Alrighty then, first of all: I wish you all a wonderful 2023, and hope we get to share a lot of cool Dai-projects together!
Now, let’s get to the good stuff.
We all know how it goes. You buy a car, do a few mods, ruin it, buy a daily, try to keep it stock, fail miserably. Well, I don’t want to say I ‘ruined’ Dave, but some money has been spent.
As said in the last post, Dave got some fresh rubber. Wouldn’t call this a mod as much as a necessary bit of maintenance with the tires being that old (from 6 to 16 yo) and dry. It’s bizarre how much steering input was required with the old tires! Now you can just point it exactly where you want it. For €152, this was a massive upgrade.
With the new tires on, the car pulled to the right. I think the old tires were just worn ‘straight’, because it was steering quite true before. Since I am a careful person (at times), I wanted to give Dave an alignement. However, since it needed to be aligned anyways, I figured: might as well do a few mods.
Tie rod ends, lowering springs, and ARB’s. Believe it or not, but this was only €45
… well, kind of. You see, both the lowering springs and rear ARB were just ‘leftovers’ from the Blyatsu, so I didn’t actually spend the money for Dave, but still had them laying around. Might as well use them! As mentioned in the previous post, the tie rod ends were €25 for the set, and (you might’ve figured this one out already if you’re really good at math) the front ARB cost me just €20.
30mm lower. Might be hard to tell on photo, but in real life it looks like it should’ve from the factory. - m i n t t
For scientific reasons, I decided to stick to the following order:
- Test drive with stock suspension
- Fit the new tie rod ends
- Mount front ARB
- Mount rear ARB
- Fit lowering springs
with test drives after every change. This gave me the opportunity to feel the difference in handling, which was interesting. Also, I’m having a hard time describing what I felt, let alone in English
After fitting the new front ARB, handling was what exactly what I’d expected, but also not really. You could literally feel the ‘resistance to roll’. With the old ARB it felt like you were determining the amount of roll by turning the steering wheel, instead of determining your direction. Now you have a bit of roll at turn-in, but it feels like it won’t go past a certain roll angle. Also, when you let go of the wheel, it doesn’t ‘fling’ itself back to the upright position, but more or less gradually levels itself. Overall, it’s way less ‘all over the place’ and way more controlled. It massively ‘calms down’ the car, which is great for comfort.
The rear ARB didn’t do as much, which was kind of expected. In terms of roll, it couldn’t have been much less. The ARB has a relatively small diameter, so it can’t and wont’ to that much for normal driving. I think there’s a more noticeable difference when you start driving on track and use it for grip balance. Although I didn’t feel like there was a change in roll angle, it did feel like it was, again, a bit more controllable and calm.
Last but not least: lowering springs. I expected quite a bump in handling from these, but it was kind of disappointing, and I’m 90% sure it’s because of the spring rate. I’ve driven a few lowered L7’s before, and those felt nice and firm and sporty. These springs feel like OEM plus. A while back, I asked the manufacturer what the spring rate actually was, and they said “The springs are 15% stiffer”, whatever that is in N/mm (idk the stock spring rate). I think those other lowering springs are around 150%-200% the original spring rate, so 15% isn’t all that much. Oh well, it’s not the end of the world. After all, it still drives well!
I got it aligned and enjoyed driving it so far. Well, sort of…
Last time, I told you about the exhaust being a loud annoying P.O.S. . Well, last week, it split in two . The mid damper parted from the front of the exhaust, which meant Dave was straightpiped for a while. There’s only one word for the kind of noise it made: obnoxious. Embarrassingly loud. Luckily, I was able to just shove the damper back in to the pipe in front of it, which temporarily fixed the issue. Since the exhaust lost its structural integrity, it was hanging quite low (hence why I couldn’t ‘enjoy’ driving it yet) and after fitting the new springs, I wasn’t even able to fit an OEM emergency jack underneath the mid damper. Yikes
So, I tried aligning the exhaust as best I could, jacked it up to keep it as high as possible, and fitted an exhaust clamp. So far, it works quite well! The exhaust isn’t dangling like it used to, and there are absolutely no rattles. On my drive home, I was amazed by… well everything actually. Dave is now a genuinely comfortable, quiet and proper handling car. It’s great, but it kind of feels… wrong. Maybe that’s just because the exterior is absolutely hideous and its been abandoned and neglected for the last 22 years.
I still want to fix the exhaust permanently and try to fix an idle issue, but other than that there’s not much to improve for a cheap daily. I’m quickly heading towards 10k km’s since I’ve bought it, and I’m hoping to put on a lot more km’s after that.
Until next time!