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Thread: Dinan Swaybar Q&A with GM

  1. #1

    Dinan Swaybar Q&A with GM

    Q1* Will fitting the SO3's put me back in the realm of underteer, a feeling I really don't like from our weighty car, or should I remain as balanced and neutral as I am now on the MPS with the ACS kit?

    Q2* This makes me wonder if my planned change to 19" HRE's with the 8.5" front and 10" rear will open a Pandora's Box of handling issues that I have just got rid of. What's your thought on this?

    Q3* Finally I have never 'used' a sway bar, so am not really familiar with the changes in feel it will give me at the track. What are the three settings, and what exaclty do they do to alter the roll and pitch of the car as it turns in?


    Mac, since I haven't driven my Z8 at the limit with the S-03s yet, I really can't tell you definitively what will happen to the handling as a result of switching to them. While the wider rear tires may cause the car to understeer a bit, this is not a given and only experience will tell. If there is a return to understeer, I do not expect it to be a big one since the ACS suspension has made the car so neutral as compared to the stock set-up. Because of this, I am confident that any understeer introduced by the S-03s can be compensated for by the adjustable rear sway bar, camber settings and/or tire pressure adjustments.

    During cornering, the car's body tends to lean or roll towards the outside of the turn. This makes it much more difficult for the car's suspension to keep the tires flat on the pavement, especially towards the outside of the turn, which is where you need as much traction from your tires as possible. Adding negative camber helps to counteract this problem but there is a practical limit to how much negative camber you can run. Anti-roll bars (sway bars) reduce the amount of body roll during cornering which helps to keep the suspension geometry working in its optimum range. They also add downforce to the outside tire which increases its traction. The stiffer the sway bar, the less body roll will be allowed and the more downforce will be applied. There is a practical limit to the stiffness of the sway bar since beyond a certain point, the car's independent suspension will lose its ability to react independently and the inside tire will have a tendency to lift.

    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. There are exceptions to this general rule, but they are not applicable to your lowered Z8. The two most common ways to increase sway bar stiffness is by increasing the bar's diameter or by shortening the bar's lever arm. The Dinan adjustable sway bars are the same diameter as the stock ones so they use a series of 3 holes at the ends where they are attached to the suspension to allow you to shorten the lever arm and thereby increase the effective stiffness of the bar. The hole at the very end of the bar provides essentially the same stiffness as stock. As you move to the other holes, the bar gets stiffer. Since this is a relatively easy adjustment to make, you can change the settings, at either or both ends, to dial in the appropriate handling response you are looking for. In the case of the S-03s, I anticipate using the stock setting up front and one setting stiffer in the rear to keep the handling as close to neutral as possible.

    As for the 19" HREs, your tire options with the S-03s are as follows. There is a 245/40-19 which has the same diameter as stock and a lower aspect ratio. There is also a 255/40-19 which is slightly taller than stock, about 1/2" wider and has the same lower aspect ratio. It requires a minimum of 8.5" rim. Finally you have a 275/35-19 which is the same diameter as stock and a lower aspect ratio. Running the 255s up front and the 275s in the back should be a nicely balanced combination.

    Grease Monkey
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  2. #2

    Talking Dinan Swaybars with S03's

    April 03: I just fitted the swaybars, and S03's on the oem wheels, set up as GM suggested above. The results are really wonderful, the car 'feels' lighter, and tracks through corners like a slot car, with no roll or understeer.

    An extra added bonus is that the motion sickness that plagued many of my passengers on twistier roads has gone.

    Another wonderful addition to a wonderful car!
    Last edited by macfly; April 7th 2003 at 07:28.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  3. #3

    Four years later........

    After some pretty extensive testing sessions with stock, ACSchnitzer and Alpina modified chassis set-ups on my Z8 slightly I can again confirm the absolute importance of the swaybars.

    This is the best single upgrade you can make to your Z8.

