electricjay
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:06 am
Delivery Date: 04 Apr 2015
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Suspension Modifications - Blitz adjustables installed

Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:25 pm

I've recently upgraded my 2011 Leaf to Blitz adjustable suspension all around.

Why

Several friends asked me this. I drive the car 65 km per day commuting, and a lot of that is windy back roads with plenty of sweeping corners. The standard suspension is (to borrow a line from Jeremy Clarkson) like sitting in a bucket of warm wallpaper paste. It's comfortable, but it wallows around like a boat on bumpy bits and the steering lacks precision and feel. I've owned quite a few cars and I've got to liking ones with more response in the steering, especially on windy roads. Plus, I would like my blue 2011 model to stand out a little from the many other identical ones (vanity!).

The Kit

I ordered a Blitz ZZ-R kit direct from Nengun in Japan - see http://www.nengun.com/blitz/damper-zz-r-nissan - Part Number 92462.

Image

I was very pleased with Nengun - The purchase was easy, and they kept me informed about processing and shipping. It took a couple of weeks from ordering for them to get here.

This is an adjustable kit which bolts straight in. It has full height adjustment all around and adjustable damping on the front. Out of the box, the kit is set up for around 38 mm lower than standard, which I thought sounded like a good start so I didn't adjust it.

The Results

Before:
Image

After:
Image

The installation process was easy, apart from a couple of small things:
* It has bolts with 16 mm, 18 mm and 21 mm heads. These are unusual sizes, especially 16 and 18 mm which I've never seen on a Japanese car before and didn't have. Perhaps it's the Renault influence.
* Some of the bolts were very tight. I have a battery-powered impact gun ("rattle gun") which is VERY handy.

I'm very pleased with the result. It's a bit less comfortable, but not enough to bother me. There's also a bit more road noise as there is less rubber isolation, especially in the front. However, the improvement in steering response is HUGE. It feels way more controlled in the windy bits, and I like the more precise feel even when not going anywhere near the limits. The better feel gave me the confidence to go 20 kph faster through a particular corner while testing, although the ESP did cut in at that point and the computer flashed some warning lights saying I was about to crash, which I don't think was really true. I am still using the "Ecopia" low friction tyres; better tyres would make it grippier but I don't want to sacrifice range. To me, the important thing is the feeling of control and good feedback, as opposed to absolute grip levels.

More photos of the installation process can be found here:
https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=213D26FDC975CB2F!139&authkey=!AJvcwn6rpQhY-7A&ithint=folder%2cJPG

If anyone wants more details feel free to ask me.

Range

I wasn't sure how range would be affected, since the lowering could improve aerodynamics, but I didn't know what stiffer shocks would do in terms of absorbing energy.

I was pleased to find that the range has improved, maybe as much as 10% (but it's hard to be precise). I drive the same route every day, and my km / kwh used to be typically in the low 7 range, while now I am getting 7.8 - 8.0. It's early days as I've only been driving it for a week, but it's certainly no worse!

My friend said that lower / stiffer suspension often improves fuel mileage on a petrol car as well, because the softer suspension allows more body movement which wastes energy. This might be more of a factor on corners.

LeafMuranoDriver
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 8:15 am
Delivery Date: 01 May 2015
Leaf Number: 323189
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Suspension Modifications - Blitz adjustables installed

Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:40 pm

Definitely looks better, IMO. Thanks for the info and write-up. :)
2015 Leaf S w/ QC
Mfg: Jan. '15 // Pur: May '15
Best: 6/27/15 - 1,416 Miles - 292 GIDs - 63.11 Ahr - 22.6 kWh - 100% SOH - 97.2% Hx - 4 QC, 29 L2
Worst: 12/12/15 - 4,616 Miles - 259 GIDs - 55.02 Ahr - 20.1 kWh - 99% SOH - 82.8% Hx - 17 QC, 96 L2

Sjabba
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:17 am
Delivery Date: 18 Apr 2016

Re: Suspension Modifications - Blitz adjustables installed

Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:31 pm

Great ride up!
Looks very good too!

Deathwater
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:01 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Feb 2017
Leaf Number: 30332
Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: Suspension Modifications - Blitz adjustables installed

Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:33 pm

Please continue to update on this. Very interested in changing the suspension on my 2017.
----------------------------
2017 Silver Nissan Leaf SL
Ex-2010 Mazdaspeed 3 owner
Growing up is tough

Duncan
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:45 am
Delivery Date: 01 Feb 2013
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Suspension Modifications - Blitz adjustables installed

Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:24 am

I've been running the same springs/shocks in mine since 2012 and am very happy with them, including various types of motorsport like motorkhanas and hillclimbs.

from my point of view they are a reasonable compromise to improve handling but still be usable day to day. I also kept the delivered height drop.

the only issue I've had is the right rear lower shock mount bolt consistently comes loose over about 6 months causing a knocking noise. I've just tightened it again and might actually remember to put a lock nut on it next time around. Also the rear springs creak sometimes when going from full droop to having load back on them but it's infrequent and not annoying.

electricjay
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:06 am
Delivery Date: 04 Apr 2015
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Suspension Modifications - Blitz adjustables installed

Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:57 pm

Duncan wrote: Also the rear springs creak sometimes when going from full droop to having load back on them but it's infrequent and not annoying.


I also noticed this, and the noises were slightly disturbing when carrying passengers in the back. I had a look and noticed that the rear spring coils were hitting and then slipping over each other in places when the rear suspension bottomed out. This had removed the paint from the springs. It was not an immediate issue but in time could result in wear or damage to the springs.

It indicates to me that the default setup is wrong - the rubber bump stop on the rear shock absorber was not working effectively (the spring should not be working as a bump stop!). I adjusted the rears a bit (I don't exactly remember how) to make the downwards travel shorter so it hit the bump stop sooner. This stopped the strange noise on large bumps.

LeftieBiker
Posts: 8883
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Suspension Modifications - Blitz adjustables installed

Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:24 pm

I am still using the "Ecopia" low friction tyres; better tyres would make it grippier but I don't want to sacrifice range.


Hmmm... I also found my Leaf's handling to be mushy. However, when I got my Pirelli Carving Edge snow tires I discovered that just changing the tires sharpened the handling and eliminated the mushy, vague steering response. It appears that the OEM grade Ecopias' soft sidewalls are the main culprit in the vague steering. So I sold the Ecopias and bought a cheap set of Goodyear Eagle L/S tires new from an Ebay dealer. Just doing that improved the handling markedly, with no increase in noise. If there was a hit in range it was small. Frankly, I think hat people looking to improve the Leaf's handing enough to make it fun should start with the tires, not the suspension. If that isn't enough, then they have your work to guide them.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

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