News

Lowering factory springs vs Novitec

Discussion in '458 Italia/488/F8' started by RaceMX-M3, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. r6elmo

    r6elmo Rookie

    Sep 12, 2010
    16
    I've read a lot of threads on lowering the 458. The piece of information I can't find is, what are the spring rates for the OEM Springs F/R, how about the Specialie?. What are the rates of the Novitec Springs. Why can't I just measure the spring length, diameter, figure out what the stock rates are, buy some eibach ERS/hyperco whichever springs and put them on. The Novitec setup is essentially a linear race spring with a helper spring unless the OEM springs are an unusual diameter.

    To OP. Every USA car has different heights, so lowering is relative to what the start was.

    My car was higher than other US 458s I've seen. Mind is dropped 1.5" front and 1" back and it rides fine...if anything better than before.
     
  2. RayJohns

    RayJohns F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 21, 2006
    5,812
    West Coast
    Full Name:
    Ray Johns
    Keep in mind also, at least on the 458, they used two different springs (probably depending on market the car was sold in). I know in the factory service manual, it mentions a white coded spring as well as a yellow coded spring.

    Ray
     
  3. Rossocorsa1

    Rossocorsa1 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    May 14, 2017
    4,131
    I'm sure this will sound very ignorant to everyone on this thread, but can someone explain to me why you would eve want to lower the car?
     
  4. jyupitt

    jyupitt Karting

    Jul 14, 2015
    166
    Nyc/Nj
    I do it for looks Image Unavailable, Please Login


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    ikenjoku7, MANDALAY and RaceMX-M3 like this.
  5. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax F1 Rookie

    Jun 10, 2016
    3,286
    Australia
    Not at all.

    My take on it is the entire exercise is vanity based- purely upon posing around rather than actually driving the car in a manner in which it was designed to be driven.
     
  6. jyupitt

    jyupitt Karting

    Jul 14, 2015
    166
    Nyc/Nj
    May I ask why 1.5 front and 1 back?
    I think my installer lowered front and back the same, and I’m actually have issue scraping the rear bottom when use the lift( think it’s the angle) When I don’t use the lift it’s fine most of time. I might to raise the back more.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. RayJohns

    RayJohns F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 21, 2006
    5,812
    West Coast
    Full Name:
    Ray Johns
    In the US, there are regulations regarding minimum headlight and bumper height, etc. If I'm not mistaken, I believe Ferrari might have to raise the height of car coming into the US, a little bit, in order to pass regulations. If you look carefully at cars in other countries, there seems to be less distance between the top of the wheel and the fender arch on those cars, as compared to the typical car you see here in the USA.

    For me at least, the main reason is to make the car look better and remove some of that distance between the top of the tire and the fender arch.

    Ray
     
  8. Rgo808

    Rgo808 Rookie

    Jul 10, 2015
    4
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    Robert Owens
     
  9. Eilig

    Eilig F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 31, 2001
    2,578
    Full Name:
    Cavallo
    Novitec Aluminum Wheel Spacers, sourced from Exotica Motorsports. I went with 20 mm, then painted them the same color as my wheels so they match. Very satisfied. Link and info from their web site:

    http://shop.exotica-motorsports.com/novitec-aluminum-wheel-spacers-ferrari-458-italia-speciale/

    Made from high – strength aluminum, the spacers are anodized to protect from corrosion. Set of 2 spacers with mounting hardware included. Sold per axle. Includes longer bolts for the 10mm and 15mm spacers. 20mm spacers come with mounting bolts to mount the spacer to the hug, the factory wheel bolts are then used to mount the wheels to the spacer. NOTE: Retaining bolt and lineup pin must be removed for install.
     
  10. 4th_gear

    4th_gear F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 18, 2013
    4,401
    Full Name:
    Michael
    My Ferrari is a modified HS California 30 with the sports suspension and souped up steering, ECU and higher MagneRide rates. It also has superlight HRE wheels, a full Capristo sport exhaust and Novitec springs. My other car is a full-blown trackable road car.

    Before I modded my Cali30 I would bottom out the car going over frost heaves on my country road drives. I was damaging the undertrays. However, that stopped after I started using factory sport springs which initially lowered the car about 10-15 cm all-around. I also added skid plates. Handling improved but I still bottomed out doing hard ESS transitions and it was still not as responsive as I felt it should be.

