The factual bit:
As many of you know, I spent many hours down at Star Performance two days ago…12 hours in fact (08:45-20:45) having a play, testing a few things, having a load of work done, trying out a few things etc.
Firstly, thanks to Jim & Brian…12 hours and two meals later we were all knackered!
Credit where it’s due…anyone looking for decent service, advice and standard of work could do a lot worse than giving them a shout.
Secondly, none of this was free…labour rates, wheel alignment rates, dyno time, replacement parts…all paid for out of my pocket...I have the invoice for over Ł900 to prove it!!
Thirdly, these are our (mine, Jim’s and Brian’s) observations based upon our findings. All testing carried out with conditions kept as close to previous conditions as possible etc…some will disagree violently, some will agree…that’s your prerogative.
Finally...the bit that brings all the other suspension bits together...the set up!
I find the S3 understeers badly wet or dry...there's too much roll and not enough grip.
Fitting uprated dampers will have helped the appalling standard (worn) damping, and adding the ARBs will have helped prevent roll whilst bringing the back into play a bit...but there's still a lack of front end grip (that phrase will please AL B!)
As discussed previously some time ago, the S3s have adjustable front ball joints which allow you to pull them outward and add negative camber. Fitting lwered springs also adds negative camber BTW!
Anyway, previous to this playing about session I had pulled my balljoints out as far as they'll go and gained -.15 degrees negative one side and only -1.0 degrees the other...better but not ideal as not equal...and I didn't want to reduce one side down to -1.0.
So, since the subframe had been off we had the opportunity to move it about a bit...I now have -1.3 degrees negative camber each side on the front.
On the rear, when you lowrr an S2 you get too much negative camber...the use of the Forge Motorsport Adjustable Upper Arms mean you can adjust this back to standard, or whatever you want. we fitted the Forge arms and set the rear camber back to -1.0 degrees per side (standard)
For rear toe - which is not adjustable - it sitting at toe out (can't remember the figures and I left the set up sheet down at Star! Doh!)
But I'm happy with toe out at the rear...it aids turn in.
The front toe should be set to slightly toe in (4 minutes toe in)...which is great for everyday driving...but a bit compromised for the 'press on' stuff...we set mine to slightly toe out...it tends to add a bit of front end bite. I think we used 5 minutes toe out per side.
How does it drive?
There is more grip at the front than I thought possible..it doesn't lean/roll on turn in like it used to...which takes some getting used to as it feels like it's going to start understeering...but it doesn't.
Keep your foot in and you can feel the rear come into play. You turn in and the rear just follows - regardless of speed...it just seems to find a point at which the torque goes to the rear, loads the suspension up and catapults you out of the turn.
No understeer, no oversteer, just pin sharp, precise turn in and a perfect line through the bend. I honestly never thought an S3 could feel this good to drive.
It's totally predictable, unbelievably grippy and the feeling of confidence it provides for the driver I've never felt in this car before.
I'm absolutely gobsmacked at how goos the chassis feels now...there's even a bit of feedback through the steering now!
I'm sure Grant (Imola S3) will be able to testify as to the way the car corners now...it's transformed!
This car may actually topple the Integra Type-R off top spot as the best drivers car I've owned... only time will tell.
I'm a very happy man now...
And since I've worn my keyboard out over the last few days, I'ff off to drive the damn thing...what's the best bait for Subarus nowadays anyway?