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HotBits Suspension

beefajita

Active member
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
39
Location
Ansonia, CT
A couple years ago I bought a set of DT2s from HotBits, 'rally spec' 60nm in the front 40nm in the back. Previously I owned a set of DT1s 'track spec' with I think the same spring rate, maybe a little higher.
I kept the ride height of the DT1s pretty low as I used to live in Oregon and drive the piss out of the nice smooth backroads and highways of the region. the DT1s were awesome at keeping me glued to my line but couldn't handle a pothole without a bone jarring jolt that would convince a passenger who didn't know better that the car was about to fall apart.

I got the DT2s with 'rally spec' because now I live in the armpit of America, Connecticut. The roads here are falling apart, very post-industrial, so I figured "get the rally spec and I'll be able to eat up potholes like a Rally Car." This has not been the case. From day one I have been disappointed with my purchase. The only travel I get out of suspension comes from the flex in the sidewalls of the tires. This would be great if I only did AutoCross or SkidPad tests all day but I like to, you know, drive on the roads, like normal people.

It should be noted that the rear suspension does act like a suspension, you stand and bounce on the rear bumper and the body goes up and down like it should, but the front (where all the weight is) is total crap,; you bounce on it and only the sidewalls flex...way too stiff

Over the years I have purchased different spring rates and lengths to try and make the front eat up bumps like a $2600 suspension should. Factory spec is 25nm in the front if memory serves me correct and 20nm in the back. I have tried 20nm, 25nm, 30nm, 40nm, 50nm, and the 60nm that HotBits sold me originally (20nm-30nm @ 300mm length & others @ 250mm). Everything below 60nm just gets crushed under the weight of the front end, but 60nm has no "give" and rides like a raped date.
Also I have tried a myriad of height choices from slammed to stock, to all the way up. Ideally they should be best at about 50 to 60% of the overall stroke of the strut's piston, so it can eat up shock in both directions.

I could go on for hours but I have a life, sort-of. This is my second GVR4, I have not posted very much on here because I am always working, studying, or putting my car on jack-stands. One good side effect from my suspension woes is that I have everything I need to do my own alignments, this was out of necessity because of the constant tinkering with suspension requires constant realignment and I have not met one alignment guy worth his salt much less the $75 to $95 they charge to 'set the front toe, and let it go', no rear toe or camber, that would just be too much to ask a man to do his job correctly.

I know I must be missing something here, I have tried combining springs on the same corner to have a 'progressive' setup and still all my "give" in the front comes from my tires. Yes this suspension would be great on a perfectly smooth track, but to actually Rally this thing OFF THE ROAD is total crap

Does anyone have HotBits 'rally' and actually Rally it? if so what springs are you running, especially up front????

p.s. expect more posts from me 'cause I need to ditch this 'newbie' handle 'cause I am starring at thousands of dollars worth of VR4 stuff that I need to sell on here.
 

DynastyLCD

Well-known member
Joined
May 12, 2006
Messages
761
Location
Harwinton, CT
man, judging by the price of those, and all your efforts to make everything better, that's pretty disappointing.

side note: CT is not the armpit of America... that's New Jersey you're thinking of /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/rofl.gif
 

DR1665

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 19, 2005
Messages
4,641
Location
Iowa City, IA
Given the price of the Hotbits and the general, 4-door DSM mentality which seems to prevail 'round these parts of late, which is my way of suggesting the number of people willing to invest in semi-professional suspension for anything other than hard parking or (yawn) drag racing, your best bet for assistance in rally suspension adjustment might be SpecialStage.com. A good alternate is Rally-Anarchy.com. That's where the rallyistas hang out (barring any epic, Canadian rally forums I'm unaware of).

Good luck. Thanks for coming out of the shadows, mate.
 

thecman02

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
914
Location
Kalamazoo,MI
What are you rebound and compression settings at? If the compression is to soft it'll just blow right through the suspension. If it is to hard it won't compress. Sounds like its way to stiff. I'd start full soft and go bomb the roads. If you bottom easily keep increasing compression damping so that only the worst bumps will cause bottoming. This will give you good compliance over the road. Once that gets figured out we can mess with rebound. If it is on full soft and still not budging then you just need to get some softer springs. When I talked to Larry it didn't seem like the rally spec springs were as aweful as you make them out to be.
 
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beefajita

Active member
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
39
Location
Ansonia, CT
I have had 'em for two years. I have had the dampening and rebound settings in every possible configuration. All the way soft, all the way hard, in the middle; doesn't matter. I might as well have 2x4s for struts in the front.
I can tell the slight difference when I adjust 'em but I have a very sensitive butt dyno.

With 'em all the way soft, there is no bottoming out, there is no movement in the system at all, accept for the bounce in the tires.
On the hotBits website, there are no 'rally spec springs' they are all just 60mm id in various lengths and rates.
If there are Rally spec springs, they are hiding them.
Please don't take this offensively - You can "talk" to Larry all you want but I double dog dare you to go buy these things and try 'em out for your self and show me I'm wrong.

