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Cornering Optimizing your suspension system.

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  #1  
Old 05-14-2009, 07:56 AM
Slow Paul Slow Paul is offline
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Default Matching the BARS!

My Cooper is equipped with the 24mm front sway bar that came with the car when I ordered it with the Sports Suspension Plus option. I've been doing research about sway-bars recently and have come to the conclusion that I need to beef-up my front sway bar as I have beefed up my rear sway bar.

This research came in the form of an old Grassroots Motorsports article about upgrading both rear AND front bars. Now I have heard may people say that putting a bigger front sway bar in a MINI will amplify understeer, but if that front bar was combined with a larger rear sway bar, wouldn't that make the MINI handle more neutral as opposed to being some what loose in the rear with just a rear sway bar?

The only front sway bars available for the MINI are 27mm hollow. While they are hollow, the resistance is quite a bit greater than that of the stock 24mm one translating to a more balanced car when weaving though the cones or the twisties, or so I believe.

If my theories are correct, then I'll be looking to add a bigger front sway bar to my old Cooper.

For the record, I have a 19mm solid rear sway bar currently installed. It only has 2 settings, and I do not know the brand of the bar nor do I know how much more resistance over stock each setting gives. I'm also rocking a set of Bilstein Sport Struts and Shocks, H&R Sport Springs, Helix rear control arms, and a set of Helix Camber plates.

Have at it, let me hear your opinions on this subject.
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2009, 10:41 AM
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does the car feel unbalanced to you as is?

I have a similar set up, 19mm Minspeed 3 way adjustable on full stiff, megan coils, camber plates, and SPC rear control arms, and custom alignment. My car feels very balanced and I can get 1.06 lateral G's on it as is (according to dynolicious on my iPhone). If I push really hard, I can get the back end out and almost "drift" through a corner if I keep the hammer down. No way I would want a front bar, I think that would actually cause some increased understear. Granted, the front would stay more level, but I feel having the give up front allows for more steering control. But that might just be in my mind.

Overall, my car feels so solid and flat anyway, I think the change would be far too aggressive for my style, but again, that is my personal preference. I am sure the folks at grassroots know WAY more than I do about balance and handling, but I just can't imagine why you would want to be "increasing" the front understear while trying to eliminate rear rotation. My experience with front sway bars on my V-dubs and Audis and Subarus was that when I added a matched bar to the rear that I had already done, every time, I went back to stock...as the car just seemed to "push" through the corners more. So, with the MINI, I only focused on the rear, and was very happy right away with the simple 3-way 19mm bar I have.
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Old 05-14-2009, 12:35 PM
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Unfortunately, you're going past my understanding of suspension tuning...

I have the sports suspension front bar (smaller than the plus) and a big rear bar. I know that there have been times that I thought I wanted a larger front bar... but I don't think that was really the answer. If you can mess with spring rates, that would be the way to go. But that's harder and more expensive than just changing a swaybar.
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:16 PM
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yesss front sway is the way to go. only problem I forsee is rainy autox
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:21 PM
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Get a new car... Cooper S FTW
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:23 PM
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wheres the dig a hole smiley
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:31 PM
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Unless Dan @ Grassroots Garage has already sold the Hotchkis front bar that I never used on my R53 it's yours. I think that with a stiff enough rear bar you may feel the need for a front bar, but I'm not sure how much it will really help. For example... The guy I work with that has been autocrossing for probably 25+ years just put the skinny front bar on his R56 MCS. He said it should help him to have more front traction instead of lifting the front wheel up a little in tight turns.
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:42 PM
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for a cooper I think the bar will do a lot of good. for a cooper s you may have autox traction issues. front bar + lsd on a cooper s would be splendid
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:46 PM
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Well, not that I autoX, but I run a JCW suspension kit front bar on mine. It has a 19mm 3-way adjustable rear on the stiffest setting. I have the stock LSD as well.
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Well, not that I autoX, but I run a JCW suspension kit front bar on mine. It has a 19mm 3-way adjustable rear on the stiffest setting. I have the stock LSD as well.
the verdict?
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:53 PM
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When I ran the Koseis and RS2's it pulled the fastest time around VIR south course for a non race prepped car. I was within 2-3 seconds of the fastest MINI of the day and he raced it professionally.
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Old 05-14-2009, 04:05 PM
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who's mini is that? thats awesome
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Old 05-14-2009, 04:06 PM
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You could look into the r53 bar too. It's thicker than the r50 sport I think, but not as stiff as the h-sport. Nice option if you can find one someone doesn't want.

I've got one laying around that you could have if you can't find one in cali. Just pay shipping
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Old 05-14-2009, 04:07 PM
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they are the same from when I measured. I have no idea about the jcw for a cooper s r56 though?
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Old 05-14-2009, 04:09 PM
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Oh...scratch that then
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