ctromley
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:08 pm

Performance shocks/struts

Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:41 pm

Hi Everyone,

First post, been lurking for awhile. Learned enough to go out and buy a used i-MiEV. (3000 original miles, cost $8k for essentially a new car - gotta love early adopters who shouldn't be.) It had a checkered past, came off lease and sat in an auction lot for months. Thank you, caniOn, for letting me determine the pack was still in good condition.

I like the car a lot. It's a bit of a tin can, but I expect that from a light econobox. It's very stiffly sprung, probably necessary for a light car to have a decent GVWR. That also makes for responsive handling, which I like a lot. My biggest gripe about the car brings me to my question: Are there better shocks and struts available for this car?

Stiff springs require stiff shocks. When you hit a bump the stiff springs mean less suspension travel. I can live with that. What bugs me is that there is very little rebound damping, so the car body shoots back sharply after the bump. It makes for a very boingy-sproingy ride. I haven't played with it at the limit yet, but such a lack of control can make a car a real handful when one is traveling with alacrity.

I'm not really surprised at this. I know the i morphed from a JDM kei car and the suspension was transplanted basically unchanged (though I'm betting it has stiffer springs than the original). I also know these cars were raced, so maybe there might be some drop-in suspension parts available? I hope? The OEM parts have laughably skinny damping tubes, which may be needed for tire/wheel clearance, but maybe there are some monotube gas shocks that could use a bigger piston?

Anyone have any connections in Japan that might know how to do a suspension upgrade on our beloved jellybeans?

Chris

CARiD
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:58 am

Re: Performance shocks/struts

Thu Mar 24, 2016 6:19 am

You are right, spring and struts are very important for handling, but since iMIEV is not a sport vehicle, aftermarket manufacturers do not produce advanced suspension kits.
However there are universal springs that you can customfit on your car. They come in various sizes and load ratings so you can choose the best suiting spring for yourself.
Check out these universal springs for example: http://www.carid.com/pac-racing-springs ... 50027.html

PV1
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Re: Performance shocks/struts

Thu Mar 24, 2016 6:53 am

Welcome to the forum.

Although I don't know as much about suspension as others, the rebound has always seemed dampened to me. This is most notable when travelling over a speed bump too quickly, when it feels like the tires come off the ground because the suspension didn't extend quickly enough. Granted, the suspension doesn't extend very far when jacking the car up, either.

I have always liked how the car handles. It's responsive, but doesn't over-react like some other cars I've driven. I thought I was going to hit the guardrail when trying to avoid a stray rock on the highway in a Ford Fusion because the car hesitated then over-reacted to the steering input. The steering also isn't too sensitive, allowing for forgiveness when one twitches the wheel. This is one of the things I didn't like about the BMW i3. The steering is way too touchy, and twitching the wheel at speed could be very dangerous. The i-MiEV drives like it is on rails on just about any surface I've driven on (dry roads, snow, slush, slush-covered ice, etc.).

There are some road surface that the i-MiEV doesn't respond to well. The one section of highway that I travel often has a bunch of dips, causing the car to bob back and forth rapidly. But load the car down, and it rides like a dream.
:idea: :idea: :idea: :!: :!:

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Thanks.

jray3
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Location: Tacoma area, WA
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Re: Performance shocks/struts

Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:33 pm

Welcome, Chris. I've tried unsuccessfully several times for a JDM parts connection. I did install the progressive lowering springs from Germany and liked the ride, but changed the rears back to stock after apparent CV joint damage (3rd order vibrations). The change was well within normal driveline angles, but others have since reported the same results. Don't lower the car without more research.
2012 i-SE "MR BEAN" 94,000 miles
2000 Mazda Miata EV, 78 kW, 17 kWh
1983 Grumman Kurbwatt EV,170 kW, 32 kWh
1983 Mazda RX-7 EV 43 kW 10 kWh
1971 "Karmann Eclectric" EV 240 kW 19 kWh
1965 Karmann Ghia Cabriolet

jobrett7
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:42 am

Re: Performance shocks/struts

Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:26 am

Wish that there will be more suspension options for our cars sooner. I really want to upgrade the springs/struts to a more reliable kit like bilstein, koni , etc.

blackheart
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:41 am
Location: Portland Or

