Suspension Truth by Fat Cat Motorsports, Inc.

#RideHarmony #FCMElite #RaceTuning

In a previous video I covered the 3 Keys to Achieving Ride Harmony, my term for a smooth, 'coherent' (thanks Andrew!), fluid, and FAST approach to optimizing a suspension that can handle the road's bump and dips (and more than one of them at a time!).

In that video, a commenter asked a great question along the lines of 'wouldn't Flat Ride make a vehicle more oversteer oriented?' (to paraphrase). Meaning, wouldn't it tend to want to spin out or have the rear end come out more than you could control?

The answer is yes it could BUT:

1) You can balance a car's handling by using a reasonably-sized front sway bar and fairly small rear sway bar. Many high-performance cars from the factory already do this AND incorporate the benefits of Flat Ride! Witness BMW M3, Porsche 911, Corvette Z06, etc. But they aren't necessarily telling you how they're incorporating Flat Ride and sway bars or other aspects of the suspension to get a neutral or predictable handling.

2) You can utilize elements like bump stops (using a longer, firmer, progressive rate front bump stop with a softer rear bump stop. Again, the factory has done this for years if you watch my various videos on bump stops and also analysis videos for various suspensions including aftermarket (any of my H&R Street Performance coil-over based videos). Also remember that packers are very simple and quick tuning aids to allow more or less bump stop engagement which lets you make small changes to the spring rate front or rear. VERY useful! Same with spring rubbers or 'bump stop donuts,' made from the same material but placed inside a spring coil instead of on the shock or strut shaft.

3) You can also choose alignment setting, such as more rear negative camber than front, along with adding rear toe-in to keep a car from having too much oversteer.

Often a factory engineer will choose these factors, plus more sophisticated aspects of the suspension like the roll centers, scrub radi..

#FCMElite #springs #BMW

In this video, Andrew shares his experiences and insights about how important tuning for Flat Ride has been to get the most from his BMW so he's not 'fighting' the car. His BMW F31 328d xDrive wagon now has ride frequencies of about 1.4-1.5 Hz front and 1.5-1.6 Hz for about 8-12% Flat Ride (rear bias in ride frequency). He went through 11 different spring combinations to dial in track / street / off-road which he's now very pleased with. A video well-worth watching to help you make Quality decisions when picking spring rates and to understand how vitally important Flat Ride truly is in the real world!

Of note, he changed from the factory electronic dampers and softer OEM springs to an FCM Elite Stage 2 setup using Bilstein HD monotubes and firmer springs. But he felt something was off. I was pretty confident I had done my work well but had designed the setup for Flat Ride springs. From discussions with him, it seemed his current combination might not be creating Flat Ride and that could be the source of at least some of his concerns. He began getting the rear ride frequency higher by adding spring rubbers (a bump stop 'donut' that goes between the main spring coils to add some spring rate) and noticed an IMMEDIATE improvement in the ride behavior! Then he continued fine-tuning as he describes in this video...

I transcribed some of his comments below:

"Hey guys, Andrew here again. And one of the things I wanted to talk about that Shaikh really hammers home in a lot of his videos and I also thought needed a bit of a different perspective is why flat white matters and what is pitch? So when I first came to Shaikh with my vehicle the springs that I had put on there they work with my electronic dampers that I had from the factory.

And shortly after putting the Fat Cat (Bilstein-based) dampers on there I started to feel like you know 'what's up with this? The ride quality's not that great. Have I been duped?!' What it felt like ,was it ..

#jerk #FlatRide #FCMElite

NOTE: TRANSCRIPT of Andrew's comments below! Background noise gets high at a few points and I really appreciate what he had to say so it's worth capturing in text / captions.
For some background, Andrew has a BMW F31 328d xDrive turbo-diesel all-wheel drive wagon that he drives HARD on track AND also takes off-roading for camping! Before we started working on his FCM Elite Stage 2 build using Bilstein HD struts and some combination of F30/F80 springs, he'd been using the factory suspension (Tenneco semi-active) and had already experimented with different springs to get better roll control and handling. He was very methodical in his approach (no surprise - he's a design engineer, after all!) and I really appreciated his willingness to understand my approach and to see if and how the 3 Keys to Ride Harmony could apply to meet his wide-range of goals! We did a bit over an hour of consulting since he had some specific goals and we did some dyno tests of the factory shocks, measured the various springs he had, and discussed what new springs and bump stops would make sense (along with damping profiles) to get good handling and also a nice ride - ideally with both being at least as good if not better than the factory semi-active suspension. In another video Andrew will share some info on the many combos of springs he's tried which will save other F31 owners time to get his results!

