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Nissan’s self-proclaimed ideal “four-door sports car” is back and better than ever.  Living up to its name, the new 2016 Nissan Maxima has won over our hearts here at STILLEN with its combination of performance, style, luxury, and practicality.   Boasting a rumbling 3.5-liter V-6 producing a whopping 300 HP, the 2016 Nissan Maxima has more than enough power to push you back in your seat with just the lightest touch of the gas pedal.  This kind of performance – paired with aggressive, futuristic styling and a spacious, luxurious interior – results in a car that checks off all of the right boxes.

Up in northern California, Premier Nissan of Fremont proudly displays the new Maxima in their showroom for all customers to see.  However, upon closer inspection, one realizes that this example isn’t just any regular old Maxima.  Here at STILLEN, we are pleased to announce that Premier Nissan of Fremont is the latest dealership to feature our products on their showroom 2016 Nissan Maxima.  Adorned with a STILLEN front splitter and rear diffuser, the new Maxima has sure been turning a lot of heads on the showroom floor!

Premier Nissan of Fremont 2016 Nissan Maxima with STILLEN package

The STILLEN-equipped 2016 Nissan Maxima is breaking necks in Premier Nissan’s showroom!

 

New STILLEN Front Splitter and Rear Diffuser for 2016 Nissan Maxima

The new STILLEN front lip/splitter and rear diffuser have been designed to subtly compliment the naturally aggressive lines of the 2016 Nissan Maxima.  If one didn’t know any better, they could very well appear to be OEM additions.  Both products are fabricated from durable and resilient polyurethane, meaning they are built to last.  Additionally, each piece can be installed with relative ease thanks to our 3M automotive trim foam tape that comes pre-installed.  With these STILLEN body modifications, the Premier Nissan of Fremont’s Maxima is quickly becoming quite the showstopper (or, in this case, a showroom-stopper).

Premier Nissan of Fremont 2016 Nissan Maxima with STILLEN rear diffuser

The STILLEN rear diffuser compliments the already-aggressive lines of the 2016 Nissan Maxima.

 

Part Number

STILLEN KB12841 Front Splitter

STILLEN KB12818MB Rear Diffuser – Matte Black

 

Why Stop There?  Other STILLEN Upgrades Are Also Available!

In addition to the front splitter and rear diffuser featured on the Premier Nissan of Fremont showroom vehicle, STILLEN also offers other upgrades for the new 2016 Nissan Maxima in order to help maximize the vehicle’s look and performance.  These upgrades include:

STILLEN 402967 Cold Air Intake

STILLEN 504399 Stainless Steel Axle-Back Exhaust system

STILLEN KB12844 Roof Wing

Premier Nissan of Fremont 2016 Nissan Maxima with STILLEN rear diffuser

A STILLEN exhaust would make the perfect pairing with the STILLEN rear diffuser. It’s almost as if they were made for one another…

 

Premier Nissan of Fremont – Making Your Car Dreams a Reality

Premier Nissan of Fremont is known throughout the northern California area for having a sales staff that is dedicated to providing their customers with the new or used vehicle of their dreams.  Each staff member boasts an extensive wealth of knowledge regarding their products and can help a customer find the right car that fits his or her needs.  Their parts department is also known for offering very competitive pricing, and, to a certain extent, is even willing to price match other competitors as well.

In regards to the STILLEN front lip and diffuser set offered for the 2016 Nissan Maxima, Premier Nissan of Fremont claims that the products help set the car apart from all the other vehicles on the lot by transforming and enhancing the Maxima’s already sporty appearance.  They acknowledge that STILLEN products are backed by our long standing Nissan heritage, resulting in high-end parts that both they and their customers can trust.  We certainly appreciate having a dealership that values our history with Nissan as much as we do!  At Premier Nissan of Fremont, they take their representation of Nissan very seriously!

To schedule your appointment with the Premier Nissan of Fremont sales staff, please call (855) 862-2380 or stop by their showroom, which is located at 5701 Cushing Parkway, Fremont, CA 94538.  To get ahold of their service center, call (510) 455-7441.  For more information, please check out Premier Nissan of Fremont’s website.

Premier Nissan of Fremont 2016 Nissan Maxima with STILLEN package

Feel free to check out the STILLEN Maxima at Premier Nissan of Fremont’s showroom!

 

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the STILLEN parts featured on the Premier Nissan of Fremont Maxima, please contact us by calling (866) 250-5542.  Our experts will be happy to answer any of your questions, make recommendations, and help you strategize how to maximize your Maxima in both its performance and style.

 

The End of an Era Begins

With the introduction of the Q50 Twin Turbo and 2.0 turbo, 2016 marks the beginning of the end for the now famous Nissan VQ family of engines.

For nearly two decades, the Nissan V6 engines have been based on the VQ platform. These engines have been widely revered as powerful, fun, and innovative V6 mills with a distinctive sound – some would argue the “best” sound on the market.

STILLEN has always been fond of the VQ and its many variants; VQ35, VQ35DE, VQ35 rev-up, VQ35HR, VQ40 (found on the mini-truck and compact SUV line), and of course, the swan song VQ37 featuring Nissan’s progressive VVEL technology.

Nissan Returns to Its Roots

With deep respect and fond appreciation we say good-bye to the VQ. Now, we’re ushering in a new era by going back in history about 25 years.

