For those who don't know, I have been a long time advocate of the factory A-Spec suspension, and I still am. It solves a lot of the problems of the factory suspension without introducing any problems (except a little more negative rear camber-but even stock people have this issue). I feel that the car should come this way, maybe even just the 6MT, kinda like the TL 6MT has the Brembo's and summer rubber....
Last year, when I was using my car for work related duties and planning on using the car with our new baby daughter, the A-Spec was the perfect solution for me.
But this year, things have changed. My baby girl is practically never in the TSX; instead, my wife's Ody is used anytime we're going out. And I've managed to change my responsibilities at work, leaving me free to work on the car and turn it up a notch or two.
To that end, I ordered a set of Tein Flex coilovers. These are the new CL9/TSX application, with 14KF
spring rates. This sounds like quite a lot over the CL7 Flexes that have been for sale for the last year or so, which carried a rate of 10KF
. To put these numbers in perspective, they are close to triple the factory rates.
I started having second doubts about these spring rates; after all, Flexes promise ride comfort to go along with the improved handling, and I was having a hard time fathoming that there would be any comfort whatsoever. But, I stuck them in last Sunday, and have spent a couple of days tuning them.
At this point, I must say that I am flabbergasted that springs this stiff can have any type of compliance, but they do! Damping is adjustable, and I started in the firmest position. It's like driving a race car on the street, way too stiff for my taste. Next I went to full soft, but this didn't work either. The ride was quite soft, but the car felt underdamped at this point, and somewhat bouncy as well. Today I spent some time increasing both the front and the rear damping; I'm now at 4 clicks from soft rear and 5 front.
With this setting, the car rides a little stiffer than A-Spec, firm but still pretty comfortable. The damping is perfect, and there's no bounce. The one things that's different from stock is how fast the car drops on large dips, but it remains completely settled, and there is no impact harshness at all.
At first, I though I must be dreaming this, but to make sure, I took my wife for a ride tonight under the guise of getting ice cream. Our neighbor sat with Maddie, and I took her out for a "date". She has no idea that I put the suspension in on Sunday, and even after riding in the car over some fairly bad roads, she didn't notice any difference. Now, I know when you see the pics of the car that you're going to wonder how see can't see a difference, but she's just not into cars. I wouldn't notice if she got a new Longaberger basket
On the handling side, the car remains very flat, and can be pushed a lot harder into turns. It's also much more tossable, and is far less prone to understeer, partially due to the Comptech rear sway. I can't believe the combination of ride and handling that these provide.
The install was very straightforward, as these are complete units. And amazingly, I don't have any noise at all. I can hear the struts compressing when going over a large bump slowly with the window open and the radio off, but I think I could hear the A-Spec do that too. I got nervous this afternoon when I heard a clanking sound from the rear, but it was just the spanner wrenches from the kit banging together in the trunk
As far as the drop goes, the kit says that it's pre-set for a 2" drop in the front and a 1.6 drop in the rear. Uh, no. I double checked the measurements and put them in, and I'm sure that it's dropped more than that. However, I haven't scraped, rubbed or bottomed yet, so I probably won't raise it unless I do. The strut has an amazing range of adjustment; like 4" in the front. One thing I did not expect that the if you grab the car and give it a push, it moves. I don't know if it would have if I set the damping to full hard. My S2K really didn't move at all......
Here's a couple of pics; once I get my new rims and tires on I'll post some more. Don't expect anything radical; the budget is shot for this year, especially now that Hondata is out. Next year I can look at Advans