I'm transcribing most of his comments below as the background noise was a bit high but I like filming outdoors vs. indoors.

On theory and practice, applying ideas from Suspension Truth videos:

"It's been fantastic, with the amount of knowledge that Shaikh has been able to share with me and to with his Youtube channel.... and just being able to take what he says, you know, take that theory and try it out with the actual hardware and get all that different feeling and saying 'oh, ah-ha, this is why I'm feeling the ride is this way.' And I can rel..

#RideHarmony #suspension #FCMElite

The 3 Key Principles of Harmonizing your Ride are the most important aspects for you to understand about your vehicle's ride and handling. Watch this WHOLE video to see how each of the 3 elements is affecting you, whether you realize it or not!

1 - 'Flat Ride' (or Fast Settling), having the front ride frequency about 5-15% lower than the rear. This lets the entire vehicle settle smoothly and rapidly over surface changes without unnecessary bouncing OR without resorting to excessive damping (which reduce ride quality and grip)

2 - Proper optimization and minimization of the rebound force and compression force across the damper's entire performance range. This is where the concept of 'jacking down' and 'launching up' come into play - it's easy to build too much rebound and many manufacturers do it to make a car feel 'sporty' but it compromises ride quality by reducing the tire's contact patch and also is abusive to your body. In some cases you'll find too much compression (often in 'high-performance' aftermarket setups) where they use too much of a good thing!

3 - Minimum possible nitrogen pressure inside the damper without causing problems with the damper's ability to generate force. It's very easy to use a LOT of nitrogen inside a monotube and even to imagine this is a 'good thing.' However, real world results and back-to-back testing show otherwise. This last element is so often overlooked when examining changing struts or shocks and it deserves YOUR attention and questions to a potential suspension supplier. Too high nitrogen pressure causes a 'nervousness' or 'skittering' of the tires across the pavement. The car just won't hook up consistently and is VERY sensitive to surface changes (gravel, weather conditions, etc.). Exotic / high end cars like Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, etc. can suffer from excessive nitrogen pressure inside the dampers making them VERY unfriendly to drive or ride in! It doesn't have to ..

I did

H&R Ride frequencies were about 1.9 Hz front and 1.6 Hz rear which isn't giving Flat Ride (it has 'pitch').

Some info on the new Eibach main and helper spring I'm using, along with the custom rear spring adapters to fit the new rear spring setup. If you don't change out either the front to be softer or the rear to be stiffer you'd have a very uncomfortable pitching ride. Then of course you can decide if you want the damping to be improved and to what degree but I'm giving some ideas on how to make any H&R or Bilstein setup more optimized per my concepts of Ride Harmony. I also spent a good amount of time (and Ed paid me for) some nice finishing touches to keep the main and helper springs better-connected to the upper shock mounts to avoid rattling / imprecision in the suspension's operation.

Want to enjoy Ride Harmony like Ed has?

Then get in touch with us through our Elite Contact form:

#bumpstops #FT86 #H&Rcoilover

Ed's feedback was very positive! Initial testimonial link below:

Some notes on bump stop tuning for the FCM Elite Stage 2 build we did for a super-charged Scion FR-S that is street-driven and pushed hard at the track. Also see the video I did on damping comparisons for OE vs. Bilstein vs. FCM Stage 3 (track/autocross build):

and the H&R vs OE vs FCM for this Stage 2 build:

For your own FCM Elite setup, contact us through our Elite inquiry form:

#FT86 #ScionFRS #SubaruBRZ

In this video I show a comparison between the original FR-S rear damper, the H&R Street Performance rear (as received), and my FCM Elite Stage 2 optimized damper for our customer. My goal was to give him good control for track without harshness on the street like the OE or H&R suspensions.

Want to experience Ride Harmony, too? Get in touch through our Elite Contact form:


Update: my customer's initial feedback on his FCM Elite Stage 2 build was very positive! I want to do a longer chat / interview with him as well.

Testimonial (text screenshot):

"I can write more of a proper testimonial later but it was exactly what I was looking for. It was amazing on track and still comfortable on the street.'

Original ride frequencies on the H&R Street Performance coil-over with provided springs were 1.9 Hz front, 1.7 Hz rear - NOT Flat Ride (pitching going on!). I make comments about the damping in the video but suffice it to say it would have been over-pressurized and jacking down.

For our Elite improvements and his GT (dual purpose street and track) goals, we kept the original H&R front spring (~270 lb/in per my calcs) and I picked a stiffer Eibach 60mm ID rear spring (457 lb/in) to give frequencies of 1.9 Hz front, 2.1 Hz rear for 10% rear frequency bias. Also of note, I had to make a custom Delrin upper rear spring adapter to mate a new Eibach 3 inch ID helper spring to the upper mount. Some notes on that:

For rear, used Eibach 2.43 inch ID (61.7mm), 7.87 in long, 8.2kg/mm (457 lb/in). Made Delrin adapters using 1" thick, 5" ID raw material from McMaster-Carr: and a pair of new OE Scion FR-S rear shock mounts to get the fit just right (no rattles!).

Above the new main spring, I used an Eibach 3inch ID helper, 4.84 inch long, Abel @ Eibach (5/1/19) the OD is 3.5 inch.


#bouldering #crimps #v5

Sometimes the biggest question is 'how much suffering can you endure?'

This was the second V5 boulder problem I was able to send and it was definitely harder than the green V5 I showed in a previous video. The crimps are really hard on my fingers and I'm working to lose weight so I'm hauling less up the wall!

Actually getting this send took me quite a few attempts and I wasn't even sure I could do it but on a fresh set of fingers and being patient with foot placements, I did!

I included this vid to illustrate that there's a lot more failure in climbing than success - your fingers (and other parts) get sore, cut, blistered, or all of the above. I wish I had a vid of me sending this problem (what I was hoping to film that day) but on this day I hadn't rested enough to stick those crimps. Still, I had the previous session and I look forward to doing more .. and even working on my first V6!

#DDay #HonorVeterans #CelebrateFreedom

Like many of us, I have a personal connection to the battle for European liberation. My mother was born in Ulm, Germany on July 7th, 1945, after being conceived inside a German slave labor camp. The Nazis did everything they could to make my grandmother abort my mother, aside from forcing it medically. But through God's Grace, my grandmother and grandfather survived their experience and my mother came into this world a year, a month, and a day after D-Day. I never realized that until today... My father was 10 years old, living in British India when D-Day occurred, and he had his own experiences living through violent suppression of freedom, eventually coming to the US where he lived the rest of his days and embraced life as an American citizen. I can't be more proud of both of my parents for the life they created, nor more grateful for the sacrifices of those who made their and our freedom possible.

Today, after watching President Trump's speech, I was moved to tears several times. I realized how absolutely blessed I am to have the life I do. If you're reading / watching this, you're just as blessed. I hear President Trump sharing stories of men who miraculously survived the through incredible odds while so many of their comrades paid the ultimate sacrifice. I'm particularly reminded to honor the sacrifice of all those men by cherishing life, liberty, and freedom to pursue my happiness. There is no way any of us can repay the gift of liberty except by remembering and honoring their sacrifice. When we celebrate freedom we keep the tree of liberty alive and in these trying times speaking Truth is indeed a radical act.

I thank each of you who engage with me and contribute to my efforts to share Suspension Truth, making a small impact in my own way to efforts to liberate and empower people to increase peace, joy, and harmony in their lives and interactions with your vehicle.

If you are a veteran, I can offer you a 50% discou..

I had a really rich weekend engaging with a friend and showing up as a coach and guide (receiving some needed inspiration in exchange!). Coming back from this experience and having made more one-on-one connections lately vs. working in isolation at my shop the past couple years reminds me how much I love that direct, face-to-face interaction in my life. Before I got into cars and performance, and even before I chose Physics as a path, I wanted to understand the Physics of people, of us, of myself - to understand our inner working and our connection to the Big Questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What should I do?