Sound weird?

To our eyes anyway, Nissan appears to be returning to its performance roots. Long time Nissan fans know that the epitome of a performance Nissan engine is the VG30 3.0 liter V6 engine found in the Z32 chassis Nissan 300ZX. These cars were feared and respected in their time and are now considered timeless classics.

The latest excitement surrounding NISSAN power plants is the new VR30 3.0 liter V6.

See the resemblance?

The VR30 comes in two flavors, 300HP and 400HP. Needless to say, here at STILLEN we can’t wait to work on these engines.

However, it isn’t the only interesting new turbo engine available from Nissan/Infiniti.

The new Q50 is already available with a 4 cylinder turbo engine sourced from Mercedes.

Which leads us to the question…

One Turbo or Two?

Contrary to all the talk about the Infiniti Q50 and the all-new VR30 Twin Turbo, there’s been nothing but crickets about the Q50 2.0 Turbo that recently hit Infiniti showrooms.

Makes us wonder: is two the minimum number of turbos required to generate online chatter these days? Or is it more about engine displacement? Both?

Regardless, as usual the car with the smaller engine gets ignored. Here at STILLEN, we love underdogs because they usually embody the kind of performance challenge we love to take on.

And we know there’ll be plenty of enthusiasts who will pick up a Q50 4-banger and promptly begin to modify it.

So color us inspired!

infinit q50 2.0 turbo engine

Small but Mighty? The Infiniti 2.0t engine has plenty of promise!

Your 15 Seconds of Fame

Everyone dreams of owning that 500+ horsepower monster…the one that gets you daydreaming. You know the scenario: that magical day you line up on a Ferrari and live out everyone’s Fast and Furious fantasy.

The one where you:

  1. Win the race
  2. Shame the dude
  3. Get the girl

Ahhh yes…

Now that you’ve taken a second to imagine that scene from the movie, let’s return to reality. Because of real life concerns like budgets, insurance, significant others and gas mileage, lots of people will be purchasing the 2.0 Turbo version.

You know..the model that only has one turbo.

“One turbo? Old school, Bruh”.

Nah…the truth is, turbos in any quantity are back to stay and will likely usher in a golden era of automotive performance that we last enjoyed in the turbocharged 90’s.

No Replacement for Displacement?

Sure, bigger displacement motors will always be the dominant power plants in regards to hop up potential. There truly is no replacement for displacement after all.

And there seems to be a particular stigma in the Luxury Sport Sedan/Coupe scene about small displacement motors. While many owners now equate larger displacement 6 cylinder engines with luxury, let’s not forget that these 4 cylinder turbo motors aren’t that different that those found in other sporty cars.

A Weighty Decision

The weight differential between “pure” sports cars and “luxury” sport cars is less than you might think. For example: Subaru WRX – 3400 lbs, Audi S3 – 3400 lbs, Mitsubishi Evo – 3500 lbs. Granted, the Q50 2.0t weighs in around 3700 lbs. And yes, those other cars come from the factory with a lot more power.

However, there are plenty of indications that this engine is very capable of respectable output. We already know some versions of this motor (sourced from Mercedes) make 241 hp from the factory. The 208 hp version has been tuned to around 260 hp (and 302 lb-ft torque) with the stock turbo.

Needless to say, it appears there’s room for growth. If it’s possible to get the 2.0t into the 300 crank horsepower range, it will definitely be a blast to drive. It’d pretty much erase the 200 pound penalty and deliver all the real world benefits of a smaller displacement engine (insurance, gas mileage, happy girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, etc).

Go Fast Bits – Developing Q50 Turbo Aftermarket Parts

STILLEN has already confirmed fitment of our body styling polyurethane parts (Splitter, Diffuser, Side Splitters, Roof Wing, and Deck Wing), Axle-Back Exhaust, and Rear Sway Bar. We have a cat-back exhaust in development and more goodies on the testing bench.

Handling wise, our friends at RS-R already have lowering springs and coilovers done.

So the power, performance and style parts for the 2.0t Q50 are already on tap and ready to quench your thirst.

infiniti q50 2.0t engine

The Infinity 2.0t looks docile. Looks can be deceiving though.

Driving Impression: Torque to the Rescue

When Infiniti released the Q50 back in 2013 (as a 2014 model), the enthusiast community was impressed by its styling, comfort, and performance. The tried and true VQ37 provided ample power for a bit of fun and that refined feeling. It was only a matter of time before Infiniti followed the market trend and began spec’ing a small displacement turbo engine for the base model. Like most people, we thought this was a bit of a travesty (we’d grown rather fond of the raspy V6).

Now that we finally got a chance to drive the 2016 version of the small displacement Q50…it’s..not so bad.

At the bottom end, horsepower feels a bit anemic, but a dose of torque on the low end of the curve helps move things off the line.

At the other end of the spectrum, the car definitely lacks the top end power we were accustomed to with the previous engine. Once you pass about 5K rpm it feels like the motor is being reined in. The power stops building and the acceleration falls off a bit.

It isn’t terrible, but it’s a little disappointing to say the least.

Good News Travel Fast

The good new is, our initial testing with exhaust parts has definitely yielded improved feel in top end power. This hints that the car will be very responsive to mods. Who knows…maybe a STILLEN modified 2.0t will end up being faster than the VQ37 equipped Q50’s. Time will tell.

