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Old 02-12-2002, 01:36 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 326
Improved Handling on 560 SL?

I have a 560 SL. I'd like to improve the handling. What is the best way to do so....lower profile tires (16 inch?), stiffer shocks?
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Old 02-12-2002, 01:44 PM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
you have your choice to play with each suspension/chassis/steering component in your quest for better handling (to your desired tastes)

sway bars
sub frame
spring pads

I'd suggest approaching the project, first deciding what target you would like (above OEM stock as a baseline), then proceed to swap out/ replace items based upon that target

I'd also suggest refreshing the front end bushings/ tie rod ends/ etc. prior to doing any mods/ upgrades- since this in itself may provide the improvements you seek

good luck
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Old 02-12-2002, 01:50 PM
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First you need to define "handling."

Wider tires may give you more grip on braking, and also perhaps on corners, provided that you update the alignment specs to keep them flat on the road at the higher cornering loads they may potentially generate. Stiffer shocks will affect control on rough or undulating roads, but in steady-state cornering conditions they don't matter as much, although an unmatched set of shocks, front and rear, can have a drastic effect on transitional behavior as you enter or exit a corner. Steady state cornering depends on, besides the wheel width and tires, a carefully tuned balance of roll resistance and alignment specs between the front and rear suspensions. If you're going to experiment, first consult someone who knows from experience your model of car and will talk honestly about your needs: a good suspension for autocrosses may be really squirrelly on fast freeway exits. Then start with tires, alignment, and swaybars.
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Old 02-12-2002, 08:03 PM
Fimum Fit
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What a lot of people think of as "handling" is often the transitional behavior rather than the steady state cornering attitude of the car, and transitional behavior can be "tuned" with the judicious use of adjustable shock absorbers. If you set them stiffer at the rear, you make the car feel "looser" -- less understeer in transitions, more like a BMW factory setup. The trouble is, that may cause a porpoising motion on undulating roads as the rear shocks react more quickly than the fronts -- does anyone remember how the tails of Corvairs used to bounce around over humps?

And don't forget the most basic handling tuning technique of all: try adjusting your tire pressures up from the factory specs in the front a few pounds at a time, and perhaps a little lower in the rears.
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Old 02-12-2002, 09:59 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 326

What I'm trying to improve is the cornering. The front end has a tendancy to dive a bit in the corners. Also the tires dont' seem to slide in and out of turns...the tire feels a bit like it's rolling under the rim.
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Old 02-13-2002, 10:44 AM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "dive"

since set-up people for NASCAR would use that term in a way which is the opposite of your later point about the tires seeming to roll under. If the front end seems to roll too much, or too suddenly, perhaps you do need a set of shocks with more jounce (compression of the shock) resistance (some adjustable shocks have the adjustment apply to control of rebound only, not jounce), but if this is a steady state condition once you've set the car up into the corner, you probably want heavier sway bars at both ends.

Regarding the tires seeming to roll under, the first thing to try for this whole situation would certianly be more front pressure, but what you may really need would be a lower profile tire, especially one of those with an additional "cap" ply of nylon reinforcing the steel belts, which seems to make a huge difference on several of the cars of very different layouts to which I have fitted them lately.
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Old 02-13-2002, 03:29 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 326
Thank you for the advice. Can anyone recommend a replacment shock for the 560 SL. I still have my originals from 1987. Thanks.
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