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 Post subject: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 7:10 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:19 pm
Posts: 3006
Location: Lethbridge, AB
I was chatting with Greg today and commented that much of what I've been up to lately has gone un-reported. I have been very busy but I also thought I should do a little more sharing so that the club doesn't devolve into just a "how do you fix - X - " sort of thing. I don't have a bunch of photo's from the event, but I can share the experience.

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That's the first piece of the puzzle - you have to have a SNELL 2010 approved helmet. The 242 had to get the summer tires put on it before May long weekend...which is basically against my religion. So I took the day off work and emptied the trunk and changed my snow tires and got ready to race.

The events are running at either Red Deer or Fort McLeod and are run through the Southern Alberta SoloSport Club http://forums.sascsolo.com. They're running a local championship (I'm not even close to being ready to worry about that...I'll explain). I registered on line and joined the SASC club (which helps them with equipment etc).

The first event had a practice day - this was last Saturday and I went to the that to try it out. Met up with some Lethbridge guys that have been doing it for years and headed out early. I'm always worried about being on time and having things organized. The event was well organized, but really low-key and everyone was very friendly. It's a practice day, no one was very worried about much. Put me at ease. The 242 was a big hit with most as they hadn't expected to see anything like a 2-door 240 and anything old out there is usually more a race car than a nice car if you know what I mean.

I cleaned the engine bay after the winter - everything was looking pretty good for a tech inspection (that I ended up doing myself...no one is very worried about stuff unless you're running in the championship).

Image

I'm unsure what class I'd be in and the SCCA manual is difficult to interpret for the 1981 GLT. I'm still waiting for a classification, but it won't matter as I'm not in the fastest car out there - so no wins are in the cards. I picked number 242 and no one in the province is running it...so on with the tape graphics. I'll have to get some real numbers for the next contest. A fellow competitor took this shot.

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The practice day started with a trip to the novice course at the far end of the runway (the track is at the old airport). Three seasoned instructors took the first drive in your car and showed you what was possible. Nobody in the rookie camp could better that time or experience. The Lethbridge guys told me to do whatever I could to get a specific instructor. Turns out he's a 7 time Canadian Champion and National Champion in SCCA - so he's like the Stig (but he speaks). He hops in my car and just beats the tar out of it...seconds into the run he notes the open diff as he's whizzing through the slalom and then after a long corner, he floors it and the tires break free. Oh, it's turbo'ed he says. I'm thinking, if I live, I'm learning how to do this.

Now, I've had one half day of track school and an afternoon on the track with my 122. Autocross is quite a different discipline. It's far more technical as you have at least one change in direction per second of running time. You don't leave 2 gear and every mistake is really amplified. Soft pedal the start and you loose 0.5 seconds, mis an apex and it'll show up, every little detail matters and there are lots of details. I like it - it's a mental challenge as much as anything. Everyone says it takes years to get any good.

In the afternoon, I'm talked into running with the big boys instead of down on the learning track. Lots of guys wanted to see the 242 run. I did my best and finished DEAD LAST. By a respectable margin, if there is such a thing. So was I that bad? Nope - learning sure - but I just couldn't get the power to the ground and the car understeers terribly - pushing all over the track. If you hit it too hard, you go from understeer to snap-oversteer as the rear end brakes loose and you've got to be quick to catch it.

It's no Miata. So I've got some rear end work to do. I'm trying to get the parts together to rebuild a power-lok limited slip differential that I've got and I'm changing out the big IPD rear bar for a stock unit and am taking out the poly bushings in the rear lower control arm (the big ones). They're getting replaced with Kaplhenke units. I've also got to dial in the front end camber. I run -0.5 degrees and have been advised that another full degree is the bare minimum that is useful and can be achieved with stock struts. The outsides of my front tires were a lot hotter than the insides (by the hand tire pyrometer...I'm not fully equipped yet).

