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Old 04-26-2014, 09:00 PM   #1
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S13 Autocross Coilover Setup

Hey guys, pretty new to the forum and the 240 world. I just bought a 91 hatch with a blacktop sr20 and am very interested in autocrossing it. I bought a set of Fortune Auto 500 series coilovers and I was wondering what you more experienced people think is the best way to set up the suspension for this specific car (like ride height, camber, etc). I plan on installing them myself sometime soon and want to adjust them in a way that is best for autocross. Forgive my overall lack of knowledge!
Thanks
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:54 PM   #2
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I don't know what the best autocross setup is but if you keep your drop around 2" it shouldn't mess up the factory suspension geometry up too much. Any lower than that and things can get expensive in a hurry to straighten things out again. S13's seem to really love front camber so 2-3 degrees to start out with would probably be good and crank in 6-7 deg. caster. Caster is free camber without the tire wear and loss of straight line braking. Rear tow could be set 1/16 in for some added grip and front should be 0 to 1/16 out for good turn in response.

Also you may want to check into some Isis control arms to go with your coilovers. They are, in my opinion a really good bang for the buck. I've run a set on my daily now for a year and they have preformed really well. Also I think the Fortunes are pretty good too. We're running a set on one of our project cars right now and they show promise, although it's hard to get a car to set high enough especially in the rear with the stock lower hats. And replace the rear cradle bushings with Energy Suspension S14 ones. You have to remove just the rubber middle section and maintain the outer steel sleeve to use them but once you get them in there it's really worth all the effort. Replacing the remaining bushings and ball joints, wheel bearings, and steering rack bushings would be good too. And don't forget about overhauling the brakes too. Braided lines really help out there along with a master cylinder stopper. Those two really crisp up the pedal. I'm a big fan of maintance if you can't tell. These cars are 20+ years old now so they need some love if you plan on driving it like you stole it.

These guys however are experts. All they do is set up cars for road course use and they have experience with the S13 chassis. Give them a call. I'm sure they can steer you in the right direction http://texastrackworks.com/

Hope this helps
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Old 04-27-2014, 12:08 AM   #3
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If you are into autox I would HIGHLY suggest you check out the NRR forums (nissanroadracing.com). Lotsa guys there auto crossing and tracking their own 240's...

The best suspension by far for our cars is a KONI or Bilstein insert with custom adjustable spring perches. Lotsa info @ NRR on this setup. JDM fabulous coilovers pretty much suck for everything except drifting....

As far as replacing all the bushings with Energy pieces, that is a no no....

Again this is covered in depth on NRR, but the short version is they don't have enough deflection in multiple planes to do our suspension right...

Do yourself a favor and get over to NRR and start reading..

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Old 04-27-2014, 12:48 AM   #4
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Like heychris said, NRR is more grip/track oriented than zilvia and other Schassis forums. Seeing you already have a bought setup, my recommendation is forget fitment and forget slamming the car, everyone has a different setup for the driving style they have, but start by setting it up a normal stiffness and obviously lower than stock height. At a track day start seeing how the car responds and go from there, lowering it more, stiffening it more and so on.

Start saving up for quality components, but in the mean time i have very very good experience with isis. Not because they are good, but because enjuku always checks them as best they can before selling anything. It eliminates much of the hit or miss from buying entry level stuff. But don't expect them to hold up long or perform as good as quality stuff like SPL and so on.

for setting when you get an alignment, depends a lot on your wheel/tire choice most of the times, but don't go insane with camber 2-3 degrees like said above is what most people tend to prefer, play around with caster to you liking as I've seen everyone prefers something different with this, and keep toe to a minimum and 0 up front.

and as a side recommendation, besides suspension i ALWAYS emphasize on how important cooling mods and proper setup/ducting is important for these cars on both KA/SR engines. This avoids a lot of headaches and downtime during extremely hot track days.
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Old 04-27-2014, 12:53 AM   #5
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Just want to thank all of you for your input. I'll definitely give them a call uniqueautocreations, and thanks for pointing me in the direction of NRR forums heychris. to bejota180sx and heychris, i have the coilovers but have not installed them yet, do you think its worth selling them and exploring other options? what would you have gone with?
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Old 04-27-2014, 02:31 AM   #6
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Oh I should mention, the price range would be around $1000, or around whatever I could get selling the fortune autos, which also have swift springs (another thing I forgot to mention)
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Old 04-27-2014, 09:17 AM   #7
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Depends on the coils. Some of the KONI/Bilstiens fit the JDM Tyte coil bodies so those FA coils might work for you. Also some guys have run off the shelf coils with good results. My car is currently on Stance coils which I bought before I knew about NRR. If I were to do it over again I would go the KONI route and buy ISIS arms. The ISIS arms are easy and relatively cheap to upgrade with race quality ends.

