In our last three segments of Project SE-R, we focused on developing power out of our SR20DE powerplant, lots of power. Our car is fast, real fast-fast to the point where the blown, wonkey suspension the car came with is woefully inadequate to the point of being dangerous.
Our Nissan came complete with worn, blown-out shocks, mushed out and cracking bushings, worn and rattley ball joints and saggy lowering springs of unknown origin.
The car looked nice and low, but it was settled on the bumpstops, making the ride mushy and soft, yet still bouncy and jarring, and the car would bottom out with the slightest provocation. When power was applied, our tremendous torque would cause the suspensions geometry to change, resulting in severe torque steer.
Project Phoenix SE-R was a handful to drive under these conditions. We wanted a no-compromise suspension system with maximum grip and stability first and ride coming a distant second. We also wanted the suspension to be fully adjustable for damping, ride height, roll stiffness and alignment; in short we wanted something close to a racecar's suspension.
We borrowed a lot of suspension technology from a NASA SE-R Cup road racer. In fact, our suspension is nearly identical to what these fast road racers run on the track. With the exception of slightly softer spring and damping rates, the Phoenix's suspension is identical to the winning NASA car's.
ShocksAfter perusing and rejecting offerings from manufacturers of street-type shock absorbers, we decided since Project Phoenix SE-R is more powerful and faster than many racing cars, we would need real racing shocks.
We turned to Ground Control's awesome state-of-the-art Advance Design racing shock absorber for help. We selected Ground Control because of several reasons; the other brands of racing shocks we checked out were pure racing universal types originally intended for real purpose-built racecars. This made adapting them to the SE-R's production based street car suspension a difficult and expensive task, which would require lots of machining, welding or both.
The Ground Control shocks have a modular design that makes them easily adaptable for both racecars and modified production sedans. In fact, GC already offers shocks for most popular offerings such as the Nissan Z cars, Hondas, Acuras and the Supra. Different types of end mounts and shock shafts can easily be screwed onto either end of the shock body to adapt the shock to most types of car. Ground Control also makes fabricated, ultra-strong strut bodies for the AD shock so they can be adapted to cars using a McPherson strut-type suspension. This is what we used to adapt the shocks to the SE-R. If Ground Control doesn't currently make an application for your car, it probably can on a custom basis.
The shock body itself is designed to be easily lathe cut to the correct length for any application. Ground Control makes Spherical Bearing, Polyurethane Bushing and Clevis ends for the shocks to make them easily adaptable to just about any sort of car.
In the relatively short time that they have been in production, Ground Control shocks have amassed quite a few victories. Many SCCA road racing and solo championships have been won on these shocks that have been produced for less than three years! This is an impressive accomplishment for this new design and a tribute to the design's basic soundness.
The SE-R's stock suspension has one major disadvantage-the stock struts don't have much wheel travel and the car can't be lowered more than an inch without the car bottoming excessively.