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View Full Version : new at autocross, what mods to avoid


cdlong
07-27-2003, 09:33 PM
well, i got my 240 about 2 months ago and recently realized that i want to race it. i'm new at autocrossing so i don't know what i'm doing. i want to remain competitive so i want to stick with the lowest class possible. my car isn't really safe to race yet so i have some time before i start, probably next season. i've got some question on what route to go. btw, i drive a '92 hatch. the only mod i have is an intake and removed clutch fan, which i believe bumps me out of stock class so i guess i'll start one up from there.

brakes- my brakes suck, i at least need to fix them, but i want to upgrade to 300zx brakes. is that going to change my classification? if yes, what should i avoid?

suspension- i am getting a set of eibach pros, kyb agx, and a STB used for pretty cheap, and i'm planning on replacing all the bushings and maybe subframe spacers, same question. it there anything else i could/should do without changing classes?

what about tires? again, mine suck. i want to get new wheels and good street tires for the summer and put snow tires on my stock wheels. should i do that, or get better tires on the new wheels and all seasons on the stockers? any better ideas? remember i live in ohio and snow+RWD+light weight=suck.

i would really like to get started right away and improve with my car but like i said, my car isn't safe to race right now. i don't want to replace parts only to upgrade them later.

one last easy one, is there anything i need, besides a helmet? would it be kosher to just ask someone to borrow theirs? thanks guys.

thelinja
07-27-2003, 10:10 PM
Ok, to remain in stock class, I'd put the clutch fan, and stock airbox back on. Just get a K&N filter.
As for brakes, 300ZX brakes will put you in STS iirc. Just get upgraded pads, I just put my new KVRs on this week and they are great. I haven't had a chance to race with them yet but I can tell a big difference as far as brake fade and overall stopping power.
On suspension, shocks are the only things you can change. I think you can also change the front sway bar. Bushings and spacers are OK.
Stock class is great because you can use any tire you wish. I am currently using Falken Azenis and I will continue to use them for track events. If you get rims, they must be the same size as your stock wheels which is 15x6. I have a set of wheels with my Azenis and a set of wheels that I drive everyday with. I just use my all-seasons in the winter. I'm probably going to get some steelies this fall though because the college town I live in most of the year has a worthless plowing company. I'd recommend getting some all-season tires on your wheels and getting a set of rims/tires for race only. Racing on all-seasons will tear them up before you know it.
Oh yeah, they usually have loaner helmets if you don't have one.

Mikes14240sx
07-27-2003, 10:12 PM
I'd say get a rule book. Some of the littlest things can bump you up a few classes. It'll be money well spent.

AKADriver
07-27-2003, 11:47 PM
bushings and spacers are not legal for Stock, either.

cdlong, all the parts you want to upgrade, together, would make your car a solid STS car, which isn't a bad place to be for a beginner.

AceInHole
07-27-2003, 11:49 PM
i'd have to agree with getting a rule book. finding out what you can and can do will help you decide if autocrossing is really what you want to do. how dedicated you are to autocrossing will ultimately determine your classification. if you just want to have fun with it, build your car however you want and race with it. if you want to be or become competative, i'd suggest getting the best tires you can use for your class (be it street tires for STS or R-compounds for a stock class), then go from there as your budget and class rules allow.

if you really don't know what mods to get... just screw the modding and enroll in an autox novice school or two or three or four. seat time means soooo much more than any modification, and instructed seat time is even more valuable. like they say: to build a great racecar, you first have to tighten the nut behind the wheel.

RedMist
07-28-2003, 01:13 AM
http://moutons.org/sccasolo/Rules/index.html
http://www.scca.org/news/index.html#comp_regs
http://www.sff.net/people/dburkhead/prepcompare.htm
http://www.autocross.com
http://www.autocross.com/evolution
http://www.tirerack.com/features/solo2/handbook.htm
http://www.solo2.org

If you wanted to go back to stock (which I'd recommend) you would be in g-stock which the 240 seems to do fairly well in.

If you want to do all the mods and compete in sts your good to go on everything but the 300zx brakes. Just bleed your fluid and make sure your pads have a safe amount of material left and your good to go.

Do as little as you can to have a safe car and just get out there. Run on whatever tires you have, run $10 autozone pads, just get out there.

Slow = fast

Have fun!

cdlong
07-28-2003, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by AceInHole
if you just want to have fun with it, build your car however you want and race with it.

i like that idea, i'm not really going to get that serious with it, at least i don't plan to. i'm racing against myself so i guess it really doesn't matter what class i'm in. as long as i don't look like an idiot driving a mostly stock car in prepared.

i figured the 300zx brakes would bump me out of stock, but are they legal for STS or not? you guys are contradicting each other. oh, when i said my brakes suck, i was being generous, they are actually borderline not safe for street driving, let alone racing. they need to be fixed, and why fix when you can upgrade?

AKADriver
07-28-2003, 09:52 AM
'cuz fixing is much cheaper! you probably just need new pads, fluid, and if your old pads are that bad they might have chewed up the rotors too.

sykikchimp
07-28-2003, 11:28 AM
I'd say leave it like it is, repair your brakes where you feel safe driving on the street, and go....

