Autox with 2.4L Ion3 - help w/ suspension - Saturn ION RedLine Forums
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post #1 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-07-2008, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Autox with 2.4L Ion3 - help w/ suspension

Being that this is my first post, a little background. I've been autoxing for 7-8 years in my 2000 Trans Am. Started in ESP, then CP, now XP. However, I've since started road racing also. The TA is a trailer queen, and will soon be kept at my local track (too expensive to haul back and forth).

I bought a 2006 Ion3 with the 2.4L. Because I bought it as a daily commuter, I got leather, sunroof and an auto - I never foresaw myself racing it. However, with the TA at the track, I get the itch to autox during the off-season.

I ran this car back in Sept 07 in HS because it was bone stock (down to the tires). I finished 7th in PAX, and only 1 second behind a Mini Cooper S in GS that went to Nationals 1 month later and trophied. I'm thinking that classing this car in HS is a mistake on SCCA's part. If I'd attended Nationals and finished 1 second slower than that GS Mini, I'd have beaten the 1st place HS time by 1/2 second. And, all this is without taking into account the advantage from race tires!

Anyway, I've already bought new brake pads for the car (Hawk HPS - used to run those in ESP and they worked well). I also bought some Miata rims and used Toyos for tuning purposes (Miata rims are 10x cheaper than Saturn rims, but you have to machine the hub-centric hole on the wheels another 5mm).

Now I'm trying to decide on suspension. I see that GM makes the FE5 struts that bolt right in on the front. However, there are also a few threads here talking about putting Koni's on the front. I've got Koni's on my TA, and they work very well. But, for this car, are they 2x better than the FE5 struts, since they cots 2x as much as Ebay FE5 struts? Also, Iv'e seen threads about "3-bolt" tops on the FE5s - will they even fit my car (haven't looked at the top lately)? My point with all this is that I don't want to spend $400 on Koni's, just to find that I've miscalculated how competitive my car will be.

As for the rear shocks, I've got that covered. Once I get the rest of the car sorted, I'm going to test it out. Based on that testing, I plan on getting a set of Afco rod-ended shocks. They sell split rate shocks (for example, 4 compression/7 rebound or 6/4, etc.) at a fraction of the cost of double adjustable. I have their 3/7s on the rear of my TA.

Anyway, what's the general concensus on FE5 and/or Koni?

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW - What a ride!!" - unknown
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post #2 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-07-2008, 12:46 PM
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If you have the sport appearance package, you have the FE3 suspension...same as on the RL. the FE5 is what comes on cobalts. Not much difference really.

If you do have the FE3 suspension......no need for replacement. all of us on here run stock struts/shocks. We just upgrade the rest of the suspension......like springs, a front strut brace, a rear bar/sway bar, and some (including myself) have a front subframe brace.

Get all those parts and you'll be cornering at over 1.0g!!! As for cost, the springs start at 165 and go to about 300. The front strut brace goes for 60-120 depending on where you go. rear bar or sway bar goes for around 100-150 and the front subframe brace is 130 from rebel autoworks

hope that helps.


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post #3 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-07-2008, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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OK, that tells me a lot. I thought that I had an upgraded suspension, but wasn't quite sure. If indeed the FE5 has 3 bolts on top, I don't think that I could legally mount it since I've got a 1-bolt setup. I could probably make an adapter in my shop, but the I get into questionable legality for Stock rules.

I need to set my alignment. What alignment do most people run? I'm guessing something like 2* negative camber, max caster and 1/8" toe out? I'll probably run 0" toe, as I commute over 100 miles per day in the car.

I'm pretty sure I can't do most of the rest of those things without throwing myself into either SP, ST, or SM. I'm playing the "modification" game with my Trans Am - I can afford to do it with 2 cars! hahahaha

Thanks for the help!

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW - What a ride!!" - unknown
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post #4 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 12:14 AM
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Only piece from the FE5 that is a direct swap are the control arms. Difference from the Ion FE3 are the FE5's are aluminum and the caster is slightly different. I am not 100% sure, but I used the FE5 control arms when replacing my FE3's and I believe the FE5's have stiffer bushings.

The downside to the Koni's is that being from the Cobalt they are not externally adjustable on our cars in the front because of our 1 bolt. The strut needs to be removed to adjust.

'04 RL, Pedder's XA coilovers

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post #5 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 06:25 AM
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Fe5 struts can be used with out stock upper strut mounts/hats. The aluminum control arms are MUCH better than the stamped steel units. The 08 SS/TC suspension is also Fe5, but it is completely different than the 05-07 Fe5 suspension.

Ok, so, like, yeah, umm....
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post #6 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 06:27 AM
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anyone swap rear sways stock for stock yet
FE3(us) and get a FE5(Cobalt) one
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post #7 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Well, since I already have the FE3, and the Koni's can't be adjusted while on the car, I think I'll stick with what I have. If it proves absolutely unworkable, then I may swap in some used FE5s and make the top work.

If that doesn't work, then I could probably jam some kind of Afco adjustable shock down into the sleeve. Have to cut off the bottom mount and probably weld it into place. But, I looked at it last night and I've made bigger things fit into smaller spaces with the Trans Am.

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW - What a ride!!" - unknown
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post #8 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kombi731
anyone swap rear sways stock for stock yet
FE3(us) and get a FE5(Cobalt) one
Go check your car and tell me what diameter that stock rear sway bar is.

Ok, so, like, yeah, umm....
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post #9 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 11:18 AM
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Does B&G makes a full coil over replacement for us? Is that stock legal? (I am not sure as I run SM)

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post #10 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 11:53 AM
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Coilovers would put you into STX

'04 RL, Pedder's XA coilovers

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