Cayman R Suspension Install and Review
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    Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    My car started life with 19" Carrera S wheels and standard, non-PASM suspension. Hard to complain about that, but there is always room for improvement, right? I don't dislike the Carrera S wheels, but they are probably my least favorite of the factory 19s. And the suspension, while plenty firm already, sat a little high and could use a little damping refinement, in my opinion.

    My car started life with 19" Carrera S wheels and standard, non-PASM suspension. Hard to complain about that, but there is always room for improvement, right? I don't dislike the Carrera S wheels, but they are probably my least favorite of the factory 19s. And the suspension, while plenty firm already, sat a little high and could use a little damping refinement, in my opinion.

    From day 1, I wanted Spyder/CR wheels. They are pricey, so my second choice would have been a set of 19" BBS CH-R wheels. Handsome, not particularly light, but not too heavy either. Before I pulled the trigger on those though, I came across a pretty good deal on a set of used CR wheels (curiously, without tires). I had to refinish 2 for minor blemishes, but after that they looked great.

    From day 1, I wanted Spyder/CR wheels. They are pricey, so my second choice would have been a set of 19" BBS CH-R wheels. Handsome, not particularly light, but not too heavy either. Before I pulled the trigger on those though, I came across a pretty good deal on a set of used CR wheels (curiously, without tires). I had to refinish 2 for minor blemishes, but after that they looked great.

    Also from day 1, I knew I wanted to lower the car just a little. I briefly considered Bilstein coilovers, but the cost quickly changed my mind. Despite a successful history with aftermarket springs (Eibachs in particular), I decided against that, thinking that they might make it too low, or just not match up with the stock shocks well. I did considered changing to CR springs only, as a relatively inexpensive solution to the height issue (though doing nothing for the damping issue). Luckily, the guy I bought the wheels from was also selling the suspension, so I got a packaged deal. (Spent too much, but the $$ to value ratio was good)

    Also from day 1, I knew I wanted to lower the car just a little. I briefly considered Bilstein coilovers, but the cost quickly changed my mind. Despite a successful history with aftermarket springs (Eibachs in particular), I decided against that, thinking that they might make it too low, or just not match up with the stock shocks well. I did considered changing to CR springs only, as a relatively inexpensive solution to the height issue (though doing nothing for the damping issue). Luckily, the guy I bought the wheels from was also selling the suspension, so I got a packaged deal. (Spent too much, but the $$ to value ratio was good)

    I decided to go with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires for a couple of reasons: PS2s are too expensive, and Bridgestones are too heavy (comparing Porsche approved, N-spec tires). Michelin has marketed the Super Sports aggressively (booths at Sebring and Petit Le Mans last year), and with some impressive claims (performance, durability). On top of that they are cheaper than PS2s and lighter than the Bridgestones, so I was sold. The only issue was that they weren't available in the stock rear size of 265/35/19. Obviously I wasn't going to go skinnier, so I ended up with 275/35/19 in the rear, and for good measure I went up a size in the front as well, to 245/35/19. With the CR wheels being 1/2 wider front and rear, I figured these would be a nice fit. Overall diameter of the tires only increases 0.3" on both, so I considered that a non-issue.

    I am a bit of a weight freak, so I have measured and recorded weights for the wheels and 3 different sets of tires before buying any. Everything measured on the same scale, and all tires were brand new.

    My Cayman R Wheels (no TPMS or center caps): 22.65 lbs Front, 24.2 lbs Rear
    My Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires (245/35/19 and 275/35/19): 23.25 lbs Front, 27.45 lbs Rear

    Porsche N-spec tires, in factory 235/35/19 and 265/35/19 sizes:
    Michelin PS2icon: 21.75 lbs Front, 25.1 lbs Rear
    Bridgestone: 23.65 lbs Front, 29.05 lbs Rear
    Last edited by PCARGUY; 09-19-2011 at 09:15 PM.
    2011 Spyder

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    The suspension install was very straight forward (disclaimer: I did not do it myself). It helped that my shocks/springs came as a complete unit, all put together. I unfortunately have no insight for what most potential swappers would do, which is buy the springs and shocks and then transfer the plates/nuts/spacers/bearings/mounts etc.

    I messed up by not measuring the ride height before hand. I intended to, but forgot until the car was in the air and partially disassembled (my apologies). I also did not get any in progress photos, so before and after are going to have to do.

    We set the alignment to factory Cayman R specs, which are a good bit more aggressive than non-R specs, but not as aggressive as some of you track rats I’m sure. I would consider going more aggressive than that, but honestly I am so happy with it how it is, I don’t think I want to change it.
    Here is the after:


    Here is the after:


    When we first put it on the ground, I was very disappointed. It didn’t look lower at all to me. In the days after I don’t know if it settled down a little, or if I just adjusted my expectations, but it started to look lower, and therefore much better. Had they been new, I would have expected them to need to settle a little, but since they were taken off a car I didn’t think that would be the case. Whatever happened, I am very happy with the results, both visually and performance wise.
    Last edited by PCARGUY; 09-17-2011 at 04:25 PM.
    2011 Spyder

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Because I changed tires at the same time, it is hard to judge just the suspension performance, so my opinion on the performance of the car will have to be chalked up to both the suspension and the tires. Having said that, the difference is Night and Day. Grip is immense. Understeer is basically non-existent. The car just turns, and is very eager to do so. I took it up to the north Georgia mountains shortly after the install (ok that same night) to shake it down, and was very impressed. There were a couple different times when I got to a corner carrying a little more speed than I felt like I should have been, but it never pushed wide or lost composure.

