Aka-chan, Better Suspension and More Grip~

Hola, everyone~

To catch up on the lack of updates, here’s an update on Aka-chan~


So around August, I noticed Aka-chan was in need of new tires. So instead of buying a new set of staggered tires, I pulled the trigger and ordered a set of R33 GTR replica wheels made by a company called Square. They call the wheels the G33.

The specifications on the new wheels are 17×9 +15 mm offset. The initial impression is that the quality and finish of the new wheels aren’t anywhere as nice as my old Works, but that is to be expected considering these are only $499 for a set of four wheels, which is roughly the cost of one new Work wheel. My reasons for choosing go with a set of these R33 replicas instead of the actual R33 GTR wheels is because of the +15 mm offset on the new wheels over the original GTR wheels which have an offset of +30 mm.

Based on calculations and my desire to run 255/40/17 sized tires on all four wheels, I’d need the lower offset to prevent my suspension from hitting the tires/wheels. If I chose to run OEM R33 GTR wheels with +30mm offset I’d have to run at least a 13 to 15mm sized spacers to clear my suspension, and I prefer not to deal with the hassle of spacers/longer hub bolts. As you can see from the photo above, the wheel and tire setup barely clears the front coil-overs.

For the tires, I chose to try out the Dunlop Direzza Z2 tires in 255/40/17. They should provide great summer traction… tread life probably not so much, but since I’m not running a staggered setup anymore I should be able to squeeze more mileage out of these than with my old set of Works by rotating the wheels/tires.

Compared to my old setup 17×9 +36 245/45/17 in the rears and 17×8 +30 225/45/17 in the fronts, the new wheels give the car a much wider stance and hopefully should provide noticeably better corning ability.

However, since the new wheels and tires give the car a wider stance, the new setup does bring up new problems with inner/outer fender clearance. To accommodate the wider wheels and tires, there’s a couple of options available:

1. Keep my alignment specifications the same and pull the metal fenders over the wheels/tires with a fender roller OR run over-fenders. My fenders have the inner lip rolled and they are not pulled. If I went the route of pulling the fenders to fit over the wheels, I’d have to flare the fenders by at least an inch outward. I personally dislike the idea of pulling the fenders because I love the lines of car as they came from the factory. I feel like it’d be similar to asking your girlfriend to get plastic surgery or something to that effect. I prefer my girl the way I met her for the most part haha.

2. The second option would be to raise my suspension and increase the camber settings all around to tuck the wheels under the fender arches. This is the route that I opted to go with since it allows me to keep the body lines the same and set the car up with a slightly more aggressive suspension setting for going fast around corners.

The biggest problem with running 255/40/17 17×9 +15mm wheels and tires is the additional clearance issues on the front of the car. Depending on caster and camber settings, it may be necessary to massage various parts of the inside fender to prevent rubbing on the tires.

As I was adjusting and checking clearance issues, I found that the driver side rear coil-over was leaking oil from the seals. So on top of replacing the wheels and tires, it was time to replace my coil-overs I’ve had since 2005.

So at this point the big question was what I wanted to replace the old suspension with. I ended up going with Fortune Auto Generation 4 500 series coil-overs. Reason for choosing them is because they are local to me and I have heard decent reviews about the damping quality. I also opted for the addition of the radial bearing mount to reduce spring bind/noise in the front suspension while turning.

Comparison of the FA 500’s and the old K-sport coil-overs. The 500’s have a larger diameter and slightly thicker brackets than the K-sports, which is nice. However, the rear lower strut mounts are shorter than the K-sports by about 1.5 inches. This decrease in length limits how much you can raise the car which typically isn’t a problem for most S-chassis owners who want their car to be as low as possible, but I like having a reasonable amount of ground clearance to be able to perform the gutter technique on Mount Akina to keep up with Takumi and his 86.

Here’s the rear ride height set at about 25″ from the top of the fender to the ground. I was able to stretch out the ride height a another half inch, but the strut is only held on by a few sets of threads at this point. Definitely not safe. Ideally I’d like another inch and a half out of it, and to achieve this I need new longer rear lower strut mounts. I’ve contacted FA to have a new set made for $99. I’m still waiting on the new lower strut mounts. Hopefully the new longer rear strut mounts will get the height where I want it.

So this is where the car is at still. Front suspension is able to go much higher which is great, just need to get the new rear lower strut mounts on and an alignment, and then wait for spring to arrive.


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