Therefore, in support of this deeper part of me that is now demanding fuller recognition, from today forward (5/6/2019), I'm declaring all new FCM Elite builds will ONLY be Stage 3 (including KBO and Ripple Reducer). The estimated price of your Elite build will be given during your initial consultation but you can expect to pay about $3600 not including the cost of the dampers. This Stage 3 product represents the very best of all the technique, technologies, and insights I've put together since I began my suspension explorations in 1996 and in earnest since 2004 - over 15 years of very intense, focused theory and practice!

I have many R&D projects I haven't been able to finish because I'm somewhat felt limited with offering my fullest gifts (KBO especially) and then having the financial in-flow to let me spend more time to exploring and inventing. Now, with my clarity of this choice and desire for future customer orders, I know I will be able to keep innovating which is the heart of why FCM even exists!

If you're concerned about what this may mean for you, take heart - I also love to create and share tools so that anyone can take action to build a suspension of their dreams, which is where the Universal Ride Harmony Spreadsheet(s) come in that I'm also going to be rolling out soon. You can use those tools on your own (along with supporting videos I've..

This is an intro video to what I'm working on - a set of Universal Ride Harmony Spreadsheets that will allow any user to enter the variables for their vehicle on the Fat Cat Motorsports homepage and make calculations to assist in choosing the right springs, sway bars, and dampers for your goals. These will only be available via the website (the fields will remain in your browser cache until you clear them). However, if you wanted a personalized Excel copy you can pay for a minimum 1 hour consultation and receive a downloadable spreadsheet tailored just for your vehicle.

Link to my basic Suspension Characterization Procedure, which will guide you gathering information needed for the spreadsheets:

You'll need to do some internet searches for information like curb weight, weight distribution, photos of the suspension to get rough motion ratios for springs, sway bars, dampers, etc. I find that Edmunds Inside Line has great suspension walkaround that give photos and often rough motion ratios on newer vehicles.

With some time and focus, you'll be able to understand what your vehicle is doing and how to make targeted changes that yield improvements. Remember, just changing a part doesn't mean you've made anything BETTER! Don't put blind faith in any vendor to do things right for your specific needs - and that includes the original equipment manufacturer of your vehicle. Every one has their own agenda and once you are clear on your goals, and how the components affect you, you'll be better-prepared to make choices that provide the Ride Harmony improvements you need.

Edmunds Inside Line Walkarounds:

For paid consulting, use this link:

A front FCM Elite Stage 3 BMW E36 M3 damper for Sam's NASA road-race build. It has Ripple Reducer (Stage 2) and Kerb Blow-Off valve (Stage 3) for a complete Ride Harmonized build.

I f-ing love it! This setup will have minimal front jacking down (only at higher damper speeds) and slight rear jacking to encourage rotation / throttle-steering at all times.

Sam will love it.

Want some of that?

Very special thanks to Jeff for joining the FCM Elite and giving me creative freedom to share his comments in a rather unusual way, and to Brendan Sobers for his great photography!

Tuning for SCCA Street class demands working with a limited number of variables to get a well-handling car that can deal with the different demands of an autocross course. That usually means a setup that also has nice street compliance as Jeff discovered.

This video isn't a 'prank' as Jeff's testimonial is real, but the embellishment are my own. You can see the first part (what I read in the video) below and also the second email with his wonderful comment 'I should have done this years ago.' Better now than never!!!

So what are YOU waiting for?! Contact us here:



"The mechanical process of doing the install went fine. Unfortunately things kept coming up, so I didn't get it finished until Wednesday. I took a long look at the rear before taking it apart, and determined that accessing the shaft to install/remove packers is probably impossible with everything assembled on the car.

I started with no packers on the front, 3 per corner on the rear. I might be able to throw a 4th on the rear if needed and not exceed the stock length.

I drove the car on Saturday for a short trip to gas up before an event on Sunday. Just on the street, I was rather quite impressed with the mannerisms of the car. Most noticeable was how bumps were basically a non-issue. My neighborhood street is kind of terrible - there are frequent cracks where the road sinks like an inch or two. Before, these were quite jarring. Now you can tell you've hit something, but the car (and passengers..