    This setting will provide a good starting point for the stock, Dinan & ACS suspension kit;

    ooxo....................oxoo

    oxo.......................oxo

    Front camber -1?.
    Rear camber -1.5?.
    Toe-in, front and rear is stock.

    If this feels good on your roads then I'd stick with this, but if your local roads are tight canyon twisties then you might want to go stiffer all round.

    For the Alpina suspension kit I found that the maximum stiffness all round works best, giving the perfect combination of comfort and athletic ability.

    ooox....................xooo

    oox.......................xoo
    Andrew Macpherson

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  4. #4
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    what about if you have stock suspension...

    Hey GM and Mac, if you kept you stock suspension setup to make it a better daily drive but added the Dinan Sway Bars, would you recommend the same settings for the sway bars? We have some twisty mountain roads where I am as well and the passenger motion sickness is a concern when trying to have some fun.

  5. #5

    Arrow From the track....

    Based on the chassis experience we've gained doing the suspension & swaybar testing with the cars at Buttonwillow I would say that for the stock suspension set up using MPS2 tires the settings above should be a good starting out point, but if the roads around you are very tight and twisty then I would suggest going to full hardness all the way around, as it will make the car corner flat, and transition from left to right with almost no body roll at all. This will also eliminate any passenger motion sickness.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  6. #6
    Bad news for all Z8'ers, today Dinan sold their last swaybar kit, and at present they do not plan on producing anymore!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  7. #7
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Robert Linton's Avatar
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    Well, we have two very expensive anti-roll bar kits in exchange for a tax deductible contribution.

  8. #8
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    As far as I know, Dinan doesn't "Make" anything. I think it's all outsourced. Should we find out who did the sway bars for them and commision another batch?

  9. #9
    I think that is a very good idea - based on all my Z8 experience if there is a single 'must do' upgrade for our cars it is the swaybars. Any idea how we can find out who was their supplier to go directly to them?
    Andrew Macpherson

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  10. #10

    Or outside

    I'd be surprised if the design of the sway bars is patented to protect against building non-Dinan units. My understanding is that the Dinan swaybars are indentical in diameter and material to the stock ones. If Dinan can't build anymore, there is probably another swaybar manufacturer who could build them relatively easily. Of course, it will all be about the price. Without a significant minimum order, the cost will likely be considerably higher than Dinan's were.
    Perhaps someone can answer whether the stock sway bars can be "shaved" down to add some holes - in positions analagous to the Dinan's. I don't know how much the integrity of the stock sway bar material would be compromised with such modification, nor what the forces are on the sway bar at peak deflection.

  11. #11
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    I don't think they are the same size at all. The stock bar is very thin. If we ordered about 20-40 sets, we should get a pretty good deal. Assuming they are not patented.

    Andrew, what bars do the guys in Europe use? American Dinan?

  12. #12
    That is a question for both Jürgen and Dieter. I have never spoken with anyone there about this upgrade, but since it is the best single upgrade it would be good to know which ones they use.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  13. #13

    Could it be?

    Ian,
    I may be wrong, but I recall being surprised when someone at Dinan told me that the their sway bars are the same thickness as the stock ones and that the only difference was the location of the adjustable mounting points. I don't have my old sway bars at home to measure them, but here are the measurements taken from the Dinan website (http://www.dinancars.com/Series.asp?...%20Tuning#97):

    Dinan Sway Bars -
    Front 27mm
    Rear 14mm

    Meanwhile, searching for sway bars, I did come across these other sway bars for the Z8 with somewhat thicker dimensions:

    H&R Sway Bars
    Front sway bar - 30mm - http://www.autocarparts.com/part/162/385/
    Rear sway bar - 16mm - http://www.autocarparts.com/part/1560/336/

    Another place offering H&R sway bars - http://www.ndimports.com/catalog/sus...=HR%20Swaybars

    Ted

  14. #14
    Thanks for doing the research Ted, I already ordered a set, and I'll report on the findings when the arrive.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  15. #15

    a reference

    November 2005:

    Quote Originally Posted by thegunguy View Post
    The Dinan bars are the same overall length and diameter as the OEM bars. However, instead of just a single hole on each end of the bar, the Dinan bars have four holes on the front bar and three on the rear. The outermost hole on bar is at a location of equal length to the stock setup. The other inward holes allow you to adjust the connection of the bar to a shorter overall length. As you move from the outer to the inner holes, you move from understeer to oversteer, depending on your desired performance.

