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First track day/I miss 4x4 ride height

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  • First track day/I miss 4x4 ride height

    Hey everyone. Yesterday I did my first track day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the North Atlantic Audi Club. It was a two day driving school with a mix of time on the track with an instructor and in the classroom. I was obviously in the beginner class as it was my first event.

    Here's the car:



    Mostly stock except for 8610s in Richard's housings in front, yellows in back, Ground Controls all around and a Whiteline front swaybar. Wheels/tires are 225/45 all seasons on 17x9 fn01s. I've been in a huge rush over the past week or two to get the car together and aligned for the event, then finally got the fenders rolled the day before after realizing I had a ton of rubbing issues. On the drive up to New Hampshire it seemed the roll solved most of those issues so I was pretty satisfied.

    We had some classroom time talking about some really basic stuff. I've been autocrossing for a few years so most of the general stuff was review for me. Finally we got to go out for our first session on the track. I met my instructor who was also a former S13 driver and we bonded over the car immediately. They had the yellow flag out the entire session and limited us to 50 mph so we could use the time to just focus on the basics and hitting the proper line without adding too much to the mix. It was nice and relaxing and after the 30 minutes I felt pretty comfortable with the track layout despite the Mini behind me that refused to obey the speed limit and accelerated right up to my rear bumper on every straight. My instructor also said he could see the autocross experience in my driving and was looking forward to see what I could do which was a nice boost to my self esteem.



    Spent some more time in the class then they let us loose again, this time with the green to pass and no speed limit. I started right behind the Mini from the first session who seemed to completely forget the concept of the line during the downtime and was driving all over the place. My instructor and I lamented that I was stuck going even slower than before but he said it was good practice for learning to ignore other drivers and concentrate on my own line. After 2 or 3 frustrating laps of the Mini refusing to point me by she finally pitted in and I got to get into the gas. I took it pretty easy to get a feel for the braking points, turn ins, etc. at speed but ended up catching a few more people and started having some real fun. My instructor gave me some really helpful tips about driving an underpowered car, how to adjust my line, etc. and it seemed like he was having a great time too. His enthusiasm really helped my confidence on the track.

    Some more class time then for the third run I was feeling great so I start pushing it a bit more. My instructor was pretty confident with me so he pointed out a few areas where I could gain some more speed and I worked on picking up the pace. Around this time I noticed I was getting some serious rubbing on a few corners as I started pushing it but all I saw was some rubber buildup on the fender lip so I didn't think much of it. I worked my way through a decent amount of traffic and encountered a few people who wouldn't let me pass them despite sitting on their bumper for 2+ laps because everytime they hit a straight they could just step on the gas and leave me behind until the next turn. I told my instructor it was annoying they could just deny me from passing by burning me on the straights and he said that's the difference between a slow driver in a fast car and a fast driver in a slow car. I'm definitely not a fast driver (yet!) but I got the gist of what he was trying to say. As I pulled off the track I noticed the e-brake light on my dash was on so I checked my brake fluid and the other basics but everything seemed fine so I didn't think too much of it.



    More basic stuff in class and finally our last run of the day. At this point I was pretty comfortable with my lines and realizing I could get on the gas earlier and earlier which of course meant my rubbing was getting worse and worse. I was having way too much fun to think much of it though and my instructor was laughing all the way through turn 3 when I got a little overconfident and the rear end started coming out. I'm really glad he was confident enough in my ability that he could laugh instead of chew me out. With about 5 minutes left in the session I saw something fly off the car in the driver's side mirror though and was immediately black flagged.

    I pulled into the pits and overheard something about a lost belt on the radio. I freaked for about 2 seconds until they corrected themselves and said it was just a piece of bodywork. Turns out this thing flew off at about 70 mph which was apparently cause for concern.



    I pulled back into the lot to check out the rubbing and noticed this:



    Well there's the reason for my electrical issues. At this point they weren't too bad: wipers wouldn't turn off unless I turned the car off but it wasn't raining so no big deal, e-brake light was on, and as I realized on the drive back to the hotel my turn signals didn't work at all. I figured I'd tape it up the exposed wires the next morning and zip tie it back up to the top of the wheel well to get by for day 2. Well, I pulled off the wheel the next morning to find this:



    The other front tire looked identical so between that, the fact that the wire harness was pretty destroyed in two seperate places, and my ever worsening electrical issues thanks to that, I decided it might not be a good idea to bring it back on the track. So unfortunately I missed day two but thankfully the car made the three hour drive back home without too much trouble aside from the wipers going on when I hit a bump and then refusing to turn off again for the remaining 2.5 hours. Nothing like listening to them screeching over my perfectly dry windshield in the bright sun for a few hours. All in all though I had an absolutely great time and can't wait to fix the car and get it back on the track. My only complaint is the classes were a little basic for me but my instructor said I could move up a group for the next event so they should be more helpful for me next time. I think the next event will be Watkins Glen in July. In the meantime it looks like I need to take a hammer to the inside of my fenders and do something about this wiring harness. Any suggestions?
    Last edited by RanciD; 06-03-2010, 08:47 PM.

  • #2
    Raise your car and get stiffer springs. Seriously, I found that the wiring harness was starting to rub. I had already purchsed stiffer springs for the front so I installed them and raised the car. I also fabbed up a stainless steel piece that covered the harness in-case it happened again.

    Glad you had fun at the track. The bug got me 5 years ago and I haven't looked back.
    Chicago Region SCCA SM # 688 http://www.scca-chicago.com
    TSSCC SM # 688 http://www.tsscc.org

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    • #3
      So instead of tucking the wires out of the way and banging that lip up in the middle so you can still lower the car, and thus the CG, you guys opted to raise the car?

