For most suspension stories, we can almost predict that the general idea will somehow involve an installation of said parts, with us telling you how many inches you can lower the car, how it'll handle like it's on rails, the whole nine; nothing new (our bad). And you're left wondering: Well, shoot, how did they really feel after installing them? You're right; it's something we can't explain in full detail because we, like most of you, are not track whores of the highest caliber (yes, all you weekend racers are excused). So we did the next best thing: We got Tanabe's Sustec Pro SEVEN coilovers into the hands of a real life drifter, the master of all things Sileighty--Benson Hsu--to give us a true rundown of how the Seven coilovers can perform for you on both the street and the drift circuit. We should do this "leave it up to the pros" thing more often. -Ed.
When it comes to 240s and suspension, I've driven just about any setup you can think of: stock, upgraded shocks and springs, cut springs, blown suspensions and many varieties of coilovers. My most recent favorite coilovers were the Tanabe Sustec Pro DDs. That is, until I tried these SEVENs out.
The Sustec Pro SEVEN is everything you could want in a coilover. It has a wide range of height adjustments so that you can raise it up if the local law enforcement gives you trouble, and you can also make the car super low without getting close to maxing out the threads. It uses a new slide valve technology, which is an obvious improvement over the older Sustec Pro DD, with its much tighter dampening. Even while street driving I could really tell the difference: at full soft, the car is definitely still street driveable and actually very comfortable. At full stiff, the car felt like it was connected directly to the ground. It overcame the cracked streets without throwing off the car's balance and the bouncing that you'd normally feel on coilovers that have mismatched valving and spring rates. Another nice improvement is that the number of dampening adjustments has been increased from four to 16. Normally 16 different settings would seem a bit much, but I was amazed to feel that there is actually a noticeable difference between each setting. And with me being as picky as I am about suspension feel, having more options is definitely a plus.
So much of the feedback that I've gathered since installing the SEVENs would have taken forever without Tanabe's new Electric Active Suspension (TEAS) controller. It's a small device that lets you change damper settings from the driver's seat. Every time I wanted to fine tune my settings, I would normally pop my hood, pop my trunk, unbuckle myself from my seven-point seatbelt harnesses, climb out of the rollcage and then jump out of the car with my little adjusting tool. After doing this a few times throughout the day, it gets to be a chore. Now I can make changes immediately as I feel the need. A nice feature is that it has eight programmable settings, so if I find a good setting for Irwindale and a good setting for the drive home, I can easily switch between the two.
The TEAS unit also has an "Active Mode" that will make dampening adjustments automatically based on fully customizable wheel speed limits. This idea is truly innovative and--as a person who enjoys drifting as well as road racing and autocrossing--I can't wait to see how this feature will play out in different environments. So far I've tested the Active Mode while drifting on a race track with a medium speed sweeper and a low speed tight sweeper. With the limited track time I had, I was able to realize that at higher wheel speeds, I like the shocks set at a softer setting than when I'm at lower wheel speeds.
* Uses competition spec PRO210 racing springs
* Case length and preload adjustments; dampening adjustable for a number of height and weight settings
* Constructed from high tensile CNC forged aluminum knuckles, exceeding OEM standards
* Reinforced shock piston and valving to resist flexing or snapping
* Durable spring seat and locking nut
* Includes upper pillowball mounts; front plates have adjustable camber
* Compatible with TEAS (Tanabe Electric Active Suspension) controller