There's several guys on NRR with BUILT 13's. They know their stuff over there..
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:50 PM   #8
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Ive been doing some reading about the koni route, and theres something I dont understand. Some posts have lead me to believe that the only things needed would be these ground control coilover conversion kits and the struts themselves:

http://www.ground-control-store.com/...hp/II=73/CA=93

http://www.ebay.com/itm/KONI-YELLOW-...item4aac47d8bd

But then I see other posts that talk about there being fabrication involved in getting everything to fit. Is this fabrication only for people who choose to put the struts into the stock housing/other stock components?

Excuse my limited knowledge - would also appreciate any good sources to educate myself on suspensions in general if possible
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:51 PM   #9
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This is one of the write ups on the install that required fabrication:

http://www.nicoclub.com/archives/kon...s-install.html

Did he need to do all this because he chose not to buy the ground control conversion kit?
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:57 PM   #10
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since you don't have any experience with this chassis and different setups, FA is a decent entry level coilover for your needs. When it's time to upgrade you can save up for something like off the shelf KWs or a custom Koni setup.

For the Koni setup you COULD order the groundcontrol setup and ask for a upgrade from the yellows to whatever you choose, OR you could get veilside180sx brackets and build your own setup.
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Old 04-27-2014, 02:02 PM   #11
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You say I could get the ground control setup and ask for an upgrade from yellows-- why would I do this? I know yellows are definitely not the best from koni but I was under the impression they are still damn good, no?
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:52 AM   #12
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if your spring rates will be 8kg/mm (450lb/in) or under, it is probable that you won't need to "upgrade", unless you really want to be able to adjust both rebound and compression independantly.

It's likely Koni sport Yellows are all you need and will outperform all of the $1400 and under off-self coilovers.
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:51 PM   #13
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Don't worry about the parts, just start getting seat time.

Most important part of autocross is the driver. Best prepped car with the worst driver is going to get worked over by a great driver in an underprepped car.

Most of us didn't start down this path, but it's really the 'right' way to get into the sport.

If you're going to get more serious about autocross, recognize that a lot of parts will start dumping you into higher classes (= more competitive/expensive to compete). Metal bushings take you right to Street Modified, for example. If you're just running for fun, then no worries.

As for as alignment, put in 2.5* (or more, if you want) of camber in the front, 7* caster, 0 toe. (assuming this is not a dedicated car). In the back 1-1.5* camber and some slight toe-in -- 1/16" or so.

Tires are the next most important part of autox after the driver, but you will learn a lot even on mediocre tires. I spent my first two years on 595s and they're fine to learn on.
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:09 PM   #14
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Don't worry about the parts, just start getting seat time.
best advice here.

As for the question on why to upgrade from yellows, since you got already some decent entry coils i was thinking about a future upgrade, if your upgrading why not spend a bit more for some more performing inserts. They can be more precisely adjusted, you might not need this really it all depends on what YOU want and how much you know about setting up the car for you driving skills.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:57 PM   #15
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thanks a lot for the awesome feedback guys
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:54 AM   #16
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Old 05-04-2014, 02:13 PM   #17
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Keep in mind that seat time is only helpful if it's quality seat time. If you don't know what you're doing and keep going to track days, you'll get better, but you'll still have bad habits. Try to get seat time with an instructor for a couple days and you'll likely see vastly improved lap times and you'll have a baseline from which to improve.

Good input= good output. Flawed input= flawed output.
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Old 05-04-2014, 03:30 PM   #18
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Track days, yes. Autocross is pretty clear when you're fucking up or not lol.

The clock doesn't lie
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Old 05-04-2014, 05:40 PM   #19
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In addition to seat time, the seat you spend time in is important as well.

Trying to drive aggressively in a stock s13 seat is a pain. Hard to focus on being smooth when you're fighting to keep your body still.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:45 AM   #20
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^i assume this is the reason a lot of people opt to switch to s14 seats
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:44 AM   #21
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I've sat in S14 seats and sat in leather and cloth S13 seats and the S13 cloth bucket seats are much more secure. Someone offered to trade his S14 seats for my S13 seats with $20 on top and I told him no. The S14 seats push you off of them where the S13 seats you sink into.

I don't understand why people hate the bucket seats so much. They're snug.