      That sounds counter productive to me....
      http://sosideways.wordpress.com/

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      • #4
        My sleeves aren't tall enough to raise the car even if I wanted to so I'm going to repair and reroute the harness through the firewall. I need to do something about the seam in the wheel well that destroyed my front tires though. I can see how high the tires went up on it pretty clearly, think it'd be ok to just hammer that section flat up against the top of the well? It looks like I may have to notch it on either side first then it should get out of the way. Or I could just grind the entire thing off but I have a feeling that's not a good idea.

        Also I'm not sure how I feel about stiffening the car more. NHMS is the only track I've driven so far but it was pretty rough in sections. I'm running 450 front/400 rear springs now and it feels pretty good but if the other tracks around here are anything like NHMS was I don't think I'd want to go any stiffer.

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, one good thing about pounding that seam up is that, even if you DO still rub that part, you wouldn't be cutting into the tires, but instead you'll just rub on that part of the chassis.

          And if that does happen, then you can worry about maybe raising the car or something.

          Also, 225/45/17 is a horrible size. Way too tall of a tire.

          Since you have 17x9s, you should really go up to a 235/40/17 at the least, that will give you back at least half an inch up there.

          Shoot, you can even go up to a 245/35/17 Toyo T1S or Falken FK452, both will have better grip than your all seasons, and at that size, the O.D. of the tire is only 23.8", just like the 215/40/17s do, but you'll get 30mm or so more of section width, and it'll fill out those 9" wheels real good.
          http://sosideways.wordpress.com/

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          • #6
            I just threw those tires on cause I had them sitting in the garage. Thanks for the tip though since I need new tires anyway now. Am I going to have to pull the fenders to get the 235s/245s under there? I'm rubbing the sidewalls on the 225s already but the shorter tires may help with that a little.

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, you might only be rubbing due to the messed up front geometry, which gains positive camber during compression rather than negative camber.

              If you have done some sort of roll center correction via FLCAs that are spaced down and what not, that might help.

              However, if you're running 235/40/17s up front with a little bit of fender gap, I'm sure you'll be fine.

              BTW, do you not have camber plates up front?
              http://sosideways.wordpress.com/

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              • #8
                Yeah tein camber plates with 2.5 degrees of camber right now. I don't have any roll center correction though, might have to invest in modding some godspeed arms.

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                • #9
                  Well, just wait on the GS arms until I figure it out lol

                  Once I figure out how to get mine not to bind, I'm pretty sure it will work for everyone, since not many people are as low as me... not even WishIHadASilvia on here lol
                  http://sosideways.wordpress.com/

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                  • #10
                    What's the length of your current springs? You can go to an inch longer spring of the same rate, in order to raise your car a little.

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                    • #11
                      I have 7" springs all around. I'm going to pound out the lip and move the harness and see how things are before I raise the car but I'll keep that in mind. Have any of you guys relocated that harness or just moved it higher up in the wheel well?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SoSideways View Post
                        So instead of tucking the wires out of the way and banging that lip up in the middle so you can still lower the car, and thus the CG, you guys opted to raise the car?

                        That sounds counter productive to me....
                        1. If it is that low and the springs that soft, your CG is probably below the ground and you are in way worse handling situation then if the car was at even at stock height.
                        2. Re routing the wiring harness is not leagal in most classes if he wants to compete in anything like autocross like he mentioned earlier in the thread that may not be an option.
                        3. Re routing the wiring harness and banging down that seem will not solve the problem, it will still rub.
                        Chicago Region SCCA SM # 688 http://www.scca-chicago.com
                        TSSCC SM # 688 http://www.tsscc.org

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by eye-5 View Post
                          1. If it is that low and the springs that soft, your roll center is probably below the ground and you are in way worse handling situation then if the car was at even at stock height.
                          Fixed.
                          Originally posted by SoSideways
                          I don't care what color they are as long as they are LONG AND HARD.
                          '04 G35 Sedan 6MT- The DD
                          '96 240SX- The Track Toy

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by eye-5 View Post
                            1. If it is that low and the springs that soft, your CG is probably below the ground and you are in way worse handling situation then if the car was at even at stock height.
                            2. Re routing the wiring harness is not leagal in most classes if he wants to compete in anything like autocross like he mentioned earlier in the thread that may not be an option.
                            3. Re routing the wiring harness and banging down that seem will not solve the problem, it will still rub.
                            1) His car is not that low. If anything, it's probably in all actuality the same height as Def's car, maybe even higher than your S14 in your pic there. 225/45/17 is a very tall tire, like 25" O.D.

                            2) I'm not telling him to pull the harness through the engine bay. I'm saying to tuck it above the lip over the frame rail. That's not technically "re-routing", it's moving. No shortening of wires for ounces of weight savings, no nothing. Unless they forbid that too, I don't see that as a problem.

                            3) 8/7 springs aren't exactly soft, although when you're "that low", I'd personally like to see at least a 9k (500lbs) spring up front just for the reason of keeping the tire away from hitting the wheel wells or anything over bumps alone. Although, like I said earlier, if he could change the 225/45/17s out for some 235/40/17s, that's instantly lowering the car a little bit, and that will give him a ton more room up front automatically, and at the same time shorten the sidewalls and have a wider tread.
                            http://sosideways.wordpress.com/

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Matt93SE View Post
                              Fixed.
                              You've corrected me on that twice now. Man I have to be more thorough when posting. Thanks for keeping me honest
                              Chicago Region SCCA SM # 688 http://www.scca-chicago.com
                              TSSCC SM # 688 http://www.tsscc.org

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