Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22

Thread: How to Mod a car for Competition

  1. #1
    Guest

    How to Mod a car for Competition

    Thought something like this might help out some of the new guys aspiring to start some competative racing.

    I know I've seen alot of people post questions on what is the correct order to start buying and installing mods on their cars.

    So here's what I think is the best approach to preparing a car for competition, keeping in mind that with each step of the process driver skill needs just as much (if not more) upgrading than the car does.



    So you've got a brand new Subaru and you want to make it faster... where do you start.

    Thats easy, start with the driver. Come to an AutoX, get some seat time as both passenger and driver. Learn whats important from those who've had a season or two to make their own mistakes. Burn those RE92's till they scream for mercy. Better you learn how poor they perform on the track than on the street.

    That is why tires are definitely the foundation of any competition based vehicle. They are the place to start when you want to go racing, and frankly... the same goes for street use too. They will give you immediate imporvements and are worth every penny. It is an expensive mod, probably one of the most expensive, but if you can save the dough (that means not wasting it on BOV's, body kits, and even exhaust for that matter) you'll be more than happy with the result. Don't waste your money on expensive tires like Michelin Pilots or Goodyear F1's, there are realy only two tires to consider in my opinion, and they are the Kumho MX and the Falken Azenis. Both are relatively inexpensive... and both are at the top of the street tire classes of the SCCA series. Don't start with R-compound tires, they are far more effective if you have the suspension and driving skills to work them to their limits.

    Now take your new rubber the the track, do some more autoX'n, learn how tire pressure effects the balance of the car.

    I personally feel that suspension is first and formost when preping a car for racing. So after you've snagged your new rubber, look into the whole springs/dampers/coilover/swaybar market and decide what you want your car to do.

    Alot of people have trouble deciding whether or not Coilovers are right for them. There is no definiative answer. There are alot of spring/strut packages that outperform the cheaper coilovers. At the same time, coilovers often offer more adjustment, and the inverted types (DMS, JIC, TienRA...) offer higher stiffness which translates to a more stable alignment during cornering. For a spring/strut package, look to spend around $250-$350 per corner. For coilovers, if they are cheaper than $2000 for all four, walk away (unless they're used ofcourse). Look for bottom adjust rears if possible (its a bugger to adjust top adjust rears) and if its in the cards, seperate compression and rebound adjustment is a valuable tool when tuning for rotation.

    As far as sway bars go, forget the front... a stiffer front bar will only make the understeer worse. For more stability in a slalom use your compression adjustment on your dampers to gain precision and response. For the rear, look for an adjustable bar. There is no need to spend enourmous amounts on a JDM bar, its just a bent up steel rod, Whiteline realy offers the best bang for buck option for this kind of part.

    Now that your suspension is almost done, continue to spend some time racing, you'll appreciate your mods more if you try them out before and after installing them.

    If you're now at the point when you think you're ready for R's look into getting camber plates. You'll chew through your R's in a couple races if you don't give them the camber they need. Camber plates will also increase the life and grip of street tires. The plates that Tony has created eliminate the need to purchase an ALK, so put that money towards plates.

    At some point in your suspension modding schedule, you should try to pencil in some time to focus on your brakes. There are two paths to choose. Keep the stock system, upgrade rotors, pads, lines, and fluid. Or get a big brake kit, and do the same. The latter is ofcourse more expensive but if you buy the right parts, you'll realy be able to feel the benefits (especially when everyone else is blowing through the stop box)

    Now you're set for chassis mods, and if your income is similar to mine, you've probably had your car for at least a year or two by now. I avoided engine mods till my 60,000km warranty had expired. Its not necessarly unwise to mod before, but expect to have the dealer look closer at any failure you may have should you choose to boost the power. Lets face it, an extra 40hp is going to make alot of parts work alot harder... though it shouldn't cause failure, it will shorten the life of some components. Its unfair to expect Subaru, and your dealership to replace parts broken by a heavy left foot and a bunch more pep under the hood.

    When the time comes for engine mods, you realy have to decide early on how far you want to take it. Do you want to go balls out at swap turbos and intercoolers, upgrade fuel systems, even your gearset... Or.. do you want some more go down low and an overall peppier car. I chose that latter route, mostly due to budget restrictions. My advice for those who choose this route is to get your exhaust (I took a rather cheap path there, Bosal DP ($375), Ultimate UP ($175), and stright pipe axle back ($80)) and then go straight to Japanese Auto and ask Yoshio to set you up with an AutoX tune. The street tune is alright, but in my opinion, the AutoX tune is virtually the same... just stronger. Expect to lose a little mileage in the city, but honestly my hwy mileage improved by about 60km/tank. My EGTs and Boost stability improved alot too. Frankly next to tires, this is the best money I've ever spent on the car.

