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Old 06-10-2019, 06:03 PM   #1
Tremelune
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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Question Aftermarket subframes, ride quality, handling, scrub radius, proprietary parts......

I'm putting a Nissan Leaf motor into my Mini. I'm at the point where I need to decide whether to stick with the stock subframe or modify something like a Minitec or Allspeed. My car will be a daily driver that is more concerned about potholes than the limits of tire adhesion around a turn.

My main concern is what will happen to the ride quality and handling of the car. It's nice to have modern coilovers that can reduce the compromise between ride quality and motion control over ancient Mini stuff, but I'm looking for a smoother-than-stock ride, if possible. If I can get that with springs and dampers that will fit an aftermarket subframe, that's compelling. If spring and damper options are all more track-oriented in this size, that's less compelling. Aftermarket frames universally get rid of the rubber bushings that reduce NVH in the cabin, and that's also a concern.

I've also read about bump steer and reduced turning radius with the Minitec setup, unless you stick the wheels way out...This will increase the scrub radius, and likely increase torque steer, which is...undesirable. Has anyone noticed any changes to torque steer on their own car moving from narrow wheels to wider, higher-offset wheels?

I'm also a bit concerned about sourcing parts in the future. Are the shocks and brake components fairly standard, or is there a fear of availability drying up if these one-off companies shut down?

Basically, how did ride quality and handling change for you from before the swap to after?

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Old 07-10-2019, 06:43 AM   #2
gazwad
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Subframe: Home Made
CC: 1796
Make: Rover
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I have tried various suspension setups over the years and my findings are that coilovers offer good handling on the track but are not great on the road - they are not progressive so stiff springs are needed to avoid the suspension bottoming out (or tyres hitting the arches) which is uncomfortable on the road, the same goes for the coil springs that replace the rubber cones - the soft ones provide a smooth ride but can go coil bound on larger bumps (sometimes causing breakages) so stiffer ones have to be used. The standard rubber cone is actually very good, people who complain of a rough ride are usually on very old cones, they need replacing every 5 years or so. For the most comfortable ride without the suspension bottoming out the moulton smootharides are the best option - these are a softer rubber cone but are still progressive so work well with the limited travel of the mini suspension. For the rest of the running gear I would reccomend standard mini stuff, good quality rubber bushes etc, in good condition it all works very well.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:47 AM   #3
AGoaty
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Location: Keighley, West Yorkshire
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Subframe: Watson
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Make: Rover
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Advice on somethings I have learnt over the years.

You will come to a point of needing drive shafts. The stock Mini ones are ok up to around 180bhp. If running an electric motor, these have massive torque and you need to choose the drive shaft material wisely. It's also good practice to have the shafts made, without the circlip slot in it as this is the most common failure on it.

Austin Allegro CV joints are a chunkier version of the Mini ones but a straight swap.

Hope this helps, Andrew.
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