My Mazdaspeed6 got some yummy wheels, next it was time to remove the monster truck factor. After researching some springs, it seems most of the spring replacements are crap. They are either designed for the standard Mazda6, and actually have lower spring rates than the stock MazdaSpeed6 springs, or they are too low, or they are way off where they need to be for shock valving. The only viable option for spring replacements is about half the price of full coilovers. So I decided to just bite the bullet and get the real deal. Sort of.
I went with the BC Racing Type BR coilovers. They have a spring rate of 10K front, 8K rear. Which seemed to be the closest to the stock spring rate ratio from front to rear. It’s not a race car, so that was the extent to the calculations I did for required spring rate. And while the spring rates feel pretty good, so far I am not super satisfied with the coilovers. I will admit, I have done nothing to remedy my dissatisfaction yet, and they may actually be fine.
After reading instructions on how to install the coilovers, which state at some point that you may want to take a sledge to your car out of frustration, I decided to let a friend’s shop do the work. If I had a lift and a back-up ride, I may have attempted it myself still. But Noah at Solid Autoworks gave me the bro discount, so I let him deal with the headaches. Turns out the instructions I had read were not far off. It took about 6 hours to do the job, just over 5 of which was spent on the rears.
Lowering was done to a look, not a spec. As I said, this is not a race car, I was not going to worry about roll centers and such. I just wanted this car to look nice. And it does. I am very happy with the way it turned out.
Now if I could just get some pictures of my car in decent lighting. Anyway… Onto the coilovers. The coilovers have 32 adjustment clicks that adjust mostly compression, like most cheap coilovers. The colors are great. They are a very good looking setup. The adjustment clicks are positive and smooth. and the adjustment knobs have a nice tactile feel to them. Included is I believe 4 different sizes of spanner wrenches for the various spring perches. Everything fit pretty well. No complaints there.
Now for what was not so good: shock length is separately adjustable from spring tension. This is a great thing on the front as you can adjust ride height without pre-loading the springs unevenly. However, on the rear, it makes adjustment tricky. Ride height is adjusted via spring pre-load. And with the shock having adjustable length, it is difficult to determine where they should be set. We left them set where they came from the factory. As it turns out, I suspect it is incorrect. Main bump stops were shortened, and the shock has it’s own small bump stops. The rear feels very over-sprung, or under-damped, you choose your favorite. And on bumps which involve high speed damping, the suspension definitely feels like it is hitting the bump stops. Which bump stop I do not know. But worse than that is after that high speed event, the shock is unable to stop the oscillation of the chassis in the rear.
The shocks had the damping set at 15 click down from full stiff. So pretty much right in the middle. I would try upping the stiffness in the rear to see if it could control the oscillations, however they put the adjustment knob on the top of the shock which once installed is very difficult to get to in order to make any changes. Even if you take the wheels off, you have to have 9″ long skinny fingers to get up in there to twist the knobs. Or you can spend 5 hours dropping the suspension out and putting it back up in.
So not only do I need to sped a ton of time trying to get the bounciness under control, but then I also have to determine if I have the length of the rear shock set incorrectly. And of course changing one, may actually affect the other just a little. Even though they are affected by different suspension events. So yeah. Car looks pimp, I love it. Ride needs improving. I am still convinced the spring rate is fine, but the damping rate may not be able to get right in the rear.