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NC FM Stage 1 suspension
I'm finally getting around to writing a review of FM's Stage 1 package. Instead of a new thread, I'll just add to this one.
First, I'll just say that the sales/ordering process was excellent and FM really sets the bar for customer service... Terri was very helpful on the phone and the product arrived quickly and well packaged. I really like the way that FM puts the small parts in a bag and labels it with a fluorescent tag. I might have lost them otherwise. As you might expect, Keith and Brandon were extremely helpful and attentive when it came to questions and advice... thanks guys.
Install was easy and there were no surprises. Spring compressors are not entirely necessary if you've got some help, but I used them and it made things easier. I will say that this is the point at which you realize that these springs are very different from stock. Per the advice from FM, I chose not to go with the adjustment cables and I'm happy I went that route. There is plenty of room to use the adjustment tool. Unless you plan to adjust the shocks on a regular basis, my recommendation would be to spend the time getting them dialed in to your preferences, then reinstall the plastic liners in the trunk... even if it takes a few weeks to get things set perfectly. I haven't decided if I'll drill holes in the factory FSTB to provide shock adjustment access. Probably not.
Ride height is precisely as FM states - 13.5" front, 13.75" rear. I think the stance is perfect. The rake is slight but noticeable and I assume a key part of the setup's geometry.
Now for the ride and handling... to put my observations in context, you should know that since early March I went from stock to H&R coilovers to FM. The stock setup lacks the handling most of us are looking for, but the ride quality is excellent. The H&R's provided good handling and a decent ride, but their designed ride height makes real usability an issue in this neck of the woods. Then there's the FM setup. Setting the shocks to 3 turns from full stiff in front and 4 in back, the ride quality is excellent and you would never guess that the spring rates are as high as they are. Really. I could drive around town and the highway all day on these things -- even on the roughest roads.
From a handling perspective, this setup is light years better than stock (shocking, I know) and honestly much, much better than the H&R's. Transitions are smooth, body roll is nonexistent (I have RX8 sways too), and the car is extremely composed around smooth and bumpy sweepers and hairpins. My alignment settings are: toe-in 1/32 on all four, -1.2 camber on all four, and +5.6 caster.