As you will be able to read in this month’s fitting guide feature, I’ve been busy making further improvements to the RS’s handling abilities. Well, I haven’t; but the crew at SCC Performance have! Ever since I saw SCC’s head honcho, Rob Oldman, post on social media about a new range of Powerflex bushes they offer, I was straight on the phone to find out more. When Rob explained the clever design for the front wishbone bracket means that the new Powerflex PFF19-1802G bushes actually help with anti-lift under hard acceleration and also dial-in a further 1deg of positive caster for better turn-in too, I just had to give them a try.
So, a date was set and I headed off to St Albans to have everything fitted up. You can read all the details of the step-by-step process over on page 90 – while it’s a job many competent mechanics will be able to cope with, it can be a fiddly process capable of throwing the odd spanner in the works (like when the old bushes won’t press out and have to be cut, for example), so is perhaps a job best left to people like SCC where they have all the tools on-hand to get out of a tight spot if things don’t go as smoothly as the instructions say they should.
While I was at SCC I also got chatting to Rob about the camber-adjustable wishbone bushes and the rear diff inserts that Powerflex offer, so I might be coming back again in the future to have some of those fitted too.
The difference the wishbone bushes have made is instantly noticeable. Before you even drive the car, you can see it sits visibly lower at the front and the wheels are closer to the front bumper thanks to that extra caster. But when you do drive it, you can really feel the difference. Undoubtedly the firmer material helps keep the chassis tighter, but that extra caster really does make the front of the car feel much sharper. It just goes where you point it! At the same time, while I’m yet to fully exploit the anti-lift properties (with a bit of launch-control!), I have to admit that the front-end grip does feel better when booting it away from junctions and what have you. The Mk3 RS could never really be labelled as having traction problems, but it’s not until you start fitting upgrades like these that you notice how much room for improvement there actually is in the factory setup.
Another little job I got sorted while I was at SCC was a slight problem with the front brakes vibrating. The old adage ‘do as I say, not as I do’ has never been truer. While I may have preached the importance of correctly bedding-in new brakes when I had the Tarox discs and pads fitted, I’m ashamed to say that I got a bit giddy with the brakes on the way home. In the process, I fear I may have slightly warped the discs – those Corsa pads are phenomenal, but clearly do get quite hot when you use them hard!
Thankfully, SCC have invested in a clever disc-skimming machine, which can skim material off the discs while in-situ to ensure you get a perfectly flat disc face. It’s ideal, even for new discs, because it means that everything is machined in-situ and eliminates any discrepancies in hub/suspension assembly to ensure the disc face runs perfectly true. At £100 per axle it’s much cheaper than new discs, and worth the cost to unlock maximum braking potential.
I would like to say how great the brakes are now, but I’m bedding them in properly this time so won’t be jumping on the anchors in anger until everything’s settled-in nicely.
One thing’s for sure though, this car is getting better by the minute!