hit a bump, etc. with a single tire, it can effect the others, causing the car to skip. Riding on the streets and highways of LA, I was amazed at how well the Alpina gear reduced this phenomenon. As such, in rough terrain, its compliant approach can actually provide better traction.
    thegunguy

  65. #65
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    I have prettty rough roads here in OK....

    but with the set up I have now, Full Dinan, Beyerns, and 20"MSP2s, I find the car much more compliant and much less "hop" on the bumps due to significantly less mass and weight hitting any bump at any speed with great handling and a great ride. I would not have said that prior to the lighter Beyerns and 20"MSP2s, but it really has made that much difference to me (remember, I have had the Full Dinan on Stock wheels and SO3 non-run flats for over 2 years to compare to with 24,000 miles on that setup).

    IMHO, I really believe it is the 20" MSP2s combined with the lighter wheel I have that have made the most notable difference of anything I have done so far, except for the Sways. I really feel that is the biggest bang for the buck, meaning:

    Stock springs, Stock Struts, Dinan Sways adjusted all the way in with the caster plates (protective for the shock towers), combined with a lighter weight wheel and tire package will give you the best ride, comfort and handling for the money. That total price would be somewhere in the vicinity of $4,000 including labor. If you have an extra $3 Grand or so to burn and/or plan to track the Z8 regularly, maybe spend the extra for the Euro Alpina Struts and springs (or Dinan Springs) or other ACS, KW or other set up. The price difference between the first and the second may not be worth it to everyone , in my opinion. After all, most everyone at the MITM - Santa Fe and at the Spring Z8 meeting was stock, and really did not have much trouble keeping up on the mountain roads with those of us that are modified -- so, are we really spliting hairs here?

    Rifle, who has the Full Dinan set up with the Euro Alpina Struts you mention in your evaluation? I would like to drive that to see what difference that is compared to mine.
    Last edited by Z8doc; August 1st 2007 at 23:35.
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  66. #66
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I rode in both Andrew's and Ted's cars with the EU Alpina shocks/struts/spring and Dinan sways and plates (actually not sure if Ted's car had the plates). Much of the time was in Andrew's car on both the LA streets/freeways, CA back roads/highways, and Buttonwillow. Andrew's car is also on 20s, but I think his wheels are in the stock weight range. The beauty of his EU Alpina/Dinan setup is that is VERY comfortable (by this I mean like smooth BMW sedan) while giving up very little to my Dinan setup in handling.

    I don't doubt the comments on your setup - just posting the vehicles that I've sampled personally. I guess we'll get a chance to sample yours in September. We certainly could be "splitting hairs", but your car will need to be AMAZINGLY SMOOTH to compare with the EU Alpina setup. It's literally sedan ride quality.

    I do look forward to seeing your new wheels in the flesh.
    Last edited by thegunguy; August 2nd 2007 at 00:37.
    thegunguy

  67. #67

    Indeed it is a super comfy ride...

    and really very different to the stock package, which we also had at our Buttonwillow Z8 day when we did the different set up testing.

    Until you drive a car with the full Alpina EU set up you can't imagine the difference, it is that great. My Z8 is now far more comfortable than my SL, while before it felt like a bit of a truck. The joy of this suspension is that combined with the stiff Dinan sways and castor plates you get an awesome ride that gives away nothing in handling, and best of all is very gentle on the chassis.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  68. #68
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Oh, I misunderstood your evaluation. I thought when you stated EU Aplina Struts / Dinan setup.... that included the Dinan Springs instead of the Alpina Springs. I am curious what changing out the Struts only would do, if anything, to overall ride and handling (with the full Dinan setup that is).
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  69. #69
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Combining the stiff Dinan Struts with the Alpina springs would be an entirely experimental endeavor, as they are not developed to work together, and would likely be a total disaster. That the Alpina springs and struts are a "set" explains why the car feels so well sorted. Merely adding sway bars to a "set" is a much easier and predictable situation.

    MY .02


    PS: Actually, doesn't Dinan retain the stock struts? and just change the springs?

    PPS: Yes the ACS is very bumpy and agressive....I miss it (my wife doesn't), but do love the smothness of the stock set up. I'll have to drive an Alpina set-up soon.
    Last edited by Norcal; August 2nd 2007 at 05:38.

