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Thread: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

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  1. #21
    Jedi Warrior HealeyPassion's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    HealeyRick already put in the link to my list of suspension mods so I won't redo that. I just want to say again (I said it on the linked Project Paper) that I love the way my Healey handles with the modifications I've made. It isn't harsh, but it is very controlled... nice and tight but compliant. I have all Udo's stuff.... Bilstein conversion and Bilstein variable length radius control arms... all top quality. Regarding negative camber... I run 1/2 deg. negative... stock was 1 deg. positive... I can't imagine wear is any worse with running a bit neg. when it was so much positive when stock... but the negative should keep the tire better planted during turns. All in all, an absolute pleasure to drive whether cruising or "brisk" back country road driving. FWIW

    Cheers,
    Steve
    1963 Austin Healey 3000 BJ7 Works Rally Tribute w/EFI
    http://stevesaustinhealey.com

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    Yoda steveg's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Quote Originally Posted by HealeyPassion View Post
    HealeyRick already put in the link to my list of suspension mods so I won't redo that. I just want to say again (I said it on the linked Project Paper) that I love the way my Healey handles with the modifications I've made. It isn't harsh, but it is very controlled... nice and tight but compliant. I have all Udo's stuff.... Bilstein conversion and Bilstein variable length radius control arms... all top quality. Regarding negative camber... I run 1/2 deg. negative... stock was 1 deg. positive... I can't imagine wear is any worse with running a bit neg. when it was so much positive when stock... but the negative should keep the tire better planted during turns. All in all, an absolute pleasure to drive whether cruising or "brisk" back country road driving. FWIW

    Cheers,
    Steve
    Steve,
    Can you post a picture of the exhaust side Udo tramp bar?
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
    Check out my galleries:
    http://www.pbase.com/stevegerow


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    Obi Wan RAC68's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Hi All,

    Eric, my comparison between the 911 Carrera (in my case a 2003) and the Healey was only meant to reflect a comparison of ride harshness. Bill, after my Healey rebuild was completed in 1989, the ride felt secure and presented no shake at any speed. However, since the car was new, high speed cruising (anything over 60 mph) required constant small steering corrections and I then thought this was the way things were. My time on this and other forms have indicated improvements can be made but have not been clear as to which ones to make to correct my tracking condition.

    Steve (HealeyPassion), I had read your article when Rick initially posted it and found it to be a very good read, very informative, and contain much of what I was looking for. I also appreciated the inclusion of the frame modifications as an integral part of your implementation.

    A change in camber to the negative side, lowering the front end ĹĒ (?), heavier front sway bars, rear dynamic radius control bars (?), and moving the rear spring front mounts inward ĹĒ(?), seems to encompass most of the recommendations I would like to consider and include over time. However, which would be most effective in correcting the high speed steering wander? Or, is there another?

    Well, thatís it for me. I seem to learn more with every post on every thread and I donít mean to be confusing or frustrating but when you donít know what you donít know, it is difficult to ask the right question.

    All the best,
    Ray (64BJ8P1)

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    Jedi Warrior HealeyPassion's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Steve/Ray,
    Sure can but as you can see I did a bit more.... with a BJ8 Udo replaces the fixed bars you already have so there isn't an real exhaust change... at least that's what I think. My BJ7 had other challenges... which were over come with a bit of creativity... and a really good fabricator. This picture was taken before the exhaust system was done. It was all ceramic coated inside and out when done.

    AH Exhaust 50 small 234.jpg


    Cheers,
    Steve
    1963 Austin Healey 3000 BJ7 Works Rally Tribute w/EFI
    http://stevesaustinhealey.com

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    Jedi Warrior BoyRacer's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    I've been racing my 3000 for over 30 years. I've considered every modification possible to improve handling. I've read every book I know of about how to make a race car handle. I've raced against and talked to Healey racers from around the world. I have never heard of anyone remotely suggesting that the rear spring front mounts should be moved inward. I routinely drive my Healey 130 MPH and more, depending on the length of the track, and the car is stable. So, what exactly would moving the front spring perches inboard 1/2" achieve?
    Richard Mayor
    Vintage Racer HBN7L-466
    Portland, Oregon

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    Luke Skywalker dougie's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Here's Richard's Healey suspension in action.... The two things i like about this video the most, the lightening fast hands at the critical moment and the choice of music sound track. The lead guitarist of The Dandy Warhals is a friend of mine. You go Boy Racer!

    Dougie
    '65 BJ8 3000 MKIII GN.29
    '57 100-SIX MM Vintage Racer GN.1 #414
    Team Healey PDX

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    Jedi Knight DerekJ's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Ray,

    The straight ahead 'wandering' that you refer to is mainly due to the worm and peg steering box that Healeys have. This was never perfect even when new and has a kind of dead spot in the straight ahead position which causes the wandering and the need for minor steering corrections. Old age and wear makes the problem worse. Dennis Welch has produced a modern uprated design of this worm and peg box which claims to have cured the problem. I have never driven a car with one fitted so I can't compare the two but their stuff is usually good, if expensive.