Meanwhile…

Call your STILLEN Power, Performance and Style expert at 866-250-5422. We’ll help you build the Q50 of your dreams!

2016-Infiniti-Q50-front-three-quarter

The 2016 Q50 looks the business in STILLEN’s favorite color

 

2016-Infiniti-Q50-rear-three-quarter

This could be a common view of a STILLEN modified 2.0t. “Buh-Bye Mr. 3.7!”

With the emergence of the new 2016 Nissan Maxima, Nissan has allowed the vehicle to return to its roots.  Hailed by Nissan as the quintessential “four-door sports car,” the new Maxima certainly has begun to live up to its name.  Sporting a fire-breathing, 300-hp 3.5-liter V-6, “spaceship-like” exterior styling, and a roomy, luxurious interior, the 2016 Maxima is a finely balanced machine that knows how to put the “fun” in function.  However, in order to help kick things up a notch, the team over at White Plains Nissan has added a STILLEN front lip kit and rear diffuser on their latest showroom 2016 Maxima!  The result of this package deal is now an aggressive, sporty ride that nearly any car enthusiast would love to have sitting in his or her garage.

White Plains Nissan 2016 Nissan Maxima with STILLEN package

THE STILLEN-equipped Nissan Maxima at White Plains Nissan is a showroom standout!

 

New STILLEN Front Splitter and Rear Diffuser for 2016 Nissan Maxima

The new STILLEN front lip/splitter and rear diffuser have been designed and crafted to subtlety compliment the naturally aggressive lines of the 2016 Nissan Maxima, resulting in a look that ultimately appears to be an OEM addition.    Both pieces are constructed from durable and resilient polyurethane and can be installed with relative ease.  The front splitter provides moderate increases in both down-force to the front wheels and airflow through the radiator and heat exchanger.  The rear diffuser, on the other hand, can help increase the airflow underneath the car.  Of course, each STILLEN piece also helps improve the overall appearance of the Maxima as well!

White Plains Nissan 2016 Nissan Maxima with STILLEN front splitter

White Plains Nissan 2016 Nissan Maxima with STILLEN rear diffuser

The STILLEN front splitter and rear diffuser compliment the aggressive styling of the new Maxima quite nicely.

STILLEN Front Splitter

STILLEN Rear Diffuser

 

Other STILLEN 2016 Nissan Maxima Upgrades

In addition to the front splitter and rear diffuser, STILLEN also offers other upgrades for the new 2016 Nissan Maxima in order to help maximize the vehicle’s look and performance.  These upgrades include:

STILLEN Cold Air Intake

STILLEN Stainless Steel Axle-Back Exhaust system

STILLEN Roof Wing

White Plains Nissan 2016 Nissan Maxima with STILLEN package

A stunning white Maxima at White Plains Nissan? Sounds like a good fit to us.

Unmatched Customer Service at White Plains Nissan

White Plains Nissan is well-known throughout New York for their exceptional customer service and accommodating staff.  Every staff member at White Plains Nissan strives to provide a positive car shopping experience for each customer, free of the pressure and stress that often accommodates outings to other dealerships.  Ultimately, when a customer leaves the dealership, he or she feels as though they gained a family in White Plains Nissan, regardless of whether or not they walk away with a new set of keys.  Offering a wide selection of brand new Nissans and pre-owned vehicles, White Plains provides same-day test drives that are sure to put a smile on your face.  Also, the highly qualified technicians at their service center are sure to be able to accommodate any of your auto needs, ranging from oil changes to tire rotations.  To schedule your appointment with the White Plains Nissan sales staff, call (888) 711-1459 or stop by their showroom, which is located at 500 Tarrytown Rd White Plains, NY 10607.  To get ahold of their service center, call (888) 817-1271 or visit 31 West Post Road White Plains, NY 10606.  For more information, please check out White Plains Nissan’s website.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the STILLEN parts featured on the White Plains Nissan Maxima, please contact us by calling (866) 250-5542.  Our experts will be happy to answer any of your questions, make recommendations, and help you strategize how to maximize your Maxima in both its performance and style.

 

The Infiniti VR30 twin turbo might be one of the most hotly debated and anticipated engine design in years.  All the comments flying around the forums and blogs about a “cheap 600+ whp car” might make you wonder: is it wishful thinking, or an attainable goal?

For starters, the VR30 is not the same animal as the VG30 or a similar bulletproof iron block monsters of the 90’s. It’s also not a hand-built GTR motor already making 500+ hp.  Still, it’s all conjecture, and up until now Infiniti hasn’t released enough information to help separate fact from fantasy.

You may recall a few months ago we looked at the new VR30 Twin Turbo motor from an aftermarket perspective based on the information given at the time (An Aftermarket perspective on the new Nissan/Infiniti VR 3.0 Twin Turbo V6). Recently Infiniti released some “Technical Cinemagraphs” offering a closer look at this new engine. These Cinemagraphs give us a lot more information about the motor design and what we might be able to improve upon.

Twin Turbos and Two Outputs

As we already know, the VR30 will be a 3.0-liter V6 Twin-Turbo Engine with two output variations: one producing 300hp and the other a whopping 400hp. We covered the differences in the last blog post, so armed with fresh information we can look at areas we feel might yield results.

