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Genes1s Maxima Chassis and Suspension build

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  • Genes1s Maxima Chassis and Suspension build

    My daily ride is 00 Maxima SE 5 Sp. I like the car, got good mpg, plenty of room for the kids, cheap to own, and has pretty good power too ( VQ30DE ). Bought the car 2.5 years ago and the only thing I did back then was lowering it using Tein H-Tech and new KYB GR2 Shocks. Lowered about 1.7" front and 1" back. Coming from Honda world, the only thing that I hate about the Maxima is the handling, especially for 13 years old car with 150K miles on it. My wife 2012 Sienna can corner way much faster than this floaty boat

    Well, late summer this year I finally said this is enough and I need to start improving the handling.

    1. Decided to add Addco Rear Sway Bar and changed the leaky Rear Trailing Arm bushing with Energy Suspension Bushings since I have rear wheel hop when you hit the bump or during high speed cornering.
    I'm glad I bought spare OEM bolt and nuts since I stripped the lateral link nut when torque it to 83 ft-lb. I couldn't get the driver side TA pivot bolt to torque to spec, but I think it's close. I don't have tall enough jack stand and my torque wrench has 2 feet lever, so it was hard to manuver around. I bought extra SuperLube and lubed the brackets and the outside wall of the RTA bushings. I didn't even have to hammer in, just give it a good push and it went right in nicely. I didn't need to use torch to remove the rubber either. I used sharp serrated blade and walked around it few times till it was separated, then I used long screw driver to wingle it around till it pushed out. Once I took the metal retaining ring, the rubber just felt apart. I didn't lube the OD of the bushing since the instruction said not to do that. I did put a little at the lip just to get started. I used C-Clamp and PVC extention and worked real nice.

    Yep.. This is pretty much what the rear suspension is minus the struts. Pretty basic..or I should say...sucks! All 4-5.5th gen Maxima and some Sentra use this same principle.


    It's leaking but it wasn't as bad as I thought

    I used these to get the center core out



    This was what it looked like after the metal rings were take out, pretty clean actually

    Grind the lips

    Pressed in new bushings



    Driving impression:
    The Rear Sway Bar is helps alot during high speed cornering. The weight tranfer is reduced thus the body roll is also reduced. With the new ES bushings, I can fell every bumps, crevices, rocks, etc it was kinda weird at first. Going to rail road crossing was also bumpy like airplane turbulance sort if. The best part about the ES bushings is that no more wheel hops over bumps and corner dips. Going 35 mph on 15 mph hair pin wasn't so scary anymore. It is actaully oversteer a little now...but maybe that's just my perception. The front still feel sloppy, but I hope that would change when I replace all the bushings with every available ES.

    Now that the rear end is healthy, I moved to the fronts.

    2. Replaced stock worn Front Sway Bar bushings with Energy Suspension (ES) bushings and MOOG Sway Bar End Links. The steering respond on my max is horrible, there are tons of play and the car doesn't track straight when you floor it. Car also exibit clunking from worn sway bar end link. The Moog End links are heavy duty, thicker than stocks plus it has grease fitting.



    3. Replaced the stock sub frame bushings with ES.



    Driving Impression:
    The Moog End Links and ES Sway Bar bushings helps to stiffen the front end a bit, especially the steering respond. It is noticably better but not to my liking yet. It also helps the car track straigher too under heavy acceleration and braking. All of these helps make the car feels more solid. The ES sub frame bushing didn't helps much IMO.

    So far, I'm not seeing night and day result. The RSB was close, but I wanted more. Even with all of these mods, and stiff strut/spring combo I still have body roll that is not to my liking. I started to think about stiffening the chassis. I decided to attack the Lower Control Arm(LCA).

    4. LCA Brace. The left and right control arm pivots can be subjected to high stress under hard cornering that can flex the pivot. This changes the wheel suspension geometry that results in camber reduction and overall weight transfer (body roll). Armed with used, cheap HF Welder and tube bender, I started to fabricate my own LTB ( I couldn't buy this anywhere, other thatn Ebay ones that I thougth was overpriced for what it is).
    Made a template for the front LCA bar out of thin plate. They are not as simple as the one on the back. The pivot is angled at 2 different planes. With this template, I'll make the real one out of 1.5" X .75" X .085" tubing. Really wish I have tubing bender.....





