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  1. #1
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    questions for GM

    GM:

    Thanks for your efforts on our behalf. I have a couple of related questions for you. I have an '02 with about 10k miles. It's fairly heavily modified (quaife, eisenmann, Brembos, etc.). I have the Dinan Stage II suspension (without caster plates).

    1. If you were me, would you wait for the Dinan fix and not do the caster plates now?

    2. What was your experience with the change in handling to your ACS-equipped car after adding the Dinan plates?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    MikeMike Metzger
    2002 Z8 (silver/black)
    2006 650 sport coupe (silver gray/chateau)


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    Re: questions for GM

    If it was my car I would immediately install the Dinan caster plates.

    For those who aren't familiar with the Dinan suspension kit, let me explain a few things. Their Stage I kit includes a set of 4 new springs which are somewhat stiffer than stock and lower the car app 1/4". These are meant to be used in conjunction with the OE shocks so the damping rate is unchanged. Dinan's Stage II kit adds the adjustable anti-roll bars which are the same diameter as the OE bars but are adjustable in length so you can increase the anti-roll rate. The Stage III kit adds the caster plates.

    The caster plates increase positive caster on the Z8 by 1/2 to 1 degree. This caster change makes the steering more stable at high speeds and on irregular surfaces. It also adds active negative camber (as opposed to static negative camber) which improves cornering ability and turn-in without increasing tire wear rates. If you factor in the potential reinforcement benefits these thick plates add to the top of the shock towers, I think the choice is clear. Plus, you can always remove them, along with the rest of the kit, if BMW comes out with their own upgraded suspension. And remember, Dinan's Stage III kit represents their best effort to improve the handling of the Z8 so if you want the full benefits of their development work, you really need to go all the way.

    To answer your second question, I liked the changes the caster plates made on my ACS equipped Z8 (see above) and would recommend them even if reinforcement wasn't an issue. The only time I wouldn't recommend them would be on a car being used extensively for autocross work since the steering rate is slightly reduced making extremely tight cornering maneuvers more difficult.Grease Monkey

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    Thanks!

    Mike Metzger
    2002 Z8 (silver/black)
    2006 650 sport coupe (silver gray/chateau)

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    not recommended for autocross?

    Are you saying that you are not recommending the castor plates in a car used for autocross with or without the ACS mods? I was considering them for this season to reduce understeer, and the extra reinforcement would be a nice addition as well in light of the recent concerns. I put on Eagle F1's replacing the runflats last year with a nice improvement, but have not made any other mods. Thanks in advance for your comments.

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    Re: not recommended for autocross?

    The reason I don't recommend using Dinan's caster plates if you are going to run autocrosses with your Z8 is because the increase in positive caster they provide will slow your car's steering response somewhat and on a tight autocross course, I believe this would be a disadvantage. Track work is a different story. On the other hand, the increase in active negative camber should be helpful during hard cornering so the trade-off might be worth it but I just don't have enough autocross experience to say. I would strongly recommend using Dinan's adjustable anti-roll bars which will allow you to dial out most of the understeer you are experiencing and set the car up to handle the way you want it to. And of course, if possible, lowering your car will make a huge improvement in its handling ability. If autocross is just a once in a while fling, then by all means consider adding the Dinan caster plates to your Z8 since the benefits for high speed and irregular surface driving are numerous and they should offer some protection against shock tower doming. You can always remove them if you don't like their effect.

    Of course, this advice must be tempered with BMW's plan to engineer a retrofit upgrade for the Z8. Since we do not know its exact configuration, you might want to wait to see what they come up with.Grease Monkey

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