Scale Suspension Coilovers Installed

Discussion in 'Mazdaspeed 3 Suspension & Brakes' started by mr_mazda329, Jul 29, 2017.

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  1. mr_mazda329

    mr_mazda329 Greenie Member

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    TLDR: I installed expensive new coilovers that had no known reviews/proven on the MS3 platform before. Had some minor issues on install, but easily resolved. Lot of pictures. My review of them: I love them and highly recommend for daily/weekend track racer use.


    Finally getting around to posting up my install of the Scale Suspension coilovers. This is going to be a mix of a How-To and my review of them. I initially saw these on my feed on Facebook from one of the Mazdaspeed groups. Scale is out of Canada with a primary focus in the drifting/stance world and now getting into circuit racing. I'm a bit of a suspension Nazi/guru and was not satisfied with my BC Coilovers due to their wrong/soft spring rates (7kg F / 5kg R). Initially, the BC's were good enough for daily, but I slowly outgrew them once I started doing more tracking and they also started losing their dampening strength over 7 or so yrs. I could not find one single review of these coilovers on our platform and knew I would be taking a plunge. I'm glad I did though.


    So onto the coilovers themselves. I went with their regular setup "Innovative Series" and not their "extreme low" versions. They are 12 way (non-independent) adjustable monotube shocks which means they are durable and the clicks actually make a difference. Scale makes them fully customizable to include Swift springs upgrade, spring color option, custom spring rates with matched valving to your rates, camber plates and so forth. They come with front adjustable endlinks standard which are just as beefy as my whitelines and 8kg F / 6kg R rates standard.


    I opted for Swift springs (7kg F / 8kg R or 393lb F / 450lb R) with camber plates, full spring perch bearing (Gravitational Bearing option) which came to a grand total of $1790 shipped back in Oct 2016. Why I didn't go with KW V3's you may ask. Well, the price point, customization, linear rates that are properly tuned for a FWD layout ie: stiffer rear than front and no use of helper springs. I do not like shock travel to be limited based on ride height.


    Link: http://scalesuspension.com/shop/en/...olor-blue/custom_springs_color-original_color

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    Let’s start with the install of the rears:

    - You'll need to remove all your old shit and disconnect your swaybar from the lower spring arms. Leave the shock installed to be able to pop your old springs out and new setup in. I do the rear shocks last because it’s just easier for me.


    - Then you will have to remove the bolt out of the rear subframe (above where spring normally sits).

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    You're going to use that bolt/washer to mount the new spring perch like so:

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    Next you will have to prep your new rear shocks. In doing so, you will have to use the factory shock mount.

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    Pop the plastic dust guard down. The next part works best with an impact gun, but you can use a crescent wrench and an open end to remove the top nut off.

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    Once you've got your factory shock mount off, you’ll need to cut off the factory bumpstop so that it is flush with the aluminum casting of the mount. The new shocks come with bumpstops, so there is no need to worry. I used a hacksaw for the cutting.

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    Once this is done, you can assemble the new shock to the mount. You'll need an open end wrench and socket to tighten the nut. Also shown is the rear dampening adjustment knob, thankfully this is not obscured and difficult to get to unlike the BC's which hid the adjustment inside the interior of the car.

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    Fully assembled should look like this and you're ready to throw them in. I measured out the length my old shocks to new ones to be in the general ballpark for a beginning ride height:

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    Now you're ready to install the rest of the rear. Use some good grease for the black plastic/Teflon spring seat washers. This will help when you're using your spanner wrenches for adjustments.

    Fine tuning the rear is a bit of a pain. With many divorced spring set rear coilovers, your ride height adjustments on the shock body will ultimately affect your rear spring’s preload. Since there are no helper springs, you will want to measure the spring when it’s free and then preload it (compressed) 1/4". So if its 7" free, preloaded you will want it at 6-3/4".

    I like to measure at the center of the spring arch. Notice the spring bends and the inside arches due to the arch of the lower spring seat arm and the outside appears to be a longer distance.

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    So like I was saying about shock length affecting your spring preload. If you lengthen your shock, you will be lessening the preload of the spring and vice versa. Do your best to maintain that 1/4" preload between height adjustments.


    Now for the install of the fronts. This is pretty much straight forward as far as removal and install. There are a couple of things you will need to do beforehand and take note of afterwards.

    If you haven’t done so yet, you'll need to use a 3" holesaw which can be purchased at Lowes/Home Depot for about $16-ish, and drill out your factory shock towers. Doing so will give you complete access to the camber adjustment during alignment time. The factory tower braces make a good template/guard for cutting. It fits right in. I previously did this for my BC coilover install, but I used a Dremel to add some clearances for access to the adjustment allen-heads, since they stick up higher due to the pillowball/camber plate thickness differences. Add some black paint to make it less hackjob looking


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    More pics of the front install.

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    18x8 +48 w/ 225/40R18 clearance to coilovers

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    Now some little issues to be aware of on the fronts regarding clearances.