If you like it, then modify to meet the class you decide to be in.

AceInHole
07-28-2003, 11:49 AM
Originally posted by cdlong
i figured the 300zx brakes would bump me out of stock, but are they legal for STS or not? you guys are contradicting each other. oh, when i said my brakes suck, i was being generous, they are actually borderline not safe for street driving, let alone racing. they need to be fixed, and why fix when you can upgrade?
someone mentioned before that the brakes would bump you into STX... but I had thought they were a street prepared mod....

RedMist
07-28-2003, 01:49 PM
If I'm reading The rules (http://moutons.org/sccasolo/Rules/index.html) that I linked above correctly, the 300zx brake swap puts you in SM. SP allows different lines and MC's but doesn't mention calipers or rotors and I generally assume that if it isn't specifically stated that it is allowed then it is illegal.

Fixing stock brakes can cost as little as $75 total for rotor resurface, new pads and new fluid. 300zx brakes cost $500-$1000. I think you'll be much happier competing now and then after doing it a few times you can decide whether you want to modify your car more or if you want to just focus on competition. You may go through withdrawal if you can't compete every single weekend or you may not really care that much and just auto-x every once and a while in whatever class your car may fall into with the mods you want to do...but I say try it first a few times before spending a lot of $$.

LanceS13
07-28-2003, 03:22 PM
To try to clear up some classing confustion...
300ZX brakes...SM or STX
electric fan...DSP or SM
all the suspension stuff you mentioned (except shocks)...DSP or STS
just shocks, stock air box, no e-fan...GS

cdlong
07-28-2003, 04:34 PM
well, now i'm thouroughly confused about classes, what does each one mean, and are some sub classes of others or what?

fixing my brakes the right way will cost me at least $400, maybe more if i need new front calipers too. 300zx brakes will cost me around $700. i might as well go all out if i have to spend the money.

redmist, your link doesn't work.

MovinUp-1
07-29-2003, 08:47 PM
What, exactly, is wrong with your brakes?

AceInHole
07-29-2003, 09:36 PM
Originally posted by MovinUp-1
What, exactly, is wrong with your brakes?

hmmm.... maybe pads, rotors, caliper, hub, spindle, lines, and bracket???

Doing a full Q45 swap including the e-brakes ran me a bit over $200....

cdlong
07-30-2003, 01:11 AM
Originally posted by MovinUp-1
What, exactly, is wrong with your brakes?

rear calipers are shot, parking brakes are frozen, bleed screw is rusted solid, and one was leaking (though i fixed it already) front pads are gone, front and rear rotors are probably gone, it lacks stainless steel lines.

rebuilt rear calipers - $120
rotors - $100
SS lines - $100
good pads - $80
total - $400

240racer
07-30-2003, 11:29 AM
you certainly don't need stainless steel lines. Just replace your rotors and rear calipers with parts from a local parts store, no reason to go fancy. Then get some decent pads like the KVRs. That should come in around $300 then, considerably less then the 300zx brakes. Since you really only need to do the front brakes from the 300, you need to have good stock rear brakes, so you have to fix those anyway. After you get everything set, just get some new brake fluid and bleed your whole system well.

LanceS13
07-30-2003, 12:45 PM
here ya go
http://www.zilvia.net/f/showthread.php?s=&threadid=33503

cdlong
07-30-2003, 06:24 PM
so with stock brakes i would be in STS and 300ZX brakes i'd be in STX. i got it, thanks.

it seems that a lot of people have been telling me to just do a basic upgrade and do the 300ZX brakes later. the thing is i wanted to use S14 rear calipers and possibly '95+ maxima rotors (they're bigger) so the only thing that would transfer over would be the rear SS lines. oh well, i'll figure it out.

sykikchimp
07-31-2003, 08:11 AM
You will never see a difference at an auto-x with 300zx brakes. I just swapped on 300zx brakes myself, and I tell you I wouldn't do it again if I was just going to do auto-x. Pedal feel isn't close to what it used to be. (Granted, I haven't done a good second bleed to clear out the lines properly..) The reason I wanted the 300zx brakes was for fade resistance for repeated high speed stops at Track events. I honestly didn't even really need them for that. In the events I have done with the stock brakes, I've never once boiled my fluid, or faded my pads.. I was running ATE Super Blue, and Porterfield R4-S pads..

If you wanna do this on the cheap.. get a Rear caliper rebuild kit ($35). Break out the PB Blaster($3) on those bleed screws, Buy some speed bleeders ($20) Then call one of the guys over at Cobalt Friction and get a set of Axxis Ultimate brake pads Front and Rear (~$100), and some of their G3000-spec rotors (~$100), and a couple cans of ATE Super blue (~$20)..

Total - $278

If the G3000-spec rotors are too expensive (Cobalts usually has about the cheapest OEM spec rotors..), Check out Nopi.com.. Seriously, last time I checked, they had our FRONT rotors for only $27 ea.