    I then added the Novitec sport springs which have higher rates than even the 991.1 GT3 and that improved high speed handling but to improve low to medium speed handling I had to lower the front by another 20 cm. Handling is now beginning to approach that of my track-oriented car which is a much lighter and faster car. So the springs have done a lot (enough) for my HS Cali30.

    Interesting observations and analysis.

    I felt the same about my Cali30 but didn't realize it was due to dialed-in oversteer. My car would essentially pull me into the corner once I initiated the turn but I liked it. Straight-line stability was, as you pointed out, slightly loose; but I also got used to it along with the light steering.

    The bigger superlight HRE rims and wider Michelin PSS tires improved acceleration and traction and also increased initial turn-in oversteer which I found predictable and useful. However, the stiffer Novitec springs eliminated the oversteer and light steering in return for better overall handling and extending cornering speeds. They are incredibly lighter than my OE wheels even though they are all significantly bigger.

    Here's where I want to comment on wheel spacers. They add significant weight and some spacers can cause problems with run-out. I suggest you configure and buy bigger high quality superlight wheels + bigger tires instead - they will fill your wheel wells properly and will end up still a lot lighter than your OE wheels, make your car much faster across the entire power band and also much more nimble in steering, turn-in response. Their only downside is cost and since you also own a 488, you shouldn't be worried about expensive wheels.

    IMO, ditch the spacers as they are for posing only. I used to race on bicycles where better wheel/tires are the #1 most cost-effective hardware upgrade, bar none. It's the same with cars.

    I suspect the toe-out may possibly be going from oversteer to understeer if you brake and corner hard enough. Weight will transfer to the outside front tire as your initial turn-in progresses to mid-cornering. Since the outside tire points away from the corner due to the toe-out, this can cause understeer. You will feel loss of cornering grip. As you suspected wider front tires can indeed reduce understeer if the slip angle ratio of the front vs rear axles is reduced as a result of using wider front tires. Essentially, if your wider front tires (now) slip less in comparison to your rear tires than your (former) narrower tires did, your car will corner more readily (than before). You can also play quite a bit with slip angles... including playing with tire pressures and playing with the throttle as you go through the entire length of the corner with a RWD car.

    There are other factors like anti-sway bar stiffness, tire camber, front caster (limited), sidewall height and how hard the sidewall compound/construction is on your chosen tires. There are a lot of factors that affect cornering response. However, IMO I do agree the front tires of the 458 are a bit narrow. FWIW, the front tires of my modded Cali30 are 255 width and they work great. Original factory spec width is 245 vs the 235 of the 458. I think Ferrari spec'd the 245 for the Cali because its engine is in the front and it is also a significantly heavier car compared to the 458. When the Cali has to brake hard to stop, it needs the extra rubber. Sure enough, early magazine tests actually show the Cali braking shorter than the 458.

    A lowered suspension will actually increase negative camber and toe-out, resulting in more oversteer. So your sensation of greater stability, "under hard acceleration", may be due to the lowered front suspension geometry resulting a better weight balance maintained on the front (steering) axle. Why? It's because the 458/488 are RWD cars so the rear suspension will squat a bit if you suddenly give them the "full beans" as CH would say. That squat will lighten the front axle and make your front end feel even more "darty". When I lowered my Cali30 the second time due to the Novitec springs, I only lowered the front. This also has other effects but my main goal was to pin the front axle.

    You obviously have a lot of hands-on experience modifying suspensions on your cars and you come across as a sensitive, analytical and intelligent driver. Quite often, tricky mods do work for knowledgeable car owners because they drive their cars with an extra degree of sensitivity, insight and attention. This is a main reason why it is better to personally figure out problems instead of being spoon-fed on mods, because you will know what you and the car are doing when you lean on those mods you made.

    Thanks for the tips! ;)
     
  11. Rossocorsa1

    Rossocorsa1 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    May 14, 2017
    4,131
    I’m a purist and believe in total stock originality so mods have no appeal to me, but I also believe people should do as they please with their cars. I have often wondered if modified cars are harder or easier to sell. I would think it would be more challenging but I may be wrong. Im sure it would also depend on certain markets. Maybe someone on this thread has a sense of that market.
     
  12. 4th_gear

    4th_gear F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 18, 2013
    4,401
    Full Name:
    Michael
    We all have personal reasons for owning and driving certain vehicles. Unfortunately vehicles are marketed to satisfy broad audiences not to thrill just one person, that's why exotic models are offered with extensive customizing options. However, factory customization is mostly limited to cosmetics. We also all know how much the resale market appreciates customized options so you are absolutely correct there. However, many people prefer to customize their new cars if options are available.