... and understand what they mean!

THIS is what hysteresis looks like, and fortunately (in this case) can be corrected by adding nitrogen pressure during a subsequent rebuild of the H&R Street Performance (Bilstein monotube-based) coil-over I'm working on for our Porsche Cayman S customer, Edge Motorworks in Mountain View.

But in some cases whether through a shock body that's too short, and/or a shock shaft that's too long, or choosing a twin-tube design that isn't able to flow sufficient fluid your damper may have poor hysteresis. To avoid hysteresis, many damper manufacturers err on the side of TOO MUCH nitrogen pressure.

The reason you need nitrogen pressure is so that the 'air column' under the oil chamber won't collapse as the damper moves in the compression direction. You want the nitrogen to have enough resistance so the oil is forced to move trough the pistons, instead of having the shock piston displace the nitrogen chamber downward.

For the majority of situations you want to avoid hysteresis, since it causes a phase delay in the build-up and release of compression force. The damper is partially operating as an 'air spring' when you're experiencing hysteresis, so the damping force is building more slowly as you move into compression. Whether for street comfort or track performance, hysteresis will tend to prevent your vehicle from staying in sync with what the road is throwing at it.

So how do you avoid it? Take care when choosing either a new damper or making changes to your existing damper. A competent shock builder and suspension engineer will understand the reasons to minimize hysteresis for street and race setups and will be willing to communicate / share information. I say this having kept information to myself for years (and some companies still do) but I always had stringent internal standards and made sure to minimize hysteresis so if/when I showed the dynos, I could be proud of the end result!

For our own FCM Elite-tuned suspension, b..

A picture is worth a thousand words! Here's a quick vid showing how the inner section of the new 46mm rod guide can deflect separately and more easily to reduce friction and I'd say improve the high-frequency response of the damper!

#FlatRide #InherentStability #RideQuality

You're driving your car - consider a bump on the road taken at various speeds. The suspension may respond differently at low speed, medium, and higher speed. Can you get a sense of whether you're being 'jacked down', 'launched up,' or kept neutral? This impact you're feeling matters not just to your body, but to the tires which are keeping you in contact with the ground. Your body is very wise and knows what's good for it when it comes to vibration and harshness. Listen to it!

Most suspensions have shock absorbers ('dampers') that are tuned to 'jack down'. This means they have excessive amounts of reboun force which keeps the damper from extending after a bump. This reduces the available room for the suspension to move on the next bump and ultimately causes you to 'bottom out' on the bump stop.

Jacking down is one way you can experience worsened comfort and reduced grip. Lots of rebound damping can 'feel sporty' but the tires (and your body!) are less happy than they would be with a more neutral behavior.

The opposite side of this equation is excessive compression damping which causes the car to 'launch up' as the shock doesn't want to compress easily and the whole vehicle is 'launched' up as a result. This is also bad for comfort and tire grip. Some vehicles can have either too much rebound, too much compression, or both - depending on the velocity the damper is moving at.

It can be challenging to understand exactly what's going on but my goal is to help you tune into your body to sense what's happening with your suspension so you can decide how you'd want to improve the ride to get the best results.

If you have an adjustable shock or strut, I suggest using a softer setting, make sure you are using spring rates that create Flat Ride (which allows you to use less damping since Flat Ride creates Fast Settling response and an inherent degree of stability in your vehicle suspension).

For FCM Elite consulting and ..

Your vehicle's suspension has a deep impact on you, your well-being, and those who accompany you on your journey through life. It's vitally important you get a body-based sense of what any vehicle NEEDS to be able to do in order to support you and care for you.

Inherent stability (order) vs. inherent instability (chaos)

Positive (uncomfortable, lower grip) feedback loop when NOT using Flat Ride! Like having the microphone too close to speakers - SCREECH!!

Jacking down or launching vs. even and return-to-center suspension response

Background jitter or vibration that irritates - how to filter it with lower gas pressure (which Ripple Reducer / drilled bleed holes help with).

