Should SpecE30 go to coilovers?


Joe, I’m for any rule change (or rule non-change) that helps me get past you. :slight_smile:

Here’s what I feel like I’ve learned in the discussion. The ruleset defines ways you can change your car to:

  1. be faster (e.g. exhaust, suspension, air filter, drop weight, etc.)
  2. be safer (mostly covered by CCR)
  3. be reliable (e.g. radiators, HD rockers, oil system, reinforcements, etc.)
  4. restore OEM behavior and functionality (e.g. rear toe/camber adjusters for RTAs, head gasket thickness, spring pad height adjustment for rear springs, etc.)
  5. look (e.g. decals, 50/50, etc.)

Rule changes in #1 are generally frowned upon because it translates to the need to spend more time/money on the car. Though there are certainly those that wouldn’t mind spending more to go faster.
Rule changes to #2 don’t seem to happen that often, but probably aren’t generally up for debate anyway
Rule changes to #3 and #4 are generally “optional” and changing them probably doesn’t bother anyone
Rule changes to #5 are generally cheap and not commonly changed anyway

The debates arise when a rule that serves #2-#5 can double as affecting #1. One such possible rule that comes to mind is allowing an adjustable cam gear for cases where the head height has been reduced – to help return the timing to stock. But this can also be used to affect valve timing for performance reasons. As a result, that rule hasn’t been added.

In the coilover discussion, I think the cost control people outweigh the faster people – which is understandable given the nature of the series from the very beginning. I think what’s left of this discussion really boils down to whether there are changes that can support #4 – allowing people a cheap means to address body deformation, geometry compliance, and cross-weight issues without the possibility of that mechanism being used to allow racers with more disposable time/income to be faster than those who don’t.

In parallel to this, there’s also the question of allowable camber adjustments – which is a #1 item that “everyone does”, but not within the bounds of the ruleset. I share the same concern with Chuck around codifying a rule change around such a safety critical part of the car. It’s one thing to allow overbores or changes to the engine that may undermine long term reliability or introduce weakness, but changes to suspension seem to be more delicate when viewed from a potential legal standpoint. While I’d like to see a rule change that gives me the freedom to make this change in good conscience, I don’t know if “allowed bending” or coilovers are the right answer, either. So maybe just a “continue as is” approach is best for this particular issue – unless there are any other ideas.

Curious to hear if there are any ideas for how to address body inconsistencies (from long term wear or accidents) and/or additional front camber in a manner that can’t be abused to give the “haves” a significant advantage over the “have nots”.



Btw, I’m competing with Scott for most words typed on this forum. At this rate I’m thinking I’ve got a shot to take first by 2017.



heh, I expect you to get by me next weekend. You went from way back to all over the mirror in 2 races… Maybe I can distract you with a post here mid-race :wink:


I voted NO. The reason I’m joining this series is because I want to play in a SPEC series, and having the ability to change the ride height for every track is against what this series is about. I’d be fine with going with stiffer springs, though, if there are some without adjustable perches.

If everyone can’t get -3.5deg camber, then the rules should either limit the max camber to something less, or allow massaging the shock towers (or whatever is necessary).


The rules used to limit us to -3.5, but it was hard to enforce, and it was one of the things I worried about getting DQed over, so I generally set my car at less than -3.5. I think adding a ride height rule would be equally tough to enforce, and I would hate for someone to get DQed for being a tenth too low similar to the way people got DQed for the track width rule. I know when I first started I couldn’t figure out why my car had such a higher ride height than all the others even without any rear spring pads. Now I believe if it was my new H&R springs and the stack height of my UUC camber plates. I am definitely not in favor of coilovers, but if there was a better spec spring and shock option that was still non adjustable with higher rates and shocks valved to handle it at a similar price point, I would vote for that. Then we can all go online and sell our current SpecE30 suspension to the non stance E30 guys out there looking for a deal. Allow both setups for a few years or two for those that don’t want to sell their current and buy the new setup.