    Some of us also enjoy making things, they could be from kits or totally personally fabricated, like Ray does. It's great when you can do that on an existing platform that offers opportunities for improvement. I mod most of my vehicles because a big part of my ownership enjoyment comes from knowing and understanding how my vehicles were designed and constructed. Once I understand a vehicle I then know how it can be modified and improved to suit my preferences. I basically find it very irritating to drive a vehicle and constantly sense how it does not perform as it should and could. I am "driven" to fix those irritants.

    I never sell my vehicles. I never trade up. I never worry about how much appeal my mods are appreciated by future owners of my vehicles. I buy vehicles to enjoy, not to resell. I play with them until it is no longer sensible for me to maintain those vehicles, then I trade them in for another promising vehicle to play with. I do not buy "collector cars" per se because even if a vehicle is considered collectible, I need the freedom to improve them, otherwise I feel like a passenger.

    Finally, I'd like to say a few words about new vehicles - they are not always better than older models. Newer models often delete desirable features. While new cars do offer newer technology, novelty and fresh warranty you must weigh those against having to shake out any new design or factory assembly bugs as well as the advantage of a really good customizing job you performed on a reliable car. It's uniquely satisfying to drive a vehicle that works so much better, achieves its potential, because you understand it and made it run better. Sometimes the factories run out of sensible "improvements" but they still need to get people to buy new cars so as a buyer you need to understand if those new models really make sense for you.

    BTW, I keep all the replaced or modified parts at least until I am fully satisfied with my mod, just in case, but I have yet to undo a mod.
     
    RayJohns likes this.
  13. synergy

    synergy Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 5, 2007
    463
    Austin Texas
    Full Name:
    Chris
    I have been running the Novitec 458 suspension for about 3.5 years and 10K miles and so far it has been awesome. My friend lowered his 458 Spyder with the stock coilovers and it really isn't low enough IMO. Highly recommend Novitec!
    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
    Baitschev and jyupitt like this.
  14. RayJohns

    RayJohns F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 21, 2006
    5,812
    West Coast
    Full Name:
    Ray Johns
    Thanks :) Yeah, I've worked quite a bit with modifying the suspension setups on cars - especially when I was younger. One car I did a lot of work on (back in the mid 80's) was this crazy little Plymouth that Chrysler sold. This was before I got into modifying Datsun 510's. My little sister had bought one from the local Chrysler dealer, because the owner of the dealership was our neighbor and she used to babysit for them. He gave her a good deal on one and then a while later, I bought one. It was an okay little car, but nothing special.

    However, one day at the dealership, I discovered Chrysler had a racing part catalog and a division called Direct Connection. I guess it was something to do with tracking the car or something. Anyway, I ended up ordering just about every performance part they sold - from motor to suspension. I lowered the car, installed new springs, bushings, sway bars, you name it. New rims, new tires. Ended up spending countless nights adjusting things and learning how everything affected handling. The trip I took to and from work every day was practically like Laguna Seca Raceway. It was full of twists and turns. I'd make adjustments, then basically track the car to and from work on this winding road. After a while, I had that car setup so perfectly that it just floated around corners - the front wheel drive would pull me through just about anything I pointed the car at. I had a roll bar which locked the rear strut towers together and a cross brace for the front towers. So the car was very tight and handled very well.

    With the Ferrari, obviously, the factory has done most of the work. However, one thing to always keep in mind, no matter how fancy your A arms are or your springs or coil-overs - or any of that stuff is - the buck stops where the tires touch the road. In the end, it all comes down to a rather small contact patch of rubber. This is why tires are so important to the equation and why adding or removing a couple PSI can make a pretty big difference. On a motorcycle, for example, it's even more magnified. On my Yamaha R1, just a change of 1 or 2 PSI could be felt in how the bike turned and how it gripped around very fast turns.

    Myself, I'm also more of a fan of loose / soft suspension, rather than very stiff suspension. The name of the game is keeping the tires in contact with the road, so I usually prefer suspension that is more compliant and then just learn how to drive the car. A lot of people immediately jump to "stiff / firm = better" but that mainly only works when you are on a perfectly paved race track. On the street, where you have bumps and uneven spots, a lot of times something a little softer allows the car to actually go faster than overly stiff springs which cause the entire car to launch over a bump, rather than just pushing the tire up.

