Alrighty. I've got over a hundred pictures to post of the trip to Petty's, and they're processed and ready for posting. I'll post those in a separate thread entirely, then link to it from here. Since this forum only allows 10 pics per post, it'll take a lot of posts to get them all in.
But I CAN post initial impressions!
On exiting Petty's, I was surprised at how compliant these shocks are. I expected every bump to be a punch in the kidneys, but it was not so. When Pedders says they're smooth and controlled, they're being honest. There's a bit more NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) from the road, which surprised me, and you still feel harder bumps. But, then, I felt those in the stock setup. Everything else is soaked up. For reference, I rolled out of Petty's with all adjusters, both bump and rebound, set to 15/30.
I cut the corner onto the highway on-ramp hard as I headed home, and the car stuck and stuck HARD. That brief flash of planted cornering was impressive, to say the least.
The additional spring rate also meant that hitting the throttle caused the car to spend less time squatting and more time going, which is a good thing. It improves the immediacy of the power getting to the ground.
On the way way home, they provided a smooth ride, but with one caveat: large bumps in the highway were soaked up quickly and the suspension quickly returned to its steady state, but smaller bumps would hit the front and then rear and set the car to rocking backing and forth for just a few seconds. The best word I can find to describe it is "seesawing". But given North Carolina's roads, this meant I frequently found my headlights bobbing up and down on the back of the car in front of me. It started to get a little tiresome.
This is to be somewhat expected with a higher spring rate, though. It increases the ride frequency of the setup. (A good paper on ride frequency can be found here
, and its contents likely explain why Pedders switched to a 12 kg/mm spring on the rear for these shocks.)
This morning I decided to try to stiffen the damping on the rear to see if I could reduce the tendency to seesaw. I discovered that I may unfortunately need to take the car back to Petty's. When the car was in the shop, I was able to adjust the topmost knob on the rear quite easily. This morning, it seemed stuck. I thought maybe something was wrong with the shock, but on wiggling the knob, I got the motion I wanted. It feels like the stem on the adjuster is catching in the hole drilled for it in the mount, so I have to keep fiddling with it to get the adjustment I want. I'll see what I can do before I take it in. (This is the only sore spot, by the way, in an otherwise excellent experience at Petty's, as I'll cover in the other thread once that's up.)
I managed to get the rear left set properly, but I'm not sure. Target for both bump and rebound on the rear was 17/30.
On the way in to work this morning, I decided to take the way in that includes both midcorner bumps and actual corners. There's a pretty big one on entry to the first corner, and the car hit it... and the rear end felt like it bucked vertically rather hard, which caused me to lift off the throttle to be cautious. Once I got through that, I gave it more throttle and took the last few transitions, and the car stayed well-planted.
So far, I can say the car definitely stays more planted in corners, and in combination with my BMR sway bars there's very little body roll. In a smooth corner, it feels GOOD.
Mid-corner bumps right now are a bit scary, though, since they seem to cause the tail to want to buck more than did my old Eibach-on-FE3 setup. I'll do some more tweaking on the shocks, see if I can find a setting that reduces it. Paradoxically, I may need to reduce the damping to allow the car to find that motion described in the ride frequency article/doc above. (In fact, talking to my car-nut-knows-a-heckuva-lot-more-than-I-do coworker, that's what he suggested.) So the quest continues!