    An air filter, some quality synthetic oil (AMSoil or Motul) and some quality plugs are also relatively cheap HP mods that are worth the money.

    At this point, you're more than likely hooked on racing, so there's no point in telling you to head back to the track, cause I'm sure you're already there. If R-comps still haven't made it to your car, and you think you've got the dicipline to use them to their potential... now is the time to buy. We've been pretty sucessful with the Kumho and Toyo R's, I've heard that the Yoko R's are poor in comparison, and the Hossier and Michelin R's are too expensive, and too soft to make them worth it for a season of racing.

    Now... if you have any money left, and you realy want that body kit, or wing.. I guess you could snag it now. But there are still alot more things you can buy that will improve your times and your enjoyment.

    Look at upgrading to coilovers if you went to the spring/strut route. You can get good money for used spring/strut packages. Look into possibly a steering rack upgrade, maybe even a new clutch, transmission, or bigger brake kit.

    Seats are a great way to keep you right in front of the wheel where you want to be, but keep in mind Subaru seats are actually pretty good, so if you're not going to pony up the coin for something serious (Sparco, OMP, Momo...), keep the cash for something more useful.


    For now I'd say thats about it. If anyone sees something I'm missing, post up and I'll add it in. My fingers are tired, and I think I may have just made the longest post in SPDA history.

    Hope this helps those who are wondering which direction to take with their Subaru's. As always, every member is more than willing to offer their advice on mods, and being the group we are... most of the mods out there are at least on one of our cars!

    Cheers,
    -Pete

  2. #2

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    What Pete said!!!!!

    Wow, long post Bud,,,,,,

    A couple of points I'd like to add clarification to, Pete has covered it off pretty well I'd say.

    Air Filters, forget spending 400 on a cold air intake, its not worth it, an 80 $$ K&N does the same thing.

    Brakes, no Big Brake Kit unless you do all 4 wheels, just doing the front will cause an extreme imbalance in your braking system.

    There are numerous ways to get the end result, my suggestion is to ask guys running your same make model car what they have done, ask for a ride at an autox and make your own decisions,,, more money does not necessarily translate to better performance, there are lots of ways to getting to the finish line.

    Oh, and hit every autox you can,,, amazing how the small entry fees add up to far more then a big dollar mod.

    Tony
    Co-Founder SPDA, Subaru Performance Drivers Association.
    Turning money into noise one dollar at a time.
    2007 Targa 2nd Unlimited
    2007 Targa Nations Cup Winner
    2005 Spirit of Targa Winner
    2005 Ontario Solo 2 Champion E/SP
    2004 Canadian Solo 2 Cham...

  3. #3

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    Nice write up Pete! It is great to see the knowledge being shared.
    Paul H

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Maple, Ontario
    Posts
    6,370

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    All excellent points. Nice write up. Makes me want to go out and Autocross...

    LOL

  5. #5
    Guest

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    Thanks Pete,
    you have answered many of my questions.

  6. #6
    Guest

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    hi, I m Kev, I m new here.

    wanna to know about the choices of LSD for wrx.

    let say, Cusco 1 way, 1.5 way. What are the differences between them with the stock one on track use or street use?

    Does LSD relates to the locking effect, ramp angles, and the pre-load on the clutch (Exedy, ACT)?
    let say..how the pre-load on the clutch is adjusted in order to provide how much locking effect..

    Is LSD something need maintenance very frequently?


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Maple, Ontario
    Posts
    6,370

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    Hi Kevin,

    Lots of good questions, but before it can be answered, which LSD (Limited Slip Differential) are you talking about, Front, Middle, Rear?

    1.5:1 refers to the lockup type or LSD effect. Meaning full lockup one way and partial lockup the other way. (Summarized / simplified explanation)

    Ramp is tuned completely different and refers to the amount of torque required before the LSD takes effect. LSD's when used properly play a significant role in reducing lap times, but when installed without being configured properly, it's a nightmare.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    Hello all.
    Being a new racer this year I need some advice on tuning.
    My objectives are to have 300HP (crank) and I have a VF30 and STi injectors ready to go on in spring.
    Can I have the Yoshio "autoX" tune with this set up or would I be better to go with my original intention and have ecutek tuning.
    I want to race in some AutoX but also be able to have a little fun at the dragstrip and track days too.
    I know it's tough to have a real balance and be able to have a car set up to do everything so I have decided to look at the best overall tuning option.

