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Old 06-25-2008, 08:10 PM   #1
littledrummerboy
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Default Racecomp Engineering Tarmac 2 Coilovers & Whiteline Max-C Camber Plates Review

First off I'd like to thank Myles and the RCE crew for helping me out non-stop. From ordering to post-purchase support, they were on the ball on helping me out so quickly. RCE's availability, respect for the customer and their expertise are top-notch. I'm really impressed with their customer service.

Ok, back to the review. I got these goodies the first week of June but stayed away from posting until now so I could get more seat time with them, and so my excitement wouldn't affect my judgement

Parts:
I installed RCE Tarmac 2 coilovers with the 400/350 spring rates with Whiteline Max-C Motorsport camber plates for the front, and STi Grp. N Motorsport top hats for the rear. I'll skip the installation since everyone pretty much knows how that's done. One thing to note is that the slots on the rear struts have more than enough space for camber adjustment by sliding them so aftermarket camber bolts for the rears are not needed. I have not had problems with any sliding of the top knuckle bolts.

Coilover Setup and Driving Impressions:
Props to RCE for providing 3 recommended damper settings which is very nice to have as a base for tuning the dampers -- they definitely helped me. Also provided are 3 different alignment options; again, great for figuring out a setup that works for you.

I had RCE set up the dampers to their daily driver settings, but I was surprised to find that setup a little too bouncy especially on undulating road surfaces and small bumps. Maybe its just me, but I found the conservative track/bumpy track setting to be much, much better. I've since made the rear rebound two clicks stiffer and the fronts one click stiffer than the conservative track settings (conservative track compression unchanged) and the car feels even more dialed-in and comfortable.

(Clicks from full stiff)
Front
Compression: 7
Rebound: 7

Rear
Compression: 7
Rebound: 6

To compare, the daily driver rebound settings were 16 clicks from full stiff, which seems a little too "slow" or soft, for a lack of a better term, to compensate for the compression happening when going over the undulating surfaces. Roads up here are far from perfect. Extreme winter and summer temperatures coupled with hard plowing and salt makes a lot of roads very uneven so I'm guessing that the stiffened rebound helps keep the low-speed compression in-check.

Overall driving impressions are positive; great road feel and comfort for spring rates that are stiffer than the stiffest conventional aftermarket springs out there. You'll definitely notice that its a stiffer ride, but the valving is definitely matched and makes for a very capable dual-purpose (track/daily driver) setup. Expansion joints, cracks, filled cracks, and manholes are still absorbed with no problems... as in, there's no jarring... right there I knew the high-speed compression and valving were chosen with a lot of thought. Even though it takes bumps with ease, the control over body roll is something you would expect from a purely track-oriented setup. That being said, the ability to adjust both compression and rebound is priceless when getting the ride quality that fits your liking. Had these not been there, I couldn't tailor it specifically to the roads up here and to my personal driving preference.

With an aggressive street alignment (-2 degrees all around, 0 toe) the level of grip gained from properly controlled weight shifting is great. My alignment guy who's a seasoned competitive tracker was impressed with this setup. Braking and accelerating is greatly improved now too since the weight shift on squat and dive is under control and barely noticeable, if at all.

There is only one thing I wish was better: accessibility to rear rebound adjustment. It would be nice if there were long hex keys included, or something like Tokico D-spec's remote adjusters available, so the rear seats would not have to be taken out to adjust rebound. This is just "icing on the cake" and is not a big deal since removal of the seats is very easy to do.

As for the Whiteline Camber plates, they're working well. They are set to one major line away from full negative. I was able to move the plates around the bearings without any effort at all before installation, but I am still getting that popping sound during low-speed turns only (getting in/out of the driveway and parking spaces, u-turns etc.). Dry-steering is guaranteed to produce it, but there is no hint of memory steer as some people are reporting. I realize they are a motorsport part so I'm not expecting them to be completely silent and it is not worrying me too much. The only concern I have is what this means to the long-term durability of the bearings. They are getting better as the days go by so they're settling in and hopefully they'll be pop-free eventually. I also coated the bottom sliding plate (not the bearings) with white lithium grease to prevent any possible corrossion. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, check Williaty's thread: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...1481890&page=3

I have an autocross event coming up this weekend so I'll do my best to update this thread with my experiences on the Tarmac 2s and Whiteline Max-C plates in an autocross environment.