Nissan Infiniti VR30 Twin Turbo Motor

Nissan/Infiniti VR30 Twin Turbo Motor

Intake Manifold and Intercoolers

Starting at the top with the most obvious (however not the cheapest) potential upgrade: the intake manifold. As you can see, the design of the intake manifold looks ideal for “packaging”. Looking at the diagram below you can see some of the restriction points as well as areas that are susceptible to turbulence. While this will work fine and is great for a the stock setup, it leaves room for potential improvement.

infiniti_VR_engine_05

Take a look at the Nissan GTR Intake Manifold Design below. A larger plenum (which the OEM design doesn’t really have) helps take care of air starvation issue before the boost fully kicks in. The shape of the plenum creates less turbulence and feeds more directly into the runners. With this type of manifold, the runner lengths could also be optimized for performance. Coupled with the possibility of switching from an Air to Water to an Air to Air Intercooler setup (which would free up the space on top of the motor), a GTR-esque Intake Manifold would potentially yield serious gains.

GTR Intake Manifold_stillen

Intercooler Conundrum

We discussed an Air to Air Intercooler setup in the last article.  There are potentially limitations to the factory intercoolers as they were designed for a specific amount of power and boost. Also, with an increase in boost the almost 90° turn the air has to make could create another restriction point. If we can fit a front mount Air to Air Intercooler it could allow for a safer increase in boost and squeeze a lot more juice out of this new 3 liter.

You might say: “But STILLEN, what about the turbo lag from the increased distance between the turbo and throttle body?” While greater distance between the turbo and throttle bodies can increase the time it takes for the pressure to build, the effect is so negligible it’s not worth worrying about. The real difficulty lies with fitting all the plumbing in. We know what the Q50 engine bay looks like and an Air to Air Intercooler setup will prove very challenging. We hope that the Q60 gives us a little more space to work with. If not it should still be possible to upgrade the pump and heat exchanger for the Air to Water Setup, and/or upgrade the intercoolers themselves. However, because of the space restrictions, upgrading the actual intercoolers may be difficult.

High Flow Intakes

The next power grab opportunity is the intakes (everything pre-turbo). A visual analysis of the OEM design reveals an air flow path that can definitely be smoothed out. Understanding that Nissan/Infiniti had the parameters of the EPA to follow and NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) standards to meet, we know why they went with this design. Fortunately for us this leaves some room for improvement.

FROM-POWER-TO-SUPER-POWER2

The air coming through the air boxes is forced through the restrictive panel filter, then takes a hard 90° turn over the Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF) which is not ideal because of turbulence created by this design. It then executes yet another 90° turn before reaching the turbos. Simply reducing the number of turns in the system and creating a smoother path for the air as it passes over the MAF will allow for more accurate readings (helpful in tuning) as well as less restriction. The restriction can also contribute to a significant power loss. On other modern turbo powerplants, we have observed notable power gains by simply adding a high flow intake which can increase the boost (boost can be limited by restrictions on the intake side of both Turbo’s and Superchargers).

Exhaust & Turbos

Exhaust system modifications on turbo cars always generate power gains. Down pipes and cat-backs are already a given for the VR30 and will be available from STILLEN. Now we finally got a look at the cylinder head to turbo interface so we can see what might be done about turbo upgrades.

FROM POWER TO SUPER POWER.mp4.00_00_26_06.Still001

Looking at the design of the turbo flange, it appears that fabricating an adapter for aftermarket turbos should be pretty simple. Though we don’t know specs on the turbos yet, it won’t be difficult to sort out good upgrade options for those looking to make a lot more power. The only limiting factor might be space, but most upgrades shouldn’t pose an issue.

infiniti_VR_engine_03

We still need more information about the engine internals before we can be more specific about turbo upgrades and increased boost. However, most Nissan/Infiniti Motors tend to be pretty hearty. The old VG30’s were capable of 550-600 whp with a healthy block and the VQ37’s held up to about 500 whp on stock internals (with Turbo Kits). It seems fairly safe to assume we be able to get this motor close to the 500 whp mark without reliability issues. The 600 whp mark that everyone is hoping for might be a possibility, but it will depend on the strength of the internals.

infiniti_VR_engine_02

We will be getting a few VR30 equipped test vehicles delivered to STILLEN in the next few months. We can’t wait to get our hands on them and start doing some real world testing. Stay tuned for more articles and info on the VR30 as we continue to learn more about this motor!

STILLEN combines best in class automotive parts and accessories with expert service to deliver personalized lifestyle solutions for automotive enthusiasts seeking power, performance and style.

How to Pick the Perfect Aftermarket Swaybars

Every week our automotive experts get questions about swaybars from automotive enthusiasts.

No wonder…swaybars, a.k.a anti-roll bars, are a popular and cost-effective way to significantly improve vehicle handling in corners, through slaloms and during evasive maneuvers.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question: “Which swaybar is right for me?” Picking your perfect swaybar requires consideration of key factors including:

  • The make and model of your car or truck
  • How and where you’ll drive it
  • What you hope to gain from suspension upgrades like sway bars

This sway bar buying guide will help you decide which anti-roll bars are right for you.

Soon you’ll be on the road to happier handling!

