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  • S13 chassis suspension limitations?

    hey guys I currently have a evo8 track car and am looking to move to something rwd and a bit less costly. I will be looking to use the car for hpde, TT and eventually Time Attack. I was looking for something that I could progress in stages and thought a s13 coupe would fit the bill nicely. My initial thoughts were start with diff/cage/coilovers/tires/wheels and then I have a extra set of Evo brembos and two piece pf rotors. Once that's sorted move on to motor/trans swaps. I have heard from several people though that the S13 is hard to work all the bugs out of once it's pushed real hard and that every bit of suspension for the most part needs to be upgraded. I know that I don't really want to spend tons of time and money developing the car and would much rather just bolt parts up and drive it. If anyone can point me in the right direction and help me understand what I'm getting myself into that would be great. TIA

  • #2
    Originally posted by stevo8 View Post
    hey guys I currently have a evo8 track car and am looking to move to something rwd and a bit less costly. I will be looking to use the car for hpde, TT and eventually Time Attack. I was looking for something that I could progress in stages and thought a s13 coupe would fit the bill nicely. My initial thoughts were start with diff/cage/coilovers/tires/wheels and then I have a extra set of Evo brembos and two piece pf rotors. Once that's sorted move on to motor/trans swaps.
    Sounds like a good plan. I know that my friend that I track with (owns an Evo8) really enjoyed driving my 240... I know deep down that he wants to convert someday . I'm not sure about you, but he gets the worse gas milage of the bunch and goes through brake pads pretty fast too and those aren't cheap.

    I have heard from several people though that the S13 is hard to work all the bugs out of once it's pushed real hard and that every bit of suspension for the most part needs to be upgraded.
    I don't think there are that many bugs to work out. I mean once I finally got all the suspensioin parts on my S13 (Helical diff was a big one!) and a good alignment the car is very easy to drive at 250whp on track. Heck, I drove nearly the same car (identical suspension) as mine with over 300whp and less tire, the car was still easy to drive even with Azenis.

    I know that I don't really want to spend tons of time and money developing the car and would much rather just bolt parts up and drive it. If anyone can point me in the right direction and help me understand what I'm getting myself into that would be great. TIA
    At minimum for suspension, I'd say you want to start with Richards housings front/rear (Z32 uprights of course), koni 8611's, GC hardware, camber plates, Springs of your choice, and a RUCA. All the other adjustable arms can be added later to help you better tune your alignment, but I don't really think are needed to start with.

    A good diff, either the S15 Helical LSD or a Nismo 1.5 clutch type and stuff as much tire as you can under the car, 255 to 275 RA-1's and the car is so much fun to drive on track.
    -Monty

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    • #3
      My concern is more with the rear of the car and being able to put power down. I hear all kinds of crap about the anti squat on the S13's but never anything to fix it. I have heard many things about converting to the S14 sub frame but then again no one really knows if it's better or how/why. I plan to run bfg R1's for TT and NT01's for hpde. Not sure what sizes but I don't wanna be covering up issues with tire or make the car a handful to drive if there's a solution.

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      • #4
        The car isn't that hard to drive even with the stock S13 everything on there and lowered on ho-hum coilovers.

        S13 parts are cheap, which is why you see a lot of them thrown at cars in some of the more "modified" examples.

        I don't think you'll be displeased with an S13 track car, and buying one that's already partially built can make you have a completely badass car with about $10k total invested if you do your homework.

        Also, as an EVO guy, don't let the lower boost/power/torque numbers deceive you. My car was faster than a lightly modded bolt-on '03 Evo at only 10 psi on a T28(SR20). At 18 psi it feels like an animal compared to most other cars with such minimal stuff in the engine - an advantage of a 2500 lb curb weight and RWD to at least put some of the power down at low speeds.
        '18 Chevrolet Volt - Electric fun hatch for DD duty!


        DefSport Koni Sleeve and Spring Perch Buy!!!
        http://www.nissanroadracing.com/showthread.php?t=5902

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        • #5
          yeah I'm not overly concerned with power.. I'll be tracking a 65whp CRX for awhile while I build the 240 so even the stock KA will feel fast lol. Eventually it will be over powered as all hell though with a built SR or mild LS1 or something...

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          • #6
            I don't think you'll be disappointed.

            My one suggestion - when you go through the suspension do it ALL at one time. It's way easier to add little bits of power here or there, but suspension work usually requires lots of extra work for the "big stuff," so you might as well just get it over with.
            '18 Chevrolet Volt - Electric fun hatch for DD duty!


            DefSport Koni Sleeve and Spring Perch Buy!!!
            http://www.nissanroadracing.com/showthread.php?t=5902

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            • #7
              Originally posted by stevo8 View Post
              My concern is more with the rear of the car and being able to put power down. I hear all kinds of crap about the anti squat on the S13's but never anything to fix it.
              I must of read the same material, because this was also my concern before I started tracking the S13 last year. I can honestly say now that it's not as bad as it's played out on the forums. I can get the backend to step out on occasion, but the car is so well balanced that you can easily correct with confidence once you get a feel for the car.