In case it isn't clear, I'm very satisfied with this setup, especially with the Tarmac 2s I wish I had them when I ran the Tail of the Dragon.



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Last edited by littledrummerboy; 06-25-2008 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:50 PM   #2
twiSTies
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Awesome review! I can't wait to get mine ETA is ~2 weeks or so. I opted for the 500/400 setup with Vorshlag plates front and rear but also had them throw in 350 lbs springs to run the 400/350 setup if I want something softer.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:50 PM   #3
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I'm sure you'll have a blast with your setup. I'd sure like to know how those Vorshlag plates perform. I was thinking of those too, but with the lack of reviews I could find in the short period of time I had to make a decision, I didn't go with them... they do look beefy.

Ok update time:
A friend of mine that gets queesy very easily got to ride in my car for the first time and she actually liked the ride. She was really surprised to find out that the springs are more than double stock rates. Matched valving FTW!

This past weekend I kept the same settings for the autocross and I may have found the magic settings for both street and competition according to my preferences. These settings worked well since the road surface mirrored what I encounter on the streets.

I ended up getting bumped up a class, but comparing my times to the class I used to be in showed a major improvement. Everything was handled with ease and the direct feedback of the plates compared to the soft stock top hats was great to have. The weight shift in the slalom was very controlled and I was able to keep increasing speed until the tires started to lose grip with no increase in roll.

Unfortunately I won't be able to maximize the potential of this setup until I get some decent tires in there. I'm sure that with similar tires as the people at the top (r-comps or sticky summer tires), its very possible to be running at their level.

The Whiteline plates seemed to benefit from the autocross runs since the stress of all the turns have settled the bearings and now I only hear one very mild pop occassionally turning the steering wheel for low-speed left turns... a very noticeable improvement -- they just might be completely silent soon.

I'm still very happy with this setup and I just might experiment with tighter compression at the next event just to see how the handling reacts. Next up... seeing how it performs on the track.

Last edited by littledrummerboy; 07-02-2008 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 09-15-2010, 08:22 PM   #4
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Revived from the dead for a follow-up after 2 years...

Setup
I'm now running 245 wide bridgestone potenza re-11s and I'm running in the top 3 of my class at the local autocross. Settings have remained the same, but I've adjusted the ride height just a little bit higher than that picture I originally put up to get the suspension geometry on a better angle and it helped a lot. This setup is definitely a great autocross coilover that doesn't screw around with daily driveability. After 2 years with it, maybe I should've gone to the 500 lb spring rates. It sounds a lot, but I think the valving can handle it and still ride well.

Build Quality
The coilovers have not leaked and the body is just a clean and corossion free as the day I got them after 2 winters and the crazy salt and brine sprays they put on the roads here. If you're looking for durability, these have them. The springs have chipped a little and there's a little rust, but nothing that worries me.

The camber plates haven't faired so well. The bolts to adjust the camber settings got rusted along with the actual plate and housing where the bearing is... and that was just at the start of the first winter if not even before. I've coated them with greases to protect them and so at least that stopped it and they're still holding up. They still stick and make odd popping sounds on low speed turning just like when I first got them. They get better after autocrossing, but it does come back. I'm not sure if they sell these any more, but if they give out all the way, I will look else where for camber plates....
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Old 09-25-2010, 03:48 PM   #5
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So the popping sound of the camber plate is getting worse with the cold weather coming in so the spring binding is as well. Its getting so bad that its putting some crazy pressure on the springs and spring perch that slow speed turning even caused the bottom perch to losen a bit and the ride height changed (there's no other reason i have to explain this especially since I tightened everything down). The upper perch and the bearings on the plate just aren't turning smoothly like they should.

