Archive for the ‘General Tips’ Category
I know this isn’t the type of modding that is usually discussed on this site, but thought it was pretty funny. The guys at Mighty Car Mods put together a complete guide to making your car, truck, SUV safe in the case of a zombie apocalypse. They even go as far as to consult a zombie expert and discuss the proper weapons you should use.
This seems like a great challenge for the Top Gear team to tackle. Buy a car and zombie proof it on a budget and then put each car through a set of tests to see just how zombie-proof their choice of vehicle and modifications are. C’mon BBC this would make for a hilarious episode!
In the meantime watch the Mighty Car Mods ‘instructional’ video on zombie proofing below.
With the Pro Solo in Lincoln, the first major event (locally) of the year, coming up soon, I thought it might be a good chance to talk about the SCCA Contingency Program. As some of you may or may not be aware contingencies are a chance to win awards by placing in certain positions in your class (1st is usually a good one) at National, Divisional and Pro Solo events. Contingencies usually require a participant to be using the company’s product and having required decal(s) placed on the car during the competition.
Brian Hanchey at AST-USA has been kind enough to put together a basic tuning guide for AST shocks.
This tech article is great for anyone.
I will be putting together a setup document tailored for autocross. It will be based purely on my own practices and experiences. I hope to release it early next month.
We got one of these a couple months ago and they are amazing. Takes excellent video in upto 1080P or 720P at 60 frames per second. They are perfect for mounting all over (inside and outside) your car or on a helmet. It even comes with mounts and brackets and a waterproof casing.
This deal is only $213 that’s $87 off retail and free shipping!
I know I know I live in Nebraska winter is supposed to last a while, but this is getting ridiculous (Christy!). For all your non daily driver cars this is a great time to spend on the car checking fluids or “nut and bolting” your cars suspension. All to often these things are left till there is a problem to work on. If you regularly check things and keep threads clean and free changes or repairs down the line will be much easier. This is especially true for daily driver weekend racers. I have worked on MANY members cars with frozen suspension parts and know how much time and added expense can be caused by rusted rotted hardware.
With all the wet stuff on the roads and salt in some of your areas it is worth your time to jack up the car and spray a little penetrating oil on the nuts and bolts that are so exposed to the harsh elements. Does not take any real time and you can look for problems while your in there. We all take our types of racing pretty seriously even though the reward is purely excitement. Keeping your car in the best maintained state will make it last longer and your performance stay top notch!
Since none of us, or at least most of us, don’t have unlimited funds for ‘upgrading’ our cars, saving money is always a plus. While shopping for upgrades for my car this offseason I have found a few opportunities out there for saving money. A great place to start your shopping is to find some of the more popular forums/websites that are primarily about your car. Undoubtedly there are other enthusiasts on the internet who also share your passion for whatever vehicle it is that you have. These sites are great ways to find out about an array of new, existing and future products for your car. As well as a place to read about others experiences with these products and get advice on what might be best for you in particular. There may even be instructions and walk-throughs on how to install the products yourself, which can definitely save you some big money on installation costs if you are willing to dig in and maybe get a bit dirty.
Another great resource that can be found on these sites is the For Sale section. There are always people trying to unload parts that they either don’t want, need or can’t afford any longer. Most of these products will be discounted sometimes heavily, even for new or like new items. This can result in great opportunities for savings for you if you can find the right deal. Usually this will take some patience and maybe even a little luck if you are looking for something specifically. The other drawback to this is you have to usually deal with someone you don’t know and who may live clear across the country. Make sure you are comfortable with the terms of the sale before you send anyone any money. PayPal is a good payment choice as it offers some kind of protection for you as a buyer if you happen to have any issues.
Since you have managed to find a community with lots of people who have a shared interest, this can be used as an advantage to save money by ordering in quantity. This is usually referred to as a ‘group buy’ and you would be surprised as to how many vendors are willing to give a substantial discount for getting as few as 5 orders at once. Group buys are regularly set up by manufacturers and vendors for new or existing products that they want to create extra buzz for, but group buys can also be set up by community members by contacting a manufacturer or vendor and checking what kind of deals that can be given for a certain level of committed buyers.
The internet is a great resource, not only for information, but for saving money as well! If anyone has any added advice on ways to save dollars please share it in the comments below.
This winter I have been working on preparing my car for the class I was running in last year and will be again this year. This is my first attempt at really preparing a car, so a lot of my articles here will be about my experiences as a n00b to car set up.
