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My experience using the GE8 for DD, Track, and cargo...

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My experience using the GE8 for DD, Track, and cargo...

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Old 10-18-2016, 04:28 PM
RR98ITR's Avatar
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Location: South Artesia
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My experience using the GE8 for DD, Track, and cargo...

You've heard it, read it, maybe even said it: ”Honda no longer makes anything I’d be interested in driving”. And sure, they don’t make anything quite like a CRX-SI or a DC2R at the moment. But such cars are gifts and not to be taken for granted. And let’s not forget that even if they made those exact same cars again you might no longer be interested in buying one of them either.

Meantime Honda made/makes an awesome little car that does almost everything very well indeed - The FIT! It's an amazing car. It is So capable, So practical, So useable. The first and second generations - the GD3 and GE8 respectively and especially - are reputed to be Fun to Drive. I can confirm that enthusiastically. I've been driving a GE8 Fit daily for more than a year And using it as a play car AND using it as a Kart transporter and it doesn't score less than 9/10 on very many things. Power? Ok, that’s not 9/10, yeah, it could use 50-100hp more, but so what. It is what it is, and it gets what it is Right. The Sport model in Automatic is Brilliant. Put it in Sport and use the paddle shifters and it works Good! Upshifts are fast enough, and downshifts are smooth and don’t upset the chassis as you’re turning in - you just gotta be sure that your downshifts are made below the point at which the computer ignores them to protect you from over revving or there will be even less response when you tip back in (ok I’m kidding – when you toggle it back to the floor).

The driving characteristics are astoundingly good for how little you pay for the car. It has very good steering feel and feedback, minimal understeer till the ESC starts chattering the outside front wheel, and amazingly benign behavior at the limit when the ESC is off - and that's out of the box (on 195 R888’s).

My first change was to add a Progress rear sway bar which made no perceptible difference in the car at all. I read on forums that it makes for dramatic change but I think those are the comments of people with dramatic imaginations. I then changed the dampers to Bilstein and made up some spring hats so I could run spring rates of my choice. I doubled the front spring rate and tripled the rear and it's still so benign at/beyond the limit that I giggle. Those rates are pretty tolerable for daily driver duty and they seem to be decently compatible with the Bilstein damping on both street and track. They feel like they’ve got pretty linear curves – they could be better on curbs but they’re ok. Between the curves and the rates they are pretty harsh over square edged stuff on the street and the bigger the worse. I also ran eccentric camber bolts – just one per side on the bottom hole. The upright casting was too close to the Bilstein body at the top hole to get any more negative camber with a second eccentric bolt there. IF you play on the track with the stock Fit dampers you should probably try extra hard to keep off the curbs and gators - I'm pretty sure I damaged a shim or otherwise broke the stack in one of my stock struts that way. The way they're making gators these days is almost criminal - they break wheels, rip up the bottom of the car, and damage parts - might as well go back to half-burying tires at the apex as safety is apparently not the concern anymore. Also, the stock dampers top out with pretty good clunks so it's not a rally car as it comes.

There is a quirk in the chassis. The twist axle by nature of its basic design will progressively steer the outside rear “out” under lateral load, so the bushing orientation is splayed to counteract this - lateral load pushing the loaded side of the axle forward/inward along the bushing axis) . Static toe is fixed on the GE8 and mine is toed “in” about inch total. Under a particular set of conditions, not universal, the rear end can very quickly free up. Not to the point you’d call it snap oversteer, but still attention getting. The conditions are simultaneous braking and turn-in at sub-peak lateral force...braking pulls the loaded side of the axle backward/outward along the bushing axis...partially counteracting the affects of lateral force...partially because of the bias of the splay angle (favoring lateral force). This quick free-up happened to me only in T1 at The Ridge (100mph in in 4th and down to the top of 3rd in an obtuse kink of maybe 30 degrees). Elsewhere in real turns with peak lateral force it tends to push a little - moreso when you overdo braking and turn-in. . I think under the right(?) conditons the outside rear passes thru the inflection point between toe in and toe out. It can only go so far and that is a saving grace of the factory design and bushing hardness spec. If you were to bend the twist axle to get a static toe of zero or slightly out AND replace the bushings with heims, then the car would go from 9 to 10 on the fun scale. The GD3 Does have a bolt on rear hub carrier and so can be modified to adjust toe and camber – therefore the GD3 is in that respect a better starting point.

The other thing you have to deal with is the tire pressure sensors. On the GE8 you can’t turn off the ESC if the ECU doesn’t see the TPMS sensors. So you need to buy another set of sensors for your track wheels AND you need to buy an ATEC Quickset and an ATEC VT30. Disclaimer: I don’t know you – maybe You shouldn’t turn off Your ESC. I’ve done laps as an instructor where hardly a corner went by that the students ESC wasn’t working hard and I wasn’t glad for it. Again the GD3 is probably a better starting point.

Tom Lepper told me that they run the stock sump and no accusump on his H-Production Fit and have had no oil starvation problems on real race rubber, and with that reassurance I didn't worry about it at my lower level of grip on skinny R888’s. On the hottest summer days at the track I had no issues with engine or transmission temperature over 20-minute sessions.

The brakes require upgrading of course - I used Hawk Blue pads on the front and ATE 200 fluid and that has sufficed except for that at the end of a session if you just come in and park it some part of the brake system heat soaks and boils the fluid and to combat that I've had to drive around the paddock for 5-10 minutes to cool it down. Gotta face it - the car wasn't really designed for this kind of use.

With regard to the trailer hitch – I thought the best one for my purposes was Torklift’s. It mounts by sandwiching under the bumper rebar, and it’s got a longitudinal brace that carries forward to the jacking point. The rating is max 200lb tongue weight, but in my experience (admittedly a little beyond that number AND cantilevered a foot) that’s too much to ask of the sheet metal structure. My loaded kart rack eventually ripped the jackpad off the supporting members. I resolved that by running a tie strap from the top of the kart rack mast thru the rear passenger windows.

I can’t say enough good about the Honda Fit. If you don’t have a real need for more car than the Fit then the Fit might be one of the best things automotive you ever do.

Scott, who isn’t going to play with his Fit anymore…its job to help me with my Jonesing is done…just wanted to share what I’d learned…the goodies will be for sale…

Tech details:
Front springs: H&R 250-60-030 (250mm length, 60mm ID, 30n/mm rate) – installed spring height 8-3/8 inches gives approx stock ride height.
Rear springs: H&R 200-050 (200mm length, 60mm ID, 50n/mm rate)
Rear helpers: H&R ZF080-005 (80mm length, 60mm ID, 5n/mm rate)

Vendors:
King Motorsports
Tire Rack
 
Attached Thumbnails My experience using the GE8 for DD, Track, and cargo...-trmp-2-tracknight-8-25-16-2.jpg   My experience using the GE8 for DD, Track, and cargo...-honda-fit-kart-karrier-closeup-small.jpg   My experience using the GE8 for DD, Track, and cargo...-fit-susp-ff.jpg  

Last edited by RR98ITR; 01-09-2017 at 04:01 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2016, 06:05 PM
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Edmonton, AB. Canada
Posts: 753
Thank you. Personally I'd like adjustable dampers for a track toy/DD.
 
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:34 PM
PaeGe8's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: SoCal
Posts: 114
Interesting. How'd you mount/ what you use to mount the kart like that? I plan on getting into karting and wonder how to carry it around...
 
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