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Old 08-20-2012, 11:46 AM   #18
Norm Peterson
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Norm,

Did you know we occasionally make a mistake and cast parts in SCCA Black ;-)
Didn't know there was such a color (but I might personally like it a little better than yellow even though it doesn't matter at all at this point in time). Then again, I'm also under the impression that things like air and very soft foam count as nonmetallic material.


Norm,
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:35 PM   #19
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Without getting into worries about modifications that move you up in class, one of the autocrossers' mantras is "seat time, tires/wheels, everything else".

I'm not trying to step on anybody's toes here, not yours or those of any vendors.

Seat time
You're almost certainly guilty of "overdriving". Entering a course feature too hot, or starting your braking too late/holding it too long is an absolute guarantee that you'll find understeer.

For slaloms, you need to be aware that you cannot crank the steering wheel from position to position in zero time. If I had to guess, I'd say it takes at least half a second, during which time the car has travelled at least 20 feet. Meaning that you'd have to get your steering started about 20 feet sooner, or visibly before you reach the next cone you're trying to get past. This takes practice, some confidence that it will actually take this time, and a little co-ordination between what you're doing and what the car needs. When you take an instructed course walk and the instructor mentions "getting on the back side of the cone", this is what he's getting at. If you wait until you get to each slalom cone before starting to steer, you're LATE. And you'll thereafter be playing catch-up (unsuccessfully), you'll be slow and probably plowing.

You absolutely need to turn all of the nannies OFF. They aren't there to make you better at driving hard, only to help protect the street-driving morons against their own incompetence, and they do this by insisting on understeer (the average driver tends to either "freeze" or worse, do exactly the wrong thing, when faced with oversteer).

Look where you want to go, not at what you don't want to hit. Hands follow eyes, car follows hands . . . and this is good advice for all of your driving, actually.

On a really good run, you'll frequently feel that you aren't really "stuck down". That's off in your future, though.


Tires/wheels
For now, or at least until you invest in a set of higher performance tires (see class rules for limitations), tire pressure adjustments are what you have available. A little more front tire pressure will make the car turn in (get your turning started) better. A little front to rear tire pressure "stagger" with the rear tires at lower pressure may help get the car to 'rotate', or actually get pointed in the new direction better, and tend to give you a little extra margin against power-on oversteere on corner exit. You'll have to experiment with this.

Everything else
You're best off NOT modifying the car right away, beyond a more performance-oriented alignment. Learn how to drive it at this new level first, which will give you a better idea just what it is you want to fix about its handling (and you'll have had a chance to separate your own driver errors out from the clutter). Learn what different mods do.

If you're trying to stay in a specific class - be careful about what you do to modify your car, or you might find yourself running directly against far more heavily modified cars. But if you're just in it for the experience, or have other criteria such as taking in road course track days or just want to mod for your street use and autocross it wherever it falls, don't worry about this part too much.


Pete and Apex have both made good suggestions. If you even think you might get serious about this, having a few adjustments available (such as for stabilizer bars and shocks/struts) can help you upgrade the car to suit you as you grow as a driver.



Norm
Thank you Norm.
-I will certainly agree that I was "over driving" in a few spots of the course. That is interesting what you say about turning before the cone to make the cone. I totaly know what that means. My slower entry into the slalom section always ended better than the faster entry laps.
-I do have 4 more points that I can use before the next class as right now I am just barely into the prepair class. As a side note I am not into Auto cross to compete. Just make the lap as quick as I can. Compete against myself.
-I think I had the tire pressure perfect just a bit hotter on the inside than outside. Checked with temp gun.
-I think I would have been much better with the nannies turn off. Just didn't have the guts to try it until my last pass.

I thank you all for the tips so far.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:40 PM   #20
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The best advice given was more Seat Time, before other mods...and remember, sometimes slower is faster...too fast means sliding, sliding means slower times in most cases...unfortunately I like to slide, so often sacrifice a better time...Have fun...
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:52 PM   #21
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There is some good advice on here,as said before seat time then work your way into the mods.Have any questions give us a call.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:20 PM   #22
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I'd get an extra set of wheels and some 285 all around (So you don't trash your street tires) and get a performance alignment, not so much camber that you burn through tires off the track but enough to improve the turn-in characteristics. An then lots of seat time.

Remember...Smooth is fast!

P.S. A little trail braking never hurts
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:51 PM   #23
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Front

Camber -1.1
Toe 0.00
Caster Not Adjustable from the Factory

Rear
Camber 0.00 to -0.50
Toe IN 0.10
Total Toe 0.20
Will these work for a DD?

-Funk
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:32 PM   #24
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Those look like the "performance street" specs, so as long as your normal, everyday driving tends to be just a little more enthusiastic through the corners than that of average traffic you should be fine.

But if your normal cornering is significantly more aggressive still, or if you're frequently attending autocross or track day events, you might well want something somewhere between the performance street and race settings. It is possible to still get even tire tread wear, but you pretty much have to drive harder a lot more of the time.


