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Minitastic Coil Spring Conversion


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#1 kwacktastic

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 08:18 PM

I've finally got round to fitting the Minitastic coil spring conversion to my '96 Sportspack - what a difference! It took the best part of a day to complete both sides at the back and the best part of a day for each side on the front. I opted for the "Fast Road" vesion and have the 36-way adjustable Gaz dampers.

I know I'm a bit of an "Old Fart" compared to most contributors to this site, but that doesn't stop me driving my Mini enthusiastically! Since fitting the new springs, the ride comfort has improved immensely, without sacrificing much in the way of handling. If anything, cornering grip seems to have improved somewhat as the car no-longer "skips" round the corners. I'm going to leave it for a week or two after which I'll be looking to get it properly set-up on one of those fancy jigs - the car also has adjustable bottom arms, tie rods, etc so the castor, camber, wheel aligment will all need checking. I've kept the ride height standard as that makes negotiating speed bumps less problematic.

As for the conversion, the back springs were easy to fit, apart from the old rubber springs were siezed to the trumpets and required a fair bit of "persuading". The front springs however were a pain in the neck as it required the top suspension arm to be removed - not an easy job when you've got fingers like sausages! Interestingly, the Minitastic kit appears to have a longer stroke than some of the alternatives on the market, yet doesn't require a suspension compressor (as used on the rubber springs) if it ever requires any maintenance.

Yosuke (at Minitastic) was very helpful at the point of sale and even let me have a go of his imported demonstrator. It was that which convinced me that coil springs was the way to go - for my particular requirement - I'm built for comfort, not speed!

I'll let you know if there are any significant developments in the coming weeks, but so far I'm very impressed by the improvement achieved.

Cheers,

Kwack

Edited by kwacktastic, 29 November 2007 - 08:22 PM.


#2 redhotmini

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 08:21 PM

they are nice to have. and all you need to do to stiffen things up a bit is wind up the GAZ shocks, which minitastic reccommend to fit if you have used the coil spring kit. its definately something i will be doing to mine fairly soon!

#3 Bristolmini

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:26 PM

This is good news, I have just bought a set of the fast road springs from Minitastic to be fitted sometime in the next couple of weeks. My main concern is that they would increase bodyroll and may not be so great for handling.

This sounds like they may be a good upgrade and if there is too much body roll I might fit an anti roll bar with them at a later date.

Yosuke was very helpful with all the queries I had and suggested and anti roll bar could be used but so far none of his customers had found the need to use one. I will try some enthiusiastic driving soon to find out for myself....

#4 ginigwunkle

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:49 PM

after a week or two id say your tyres will be nackered if the arms arent setup right while driving!

also handling will be out too...

#5 kwacktastic

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 11:16 PM

The car has been roughly set up following the work so I expect it's very unlikely I'll do any significant damage to the tyres, etc. I'm giving it a week or two to settle as all the changes will need to bed in - having it set up accurately now will, I suspect, be a waste of time (and money!) as it'll need doing again soon after. In any case, I suspect driving it around with a partially collapsed cone for the last few months won't have done the tyres and handling any favours either!

Once all the final adjustment are made, a new set of Yoko's will be installed up-front as the current Dunlop SP2000s are approaching their end of useful life. The Yoko's fitted to the rear a year ago are still performing well and in my opinion out-perform the previous Dunlops.

This coil spring set-up does seem to be particularly well suited to Minis with 13" wheel and low-profile tyres. I don't think I'll be rushing out to get an anti-roll bar just yet. That said, it hasn't been given a thorough pasting since the work was completed - maybe that'll be my job for tomorrow!

#6 samwell

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 09:43 AM

you'd have to be going some to ruin soem tyres in a few weeks with just poorly adjusted suspension.

do the coil spring really need to settle? i thought that was just a trait of the rubber cones?

#7 kwacktastic

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 09:48 AM

Certainly the rear ones have settled since installation. Each side has dropped about quarter of an inch within the first few days - they've been on for a couple of weeks now and the ride height is even on both sides. The front ones were only completed yesterday so I'm expecting the same.

Just to be on the safe side, I'll give it a while before taking it for a line-up.

Kwack

#8 kwacktastic

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 06:25 PM

It's been a week or so since the work was completed and I'm still very happy with my choice. Not only is the ride improved significantly, the handling has improved too - the car now seems to hang-on for longer in corners with no signs of the tyres losing grip. I've still got the dampers set on a very gentle setting - three clicks on the back and six on the front.