    So, the Dinan bars don't really change stiffness through the use of a different metal or different construction such as a tube. They achieve the desired results by altering geometry.

  16. #16
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    So if I could ask for some clarity from the group. I just ( as in last week) purchased a 2002 car. I am now told by the dealer that the sway bar is not avaialble. what are my options? Love the car and would love to avoid any problems down the road.
    Lagunameister

  17. #17
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    First of all, WELCOME, you have made a wise decision on your purchase!!!!

    Second, Are you talking about the Sway bars, as in the Dinan Anti-Roll bars, which are "sway bars" that are adjustable and are under the front and rear suspension or.... are you talking about the Performance Package, which is made by BMW and is a strut tower / frame reinforcement for the front of the front end of the car? Your question states that "... love to avoid and problems down the road." From that, I am confused as the Dinan sway bars are not protective but the Performance Package is (the name Performance Package was given by BMW to the strut tower reinforcement but adds protection from hard knocks but in reality, adds little to none added improvement in handling, i.e., "performance")?

    Your dealer is correct in that Dinan no longer has any Sway Bars but I have heard he is considering a second batch. I would contact them direct to see what options they may suggest for you before buying something else.

    If your dealer was talking about the Performance Package, that is NOT true but may have to be ordered from Germany as there may be no kits left in the USA right now. If so, I would write or call Bill Stuart at BMW NA about that at .

    Hope that helps and once again, welcome to the tribe!!
    Best Regards,

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

  18. #18
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    Hi Jeff,

    that is great info. i am actually speaking of the so called Performance Package. Do you have any contact info for Bill Stuart? Is this something that is ordered by the dealer from Germany or something that I could potentially order?
    Appreciate and look forward to many, many years of happy Z8ing.

    Bela
    Lagunameister

  19. #19
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Bill Stuart is most helpful and ...

    can be reached here

    There should be no problem getting the PP for the Z8, you may just have to order it. I would ask Bill about whether your car was inspected previously and if not, have a Fleld Service Rep sent out to your dealer to inspect your car before you have the PP installed. This PP should cost you about $1400 installed at the most.
    Best Regards,

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

  20. #20
    The swaybars are also a really good upgrade, Dinan no longer sell them, but H&R make a very good set that add help eliminate the amount of roll and lessen passenger motion sickness on the twisty bits.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  21. #21
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    The Dinan Sways were of the ....

    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    Dinan no longer sells them, but H&R make a very good set...
    same diameter (27mm front, 14mm rear) as the OEM sway bars but increased the stiffness (decreased the sway) by stiffening the sway by altering the geometry by effectively shortening it.

    After looking at the H & R Sways here, these may be better as they have a larger than stock size (30mm front, 16mm rear) and have the advantage of being adjustable, although the Dinan set had 4 holes front and 3 rear as compared to the H & R 3 in front and 2 in rear. The overall effect may be similar when combining the thicker bars when fully adjusted to maximum stiffness and therefore, both may be similar.

    The cost if very similar to the Dinan sways too. I am not sure if these larger sways have and significant additional weight over the Dinan / OEM ones but would be a reasonable questions to ask if someone is purchasing.
    Last edited by Z8doc; December 6th 2007 at 04:06.
    Best Regards,

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

  22. #22
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Andrew, did you end up getting a set of the HRs? Are they any better/different ?
    Last edited by Norcal; December 6th 2007 at 04:14.