I have used softer springs, all the way down the spectrum to the factory rate and below, nothing makes these things ride comfortably
They sure do look fancy though /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/banghead.gif

This is some of the springs I have bought in an effort to have a suspension that handles bumps instead of the bumps handling the suspension.
The reason I got turned onto the hotbits was all the hype on here about 'em, I think it is important for people to know what they are really getting, a suspension that is usable only on super nice roads and smooth tracks
 

beefajita

Active member
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
39
Location
Ansonia, CT
Yeah you are right, Jersey is pretty bad, it is important to remember that there is always a worse place to be.
 

Barnes

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Messages
6,249
Location
Richland, WA
Pardon my newbie-ness when it comes to rally suspension stuff, but I'm a bit confused. I was under the impression that rally suspensions are VERY stiff. Stiff as in high spring rates. And as such they need HIGH dampening rates on the struts to handle such high spring rates. Just because a rally suspension handles rally roads well doesn't mean they are going to be comfortable on the street.

So it seems to me that the rally spec version of these struts just have a very high dampening rate set of valves in them. As such no matter WHAT spring you stick in the dampening is still way to high for streetablility.

You could always test that hypothesis by taking one of the struts off and taking it to a place with a shock dyno. I bet you'll find very high dampening rates, but not a malfunctioning strut. Have you looked into ordering a 'street' set of valves?
 

DR1665

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 19, 2005
Messages
4,641
Location
Iowa City, IA
Barnes makes a good point. Having driven a PGT-classed GVR4 rally car on the street here and there over the years, I can attest to the firmness of the ride. They are meant to take a serious beating. I remember taking speed bumps at 40mph on side roads in my neighborhood just to experience the suspension soaking them up like they were nothing, but the ride everywhere else felt ultra-firm.

Seek and ye shall find (on SpecialRage, from 2002):
"The spring rates DMS reccomends for "rough" rally for the DSM Eclipse/Talon/Galant are 375 front/ 260 rear. Normal rally spec is 350/225 and that's what we usually supply. . . . The Mitsu's can be heavy pigs and they don't have as much suspension travel as the Subarus so they need a bit more spring rate."

So, if you're not running rally - let alone "rough" rally - you want something much softer. If you're looking for tarmac-only for spirited driving that won't crush your spirit, and you can't find what you want from Hotbits, try browsing the catalogs for serious suspension setups (read: not the purple or green anodized baubles sold to the tuner crowd) for road racing. See how they compare to what you've got.

And, once you've got a pretty good idea where you are in relation to where you want to be, call up Streetwise Motorsports in California, see if you can get Doug Nagy on the phone, tell him Brian from Gearbox Magazine sent you, and ask what it will take to get your car sorted.
 
Last edited:

beefajita

Active member
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
39
Location
Ansonia, CT
Thank you Barnes and DR1665 for interjecting some logic and experience into my frustration. I am on SpecialStage (same username) but I never found that post, I obviously didn't look hard enough, thank you.
I will continue my quest for my perfect suspension setup and if I ever find it I will spread that knowledge like wildfire.
I appreciate the input and sympathy from everyone on this topic.
 

DR1665

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 19, 2005
Messages
4,641
Location
Iowa City, IA
No worries, mate. I'm sure people here who do mostly tarmac stuff would appreciate hearing what sort of valving/spring rates you ultimately go with.

And, given your screen name, would you be related to this guy?
353545506_c96849c3df.jpg
 

GVR47111K

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 7, 2011
Messages
457
Location
80022, CO
^^Only time I would consider a Starbucks was right after seeing that movie.
 

cheekychimp

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
7,333
Location
East Sussex, U.K.
Quoting DR1665:
Barnes makes a good point. Having driven a PGT-classed GVR4 rally car on the street here and there over the years, I can attest to the firmness of the ride. They are meant to take a serious beating. I remember taking speed bumps at 40mph on side roads in my neighborhood just to experience the suspension soaking them up like they were nothing, but the ride everywhere else felt ultra-firm.

Seek and ye shall find (on SpecialRage, from 2002):
"The spring rates DMS reccomends for "rough" rally for the DSM Eclipse/Talon/Galant are 375 front/ 260 rear. Normal rally spec is 350/225 and that's what we usually supply. . . . The Mitsu's can be heavy pigs and they don't have as much suspension travel as the Subarus so they need a bit more spring rate."

So, if you're not running rally - let alone "rough" rally - you want something much softer. If you're looking for tarmac-only for spirited driving that won't crush your spirit, and you can't find what you want from Hotbits, try browsing the catalogs for serious suspension setups (read: not the purple or green anodized baubles sold to the tuner crowd) for road racing. See how they compare to what you've got.

And, once you've got a pretty good idea where you are in relation to where you want to be, call up Streetwise Motorsports in California, see if you can get Doug Nagy on the phone, tell him Brian from Gearbox Magazine sent you, and ask what it will take to get your car sorted.