Stillen sway bars shown on Infiniti Q50

You can enjoy simple, cost effective handling improvements with a set of STILLEN sway bars

Begin at the End

By which we mean:

  • The best sway bar for you depends on how you’ll use your vehicle. Is it your daily driver, canyon carver, weekend track car, full-time race car, rock crawler or desert mauler?
  • The right sway bar is part of an integrated suspension system that reflects your primary vehicle use. For track days or racing, the optimal suspension setup may include shocks, springs and wheel alignment changes along with aftermarket sway bars.

Take the Bar Exam

So what is a swaybar exactly? Simply put, it’s a metal crossbar that ties the driver and passenger side chassis and suspension together. When a car is traveling straight down the road or track, a sway bar has little effect on handling.

But as soon as you crank on the steering wheel and enter a corner, a sway bar ‘springs’ to life to help control the weight shift that occurs during cornering.

Here’s how a swaybar works:

  1. As your vehicle turns into, say, a left-hand corner, a portion of vehicle weight transfers (‘rolls’) to the right-hand side of the vehicle.
  2. This rolling effect loads the suspension, steering and tires on the right-hand side of the vehicle. Some side loading is desirable and necessary as long as it’s controlled.
  3. A sway bar helps control this rolling effect by twisting along its axis as the chassis and suspension moves.
  4. As the bar cycles through its range of travel, it offers progressively more resistance to twisting.
  5. The sway bar’s ever-increasing resistance to twisting works to counter the force of vehicle roll.

Check out this cool animation showing a swaybar in action:

Not all Plants are Potted

After installing a swaybar, the effect you’ll notice from the driver’s seat is that your car feels level or ‘planted’ as you take a corner.

This ‘planted’ stance is the result of better weight distribution and traction.

Not only does it feel good, it offers big benefits:

  • A car that’s more planted through a turn allows for better rotation and more control
  • A car that’s more planted lets you get back on the gas sooner, resulting in quicker acceleration out of the turn

With the right sway bars on board, you’ll soon be taking familiar corners at higher speeds than you used to.

And grinning a lot more too.

Stiffer Isn’t Always Better

Is an aftermarket swaybar always necessary?

Given that STILLEN is a leading manufacturer of aftermarket sway bars, our answer may surprise you.

The answer is: No, an aftermarket sway bar isn’t always the best solution for every vehicle, driver or environment.

Here’s why:

  • In most cases, an aftermarket sway bar is going to be stiffer than the factory sway bar
  • In most cases, this is going to improve the performance and handling of the car
  • For most drivers, these improvements are going to make them happy and they’ll quickly adjust to the improved handling characteristics of their car

But we won’t tell you that installing a swaybar is the right thing for all drivers vehicles and situations.

Real World Results May Vary

For instance, suppose you’re looking to improve the handling of your daily driver and you install a sway bar rated at 200% stiffer than stock.

Rather than improve, your cornering performance, ride quality and traction will suffer on real world road surfaces. Potholes, mid-corner dips, and road kill will all fight against your uber-stiff setup.

Say your left side front wheel hits a bump mid-turn. Stock suspension or a moderately stiff aftermarket sway bar will transfer some of the energy to the passenger side front wheel – no biggie.

But an extremely stiff sway bar will transfer much more of the energy – maybe enough to unsettle the suspension and reduce traction by creating tire lift on the inside wheel and excessive sidewall flex on the outside tire.

The swaybar you installed to improve handling can work against you, especially paired stock springs and tires (more on this later).

Newfound Glory

Even world-class car handlers like STILLEN founder Steve Millen don’t automatically run stiffer swaybars.

Here’s a great example of a situation where an aftermarket sway bar wasn’t optimal for the conditions:

In 2009 the STILLEN rally team headed to Newfoundland, Canada, to compete in the Targa Newfoundland rally with a NISSAN GT R. Prior to the trip, the team engineered new Penske coil overs and new sway bars along with a host of other performance parts designed to enhance the already formidable GT R.

They also packed the factory front sway bar into the trailer.

You might think: “Well Duh, rally car….if you crash you need spares.”

But in reality, the team wasn’t convinced the stiffer sway bars they’d developed and tested on smooth roads during the Southern California summer were going to be suitable for the rough roads of Canada.

Especially when the forecast called for plenty of rain North of the border.

When driving in the rain, tire compliance is key to maintaining traction. When the road is dry and offers plenty of tire grip, you can stiffen the suspension and make the tire work harder.

But when traction is limited, a stiffer setup overworks the tires and traction suffers. Better to soften the suspension and make it more compliant to conform to the road surface.

In the end, the team found that the optimum setup for the STILLEN GTR on the Targa Newfoundland roads: run the OEM front sway bar and the STILLEN rear sway bar.

By retaining the stiffer rear sway bar they reduced the car’s natural tendency to understeer and made the car rotate better through the turns.

The next year when they took the car to the Targa Rally in New Zealand, they re-installed the STILLEN front sway bar and ran stiffer coil springs on the Penske shocks.

The roads in New Zealand are faster and offer more grip even in rainy conditions. The stiffer setup was spot on for maximum control in the challenging environment of rally racing.

Check out the results in this video from the 2011 Targa Rally:

Moderation for the Masses

For the vast majority of drivers using their vehicles for daily driving, canyon carving or occasional track use, sway bars that impart a moderate increase in stiffness are the best choice. The incremental stiffness will retain factory-like ride quality while offering improved handling in the corners and slaloms.

For even more versatility and fine-tuning, adjustable sway bars might be your best option.