Re: Performance shocks/struts

Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:54 am

Welcome to the pack! I had been looking at these cars since 2012 - but held off until I saw them come off lease and a fellow member on here helped push me over the edge. Been loving every minute of it.
Except, I do worry that the care is so "lightweight" that the streets in my town of Portland will take its toll all to early.
Let us know what you find!!
'Is treading water actually swimming - or just prolonged drowning"

-2012 MItsubishi I-Miev - BlackJack
-1989 GMC Sierra 4x4
-2015 RadRover Emonster bike


EVSEupgrade

Don
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Re: Performance shocks/struts

Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:10 am

Welcome to the forum - Glad you found us!
ctromley wrote:First post, been lurking for awhile. Learned enough to go out and buy a used i-MiEV. (3000 original miles, cost $8k for essentially a new car - gotta love early adopters who shouldn't be.) It had a checkered past, came off lease and sat in an auction lot for months.
No 'early adopter' helped you get your car - In fact, the opposite is actually the case. There were far too few early adopters willing to pony up nearly $30K for the number of new cars imported in the initial offering. After too many unsold cars sat on dealers lots for a year, Mitsu ended up leasing them for $99 a month for 24 months. Thanks to a ridiculously high residual, virtually none of those who leased the cars were willing to buy them at the end of the lease - The price of new ones had fallen so much by then that some people did opt to buy a new one for essentially the same money rather than buying the one they had previously leased

That left a glut of lease returns about 2 1/2 years ago and there were some real bargains to be had. When we bought our original SE new in May of 2012 it was about $30K and we snapped up the last SE they had. They had several SE Premium models with QC, Nav, back-up camera, Blue Tooth and the HD entertainment system, but the sticker on those was about $4K more and very few buyers opted to spend the extra, so many of the cars which went to lease were the best equipped models. Two years later, we bought an SE Premium with 3,900 miles for only $8,700 - Like yours, essentially a brand new car for about 1/4 of what it cost new. We really liked all the extra features of the SE Premium models, but we weren't willing to pay an extra $4K for them when we bought our new one. Buying a lease return was a win-win all around!

Nobody appreciates a well handling car more than me. My 'other car' is an R package Mazda Miata which came with the oversized sway bars, stiffer springs and the highly damped Bilstein struts. Going from that to our iMiEV's is a real shock, to say the least. Yes, Mitsu kept virtually all of the 1900 pound kei car suspension, including the tiny front wheels and tires and put that under the 2750 pound iMiEV basically unchanged, other than the stiffer springs to carry the extra weight. What we got was an understeering pig which hates to be pressed hard into the corners. Do that often and you're going to be buying front tires every few thousand miles. I assume we did get a larger sway bar because the car doesn't roll over when pressed in the turns - It just doesn't turn!

The biggest problem is the kei car had about a 60/40 rear heavy weight distribution and the iMiEV is nearly 50/50 - Keeping the same suspension would be something akin to putting a 911 Porsche suspension under a Mustang :shock:
PV1 wrote:Although I don't know as much about suspension as others, the rebound has always seemed dampened to me. This is most notable when travelling over a speed bump too quickly, when it feels like the tires come off the ground because the suspension didn't extend quickly enough. Granted, the suspension doesn't extend very far when jacking the car up, either.
I agree - I don't find the springs to be lightly damped either. Very little rebound when you hit a bump . . . . . it just doesn't turn well. Good luck with making a good handling car out of the stock bones of an iMiEV - It would be cheaper to buy an old Miata if you like having fun in the twisties!

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2017 Chevy Volt Premier
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1979 Honda CBX six into six

PV1
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Re: Performance shocks/struts

Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:04 am

I don't know, Don. My pair of jellybeans handle rather well, especially Koorz with the Yokohama front tires. My only complaint is how hard it hits when going over a hole in the pavement (western Pennsylvania has absolutely no shortage of potholes and rough pavement).

From what I've researched, the i was originally designed to have narrower front tires because it over-steered violently with matching tires. They decided not to mess with it when designing the i-MiEV. Finding a way to squeeze wider tires on the front would do much more for handling than changing suspension bits, but that's a different thread.
:idea: :idea: :idea: :!: :!:

Dropbox maintenance in progress. If any of my links aren't working after November 17, please PM me and let me know which one isn't working.

Thanks.

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