2008-09-06

WANT! Fat Cat Motorsports Bump Stops

So since I upgraded the springs a while ago, the suspension must have settled, and the car came to rest firmly on the bump stops. That's not what it supposed to do, because suspension, no matter how stiff, needs some travel before hitting the stops in order to do its job.

Tomorrow I am going to an autocross, so I had to raise the car today, and it just so happened that I had to do it in the middle of tropical storm Hannah passing over Raleigh.

Granted, the storm turned out to be just heavy rain, flooding and blocking some roads and houses, but no strong winds or anything truly dangerous like that.

However, I have no garage, and with the steady rain the prospect of pulling the wheels and adjusting the spring perch height in my subdivision's parking lot did not appeal to me much. So my solution was to drive to my company's parking garage which would offer shelter, light, as well as close-to-level floor, which is always a plus when fiddling with ride height.

On the way there, I have encountered a few flooded roads and had to take a couple improvised detours, but otherwise got there without any trouble.

Rain water rivulets on the parking garage floor helped me find the most level area to camp out in and the work started. I raised the rear approximately 9mm (3/8in) and the front 6mm (7/32in). Also checked tire pressure and put some air in them.

On the way back, it seems the ride has become a little less harsh. Now, with stiffened suspension, I doubt it will ever be cushy, but the car seemed to rattle less and actually handle better. I will try it out in Greenville tomorrow, and I suspect that I'll have to raise the car another notch.

Now, raising the car is only one of two possible ways of dealing with the bump stops issue. Using shorter stops is another. When upgrading the springs, I have trimmed about 1/2in (13mm) from the stock stops that were on the car according to the spring manufacturer recommendation. That left them at about 2.5in (63mm) length if memory serves. If I keep cutting them, the material might not be resilient enough to absorb impact effectively and I could damage the shock absorbers.

Also, I can't really shave the stops while they are on the car, out of fear of damaging the shock absorber shafts, which effectively means that I need to pull all four shocks off the car again. While I'm at it, I think I might just as well put 36mm performance stops in, and also go for an upgrade of the shock mount bushings and put some dust boots on (stock ones don't fit with new springs). And I pretty much have my mind set on the Fat Cat Motorsports products. That's going to be about $120 in parts and another day working on the car, but hopefully I will be able to keep the car lower to the ground than stock.