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shaken, not stirred
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Discussion Starter #1
I have done a little searching and only really found a few threads on Autocrossing, since most eveyone else drag races. But i would really like to turn my completely stock 97sport into a autocross/road course car but still be drivable. I am wanting to compile a list of suspension parts together so i can proceed to buy them and was looking for some imput from people that do this. Also I would like to install GFX and wondering if anyone has encountered a problem with them autocrossing. thanks

C.Hill
 

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1st of all, the GFX will do NOTHING to increase your performance in the Autocross.

2nd, what is your budget on this? How much you want/can spend can make a big difference in the performance. Speed costs money, that axiom is as true for autocrossing as it is for drag racing.
 

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First of all, you've already got an alright setup for auto-x. I would learn to drive it like it is before you mod the **** out of it. But a start would be, shocks, springs, and tires. I'd stick with your sport wheels. I like sport wheels better than my aftermarkets. But after that stuff, both shock tower braces, rtlb, lecb's, and maybe some subframes. And... TIRES!
 

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You might think I'm being silly, but Play Need For Speed Porche Unleashed.
The Factory Driver mode has alot of auto-cross missions and the physics are basically true-to-life. It will definatley help familiarize you with auto-cross basics, and the kinds of stresses it puts on your car.

In the game, I find that ;
Lowering the suspension;
increasing shock stiffness(and quality);
slightly reducing the travel of the shocks
and upgrading to a stiffer swaybar help to improve the auto-crossability of the various porche models.
How much realavence that holds to a T-bird I can't really say, but if the game developers did things right, then similar modifications should work in the real world.
I wouldn't concider anything taken from a video game to be actual "advice" ;
But I still reccomend that you play it if you havent if for no more reason than that you will enjoy it if you are interested in auto-cross style driving. (personally those missions irritated the crap out of me with their rigid rules, I like to be driving free on the open roads. Not much of a drag racer either, I like circut style much better :) ).

But auto-cross is a for-the-most part safe and exciting performance sport that doesn't really threaten severe damage like a circut race would (and drag racing can) Depending on your driving style, it's usually not as vicous on wear and tear as drag racing and circut racing (and of course, the worst of all, off-road racing)
So I say, if it's fun for ya, and you can bank it, auto-cross your heart out!
 

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shaken, not stirred
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Discussion Starter #5
Traveler said:
1st of all, the GFX will do NOTHING to increase your performance in the Autocross...!
I know this of course. What i meant was do you think i would run into a problem scraping the ground too much with GFX. Thats all really. Also reason for compiling a list is so i can save up $$$ for it. I would like to keep suspension under $3k and engine and tranny under $5K.


jesusraybrown said:
First of all, you've already got an alright setup for auto-x. I would learn to drive it like it is before you mod the **** out of it. But a start would be, shocks, springs, and tires. I'd stick with your sport wheels. I like sport wheels better than my aftermarkets. But after that stuff, both shock tower braces, rtlb, lecb's, and maybe some subframes. And... TIRES!
Well i have been driving my 94 bird ever since i got my liscence 9 years ago.Not too mention driving hard, I know how these cars handle. I have my 97sport that i bought about a year ago and am wanting to mod it. Sport wheels have snow tires on it and will keep them on it. Just wanting to know some products that many of you have used and recommend.


Distortion 5.0 said:
You might think I'm being silly, but Play Need For Speed Porche Unleashed.
The Factory Driver mode has alot of auto-cross missions and the physics are basically true-to-life. It will definatley help familiarize you with auto-cross basics, and the kinds of stresses it puts on your car.

In the game, I find that ;
Lowering the suspension;
increasing shock stiffness(and quality);
slightly reducing the travel of the shocks
and upgrading to a stiffer swaybar help to improve the auto-crossability of the various porche models. I like to be driving free on the open roads. Not much of a drag racer either, I like circut style much better :) ).!
Already played and pretty much cleared Grand Turismo 4 and it has plenty of road racing on it with the ability to change ride heighth, shock stiffness, and travel. I am looking for product specifics.


Thank you all for your input.