The more adjustability a sway bar offers, the more you can fine tune your suspension to suit your needs and preferences.

What’s more, adjustable sway bars allow you to set up your suspension to favor:

Oversteer (when a car turns more sharply than desired by the driver), or

Understeer (when a car turns less sharply than desired by the driver), or

Neutral Handling (when a turns exactly as desired by the driver)

Illustration of a car in oversteer

Car in understeer condition

UNDERSTEER happens when a car does not turn as sharply as driver intends.

Z Well Adjusted Z

The Nissan 370Z is ideal for explaining understeer and oversteer and for illustrating the versatility of adjustable sway bars.

Check out the stiffness ratings of the 370Z sway bars listed in the below chart.

Brand Front Rear Adjustable
(F/R)
% Stiffer (F/R) Best For Size (F/R) Color Construction Endlinks Bushings
Stock Yes Yes No Stock N/A 26.5mm/24mm Black Hollow Stock Stock
Nismo Yes Yes No N/A N/A 27mm/25.5mm Black Hollow Stock Uses Stock
Eibach Yes Yes 2 way / 3 way 76, 117% / 67, 98, 130% Street & Light Track 32mm/29mm Red Hollow No Yes
Hellwig Yes Yes No / 3 way N/A Track & Occasional Street 35mm/25.5mm Grey Hollow No Yes
Hotchkis Yes Yes No / 3 way 205% / 40, 75, 120% Track & Occasional Street 35mm/28mm Grey Hollow No Yes
STILLEN Yes Yes 5 way/ 3 way 21-48% / 37-70% Street & Light Track 27mm/25.5mm Red Hollow No Uses Stock
Suspension Techniques Yes Yes 2 way / 2 way 55, 88% / 30, 66% Street & Light Track 28mm/24mm Green or Black Solid No Yes

 

You’ll notice the STILLEN option is a little different. We conducted extensive (and fun) road and track testing to get a feel for the 370Z and determine the best sway bar setup to optimize handling without diminishing the inherent nature of the car.

Like the majority of vehicles on the road today, for safety purposes the 370Z is set up from the factory to understeer a little.

The reason for this is liability and safety.  Auto manufacturers like Nissan have to build their cars for typical drivers who aren’t trained to handle a car in high-stress situations.

When the average driver experiences understeer, their natural reaction is to panic, let off the gas, and apply the brakes. Conveniently enough, this is exactly how to counter understeer.

With less gas and more brake, the vehicle will slow down, the tires will regain their composure and the vehicle will resume traveling in the desired direction. 

Too bad, because one of the biggest advantages of a rear wheel drive car like the 370Z is the ability to power through turns. With the factory setup favoring understeer, this advantage is lost.

All that beautiful power going to the rear wheels is pushing the car in a direction you don’t want to go.

Using a STILLEN adjustable sway bar, a 370Z the driver can fine tune the suspension to balance and improve the handling of the car.

This balanced feel will a give the Z pilot the confidence to  carry more speed through a turn as they begin to feel the car rotate through the turn as opposed to pushing through it.

Stillen 370Z rear sway bars

STILLEN rear sway bars take 370Z handing from great to superlative.

Through extensive testing and refinement, STILLEN identified stiffness increments we selected offer the 370Z driver great options. The STILLEN sway bars can be adjusted for a good balance of road comfort and crisper handling for spirited daily driving and canyon carving.

At the other end of the spectrum, drivers looking for maximum performance can adjust the bars to a stiffer setting for track days.

All Together Now

Along with a stiffer sway bar, for track or racing use, the key to maximum control and handling on the ragged edge may include shock or spring upgrades, tweaking wheel alignment and selecting the proper tires.
Here’s what the STILLEN experts recommend:

  1. Determine which tires you are going to run
  2. Select the springs you’ll run based on tires, track layout and conditions
  3. Select which sway bar is right for you
  4. Adjust wheel alignment to suit, keeping in mind a more aggressive sway bar usually requires more aggressive alignment settings

For example, for track use you might run an aggressive tire like a Nitto NT-01 or a Nitto NT-05. If you don’t mind running an aggressive alignment specification, a really stiff sway bar should work well.

However, if you’re using your car primarily for road use, you might run tires like the Nitto NT555 or an Nitto INVO. The ideal sway bar will be slightly stiffer than the factory bar. 

Sway Your Opinion

Bottom line: a properly matched set of sway bars will really improve the balance of your car or truck and is a great way to fine tune handling.

The result: major improvement in the joy you get out of hustling your ride through your local canyon roads or on your favorite race track.

Most drivers will be happiest with a moderate increase in stiffness. An adjustable sway bar offers the versatility to fine tune handling as desired.

STILLEN has been designing and manufacturing sway bars in-house for more than 20 years.  We private label manufacture swaybars for some of the largest “suspension manufacturers” in the industry.

We have also manufactured sway bars for OEM vehicle manufacturers as well.

In addition to our swaybar manufacturing expertise, we design and develop complete suspension packages for use on street, track and off-road environments.

Bottom line: you can buy and install STILLEN swaybars with confidence!

Got more suspension questions?

Call one of our Automotive Counselors for expert advice at (866) 250-5542.

STILLEN is a company that is proud to be owned and operated by automotive enthusiasts. This month’s employee spotlight is on one of our long time employees.