    The endlinks you will receive are considerably shorter than the OEM or ones around OEM length. This is because the mounting ear on coilover shock body is lower than OEM location. Which brings me to clearance issue of the endlinks to hub/knuckle. The mounting ear is shorter than OEM/BC's so it was drawing the endlink too close to the knuckle. During steering sweeps, it was making contact. The swaybar was set to the softer setting at this time. I moved it to the stiffer setting which allowed proper clearance during all suspension movements/steering sweeps.


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    Next clearance issue was with the ABS bracket that mounts to the endlink ear on the drivers side. I cut the lower tab off so it could actually seat on the ear like it should. This was not an issue on the passenger side and it went on like normal.

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    Next issue was the ABS wire rubbing on the endlink head during steering sweeps. Adjust the slack away from the sensor, through the grommet and then zip-tie it up against the bracket.

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    Last little issue was the spanner wrenches. I received two of the same sized spanner wrenches with my kit. Not sure if it was an error/oversight on their part. I did not sweat it because I have 3 other sets to use. Godspeed and BC spanners work just as an FYI.

    I run a fairly conservative ride height due to the horrible roads in Tucson and to allow for no rubbing when I get wider tires in the future. From the center of the fender arches to the center of the wheel measures out to 13-3/4" all the way around. Springs took about a week to settle and I made my final adjustments then

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    Driving Impressions:

    - I live in Tucson which has some petty god awful roads. With them set to medium stiffness 5/6 , they behave quite comfortable. When taking corners in town, they don't feel floaty or bouncy. The car goes where you want it without any odd body movements. They handle road imperfections quite nicely, almost like the stock suspension in fact. If there are any speed bumps taken at a higher than normal speed 3-5 mph, they will bounce a bit aggressive/sharply initially, but wont keep bouncing.


    On track Impressions:

    - I haven't taken the car on track with the full set installed yet. Last year I was only able to get the rears installed in time (parts issues), but when I did, the car rotated much better than the full BC setup. As it should with having stiffer rear rates. I was able to knock off .2xx off my personal best on my first session before having to retire due to other issues not related. When I get the car corner balanced, realigned, I will take her back out and see if I need to move the rear swaybar to full stiff.

    Overall:
    - The Pros overshadow the minor cons. These are a great bang for the buck on a fully customizable setup that will perform well on the track and not kill you on the way home. YMMV depending on wheel/tire combo, front swaybar currently installed, and ultimately, what spring rates you go with.

    - I hope you enjoyed reading this and I hope it was useful for those in the future who were planning on buying these, but hesitant because of their price, lack of reputation or user reviews.
     
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  2. PadreDave

    PadreDave The happy and free Christian Platinum Member

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    Agreed on the Tucson roads....I lived there for 40+ years and every time I go back to see my granddaughters, I curse the roads with my lowered MS3!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    PadreDave, via an iPhone, Nov 4, 2018
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  3. mr_mazda329

    mr_mazda329 Greenie Member

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    Thanks for reading Dave!
     
  4. Maisonvi

    Maisonvi Silver Member

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    Curious to see the full on track results. Look like a decent set of coils. Do they have dynos for them at all? (I havent looked)
     
  5. gotovato

    gotovato Silver Member

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    also curious in track results as im looking for a coilover upgrade where i can go with custom rates for track/street use
     
  6. mr_mazda329

    mr_mazda329 Greenie Member

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    Design features are much better than most out there for the speed3 platform. Not having the rear adjuster obscured by interior panels is nice. There weren't any dynographs sent, but I also didn't ask for any.

    My track results improved a fair bit. The car rotated much better than the BCs previously installed. I dropped 1.031 sec off my previous best 1:02.772 down to a 1:01.741. That's on a course that has an avg 1:04 lap time. My MSM does it in low 59s though.

    At my last session of the day, I blew out one of the internal shim stacks from attacking the corner pretty aggressive. It was making all sorts of weird noises. I emailed SCALE and they warrantied out the strut free of charge and haven't had any issues since. To be fair, I've blown out a BC strut at the same track a year prior. This setup is more street friendly than track with its current rates. They are more comfortable than the BCs. I'm sure they would do much better with stiffer rates. I still recommend these for intermediate level drivers.


    These aren't bad at all, but given my experience, I'm looking to move onto something more advanced like the Yellow-speed Racing or K-sport 2-way adjustables. shooting for 12k/14k
     
  7. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Greenie Member

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    Thanks for the review
     
    Easter Bunny, via a mobile device, Mar 15, 2019 at 6:45 AM
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  8. gotovato

    gotovato Silver Member

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    thanks for the info. recently ive been looking into the higher end offerings from BC. they offer custom valving for whatever your requested spring rate is. they can also be rebuilt and re valved if later you decide to change the spring rates.
     
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  9. BioBandit

    BioBandit Gold Member

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    I've been thinking about getting the BC coilovers with customized spring rates as well. Now I'm interested in these scale coilovers. Great review/install guide!!!

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
     
    BioBandit, via a mobile device, Mar 15, 2019 at 5:53 PM
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