handling improvement modifications

Asked by Apr 12, 2009 at 10:13 PM about the 2006 Acura RSX Type-S

Question type: Car Customization

what is the single best addition to make to my stock 2006 rsx type s to improve handling?  If you can't name just one, please give your top 5.  Thanks.

21 Answers

165

Suspension drop would be the first then sway bars that's where i'd start.

7,555

Easy... R compound tires

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
165

Besides a bunch of track time, probably tires like the other person mentioned. R compounds wear down fast, though.

675

I would NOT recommend trying to go to R-comps or slicks to improve handling as a first step. Contrary to what people seem to think, R-Comps or DOT slicks do NOT improve a cars handling. They increase the LIMIT of grip to which a car can be pushed before it lets go. There is a HUGE difference between those two things. Increasing grip without working the suspension first will AMPLIFY the problems that exist in the factory suspension by delaying their appearance until a much high speed. For example, a factory RSX handles well, but when pushed too hard in the corners it will understeer at the limit. If you were to run R-comps or DOT slicks on factory suspension the car would grip at the level that the stock car understeered at, but instead of entering the corner at 30mph and understeering, into the wall, now you can enter at 50mph and when the car lets go, it will understeer much worse and now the speed is far higher. This is a very dangerous way to go, especially for a novice driver. If you are serious about working on the handling of your RSX (which is quite a decent handling FWD car as it is), you should look into upgrading to aftermarket springs and shocks. Or better yet (if you have the money) a decent set of adjustable coilovers. Coilovers will allow you to adjust suspension settings yourself and test different setups to find what works for your driving level/needs. Contrary to popular belief slamming a car to the ground on lowering springs does not improve handling either. In fact beyond a certain drop most cars handling deteriorates rapidly once the roll center of the suspension is too low. A decent rule way to check is to look at the front wishbones. If they are slanted below horizontal and aiming downwards to the ground in the middle of the car then the car is far too low. If coilovers are too pricey, the next best way to go will be a modest drop with good quality lowering springs and a well matched set of dampers. Slightly higher spring rates will probably cost you some ride quality, but that is a tradeoff you make with lowering springs. The best way to proceed would be to do some research on the RSX forums and ask some of the guys who track their cars. Then once you have some ideas, call up some shops and talk to them about what they recommend. Lots of knowledgeable people with RSK experience will be happy to help you make a decision.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
7,555

'R-Comps or DOT slicks do NOT improve a cars handling' 'They increase the LIMIT of grip' Wow that's a paradox and a half... I do agree that when you slip at high speeds it's more noticeable but that's with any suspension mod. I suggest NOT calling people who sell suspension components. We're coming into track season goto your local SCCA Autocross and ask some of the faster guys what gave them the biggest handling boosts. No point in arguing about it, ask someone who's been there, and spent money on booth. In my experience nothing makes a bigger difference than the rubber. Beyond that adjustable dampers allow you to control characteristics into and out of the turns. Not sure if they are available for the RSX but adjustable geometry sway bar links are next step in my book. You can harden the suspension but that magnifies problems more than anything else, especially on rough surfaces. But the fact is there are varying opinions and you should NEVER ask a shop to tell you what to buy. Ask someone who knows both ends, there are some trust worthy shops out there but most just want to sell you something with the highest margin.

675

I can understand why you think my statement was paradoxical. It does sound strange when someone says that R-comps don't improve handling. The reason that my statement is true is that most people do not understand what the technical definition of handling is. People assume that handling is "how fast a car goes around corners". That is not really an accurate description of handling. From a vehicle dynamics engineering perspective, handling boils down to more to WHAT the vehicle tends to do when it reaches the limits of its adhesion, rather than WHEN it reaches the limits. In the most simple and basic terms, a vehicles tendency to understeer or oversteer, how well the suspension keeps the tires in contact with the road surface, and how well the suspension dampens oscillations are the basis of handling. Following this are static adjustable setting like camber/caster/toe which have complimentary effects on everything from steering feel, braking stability, cornering ability, tire wear characteristics, and high speed traction. And finally, there are dynamic suspension setting like bumps steer, and roll that can also be modified to have an effective adjusting impact on the static settings. On the other hand, there are modification that can be made to raise the potential grip levels and push the thresholds of these handling characteristics higher. R-comps and Slicks are one example. Anti-roll bars are another example. Again average drivers have a misconception that a stiff rear anti-roll bar reduces understeer. They think this is the case, becuase after installing the anti-roll bar the car bites more in the corner and turns in hard in places it used to understeer. But in reality, if you do an analysis of the suspension dynamics of a rear anti-roll bar you will find that the suspensions tendency to understeer has NOT been reduced. Instead, the anti-roll bar allows for more effective use of available traction to raise the threshold of cornering. The car will still understeer at the limit, but now the limit is higher. Can you now understand the difference I'm getting at? R-comps, DOT slicks, and anti-roll bars will raise the threshold of what the car is capable of doing in absolute speed terms, BUT they will NOT effect the vehicle handling behavior. If the vehicle understeered with street tires, it will still understeer with slicks. Only at a much higher, and much more dangerous speed. Will you be faster with slicks? Of course, but have you improved your car's handling characteristics? No, not technically, you have only raised the limits at which it does what it already did. Now when that understeery weakness shows itself, (and it will even slicks have a limit of grip) it will be far worse than it was before. The only way to change handling characteristics, meaning to truly reduce a cars tendency to understeer at the limit and get a more neutral balanced feel is to play with the actual physical suspension components, tire widths, and static and dynamic geometry.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
675

