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Old 02-27-2010, 05:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Icon23 SAI Mod - Yes/No?

I have looked at numerous discussions regarding the SAI Mod that mostly concerned the the installation but not much discussion on the neccesity. I realize many incorporate this in the initial build but would like to get opinions from those who don't have it or who originaly didn't use it and later added the mod. There apparently is a benefit for those using their roadster in competion but for a street car lmited to spirited driving is it necessary? Is it possible to use what came in the kit (FFR upper and lower Tubular control arms and supplied manual rack) and have a car that is stable and good turn without the SAI MOD? If it is not installed in the initial build is there a problem concernig access to that area if it's added later?

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Old 02-27-2010, 05:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think one of the main benefits, is it allows you to add a lot more caster to the alignment settings - this helps prevent wandering and makes the car track in a straight line better. It's an easy retrofit to an existing vehicle. I have it in mine but don't have it on the road yet, so I can't help you there. My understanding is that it's a great improvement. I think F5 in the new revision have rendering buying this mod as a retrofit obsolete as they have added basically the same thing into the mk 4.
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Old 02-27-2010, 05:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't have it on my car but wondered how much it would improve the handling. I have a complete 3.1 with the supplied components and have been very happy with the handling. I will probably add it later just based on how much guys talk about it but wouldn't even think there is a problem with the supplied stuff.

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Old 02-27-2010, 07:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you do a search in the autocross forun for the SAI mod there are plenty of discussions comparing before and after.

That said, the geometry changes result in significant improvement in grip, turning, stability and probably the most important to you would be reduction of jacking making turning with a manual rack a lot easier.

Here are a couple of threads.

SAI kit good value for a street car?

SAI Mod and Manual Steering

BTW David Borden created the SAI mod to do all of the above as well as to lower the roll center to be in line with IRS.

Is it necessary? No, but why wouldn't you want it? The cost really isn't that high vs benefits.

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Old 02-27-2010, 08:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quick ? lets say I have 17x9 standard 5 bolt wheels and Im runing Factory PBR cobra breaks 13"rotors will the SAI mod still fit with this setup?
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Old 02-27-2010, 08:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes

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Old 02-27-2010, 08:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by fireballferkey View Post
Quick ? lets say I have 17x9 standard 5 bolt wheels and Im runing Factory PBR cobra breaks 13"rotors will the SAI mod still fit with this setup?
I have 17 x 9 Ford FR500 front wheels and they have plenty of clearance with the 13" Mustang Cobra PBR brakes with the SAI kit installed.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quick ? lets say I have 17x9 standard 5 bolt wheels and Im runing Factory PBR cobra breaks 13"rotors will the SAI mod still fit with this setup?
I have that setup. Yes it'll fit. Depending on your control arms, you may need to get the zero degree ball cups. I think most of the recent kits have those standard now.

Yes, it's a big improvement. I recommend it. The car is much less twitchy and more production car like.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I would think that would depend on what size wheels, what UCA's and spindles you have on your car. I have a early Coupe with the fabricated non-adjustable FFR supplied upper control arms, 87-93 Fox spindles, plus 15" dia wheels and pin drive!! Plus I have the slotted UCA mounting holes (thus I run widgets to keep my alignment set).

By reading the articles I have come to the conclusion that I would have to change almost everything in the front except (and since I have the early LCA's and PRO shocks, they might have to be changed also) the tie rod ends. I could mount the SAI angle bracket by using or fabricating slot fillers- not a biggie cost wise, but the new adjustable UCA's are a pretty penny plus later spindles and thus different brake calipers??

Early MK I's and II's are probalby not a good canidate for installing the SAI unless your willing to spend a lot of $$ to do it.

Correct me if I am wrong but that is how I see my options with a early MK II front suspension setup.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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anyone done the sai mod with the rack extenders...mkii here..i have the sai kit and rack extenders on the shelf...i was gonna install both....anyone else gone this route....sorry if i'm high jackin'
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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having driven and raced my car extensively with and without the sai mod, id say it is worthwhile but by no means necessary for street only use. the stock configuration makes the steering around center very quick, and less quick off center, so its not a really linear feel like you have in, say, a bmw. the sai mod makes the steering less touchy around center on the freeway. the less aggressive a suspension setup you have, the less of a difference this will make.
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It funny, we were talking about the mod the other night, I did it on my car, manual rack, 17 X 8 front wheels, PBR dual piston GT Calipers, and I don't have any clearance issues. I don't plan to race my car, but know David and others have said the feel of the car on the highway is night and day with the mod, and as Chris said, for the cost it is worth it.

I also have to put a lot of stock into the fact that Factory Five has incorporated the mod into the MK IV.