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    Jedi Knight DerekJ's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Great driving Richard. Not easy to recover those once the pendulum has started its swing, as I found out to my cost last year. I corrected the first swing but not the second and ended up stuffed into the armco at Prescott.

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    Jedi Knight andrea's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Hi Derek
    On my driving experience must be very determined to make the first swing correction and the second and the third etc.etc...no brakes applications, at the end you have the arms more longer than at the beginning, but the car intact- I makes one of this experiences in the past on my ever regretfully 911s 2,4 Targa, unexpected and uncanny wipe out, at low speed, in a moon light night, with a blackeyed girl close to me, on a very narrow street,
    but with happy end, after five or six swing (my first swimming was retarded, I haven't all two hands on steering)
    Unforgettable, the way out -and- the girl (arms at the end, have gained more than 25 cm)
    I have similar experiences with a lot of of different cars, also at full speed, ending in a crash when for some reasons, I have limited the combat to one or two corrections, ....be lucky helps!

  10. #30
    Yoda HealeyRick's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Quote Originally Posted by BoyRacer View Post
    I've been racing my 3000 for over 30 years. I've considered every modification possible to improve handling. I've read every book I know of about how to make a race car handle. I've raced against and talked to Healey racers from around the world. I have never heard of anyone remotely suggesting that the rear spring front mounts should be moved inward. I routinely drive my Healey 130 MPH and more, depending on the length of the track, and the car is stable. So, what exactly would moving the front spring perches inboard 1/2" achieve?
    Richard,

    I think Ray was referring to a comment Marty Jule made in a similar thread about toeing in the rear springs on pre BJ8 cars:

    Quote Originally Posted by Frameman View Post
    I have been following this thread for a few weeks now. The Austin Healey chassis was never structurally sound.
    I have several items I wish to address- suspension mounting bushings-these are mounted in rubber for very good reason. It is to reduce road shock and lower stressing of the chassis supports. All auto manufacturers mount their suspension components in rubber insulated bushings. Road and Track and other car magazines tested Healeys when they were brand new and found the car had handling issues and suffered scuttle shake. They also suffered from doors fly open on hard cornering due to torsional loading. sound structures do not have these issues. It was not until 1965 that Healey realized if he was to toe in the rear springs the car would be more stable in the back. On the earlier cars he ran the rear springs parallel. It utilized the pan hard rod for rear end stability but because the chassis suffered from torsional loading issues softer suspension was used to control the twisting of the chassis. The end result was a car that would spin out on a corner as we have read in many articles over the years.
    Rally cars and competition cars were equipped with roll cages which added rigidity to the car. These cars suffered from structural issues as well. Applying race technology to an every day driver is not a good idea because of the different environments. A race car is inspected after every race and generally torn down and rebuilt after every race. A regular car does not have this happen.
    My suggestion would be to put heavier front and rear sway bars in and toe rear springs in and remove your pan hard rod. These are low cost items. I think this would provide the most bang for your buck. Keep the insulated rubber bushings and stay away from the hard bushings.
    I respect the forum's members but this is an area I have a very strong understanding and was concerned when I read some of the suggestions.
    Marty
    Quote Originally Posted by Frameman View Post
    Hi Ray, thank you for your comment. Jack the car up in the rear. Establish true center of the car from front to back. Draw a line on your concrete floor or use a laser lite.Use a plumb bob to set the location of the rear springs. The front of spring should toe in one half each from front to back on each spring. The front being more narrow. If the spring needs to be moved inward you will have to remove the front spring mount from the outrigger so the spring toes in one half inch on each side. then re weld the spring mount and that is it.
    If you have any questions please call
    Marty 905-854-3555
    Rick

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    Jedi Warrior HealeyPassion's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Derek/Ray,
    I have one of DWM's constant radius steering shafts (I think that's what they call it) cut on a 5 axis machine.... I guess the original steering shafts were cut on a 2 axis machine. This is suppose to eliminate the dead spot.... seems to. The steering feel on mine is very good, but since I did all the things at once, I can't definitively say what did what in the whole mix.

    Steve
    1963 Austin Healey 3000 BJ7 Works Rally Tribute w/EFI
    http://stevesaustinhealey.com

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    Yoda steveg's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Quote Originally Posted by HealeyPassion View Post
    Steve/Ray,
    Sure can but as you can see I did a bit more.... with a BJ8 Udo replaces the fixed bars you already have so there isn't an real exhaust change... at least that's what I think. My BJ7 had other challenges... which were over come with a bit of creativity... and a really good fabricator. This picture was taken before the exhaust system was done. It was all ceramic coated inside and out when done.