O yes, and as for taking advice on supensions, Adam is right. Like I mentioned in my first post, first seek the advice of people experienced with RSX suspension tweaking who have seen and done it on the track already. Then once you have done your research and found what you want go to the shops and start asking around for deals.

7,555

All right, I get what you're getting at... I personally have always taken handling to mean cars ability to alter course... I agree with what you say but was confused by the way you put it... ------------------ Although I do disagree with what you're saying with ARBs... In my experience they can vastly effect the behavior of a vehicle, particular in shifting balance while cornering and if memory serves they often effect chamber gain/loss though that's more a consequence of their integration and not an intended purpose in most cases... You can say they allow for more effective use of traction, but the fact is any suspension mod does the same. Traction comes from tires plain and simple, everything else just alters how that traction is used. I understand your argument for tires as they are a friction modifier, but ARBs have significant impact on vehicle characteristics, and have never heard otherwise till now.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
95

yeah springs are a big deal but I might have to go with an LSD...what does everyone else think?

675

When you are cornering hard at the track, does your inside wheels spin when you are trying to power out of the corner? With a relatively lightweight car like an RSX you can follow a reasonably tight line to the apex, and under hard cornering the inside wheel will lift and spin away all your power when you try to exit the corner. LSD will help by splitting the torque more evenly and preventing that inside wheel from spinning away the power. The donwside is on street, you will notice significantly more torque steer and dartiness on uneven surfaces.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
185

check clubrsx.com - everything you need to know is there - but SEARCH the Suspension forum first. Anyways, the FIRST single addition to improve handling is the rims and tires of course. Get that sorted out before considering the springs and other mods. Don't get above 18inch, and if it is 18s, get lightweights or you'll sacrifice performance.

75

Haha, rims to improve handling?? Unless their looking to reduce weight the stockies are perfectly fine. And yes anything and everything will be on clubrsx.com. And search before asking or you'll be bashed for it. But yeah Id say, front/back sways with some full or sleeved coilcovers would suit you perfect. With tires of course.

185

Haha, yeah better lightweight rims and rubber do improve the grip. The stock alloys are okay but the rubber sucks, and everyone knows it. Front back sways and some sleeved coilovers... lololz lets see if the guy has the money first. I bet he has no idea how far to drop it too.

75

personally I dont mind the look of the stockies, but yeah i run azenis fer sure.

35

straight from the clubrsx suspension gods: "1) Learn to drive 2) Learn to drive 3) Tires 4) Alignment 5) shocks/dampers "

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
185

^yeah I know that post. XD Well... depends on you. Track or street use? Track - then the whole suspension works. Street? Then keep it simple.

6,675

tires/wheels shocks/springs/struts sway bars

25

Remove uneccessary weight....improved handling and performance(ok maybe a small amount-but it helps as a freebie!!)

15

I own TEIN super street dampers W/ pillow mounts ........ excellent handling and also adjustable ride height

75

1. Messing with the tire pressures. It's simple, cheap and a quick fix. 2. Messing with camber settings. I would dial in a bit more in the front (0-1.5 degrees), and dial in a little less at the rear (0-0.5 degrees) 3. Rear Sway bar 4. Shocks and springs 5. Reduce weight on the front end of the car

15

easy. go with tein s tech springs if your too cheap for coilovers. although your stock struts will probably blow out about 20k miles after you put in lowering springs bc your reducing they're travel with lowering springs and the angle they sit at (much more aggressive negative camber change). so coilovers might be a better choice in the long run seeing as to how you'll never have to replace them unless they break minus replacing the bushings when they become worn. Then do an eibach sway bar kit with more expensive aftermarket end links.

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