The first thing that came up for me and I am sure comes up for others is “Where Do I Start?” There are so many possibilities of modifications to be done to a car, it’s really hard to know where to start. A great place to start is to read The Rules, even if this is not your first time preparing a car or if you already have a car it is a good idea to read the rules every year to make sure a rule change does not affect you. I know that seems very simple and possibly boring, but the rules are a great resource to get you started on your journey.
If you do not have a car yet or have not decided which car you want to drive or set up, the rules can guide you through the class eligibility of the car. This can be very important in the decisions you make, as you don’t want to get stuck in a class where either the car itself doesn’t have any kind of competitive chance or the upgrades that you plan to do (or have already been made) don’t put you some place you would rather not be.
The rules can also help you choose the class you want to prepare your car for. Most of us have limited budgets when it comes to our cars, so knowing what upgrades (or other costs) it will take to be competitive can really help out in the decision making process.
If you have a car and know what class you want to be in, as was in my case, the rules can still be a very useful place to start.
For starters, reading the rules can keep you out of trouble by making sure you don’t do something you can’t do. One thing to remember is that if the rules don’t explicitly state you can do something, you can’t do it, no matter how small or trivial it is. So make sure to check out everything before you do it, because the last thing you want to do is to spend money or time on something that you may have to undo later on.
While you are reading the rules it is good to make a list of things that you can do and some things to watch out for when you are making decisions on which parts to buy, etc. Without a thorough understanding of the rules it can be very easy to do something that crosses the line and doesn’t make your car legal for the class anymore. The rules are very specific on what and how things should be done, so it is somewhat easy to do something you are not supposed to do because you would not have even thought about it being a big deal.
Since you now have a list of legal modifications you can do, it will be much easier to pick out the items you want to do to get started and quickly eliminate any ideas that you had previously, that don’t make sense any more, giving you a great place to get started.
One of the first things to realize when it comes to car control and attending your first event is that things need to be linked together. You are not shooting down a straight, going through the braking area and then turning the corner. You need to imagine the entire course as a fluid trip and find the fast way from one element to the next. It is always easier to start out slow and learn to speed up then to develop habits that you need to “unlearn” later. This is not to say the Solo racing is not aggressive because it is, and once you “get it” meaning the flow of it you will ramp up the energy to combine fury with smooth.
A common mistake for beginners is to make the car extremely stiff right off the start. This places far more pressure on you as a novice because the car will react faster than you know how to. In this situation you will always be behind the car (slower) and take much longer to get it right. The softer set up will be slower than a properly driven set up car, but a poorly driven stiff car will always be slower than a well driven soft car. The tires will not have as much time to communicate with you before loosing traction when a car is stiff, and they will take a “set” faster making the available slip angle (steering angle or sliding angle of the tire) much smaller thus the window of grip will be reduced for you to “learn”.
Check tires often so you can see how the changing temps affect the pressures. This will help you learn how to “tune” the cars handling without having to change parts right away. You will also be able to optimize overall grip of the existing suspension. Don’t mistake the markings on the sidewalls (scuff marks onto the sidewall of the tire after a run) as always the need to add air. Ask yourself if you caused it or the tire did. Over steering when you have lost grip will cause this and the hardest thing to learn is that you are are causing it and not always the car. You need to get the feel for when you have lost grip and “stop” turning the wheel, this is the way you let the grip catch up. This is one of the absolute hardest things to learn about car control and when you master it you will be amazed what can be done with a car.
For autocrossers living north of 40 degrees, winter can be an excruciating time. The season has ended, a new one doesn’t start until mother nature decides. We’re stuck with our cars in the garage and our tires in the basement. (You know, because our garages are never insulated as well as we wish they were.) So how is it possible to stay in top-autox shape with snow on the ground? Here are a few ideas that are helping us through the dark months.
1. Invest in a good game console, wheel, pedals, and that HD LCD TV you’ve been dreaming about for a while now. I highly recommend the XBOX 360 with Forza 3. This year, we purchased a gaming seat from playseats.com to suppliment this experience. It was well worth the investment. Practice daily to keep your eye-hand coordination in tip-top shape.
2. Make a ‘wish list’ of items to get for the car. If you are doing a new build for a new class, this is essential. Start getting parts now for fast fitting, in case you need to make adjustments. Its better to make those adjustments early in the season instead of the week of nationals. Figure out your budget and race schedule.
3. Focus on the fitness of the driver. Are you in the best shape you can be? Could you lose a few pounds? Focus on stamina and dropping weight safely. Remember, weight off of you is also weight off the car.
While we may not be able to drive every weekend, we can still prepare for the upcoming season, even with snow on the ground!