  23. #23
    I did get a set of H&R's - but they are still in their box in the attic!! I'll get round to fitting them eventually!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  24. #24
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    performance Package avialability.

    Just got the following message from Bill Stuart at BMW North America:

    fficeffice" />>Please inform your dealer that the part # for the Performance Package is: 51 71 0 420 758 and we have inventory in the USA.>
    >>
    >Good news->

  25. #25
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Bela,

    I was wondering where in CA your dealer is located? Macfly can give you some direction on who is best for the installation as to me, your dealer may not be up to date on the latest stuff with the Z8, since they originally told you it was not available. I know Macfly and others used Dana Caldwell at Peter Pan BMW in San Mateo to the install of the PP as well as other things and think the world of his work. If that is not convenient, they may be able to recommend somewhere else as you definitely want a "Z8 Certified Tech" working on your Z8 as, not all BMW mechanics have attended the Z8 training.
    Best Regards,

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

  26. #26
    Z8Mania
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    I have tried various settings with the Dinan adjustible sway bars- however every setting I tried was with the rears set to more stiffness than the front- this was the advice I was given. I see Andrew that you have it with the front set to more stiffness. I will give this a try the next time I have the car up on the lift. The only other change from stock on my car is regular sport tires not run flats. So far, IMHO, the best settings are achieved with the OEM settings- the most outside on the dinan bars= the most roll. I find that the roll is needed to get the suspension to set properly for turns. Could it be that my springs are shot? With the stiffer settings the car felt more twitchy- perhaps too much stiffness at the rear created more oversteer than I wanted? Thoughts?

  27. #27
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    As delivered from the factory, Z8s tend to understeer when cornering, i.e., the front end tends to continue in a straight line even though the steering wheel is turned. This handling characteristic was purposely designed into the cars by the engineers to provide a safer dynamic at the limit of traction while cornering. You see, an inherently understeering car will tend to plow off the road while cornering at the limits of its adhesion and this can be lessened by lifting off the gas (always) or applying the brakes (sometimes). Since these actions are instinctive for most drivers, an understeering car provides a relatively safe handling experience. Also, the driver can see where he/she is headed and take evasive action to try to avoid obstacles on the side of the road. On the other hand, a car that tends towards oversteer while cornering, i.e., the rear end wants to come forward ahead of the front end of the car, requires counterintuitive reactions on the part of the driver. To counteract oversteer, the car requires more throttle, not less, and applying the brakes while cornering in an oversteering situation will cause the rear end to come around even faster, possibly resulting in a spin. And, needless to say, a car heading backwards around a corner can be quite difficult for the driver to control! So, given a choice, automotive engineers build in inherent understeer in most modern cars.

    Unfortunately, an understeering car tends to be slower around a race track than one that is neutral or oversteers, so for high performance driving, it may be desirable to alter the stock handling characteristics of a car. This is where the anti-roll bars come into play, as described earlier in this thread.

    More to your point: every Z8 handles a little differently and this is especially true when they have been modified by tire changes, wheel changes, camber or caster settings, stiffer or softer spring/damper rates, altered ride height, front and rear toe-in settings, anti-roll bar settings, suspension bushing hardness, etc. Weight distribution in the car will also affect its handling charactertistics, so driver/passenger weight, luggage on board, and parts replaced by lighter ones, must be considered as well. Plus, each driver has a different idea of what constitutes good handling as well as possessing differing driving skills. As a result, there is no one anti-roll bar setting that is best for all Z8s. Experimentation is necessary to find the right combination for your car and driving style.