    Once the template was done, I started to make the real bar out of 1" tubing x .095" wall thickness.

    The red background is because my welding screen.



    I added a second bar behind the LCA mount to "box" in sub frame that hold the suspension, engine, and tranny.



    Changed the color to RED, it's going to add 10 mph.



    5. Front Tower Strut Bar (FTSB). The FTSB completes the "box' in structure of the front end compartment. It helps to stiffen it up in conjunction with LCA Brace.
    Last edited by Genes1s; November 9th, 2013, 10:51 PM.
    FEEDBACK THREAD
    00-03 Nissan Maxima HID Retrofit
    6th gen AV6 FX35 Retrofit
    Chassis and Suspension
    2000 Sunlit Sand Maxima SE 5Spd.

  • #2
    Driving Impression:
    Finally smile on my face. Cornering is awesome, it hugs it tight with slight understeer with minimal body roll. I can accelerate quicker thru the apex without too scary. On the straigth away, the car just revs much quicker and tracks straight now. I feel that the throttle and steering respond are also improved, less twitching, it just goes to where you want it to go. I love it! I have to be carefull backing out fo the drive way but so far no cleararance issue with 2.75-3" clerance to the ground.I had Front Tower Strut Bar (FTSB) installed but they are cheap and flimsy, so fired up the welder and decided to make it stiffer.

    Well at this point, I'm getting more addicted to this mod and results.

    6. Fender Brace.
    Driver Side



    Finally got the passanger side done. I made this out of square tubing since that is what I have left, should be as good as the round tubing on the driver side though.

    Pic of the top view, looking down...

    The fender inside lip that cover the door hinge bolts need to be modfied since it was hitting the brace. No way around it since the brace mounting plate is there. The only way to not do this is to install the brace mounting plate to the door then mount the door hinge, but then the door won't close. I put double sticky tape to prevent any rattling.



    The existing hole that is on the fender was enlarged for the 8mm bolt access to mount the front end of the brace to the body.




    Driving Impression
    I can really tell that the front end is defenetly stiffer, a little bumpier than before. Steering feels a little heavier and the respond is instant now, which I really like. Cornering is slightly better but it's mostly placebo affect IMO. Nose dive during hard braking is also very mininum now. I feel the car is stopping but I don't lean forward as much as I used to.
    Is this worth it? To me it is, but I can see that some people might not see the benefit of fender brace. You really have to throw your car around hard to really feel the benefit. It's not like when you add your RSB and feel a huge improvement.


    7. Rear Tower Strut Bar (RTSB). The RTSB didn't really help the handling too much, but it does look cool

    The design has few bent, which is undiserable but its low profile which is good for maximizing trunk space when you need to fold the rear seats down. I saw the Ultra Racing RSTB and they are mounted on the OEM gussets, basically tieing the left and right gusset together. Didn't really like that much and decided to mount it straight to one of the Strut mouting bolt, much like FTSB. Eventually I'll probably pick up those two bottom mounting screws and triangulate the bar for better stiffness.





    So far I'm having a blast with the car. I must admit, It's been a lot of fun to do these chassis improvements. I can say now that with some works, this Maxima can be a decent handling car after all.

    Well.. I think I'm done for this year. Next spring is Sub Frame Connector, B Pillar Brace, upgrade to coilover setup, and light wheels before finally hit the auto X and road rally season here in OR/SW Washington
    Last edited by Genes1s; November 9th, 2013, 10:55 PM.
    FEEDBACK THREAD
    00-03 Nissan Maxima HID Retrofit
    6th gen AV6 FX35 Retrofit
    Chassis and Suspension
    2000 Sunlit Sand Maxima SE 5Spd.

