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Old 02-17-2017, 04:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Matiz springs

Hi all,

I bought a pair of Matiz rear springs to fit on my 2000 MT car, but I waited until my GAZ shocks arrived before fitting them. Yesterday I had some time, so I went for it.

But they (the springs) don't fit. I eventually discovered that the springs I'd bought belonged with a later Matiz. Aiui the springs we need for our cars is the early type, as used on the 800 cc cars.

Here, in the hope that it may be helpful, are the data about the original Insight springs, the early Matiz springs and the late Matiz springs:

Insight rear springs:
Overall length: 287 mm (11.30")
Number of coils: 6
Wire diameter: 9.5 mm (.370")
Coil diameter: 106 mm (4.173")
Spring rate: 13.66 kg/cm (76.5 lb/in)
With blue paint spot

Early Matiz rear springs:
Overall length: 287 mm (11.30")
Number of coils: 7
Wire diameter: 10.5 mm (.413")
Coil diameter: (Apparently 106 mm?) (=4.173")
Spring rate: 21 kg/cm (118 lb/in)

Late Matiz springs:
Overall length: 262 mm (10.310")
Number of coils: 5
Wire diameter: 11.5 mm (.453")
Coil diameter: 122.5 mm (4.823")
In my case, with a white and a green paint spot.

So, when shopping for Matiz springs you need to be sure they have 7 coils, and that they are such as will fit the 1998-2005 models. *Not* the 2005-on models.

I'm going to fit the GAZ shocks anyway, to see how they get along with the original springs. My main problem is with the suspension bottoming – and I have a 2,000 mile trip coming up in which I shall be the lighter of two people in the car (normally it is just me).

I looked at getting some fresh Matiz rear springs of the correct kind, but was surprised to see how often they are sold singly, and also how they seem often to be sold with a suffix P, R or L. But the Honda springs are both sold under the same part number?

As to the shock absorbers:
I'm fitting GAZ ones, but I checked their weight:

Original shocks are 2 lbs 12 oz.
GAZ shocks are 3 lbs 12 oz.
ProTech shocks are 2 lbs 3 oz. (993 grams)

Those GAZ ones are very heavy!

Best regards, Tony.
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2001 Citrus MT "Rocket"
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VIN JHMZE1350YT000065
Ditto wrecker (front end) JHMZE1350YT200047 89k miles.

Last edited by Tony Jackson; 02-22-2017 at 03:38 AM.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info..
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Old 02-20-2017, 04:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Just rummaged through my old emails.

I got them from the internet auction site, search "SUP047009".

These one's seemed to fit ok on mine.

Not sure what equivalents there are in the US.

How much are the Gaz shocks, especially vs OEM, as I suspect that is more of a factor over a 2lb penalty.
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Old 02-20-2017, 07:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commievid View Post
Just rummaged through my old emails.

I got them from the internet auction site, search "SUP047009".

I got mine from UK ebay. Very varied prices, but I found a pair for £25.50 inc. delivery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by commievid View Post
How much are the Gaz shocks, especially vs OEM, as I suspect that is more of a factor over a 2lb penalty.
The GAZ cost me $225 delivered in the UK for the pair. OEM ones in the US cost more than that for one (or $175 from Hondapartsnow) and last time I looked they were £132 each in the UK.

It is early days, but I *think*, now that I've got them on click 8, that the GAZ shocks may not be bad with the original springs. I wonder whether the OEM shocks lose some of their effectiveness early in life? Mine have done 87k miles, and they look and feel fine, but they weren't keeping the car off its bump stops (I only weigh about 155 pounds). I can't believe that an original road test would not have found the suspension wanting if it was like mine was. I know Lotus used to use low-rate springs and high-rate shocks.

Still, I'm going to get a pair of Matiz springs...

Best, Tony
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2001 Citrus MT "Rocket"
91k miles, one owner before me, original in almost every way, including HV battery.
VIN JHMZE1350YT000065
Ditto wrecker (front end) JHMZE1350YT200047 89k miles.
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Jackson View Post
I got mine from UK ebay. Very varied prices, but I found a pair for £25.50 inc. delivery.



The GAZ cost me $225 delivered in the UK for the pair. OEM ones in the US cost more than that for one (or $175 from Hondapartsnow) and last time I looked they were £132 each in the UK.

It is early days, but I *think*, now that I've got them on click 8, that the GAZ shocks may not be bad with the original springs. I wonder whether the OEM shocks lose some of their effectiveness early in life? Mine have done 87k miles, and they look and feel fine, but they weren't keeping the car off its bump stops (I only weigh about 155 pounds). I can't believe that an original road test would not have found the suspension wanting if it was like mine was. I know Lotus used to use low-rate springs and high-rate shocks.

Still, I'm going to get a pair of Matiz springs...

Best, Tony
I did comment on it: ....the fact that almost certainly Honda's worldwide testing program for the prototypes was quite limited. Otherwise, how would a car be released that has such incredibly bad tyre noise on coarse surfaces, and rear dampers that can be made to fade away on bumpy secondary roads driven at 110 km/h?

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Old 02-21-2017, 03:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I understand from speaking to UK member Reinard the other day that the standard early matiz rear springs were also available in a slightly uprated version.

He has those fitted to his car for extra load carrying capacity.

I have matiz standard springs on mine and they are fine but for two big people and some luggage even they could struggle.

Definitive parts numbers for all the options would be nice?
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Old 02-21-2017, 04:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There is no magic about Matiz springs - or any others. I originally used them only because in the wrecking yard where I was looking for alternative springs, these were readily available, had the right diameter and free length, and had a rate I guessed would be about right.

But all you need to do is to go to any company that makes car springs and ask for whatever extra stiffness you want. Typically to achieve this they will then use a heavier wire - or they could also reduce the number of free coils (or both).

The standard rear spring rate is 1.4 kg/mm (78 pounds/inch) and the Matiz springs are 2.1 kg/mm (118 pounds/inch).

Over the years I've had custom springs made for me a number of times. These days, with most spring companies using design software, it's easier now than ever. Just specify the rate, how high you want the ride height compared with standard, and how much weight is working through each rear corner, and they'll make the springs for you. Prices will vary quite a lot, depending on the company.

If you want to save money, the cheapest approach will always be a wrecking yard, where you want to look for springs very similar to the standard Insight, but with thicker wire or less free coils. Go too stiff and you'll find that the rear dampers are nowhere near strong enough - you'll get a pogo-like ride.

For anyone who wants to explore in more detail exactly how to methodically work out the exact spring characteristics needed to achieve the desired outcome, I cover doing this for the front of the Insight in my book on suspension.

More points to keep in mind:

- increasing the stiffness of the rear springs while keeping the standard ones will increase rear roll stiffness, so reducing understeer

- increasing front and rear spring stiffness by the same amount will return understeer to pretty much standard (ie lots!)

- increasing spring stiffness (front or rear) and increasing ride height (eg by an inch) will increase available bump travel, which on the Insight in standard form is very small indeed. This in turn improves both ride and handling (because the car isn't hitting the bump stops all the time).

- increasing front and rear spring stiffness, increasing ride height (eg by an inch), fitting progressive rear bump stops and fitting a rear anti-roll bar gives an extraordinary upgrade in ride and handling. You'd normally also need to replace the rear dampers eg by Gaz adjustables.

But back to springs - there's no magic in the Matiz (or their copies) springs; they just happened to be the first I found that gave reasonable results.
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Old 02-22-2017, 04:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi Julien,

I enjoyed your 2003 review! Fitted pretty well with my later acquaintance with the car, save only that you didn't mention what I'd say was the third design weakness – the electric steering. Took me a while to figure out what was going on, and in truth it is not much of an issue until you get on a motorway/highway, where its failure to self-correct means you have to pay constant attention to keep from wandering off the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianEdgar View Post
...The standard rear spring rate is 1.4 kg/mm (78 pounds/inch) and the Matiz springs are 2.1 kg/mm (118 pounds/inch).
I've taken the liberty of putting your numbers into the first post in this thread – I hope that is ok?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianEdgar View Post
Over the years I've had custom springs made for me a number of times. These days, with most spring companies using design software, it's easier now than ever. Just specify the rate, how high you want the ride height compared with standard, and how much weight is working through each rear corner, and they'll make the springs for you. Prices will vary quite a lot, depending on the company.
I noticed that Australia has one of the most helpful makers of springs when I wanted some special valve springs a year or two back...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianEdgar View Post
If you want to save money, the cheapest approach will always be a wrecking yard, where you want to look for springs very similar to the standard Insight, but with thicker wire or less free coils. Go too stiff and you'll find that the rear dampers are nowhere near strong enough - you'll get a pogo-like ride.

For anyone who wants to explore in more detail exactly how to methodically work out the exact spring characteristics needed to achieve the desired outcome, I cover doing this for the front of the Insight in my book on suspension.

More points to keep in mind:

- increasing the stiffness of the rear springs while keeping the standard ones will increase rear roll stiffness, so reducing understeer
Is this a real phenomenon, or is one increasing the slip angle at the rear, thus changing the balance as between front and rear? I guess there will be some kind of balance which suits different drivers' preferences/tastes. Generally I think I recall it used to be felt that understeer was safest for relatively unskilled drivers, although I recall once getting into understeer in an Austin 1800 and wrestling for some time with the wheel trying to get the back to follow. It wouldn't, and I spoiled someone's hedge in consequence...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianEdgar View Post
- increasing front and rear spring stiffness by the same amount will return understeer to pretty much standard (ie lots!)
I don't think I've ever 'lost' it in the Insight with understeer, but I do find on the wiggly country roads in my part of the world that placing it accurately requires a lot of concentration. Not sure whether that is high front slip angles or another feature of the Electric Power Steering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianEdgar View Post
- increasing spring stiffness (front or rear) and increasing ride height (eg by an inch) will increase available bump travel, which on the Insight in standard form is very small indeed. This in turn improves both ride and handling (because the car isn't hitting the bump stops all the time).
As to the other consequences of raising the car – I imagine aerodynamically it is probably slightly helpful, but raising the c. of g. may reduce its smooth-road cornering ability? Still, if this is the price of preventing it skipping around unpredictably on our no-longer-maintained British roads that's probably ok.

Indeed, nothing too awful seems to happen geometrically when one raises the rear by 1" by using stiffer/longer springs? Perhaps a standard-rate but longer spring is the way to go? Thus, more height but the same rate..?

Given how the springs had clearly been bottoming (going coil-bound) it was not surprising that my bump stops didn't look to have done an awful lot of work. But by the same token, altering them wouldn't have helped - unless one made them taller, so they came into action sooner (which would have reduced the available travel even more!)

I'd have expected this rear-end bottoming to cause the car to jump sideways like my Lotus 7 used to, but I don't think it does? I guess the bottoming is produced only on straight-ahead bumps? The problem with the 7 may have been caused by the way the mild-steel springs sank with age...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulianEdgar View Post
- increasing front and rear spring stiffness, increasing ride height (eg by an inch), fitting progressive rear bump stops and fitting a rear anti-roll bar gives an extraordinary upgrade in ride and handling. You'd normally also need to replace the rear dampers eg by Gaz adjustables.
The anti-roll bar is to reduce understeer (which has returned with original spring-rate relationship front to rear)? One might achieve that by using a lower spring-rate for the front (but of a length to give 1" more height), no?

On a side note, here is what I wrote after I fitted the GAZ shocks:

First impressions... click five on the GAZ shocks was *dreadful*. Like a small boat on a big sea. After two miles I got out and wound on a couple more clicks. Usefully better, but still looser than the standard shocks, I reckon. At eight clicks I think I am in better shape than I was with the original shocks, but the ride is pretty hard.

I remember reading about Colin Chapman using lower-rate springs with higher-rate damping than was customary in his day. Is there merit in this?

And a last reflection about the Matiz springs. The pictures I’ve seen suggest that the bottom coil is several mm smaller than the coil above it. The cushioning sleeve on the last two coils of the original Insight spring was designed to sit on parallel coils. I wonder whether it will stay in position on the Matiz springs (unless, perhaps, bonded to them?) or be pushed away as the coil above tries to wipe it off the coil below?

Best regards, Tony. (Sorry, this post got rather long!)
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VIN JHMZE1350YT000065
Ditto wrecker (front end) JHMZE1350YT200047 89k miles.
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Old 02-22-2017, 05:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I enjoyed your 2003 review! Fitted pretty well with my later acquaintance with the car, save only that you didn't mention what I'd say was the third design weakness – the electric steering. Took me a while to figure out what was going on, and in truth it is not much of an issue until you get on a motorway/highway, where its failure to self-correct means you have to pay constant attention to keep from wandering off the road.

I've always loved the steering of the Insight. I think that the electric steering is near-perfect, and that from someone who has previously modified steering assist in two other cars. If the car wanders or doesn't self-centre, check the wheel alignment.


I've taken the liberty of putting your numbers into the first post in this thread – I hope that is ok?

Sure.


I noticed that Australia has one of the most helpful makers of springs when I wanted some special valve springs a year or two back...

I am sure that there are plenty of spring makers in the UK. I just mentioned getting ones made to your own specs because I think people have started treating the Matiz spings (and their copies) as if they're something mystical, not just a semi-random choice I made in a wrecking yard!

Is this a real phenomenon, or is one increasing the slip angle at the rear, thus changing the balance as between front and rear? I guess there will be some kind of balance which suits different drivers' preferences/tastes. Generally I think I recall it used to be felt that understeer was safest for relatively unskilled drivers, although I recall once getting into understeer in an Austin 1800 and wrestling for some time with the wheel trying to get the back to follow. It wouldn't, and I spoiled someone's hedge in consequence...

I don't think I've ever 'lost' it in the Insight with understeer, but I do find on the wiggly country roads in my part of the world that placing it accurately requires a lot of concentration. Not sure whether that is high front slip angles or another feature of the Electric Power Steering.

The Austin 1800 (I've had one) is still one of the best cars in the world for ride quality from a relatively cheap suspension system. But yes, it could understeer a bit.

The Insight is a typical, understeering FWD car. The easiest way to see this is to find a mid-size roundabout and simply go around it faster and faster. The front will start washing wide and the only way to stop it is to get off the power a lot. The maximum cornering speed (ie lateral acceleration) will be relatively low, because the front outside wheel is basically doing all the work.

The greater rear roll stiffness (especially of a rear anti-roll bar) does reduce understeer - the front wheels more evenly share the load if you like, while the trade-off is that the inside rear wheel (that is doing basically nothing much) is more unladen than previously.

People here have commented on how the Matiz rear springs gives faster turn-in; that's the greater rear roll stiffness. A rear anti-roll bar gives the car better turn-in again, though not to the point of having oversteer on turn-in.

If you have stiffer rear springs, and a rear anti-roll bar, you can gain throttle lift-off oversteer (ie rear slip angles higher than front) - this is a corollary of getting better handling in a FWD. However, because so few FWD cars are sold like this as standard, people may find the handling a bit more exciting.

(In my new car test career I drove only a handful of FWD cars that as standard, could trail throttle oversteer. With the exception of one notable car [the Hyundai FX coupe in 1999], these FWDs were the best handling of their genre.)


As to the other consequences of raising the car – I imagine aerodynamically it is probably slightly helpful, but raising the c. of g. may reduce its smooth-road cornering ability? Still, if this is the price of preventing it skipping around unpredictably on our no-longer-maintained British roads that's probably ok.

Drag probably worsens with the higher ride height. Handling on all types of roads is far better - smooth and rough.

Indeed, nothing too awful seems to happen geometrically when one raises the rear by 1" by using stiffer/longer springs? Perhaps a standard-rate but longer spring is the way to go? Thus, more height but the same rate..?

If you carried only one person, yes. But if you have two people and any luggage at all in the car, the standard spring rates are too low. Dunno what they say in the handbook in the UK, but in Australia I think max load was listed as two normal people and a toothbrush.

Given how the springs had clearly been bottoming (going coil-bound) it was not surprising that my bump stops didn't look to have done an awful lot of work. But by the same token, altering them wouldn't have helped - unless one made them taller, so they came into action sooner (which would have reduced the available travel even more!)

They wouldn't have been going coil bound, I think. In fact, the min length of the compressed spring is very short indeed (4 inches?). The progressive bump stops I use (again Matiz) are a little higher than the standard ones.

I'd have expected this rear-end bottoming to cause the car to jump sideways like my Lotus 7 used to, but I don't think it does? I guess the bottoming is produced only on straight-ahead bumps? The problem with the 7 may have been caused by the way the mild-steel springs sank with age...

If you're going hard enough around a corner in a standard Insight, BOTH the front and rear outside wheels are on their bump stops. The front is carrying by far the majority of the weight, and so it tends to jump sideways as the only springs become the front tyres. You can feel the front 'walking sideways' in this situation.

And yes, bottoming-out is more likely on bumps that cause both rear wheels to move upwards, because in a one-wheel bump the torsional (anti-roll bar) effect of the torsion beam rear axle comes into play.


The anti-roll bar is to reduce understeer (which has returned with original spring-rate relationship front to rear)? One might achieve that by using a lower spring-rate for the front (but of a length to give 1" more height), no?

Yes you could lower the front spring rate (or disconnect the front anti-roll bar, as some people here have done). However, as stated above regarding max permitted load, the Insight is well under-sprung in terms of rates. I am VERY fussy when it comes to ride (one reason I am going to full air suspension) and the ride over standard was vastly better with the stiffer, higher springs. The car finally had some bump travel....

On a side note, here is what I wrote after I fitted the GAZ shocks:

First impressions... click five on the GAZ shocks was *dreadful*. Like a small boat on a big sea. After two miles I got out and wound on a couple more clicks. Usefully better, but still looser than the standard shocks, I reckon. At eight clicks I think I am in better shape than I was with the original shocks, but the ride is pretty hard.

I remember reading about Colin Chapman using lower-rate springs with higher-rate damping than was customary in his day. Is there merit in this?

That's a hard question, but I think the general consensus is 'yes'.

And a last reflection about the Matiz springs. The pictures I’ve seen suggest that the bottom coil is several mm smaller than the coil above it. The cushioning sleeve on the last two coils of the original Insight spring was designed to sit on parallel coils. I wonder whether it will stay in position on the Matiz springs (unless, perhaps, bonded to them?) or be pushed away as the coil above tries to wipe it off the coil below?

The cushioning sleeve stays in place fine on the Matiz springs.

I feel a bit like a broken record, but just for everyone reading this thread, here's how to revolutionise the Insight's ride and handling:

- 1 inch higher springs front and back
- around 30 per cent stiffer front and back
- std good condition front shocks
- Gaz rear shocks
- cut down Corolla anti-roll bar in back - best if mounted on rubber or polyurethane bushes
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- Denso 23250-03010 injectors
- Custom airbox
- Self-leveling air suspension front and back
- Completely rebuilt seats


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Old 02-22-2017, 01:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Jackson View Post
On a side note, here is what I wrote after I fitted the GAZ shocks:

First impressions... click five on the GAZ shocks was *dreadful*. Like a small boat on a big sea. After two miles I got out and wound on a couple more clicks. Usefully better, but still looser than the standard shocks, I reckon. At eight clicks I think I am in better shape than I was with the original shocks, but the ride is pretty hard.

I remember reading about Colin Chapman using lower-rate springs with higher-rate damping than was customary in his day. Is there merit in this?
Just some more on this.

Firstly, without a doubt, it would be better if the Gaz shocks had independent bump and rebound adjustment. However, with what is available, I chose to set up the rear damping rates with my rear air springs like this:


- Use the height position sensor to accurately measure maximum and minimum rear suspension movements on real roads. To monitor the sensor I am currently using a multimeter that has high speed Min and Max hold functions.

- Set the ride height so that, when tested on my rough country roads, maximum and minimum deflections occur with the same frequency. (Not as obvious as it sounds: the air spring is not linear in rate.)

- Set the damping on the Gaz dampers until full suspension extension and full bump (as measured by the meter) occur only in extreme conditions.

The outcome is much better rough road handling than I've ever had out of the Insight, and a firm low speed ride that smooths at higher speed.

Measuring from the top of the removable spat to the ground, my final ride height is 65cm (25.6 inches) and I am using a Gaz damping setting of 6.5 clicks in from full soft.

My gut feeling is that the rear air spring rate is just a touch low. This makes no difference to load-carrying ability (because I can maintain a constant ride height and so natural suspension frequency - just add more air) but it means that the damping has to be set just a fraction firmer than I'd like to prevent two-wheel bottoming-out on really large bumps. Again, I am being picky - the bottoming-out is pretty soft with my revised (location and type) bump stops.

(Note that with my rear anti-roll bar, rear one wheel bumps are firmer than they would be without the rear bar.)

This is all in the context of my driving on really poor bitumen roads most of the time. My benchmarks in ride quality are my two old Mercedes - 1977 230 with oil-over-nitrogen self-levelling rear suspension and front springs that are about a metre long, and a 2003 E500 with full air suspension. The 230 has the best ride quality of any car I have ever driven (and that comparison includes a Citroen DS).
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- Turbo & water/air intercooler
- Bosch coils & Bosch ignition module
- NGK R7437-8 plugs
- Denso 23250-03010 injectors
- Custom airbox
- Self-leveling air suspension front and back
- Completely rebuilt seats


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