Well winter has pretty much gone ? and I've gotten nothing done. The engine block was dropped off 3 weeks ago at the machine shop and when I went in earlier this week, they still haven't gotten to it. Without knowing the game plan for the block, I'm up the river as far as ordering parts.
I did however finally decide on a suspension setup. I kept going back and forth on what I wanted to do. I went from Koni race front/QA1 coilover rear, but I'm super matchy matchy in my head so I couldn't do it. I even called BC Racing to get directions/dimensions to retrofit their S13 stuff. It would have all worked great, except the rears were going to be too long. I also considered going w/ CXRacing, but lack of guarantee of quality... I just couldn't do. In the end, I went with what I had always been floating around in the back of my head; air.
Initially, I was going to go it alone, but needed a few things cleared up before settling on a setup. I really don't want to do things twice, it's just not the type of person I am. So before ordering from places all over the web, I decided to shoot Phil at @twistedimages a PM on Facebook. He answered very quickly, was very knowledgeable, and a very nice guy. He verified a few things for me and also gave me a few recommendations. In the end, I ended up piecing together a system, but he was more than willing to work with me on that.
The overall plan is that I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to be able to air the system up and make it stiff, but not sit at a ridiculously high stance when I do it. I also want to be able to let some air out and have a comfortable ride. I believe pairing the air with the Konis and at least a coilover setup in the front will accomplish both of these things. Also check out below for my plan for the controller setup, because that's a huge portion of this plan.
In the end the setup should look like this for suspension:
I'm going to utilize my existing 200SX struts w/ coilovers already on them
Koni 8610-1436 Race inserts
UAS AeroSport Bags
Koni 1186-8041SPORT // From a Mustang, but came across them on E30 groups. For my car I'll have to get a new bottom bushing or put a new pin in the trailing arms. If memory serves me, the bushing is 12mm on these, but my 510 is 16mm.
Slam Specialties SS-5 Bags
TwistedImages upper/lower bag mount kit
So this is where it'll get a little more interesting. There are off the shelf systems, but I want a little more than they offer so I'm going to go it alone. The plan is to go with an Arduino Mega and write the software. I have pressure sensors for each bag and one for the tank, as well as, height sensors. I utilized BMW/Mini headlight leveling sensors because they are readily available so if one craps out, it'll be easily replaced.
The overall plan for the system will be to have set presets. At first, I want it to be controlled with a single push button. The thought is a long press will air out or go to previous ride setting, obviously based on what state it is in when you do that. Then if you click it a number of times it'll go to that preset. 1 short click, preset 1, 2 short clicks, preset 2, etc. Super easy. Down the road I'm thinking I'd like to make an app and use an old Android phone via bluetooth.
So the reason why I am making my own is that I also plan to incorporate stepper motors onto the tops of the Konis, front and rear. This setup would give me control of both rebound stiffness as well as spring stiffness. It'll be a bit of an undertaking, but I don't see it as nonviable by any means. It's just reading sensor inputs, actuating valves for air, stepper motors for struts and monitoring the sensors to make it all come together. Fairly straight forward.
*I know, not a Mega. Nor is this the setup I will run. I was just playing around. It's fairly easy to read the sensor and "actuate" the green/red LED based on the height sensor and if it needs to go up (green) or down (red). This is very similar the same as actuating the valves, minus the circuity involved to do so.
So small update, tons of words, and no actual work, but this is where I'm at. I've really been toiling inside over what do do for the suspension and it's nice to have a path forward. I still need to pick out brake calipers front and rear (still considering Wilwood Powerlites) and also determine what I'm going to do about the trailing arms and axles; I think I'm going to end up moving the hubs in 1" or so. At this point I think the engine going in will get pushed off until this next winter, but I think having things how I want them and doing it once is more important than finishing it quickly and it being a forever project with changes along each step.