The car also now appears more stable at speed though this may be more to do with having the suspension geometry returned to near normal settings. The steering is positive and direct with very little evidence of drift. Nor does it roll down road cambers in the manner it did before the work. I've also taken the car out for a run round the twisty bit fully-loaded - three large lads sat in it and it coped extremely well. I opted for the "Fast Road" version of the springs and think that this is a good compromise. I suspect the "Long Stroke" softer version would be a little on the soft side and may introduce more body roll. The Fast Road version however seems to work well with the Gaz dampers.

So in summary, I'd strongly recommend this conversion for someone looking to improve the ride of their Mini without sacrificing any of the Mini's famous handling capability. Obviously the purists would argue that it's no longer running "proper" Mini suspension, but it certainly makes it a more viable proposition for everyday motoring in the 21st century - speed bumps, cattle grids, expansion joints, potholes, etc no-longer rattle my cage!

I'll let you know if there are any further developments, but now I'm off to consider my options regarding tuning the engine. Now the suspension is fully sorted, the chassis could cope with a bit more oomph! After all, it'd be rude not to!.....

Edited by kwacktastic, 11 December 2007 - 11:40 AM.


#9 Jammy

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 06:33 PM

you'd have to be going some to ruin soem tyres in a few weeks with just poorly adjusted suspension.

do the coil spring really need to settle? i thought that was just a trait of the rubber cones?

Depends on the suspension angles and the tyres. Bought some brand new Yoko A032Rs, but my suspension angles were still set up for tack days (something stupid like 4 degree -ve camber), and they failed an MOT a month after fitting them.

#10 fishey798

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 07:14 PM

How does the body roll compare to the rubber cones? i've been contemplating a set of these for a little while now as i live bout 2 mins away from minitastic, the only problem is i have only a few mm's of clearance between the arches and the wheels at certain points so i cant have any more body roll!!

#11 kwacktastic

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 08:39 PM

If that's the case I suspect this is not for you as the whole point of this is to produce a more compliant suspension, which means that the suspension has to be able to travel to absorb any road surface changes. This system is not designed to be run too low as lowering beyond a certain point means that the coil spring and hi-lo become loose when the weight is off the spring (i.e. when airbourne or when jacking the vehicle up). The way Minitastic recommend it is set-up, the spring is always under slight tension, even when the vehicle is jacked. There have been reports of some of the coil spring kits (not Minitastic ones I hasten to add) which have become loose when driven enthusiastically (i.e. when airbourne!). That's not possible on this kit due to the length of the springs and the prefered ride height.

As far as cornering goes, I don't think it rolls significantly more than it did before, though I guess a lot depends on the damper settings, etc. What I have noticed is that it seems to grip better - the tyres spend more time in contact with the road surface. Also, even doing very tight circles (or figure of eights), it's almost impossible to get the tyres squeeling - not that that kind of thing impresses me anymore!

They do offer a "Racer" version (with stiffer, shorter springs) which may be worth considering though I have no experience of this and personally wouldn't want anything stiffer than the "Fast Road" version for road use.

As you're only a short distance from Minitastic, why not go and have a look at their demonstrators. Alternatively, give Yosuke a call - I'm sure he and his team could better explain the available options.

Rgds,

Kwack

Edited by kwacktastic, 10 December 2007 - 08:45 PM.


#12 fishey798

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 08:45 PM

Thanks for that, it isnt actually lowerd very far, but i think i'll have another chat with them. I did go out in the auto demonstrator when they first designed the springs but i think that may have been fitted with the 'long stroke' springs so was a bit more roll. He is a very clever guy, we supply him with tyres and stuff and i often chat with him, but i think ill go see them soon!

#13 lilrich

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 06:27 PM

The front springs however were a pain in the neck as it required the top suspension arm to be removed - not an easy job when you've got fingers like sausages! Interestingly, the Minitastic kit appears to have a longer stroke than some of the alternatives on the market, yet doesn't require a suspension compressor (as used on the rubber springs) if it ever requires any maintenance.


But do you need the suspension compressor to get the original suspension off?

Cheers, Rich

#14 redhotmini

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 09:07 PM

The front springs however were a pain in the neck as it required the top suspension arm to be removed - not an easy job when you've got fingers like sausages! Interestingly, the Minitastic kit appears to have a longer stroke than some of the alternatives on the market, yet doesn't require a suspension compressor (as used on the rubber springs) if it ever requires any maintenance.


But do you need the suspension compressor to get the original suspension off?

Cheers, Rich


yes, but you only need to to get the front rubber cones out. the top arm will need to be removed as well as the rubber cone is too big to fit through the aperture. you could cut it up, however its qucker to remove the top arm, and give the bushes and bearings in it a good clean up and regrease while its off.

#15 mad4mins

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 11:45 PM

nice one kwack , i was thinking of getting a set of these for my mpi..

thanks for the recommendation! :D




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