RedMist
07-31-2003, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by cdlong
so with stock brakes i would be in STS and 300ZX brakes i'd be in STX. i got it, thanks.

Try my link again, it works for me...not sure what the problem could be :confused:

But the 300zx swap will put you into SM (maybe SP but i think SM, the rules are confusing sometimes) not stx.

LanceS13
07-31-2003, 03:27 PM
No RedMist, I think you're wrong...STX allows brake upgrades last time I checked.
It's even in your link
17.11.9 STX "Brake rotors and calipers are unrestricted, but must attach to the original attachment points."
Street prepared definitely does not. But SM definitely does.

HaLo
07-31-2003, 06:20 PM
Mods I'd try to avoid: anything that bumps you in SM. The competition is very hard at that level.

RedMist
07-31-2003, 07:40 PM
Originally posted by LanceS13
No RedMist, I think you're wrong...STX allows brake upgrades last time I checked.
It's even in your link
17.11.9 STX "Brake rotors and calipers are unrestricted, but must attach to the original attachment points."
Street prepared definitely does not. But SM definitely does.

Wow. :hammer: I don't know how I missed that. Thanks for clearing it up.

AceInHole
07-31-2003, 11:27 PM
Originally posted by HaLo
Mods I'd try to avoid: anything that bumps you in SM. The competition is very hard at that level.

Probably depends on your area... or how well you can drive :p

MovingUp-1 has been doing well in his region, and my "team" just came off a good weekend, pulling 4 trophies (3 from my car) in the 2 events from this past weekend's double header.

MovinUp-1
08-01-2003, 07:26 AM
Thanks Ace in hole. You're right that it depends on the region he is racing in. Some regions may have some really hot shoes driving (like Texas Region, and mine :D ) but others could have guys with just a couple of mods that throw them into SM. The biggest expense to running at the top in SM is that race tires are allowed where STS and STX require a street tire. i'd just hate to see this new guy dump a bunch of money into a 300zx brake swap and be forced to run in a class where he will not be competitive because he now can't afford to do any other mods to the car. Street Mod is meant to be a tuner class. It is for the cars that have a ton of mods in both drivetrain and suspension. I've got about 7k invested in my car right now and it is a dedicated autocrosser almost never driven on the street. No radio, no a/c, dump truck stiff springs. It's no place for someone new to autocross with not much money to spend.

HaLo
08-01-2003, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by AceInHole
Probably depends on your area... or how well you can drive :p

MovingUp-1 has been doing well in his region, and my "team" just came off a good weekend, pulling 4 trophies (3 from my car) in the 2 events from this past weekend's double header.

I would tend to agree... However, when you're starting, you're better off in some lower class. You need R compounds in SM. I don't have any and I don't have any experience so that shoves me in the bottom end of the group. I'm a firm believer that you should do at least one season stock (which I didn't and I regret it) so you can get a better feel of your car and how mods affects it. I also believe you should run a full year on street tires before switching to R-Compounds.

240 2NR
08-01-2003, 11:55 AM
Originally posted by cdlong
rear calipers are shot, parking brakes are frozen, bleed screw is rusted solid, and one was leaking (though i fixed it already) front pads are gone, front and rear rotors are probably gone, it lacks stainless steel lines.

rebuilt rear calipers - $120
rotors - $100
SS lines - $100
good pads - $80
brake fluid- $5

total - $405

Not boiling your fluid and crashing into a wall - Priceless

240 2NR
08-01-2003, 12:03 PM
Originally posted by cdlong
?

what about tires? again, mine suck. i want to get new wheels and good street tires for the summer and put snow tires on my stock wheels. should i do that, or get better tires on the new wheels and all seasons on the stockers? any better ideas? remember i live in ohio and snow+RWD+light weight=suck.

If you're gonna run two sets of wheels, do it right and get performance tires for the good set of wheels and dedicated snow tires for the cheap set. All season tires are a trade of in every season. While snow tires blow in terms of performance they kick *** when it gets cold and snowy and will be well worth their other shortcomings when you really need them.

snow + rwd + lightweight + snow tires = very doable

Since it will be a benefit for autox and in the winter time, you may also consider sourcing an LSD.

cdlong
08-01-2003, 08:00 PM
Originally posted by 240 2NR
Since it will be a benefit for autox and in the winter time, you may also consider sourcing an LSD.

i was thinking about that, but they are quite a bit of money and i really don't have the power yet. that wouldn't change my class because it's optional equipment right? would it matter if it was a J30 or 300ZX diff, i don't really have to tell them it's not stock.

Tucker
08-05-2003, 09:54 PM
As I understand the rules, they state that you can fit your car with whatever options were available from the manufacturer at that time. That means I could retrofit my base model 240 with a sunroof, "sport suspension", lsd, abs, and hicas, and still compete in G Stock.

The one catch is that you must install the whole package and not just parts. For your LSD, you'd also have to install HICAS because in '92 (my car), an LSD was only available in the handling package which included HICAS.

You could install an LSD and race in STX though regardless of what your car originally was.

check www.socal240sx.org (http://www.socal240sx.org) for details regarding your available option packages.