    For those with relatively stock Z8s, I think starting with the front bar at the stock setting and the rear bar one hole stiffer than stock is a safe bet. This will dial out some of the inherent understeer without radically altering the car's overall handling characteristics. If you like what this does, I would increase the stiffness on both bars by one more hole. The tendency towards understeer or oversteer should remain relatively constant but the car's tendency to roll during cornering will be reduced. At some point, you may find that the added roll stiffness makes the car less stable while cornering, particularly if the road surface is rough, and this is related to tire contact patch optimization. On a race track, where cars often reach their maximum cornering limit, keeping the chassis' roll to a minimum can help optimize the tires' contact patches by insuring they remain relatively flat at the limit, but on the street, where those limits are rarely if ever explored, having too much roll stiffness can prevent the contact patches from being fully utilized, thereby decreasing the car's stability while cornering. Too much roll stiffness also reduces the suspension's ability to absorb irregularities in the road surface while cornering (but not in a straight line) and I suspect a combination of these two things is what you are experiencing. I must point out, however, that running both bars at their stock position means you are not taking advantage of the tuning capabilities of the Dinan bars and therefor, the stock bars would work just as well. My suggestion, given your experience, would be to try my first recommendation given above and see if you like the reduction in understeer or not. Overall roll stiffness really won't change much so you'll just be judging oversteer vs. understeer. If the stock settings remain your preference, I would put the OE bars back on and make your Dinan bars available to someone who might want to utilize their adjustability, since they apparently aren't available anymore.

    One other thing to keep in mind: I believe the settings Mac is using are related to his car having the Alpina suspension set-up installed and so are not necessarily a good comparison for your stock Z8. The Alpina springs are softer, slightly lower, and the tires are wider. For all I know, the stock Alpina set-up may be closer to neutral or even have some slight tendency towards oversteer when compared to the Z8 set-up (after all, Alpina is a high-performance tuner), and Mac is a highly accomplished track driver, so while I'm sure those settings are optimal for him, they may not translate well to your situation.

  28. #28
    Z8Mania
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    Thanks GM.

    I agree on the comparison to Andrews car.

    We've had this discussion before- with the same result: I find any setting stiffer than the OEM setting without making other changes to the suspension to compensate produces a result where the car never quite settles down on its suspension going round corners. Yes, I know- Ive negated the benefit of the adjustable sway bars, but I prefer the car this way. My experience is if you start messing with the suspension, you really need to explore more than just the sway bars.

  29. #29
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    Given the less than ideal condition of the roads you must frequent, you really ought to consider installing the Alpina suspension on your Z8. Mac claims it transforms the road holding capability of his Z8 on rough roads and still provides responsive handling, particularly with the anti-roll bars set to their stiffest settings. I'm sure he can provide more details but this sounds like an ideal set-up given your concerns.

  30. #30
    Z8Mania
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    I have considered it but at this moment I am very happy with how my car is handling. I also feel like the steering either feels or its simply the weighting, might be both, but in any event - the steering feels better to me a little more off center and with the more aggressive sway bar settings the car responds quicker and the steering doesnt feel quite as good. My goal with the Z8 is not max performance but rather just "fun to drive" on the street.

  31. #31
    You are most welcome to try my set up next time you head west, I'm really pleased with it. The principal result is that gives the car a higher level of surefootedness on the bumpy backroads of California, and on the race track it is every bit the equal of the OEM set-up with MPS2 tires. It is such a big difference that I noticed it within ten seconds of first picking up the car - IMHO it really suits the car much better than the OEM set up, and since you have the fantastic 460 to cover your maximum sporting needs, I think you'd be really pleased with the way it changes the Z8.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  32. #32
    Z8Mania
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    OKOKOK you got me Andrew- what do I have to do to get the Alpina suspension?

  33. #33
    Contact Dana Caldwell at Peter Pan BMW - he arranged for both Bend & I to get the complete kit, so I am sure he could do the same for you. Since it seems that the Dinan swaybars are no longer available I would recommend fitting the H&R swaybar which should be about the equal of the Dinan kit on full stiff. However be aware that in my experience the Alpina suspension alone is a bit too wallowy for seriously brisk progress without stiffer swaybars.

    Dana Caldwell
    Service & Parts Director
    Peter Pan BMW
    650-294-2123
    [email protected]
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  34. #34
    Z8Mania
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    Happily, I got the Dinan Sways. Ill check your old thread on the Alpina suspension.