Cheryl Stramotas

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Cheryl has been working with STILLEN for 9 years. She heads up the Human Resources Department and also handles company safety for all 3 buildings and branches of STILLEN. Cheryl isn’t your typical HR Manager. She is an avid automotive enthusiast and she shares that passion with her husband. They have owned a lot of cars, but one of their favorites is this 1997 Acura NSX.

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Cheryl purchased this NSX in 2009, a couple years after selling her previous NSX. “We bought this NSX because we missed the performance, design, and reliability.” The car came equipped with the CompTech performance package when it was purchased. This included the Supercharger, Big Brakes, Sway Bars, and Tower Brace. Now a lot of people would look at the car and feel like there wasn’t anything to add, but Cheryl had plans. Within no time the NSX received an appearance overhaul. A full 2002+ NSX Exterior update was performed (which is quite extensive), along with Seibon Carbon Fiber Rear Wing, DownForce Carbon Kevlar Scoop Hood, B-Line Cold Air Intake, and Enkei Wheels. Lastly the interior was redone with Leather and Alcantara, and a Honda S2000 Steering Wheel while adding in some extra gauges to keep tabs on how the car is running.

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Don’t think this is just a garage queen though. Cheryl drives the NSX to work a couple times a week and takes it out on weekends quite regularly. The rest of the time she commutes in her Infiniti EX35 which is currently stock. But of course she plans to add a on STILLEN Supercharger in the near future. Cheryl and her husband are no strangers to performance cars and have also owned a 2007 350Z Convertible, a R35 GTR, and now have an Audi RS5. As cars continue to come and go for Cheryl, this NSX is definitely going to be a permanent resident in their stable.

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Enthusiast employees are one of the things that make STILLEN a unique company and what helps drive us forward every day.

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STILLEN is a company that is proud to be owned and operated by automotive enthusiasts. This month’s employee spotlight is on one of our rising stars.

Jillian White

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Jill started working at STILLEN mid 2015 and has been awesome to have around. She has proven to be one of the biggest gear heads here and is always on a mission to learn more and help others build their dream car.

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Jill’s passion for cars started after she bought her first mod for her first car (Scion TC). She installed it herself and realized she enjoyed working on cars. After a community college automotive class she was hooked. Jill bought her first project car, a 1966 Karmann Ghia which she has been restoring for the past few years. “It will be a complete resto-mod. No bolt unturned. I wanted to build a car just like Chip Foose and his A team. The dream is still there and it’s slowly becoming a reality.” While working on her first project car Jill grew tired of her TC and decided she wanted something older with a little more of a soul. She picked up a 1978 Datsun 280Z after helping a friend work on their 280Z.

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Originally intended as just a daily (famous last words), Jill started off with replacing things like the brakes, and various suspension components. It wasn’t too long after that she needed to look for new tires. Now we all know that new tires mean you might as well get new wheels too right? Within no time her daily became its own little project. She soon tackled the body work (and yes, she did it herself) and got the car painted. She’s continued to add some finishing touches here and there and plans on doing turbo swap in the future. At this point Jill just wants to maintain the Z and keep it classic. “For now she’s just a solid Daily. One day I hope to give her the same treatment as the Ghia, but it’ll be a long way off.”

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lexus-is-200t-10-hi-12015 Lexus IS 200t 2.0-litre turbo charged engine

For quite a long time the IS350 has been the choice for Lexus IS enthusiasts. Due to its lack luster power, the IS250 simply fell out of favor from the tuning scene. The only thing keeping it in the hands of enthusiasts in the previous generation was the availability of a 6 speed manual gear box. With the 3rd generation only having the option of an automatic there seemed to be almost no reason for enthusiasts to purchase the IS250. However, Lexus has now joined the other luxury brands in utilizing small displacement forced induction motors for entry level models.

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Enter the new IS200t. While on paper the new 2.0 Turbo (8AR-FTS) seems like it was more designed with economy in mind, we believe there is a lot of untapped performance. The power output of the 8AR (241 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque) is very similar to the competition from “rival” companies. BMW 328i 240 hp & 255 lb-ft, Mercedes C300 241 hp & 273 lb-ft, Audi A4 220 hp & 258 lb-ft, Infiniti Q50 211 hp & 236 lb-ft, and Cadillac ATS 272 hp & 295 lb-ft, just to name a few. While the performance limits of these motors have not but pushed much either, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of fun to be had with them. We have seen that the BMW 328i motor can produce over 275 whp (around 320 HP) with some tuning and basic bolt-ons. While this doesn’t say exactly what is possible with the 8AR motor, we can probably assume the motor could tolerate at least 300 HP. While this isn’t mind blowing, this would put the IS200t closer on par with the more expensive IS350. If you can imagine that bigger gains are possible this could mean that the IS200t could easily out power the IS350 and still end up costing about the same, or maybe even less with cheaper insurance costs.

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Now we know many will say, “but there are no tuning solutions for the Lexus ECU’s”. While this may currently be true, we don’t expect it to stay that way for much longer. What we do know about the motor is we are dealing with a 10:1 compression ratio (perfect for forced induction with direct injection) engine with a square 86.0mm x 86.0mm Bore and Stroke. If this motor is anything like the turbo motors of old (2JZ, 3S, & 7M) we shouldn’t have to worry about the internals with modest power gains. While the 8AR is fully aluminum we have seen all aluminum Toyota motors handle modest forced induction with ease. The 2ZZ and 2GR in certain Supercharged Lotus cars have shown great durability even after adding more power. We hope to take a closer look at IS200t in the near future and see what we can do with it.

