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I'm curious as to what kinds of alignment settings you gents and gals may be running. with the car being so light...I'd imagine that you may not be running alot of camber but may concentrate more on toe and caster. What are the philosophies of modifying the suspension on a car that is IMO darn near perfect to start with. the Miata comes with more handicaps than necessary to appease Joe 6 pack.....but we enthusiasts "trim off the fat" so to speak to sharpen up the car. Again, being so light, I'm confident that you're not running high spring rates.....or shocks with high damping and rebound rates.....but I could be wrong. this is why I'm asking.

What are some of the issues that you encountered that made you want to tweak the suspension a bit......or alot.
 

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Camber hasn't got a lot to do with the weight of a car. It depends on the camber compensation of the suspension, and the amount that the body leans in the turns.

Spring rates for a light car will be lower to achieve the same amount of body motion, but will still result in the same amount of ride harshness.

I hope that the ratio of spring rates to mass is pretty high on the Elise...similar to the S2000, maybe, and certainly higher than the Miata.
 

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Hard to answer these kinds of questions until I get one :) but I am thinking the spring rate is pretty high based on the S2 I test drove.

When I get mine, I will probably play with the alignment a little, look at some aftermarket bits...but what depends on the classing from SCCA, which is either a stock class or a street prepared class.
 

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Be a little carefull about concluding that higher springrates == harsh ride . . .

Harsh ride is generally caused by dampers if the spring rate is sane . . . some dampers are harsher than others and there are many reasons for this.

I have a Mk1 Elise and run Nitron adjustable dampers, the springrates I run are over double the standard car springrates, and yet the car is not harsh unless I crank up the dampers to my track settings.

IMHO one of he best things you can do is put some devent dampers on the Elise, although the S2 bilsteins are pretty good compared to the S1 Konis the car is still quite soft (spring and damper wise).

Soft enough to have grounding problems if really pushed hard, something that a stiffer sprung car doesn't.
 

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My car is an S1 so not exactly the same but pretty close. It runs on A038's (cut slicks) with waht is called a 340R Dry Track:

Front
Camber = -2 deg
Toe = -0'015" deg each side

Rear
camber= -2.5 deg
Toe = +0'25" each side

Nice turn-in but struggles in straight lines on bumpy surfaces. probably more track/fun orientated.
 

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What can be adjusted with the factory setup, and what are the available ranges? It sounds like both front and rear camber are adjustable without additional hardware? What about caster?

All obviously for the currently available car, we can probably assume that the the federal model will be similar.
 

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caster, camber and toe are all adjustable.

Caster is by packing shims on the wishbone mounts, camber is by packing shims on the upright/wishbone mount, toe is via a track rod end, nicely toe and camber are independant, adjusting one doesn't change the other ;-)

Fd
 

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Great, thanks! Being able to change parameters independently sounds very nice indeed. My current car gains toe out when adding negative camber.

I must confess that I'm fairly clueless about wishbone type suspensions (have only messed with cars that have McPherson type), so I apologize if this is a stupid question: How much work is it to add/remove those shims? Say if you wanted to run more camber at the track than for street driving, is this something you can change in a few minutes, or does it require major surgery?
 

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Camber shims are fast, say 30 minutes per corner max - probably less.
Caster shims are slower say 1 hour per corner - more difficult and involve removing the upper wishbone mounting bolts which can be difficult to access IIRC.

I think the simplest gains are to be had from camber and toe changes, few people in my experience differ from the stock caster setting.

I think it's perfectly possible to achieve a good road/track compromise without any serious bugs. If you run slicks on the track and regular road tyres on the road then I think things get more complex.

Just thought - camber and toe interfere with each other on the rear but not on the front, this applies to both S1 and S2 Elises.

Fd
 
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