    I have the suspension and brakes(fourpots) already other than a few small items so I didn't overlook handling and braking.No bodykits or stereo's or paintjobs for that matter since I just want speed and handling.
    I have heard alot of comments that Yoshio is very good however I also know there are other good choices as well.
    If anyone with a similar setup can comment I am open minded and all ears???

  9. #9

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    Yoshios autox tune is a great feature.
    Smooths out the power curve, you will be very pleased.

    SPDA Members will get special pricing of $350. You cannot go wrong with this tune.

    Tony
    Co-Founder SPDA, Subaru Performance Drivers Association.
    Turning money into noise one dollar at a time.
    2007 Targa 2nd Unlimited
    2007 Targa Nations Cup Winner
    2005 Spirit of Targa Winner
    2005 Ontario Solo 2 Champion E/SP
    2004 Canadian Solo 2 Cham...

  10. #10

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    If I go Yoshio I need a Boost Controller don't I ?
    What are you guys running to control boost,remember I will be running a VF30?

  11. #11

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    no boost controller needed, yoshios maps control the boost.

    Co-Founder SPDA, Subaru Performance Drivers Association.
    Turning money into noise one dollar at a time.
    2007 Targa 2nd Unlimited
    2007 Targa Nations Cup Winner
    2005 Spirit of Targa Winner
    2005 Ontario Solo 2 Champion E/SP
    2004 Canadian Solo 2 Cham...

  12. #12

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    Great post, my eyes are getting blurry after reading all that. :-o

    Just want to correct a few things!!! (Just kidding) :-D

    Thanks for the info., made me remember that I need tires more than a new exhaust.


  13. #13
    Guest

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    Thank you thank you
    Great post all Pete your original post is a great start guide. I am in Maryland a-bit further south and wonder if any one would recommend a good web site to purchase brakes?

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Maple, Ontario
    Posts
    6,370

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    http://www.stoptech.com/

  15. #15

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    Tag, I used the stop tech kit last year for solo 2. I would highly recommend it.
    4 slotted rotors, ss brake lines, ultimate axxis pads (ia little dusty) and motul brake fluid.

    I was very very happy with my kit and it worked wonderfully in solo 2 competition.

    Tony
    Co-Founder SPDA, Subaru Performance Drivers Association.
    Turning money into noise one dollar at a time.
    2007 Targa 2nd Unlimited
    2007 Targa Nations Cup Winner
    2005 Spirit of Targa Winner
    2005 Ontario Solo 2 Champion E/SP
    2004 Canadian Solo 2 Cham...

  16. #16
    Guest

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    thank you I just checked out the stop tech site! I am thinking stage 2. thanks again.

  17. #17

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    good thread. but you forgot something crucial peter. stickers! lots of them. increases driver and car potential linearly in terms of number stickers you got! :-D

  18. #18
    Guest

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    This may interest some... http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=88433&item=5555247 095&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

  19. #19

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    Only does Macpherson Struts? That's some pretty ghetto suspension software! Look for the Bill Mitchel program. Pretty easy to find and I think it will do multiple types (but it might only be double A-arm, I forget).

  20. #20

    Re: How to Mod a car for Competition

    Good day!

    I thought that the write-up was a great read, except for one point...

    Contrary to the logical train of thought, I've found that a stiffer front sway bar has increased the performance of my car. The car's alignment around corners seems to change less, and understeer is in fact reduced with a stiffer front sway bar. The car rotates much better.

    I was wondering if anyone can help clarify this for me, since I find it confusing that I'm getting better performance than the stock swaybar. At first I associated it with tire pressures, but I was able to eliminate that as a factor.

    Mods on the car (2003 TS wagon):

    2004 STi wagon springs
    2004 rear Group-N top hats
    RCE front camber plates
    2003 KYB AGX struts
    Cobb rear sway bar 20-22-24 (set at 22mm)
    Whiteline front sway bar 22mm
    front/rear endlinks

    front alignment: -1 camber, 3 caster, 1/8" toe
    rear alignment: -0.5 camber, 0 caster, 0 toe

    Thank you!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •