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Project IS-F Part 5: Sikky Manufacturing Rear Sway Bar, Figs Engineering Adjustable Lower Arms and Toe Links, Project Mu Brake Rotors and Pads

By Mike Kojima

When we last left off, we had just installed KW Variant 3 coilovers on our car with some superlight forged Volk G2 wheels and sticky Nitto NT05 tires.  The wheels had a pretty awesome fitment filling the wheelwells nicely but not being too radical for fully practical everyday driving.  Now it was time to finish setting up the chassis.  We wanted to make the car capable of doing some track work without sacrificing ride comfort, daily driveability or tire life.

Our stock brakes had also worn quite badly.  Although we had driven our car only 21,000 miles, the pads were worn out and the rotors were shot.  Our theory is that the stock brake pads are an aggressive compound from the factory and they really chew up rotors.  They also created tons of corrosive black brake dust which had etched the clearcoat of our stock wheels even though we diligently cleaned them about every two weeks. 

The brake dust was even staining and pitting the flanks of the car!  This car had about the worst case of brake dust we have ever seen on a street car much less a car with OEM brakes.  We had to do something about this issue as well.

Read More About Project IS-F Here!

So our KW Variant 3 coilovers gave us a pretty cool stance but we needed to increase the range of adjustment for the alignment of our rear wheels for both performance reasons and to prevent tire wear issues.  We were unable to sufficiently reduce negative camber enough within the range of adjustment of the stock eccentrics.

To address our rear camber issues, we contacted Figs Engineering for a set of their race version Mega ArmsMega Arms allow the use of the stock eccentrics for fine adjustment and an adjustable monoball spherical bearing for course adjustment. Figs offers a lower priced arm but we opted for the deluxe 3-piece precision Motorsports set.  The differences are the use of a very high quality Aurora bearing set, Tig vs Mig welding, dimple die punch outs and additional gusseting.  Other additional and important features of the higher priced arms are a slotted lower shock mount to adjust the coilover motion ratio and 3 position mounting available for the lower swaybar mount.  The Motorsports arms are also lighter at 4.6 lbs vs 5.3 lbs for the lower priced arms reducing unsprung weight.

We also opted for the Figs toe links.  One of the major advantages of the Figs link is that the stock eccentric can be mounted at the maximum inboard position and the the toe adjustment can then be done through the links.  This effectively makes the toe link longer so it travels through a flatter arc reducing toe steer.  Like the lower arms, two versions are offered, an economy set with injection molded ball joint inserts and a Motorsports version using high quality Aurora bearings.  The tapered mounting studs are machined from heat treated 4140 chrome moly with a rust resistant coating.  4140 is a higher nickel alloy that is stronger than traditional 4130.  The link body is machined from 1012 steel with a rust resistant black dichromate coating.  The rest of the hardware is 303 stainless.  To retain the ABS sensors, cushioned adel clamps are used.
 
Technosquare's Howard Watanabe installs our Figs Engineering lower arms and toe adjusters.  The quality was top notch and the fit was perfect.  At this time we did a quick and dirty rough alignment using toe plates just to get us down the road to Westend Alignment for a full alignment.
 
 

 

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Comments
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Thursday, June 21, 2012 7:02 PM
Great bits and pieces for a quality wrap-up to the suspension and handling!

Sikky headers....CARB legal!?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, June 21, 2012 8:38 PM
No love for the IS-F!
Julian ITR
Julian ITRlink
Friday, June 22, 2012 2:37 AM
Some nice ideas on this build, and good writeup as always, I liked reading it :) Always good to learn new suspension stuff,
But I wonder, isn't 2° camber a bit much for a car that gets rarely driven fast through corners?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, June 22, 2012 3:31 AM
No it isnt and the car gets driven fast.
Rockwood
Rockwoodlink
Friday, June 22, 2012 12:25 PM
Damn, I saw the monoballs and thought the Mrs was going to have a fit. Nice to hear they didn't turn the IS-F into a rattling track special.
czubaka
czubakalink
Friday, June 22, 2012 6:16 PM
Poor Mike! Of course we love the IS-F! I just wish I could afford one right now. It's amazing how well the car responds to basic mods. Plus I'd imagine the reliability is (hopefully) much better than the German competition.

I wonder how long the aurora bearings will hold up during street use. Fig's site mentions the "economy" ends are supposed to support better shock loading.

Also, why no 2-piece rotors? Does anyone make some decent non-noisy ones?
6SPD_soul
6SPD_soullink
Saturday, June 23, 2012 6:56 AM
I'm kind of surprised that Lexus didn't build any camber/caster adjustment into the front suspension from the factory, but maybe that's not uncommon for the other cars in this segment either.

I also wasn't aware that manual alignments are that much more reliable/accurate than computerized. The machines are pretty idiot proof and seem very accurate to me, but I've never even tried to do a manual alignment.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Monday, June 25, 2012 6:30 AM
Dang, and I thought -1.6* front camber on my Mustang was a bit much for a daily driver.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, June 25, 2012 9:35 AM
1.6 degrees negative won't hurt tire wear much if your toe is set right. It will help wear if you drive hard.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 8:05 AM
BTW, the car now handles so well, I have a huge grin on my face when I drive it. It is really fun.
Mike @FIGS Engineering
Mike @FIGS Engineeringlink
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 9:06 PM
Thanks for the great write up Mike, even though we made you pay for parts :) We will have some great improvements up front soon enough. 2-P rotors are ready to test and control arms are getting small tweaks. Glad you are enjoying the upgrades.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 9:10 PM
I would rather pay for what I want instead of getting inferior quality sponsored parts. I know that you are a small company making cool parts for a small market and applicate the support you give us.
Mike @FIGS Engineering
Mike @FIGS Engineeringlink
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 9:02 PM
Hey Mike, rear 2-P rotors will be here tomorrow. That means I will have one complete set available..wink wink. You are going to like the bi-metal rear rotor hats.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:25 PM
Save them for me! I will pick them up.
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