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Old 02-27-2010, 10:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I haven't done it on my car yet as i would need to change everything between the upper and lower balljoints and don't have the cash.If you are already going sn95 suspension I would do the mod. If you are going to run manual steering it really helps reduce the effort needed so a definate 'do it ' from that point of view.
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Old 02-27-2010, 11:55 PM   #14 (permalink)
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whether the car sees the track or not, it will drive a million times nicer. The wheel has more self centering (you can add lots more caster) and feel to it. It was worth every penny. I good comparison in my mind is, before it steered like my lawn mower tractor, now it feels like my Audi A4.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:28 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Is it worth doing with power steering? You could just crank in more caster with no other changes w/ power assist

I've been looking at the Breeze stering rack mounts too- the offset ones. Do they work well in tandem with the SAI mod, or is it an either/or thing?

Thanks!

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Old 02-28-2010, 01:42 AM   #16 (permalink)
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As others have posted, I designed the geometry for racing... but one of the biggest differences is steering feel and stability at speed, especially on the freeway with a stock car. It just mellows the steering feel out on the freeway, almost like adding wheel base to the car. For some this may not be important, but for me, I like the feeling of being able to drive with one hand on the wheel and feel the car track comfortably doing so at 60+ mph. Also, my car has power steering and again, it really helped the cars twitchyness. When you have boosted steering, it amplifies this. As others have mentioned, when you have manual steering, it reduces effort at parking lots speeds by reducing jacking.

Keep in mind the mod, not only drastically reduces SAI(by around half), but it also corrects caster trail and lowers the roll center approx 1 inch. IMHO, it is probably one of the best mods you can do to the car for $300.

The next car I build wont be raced much if at all and will run close to stock suspension(springs and shocks) and it will be on the car, no doubt about it.

BTW, there is no reason why this isnt a super easy upgrade on a MrkI or MrkII car. It was designed on a MrkI. I dont have the straight ball joint cups and it works fine. You simply need to check your wheel travel through the full range with the shock removed to make sure there isnt binding. If there is, you simply flip the ball joint plate over. (thats what I ended up doing). However, if you are more comfortable with the flat ones, there is no reason not to run them.

There is a possibiltiy the mod will work on Fox spindles but I would need someone to send me some measurements of the difference between the wheel centerline and the center of the lower strut mount hole on both the fox and sn95 spindles. This will tell me how much height difference there is between them and whether the you can get away with not using the chassis adapter bracket to correct the height difference. As long as there are no wheel clearance issues it should work if that checks out.

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Old 02-28-2010, 01:45 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saki302 View Post
Is it worth doing with power steering? You could just crank in more caster with no other changes w/ power assist

I've been looking at the Breeze stering rack mounts too- the offset ones. Do they work well in tandem with the SAI mod, or is it an either/or thing?

Thanks!

-Dave
The offset rack bushings impact bumpsteer and possibly ackerman a tiny amount. They deal with a completely different issue. BTW, I think you should check your bumpsteer when installing these bushings just to make sure you orient them correctly, unless Mark has some data he can pass along as to what spindle, (fox, sn95 94-95, or 96+), alignment specs etc... All of these will affect bumpsteer in some way.
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:07 AM   #18 (permalink)
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anyone done the sai mod with the rack extenders...mkii here..i have the sai kit and rack extenders on the shelf...i was gonna install both....anyone else gone this route....sorry if i'm high jackin'
I did. Went with a power rack (87-93 version), put the rack extenders on. I don't know yet if I'll need the bumpsteer rod ends. I still have not measured bumpsteer.
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Old 02-28-2010, 03:05 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Will the SAI kit work for an MKIII with SN95 ('94) spindles, stock FFR suspension ,
FFR LCA, SN95 power rack?

As of now the car feels good at lower speeds, but on aggressive turns things start to fall apart as well as on the highway above 60 mph.

I think my SN95 stuff helps with bumpsteer, but will the SAI kit help?
I was thinking about adding sway bars.

What do you guys think?
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Old 02-28-2010, 03:11 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobrathegreat View Post
Will the SAI kit work for an MKIII with SN95 ('94) spindles, stock FFR suspension ,
FFR LCA, SN95 power rack?

As of now the car feels good at lower speeds, but on aggressive turns things start to fall apart as well as on the highway above 60 mph.

I think my SN95 stuff helps with bumpsteer, but will the SAI kit help?
I was thinking about adding sway bars.

What do you guys think?
Did you read David Bordens remarks above? He designed this mod. Sounds to me like it would solve all of your issues.

Sway bars will help with body roll. You actually may find it necessary after the SAI mod as it does lower the roll center.

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Old 02-28-2010, 04:08 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Chris,
I did read his post, but I did not see any mention about an MKIII and since there were some (minor) geometry changes on between MK models and David designed it on an MKI, I thought that my question with the specifics of MY setup, made sense.
Just double checking to make sure that I would benefit from it.
Thanks for the answer, I will be ordering the SAI kit and sway bars.
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:40 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I've been running the SAI mod for 10,000+ miles now. I don't track the car but it simply makes the car feel more like production to me. Just a whole lot more pleasant and subdued. I drive a lot and I've never questioned the money spent. David has done an incredible amount of work getting this figured out.

