RS*R Sports-i Coilover - Club4AG Moto-Spec Edition
Today, following last Friday's Cusco parts install, my FRS went into the facility of RS*R USA to fit my other purchase, the Sports-i suspension system.
This unit is a variant of the not so well-known RS*R i-Shock, specifically designed for the FRS/BRZ/86.
After a few days of hard, all out track, autocross, and casual canyon drive, as well as driving through downtown Las Vegas last month in the Pre-Production Final Product spec, and also through 8 days of various city traffic and highways in my own 9 day old FRS. I have had plenty of time in the original setup, born of Mr.Tada and his team, of the original suspension.
While I am pretty fond of the FRS's OEM suspension, I asked RSR, my long-time source for the nicest Japanese made custom made suspension firm, to see if they had something I can purchase. A bit of waiting, the president of RS*R, Mr.K.Terai, brought over personally from Japan, a set of customized FRS set.
For those who don't know much about RS-R's i-Shock line, the suspension system can be ordered with custom valving, spring sets, piston lengths, and from a database they have of vehicle specific applications. Their standard product is tailored to your needs, if specified, and if not, they come in RS*R's own well-tested setup. It's a bit more expensive than most of your generic coil-over systems, but it features the patented monotube design with billet alloy parts, along with RSR's patented internal valve. This all translated to increased piston travel over the more common twin tube internals, and adjust-ability range that is quite useful on many street cars, that see track use often.
Because of the mono-tube RSR design, the dampers' initial rate of compression is quick, yet very even through further loads. And what this translates to is the ability to have lower overall damper setting, without sacrificing effectiveness of the full motion damping rate. The damping rate is very uniform, and therefore stiffer springs can be combined but still allow for very compliant ride due to shocks not needing to be very high on compression damping or rebound valving.
One of the constraints for the FRS's original suspension is the costs prohibiting such exotic and expensive damper units. Though the FRS exhibits fine driving attitudes on both road and track, and much more refined than any previous Toyota perhaps, it isn't a $50,000 car either, and can't be equipped with things like this out of the box. High-end cars like the Porsche 911 and many exotics do use similar advanced valve mono-tubes, and for the FRS, I chose to see if RSR can better the already superb but cost-limited production twin-tube FRS setup it came with.
A Japanese mechanic, nicknamed "Steve" Shinichi Yamazaki from RSR-Japan who happened to be in town for Formula D, took great care in installation for me today. Starting with corner weighting, marking alignments, and even weighing me (the driver) to install and carefully adjust the suspension to 32mm drop at front and 28mm at rear. From a previous talk I had with CE, Tada of Toyota, his recommendation for suspension lowering of -20mm+/-15mm for dynamic alignment of the arms, I went on the lower height end of the spectrum just for kicks.
One of my small (tiny) complaint about the FRS was its jittery, easily upset, balance of the car by Los Angeles' rough, less ideal pavement gaps and fillers, which tended to take your steering a bit more than I liked... (Tuned very aggressively for the track, the lower cost factory unit could not cover for both scenarios too perfectly I guess? as OEM is really perfect for the track, amazingly enough for a production car from Toyota)
The RSR's Sport-i, despite the higher spring rate, actually proved to be more compliant for the streets, due to the much more sophisticated damper valves. The car instantly became as comfortable and composed as many, and more expensive European car, and all the precise motions of the car seemed to be intact. I haven't had a chance to put it to the test on the raceway just yet, but with added capability of spring tuning, and fairly useful and wide range of damper settings, I can almost feel that the Sport-i will prove to be just as fun on the track, given I know what the heck I shall be doing. (I have a rough idea but it's not easy to improve on the performance end of the FRS as it came) But at least for now it seems the jitter and tracking of faily stiff city ride OEM damper is now calmed with the expensive damper which the $25,000 MSRP car, originally could not be equipped.
Here's some photos of the install, and I will write more when I get a bit more time behind this on the raceway and other venues or conditions. So far so EXCELLENT. You get what you pay for at RSR.
On Sale from CLub4AG.com here