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Old 10-14-2012, 06:45 PM   #1
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How to improve 986 driving feel?

I own both a 2007 Base with very low mileage (8k) and a 2000 'S' with 59k. In an effort to make the 2000 'S' feel more like new (and because I enjoy replacing stuff for the heck of it) I have replaced the shocks with new Bilsteins, front/rear drop links, front control arm link, front control arm, and rear control arm link. I have not replaced the rear control arm or track arm. I also now have brand new Michelin Pilot Super Sports on 18 inch rims.

Both cars feels so much alike but SO different. On tight twistys in the 20 to 50mph range both are awesome with the 2000 'S' being a little more predictable, in other words I'm more comfortable getting a little bit of slide and that I'm in charge of recovering from it (it doesn't have PSM).

What does bother me is the big difference in high speed highway driving over 80mph and driving on roads that are uneven i.e. lots of swells and dips. On the highway the 2007 will just cruise with no sense of how fast I'm really going, the 2000 seems twitchy and less steady, not a good feeling at speeds like that. On the uneven roads the 2000 seems to be pulled and steered by every swell, just feels busy.

Is this just the way it is or are their modifications I can make to the 2000 'S' (without making it back jarring) to give it more of that 2007 sure footedness? Or am I just a product of driving too many modern cars that hide everything that is really happening?

I probably won't be keeping the 2007 for more than a year and want to enjoy the 2000 to the fullest after the 2007 is gone.

Maybe these are dumb questions and nothing can be done. Really just trying to learn and i know there are guys that track all the time and understand this stuff much better than I do. Appreciate it.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:25 PM   #2
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Almost certain that the alignment has to do with this issue you are describing.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:47 PM   #3
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Alignment, tire issues, bent wheel, loose bushings all could cause high speed issues you are experiencing. My old 98 with 102K is solid as a rock at 130mph. Keep digging, the process of elimination works.
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:11 PM   #4
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Check that the tire pressure is even on front pair and back pair.

The pressure filled is also significant, too low or too high can change the handling
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:37 PM   #5
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Check tire pressures, and get it aligned.

However, they will never feel the same. The steering feel on 987's are not nearly as responsive as the 986. That is not going to change. If you feel like it seems wrong, it probably is. As previously stated by Topless, my car also feels completely solid at well over 100, but even at moderate highway speeds you can "feel" the road through the steering wheel. I think that makes it feel more like a sports car and actually enjoy it, but that's just me.
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mrmaddbrad View Post
Check tire pressures, and get it aligned.

However, they will never feel the same. The steering feel on 987's are not nearly as responsive as the 986. That is not going to change. If you feel like it seems wrong, it probably is. As previously stated by Topless, my car also feels completely solid at well over 100, but even at moderate highway speeds you can "feel" the road through the steering wheel. I think that makes it feel more like a sports car and actually enjoy it, but that's just me.
I think this is probably it. It is more road feel that I'm probably feeling. Tire pressure is 30/34, I check it all the time and have even messed around with different pressures. Rims aren't bent since I had them checked when I got my tires put on recently. Current alignment is the following (all in degrees). I double checked it with my home alignment system also to make sure (I can check camber and toe with my setup):

Front:
Camber -0.5/-0.5
Caster 7.7/7.6
Toe 0.03/0.06
Steer ahead -0.01

Rear:
Camber -1.6/-1.6
Toe 0.11/0.12
Thrust 0.00
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:38 PM   #7
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I don't know about the specs you quoted but one thing is for sure, my car feels 100% solid at any speed.
Also, the beauty of the early cars is steering feel. It may feel loose, unsettled, nervous to the average driver (not saying its you!!), but at the end of the day this is what makes the car!

Alignment can change a lot as to how the car feels. With some changes you may be able to dial in certain aspects. Consult with a specialist knowing about these things.
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:52 AM   #8
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I agree with Whip, the 986 DOES translate MORE road feel than any car I have yet to drive, except for a 911 that I wrecked on a one block test drive! I could REALLY FEEL the road then - when I wadded it up on a curb!

The 986 feel was a bit unsettling, at first. Now, it is like a glove. Exact pressure results in predictable response form the car. Going from a highly sensitive "over-powered" steering system back to the box makes you drive differently-like you were still in the other car-at first.

You may even want the 986 to be more over-responsive, until you get used to "precise" steering again. Then, you can merrily be on your way at 100+mph wondering why you even bothered comparing the two.

Dialing in the suspension was one thing no one mentioned….but that is another thread!
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:43 PM   #9
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I agree with Whip, the 986 DOES translate MORE road feel than any car I have yet to drive, except for a 911 that I wrecked on a one block test drive! I could REALLY FEEL the road then - when I wadded it up on a curb!

