|March 10, 2008 - Time for another test.|
After a long tow through some nasty weather (check out that filthy hood!), we made it to Pueblo for the most recent testing session. The goals for this one were primarily to work on the driver/navigator team, although as always suspension tuning was involved.
After a late start due to a car that was stuck on the track with the doors locked and the engine running (!), I took the car out solo in wet (and rapidly drying) conditions. The brakes didn't feel good. A nice solid pedal, yes. But I wasn't getting much feedback. This kept up over the whole day so I'm not sure what's going on or if it was just a matter of a lack of faith on my part. Since I was planning on making some big changes to the pads shortly, I'll look at them more closely later.
The car felt pretty good. The handling balance with the new alignment wasn't right on the first session, it was a bit too biased towards understeer as I'd expected. Not terrible and certainly stable, but I do generally prefer a car that's set up to be a bit on the loose side. The suspension was swallowing up just about everything. Just about?
The final turn has been reconfigured to make it much tighter than before. It will be repaved this summer, but for the time being it's rough. Really rough. There was a deep dip in the pavement right past the apex that was bottoming out the suspension hard. When I crawled under the car to do some sway bar adjustments, I noticed that the left rear spring had marks indicating it had hit coil bind. Ahh, that's not good. The fairly high ride height and the 8" springs were a bad combination. Since I didn't have any way to deal with it, I played with the corner to avoid that hole for the rest of the day. Elsewhere on the track, I was able to drive over berms - even the rough "dragon's teeth" ones - with impunity. So that was working well. Despite a slight understeer in fast sweepers, the car was both faithful and mobile when I was setting up for corners so it's probably a pretty safe setup for the Targa now. It was quick enough to let me pass a Lotus Elise without any difficulty, that's a good sign.
I'm going to try a couple of things to sort out that coil bind. There are a set of 10" springs on the way to replace my 8" ones, as they'll give an extra 1.25" of spring travel and that will avoid the binding. They're a 250 instead of my current 225 so I can make the rear slightly more mobile. I also ordered some 375 lb springs, thinking I could try a 375/300 combination instead of my current 300/225. The stiffer springs not only give an extra 0.5" of spring travel, they'll use a lower perch height for the same ride height so binding should not be a problem. Now, do I want the extra stiffness or do I keep the car fairly soft? I'll have both options available to me.
The header worked perfectly all day, not showing any signs of weakness or cracking. That's good.