We’ve beat the tar out of this subject, and gotten virtually nowhere. I still think it is a bad idea. We race these because there are fun folks to be around, and because there are lots of cars that are cheap that can be driven close to each other. I’ve never heard anyone say they do this because a BMW is totally awesome, or because they are super fast. There’s lots of them out there, and they are ready to race, and now. I think this is a solution to a non-existent problem. The springs wear out? I don’t think so. If your car sags just a little, you’ll be fine, just get up on the wheel a little more. So many of us complain about the car or the engine when we aren’t at the front, but that isn’t the problem. I drove the gay pride car at nationals and couldn’t get it further than about 10th. Sandro brings the same car to Roebling and beats me in it, with a dildo on the window. I watched how he drove the car, and he was just driving it totally differently than I was and it worked. You need to come to the car, not expect the car to come to you. Let’s get out there and have fun.


In my very simplified way of looking at this, here is a summary of this my thoughts.

Background: Some racers cannot achieve -3.5 degrees (or more) front camber without modifying front suspension components in a way currently not authorized by the rules.

Problem statement: How can we adjust the rules to allow all cars to easily achieve appropriate camber?

Possible alternatives:

  1. No rule change.
  2. Adjust rules to allow modification of strut assemblies to achieve desired camber/caster.
  3. New front springs, in smaller diameter but with equal to current spring rate and uncompressed height, in combination with a revised spring hat that allows the strut more clearance inside the strut tower.
  4. New springs on all four corners, of different rates and possibly heights, that are designed to increase camber and suspension stiffness, but are not adjustable without adding OEM style spring spacers.
  5. Coilovers with different spring rates and heights that are completely adjustable.

Analysis of alternatives:

  1. No change. As understand it, modifying the front E30 suspension is common place and bending the strut tubes pre-dates Spec E30. I think it’s reasonable to assume that many cars are already modified, either accidentally through crash damage or intentionally during the build process. Although I have seen one wheel come off (hub failure), I have not heard or seen any indication that modification weakens the strut tube to a point that increases the failure rate. It’s also normal repair procedure to fix a street car after crash damage. Additionally, a camber bending modification of only a few degrees would be very difficult to detect and I have also never heard of a racer DQ because of modified front suspension geometry other than track width.

  2. Adjust the rules to allow modification of strut assemblies. Because a strut tube modification would be very difficult to detect, it is possible that some racers are modifying their suspension already and officials simply don’t notice. Whether intentionally or on accident is irrelevant, but it seems reasonable to permit the modification because the current rule of not modifying is currently not enforced and would be somewhat subjective if officials did decide to enforce. Again, there is no evidence that modifying the strut assemblies significantly weakens or increases the failure rate of front suspension. If that were the case, we should be changing strut assemblies after any collision that alters front end alignment. There simply are no negative consequences to modifying strut tubes for camber and resources to complete the work are available.

  3. Small diameter springs in the front but otherwise identical in performance to current springs. It would be difficult to design a spring with identical performance characteristics to our existing front springs. Any spring change will likely result in a different rate or height. No matter how small the difference, all changes outside the manufacturing tolerances of current will affect performance. A good design would be similar in performance, but different enough that testing would be required to determine advantage and disadvantages.

  4. New springs, but non-adjustable, on all four corners. If designed properly, this could increase performance, reduce lap times and tire wear. Adjustability in corner balance would not change. Stiffer suspension could however change the dynamics of the racing series as different levels of talent are required to drive “racier” cars near the limits that will reduce lap times. It would also alter the forgiving nature and drivability of the cars. It would of course require all racers to purchase new springs. Significant analysis needs to been done to determine what spring rates are properly damped with current Bilstein dampers and offer the proper suspension balance. Increasing to stiffer spring will also change the dynamics of existing sway bars. In designing race car suspension for smooth surfaces, it’s always better to achieve appropriate roll control while using the smallest required sway bar. Bottom line, changing any suspension combinations alters the effectiveness of other suspension components and they all should be designed to work together. This however is not rocket science and there are already other proven suspension combinations on the market.

  5. Coilovers. Same as alternative number 4, but would significantly impact the setup parity across the field. Some racers would optimize setup and many would not. This would increase the lap time spread from the front to back of the pack significantly. Significant increase in cost to all racers

Conclusion. I prefer option 2 and think the rules should be modified to allow suspension tweaks in the spirit of increasing camber. Because of cost and the impact to the dynamics of the racing series, I don’t believe alternatives 4 or 5 are viable. I’m skeptical of option 3 because it would be hard to create a new front spring/hat combination that offered no performance change other than increasing camber/caster adjustability and it seems that a simple rule modification to allow suspension tweaking (option 2) achieves the same goal at much less expense. I believe that option 2 is the least invasive option while staying with option 1 and not changing the rule will remain difficult to police. To properly enforce, we need to check cars after race damage occurs and require folks to replace their strut tubes if they are bent out of spec. I know I’ll need to replace my left front.