    Comment


    • #3
      Nice work, especially the homemade braces! Those Maxima's are pretty peppy, they have a good engine, but I preferred the VQ35's lol
      2012 Volkswagen Golf R. 2016 Ford Fiesta ST

      The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by wireless View Post
        Nice work, especially the homemade braces! Those Maxima's are pretty peppy, they have a good engine, but I preferred the VQ35's lol
        Yes, VQ35 is good, but they do burn oil if you are not carefull. Other than the K&N Air box, my engine is bone stock. I'd like to upgrade the intake manifold, Y-pipe, Header, and Exhaust someday...
        FEEDBACK THREAD
        00-03 Nissan Maxima HID Retrofit
        6th gen AV6 FX35 Retrofit
        Chassis and Suspension
        2000 Sunlit Sand Maxima SE 5Spd.

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        • #5
          Do my corolla next
          Originally posted by nine44
          350 wit da wrist boy?

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          • #6
            What's the point of the braces under the fenders?

            05 300C - 15 Taurus SHO

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            • #7
              That's alot of bracing! Must be a blast to drive. I had a '00 I30 and absolutely loved that car.

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              • #8
                my only concern is how that bracing is going to affect a front end collision if it ever happened.. probably will be much worse..
                The time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
                  my only concern is how that bracing is going to affect a front end collision if it ever happened.. probably will be much worse..

                  I would agree to some extent. The strongest section of the car is A and B Pillar. These are made out of super high strength steel (stiff). The front end is made out of more ductile steel to absorb more impact and they are spot welded, this is the crumple zone. It is that crumple zone area that makes the front end flimzy and twitchy. It is because of this reduced crumple zone consideration that I didn't weld the fender brace to the frame, so that under hard impact, the sheet metal around the brace front mount would just tear, leaving the brace in free position. If I were to weld the brace to the frame, the front end would be much more stiffer, which is good for handling, but not so good for under impact.

                  The trade off is there, but with added stability and more predictable respond, I felt it was still a good mod.
                  FEEDBACK THREAD
                  00-03 Nissan Maxima HID Retrofit
                  6th gen AV6 FX35 Retrofit
                  Chassis and Suspension
                  2000 Sunlit Sand Maxima SE 5Spd.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How much weight do you figure you added with the braces combined? Nice DIY work btw, looks really nicely done.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tusch View Post
                      How much weight do you figure you added with the braces combined? Nice DIY work btw, looks really nicely done.
                      I would say about 20-25 lbm total, maybe less. The heaviest piece is actaully the fender brace, which is about 5-7 lbm each. They are all made out of thin stell tubing, ranging from .060-.095" wall thickness, not heavy at all but strong enough.

                      Still loving it, its been a couple months now and no problem. Hit drive way speed bump once in while if I go to fast.
                      FEEDBACK THREAD
                      00-03 Nissan Maxima HID Retrofit
                      6th gen AV6 FX35 Retrofit
                      Chassis and Suspension
                      2000 Sunlit Sand Maxima SE 5Spd.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Got done machining Sub Frame Collar made out of Delrin. These will be sandwiched between the sub frame and body to expand the bearing load while absorbing some vibration.



                        I really think you only need the spacer between the sub frame and the body since these are the ones that transmits the load the most. I left out the spacers between the bolt and the sub frame.



                        FEEDBACK THREAD
                        00-03 Nissan Maxima HID Retrofit
                        6th gen AV6 FX35 Retrofit
                        Chassis and Suspension
                        2000 Sunlit Sand Maxima SE 5Spd.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Damn, you have a CNC machine at home or is that at a shop? That's some nice looking work you did with the bracing.
                          I got a 99 SE (5 SPD VLSD). It's a fun car, I need to put in a lot of work to get it the way I want it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by yellow_cake View Post
                            Damn, you have a CNC machine at home or is that at a shop? That's some nice looking work you did with the bracing.
                            I got a 99 SE (5 SPD VLSD). It's a fun car, I need to put in a lot of work to get it the way I want it.
                            it's a small Benchtop mill that I converted to CNC. It's in my garage....
                            Last edited by Genes1s; December 25th, 2013, 10:47 AM.
                            FEEDBACK THREAD
                            00-03 Nissan Maxima HID Retrofit
                            6th gen AV6 FX35 Retrofit
                            Chassis and Suspension
                            2000 Sunlit Sand Maxima SE 5Spd.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Wow, that is way impressive!! +rep

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