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Thread: Looking for some general advice

  1. #1
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    Default Looking for some general advice

    All,
    So Im asking here since I am sure many of you have been down this road in your driving career. Ive been tracking my S2000 regularly for several years now and for the first few it was awesome I left it relatively stock, left the OEM suspension mostly alone. I enjoyed driving the car, and had no problems with it. It is not my daily but a toy / track car that I still enjoyed driving around occasionally.

    Well in the interest of safety and going faster I installed a roll bar since I've had a few too many pucker situations and I wanted to know my head wont become a load bearing member. The roll bar then caused me to not be able to comfortably drive the car because im tall and it moved my seat too far forward. To solve this I installed a bucket and harness, again in the interest of safety. The car now creaks and rattles everywhere because of the roll bar which I half understand.

    Similarly in the interest of going faster (and moving to a more competitive class in the S2K challenge) I swapped out the suspension for some high-ish dollar coilovers (ill leave the exact type out of this conversation). These have been used to great effect by many other S2000 drivers to go very fast. I hate them. I dont like the way the car behaves on them one bit.

    I am beginning to feel like all the steps I am taking to make the car safer and more stable are making me like it less and less. I have reached the point where every time I get out of the car (arriving at the track, after a session, returning from the track, etc) I am simply irritated at it and have this feeling of quicksand where I keep pouring money into it and the problems just keep getting worse.

    My question to all you that have been down this road is where do you draw the line on something like this before perhaps cutting your losses and going in a different direction? Do you at all? Every project has that moment where the shiny newness wears off but you cannot see the other end, this I am familliar with, but this is the first time ive ever been uncertain I wanted to move forward.

    Sage advice and stories are welcome.

    Thanks
    -Ryan

  2. #2
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    Yes. If you are doing it for fun take the shortest path to happiness. I think you can get a custom roll hoop that sits farther back that'll let you retain the oem 3pt and seats. i'd sell the coils to pay for the new bar re install OEM stuff and be happy.
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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    If a mod isn't working for you, there's nothing wrong with going back.

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    I don't know much about S2000s, but it sounds like you have arrived at the threshold of "I want to go racing." Maybe it's time you got a full-on race car.

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    Senior Member bikeindirt's Avatar
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    I have limited experience here,,, While a stock s2k is remarkably fast, the few "faster" S2Ks I have been in was... what I would call.... less than confidence inspiring...

    BID

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    Senior Member albertg's Avatar
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    Ryan, you might want to do what I did. Buy a dedicated race car and leave the s2000 in street/stock form.
    1990 S2 SuperMiata

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    Senior Member rhouck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertg View Post
    Ryan, you might want to do what I did. Buy a dedicated race car and leave the s2000 in street/stock form.
    This is the way to go. It's fun to go fast, but virtually every mod is a compromise. I plan on de-modding mine back to near-stock soon.

    Don't you already have the dedicated race car anyway? (supra?)
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  8. #8
    Not Certified Slow SDSUsnowboards's Avatar
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    Comfort and appearance have always been absent on my priority list when modding my MR-S. Therefore, I lack knowledge of that aspect of your situation. However, I have at several points been dissatisfied with the car. It's too bouncy, it's too creaky, it doesn't rotate enough, etc. I've never had to dance on the edge of street comfort and racing, as every mod has always been uncompromised for racing except where money and difficulty is concerned. I've come to the same conclusion that you will soon come to: It's the limitations of your chosen platform.

    For me, I drive a cheap car. It will never feel as solid as a BMW, or even a lotus. It will always be bouncy, creaky, and cheap feeling unless I transform it into something else. You chose an open top car built for smaller people. The open top requires you to mount a roll bar. Installing a rollbar has put you at odds with the smallness of the cabin. You either need to recognize and accept these as a limitations of your platform, or change your platform to one that suits your needs in OEM condition, I.e. a coupe of some sort, like a vette.

    It appears to me you could fix every problem by getting a custom roll bar made that does not limit seat travel, and by reverting back to OEM suspension, seat, and restraints.

    I still want a lotus...
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    Yep Ive got my lemons supra and will likely have an RX7 racecar in the near future as I am being given a clean running FC that deseves to spend its golden years doing something better than rotting. The S2000 was originally purchased to scratch the itch of wanting to go to the track and play without the hastle of loading the trailer etc etc, as well as being a fun car around town. The plan for the S2000 was always mild street / stock, and I chose the S2000 because of how capable it was with minimal mods which is what left me in this conundrum. I really enjoyed driving it until I tried to make it more safe and a little quicker. Not full blown racecar, but just a little quicker.

    Mike K has generously offered to help try and dial the shocks in this weekend but ive been at this for 3 track days so far and that is where I am unsure. Its a slippery slope to keep saying "well maybe its just settings and there is a magic setup that i will love in there somewhere" and continuing to spend money and develop frustration in the hopes it will come out well vs just walking away and going to a different setup.

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    Senior Member fatbillybob's Avatar
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    I feel your pain. Hours of labor for 30 minute sprint race. I ask myself why I do it every time. It is the smile I have for 30 minutes.

    Also, quest after safety is a good thing. Don't underestimate OEM safetySYSTEMS. Once we start modifying we change the system and it is now something else. Sometimes we only think we make it safer. I have never seen a dual use car as safe as most racecars that could pass an SCCA/NASA annual tech. That is because SCCA/NASA requirements are really a system of stuff like fire bottles, kill swithces, cage, NASCAR bars, spec tube thickness, collapsible steering column, fixed back seats, HANS, harness gloves sidenets etc. There are a lot of compromises.
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    Captain Planet tq3z's Avatar
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    Ryan - give it time. If you need help setting the car up I am glad to assist. The non-aero non-stag setup is not the easiest to setup and you need to bear a few miserable days until you get back into the swing of things.

