Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Suspension + Brakes for Nirvana

On Monday I began disassembling Project Nirvana's stock brakes/suspension. I started by removing the wheels and putting her on stands. The wheel wells came off and I began cleaning up some of the dust, dirt and pebbles. This was a good time to scrutinize the general condition of the car in areas that you don't frequently see. The Elise/Exige has been a reliable car but they do need to be checked - parts are known to rattle loose. The only missing part was the center NACA duct in the undertray. These bits frequently go missing. Luckily we had a replacement in house.
The Nitron GT3 suspension we installed features much lighter springs than we had on our Exige. We are testing 450lbs fronts and 600lbs rears. Since we are not intending to run heavy downforce these rates should be a great match - especially since we want to keep her street compliant. In fact we will run high ride heights for street navigation. I also installed new brackets for the remote reservoirs. These are another of mailto:Ralph@V2 creations. We will have them in stock soon. One of the secrets of triple adjustable shocks is that they are terrifically comfortable on the street. Our Exige proved that to me in spades so I expect Nirvana to ride even better.
We installed the V2arms along with the V2linx. Separating the upper a-arm is always a slightly nerve racking process - you are just waiting for the ball-joint to pop when it separates from the steering arm. Good fun and shock is part of the action.

The stock brakes are getting replaced with our ULTRAdiscs and Pagid Rs4-2 Blues. We installed an old set of ULTRAdiscs from our Exige - we ran them before the AP BBK was installed. They had plenty of life, plus the gold hats are still my favorite finish. These discs have proven themselves in miles and miles of use by track rats and street drivers. Some folk are getting over 35k miles out of a set.

Naturally every install must have some troubles. Ours started when I went to remove the first stock rotor and found the set screw was stripped. This tacked on some unwelcome additional time to an already jammed schedule.
The titanQR install became the next challenge - probably because we began the install so late in the eve. Originally I was planning on installing this quick ratio steering rack after Laguna Seca, but Big Bill got me fired up to do it. It is one of those mods that makes the already wonderful Lotus steering feel even more magical. So the masochist in me decided to go for it. Chris and I had installed one in our Exige so I figured Bill and I could knock it out. I had obviously forgotten that this is a project that can take a few hours and requires patience/dexterity that is usually in short supply late at night. Luckily the next day I got "Magic Touch" Hernandez to connect the lower U-joint to the pinion on the rack - in a matter of minutes he accomplished a feat that bedeviled Bill and I at 1am. Thx go out to TJ@FoxValley for his install tip - spread the lower U-joint BEFORE reassembly.
What remains to get onto the car before Laguna? RTVbrace, Braille+Xtender, V-force, Enduro harness, Mulsanne C, H3R Fire Extinguisher, sys6pack, fluid changes, alignment and a CF hardtop. Whew!

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