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Well, I picked up my 04 Spyder 6MT on Friday after installation of a number of Formula Dynamics (FD) modifications plus a few other tweaks. I have now driven about a hundred miles which I think is good enough for a first impression. The details are listed below:

Transmission

Changes: Adjustment of transaxle cables; Install Amsoil GL4 Synthetic 75W90 transmission oil

Not a radical improvement here but definitely noticeable. The shifting has always been notchy (1st to 2nd when cold, and 2nd to 3rd under load). This change has really smoothed things out. Shifting quickly under load requires less effort and overt refusal does not occur any more (although you still need to “go with the flow” and let the shifter take its own course rather than forcing it). Overall, a nice improvement that is highly recommended.

Brakes

Modifications: New FD street pads, stainless lines and Motul RB 600 brake fluid.

This has been a complete (and quite frankly a surprising) success. Prior to the mods, I found the brake feel was spongy, difficult to modulate, and required a tremendous amount of pedal effort for hard, high speed stops which translated in to very poor control (scary at times actually). I was contemplating replacing the whole brake system with a Tar-Ox set up but since this was a $5000 upgrade, I thought that I would try the very inexpensive ($500) FD mods first.

I must say that the new set up is outstanding and far exceeded my expectations. The brakes now feel strong and grippy but are still easy to modulate with no sponginess whatsoever. High speed stops (e.g. from 120MPH and above) are smooth and drama free. The only downside is some brake squeal at low speeds although it is not much worse than with the stock pads. A great upgrade especially given the low cost.


Suspension

Modifications: New FD springs, lowered 1”, laser alignment, new Goodyear F1 GS-D3 tires (force balanced and Nitrogen filled). Car was corner weighted.

I have never shied away from stating my opinion that the car’s handling (in stock trim) was bad and was the car's single greatest weakness. Despite some pretty ignorant insults and a stream of puerile whining by some of the crybabies on this forum whose egos were bruised by a little critical feedback, I stand by that assessment and in fact had resolved to sell the car if I could not fix the problem. I am very pleased to say that there is no need to exercise that option since the mods have completely worked.

The reason for the car's poor handling was self evident when I examined the stock springs versus the new FD springs. The stock springs (rear in particular) appeared smaller in diameter, longer and were so soft that they could be compressed by hand!! I simply cannot believe that Maserati would handicap such a sophisticated suspension in this way. To use a skiing analogy, the car in stock trim is like a pair of high performance skis with dull edges.

The handling of my Spyder has now improved to the level of a good mainstream sports coupe. I would say that it handles (at the limit) similarly to my Infiniti G35 Sport (which is is good thing) but with better road feel and more immediacy. Slow and medium speed response is now excellent – turn in is very quick and cornering is flat. The “floaty” feeling is pretty much gone but the ride is still supple except on very rough pavement. High speed handling is vastly improved, but medium radius curves taken at very high speeds (e.g. above 100MPH) are still accompanied by some body roll (but still quite manageable). My gut feeling is that a set of stiffer anti-sway bars will complete the picture, but I am going to drive the car for a few hundred miles prior to formulating a final opinion on this point. Overall though, I must stress that the improvement so far is truly amazing and well worth the price for the springs.


Engine

Modifications: New FD ECU, BMC air filter (I already have a Tubi exhaust)

Another solid improvement but not quite as dramatic as the brakes/ suspension. In stock trim, I found the engine responsive, free revving, with a first class exhaust note but frankly a little underwhelming because of the weight that it was pushing (a portly 3800 lbs in the case of my Spyder). The engine now seems a bit more responsive below 4000 RPM but it is noticeably more powerful above that point. Flooring it in 4th at 4500 RPM on a moderate incline will break the tires loose at 65MPH! The car feels more aggressive and it is easier to induce a dose of oversteer in corners which really complements the handling improvements.

A very worthwhile improvement given the difficulty in squeezing more power out of this already highly tuned engine.