KBO adds further suppleness on sharp features and bigger bumps, prevent the upward launching from too much compression force build up.

With intelligent choice of spring rates (to create Flat Ride), of damper forces (to give a 'rally' smoothness, so the chassis stays composed as the wheels dance along the road), and of damper gas pressure (to prevent excessive initial stiffness of the suspension and resistance to tracking small features) you can experience a stable, settle, composed platform as you journey through life! Whether for street driving or racing, these same 3 key principles apply.

To purchase consulting time for our assistance in improving your vehicle's ride, handling, or both, contact us at Fat Cat Motorsports -

#RainerMariaRilke #spokenword

Read by Shaikh Jalal Ahmad.

This is my favorite out of all his published 'letters to a young poet.' I was, and remain, transfixed by Rilke. I hope this inspires you or help you discover new sources for inspiration. A short excerpt below, see URL above for full text and all these wonderful letters...



Worpswede, near Bremen
July 16, 1903

About ten days ago I left Paris, tired and quite sick, and traveled to this great northern plain, whose vastness and silence and sky ought to make me well again. But I arrived during a long period of rain; this is the first day it has begun to let up over the restlessly blowing landscape, and I am taking advantage of this moment of brightness to greet you, dear Sir.

My dear Mr. Kappus: I have left a letter from you unanswered for a long time; not because I had forgotten it - on the contrary: it is the kind that one reads again when one finds it among other letters, and I recognize you in it as if you were very near. It is your letter of May second, and I am sure you remember it. As I read it now, in the great silence of these distances, I am touched by your beautiful anxiety about life, even more than when I was in Paris, where everything echoes and fades away differently because of the excessive noise that makes Things tremble. Here, where I am surrounded by an enormous landscape, which the winds move across as they come from the seas, here I feel that there is no one anywhere who can answer for you those questions and feelings which, in their depths, have a life of their own; for even the most articulate people are unable to help, since what words point to is so very delicate, is almost unsayable. But even so, I think that you will not have to remain without a solution if you trust in Things that are like the ones my eyes are now resting upon. If you trust in Nature, in what is simple in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone see..

#BMW #E30 #Bilstein #FCMElite

Note: the chromed shaft diameter is 11mm (not 10mm as I mentioned in the video). Finally finished the FCM Elite Stage 2 optimization for Steve's BMW E30 front strut inserts (rears completed and delivered before Christmas). Getting the swaged end nut off took some ingenuity, then machining to turn new threads and make a custom M10 washer to go under the new end nut. Always something new to learn!

I used a 32mm 'nose' section of a Bilstein 'medium' (yellow-colored) bump stop, plus an 8mm Delrin packer. The original Bilstein B8 bump stop was 80mm and had begun to degrade due to the constant bump stop contact. So, based on research provided by other forums, going to the 32mm+8mm combo will give additional free travel at static height (using Dinan lowering springs) plus sufficient protection during moderate and full compression events.

Note that there are TWO different end nuts and the correct one depends on the type of strut insert you're using.

34-003350 (50mm tube OD) uses end nut p/n E4-SB7-Z004A00 (41mm nut OD)

34-003343 (46mm tube OD) uses end nut p/n E4-SB7-Z004A01 (36mm nut OD)

"you’ve ever decided to replace the struts on your E30 3 Series, you’ll know that there’s a frustrating amount of conflicting information on strut sizes. The BMW E30 was designed with a strut housing that held shock absorber inserts, rather than the shock mounting directly to the chassis at the top and to the suspension arm at the bottom. These strut housings came in two sizes: 45mm and 51mm. Knowing which size your car came with is important when buying strut inserts. So how do you find out what your E30 has?"

Thanks to the BMW online community for providing info and feedback on this topic. I hope this video is also useful/helpful for future modifications.

#SustainableSuspensionDesign #PreventShockOilWaste #RideHarmonyClub

From my research and calculations, there is about 1 liter (1000 cubic centimeters) of shock oil for the average car or truck.That's about 1/3 of a gallon of the same basic type of petroleum-based oil used in engine which is very carefully reclaimed and recycled. Is that oil handled with as much care as motor oil...?

Both of these links above make no mention of procedures to reclaim shock oil, even though they contain petroleum-based oils like motor oils.

