Thursday, August 18, 2011

R33 GT-R Update: TEIN Mono Flex Suspension with EDFC

What can I say about the Tein Mono Flexes and the Electronic Damping Force Controller (EDFC)? Since that was quite a mouthful, to sum them up in one simple word - just plain AWESOME!

They've totally changed the whole feel of the car, and having the EDFC controller at your finger tips is just such a joy. They have once again made me fall in love with the R33 and I can't help but look forward to the next time that I'm behind the steering wheel. The feeling that you get is actually is quite similar to Audi's Drive Select in terms of damping and traction (Comfort / Sport / Dynamic). This very positive experience came as a pleasant surprise, as prior to purchasing the TEINs, I've never sat in a car that was equipped with TEIN Mono Flex and EDFC.

PIMPIN, a fellow Skyliner who owns a BNR34, is an ardent supporter of these two TEIN products... so much so that he has installed the Mono Flex / EDFC combo in all of his previous rides (including the R34 GT-R)! Even with that sort of endorsement by a close friend, I was still a bit sceptical. I was worried that the TEINs would be stiffer than my old HKS Hiper-Ds - even at it's softest EDFC setting. As for the HKS suspension, I've never been happy with them because the Hiper-Ds are VERY bouncy on less than perfect roads (poor damping) and they don't inspire confidence when taking sharp bends or corners (very floaty to say the least).

Now my main concern was that at first glance, the spring rate on the MonoFlexes are EXTREMELY high. So one would immediatly assume that the ride would be harsher (case in point, the side by side pic found above). Before I go any further, lets have TEIN explain a little bit more about their Mono Flex and EDFC:

The MONO FLEX coilover kit has been developed for entry-level competition motorsports and advanced street driving. Features include 16-way damping force adjustability (combined compression and rebound), a mono-tube internal design, pillowball upper mounts, and EDFC compatibility. There are independent adjustments for ride-height and spring pre-load settings for increased suspension tuning. The new Mono Flex also includes TEIN's latest technological innovation, Micro Speed Valving (MSV) system, which allows the driver to feel a greater difference in damping force adjustments. Designed and developed for consumers seeking aggressive handling on the street and at the track.

The EDFC (Electronic Damping Force Controller) makes it possible for the driver to control the damping force at the touch of a button while in the driver's seat. This is accomplished by controlling stepping motors installed on each shock absorber. Because the damping force can be controlled with such ease, the driver can adjust the suspension to suit all road/track conditions. Thus allowing the driver to fully enjoy the driving experience.

By inputing your preferences into the controller, the new setting will be transmitted instantaneously to those little small boxes that you see on top of all four of the TEIN suspension mounts.

I found out very quickly that setting the EDFC to 0 Front, and 0 Rear resulted in you feeling EVERYTHING on the road surface. Sort of like dragging yourself naked across the street. This prompted me to increase the settings to 12/14. Immediately, the harshness subsided. TEIN did an unbelievable job with their spring and damper design, which resulted in the production of the MonoFlex. With the settings at their softest (16/16) I was able to experience a near stock like ride quality at low speeds. Of course, the same is not true when I bumped the EDFC up to 0/0 once again. You felt everything, and it hurt. Definitely not the sort of setting that one would want when cruising down inner city roads. On smooth highway asphalt though, the 0 / 0 literally blew me away. I could easily carve corners at significantly higher speeds than I ever did with the HKS Hiper-Ds. The TEINS seem to make the car that bit more predictable and gave me the confidence to push the car slightly closer to the limits. They also help in the traction department especially when launching the GT-R, as the rear is squats easily due to the softer damper.  I reckon 0 / 0 would be superb on a track like Sepang, where you really get to test the TEINs to the maximum of their ability.

HIGHLY recommended.

Rainbow tyre well thanks to the yellow of Whiteline and Goodridge, blue of Cusco and green of TEIN. Soon to be joined the matt silver of Nismo (strengthened lower rear A-Arm).

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