    As far as wild and exciting is concerned there's nothing quite like it. But I know exactly the feeling you're going through (too many times actually)

    Once it comes together it feels badass!
    Do you understand?

  12. #12
    I wanna go fast! thepass's Avatar
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    The reality is that everything we do to our cars comes with compromise. Classic blunder all too often; people want "race" stuff without realizing the trade-offs that come along with them. Nothing is free, there are downsides to every element we add or change. Best thing you can do is go into things with eyes open about the sacrifices you're making, and only do things if they're worth it to you.

    fatbillybob's points about safety equipment operating as a system is really important. You should either leave the safety system as Honda designed it (stock seat, oem 3-point belt, airbags, etc.) OR you should have a full track safety system (roll bar/cage, 5/6 point harness, fixed back seat, delete airbag, head and neck restraint). To most, the advantages of the track system are worth it to put up with the downsides i.e. less comfortable, less convenient, etc. but having a mix of only half of each system in the interest of trying to find a good compromising middle ground isn't a good idea.
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  13. #13
    LongWinded National Champ Bueller's Avatar
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    I dont know you so i may not be helpful at all. Whether youre doing everything by yourself or paying others, there will always be challenges. If you guys know what youre doing, you can minimize the challenges. If not, youll probably have more headaches. Sometimes its best to pay an expert. You might spend more than youd like, but it might save you a lot in the long term. Your other options are, like rob said, go back to the setup you enjoyed most, or like others have said, get a car thats solely for track use. The ultimate would be to get into racing.
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  14. #14
    JJ1
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    Ryan, I really think you should give it some more time (assuming something's actually not working right on your car). You went from stock rates to 16k. It's a TOTALLY different car to drive. I think it's a more difficult car to get used to as you have it set up now. FWIW, I drove Ameers car on JRZs (not totally dialed in yet) and was very pleased with how my suspension feels with that back to back comparison.

    I do think if you get used to this set up you'll love your car again. That being said, with R/H/S and suspension, I don't like driving my car on the street much either. But the harness is the most annoying part. My girl curses me every time she gets in and out of that car (once a year or so).

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ1 View Post
    Ryan, I really think you should give it some more time (assuming something's actually not working right on your car). You went from stock rates to 16k. It's a TOTALLY different car to drive. I think it's a more difficult car to get used to as you have it set up now. FWIW, I drove Ameers car on JRZs (not totally dialed in yet) and was very pleased with how my suspension feels with that back to back comparison.

    I do think if you get used to this set up you'll love your car again. That being said, with R/H/S and suspension, I don't like driving my car on the street much either. But the harness is the most annoying part. My girl curses me every time she gets in and out of that car (once a year or so).
    You know the bucket and harness dont bother me, though the dismount can be a little less than graceful, once im in its rather cozy. The rollbar seems to be the primary cause of the loss of civility. Lots of noises came from that (creaking / groaning no matter how much i tighten or re-tighten the mounting bolts). Perhaps the long term solution there would be a custom welded solution.

    Im going to do some testing tomorrow at SOW but i am beginning to think something may actually be wrong with the dampers which is whats making it behave so strange. When I arrived at buttonwillow last sunday I set my front dampers to 8 rebound / 8 compression, but this AM when i put my race pads back in for tomorrow the compression knob was full stiff and only has a sweep of 14 clicks (should be 16 no?).

    I think theres a lot of good advice in this thread and Ill stick it out a while longer and see if there is actually something wrong or the dampers just arent a good fit for me. I would like to think I can get the car into a state where I love driving it again, unfortunately in the past when I have gotten into this sort of funk what is usually takes it for me to just go hermit up in my shop for a while and figure stuff out on whatever project is giving me fits.

    My fiancee wont ride in the S2000 anymore either

  16. #16
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    I guess just ask yourself what are your end goals. Is the S2K primarily a DD that you want to work on your driving craft yet keep in streetable or are you trying to break recorecords? From there go down that path and get advice along those lines.

    If the ride quality is an issue, go to softer rates, a different coilover, or stock springs/shocks and do supporting mods to balance the car out -which is well documented for that platform. And/or put a wing on it.

    I've been down that path of making racecars for the street all too often, and I just did it again with a car that I hopefully sold today. Now I have a 4door BMW and an NSX with pretty soft rates for comfort that i'm making work on track, rather than sacrificing comfort for speed - while harder, having a fast and comfortable car does take trial and error, time and money to figure out.

    Quote Originally Posted by SDSUsnowboards View Post
    I still want a lotus...
    Have you driven one? Honestly, I think it'd be a disappointment after your car.
    Last edited by Stuntman; 02-01-2014 at 08:20 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by anorexicpoodle View Post

    My fiancee wont ride in the S2000 anymore either
    Score! Now you can take the passenger seat out -20lbs.
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  18. #18
    fe4
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    You sound like you are asking the right questions. Unless you have a lot of time and budget I would choose only one of the following goals at a time:
    • Become a better driver
    • Make the car faster
    • Optimize the car for a class
    Any of those is a valid objective, but double dipping is going to be tough. Sometimes the latter two work together, but not always.

    I will sort of disagree with Bueller - on one hand, yes, listen to everyone who talks to you - but on the other hand, be skeptical. Success in most areas of motorsports is only moderately linked to driver ability, and that fact trickles down throughout the whole supply chain of products and services.

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