So here's my question- is there a comprehensive program in place to reclaim and recycle used shock oil? Does the general public even realize these units HAVE oil that needs to be treated as carefully as engine oil? Do wrecking yards, scrap yards, landfill sites have the interest, facilities, and time to properly rill/drain/pump the oil from each and every used shock that comes through their gates? How long does that take them? What's the incentive to comply voluntarily, especially if the dampers are basically only worth their weight in scrap instead of being refurnished / rebuilt and available as functional aftermarket parts?

These are critically very important questions that we all can decide if we want to see answered. I read recently that 1.5 gallons of motor oil (about 6 quarts, the common oil change) can contaminate 1 MILLION gallons of drinking water! There's 0.3 gallons of shock oil for each vehicle. So here is an environmental impact that's outside public awareness while subject to haphazard automotive industry compliance.

This is a hidden area of the auto parts service and recycling business that feels - to me - very vaguely managed. One primary cause for this problem is..

Hey hatman4731, if you're watching this (or someone sees this who knows him) please get in touch so we can talk about an FCM Elite investigation and optimization project with your Model S that has OE Bilstein-based with coil suspension!

#StartWithWhy #DurableDesign #RideHarmony

I believe applying the 3 Secrets of Creating Ride Harmony will make a vast and important impact on vehicle around the world. This also can and I feel MUST include a longer-term engineering approach toward durable design. The technology already exists, it's just about customers encouraging or pushing companies to do this, for the good of the 7th generation...

This Christmas holiday, we gave gave my departed Dad's 1968 Chrysler Imperial ('Harry') a new home. During this time, I've been considering the cycles of life that impact us in unexpected ways. 'Harry' was my Dad's favorite car for many years but with him gone, we aren't in a position to restore and enjoy him again, so he needed to move on. Even after 50 years, Harry is still valuable and can be made into a nicely-functioning car for someone. There's every reason to consider the potential for any vehicle made to last a very long time, and to plan for that longevity and consider the environmental impact of design choices, plus how the current and future owner's needs might change.

How many cars end up going to new owners, with different needs and demands? Wouldn't it be amazing to have a set of dampers already present that can be REBUILT and OPTIMIZED for those needs? That would be a great service model to create! Replace what's needed and recycle/reuse what you can!

In further research since recording the video, I've found that there's a wink-wink attitude among many in the recycling business about proper disposal of gas-charged, hydraulic automotive shocks and struts. I don't blame them as much as the overall industry that focuses on profits and convenience versus supporting true sustainability or reusability on a component like the shock absorber or strut which can often last many many tens of thousands of miles and also be rebuilt in some cases.

There is a serious impact that cavalier disposal of shocks and struts ..

#V84Door #LSpowered #FCMElite #V8RX8

"Your consulting fee is certainly worth it. We were talking for over an hour and a half. Someone to take a hour and a half out of their day as a business owner is not something I take lightly!" - Chris, LS-powered Mazda RX-8 owner and new FCM Elite Stage 2 customer

In this testimonial and review video, Chris shares his process of discovering Fat Cat Motorsports and working with us to create Ride Harmony for his LS-powered Mazda RX-8. I greatly appreciate him for taking the time to share his observations as a new FCM Elite customer.

Link to free FCM Elite Mazda RX-8 Ride Harmony spreadsheet to calculate ride frequencies, roll stiffness, Flat Ride vs. pitch, and other useful supension-related tools:

As he said, he could have designed his own suspension (utilizing his experience as a mechanical engineer and FSAE team member in college) but from his research, our initial conversations and addressing his questions, he came to have high confidence that Fat Cat Motorsports could deliver an excellent result.

Going from the beauty of the smooth, high-revving Wankel rotary to the raw torque of the Chevy V8 was a change that created specific demands on his suspension. Chris needed something that got the job done for his needs, not an off-the-shelf setup, where changing spring rates counts as 'custom.' The vehicle and passenger weight, his driving style, and driving environment are some of the key factors that need to go into a Ride Harmonized suspension design.

He mentions in the video around 49:00 that he asked his wife is she would be comfortable going on a 400 mile long road trip? She said 'no problem!' He definitely felt he made a good decision and was grateful for the Internet.