    Because I changed tires at the same time, it is hard to judge just the suspension performance, so my opinion on the performance of the car will have to be chalked up to both the suspension and the tires. Having said that, the difference is Night and Day. Grip is immense. Understeer is basically non-existent. The car just turns, and is very eager to do so. I took it up to the north Georgia mountains shortly after the install (ok that same night) to shake it down, and was very impressed. There were a couple different times when I got to a corner carrying a little more speed than I felt like I should have been, but it never pushed wide or lost composure.

    While I think the overall level of increased grip can be attributed to the new springs and shocks as well as the slightly wider tires, the lack of understeer and therefore neutral attitude can be credited mainly to the alignment settings. The wider front tires help too I’m sure, but for anyone looking for a cheap way to dial out some understeer, a good performance alignment will make a world of difference.

    While I think the overall level of increased grip can be attributed to the new springs and shocks as well as the slightly wider tires, the lack of understeer and therefore neutral attitude can be credited mainly to the alignment settings. The wider front tires help too I’m sure, but for anyone looking for a cheap way to dial out some understeer, a good performance alignment will make a world of difference.

    I was a little surprised by the ride quality—maybe I’m crazy, but it almost feels better than before. Certainly not any worse. I think I feel a little more “bounce” after quick dips or smoother bumps (does that make sense?), but it feels to me like it absorbs sharper impacts better than before. Again, some of this could be due to the tires, but it does feel less harsh. Now that I am thinking about it, we did lower the tire pressure a little bit, which probably helped slightly (just 2 pounds, rear only). We went from the previously recommended 32/37 to the newly recommended 32/35. After driving like this for a couple of weeks, I went to +1 all around (33/36).

    I was a little surprised by the ride quality—maybe I’m crazy, but it almost feels better than before. Certainly not any worse. I think I feel a little more “bounce” after quick dips or smoother bumps (does that make sense?), but it feels to me like it absorbs sharper impacts better than before. Again, some of this could be due to the tires, but it does feel less harsh. Now that I am thinking about it, we did lower the tire pressure a little bit, which probably helped slightly (just 2 pounds, rear only). We went from the previously recommended 32/37 to the newly recommended 32/35. After driving like this for a couple of weeks, I went to +1 all around (33/36).

    I have compared it to a CR, and for some reason it is not quite as low. I haven’t measured the difference, but I would guess it to be about 1/4 of an inch higher. Specifically, I am referring to the wheel to fender gap, not actual ground clearance. I don’t have any ideas as to why. It would be nice to figure that out, but in the end it isn’t really a big deal.
    I can’t make any comparisons to a good set of coilovers, having not experienced any on this car. But for me, this is pretty much an ideal setup and I have no desire for the adjustability a set of coilovers would offer.

    Overall, I couldn’t be much happier with the results. A hair lower would be nice, for appearance more than anything else. But not being too low has it’s advantages as well, like being able to pull in the driveway without scraping. Performance is perfect. I mean this car in any form is such a capable car, but the slight change in character brought on from this mod really makes a huge difference. It is very confidence inspiring.

    I hope the information and opinions I have provided will be helpful to anyone considering a new suspension setup, and entertaining to those who are not. Questions of course are welcome.

    I hope the information and opinions I have provided will be helpful to anyone considering a new suspension setup, and entertaining to those who are not. Questions of course are welcome.
    2011 Spyder

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Thanks for taking time to give us your review. Nice setup.. Im glad you're enjoying the new suspension and wheels.
    Richard

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    I see you went with the Spyder side vents like I did.. I love it, Im surprised more Caymans aren't going with them.
    Last edited by Acosta3211; 09-17-2011 at 07:05 PM.
    Richard

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    great write up and congrats on that setup...thinking of doing the same but using the spyder suspension which is now avail at Suncoasticon and using that same wheels, i just bought an 09 Boxster , i agree with you on the ride, seems like on my 08 it rode better with 19's and HR springs..

    enjoy it.. car looks great!..
    Current Cars:
    2009 Porsche Cayman
    2012 BMW X5 50i
    2001 911 Turbo

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Nice write up. I love the transformation. I too am contemplating a suspension mod but am afraid the new ride height might cause problems for speed bumps, etc.