    Anyway, at the end of the day, tire pressure and temperature (and choice of tires) probably has more of an impact on how the car performs around corners than much else.

    As soon as I get around to lowering the 488 a little bit, I'll report back if I notice any difference in how it feels on the road.

    Ray
     
  15. 4th_gear

    4th_gear F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 18, 2013
    4,401
    Full Name:
    Michael
    Looks like you had a very convenient guinea pig to experiment on with the little Plymouth. What was it? Please don't say it was a Horizon.

    BTW, I understand what you mean about compliance making for better control and better traction, it's the same with racing bikes. The Novitec springs are dual-rate not constant rate. The lower rate (smaller) spring handles the initial compression as well as low speed bumps, and the stiffer spring only comes into play after the smaller spring is fully compressed. This makes it progressive and you can actually make the second, stiffer spring stiffer than you could with a single constant-rate spring without losing your fillings.

     
    Caeruleus11 likes this.
  16. Eilig

    Eilig F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 31, 2001
    2,578
    Full Name:
    Cavallo
    This has turned into an awesome thread - one of the best on here in a while! Thanks Ray and Michael for your insights, stories, and thoughts. I share your sentiments about the joys and rewards of modifying a vehicle.
     
    RayJohns likes this.
  17. Eilig

    Eilig F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 31, 2001
    2,578
    Full Name:
    Cavallo
    Chris, how about a few more photos of your car... I really like the looks of it, especially with the Speciale wheels. Well done man.
     
    synergy likes this.
  18. RaceMX-M3

    RaceMX-M3 Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed Silver Subscribed Owner

    Dec 15, 2010
    507
    Frisco, TX
    Full Name:
    Scott
    Killer thread.. love all the info. I'm going to go with the factory lowering option first and see how I like it. If it isn't enough it's good to know I have options. I have owned other cars that I heavily modded and ended up blowing up motors and something was always broken so not going down that road again. HRE wheels and lowered suspension will make this car perfect for me. Maybe a couple of other cosmetic mods and I'll be happy. The rest of the car is perfect imo.
     
    jyupitt likes this.
  19. bobbyd

    bobbyd Formula Junior

    Nov 17, 2003
    720
    A few comments I'd like to add to an already great thread:

    First Ferrari tends to use soft springs in their modern cars like the 458. As Ray alluded to earlier, if you go to the dealer service department and observe 458's up on lifts you will notice that the wheel/tire assembly hangs quite far down from the body of the car front and back. That's evidence of soft spring set up. The way Ferrari manages this is with the fancy shocks employed which effectively limit the motion of the cars on the soft springs during hard driving.

    Porsche on the other hand tends to use much stiffer springs on their performance models such as the GT3 and RS. Those cars will show very little sag of their wheels/tires up on a lift. The result is a completely different feel to the suspension while driving which is also very effective in controlling the movement of the car.

    I suspect the Novitec springs achieve a little of the Porsche feel as they are likely stiffer than the stock 458 spring - yet maybe not as stiff as a modern factory RS spring. Of note Speciale springs are about 15% stiffer than factory 458 springs but still are not very stiff.

    Would be interesting to know the spring rates of all these cars - would be helpful in understanding how they drive......
     
    Caeruleus11 likes this.
  20. Eilig

    Eilig F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 31, 2001
    2,578
    Full Name:
    Cavallo
    Bobby, good post, you beat me to the punch! I was just about to say that I have a few GT3's, and all have much stiffer springs (and correspondingly rougher ride) than my Speciales and Italia. While I appreciate the GT3 setup for track, the Ferraris are far more comfy to drive on the streets -- especially with the "Bumpy Road" button pressed. Personally, I have a bad back from years of abuse, and these days find the GT3's to be pretty punishing in terms of ride quality. Also notably, I recently gave my Porsche salesman a ride in the Speciale, and he was absolutely amazed at how smooth the ride is - while at the same time, having such great handling capabilities. I personally think Ferrari has got it figured out as compared to Porsche, as they've proven you can have your cake and eat it too -- i.e. you don't need to punish the driver with overly-harsh ride just because it's a sports car. Last note, I just picked up a 2018 GT3 and its ride is more harsh than my 2015 GT3. I'm in process of finding out whether it has springs with a firmer spec and thus far have been unable to confirm this.
     