"You have to have a bit of lead time but I know I made a good decision."

I clarified with him that there wouldn't be a knob: "You knew there was..

Product images allowed under Fair Use doctrine for commentary and education. Refer to these spreadsheet below that I've created to assist in calculating the suspension ride frequencies based on spring rates, bump stop contribution to spring rate, sway bar contribution to roll stiffness, the front roll couple % (FRC%), total roll stiffness, and ride frequency ratio (giving pitch or Flat Ride), etc.

These calculations help us determine the impact of common suspension changes so we can anticipate both the ride and handling behavior of a vehicle.

1990-1993 (1.6 NA) Mazda Miata Ride Harmonizer FRC, Ride Frequencies, and Setup Evaluation Spreadsheet:

1994-1997 (1.8 NA) Mazda Miata Ride Harmonizer FRC, Ride Frequencies, and Setup Evaluation Spreadsheet:

1999-2005 (NB) Mazda Miata Ride Harmonizer FRC, Ride Frequencies, and Setup Evaluation Spreadsheet:

2006-2015 (NC) Mazda Miata Ride Harmonizer FRC, Ride Frequencies, and Setup Evaluation Spreadsheet:

2016+ (ND) Mazda Miata Ride Harmonizer FRC, Ride Frequencies, and Setup Evaluation Spreadsheet:

I had a long and detailed conversation with 'Jeff Goji' who competitively autocrosses his Mazdaspeed Miata in various autocross events in Texas. He's been developing his car, 'Kiryu', for a long time. He's been a long-time customer and in the spirit of experimentation, he bought some Gen2 XIDA ea..

#FlatRideMeansFastSettling #PorscheUsesFlatRide

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'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' - Arthur C. Clarke

It may seem to some that Flat Ride is voodoo witchcraft but it's a suspension tuning technique that MANY reputable sports car manufacturers utilize in their factory suspensions! This includes BMW M3, Porsche 911 GT3, the Chevrolet Corvette, and many other vehicle manufacturers. In this video, I show a spreadsheet that I edited to include ride frequencies based on the spring rates a Rennlist Porsche enthusiast had shared:

After I calculated the associated rie frequencies for the front and rear suspension, I was amazed and pleased to see that EVERY SINGLE factory Porsche suspension came with Flat Ride! This means that the rear ride frequency or natural oscillation frequency is higher than the front, which lets the rear suspension 'catch up' to the front suspension. The use of spring rates that create Flat Ride promotes a 'Fast Settling' of the suspension, whether you're going in a straight line or doing slaloms.

The application of Flat Ride was across the board, including the very well-respected and VERY fast Porsche GT3 race car! I've seen this behavior on BMWs, Mazdas, Subarus, Mitsubishis, and many other makes and models.

I'm on a mission to educate for enthusiasts and every-day driver to what I call the '3 Secrets to Creating Ride Harmony.' Choosing spring rates for your suspension that create Flat Ride or 'Fast Settling' behavior is the #1 most important choice you can make when designing or improving your suspension!

A rare exception would be a vehicle that achieves a MAJORITY of its grip from aerodynamics (like a Formula 1 car) which does NOT apply to real-worl..


Created 1 year, 1 month ago.

55 videos


This channel is owned and operated by Fat Cat Motorsports, Inc. to benefit and educate the public on topics related to vehicle suspension design and optimization.

In his seminal book 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' Robert Pirsig wrote 'Quality eliminates Subjectivity.' Following that theme of pursuing 'Quality', my goal (as founder and heat 'Fat Cat') is to eliminate the subjectivity, confusion, and mystery behind how a vehicle suspension works - and explore ways we can make them work better! Because how a motor vehicle operates and interacts with the road affects everyone, I am sharing much information including some of my own methods and results, while also commenting (under Fair Use doctrine) on products from other companies.

I'm happy to engage and answer questions within reason, however I cannot answer questions in great details specific to a particular vehicle. If you want my focused attention, please sign up for FCM Elite consulting here:

I welcome your ideas, comments, support, and engagement! Let's explore this awesome area and pursue my goal of Harmonizing Your Ride!