  35. #35
    Z8Mania
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    So over two years later, Im seriously considering doing this.

    Andrew, are you still running the stiffest settings to the sway bars front and rear?

    I find with the stock setup when running anything other than the OEM setup, the car doesnt want to sit down on its springs enough and it feels like it transfers from under to oversteer a drop too quickly for my taste- kind of like in the middle of a highway sweeper. It felt unnatural and I went back to the OEM settings (XOOO OOOX front and XOO OOX rear).

    I am doing a project with the shop I am going to use and as soon as they are done with that project I think I'm going to do the Alpina suspension. Im thinking of going to the Alpina wheels as well- they have grown on me over time and I want to get the full system which absolutely includes wheels and tires.

    Do you remember the approximate cost on the conversion?

  36. #36
    Yes, I still have the all EU set up, and love it. It transforms the car.

    As you know it was dialed in at Buttonwillow using Craig Stanton as our test driver. We started out with the bars in neutral, and ended up going full stiff all round, and he felt that was the best set up for the car, and he liked it much better than the stock cars that were on hand to try it out against.

    I am not sure on price because I did so many things all at once, but it is around $5,000 without the wheels and tires.

    BTW, on your black car I think the chrome Alpina rims look spectacular, there are lots of pics in the Gallery of Jawz car with them.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  37. #37
    Z8Mania
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    Thanks Andrew, so soup to nuts were somewhere around 8k. Ill look into it- you don't think your car is prone to snap oversteer now? I checked out Jawz' wheels and you know, I was not a fan of chrome wheels in general, but those really do compliment the other chrome accents on the car. I might do it but for now I am leaning (though less than before) to go with the standard wheel finish.

  38. #38
    I have never experienced snap oversteer, but I'm also alway focused on being very careful and smooth, something indoctrinated by years of motorcycling. As you know I've taken the Z8 in its current form to Willow Springs as well as Buttonwillow, and the car seems completely stable and neutral. There was no understeer, and with the wider rear tires the grip was so constant I didn't even get mild oversteer. My lap times were about 7 seconds slower than my average in the Lotus (and over ten off my best), but I also wasn't trying to race the clock, I just wanted to find a quick smooth groove, and stay in it to feel the set up. There was only one corner where the DSC winked on when the tires were up to temp. I did maybe ten hot laps with the DSC off, to see if there was any kind of imbalance that I should know about, but the car drove through that turn under full power with no ill behavior of any kind.

    Overall I think this set up is the best all round Z8 set up I've tried, and while it isn't going to keep up with GM's car at a track, on the rough twisty back roads of California it is perfect.

    I'm wondering if the moment of snap oversteer you experienced might not have had something to do with a 'non-constant' like a slight surface change, or a few drops of oil on the road rather than being the result of the suspension changes you made? If you can, it is well worth setting the car up at the track, as you are dealing with really easily identifiable constants, and it will allow you to so much better judge the effect of the changes you're making.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  39. #39
    Z8Mania
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    Thanks Andrew. I will do my best to describe.

    With the stock setup but with the Dinan sways I have tried everything: for a long time I was just running the rears one notch more stiff while the fronts were OEM- I was told this would help with understeer. What happens is on a 70mph highway sweeper, as I am adding in steering input there becomes a moment before the apex when the amount of input I am adding causes a disproportionate amount of turning- its subtle but I feel it. Going back to the OEM settings this is gone. This happens every time in the same spot and also on other roads in other spots. I am pretty smooth myself- my instructor tells me Im one of the smoothest guys at my driving club- thats how I was taught: slow is smooth and smooth is fast I just dont like when my machine makes me feel like its not capable of keeping up with me. Thats how Im feeling about the Z8 suspension lately. I want to go go go and its saying- sorry dude- Im played out. I think the Alpina suspension will give me more compliance and ability and comfort also. Ive become a big big fan of "the Alpina way".