              The local track has a pair of 2nd gear turns (one about a 150 degree turn and the other is a 90 degree) that I'm easily able to put the power down through, and as fast as the E36 race car on RA-1's.
              -Monty

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              • #8
                What exactly do you want from the car? To have fun, be competitive in TT, or to go out and set records? To have fun in an s-13 is easy as they are a blast to drive. If you wanna be competitive in TT or time attack events it will take a good amount of work to get the car close to where it needs to be. If you wanna go out and set records well...... To really get the s-13 to work right it is not simply a matter of slapping parts on it. The s-13's main problem, as you already stated, is lack of grip under accel. There is a well known formula or two to fix that though. First of all get adjustable trac arms and shorten them 1/4" from stock, you will need the other adjustable rear arms as well. Second buy the SPL solid subframe bushings and tilt spacers. When you install the bushings and spacers set them up for "maximum squat". If you still have a problem try dis-connecting the rear sway bar. That is an old scca club racer trick. It will lead to a bit of understeer off the throttle, but the car will be glorious on the throttle. You can also switch to the s-14 rear subframe and everything above applies other than the tilt spacers. There is a lot of information at your fingertips here so make the most of it if you do choose to go this route. I run my s-13 with azenis and have been known to keep up with spec miatas, beat evos & wrx's, and run with most s2k's. The chasis CAN be competitive, but you do have to put in some work to get there.
                function > form
                1990 240sx fastback: IN PROGRESS

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                • #9
                  Beating Evo's, porshes and vettes is not my concern. Shoot I have a 65whp CRX I can use for that. I'm not saying the s13 isn't a good platform but my concerns are that when I put some BFG R1's on there and have a decent amount of power (400+) that I will start to run into issues related to the suspension. I have actually come to the conclussion to not get a 240sx. I just had a balance shaft seize in my Evo which snapped the timing belt and did in my head and pistons, so Im going to use the funds I had planned to build the 240 with and just build a motor for the Evo and keep it. It will cost more but ultimately be considerably faster. Thanks for the help though guys. It's much appreciated.

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                  • #10
                    Np, but I don't see why an EVO would be faster than an S13 really. AWD is nice yes, but on a higher speed track RWD is probably more of an advantage than a disadvantage. I think you're thinking the S13 has more issues with the suspension than there really are. Heck, EVOs have about the most buttugly toe curve under compression, whereas these cars are pretty good.

                    Crap happens though, so I understand sometimes ya gotta just trudge along with what you've got. Best of luck with the EVO.
                    '18 Chevrolet Volt - Electric fun hatch for DD duty!


                    DefSport Koni Sleeve and Spring Perch Buy!!!
                    http://www.nissanroadracing.com/showthread.php?t=5902

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                    • #11
                      I have no facts to base opinion on but just looking at track records and times there's no chance in hell a S13 is in the same ball park as a Evo. Considering the Evo is 3400+lbs and the s13 is in at a bit under 3k if you could come close to a Evo with a 240 many people would do it. Don't get me wrong I'm not a awd nut swinger. I know it's not always the best platform and has many draw backs but the Evo has one hell of a rounded package under it. Just like in any form of Motorsports. How fast you want to go is directly related to how much you spend. I want to go faster then what I would in a S13, so I'm going to spend more money.
                      Last edited by stevo8; 09-24-2008, 04:05 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Look at what has been done with S15s in Japan. Basically same thing with a chassis that is not quite as stiff(easily remedied).

                        Evos are fast, but I think you're comparing a car that's usually tracked with about 200-250 whp to one that typically has much closer to 300 whp and more money tossed at it.

                        S13s are just as fast as they "appear" to be on paper is my take on it, and Evos don't really break that mold either. Maybe for a novice driver given they are a bit more forgiving at the limit(more prone to mild understeer under power), but I don't think there's a huge gulf of capabilities that are unseen here.

                        BTW, curb weight for an Evo is about 3100 lbs right, 3000 lbs with weight reduction? S13s are about 2500-2600 lbs without much effort. So I guess your delta is right, but the numbers would have to be with 2 guys in it on track.
                        '18 Chevrolet Volt - Electric fun hatch for DD duty!


                        DefSport Koni Sleeve and Spring Perch Buy!!!
                        http://www.nissanroadracing.com/showthread.php?t=5902

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                        • #13
                          nah. I have seen plenty of evos on scales and they are all 3350+ and you'll play hell getting them to 3k(trust me mines 3080). If they are so closely matched then why does NASA have the s13 at a tte**? And a Evo at a ttb? In my area there's a few fast Evo's one in which I help campain in the Redline TA series and we have two second place finishes in street class this year another that runs tts in a under powered car and happens to hold the class record at thunderhill and Infineon, all while driving his car to the track with full interior and no weight reduction. Actually his car is dyno matted to heck. Another Evo that happens to be a good friend of mine that runs in tta and holds the tta record at thill. All three cars have stock blocks, stock or a stock varient turbo and none of them have any aftermarket control arms, braces etc. My friend who runs in TTS currently is making the guys in ttu look silly. He is beating very good drivers in fully prepped C6 z06's on way more tire and way more power, as well as a tube frame sc mustang, some porsches etc. From what I have seen a S13 would need so much work to be at that level that it completely negates purchasing it IMO. It would be a fully hacked up track car. Why would I do that when for the same price I could drive a street Evo to the track and run the same times with a tire swap? Sure a s13 might be capable and fun, but not exactly practicle to try and keep up with a modded Evo.

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                          • #14
                            Stevo, you really are comparing drivers and not cars at the amateur motorsports level. I've lapped a mid 80's countach in my stock s14 before. That doesn't mean that my car is better.

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                            • #15
                              Steve - just to show that it doesn't take much to be competitive with an S-chassis.

                              FullRace S14 TA car with minimal suspension mods and very little under the hood. Just shows that alot of it has to do with the nut behind the wheel.
                              http://forums.freshalloy.com/showthread.php?t=155727
                              -Monty

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