    Caeruleus11 likes this.
  21. Caeruleus11

    Caeruleus11 F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jun 11, 2013
    9,399
    All I can say is I don't have Ray's level of knowledge on this- far from it. But my 458 is on NR springs and 10mm spacers because I like the look and I thought the stock setup was a little too soft for my tastes. I am fortunate that I have access to professionals who build race cars and have run Ferrari race teams. They know what they are doing. I recently wondered if I should put it back to stock after many years on the NR setup. They all said- oh no, you'll hate it. I never tried another 458 for comparison, but I was fortunate enough to finally get the car to the track and I have to say it was the most fun street car on the track experience I've ever had. CT off, the car just feels so natural and balanced. And I do love it on the road, but it is a little bit rougher than how I remembered it... After a few spirited street drives, no way would I put it back! I was just falling victim of not having driven the car for a while and my mind got going...

    My take is the factory does a truly fantastic job delivering a product aimed at a very high percentage of Ferraristi. But, sometimes a few of us might like to just nudge it a little bit more one way or another. Maybe its for looks. Maybe its for more feel or the perception of performance- or even the actual performance. All I can say is don't dismiss these things as purely for posers.

    To the OP- I think Ray is right about lowering but my guys advise if you are lowering more than 5-10mm then they think its better to go with the NR stuff.

    Friends, life is too short to get hung up on who is being a poser. Make sure to enjoy your life as much as you can. If you like your car better with NR springs, I say bravo! If you like to leave it as factory, I say bravo to that too! Either way you are driving a Ferrari! You're gonna be smiling :)
     
  22. r6elmo

    r6elmo Rookie

    Sep 12, 2010
    16
    Every car is delivered differently i've seen my car compared to other 458s and the front was very high, 4-5 fingers in gap vs. the rear. I think this is the case for US bumper reasons. Thus I lowered it front and rear that height.

    Official Ferrari ride height info is as follows, not sure where it's measured from though.
    F: 139.4mm
    R: 165.8mm
     
    jyupitt likes this.
  23. RayJohns

    RayJohns F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 21, 2006
    5,812
    West Coast
    Full Name:
    Ray Johns
    Ha, no it wasn't the Horizon, but I vaguely remember that car. It was a Plymouth GT (Truismo) and I think it had a 2.2 liter motor in it.

    It was an interesting little car. I'm guessing they raced them or something (back in the 80's) because there was no shortage of performance parts. They sold full cages and roll bars for them. I had a bolt in roll bar in mine, but I had them do it without the loop behind the driver's seat (custom order) as I remember, because I was using the factory seats.

    I put just about every racing part they sold on it. I changed the cam, exhaust, intake, ECU, etc. For the time, it actually wasn't a half bad little car. I think it would do zero to sixty in about 7.0 seconds, which was pretty darn fast for 1985. I remember around the same time, I built a really nice race motor from the ground up for one of my Datsun 510's and that car would do zero to sixty in 5.7 seconds. Mind you, this was back when Porsche was running ads on TV telling people that they were proud of their cars doing 0-60 in 6 flat. That car was in green/black primer and surprised more than one person at a stop light.

    Anyway, the Plymouth was also very quick. It was FWD, but it stuck to the ground pretty nice. I even installed Nitrous on it for a while - which was wild - but I sold the Nitrous kit after less than a year, because nobody in town had the knowledge or equipment to correctly refill the bottle.

    The main thing was the suspension setup on that car. I lowered it and installed all the racing parts. It had light weight wheels and tires that were very sticky (practically slicks). I let a few friends drive the car and they all came back saying "that thing handles like nothing I've ever driven".

    Those Novitec springs look darn nice. I can see why everyone likes those. Like you say, the dual stage setup probably offers more than even progressively wound springs can offer.

    Ray
     
  24. jyupitt

    jyupitt Karting

    Jul 14, 2015
    166
    Nyc/Nj
    Thanks


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  25. RayJohns

    RayJohns F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 21, 2006
    5,812
    West Coast
    Full Name:
    Ray Johns
    On my 458, I measured it prior to lowering the front. Front was 140 mm and rear was about 163-165 mm (the back is a little more tricky to measure, due to the body/aero panels as I remember).

    If you climb under there, you'll see a small (about 1/2) hole in the flat area of the car (not the under panels, but the frame itself). What I did was cut a chopstick down a little, stick it between the ground and up into the hole, then mark it with a black sharpie. Then climb back out from under the car and measure it with a digital caliper. Then once you lower the car, you can remeasure to confirm that both sides are lowered equally.

    Ray
     

Share This Page