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Old 08-26-2012, 04:54 PM   #25
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Thanks for all the tips and new questions from others.

Think I will drop the car an inch mainly for looks and when I do the alignment go for something a bit more agressive say a full race alignment. I work at a tire shop so tires are kinda cheap for me if they where off quick.

In those regaurds I drive a ton of interstate...will a race alignment just burn them off even running straight down the highway? Sadly I dont have an alignment rack at our shop.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:06 PM   #26
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The interstate will kill your tires with a real aggressive alignment, better off picking a middle ground alignment.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:47 PM   #27
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The interstate will kill your tires with a real aggressive alignment, better off picking a middle ground alignment.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:37 AM   #28
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With mostly highway driving but without autocross, "performance street" settings would be entirely appropriate as long as there's at least a little "enthusiasm" in your cornering.

With autocross included, it becomes a bit different of a balance between wearing the inner shoulders a little more rapidly in your normal driving and beating up the outer ones running through the cones. Depending on how much autocrossing is envisioned, performance street to maybe -1.3° front camber should be good for starters.

It is entirely possible to DIY alignments without a commercial rack - at least as long as the car's chassis itself is straight and square. Understanding how to get the angular measurements, having the patience to do so carefully and methodically, and understanding some of the things that could cause inaccuracy are the keys. The rest is just wrench-work. Been doing all mine in my nice, flat driveway for about 30 years now.


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Last edited by Norm Peterson; 08-27-2012 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:09 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
With mostly highway driving but without autocross, "performance street" settings would be entirely appropriate as long as there's at least a little "enthusiasm" in your cornering.

With autocross included, it becomes a bit different of a balance between wearing the inner shoulders a little more rapidly in your normal driving and beating up the outer ones running through the cones. Depending on how much autocrossing is envisioned, performance street to maybe -1.3° front camber should be good for starters.

It is entirely possible to DIY alignments without a commercial rack - at least as long as the car's chassis itself is straight and square. Understanding how to get the angular measurements, having the patience to do so carefully and methodically, and understanding some of the things that could cause inaccuracy are the keys. The rest is just wrench-work. Been doing all mine in my nice, flat driveway for about 30 years now.

Norm
Looks like I should just do a performance/street alignment then as I dont know the first thing about performing my own alingment let alone a "driveway" alignment. I have only set the toe on my big mud racing trucks before. Those only saw about 500 miles of street use per year so we just made sure the tires were pointing roughly the same direction. Plus those tires started with 2inchs of tread and usualy got holes punched in them and lugs torn off wheeling before any road wear was noticable.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:54 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
With mostly highway driving but without autocross, "performance street" settings would be entirely appropriate as long as there's at least a little "enthusiasm" in your cornering.

With autocross included, it becomes a bit different of a balance between wearing the inner shoulders a little more rapidly in your normal driving and beating up the outer ones running through the cones. Depending on how much autocrossing is envisioned, performance street to maybe -1.3° front camber should be good for starters.

It is entirely possible to DIY alignments without a commercial rack - at least as long as the car's chassis itself is straight and square. Understanding how to get the angular measurements, having the patience to do so carefully and methodically, and understanding some of the things that could cause inaccuracy are the keys. The rest is just wrench-work. Been doing all mine in my nice, flat driveway for about 30 years now.


Norm
There have been mythic stories about guys that could do track-side alignments as accurately as a state of the art rack in the hands of an expert technician. Very few of them are true. I have only one in my Dealer Group, Rich Johnson from Back Street Performance in Ohio. He has been doing this longer than most 5th Gen owners have been alive. If there is one there must be more, but they will always be the exception. A track-side alignment is good for the track where no one expects tires to last longer than x number of laps. The Sebring winning car in 2012 covered 101 laps or 373.7 miles. The longest LeMans winning car covered 3,360 miles and used I believe 8 sets of tires. 400 miles per set of tires. There are very few people that are capable of doing track-side alignments that will deliver even tire wear over 10 or 20 thousand miles of daily driver use. You may be one of those exceptional people that can, but for most the cost of an alignment at a quality shop will be offset by tire life on the street.

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Looks like I should just do a performance/street alignment then as I dont know the first thing about performing my own alingment let alone a "driveway" alignment. I have only set the toe on my big mud racing trucks before. Those only saw about 500 miles of street use per year so we just made sure the tires were pointing roughly the same direction. Plus those tires started with 2inchs of tread and usualy got holes punched in them and lugs torn off wheeling before any road wear was noticable.
You know all you need to know about doing your own alignment. In fact, I would say you are an expert.



Here are your specs for improved daily driver and AC use.

