Sunday, 22 May 2011

Time for a little test-drive

Took slightly longer to tidy up everything after fitting the rear coil over’s last Saturday. This was caused mainly by other commitments and work. But early this morning I found a few spare hours to go for a little test drive. As it had just stopped raining, and there were still some showers around, it was rather slippery. At least this kept most of the Sunday morning cyclists and walkers at home, so I had most of the country lanes to myself.

To be honest I didn’t really know what to expect from this first drive. First thing which was a bit of an unknown was the fact that the springs are now situated behind the rear axle. This results in an effective spring rate of ±34 kg/cm (190 lbf/in). So they have the same effective spring rate as 43kg/cm (241lbf/in) springs mounted in the original location. But sitting behind the axle also means that the upper links will be loaded differently. I needn’t have worried.

Although the improvement wasn’t as pronounced as when I fitted the front, the overall behaviour of the car has clearly improved. First thing I noticed was the fact that the ride was smoother over bumps. This can be explained by the fact that I have the shock absorbers at their softest setting. The AVO’s I had on the rear of the car needed to be set pretty hard to prevent them from bottoming out. But most important improvement was the balance. With the old set up the car’s handling was biased towards understeer, but it’s more neutral now.

To sum it up, it was rather good fun steering it on the throttle, helped quite a lot by the slippery road surface left by the rain showers. But most important it feels much more balanced and thus more confidence inspiring.

Everything fine? No! Will have to experiment with the shock absorber settings a bit, as under certain conditions the outgoing stroke is slightly under damped at the softest setting. Also the fact that the springs sit just behind the axle now has highlighted the fact that I need to re-torque the rear upper links. But those are minor points.

Looking forward to see how she behaves in Scotland in two weeks time, but before that I need to sort a few other small issues ...

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