Now obviously any quality aftermarket seat is going to provide better support, but I don't see how S14 seats are an improvement. I think people like to swap them in simply because they're newer and thus an "upgrade."
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:52 AM   #22
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^Agreed. s14 seats are just flat and I suppose more comfortable for trips.

s15 seat or r32 gtr are my favorite nissan oem seats for s-chassis.
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Old 05-09-2014, 02:43 PM   #23
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^Agreed. s14 seats are just flat and I suppose more comfortable for trips.

s15 seat or r32 gtr are my favorite nissan oem seats for s-chassis.
I've been thinking about getting S15 seats as the S14 does go on long drives and I would like to be more steady in cornering. How do they compare to s 14 seats?
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Old 05-09-2014, 02:44 PM   #24
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Much more bolstering.
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Old 05-10-2014, 05:26 PM   #25
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yeah i'm thinking of sticking with the stock seats for a while at least. although i might want to get rid of the auto seatbelts, save some weight
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Old 05-10-2014, 06:34 PM   #26
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you could use manual seat belts, get some from a s13 in canada, it's what i've used for years and they are way better than the auto seatbelts to my liking. As for seats, r32s have been the most comfortable that still offer more "holding" compared to other stock seats, you could get some Sparco Sprints they are FIA approved, decent priced and really they are quite comfy keeping in mind it's an entry level bucket seat.
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Old 05-12-2014, 12:45 AM   #27
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In addition to seat time, the seat you spend time in is important as well.

Trying to drive aggressively in a stock s13 seat is a pain. Hard to focus on being smooth when you're fighting to keep your body still.
AGREED. The MOST eye-opening upgrade I have ever made on my S13's was the first time I installed a race bucket seat. You don't really realize how much you're hanging on for dear life untill you don't have to do it anymore. A bucket seat is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY if you're going to regularly attend track, drift, or autocross events.

As for the urethane bushings, the NRR guys are more critical than what is necessary. If you're not going to upgrade to full spherical bearings urethane is the only route. The main issue is keeping them lubricated. There are write-ups both here and on NRR for installing zerk fittings with your urethane bushings. Well-lubricated urethane bushings present NO binding issues WHATSOEVER. I've got full urethane (with zerk fittings) in the rear of my S13 with adjustable RUCA's and toe arms. With the shocks removed I can easily compress the suspension through it's full range of motion by hand.

NRR is a GREAT resource for 240sx enthusiasts who are more concerned with actual performance than style. I've been a member there for quite some time and there is TONS of technical information accessible there. Zilvia kids are not interested in anything that's not slammed and sliding into a wall at a high rate of speed. You do have to realize that a LOT of the NRR guys are at the polar opposite end of the spectrum though and reality is somewhere in the middle. Your car does not have to be a masterpiece of engineering perfection to perform well.

As for the FA coils, those are fine to start with. I don't think it's necessary to sell them and start all over. Concentrate on putting together a well rounded setup for the ENTIRE car and pursue your ideal setup from there. A Koni/GC setup using veilside180sx's housings would likely be a good upgrade in the future. There is a lengthy and detailed write-up here on that setup as well.

As stated, seat time is everything. Seat time with an instructor is what you REALLY need though. It is much wiser to spend your money on seat time than trinkets and knick-knacks to make the car "better". Start with the basic upgrades necessary for heavy track use. ALL maintenance items, GOOD brake pads/lines/fluid, TIRES, and cooling upgrades.
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Old 05-12-2014, 01:35 AM   #28
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Thanks for the input racepar. I am much closer to the NRR end of the spectrum, and I definitely see that most of zilvia is all about stance and being slammed and whatnot. I think I am sticking with the FA coils for now but keeping my eyes open for a set of used KONI+GC setup. Will also keep my eye out for a bucket seat within my budget. If any of you guys see either of those things for sale i'd appreciate a heads up!
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Old 05-12-2014, 01:36 AM   #29
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Its sad that I never really see S13s at autocross events I go to. I guess because most s13 owners are drifters/stance kids?
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:25 PM   #30
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Autocross competitive suspension and drift/track setups are night and day....

Autocross if you want to be competitive, you need stiff as hell suspension because you want very minimal body roll. Body Roll in such a short distance as autox makes your car transition very slowly causing you time. I think Grassroots motorsports did an article on this.

On the track or drift, some body roll increases corner grip and you need proper suspension geometry for that to translate into control of entry, apex, and exit....

But truthfully as everyone else says, seat time, proper safety gear, a well maintained car and bucket seats well get you very far along being competitive in anything you do.
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