The 986 feel was a bit unsettling, at first. Now, it is like a glove. Exact pressure results in predictable response form the car. Going from a highly sensitive "over-powered" steering system back to the box makes you drive differently-like you were still in the other car-at first.

You may even want the 986 to be more over-responsive, until you get used to "precise" steering again. Then, you can merrily be on your way at 100+mph wondering why you even bothered comparing the two.

Dialing in the suspension was one thing no one mentioned….but that is another thread!
I thought the suspension topic would come up first. I will say when I really want some fun driving with a lot of feel the 2000 'S' is what i take out. It doesn't have PSM and I can get it to slide and then stay on the power in second gear and never worry about spinning out. I think you hit the nail on the head "predictable response". Took me a while to trust the 987 the same way. I will say the new Michelin Super Sports I put on are nice, turns ins are exact which leads to a continued higher speed throughout the turn. Thanks for all the comments guys. Since I enjoy constantly messing with the car I'm sure I'll have fun continuing to tweak it.
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Old 10-17-2012, 03:29 AM   #10
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You can just turn the PSM off on the 987 if you want to slide a little. I do all the time.

The '94 Integra I drove was very twitchy on the highway, due primarily to the quick steering ratio "on center".
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhipE350 View Post
...........with the 2000 'S' being a little more predictable, in other words I'm more comfortable getting a little bit of slide and that I'm in charge of recovering from it (it doesn't have PSM).

What does bother me is the big difference in high speed highway driving over 80mph and driving on roads that are uneven i.e. lots of swells and dips. On the highway the 2007 will just cruise with no sense of how fast I'm really going, the 2000 seems twitchy and less steady, not a good feeling at speeds like that. On the uneven roads the 2000 seems to be pulled and steered by every swell, just.
Both the improved steering and the reduced stability are symptoms of reduced toe-in in the front suspension. Many track cars are set-up this way intentionally to improve turn-in. On a track high speed stability is largely irrelevant. If you don't like it have the alignment set to the factory specs.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:26 PM   #12
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Jittsl - Thanks...weird i was just thinking this on the way home, I drove the car to work today and was able drive pretty fast on the highway. I was wondering if the great feel the car gives on the twistys could be making it a little more busy at high speeds. I may just live with it, I like to start a turn and not have to wait. Thanks for the help!
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:55 AM   #13
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What about put on a Bilstein suspension kit or KW V3.
I recently changed my ROW to KW and am very impressed. Better road feel, similar ride & better more controlled handling.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:57 AM   #14
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When I put on coil overs, it made my car feel totally different. Near zero body roll. You feel every pebble you rollover.

Now I yearn for a newer box with less feel. I don't get to track mine nearly enough to enjoy all my suspension mods.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by RandallNeighbour View Post
When I put on coil overs, it made my car feel totally different. Near zero body roll. You feel every pebble you rollover.

Now I yearn for a newer box with less feel. I don't get to track mine nearly enough to enjoy all my suspension mods.
Bummer about not tracking it enough. That will be the first thing I do when I track it. Suspension makes all the difference on lower lap times. If you dialed it in, can't you back it off some?

I have a stock suspension….be happy to trade ya! It is nice and soft, a little body roll but you cannot feel the pebbles.
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:48 PM   #16
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Suspension is always a tradeoff. The more precise it is, the less forgiving it will be. A coilover kit bolted on but not carefully setup and corner balanced by an experienced tech is often a lot more uncomfortable to drive and slower around a track. Get the rear of the car too low and she wallows like a pig. Experience matters if you want to get it right.

Some very broad recommendations:

*Mostly street/DE car on street tires: Stock suspension or M030 tuned kit

* Dual purpose street/track car on R-comp tires: M030 or PSS9s (carefully set up)

* Full race car on racing slick tires: Fully adjustable coilovers (JRZ, Moton, Penske etc. carefully set up and corner balanced), fully adjustable sways, GT3 adjustable "A" arms, trackside support for suspension tuning and adjustments at each track.

The basic theory here is... essentially everything revolves around our tire choices and contact patch. The higher the tire grip level, the greater the lateral forces and the more lateral control we will need from our suspension.

This is of course only one drivers opinion and others will surely disagree. YMMV
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:55 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by RandallNeighbour View Post

Now I yearn for a newer box with less feel. I don't get to track mine nearly enough to enjoy all my suspension mods.
Randall,
Whatever you do, don't get in a new 981 Boxster/Cayman because you will need to buy one right away. The suspension is totally SWEET!
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:44 PM   #18
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+1 flat and compliant unbelievably comfortable and composed.....didn't even try sport mode
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:49 PM   #19
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+1 flat and compliant unbelievably comfortable and composed.....didn't even try sport mode
This picture appears to show a lot of body roll. Hopefully it looks worse than it is.

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