I'm running the mod with 15" 3.5 BS knockoffs, SN95 stock brakes, pin drive CAs, and new Konis just installed (after pic). I'd been running the Pro-Shocks with 8" springs prior. The shock spring's adjusting collar comes very close to the inside mounting bar of the upper CA in the first pic but when ride height was set, (thrid pic) the collar was an inch or so below that in the first pic. The first pic is worst case. I clearanced the bar a bit for peace of mind. If you're running a very low ride height with the new Konis, it might be a necessary mod. I also purchased the AFCO leading and trailing adjusting CA arms to get caster and camber dialed in. I'm running caster at about 6* (yes, I know the lock nuts aren't tight in the pic).

I spoke to Jim Schench at moochfest about the extenders. I had been running these for about 2 years with fox spindles which a forum member had made for me some time before FFR offered them. I took them out when I did the SAI mod and installed SN95 spindles at pin drive width. The extender install is independent of the SAI mod. The SAI mod itself doesn't change track width. It is standard width vs. pin drive width with respect to the extenders and mods. If you have pin drive width, you'll need the shorter tie rod ends or trim the ones you have along with the tie rod itself possibly. Hope this helps.






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Old 02-28-2010, 01:01 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Chris,
I did read his post, but I did not see any mention about an MKIII and since there were some (minor) geometry changes on between MK models and David designed it on an MKI, I thought that my question with the specifics of MY setup, made sense.
Just double checking to make sure that I would benefit from it.
Thanks for the answer, I will be ordering the SAI kit and sway bars.
My appologies. I didn't mean to sound snippy. There weren't any real changes in geometry between the 3 models if using the SN95 spindels. The Fox spindels are a different story.

I think you'll be happy with the change.

Chris
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:44 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Hey Chris,
no worries, never saw your post as snippy

I checked out Whitby's site, and as you suggested, I can not go wrong with this mod. Will be ordering on Monday. Thanks!
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:04 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Question

Dave- You say you designed this mod around the MK I suspension. Did you change out the fixed UCA for the newer adjustable UCA's? If not, didn't the upper ball joint attach point move outboard by the distance between the cl of the fasteners and the end of the angle iron. This would tend to give much more positive camber wouldn't it?? Plus how do you adjust for caster and camber. If I could do the SAI mod without changing the UCA's I would go for it but in my mind I don't see how it would work with the fixed length UCA's that I have on my MK II Coupe.

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Old 02-28-2010, 09:28 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Yes, the control arm and balljoint locations are moved outboard a bit, and down (I'm working on my install this weekend, I can post photos a bit later this evening). But, the other bracket in the SAI kit that replaces the FFR spindle bracket takes up much of that distance, or at least it appears so.

We'll need Dave to chime in on the nonadjustable upper control arm issue, there may be other issues with that, but the overall length of the arm vs. the relocated mounting point shouldn't be one of them.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:33 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Dave- You say you designed this mod around the MK I suspension. Did you change out the fixed UCA for the newer adjustable UCA's? If not, didn't the upper ball joint attach point move outboard by the distance between the cl of the fasteners and the end of the angle iron. This would tend to give much more positive camber wouldn't it?? Plus how do you adjust for caster and camber. If I could do the SAI mod without changing the UCA's I would go for it but in my mind I don't see how it would work with the fixed length UCA's that I have on my MK II Coupe.

Thanks
FlaRalph
As Joe mentioned the control arm moves out, but so does the ball joint, so you net about the same camber at a given control arm adjustment. Thats how you reduce SAI/Kingpin angle. You reduce the angle of ball joints between the upper and lower ball joints.

David
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:14 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Will this fit with pin drive?
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:43 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Ralph, here's a before and after shot of my right front suspension so you can see the relative locations of the UCA mount and upper balljoints, when compared with the rest of the front suspension:

Before teardown:
http://myweb.cableone.net/campbelljl...ion_123009.jpg

As of this weekend:
http://myweb.cableone.net/campbelljl...eup_022810.jpg
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:55 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Will this fit with pin drive?
my above post is pin drive SAI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Campbell View Post
Ralph, here's a before and after shot of my right front suspension so you can see the relative locations of the UCA mount and upper balljoints, when compared with the rest of the front suspension:

The MK1s came with a fixed, non-adjustable upper control arm. Ralph is asking if you could still use these. The SAI mod has no slots to adjust for camber/caster so you could only shim out. If you need to go the other direction, you're out of luck. The new upper CAs make life MUCH easier when adjusting for camber/caster so it will be money well spent.

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