Nicely stated and I would tend to agree with option 2 as a cheap and easy solution (if there is a problem here). I assume it could be done with a professional press all the way down to a vice and big ass hammer?


Reportedly, a Thunder Roadster is the correct tool for the job. Since I ran over one a couple months ago, I’ll have to take a closer look at my strut to see if it worked.


Wouldn’t say we’ve gotten nowhere – we’ve learned that a lot people seem to really not like the idea. :slight_smile: (okay, maybe you already knew that, but I didn’t) :slight_smile:

I keep flip flopping on option 2 from Rich’s post. Maybe we can add verbiage to the rule to suggest that “such a change should be performed by a professional in a manner that won’t jeopardize the structural integrity of the strut housing and is considered safe for racing purposes”. Might end up being the only text in the rules that wouldn’t be a “rule” and more of a “how to”. But it would probably make me feel better since it would be more obvious to people that making the change can be a risk and that they assume the risk should they decide to do it.

Then again, I’m not a lawyer. Just don’t want to put something down that results in someone using a Thunder Roadster, vice, and a big hammer to tweak their strut housing and ends up getting hurt on the track. :slight_smile: But if everyone thinks the “have a professional do it” line would alleviate such concerns, I’d be down for that.





No No No and F NO!

Maybe we should spend more time with creating methods for determining “bent” tubes. Cheating is cheating. Bent cars? BS. If they get bent then they need to get bent back to spec.

Interesting how when a bent car gets fixed it somehow only gets lower instead of higher and develops more camber instead of less.

Anyone that bends tubes or the strut towers is a loser and they can’t drive. I’ve seen several drivers that are out front because their car is pulling them through their HUGE driving mistakes. They outspend others to win. Coilovers just gives that guy more opportunity to spend way more resources on dialing a car in. That is not what the class is about.


I don’t disagree with anything you said, but if you really feel this way, please make sure the current rule (as written) gets enforced.


Can’t enforce “bent” stuff. Guess we could, but why bother.

Bent stuff was one of the reasons the early MAX camber numbers were deleted from the rules.
So, with camber being whatever the racer wants it to be…chose your number and have Ireland bend you some stuff (assuming you think you don’t have enough front camber).



Because that’s extra money that doesn’t need to be spent. It’s extra time that doesn’t need to be spent. Camber should be set at a max based upon what an unbent car can achieve. It is a Spec series. The idea with spec it to take the car out of the equation and make it about driver . Bending tubes is not in line with that idea.


If bent tubes means everyone can reach 3.5 deg camber, then that’s more spec than everyone running something different.


I don’t disagree with anything you said, but if you really feel this way, please make sure the current rule (as written) gets enforced.[/quote]

NASA Mid Atlantic does it’s best, given the resources at hand to scrutineer our classes that our racing. We have a dyno at nearly every event at a cost of several thousands of dollars. We have spent thousands of dollars on data aq systems and training of our personnel. There will be that and more this year. I cannot speak for the other regions but in MA we do the best we can to make sure all are compliant.


We need to be spec and make it easy for everyone to be. I have had many cars that can’t get over -2.5 in front for some reason. With our suspensions, the cars handle better with -3.5 or so neg. Bending struts are not something everyone can do, and its adds up to have a shop do it. Need to dissemble strut including hub/bearing, labor to do, new hub, bending, reassembly, alignment, it all adds up. Just put a smaller diameter front spring with non-adjusting ride height, and you have an answer that anyone can install and align.


We discussed this years ago at the last nationals(at mid ohio) in the tower at mid Ohio. We all agreed at the time that this wasn’t the right direction for the series. It is still not a good idea. We need to keep our rules stable to keep the series healthy. Any radical rule changes are a bad idea in my opinion. Why are we trying to change something that works so well?


I lurk on this site and track an SE30 (may race in the future), but I agree with this statement. Do many of the current racers bend struts? I am certainly not comfortable doing it.