I'd just like to add that this actually does make some sense. I used to run some GAB rally specific struts on my VR4 and those struts were so stiff I ran the car without strut tower bars for months because the car had zero roll with or without them. Those too were phenomenal on smooth tarmac but I never understood how anyone could run them off road, it was like running on solid struts!
 

thecman02

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
914
Location
Kalamazoo,MI
Sounds like you must have been shipped the wrong valving. It is also curious that you were given a 530lb/in spring in the front. I thought I remembered Larry Parker running something quiet a bit softer in his set up. I haven't been able to find the posts where everyone was discussing spring rates.

If I were you I'd install the the 40NM spring again and get into contact with the hotbits service which I still believe is Larry Parker. Tell him the valving is way too harsh. You should be able to get a product that you can be happy with. I've been in a Hotbits 1g DSM with street valving and spring rates ~F300 and R~225 that rode excellent even on the ultra shitty roads of Michigan which I would put up against any other state for shitty roads.
 

1793

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
78
Location
Mid-Atlantic
I know I'm digging up an old thread here, but what did you ultimately end up with, beeffajita?
 

thecman02

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
914
Location
Kalamazoo,MI
I just want to necro an old thread to elaborate that the hotbits dt2 is/was best suspension setup I've had ever. I definitely think beeffajita either had a f'ed up shock damping build or wasn't preloading the lighter springs correctly. Hitting bump stops is very unpleasant from a ride quality stand point. I'm leaning towards droop/preload not being set correctly. The shock dyno for my old Hotbits showed tremendous adjustability. My current cars, CTS-V on Feal 1 way coilovers feels pretty good, but i miss the dampening adjustabilty, and so far my Fiesta ST is very lackluster with Bilstein B14's.
 

Ludachris

Administrator
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
1,101
Location
California
I just want to necro an old thread to elaborate that the hotbits dt2 is/was best suspension setup I've had ever. I definitely think beeffajita either had a f'ed up shock damping build or wasn't preloading the lighter springs correctly. Hitting bump stops is very unpleasant from a ride quality stand point. I'm leaning towards droop/preload not being set correctly. The shock dyno for my old Hotbits showed tremendous adjustability. My current cars, CTS-V on Feal 1 way coilovers feels pretty good, but i miss the dampening adjustabilty, and so far my Fiesta ST is very lackluster with Bilstein B14's.
I'm not surprised. For this platform, the Hotbits option is one of the best available. For me, it would either be those or adapting an Ohlins kit for an Evo (I think Muellerized is still able to do that) to fit the 1g/GVR4. I can't see anything else coming close to that for performance and ride quality. But you have to spend a little more for it.
 

KiNgMaRtY

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
816
Location
Corona, CA
I'm not surprised. For this platform, the Hotbits option is one of the best available. For me, it would either be those or adapting an Ohlins kit for an Evo (I think Muellerized is still able to do that) to fit the 1g/GVR4. I can't see anything else coming close to that for performance and ride quality. But you have to spend a little more for it.
Correct. Mueller still offers the service or you can just buy the Ohlins and adapter kit from Supercar Engineering. I sourced the Ohlins DFV and then bought the adapter kit.
 
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
14
Location
In The Woods, AZ
I just want to necro an old thread to elaborate that the hotbits dt2 is/was best suspension setup I've had ever. I definitely think beeffajita either had a f'ed up shock damping build or wasn't preloading the lighter springs correctly. Hitting bump stops is very unpleasant from a ride quality stand point. I'm leaning towards droop/preload not being set correctly. The shock dyno for my old Hotbits showed tremendous adjustability. My current cars, CTS-V on Feal 1 way coilovers feels pretty good, but i miss the dampening adjustabilty, and so far my Fiesta ST is very lackluster with Bilstein B14's.

I bought a set of Hotbits DT2's for my vr4 back in 2016 (at the time it was the only direct fit 2 way damping suspension available.)

Your review gives me some peace of mind, I say "some" because someone over there at HB put the top mount plate for the rear shock on upside down, i'm guessing who ever installed the studs was to blame (hopefully it wasn't the same person that assembled the piston/shim assembly) :confused:. lol
I still haven't been able to drive the car to see how they really perform because of a series of life changes, but hopefully that day will come soon.

Feal suspension now offers a 2 way with adjustable ride height coilover along with a bunch of other options, the material and build quality of feal suspension (based on looks alone) is far superior than hotbits thats for sure, but as we all know with quality comes with a price.


Also if anyone needs the parts description/ inspection guide for the Hot Bits DT2's here it is.

hotbits DT2 parts and inspection diagram.png
 

turbofonz

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
466
Location
Granby, MA
I own beefajita's car and hotbits, but the car currently has Feals on it. Never used the hotbits because of how tall they make the car sit. Without an adjustable lower shock body, you don't get a whole lot of range for playing with the ride height. Ideally looking for a beater GVR-4 to put them on so I can get back into rallycross
 
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