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With so much hype around the Infiniti Q50 and the new Twin Turbo V6 it will be receiving we think some people forgot that the new Q60 was being released soon. Well, today all of you two door lovers out there got a big treat.

The Q60’s bold exterior – lower and wider than predecessors – expresses a powerful elegance through its daring proportions and taut, muscular lines. Dynamic enhancements, including an all-new lightweight and sophisticated 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine, together with new adaptive steering and digital suspension systems, result in a premium sports coupe designed and engineered to perform.

Infiniti released the 2017 Q60 today at the Detroit Auto Show and it is beautiful. The new Q60 will come with the same engine options as the 2017 Q50. A 400 HP (350 lb-ft) Twin Turbo V6 at the top of the line up, a 300 HP (295 lb-ft) Twin Turbo V6 will be the middle option, and the entry motor will be a 208 HP (258 lb-ft) 2.0 Turbo Inline 4 (for more analysis on the Twin Turbo V6 motor please see our blog article “An Aftermarket perspective on the new Nissan/Infiniti VR 3.0 Twin Turbo V6“).

It is not clear yet, but it seems all versions will be available with AWD. Twin Turbo V6 variants will come with the 2nd generation of the Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) which will hopefully prove to be much better than the first generation. Infiniti is also adding a 2nd suspension option that they are calling the Dynamic Digital Suspension (Standard on Sport Models) which will allow you set you suspension for the right occasion.

The Q60’s bold exterior – lower and wider than predecessors – expresses a powerful elegance through its daring proportions and taut, muscular lines. Dynamic enhancements, including an all-new lightweight and sophisticated 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine, together with new adaptive steering and digital suspension systems, result in a premium sports coupe designed and engineered to perform.

All of these new options and upgrades made the Infiniti Q60 a much more appealing car in a very competitive segment. Though the 400 HP variant will probably run in the $50k range, we are certain that the mid level 300 HP Version will be able to be modified to compete with the big boys the way the BMW 435i has compared to the M3.

The Q60’s bold exterior – lower and wider than predecessors – expresses a powerful elegance through its daring proportions and taut, muscular lines. Dynamic enhancements, including an all-new lightweight and sophisticated 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine, together with new adaptive steering and digital suspension systems, result in a premium sports coupe designed and engineered to perform.

The Q60’s bold exterior – lower and wider than predecessors – expresses a powerful elegance through its daring proportions and taut, muscular lines. Dynamic enhancements, including an all-new lightweight and sophisticated 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine, together with new adaptive steering and digital suspension systems, result in a premium sports coupe designed and engineered to perform.

The Q60’s bold exterior – lower and wider than predecessors – expresses a powerful elegance through its daring proportions and taut, muscular lines. Dynamic enhancements, including an all-new lightweight and sophisticated 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine, together with new adaptive steering and digital suspension systems, result in a premium sports coupe designed and engineered to perform.

The Q60’s bold exterior – lower and wider than predecessors – expresses a powerful elegance through its daring proportions and taut, muscular lines. Dynamic enhancements, including an all-new lightweight and sophisticated 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine, together with new adaptive steering and digital suspension systems, result in a premium sports coupe designed and engineered to perform.

The Q60’s bold exterior – lower and wider than predecessors – expresses a powerful elegance through its daring proportions and taut, muscular lines. Dynamic enhancements, including an all-new lightweight and sophisticated 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine, together with new adaptive steering and digital suspension systems, result in a premium sports coupe designed and engineered to perform.

STILLEN is a company that is proud to be owned and operated by automotive enthusiasts. This month’s employee spotlight is on another one of our veterans here.

Kenny Duong

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Kenny has been a performance specialist at STILLEN since 1999. Before working for STILLEN, he was already an avid car enthusiast. Kenny has owned some of the most Iconic cars from the 90’s imaginable. When he started at STILLEN he drove a FD RX-7 and has had cars like the S13 240SX and MKIV TT Supra in his stable. Now as time passes our taste in cars can change. Kenny decided to switch things up around 2012 and got himself a 997 911 Turbo, “That car is amazing!”. As many of have experienced, as we have matured our tastes in cars have changed a little, but there is that magical appeal of those dream cars from years past. Cars like the 300ZX, RX7, Supra, NSX, etc will always hold a special place in our hearts and always tempt us to bring one home. There is one car for most import tuning enthusiasts that some might call the “holy grail” which is the Nissan Skyline GTR. A performance car that was never legalized in the States and is more rare to see than almost any super car does not usually cross people’s minds when they are considering a car to purchase. We won’t go through all the details, but a handful of R32 and R33 Skylines were legalized here in the US and are very sought after.

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R33 Skyline GTR

Kenny felt that itch to own a piece of Tuner Car history and set out on a mission to buy a Skyline. After months of searching, Kenny finally found his Federal and California Legal R33 Skyline GTR. Many of us here at STILLEN could tell you about those months spent searching and we got to see the struggle as well as the excitement when the car was finally in his possession. Kenny loves owning such a rare car and is really a dream come true.

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If you ever get a chance to talk to Kenny over the phone or in person, make sure to ask him about his Skyline.

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