C.Hill
 

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stangboy7 said:
I have done a little searching and only really found a few threads on Autocrossing, since most eveyone else drag races. But i would really like to turn my completely stock 97sport into a autocross/road course car but still be drivable. I am wanting to compile a list of suspension parts together so i can proceed to buy them and was looking for some imput from people that do this. Also I would like to install GFX and wondering if anyone has encountered a problem with them autocrossing. thanks

C.Hill

All IMHO of course for AutoX -

Step 1 - tranny cooler and get a seperate tune for the autoX that forces the converter to stay locked with the foot OFF the throttle, and the cooling fan to run at max all the time.

Step 2 - Tires and Bilstein's, get a seperate set of rims and tires for autoX

Step 3 - Suspension bushings and stiffer springs

Step 4 - rear gears

Step 5 - Aluminum engine block

Step 6 - All out hardcore


My own car I am stopping at step 5
 

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I would suggest Bilsteins rather than Konis, mainly because they are manually adjustable. That will allow you play with the front to rear balance of the car by shock tuning, for different courses and conditions. Generally in an autocross, you're trying to avoid understeer at all costs. This includes car setup and driving style.

But as already mentioned, nothing can replace seat time, the more practice you get the better. Starting with a stock or near stock car is a better way to go when learning to drive it for competition.


cheers
Ed N.
 

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Ed I think you mean Koni's over Bilsteins?

I do agree on the seat time, start with a stock car with the tune reworked to keep the computer from thinking its a Sunday drive to the beach. Then decide how much more you want to spend.
 

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fast Ed N said:
I would suggest Bilsteins rather than Konis, mainly because they are manually adjustable. That will allow you play with the front to rear balance of the car by shock tuning, for different courses and conditions. Generally in an autocross, you're trying to avoid understeer at all costs. This includes car setup and driving style.

But as already mentioned, nothing can replace seat time, the more practice you get the better. Starting with a stock or near stock car is a better way to go when learning to drive it for competition.


cheers
Ed N.
You meant Konis instead of Bilsteins, right? :)
I would start with shocks and springs (I've tried stock, Eibach, sport, and Vogtland springs, and I like the Vogtlands best). Put on some decent performance tires, and go drive. These mods will get you moving in the right direction. Once you get some seat time, you can start addressing the particular things you don't like.

Also, keep your ego in check. The T-Bird is a heavy, underpowered car, that actually handles fairly good. But if you are competing against good, experienced autocrossers, you will lose. By a considerable margin in some cases. Don't get mad, get better.
 

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Need For Speed Porsche Unleashed is def pretty good. That’s pretty old though now isn’t it? I might have to re-install that one, I remember playing that for hours and hours.

The game “Live for Speed” to me is probably the best real physics simulator. I haven’t tried many other new racing games out there but that game is based solely on tuning suspension and gearing. You can’t upgrade the engine at all so it comes down to driving and tuning skills. I drive with a wheel and peddle for the computer and trust me, this helps out so much in real world drifting. I took the bird out to do some Readfield Drift (my town LOL) and that game helped so much with my drifting skills. Now I pretty much never overcorrect like I used too.
 

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for a great driving sim, i suggest forza motorsport. go pick up a copy. you can race with stock to supercars, including a new mustang, which should handle something like ours. you can change suspension, tuning, downforce, and everyhting imaginable. the physics are second to none. try it.
 

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Tobey said:
You meant Konis instead of Bilsteins, right? :)

Also, keep your ego in check. The T-Bird is a heavy, underpowered car, that actually handles fairly good. But if you are competing against good, experienced autocrossers, you will lose. By a considerable margin in some cases. Don't get mad, get better.
I did ... hit the reply too quickly. :rolleyes:

Good advice on driving style too.


cheers
Ed N.
 

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biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig sway bars... lol i think that might be the first thing i do for mine is new front and rear, and sock tower braces.
 

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I run my 95 LX in SCCA Street Modified autocross competition. In my last three events I have placed 3rd, 1st and 2nd, with typical competition of Subaru, Mini Cooper S, and Integra GS-R.

Before you change a single part on your car, go to scca.org, download the Solo rulebook and BUILD A CAR TO FIT A CLASS. Nothing will make you uncompetitive faster than using a part that bumps you up to the next class, where you'll have to spend tons of money.

The first class you'll be legal for is F Stock. Stock class is very restrictive, and mods other than shocks, catback, panel air filter, tires, brake pads and a rear sway bar are generally prohibited. This is by far the cheapest (yet slowest) class you can enter. Typical winners in this class include the Mustang Mach 1 and 05 Mustang GT.

Next in terms of cost and performance comes E Street Prepared. This class opens up mods like springs, front sway bar, wheels, brake lines, bushings, strut tower bars, engine programming, seats, intake manifold, headers, torque converter, differential and engine pulleys. Right now, the Camaro SS LS1 is dominating ESP on the national level.

After ESP comes Street Touring X. Here you can change your lower control arms, run any brake setup you like, but wheels are restricted to 8 inches in width and tires are restricted to 245mm. High-flow cats are also allowed. Look for the Subaru Impreza (non-STi) to be the leader in this class. Oh, and the SC MN12 isn't legal in any Street Touring division because of the displacement limit on forced induction cars.

And then we come to Street Modified, my class. I run SM because I began modifying my car before I read the rulebook, and a simple rear gear/driveshaft swap will automatically put you in SM. Why? I don't know. The SCCA unfairly penalizes certain simple mods, in my opinion, but then again the SCCA didn't ask for my opinion. Here's the problem: SM is a wide open--meaning expensive--class to run. If you live in a very active region, your competition will undoubtedly consist of trailered cars no longer driven on the street. Drivetrain options are unlimited, so long as the company that built the car also built the engine block you use. That rule means you'll be up against tons of B16 Hondas, SR20 Nissans and other cars that are lighter and more powerful than ours. Suspension options are also unlimited so long as the attachment points (IE A-arm to frame, shock to A-arm, etc.) are unaltered. So now you have full coilover vehicles to compete against as well. The BMW 3-series typically dominates SM, and if we had any in the region I run they'd be killing me every event.

C Prepared: The SCCA hates shaving weight, so gut your interior and this is where they'll put you. Vehicles in this class are production based, but no longer streetable.

So I can't stress enough to you the importance of picking your class BEFORE you modify your car. Though I'm competitive at a reginal level in my car, I would be flat out destroyed in any divisional event that pays points toward attending the Solo Nats.

But for what it's worth, here's my combination, with a rough price estimate:

255/45R17 Hoosier A6 tires--$900/set
17x8 Voxx Misano wheels--$500/set
04 Cobra front brakes--$350/pair
SCCoA GP front QA1 coilovers--$600/pair
Koni rear shocks--$250/pair
Vogtland rear springs $250/set (all four springs)
1 3/8 rear sway bar--$150
Urethane bushings everywhere they'll fit--$400
JL front STB--N/A, but the KB units are $125 or so
Rear STB--$40
LECB--$100
RTLB--$100
MMX driveshaft--$450
FRPP aluminum rearend with T-lok and 3.73 gears--$600

I won't list the engine mods, which I think are of questionable value.

In other words, I've spent way too much money on the car, and the next step is to swap in an Explorer motor and maybe TKO500 transmission. But in its current state, the car is still very streetable once I put the street wheels and tires back on.

And without a question, the best investment you can make is to buy the best tires allowed in your class (some classes have treadwear restrictions). Changing from a very good set of street Goodyears to race Hoosiers leapfrogged me from mid-pack to contending for the win in my class at every event.

So the short version is this:

1. Read the rule book before you turn a wrench or open your wallet.
2. It's all about the tires. They are without a doubt the best return on your investment.
3. DO NOT swap your rear gears unless you're prepared to have your butt handed to you and/or spend a lot of money.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mercutio you have been most helpful, as has everyone else. Any other info and/or setups/advice would be appreciated. I really want to dealve into this.

C.Hill
 

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just by strengthenign the chasis alone will insure you to have lesser chance of cracking or twisting the body.
 

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wow... VERY helpful. lol. i plan on sticking to the f-stock until i get another bird. this seems like something i could really get into.
 

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Casper said:
just by strengthenign the chasis alone will insure you to have lesser chance of cracking or twisting the body.

Yeah but you get bumped into the faster classes quickly this way :(

Good write up Mercutio! A question though, how can anyone really tell that the computer was flashed for F stock?
 

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Great advice above about starting with the rule book. That's the place to start with any type of racing. It's very easy to make one minor mod and end up in a class where being competitive is almost impossible. I looked at attending a local event last year, and realized that my mostly cosmetic mods would put me up against purpose built race cars. The one exception that I didn't see mentioned is the 'beginner class' that some events will offer, where you can run basically anything just to see if it is something that interests you.
 
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