Whilst discussing suspension upgrades with Blink, they suggested that the Playskool anti roll bars are good bits of kit and certainly recommended for track use. I’d just missed out on a Westfield ST-3 ARB sold on the forum, so I started searching and couldn’t find any information on the following points:
- ARBs that fit the Mazda SDV that aren’t the ST-3
- Playskool front ARB fitting the FW bonnet
Undeterred (too stupid to take a hint from those two points), I bounced a few ideas off Blink, Mark (Westfield forum) and Playskool and got one ordered. We went for the widetrack version as the Mazda shocks are mounted 50mm further out on the wishbone than standard items. Due to having the FW bonnet I would expect to reverse mount the bar like Mark did, leaving the cutouts in the tub.
After a small delay (pesky holidays), the following lovely bits of metal arrived:
Sometime later, with a track day approaching I thought it was about time I got around to fitting it. I loosened off the wishbone bolts and popped the brackets on. It didn’t look like massive amounts of tub had to make way:
Then, and I don’t know where this came from, I decided to mock the fitment of the bar before chopping the tub and fitting the bar. I threaded some hose between the holes to see what path it would take. It got mighty close to the water pump pulley!
Before colliding with the alternator
Doh! It’s at this stage I usually stare at it for half an hour wondering how on earth I could bodge, sorry, engineer my way around that one. I couldn’t really, short of moving the engine back but there wasn’t much room for manoeuvre there!
I resorted to fitting it normally and had a look to see what my options were. There wasn’t a lot so space in front of the wishbone bolts, certainly not enough for the mounting bracket, but it did look like it sat inside the bonnet and behind the light covers so most of the cutting would be to the section that isn’t visible. There was a risk that the bracket would poke through the cover, although if it were sprayed black it might not look too odd with the bonnet shut.
I must have moved a coolant pipe when fitting the radtec as that was rubbing the bonnet. Something else that would be getting ‘refined’ then.
I opened the bonnet fully and fitted the wishbone and brackets to see what else would have to be contended with. It seemed to line up ok, so at least the width was alright.
The cycle wing brackets got close on full lock though:
And touched on lock the other way:
No big problems there though, it wasn’t quite centralised so a bigger gap on the other side for the first one and I could lop 20mm off the ends for the second one.
Pulling the bonnet onto the brackets suggested my optimism on what gets cut wasn’t entirely misguided
I got out the dremel and proceeded to make an awful lot of orange dust. I think it ends up making remarkably little difference to the FW bonnet, at least visually
It does push the light covers out slightly though:
I intend to get around this by cutting the required hole, sculpting in some kind of bulge to cover it then skinning it in carbon fibre (or taking a mould and making it, depending on how brave I am). For now though, I was happy with a small gap. I chopped the 20mm off the ends of the bar and set it up so the linkages were straight as my starter-for-ten, then rechecked my clearances:
Much better (shaded in red slightly).
Jacking up the uprights also showed that nothing would interfere so it was good to go. Which was handy, as this was a Wednesday and I had a track day Friday.
I didn’t do any setting up, just left it as it was and the effects were immediately obvious. There was much less body roll, which is both an obvious effect to notice and an obvious effect to foresee! I don’t think it’s made the car any quicker, but it’s definitely made me happier with the car and that’s the main thing. I’m sure once it’s been fully set up over winter there will be another night and day difference again.
So, the Playskool Widetrack ARB fits the Mazda SDV, and the Playskool ARB also fits the FW bonnet if you’re happy to modify the light covers or happy to have a small gap. Or I suppose a corner of the bracket poking through.