The stock suspension is going back on while I look for other camber plates over the winter I shouldn't have waited this long to replace them since they've been trouble from the start. Whiteline Max-C plates get the thumbs down... bad bearings, no corrosion resistance.
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:13 PM   #6
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Brought back the thread from the dead for an update. I'm now on Vorshlag camber plates and they're already working better than the Max-C's... i.e. no spring bind and popping. This is attributed to the rotational load being put on the bearings in the upper spring perch instead of the main plate bearing taking both axial and rotational load. This two-bearing design makes sense and should lengthen the life of the main camber plate bearing.

Right now i'm running -2.25 camber up front and -2.5 in the rear (using slotted top knuckle of the T2s for camber adjustment).
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Old 04-25-2011, 07:43 PM   #7
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Wow great review, I got the same setup but gtworx plates instead. What did you find to be good street settings for comp and rebound?
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Old 04-25-2011, 07:44 PM   #8
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Also, what's your ride height?
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:29 PM   #9
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Thanks

I think that since my first post and the settings I have there, I set it closer to RCE's recommended Track/Autocross setting which are 3/5 front and 5/5 rear (clicks from full stiff rebound/compression). I honestly forgot to write it down and I'm sure I fine-tuned it more too.

Remember, it all depends on personal preference and the types of roads you drive on. Around here the roads are a pretty bad and although the settings are aggressive, it actually works well for street and autocross. I found the conservative settings to be too bouncy for where I am and the 400/350 spring rates.

I also had my car a bit too low in my original picture. I raised it a little bit and its about 14.25" front, 13.75" rear now, maybe just slightly less.

If you haven't already done so, I recommend getting front and rear swaybars to fully complement the T2s and camber plates.

Last edited by littledrummerboy; 04-25-2011 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 04-25-2011, 10:03 PM   #10
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yea thats going to be my next suspension mod sways and endlinks. unfortunately, RCE doesnt make a front sway bar compatible for the 07 STI. I was looking forward to getting their sways but oh well, ill just go whiteline.

I had RCE put them together with the plates and tophats and they're recommended ride height and dampening settings and installed myself.

I also set my T2's at RCE's recommended ride height and dampening settings for the track/autox.

however, i believe those settings that are on the paperwork that you get are for the 500/400 spring rates. It was just too harsh for the roads by me and my liking. Not that it wasnt do-able, i just wanted a softer ride for the street. Dialed back the Front to (Comp/Reb) 7/12 and the rear to 7/13 and its much better for my roads. It's really amazing how much of a difference a couple of clicks of adjustment actually makes. With All these cheap-o coilovers, guys are maxing them out soft and it barely does anything.

I'm still dialing mine in as well, but it doesn't bother me... That's what makes suspension fun!

I really couldn't be happier with these coilovers... Money well spent.

Maybe ill see how the Swift springs do, for an upgrade!


Also, why are you running more camber in the rear?

I also had major issues with my whiteline max-c plates. I had the street version though, but yea i hear you. Horrible corrosion

Last edited by Boxer4u; 04-25-2011 at 10:05 PM. Reason: :
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Old 04-25-2011, 10:28 PM   #11
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I agree. The T2s are money well spent. The ability to customize is the way to go.

I wanted RCE sways too since the Max-Cs turned me off from whiteline a bit, but RCE didn't make any for the WRX I'm on whiteline sways as a result... not that they're bad, they really do the trick, actually.

