Greetings, fellow car enthusiasts! Last week I picked up Launch Edition # 444 from a local Alfa dealer here in the greater Cleveland, Ohio (USA) area. This car spent the first few years of life in Florida, eventually ending. up in New Jersey two years ago. And now, it is mine! Pearl white...
As of tomorrow I will have owned my 2015 4C LE for exactly 4 weeks. In that time I’ve manage to put just over 1,000 miles on the car already! Shortly after purchasing the car I decided to get new tires (215/245 Conti ExtremeContact Sport) and a new alignment. At that point the car felt 75% better; more confident under load, and more enjoyable to drive hard in the 30-70 MPH range. However the car still felt light/vague on-center at expressway speeds, and the lack of return-to-center made the car overall not as fun to take anywhere that required freeway driving. But pushing the car hard was a blast on some of my favorite back roads. Additionally, driving the car *(always in Dynamic mode) one could feel the shift slop In the lower motor mount.
MOTOR MOUNT BUSHING
Wanting to firm up the shifts, I purchased the PowerFlex Race (Black) bushing insert, which also includes the nylon sleeve for the bolt. I honestly did not expect much, as my past experiences with motor mount bushings is that you usually have a lot of NVH, for moderate gains. However, I could not be happier! Shifting is super crisp, and the throttle feels far more connected to the chassis— not just shifts, but even tip-in on the accelerator. And with basically no notable NVH worsening, this was perhaps the BEST mod I’ve done to date. Highly recommend!
Oddly named, most forum members know these blocks replace the factory mounting blocks with ones that dial in more caster. Based on reading here, I anticipated the car would track better on the freeway, and it DOES! It pleases me to say that the other 25% that I wanted is now resolved, and the car’s desire to track straight allowed me to drive with much greater confidence at 70+ MPH (did one “pull” on the expressway to a respectable albeit not legal speed and the car felt really solid). However, the end result is not 100% because...
There is a notable increased effort to steer the car. This is not noted at < 25 MPH where you already had to put in a fair bit of effort anyhow, and you really wont feel it on the road at > 70 MPH because the steering input angles are never that great (maybe on-track you’d feel it, but 99% of my car seat time will be road, not race). But at speeds between 25 and 70 MPH you feel it; and after going back, revisiting some of my favorite roads, I noted the extra arm effort, and steering input, to make the car rotate. Turn-in is delayed, and understeer is amplified. The car has moved slightly further in that direction, for the sake of the caster.
For those curious, my final #s:
Front Caster +4.42 degrees
Front Camber -0.99 degrees (shims maxed out due to threads)
Front Toe +0.09 degrees (toe-in)
Rear Camber -1.74 degrees
Rear Toe +0.30 degrees (toe-in)
(all this obtained with the “fast road” AlfaWerks blocks)
At this point I plan to drive the car more before I tinker. I’d like to make the car turn in quicker, and I have to wonder if going ZERO front toe (instead of toe in) would help. Or, dial in a bit LESS toe-in in the rear. Anyone who has any experience here, I’d be happy to listen. I’d also expect some sway bar changes could dial this in. I’d say the car is 95-98% perfect ... and I’m inclined to not make any major changes.
Would I do the blocks again? Probably, because I do a decent amount of expressway driving. I’d expect that 25% of my miles on this car will end up being at 70MPH or greater, so I want the car to feel good. If you do 10% or less of your total driving on the freeway, then I think the first steps I did (a good Alignment) may be adequate. Obviously there is also some subjectivity here— what you like the FEEL of matters For a road car. If we’re talking about what is fastest around the track, there is a mix of objectivity there, as well as subjective to what provides that specific driver the confident they need to drive the car at the limit. But it is more weighted towards objectivity. (One could argue that my car’s current setup is objectively “safer“ because of the under steer, I suppose— but lets not go down that rabbit hole haha)
Thanks for reading!
PS: First photo in this post is at the ASM HQ (see link above). Second photo is my 4C with my Audi R8 .. except that my friend now owns the Audi R8 ... how I miss that car. (We cruised around this weekend, very fun!)