    AH Exhaust 50 small 234.jpg


    Cheers,
    Steve
    Steve,
    Thankyou for posting the photo. It answers the question I posed to Udo in a somewhat different way. To all intents and purposes, on a non-BJ8-II, his tramp bars do require a side exhaust -- or -- the level of creativity shown by your excellent fabricator.
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
    Maker of most complete Big Healey rear disc kit
    Check out my galleries:
    http://www.pbase.com/stevegerow


  13. #33
    Obi Wan RAC68's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Rich/Derek,

    Rich, Rick is correct, the suggestion to toe-in the rear springs came from the Frameman (Martin Jansen) “Re: BT7 Handling” thread just below your comment and further clarified in a later post indicating that the forward spring mounts be moved inward Ĺ” .

    Sorry, but your response exemplifies my confusion and frustration. There is no doubt that you know what you’re talking about and, as most Forum contributors, carry and provide a substantial amount of experiential and theoretical knowledge. It seems also clear that, for lack of knowledge, many of us do not provide a complete enough picture of the conditions or even ask the right questions to form our requests. As a result, the suggested modification is implemented out of intended context the solution was offered and the expected gain or benefit is lost or not completely realized.

    For example, I had installed a plate onto the bottom of the frame which extends from the radiator to 6” before the crankcase to eliminate the common high pressure buildup in the engine compartment that blocks radiator flow through. It has worked very effectively and has eliminated the previous engine temperature increase at cruising high speed (above 70 mph and above) and now maintains a lower temperature at any speed. However, could this plate be increasing front end lift and exacerbating my Healey’s inherent steering wander.

    I very much appreciate the comments Derek and you have provided and hope to continue to learn more from your posts.

    All the best,
    Ray (64BJ8P1)
    Last edited by RAC68; 05-09-2014 at 02:07 PM.

  14. #34
    Yoda John Turney's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Another example of BoyRacer's quick hands:


    I tightened up my steering gear as much as possible without binding. That helped, but making sure I had toe-in did away with that constant correcting, and made it much more relaxing to drive.
    John, BN4

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    Jedi Knight DerekJ's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Great video.

    I'm going to have to get myself one of those smaller steering wheels!

    Questions for Richard.

    Do you have a higher ratio steering box?
    What tyres were you on in the wet?

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    Jedi Knight DerekJ's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    People have mentioned Marc Campfield's video at Spa, which was, err...shall we say,... 'exciting'.

    Here is Nigel Greensall setting the fastest ever lap at Spa in an Austin Healey. In DD300. He looks so relaxed doing it. His turn ins are amazing.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUuorPUnqKg

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    Jedi Warrior CLEAH's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Amazing drive by Nigel Greensall. I wonder how much better he would have done had that Falcon not been in his way?
    Hugh
    1965 BJ8
    1958 AN5


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    Jedi Warrior BoyRacer's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    DerekJ,

    My steering box is the stock steering box that came in my 3000. My car is a 1959 BN7, serial number HBN7L-466. The tires are bias-ply Hoosier Vintage TDs 5.50 x15. They are the only tires I race on...both wet and dry. I had no idea it would rain in that goofy handicap race. If I knew rain was coming I would have disconnected one of the links on my sway bar to loosen up the front end, and pumped up the air in the tires to get a smaller contact patch so it would not hydroplane so much. In the dry I run starting tire pressures in the 23-25 psi range depending on how hot it is, and by the end of a race my tire pressures reach 28 psi. For the rain I would have pumped them up to about 30 psi.
    For those who have never done it........racing in the rain is like roller skating on ice.
    Richard Mayor
    Vintage Racer HBN7L-466
    Portland, Oregon

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    Luke Skywalker dougie's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Did Someone say racing in the rain.....This is from the 2011 Sonoma Historics at Sears Point, a real rain fest.

    I leave for the 2014 Sonoma Historics on Wednesday, the weather should be much better this year for Team Healey PDX. https://generalracing.com

    Dougie
    '65 BJ8 3000 MKIII GN.29
    '57 100-SIX MM Vintage Racer GN.1 #414
    Team Healey PDX

  20. #40
    Obi Wan RAC68's Avatar
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    Re: Suspension Modifications to improve Handling and Roadability?

    Rich,

    Wow, great video. I must admit I really envy your obvious enjoyment and can see and hear (for the most part) the power and control you have imparted to your Healey.

    I was very surprised to learn that you are using Bias-ply tires for your racing and was under the impression that they would produce less grip. I have spun out, rain or shine, more often then I care to remember. My first experiences were with a í58, moderately customized, Pontiac convertible that spun out so often I installed seat belts so as not to use the steering wheel as a handle to help keep behind it. The Healey only added to the experiences when pushing the original RS5 bias-ply tires but soon learned to anticipate when this was likely to happen. This learned anticipation was drastically changed when the Pirelli Cinturato radials were installed and, though the spin-out incidents drastically diminished, so did a little of the thrill and enjoyment of driving.

    John indicated that he tightened up his steering box and introduced some negative camber to eliminate constant steering corrections. Although there are a few things I want to address, there seems to be a consensus that a slight amount of negative camber is a good thing and would help eliminate the wander.

    Since I canít go overboard at this time with the expense, what is the recommendation on the most cost-reasonable approach that would provide a worthwhile adjustable camber implementation?

    As always, thanks and all the best,
    Ray (64BJ8P1)

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