  70. #70
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Yes, Dinan only replaces the springs.
    thegunguy

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegunguy View Post
    Don't forget the Dinan Castor plates.
    THX for the tip, but the Alpina setup had already been installed. So I missed the opportunity to have the castor plates installed as well. Is it worth to install them separately? What's the difference with the plates?

    The ride comfort greatly improved with no sacrifice in handling. A clear suggestion!

  72. #72
    If you have the PP already installed I wouldn't pull it out for the castor plates. They do make a slight difference, but it is only slight. The best reason to have them was they actually worked as dome savers in the pre-PP days. They do change the steering feel a bit, but it really is just a bit.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  73. #73
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    They're real easy to install, even with the PP brace installed. All you have to do is drop the front wheels to and release the springs from the strut tower. Install the plates on the top of the spring/strut, and reassemble. With the right equipment, it's an hour job...less if you're good.

    To be clear the plates DO work with the PP. Concerning protection of the frame, the plates can possibly act as an additional method for reducing some of the direct forces on the strut tower dome.

    As far as performance, the Dinan plates shift the top of the strut back a degree or two, and the effect is that rubber stays in contact with the ground as the wheel rotates in a turn, thus reducing understeer.

    At $250, they're a lot of "bang for your buck".
    Last edited by thegunguy; August 3rd 2007 at 15:06.
    thegunguy

  74. #74
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    I agree, it is easy to do and is a good investment and addiional protection. The actual amount of change I believe is it changes the OEM setting from approximately OEM 5.5 degrees of positive caster (top of strut is shifted toward the rear) to approximately 7.5 degrees. The additional 2 degrees of positive caster increases steering response when turning in (makes it quicker) as the tire stays more upright during the inital phases of turning (with more traction from a flatter footprint). I agree with thegunguy, it is a good investment.
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  75. #75

    Sway bar adjustment - completion of the package

    I have now had about 6 months of experience with the full Alpina suspension package with Alpina wheels and Michelin PS. The only other modification to the handling was the addition of the front and rear Dinan sway bars.

    I have been very happy with the more compliant ride. The horrible concrete SoCal freeways have been literally ironed out with this package, making trips a pleasure. With such a good ride, I have been reluctant to adjust the sway bars from the Dinan recommendation of OXOO OOXO in the front and OXO OXO in the rear, despite the squirrelly nature of the handling with any more abrupt loading of one side / corner of the car.

    Well, I decided to finally to stiffen up the suspension a bit to take up the sloppiness (probably what Jeremy Clarkson "noted") by adjusting the sway bars a bit. I was surprised with the difference in handling that resulted from a couple of centimeter change in the sway bar settings. The car feels much more precise and seems very neutral, with a slightly firmer, but still much improved ride.

    Andrew described his satisfaction earlier with stiffening the sway bars by moving the attachment points further toward the middle. Craig Stanton confirmed the handing advantage at Buttonwillow. The only difference is that Andrew took the front and back all the way in to OOOX XOOO (front) and OOX XOO (back) - an adustment (from the Dinan recommendations) of two settings in the front in the front and one in the back.

    I don't know if it makes a significant difference, but after reading Andrew's Q&A with GM below, I decided to adjust both the front and back by only one setting to try to decrease the tendency toward understeer (front OOXO OXOO and rear OOX XOO). Track time with the car would be best to judge the improvement (any excuse to go back to the track :-), but the car seems to now exhibit a better balance of sharper handling while maintaining a more supple and very acceptable ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    The other benefit of using sway bars is that by adjusting the stiffness of the front bar vs. the rear bar, you can influence the car's tendency to understeer or oversteer. This is called roll coupling and is a result of the above mentioned effects being applied to one end of the car or the other. In general, if you increase sway bar stiffness in front, the car will tend to understeer more or oversteer less. If you increase the stiffness of the rear sway bar, the car will tend to oversteer more or understeer less.
    Grease Monkey
    p.s. As stated earlier, Dinan has run out of sway bars and, as of a few months ago, had not decided whether they would produce any more.
    Last edited by Bend; August 8th 2007 at 06:12.

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