My alignment guy originally wanted to do -2.5 all around, and even near -3 for the front, but I figure as a daily driver too, I wanted a little better tire wear so I opted for -2.25 in the front and -2.5 rear. With 24mm swaybars f/r in (soft setting in the front, medium in the rear) it feels neutral now with what feels like little to no roll, and makes controlling the turn with throttle that much more possible. I'm also running 36 psi in the front tires and 33 in the rear so that helps... I'll see how this holds up in the first autocross this season, then see if I need some camber changes.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:59 PM   #12
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lets start with suspension/driveline stiffness mods. this is how my car sat when i placed my order for tarmac 2s:

-whiteline 24mm f/r adjustable sways (both set to max stiff)
-whiteline solid endlinks both f/r as well as rear stout mounts
-whiteline RCAs, steering rack bushings, and rear subframe lock down bolts
-kartboy race diff bushings
-Tic xbrace and fender braces
-tic tranny xmember bushings
-oswald performance subframe
-gt spec lca+jack plate brace (aka Front Lower Tie Brace)
-greddy front strut bar
-cusco engine/tranny mounts
-torque solutions pitch stop
-some other crap i cant think of right now
-perrin PSRS
-stance gr+ pro coilovers. 8k/6k, professionally aligned, corner balanced, blah blah blah etc


so i ordered t2s with my tax returns. best decision i ever made

they had just started to do a run of the lowering camber plates as well so i got in on that hot steamy action!

i ended up with standard spring tarmac 2s, rce lowering front plates, gtworx rear plates.


these coilovers are amazing. i am coming off of stance gr+ pro coilovers and seriously....night and day. as well as putting these on i also raised my ride height about an 3/4 of an inch all around

UNFORTUNATELY i havnt been able to REALLY test these suckers out as a week and a half after putting them on my engine decided to give up. oh well.

i did at least get about 500 miles on em with one week of normal commute and such as well as a nice drive to maine for the NEFR. Got halfway home before ej205 blew out.

comfort: im running on the recommended track setup for street duty as ive read some people saying the street settings are too bouncy. id say its still pretty bouncy where i had them set but its definitely livable. the stances would give a jarring shock on every...pothole/crack/pave patch/what have you.....the tarmac 2s now give you a little bounce action. the jarring jolt is completely gone, and instead the reaction reminds me of riding in the back of an old school bus, but to a lesser extreme. on roads where they replace a gas line/water line and do a shoddy job on the patch pave life is still miserable, but less miserable than with the stances.

lets put it this way -- you know when you hit a big bump and you go 'oooooh' and make that 'someone farted' face? that doesnt happen with these. the bump stops are definitely not getting the sort of slam action they got on the stances.




ok enough about the comfort. how about performance?

well i havnt autocrossed yet so i cant touch this as much as id like to BUT....BUT....these things already blow my old coilovers out of the water. with my other suspension mods my DCCDpro would over compensate every time i had a relatively high speed turn that wasnt 100% completely flat. i would hit...a crack....and the car would go crazy and have to over correct itself. the only thing i can attribute this to is the way the old coilover is valved, because this happens 0% of the time now. with my stances the first thing i did when i got in the car was take the dccd and put it into manual mode, as this was REALLY upsetting the car. this was made unbelievably hard to deal with in autox.

Now? with the tarmac2s? i leave that baby on. it feels like the dccd is doing what its meant to be doing....stabilizing me through a corner by putting the power where it needs to be.....because with these coilovers and the way they do their thing the car is extremely balanced and just has this flow that was not there before. and this is with these coilovers just thrown on, not even corner balanced.


quality:

jesus christ just look at them. look at the welds. theyre kw's. kwality.

the gt worx plates use an allen bolt for camber adjustments. now i ****ing hate allen bolts but these are so over sized youll never strip the head out.

the rce lowering plates......if these coilovers wernt assembled when i got them i would have had sex with the plates. there i said it.




thank you myles, and the countless other people i talked to when I called with giddiness once every other week to see if my coilovers were done or not. you guys are top notch, and so is your product.


well

worth

the money




and because everyone likes pictures:










the stances have never seen winter and they still rusted. you can see the ride height adjustment i made with them side by side






Last edited by todeswalzer; 07-21-2012 at 12:20 AM.
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