Front
Camber -1.1
Toe 0.00
Caster Not Adjustable from the Factory

Rear
Camber 0.00 to -0.50
Toe IN 0.10
Total Toe 0.20

When you are ready to accept dramatically reduced daily driver tire wear in exchange for dramatically improved handling I'll be happy to provide those specs too.
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:05 AM   #31
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There are very few people that are capable of doing track-side alignments that will deliver even tire wear over 10 or 20 thousand miles of daily driver use. You may be one of those exceptional people that can, but for most the cost of an alignment at a quality shop will be offset by tire life on the street.
Well . . . historically I've managed to get about 12,000 miles per 100 treadwear, on tires in the 200 - 240 treadwear range. I could get more if I wasn't so hard-wired to dial the enthusiasm up most every time the road bends. I've been tracking tire wear a bit more closely on the Mustang due to its somewhat extreme all-purpose camber setting (rather more than -1.5° against -0.75° factory-preferred), and it's still even to within no more than 0.02" across the tread on any tire. I have about 12.000 miles on the max-performance summer tires and aboutr 15,000 miles on the OE UHP all-seasons. I've been a stay-in-the-home-office structural engineer/stress analyst for most of my career, and it just doesn't come off as being all that difficult if you've got the patience and a little mechanical aptitude.

I won't try to claim I can hit the numbers to ±0.01°. But considering the variety of driving that makes up the daily stuff this level of precision isn't warranted as long as you're close to numbers appropriate to your own driving.

Determining what those numbers should be does take some thought and experience if you aren't working directly off the basis of somebody else's experience (and for that alone your sets of numbers should be much appreciated by everyone who doesn't just pump gas into the tank, turn the key, and go).

I'm skeptical that the average shop is ±0.01° good like the printouts suggest, or even ±0.03°, considering all of the possible sources of error that exist.

But say you're given a target camber number from whatever source (Chevy's own, yours, mine, other). You can get within about 0.1° of that with a consumer-level digital angle finder, which I'd consider fine given the variable makeup of daily driving.

If I get out my DIY-fabbed camber gauge that uses a dial indicator, as crude and as ugly as that thing is to look at I can get a little closer.


Early on, mostly meaning early 1970's and before, I never could find a shop that would either listen to what I was asking them to do or could get the job done right without screwing something else up in the process. That's where the the incentive for me to jump in with both feet and do a lot of things myself comes from. Alignment is just one of those things.


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Old 08-28-2012, 12:38 PM   #32
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Well . . . historically I've managed to get about 12,000 miles per 100 treadwear, on tires in the 200 - 240 treadwear range. I could get more if I wasn't so hard-wired to dial the enthusiasm up most every time the road bends. I've been tracking tire wear a bit more closely on the Mustang due to its somewhat extreme all-purpose camber setting (rather more than -1.5° against -0.75° factory-preferred), and it's still even to within no more than 0.02" across the tread on any tire. I have about 12.000 miles on the max-performance summer tires and aboutr 15,000 miles on the OE UHP all-seasons. I've been a stay-in-the-home-office structural engineer/stress analyst for most of my career, and it just doesn't come off as being all that difficult if you've got the patience and a little mechanical aptitude.

I won't try to claim I can hit the numbers to ±0.01°. But considering the variety of driving that makes up the daily stuff this level of precision isn't warranted as long as you're close to numbers appropriate to your own driving.

Determining what those numbers should be does take some thought and experience if you aren't working directly off the basis of somebody else's experience (and for that alone your sets of numbers should be much appreciated by everyone who doesn't just pump gas into the tank, turn the key, and go).

I'm skeptical that the average shop is ±0.01° good like the printouts suggest, or even ±0.03°, considering all of the possible sources of error that exist.

But say you're given a target camber number from whatever source (Chevy's own, yours, mine, other). You can get within about 0.1° of that with a consumer-level digital angle finder, which I'd consider fine given the variable makeup of daily driving.

If I get out my DIY-fabbed camber gauge that uses a dial indicator, as crude and as ugly as that thing is to look at I can get a little closer.


Early on, mostly meaning early 1970's and before, I never could find a shop that would either listen to what I was asking them to do or could get the job done right without screwing something else up in the process. That's where the the incentive for me to jump in with both feet and do a lot of things myself comes from. Alignment is just one of those things.


Norm
Norm, I do understand what is possible or sometime a necessity. I set the toe on what was supposed to be a magazine ready test car from a highly respected builder with a 25' extension cord. I used a straight edge and level for camber. The alignment equipment was not selected by choice. It was the only stuff I had available in the shop so we made do.

My road course specs for a Mustang are -2.5 camber, 0.50 Toe OUT per wheel and a caster increase of 1 degree. In the rear the best we can do is equalize toe.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:43 PM   #33
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I go to 4-5 events per year and spend the money to do a track alignment before the event and then put it back to street specs after. the cost is about 60 bucks each time and my shop will do the return to street specs for free since they have my profile saved in the computer.

Plus I can run track and track rotation specific setups (CW vs CCW)
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:57 PM   #34
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I go to 4-5 events per year and spend the money to do a track alignment before the event and then put it back to street specs after. the cost is about 60 bucks each time and my shop will do the return to street specs for free since they have my profile saved in the computer.

Plus I can run track and track rotation specific setups (CW vs CCW)
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