Summary

A few folks have queried whether I am trying to create a track car by going through the expense and effort of these mods. The answer is an emphatic “No”.

Everyone that I have taken for a ride/ drive after the mods is amazed at the improvement while noting that the car still has a very smooth ride and is quite controllable. I would say that my Spyder now drives and handles the way that it should.

It is not "hard edged" at all and does not really have a race oriented feel although I suspect that it would fare pretty well in a track environment. I will indeed take the car on the track as soon as an opportunity arises but in the meantime I highly recommend these changes regardless of whether you have ambitions to track the car or not. They radically improve the performance with no real sacrifice in terms of comfort or ease of use.

The bottom line is that my enthusiasm for and enjoyment of the car has increased dramatically - I can hardly wait for next weekend!

Enjoy.
 

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good writeup.

...Despite some pretty ignorant insults and a stream of puerile whining by some of the crybabies on this forum whose egos were bruised by a little critical feedback, I stand by that assessment and in fact had resolved to sell the car if I could not fix the problem. I am very pleased to say that there is no need to exercise that option since the mods have completely worked.
...
Enjoy.
now i remember who you were. that fortune 500 ceo. haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
good writeup.



now i remember who you were. that fortune 500 ceo. haha.
Just a lowly exec actually. If I was the CEO, I would be posting on the Veyron forum!

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #6
With the stiffer rear springs do you find you light the rear tyres up more with hard throttle changes (on\off)?
I would say that the rear does slip a little more (e.g. the tires light up) when exiting corners on rough pavement only. I think that this is a function of the stiffer springs coupled with the higher power from the ECU mods. It is not a big issue though - certainly not enough to counter the many benefits.
 

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Doesn't Jeff @ FD already have a add on

sway bar just for the purpose you listed? I am almost positive Jeff has already created that part.. Jeff?
 

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Mike thanks for the review, I'm glad that the mods were money well spent.

I'm actually testing our sway bar kit this afternoon. I then need to decide if I want to make any further changes or begin production. Either way, we're not too far off at this point.

We have completed our Drive By Wire Enhancement Module and several customers have installed and privately reviewed this upgrade with very postive results. I must admit that it does make a dramatic change in response and power delivery, especially making a large impact on clutch engagement on CambioCorsa F-1 cars. When used in conjunction with our ECM Chip the difference is an unmistakable improvement. We should be announcing pricing later this week or early next week at the latest and it will be available for shipping within 1 weeks time.

As a teaser, another of our development projects underway is to allow indpendent adjustment of the skyhook electronically controlled suspension. This will allow a much softer or a much firmer ride at the turn of a knob. You wouldn't believe what's left in the skyhook dampeners... this is going to be fun for drivers who don't want to rattle their teeth out in daily driving or trips to dinner with the wife, but want to be able to turn up the dampening and drive flat out through the corners.

Best Regards,
-- Jeff
 

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QP Springs?

...I'm actually testing our sway bar kit this afternoon. I then need to decide if I want to make any further changes or begin production. Either way, we're not too far off at this point...

As a teaser, another of our development projects underway is to allow indpendent adjustment of the skyhook electronically controlled suspension. This will allow a much softer or a much firmer ride at the turn of a knob. You wouldn't believe what's left in the skyhook dampeners... this is going to be fun for drivers who don't want to rattle their teeth out in daily driving or trips to dinner with the wife, but want to be able to turn up the dampening and drive flat out through the corners.

Best Regards,
-- Jeff
These developments sound great but what's the latest on the QP Springs? Reading all the great reviews about improved stiffness, I am starting to get "spring envy"! ;)
 

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Adjustment Knob...

So you could virtually lock up the dampeners, make the car like a solid frame, and give it extreme rigidity in the corners with a turn of the knob? Kind of like the F430's turn of the knob?
 

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I believe that I have the QP Springs completed... I only need to complete my final testing with them on a QP. I had a customer due in here, however dealship woes have kept it in the shop and he's been unable to make it here as of yet.