    Thanks!
    -Moto

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Thanks for taking the time to give us your thoughts! Your car looks great. I think it looks to be at the perfect height... I can really tell the difference in the color of those wheels compared to mine. Yours are much more metalic. Goes nicely with your color scheme
    2010 Cayman S, Arctic Silver, 6speed, FVD "sound" exhaust, short shifter, sport bucket seats, R suspension, full leather, SC, xenons, Bose, Boxter Spyder 19's, multifunction wheel, guards red seatbelts, painted caps, universal audio interface, floor mats

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Quote Originally Posted by MotoFanatic View Post
    Nice write up. I love the transformation. I too am contemplating a suspension mod but am afraid the new ride height might cause problems for speed bumps, etc.

    Thanks!
    -Moto
    Speed bumps will be fine. I have my Bilsteins on the "lowest recommended setting" and only scrape if I go straight on speed bumps. It's still about 95% driveable and I really haven't had to change my driving too much with the new suspension. Go for it and just be a little more cautious when you drive.

    And great write up! Thanks for sharing. So to be clear, you went with the Bilstein PSS9's?
    Last edited by golfguy11800; 09-18-2011 at 01:54 AM.
    -Chad-

    2006 Black Cayman S
    2014 Fiesta ST (hilarious fun)

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    "And great write up! Thanks for sharing. So to be clear, you went with the Bilstein PSS9's?"

    Are you joking? If you are I don't get it... The title of the thread says it all
    2010 Cayman S, Arctic Silver, 6speed, FVD "sound" exhaust, short shifter, sport bucket seats, R suspension, full leather, SC, xenons, Bose, Boxter Spyder 19's, multifunction wheel, guards red seatbelts, painted caps, universal audio interface, floor mats

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Thanks for the kind words everybody.

    I tried to be thorough without being verbose. I'm sure there are details and sections that I could have left out without them being missed, as I am sure some people won't take the time to read it all (which is fine...pictures are enough for some!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Acosta3211 View Post
    I see you went with the Spyder side vents like I did.. I love it, Im surprised more Caymans aren't going with them.

    Yeah I agree, I think they are a good look.

    Quote Originally Posted by golfguy11800 View Post
    ...So to be clear, you went with the Bilstein PSS9's?
    Sounds like a joke...but no laughing smiley face next to it...
    2011 Spyder

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    PCARGUY,

    Nice write up and pictures your car looks great! I agree with you comments on the ride and handling with the R suspension. I also went with 245 & 275 tires on mine.

    Enjoy the new setup

    Cman 21

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Excellent post...you car looks terrific with the Spyder wheels. An audacious project very well executed.
    The Exocet - Cayman R - Black/Silver Contrast, Sport Bucket Seats, Full Leather/Alcantara, PCM, XM, SP+, Park Assist, Xenons, PDK, Sport Chrono+, Auto A/C, Auto Dimming Mirrors, Rain Sensor, Alcantara Sport Design Wheel, Silver hood emblem, "Copeland" Mesh, Carnewal GT Exhaust mod.

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Very nice.
    2012 Peridot Cayman R
    2013 Honda Ridgeline RTL
    2012 BMW 328iT Sport Wagon

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Great project and car is awesome!
    Regarding the Michelin PS2icon vs PSS question, I have faced the same issue with my other car (Audi B8 S4) and have chosen PSS. Maybe they are a tad heavier than PS2's -I did not check at that time- but I have been VERY happy with them and they were indeed much cheaper. Guys from my tire shop had in fact used both and compared them and were recommending PSS's...

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    PCARGUY:
    Thanks for taking the time to post your aesthetic and driving impressions, along with some "action" photos. I think you made a wise choice, and your car looks fantastic. Enjoy your "new" ride!
    Best regards,
    Croc'ed
    Best regards,
    Croc'ed
    Metro NY PCA Deputy Chief DE Instructor

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Thanks for writing this up, can you please copy/paste into our Articles section please?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Great writeup and gorgeous car. Thanks for sharing. I like that you used CR wheels with CR suspension. It looks like the car came that way from the factory.
    ~ Jeff
    ~ 06 Cayman S ~ Lapis Blue ~ Stone Grey ~ Remus


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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Quote Originally Posted by cman21 View Post
    PCARGUY,

    Nice write up and pictures your car looks great! I agree with you comments on the ride and handling with the R suspension. I also went with 245 & 275 tires on mine.

    Enjoy the new setup

    Cman 21
    Thanks Cman21


    Quote Originally Posted by Singletrack View Post
    Excellent post...you car looks terrific with the Spyder wheels. An audacious project very well executed.
    Much appreciated


    Quote Originally Posted by EvoRoadster View Post
    Very nice.
    Thank you


    Quote Originally Posted by SM_ATL View Post
    Great project and car is awesome!
    Regarding the Michelin PS2icon vs PSS question, I have faced the same issue with my other car (Audi B8 S4) and have chosen PSS. Maybe they are a tad heavier than PS2's -I did not check at that time- but I have been VERY happy with them and they were indeed much cheaper. Guys from my tire shop had in fact used both and compared them and were recommending PSS's...
    Thanks SM_ATL, agree on the Super Sports, so far they have been awesome.
    2011 Spyder

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    Re: Cayman R Suspension Install and Review

    Your car looks superb. It's good to see a mod that combines improvements in performance and aesthetics. Thanks for posting.

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