To all QP / GranTourismo Owners: If you've got a QP or Gran Tourismo and want any of the following:

FD Sport Springs
FD ECM Power Chip
FD Drive By Wire Enhancement Module
FD Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines

Please let me know. I have production parts in stock and ready for installation if you can get the car to Las Vegas or perhaps I can travel to Southern California. I'd prefer not to ship them out without witnessing the final product however I will work with owners and their shops if interested.
 

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So you could virtually lock up the dampeners, make the car like a solid frame, and give it extreme rigidity in the corners with a turn of the knob? Kind of like the F430's turn of the knob?
In a word, Yes.
 

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GS-D3 VS. F1 Assymetric

Flash -

How do you like the Goodyear GS-D3s and did you consider the Eagle F1 Assymetrics as an alternative? It's time to replace my stock Pilot Sports and I've settled on one of the two Goodyears, so I'm interested in any feedback in favor or the D3s or the F1s to help with the decision.

Best -

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Goodyear GS-D3 Feedback

Flash -

How do you like the Goodyear GS-D3s and did you consider the Eagle F1 Assymetrics as an alternative? It's time to replace my stock Pilot Sports and I've settled on one of the two Goodyears, so I'm interested in any feedback in favor or the D3s or the F1s to help with the decision.

Best -

Bill
Bill,

I am really impressed by the GS-D3's. I have only driven a few hundred miles but so far I have observed grip that is better than the OEM Pilot Sports with a very crisp turn in and food feedback. At the limit, break away is predictable and they are quiet and smooth riding as well. I had a set of Michelin PS2's on my previous G-35 and I found these to be a bit stickier feeling initially but they wore down really fast (e.g. less than 8000 miles) and lost a lot of their grip in the process.

I selected the GS-D3's based on the very positive feedback on Tirerack, high mileage rating, and because they were a few hundred bucks less than most of the other top rated competiors. When I got them (unmounted), the first thing that I noticed was how stiff the sidewalls are. I compared them to the unmounted Bridgestone Potenza RE050's from my new G35 that I had in the garage (since I had winter tires on at that car) and I was amazed at the difference. The Goodyears were rock hard but the Potenzas in the same aspect ratio could be easily deflected by using my hand to push on them.

I did not consider the Eagle F1 Assymetrics (not sure why) but really I don't see any negatives about the GS-D3's so far. I am curious to see how they wear (given that I drive pretty aggressively) but so far so good. Hope this helps.
 

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Flash - can't wait to get back to the states to install my FD mods (been in UK on biz for 60 days). I have everything waiting for me in boxes when I get home (minus the ECU upgrades) and will be taking the car to Summit Point Raceway and Le Bella Macchine d'Italia in June. Thanks for the report-out. Sounds like I have some good times to look forward to....
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Le Bella Macchine d'Italia

Flash - can't wait to get back to the states to install my FD mods (been in UK on biz for 60 days). I have everything waiting for me in boxes when I get home (minus the ECU upgrades) and will be taking the car to Summit Point Raceway and Le Bella Macchine d'Italia in June. Thanks for the report-out. Sounds like I have some good times to look forward to....
Wow. What a great way to test the changes Vincenzo. I would love to attend Le Bella Macchine d'Italia but it is just too far away unfortunately (it would be a great road trip though...). Do they ever have that event in the West?
 

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Flash - I don't think they ever have it on the west coast...it's been held in Pennsylvania since the mid 80's I believe. There's also one in Daytona this year and this coming weekend, there is one in Bristol, U.K. I'm going to see if I can figure a way to get there from London but, I don't have access to a car while I'm over here on biz. :mad:
 

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Bill,

I am really impressed by the GS-D3's. I have only driven a few hundred miles but so far I have observed grip that is better than the OEM Pilot Sports with a very crisp turn in and food feedback .
Flash - Thanks for the tire and upgrade info - I'm looking forward to wiring in my FD ECU upgrade...as soon as I can find someone who can do the wiring here in Miami....! :confused:

Best -

Bill
 
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