Anyway - I'm booked into a school at the end of May. We'll see if we can fix some parts of the learning curve as I improve the major issues with the car. My only other thought is to read the rule book before you build a car. I'm going to end up in a very competitive class for silly things like a ceramic coated turbo hot side and the trans swap. I'm happy with both - but neither really improves performance noticeably.

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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 10:08 pm 
Hiring a japanese chess champion as ECU

Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:28 pm
Posts: 487
Sounds like fun.

Alex and another Volvo friend here both auto cross. Our friend James won his class last year (races a ford probe? Or Mazda version of it). I won't have a car to race this year, but I want to go out and volunteer, go for some ride alongs.

I don't plan on being competitive, I'll just build my car to the way I want it, and the race wherever that lands me.

The guys that spend all day auto crossing from tbricks remove the rear bar entirely for more traction in the rear. Maybe try no bar and see how you like it.

Wish I could start working on this 242.

Were you in red deer racing?


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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 2:26 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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I'm a little surprised that in a field of cars that include FWD, you'd be so far behind them all. It IS 1974 technology you're working with, but it's been improved somewhat. I'm also a little surprised that cone crushing is interesting to you, but I guess if you feel it's a mental challenge, straining discipline and focus, and you're measuring against yourself in a rather unique car, I guess that sounds pretty much exactly right for you. :lol:

Remind me next weekend to show you my springs. I've got some springs from Jordan for coilovers, 250 and 350 lb-in, I think? Also if you're going to be doing this, consider using those long wheel studs rather than spacer-adapters.

Damn your car is pretty.


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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 7:47 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:19 pm
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Location: Lethbridge, AB
JordanRules wrote:


Were you in red deer racing?


No, no point at this stage. I have to get the rear end done and then I can go to school first.

Ugly Duck wrote:
I'm a little surprised that in a field of cars that include FWD, you'd be so far behind them all. It IS 1974 technology you're working with, but it's been improved somewhat. I'm also a little surprised that cone crushing is interesting to you, but I guess if you feel it's a mental challenge, straining discipline and focus, and you're measuring against yourself in a rather unique car, I guess that sounds pretty much exactly right for you. :lol:

Remind me next weekend to show you my springs. I've got some springs from Jordan for coilovers, 250 and 350 lb-in, I think? Also if you're going to be doing this, consider using those long wheel studs rather than spacer-adapters.

Damn your car is pretty.


I think there was me, the fox-body mustang driven by an instructor, for RWD. Then the mini, Fiesta ST, BRZ's, miata and S2000's were 2wd. The rest were AWD...and even the junky versions of those are faster around corners.

Improved...well, I'm not too sure that it's all that much better than stock. Sure, with the big bars on the road it feels less barge-like and the Bilsteins are nice (Koni Reds at the rear), but not knowing the actual spring rate - what I can say is that it is a little lower. With the lack of front end grip, there was only so much I could do with it. I am working on fixing the driver and tuning the car! It was pretty foul handling really. It's slippery in the rear and lacks front end grip. I can fix both relatively easily.

As far as enjoyment - it's not the same as track racing, which I prefer...but we don't have a track and all time at the edge of adhesion is fun time in my books. Sort of like going to work on a Sunday after it snows just because we've got a great big paved parking lot. I should go get some cones and lay out a course there just for fun.

We'll talk about the long studs. This could be done while I'm rebuilding the rear end. Can't bite off more than I can chew to hit the end of the month.

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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 8:17 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!

Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:03 pm
Posts: 2852
Location: T2C
I don't have much technical advice except...

I ran the 122 twice at Secret Street. The first time it was with the upper A-arms in the stock position. The car would not turn and didn't have the power to make it oversteer if it was even possible. The second time I went the upper A-arms had been dropped to the lower position and the car turned like no one's business. The difference was astounding. The only difference was the camber. I have no idea of how much negative camber it was running but y'all saw what it looked like. It wasn't insignificant... :D

Clearly your 242 doesn't have upper A-arms but it's pretty clear a bunch of negative camber in the 122 made a huge difference in how it turned.

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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 10:36 pm 
0-60 in VERY FAST

Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:34 am
Posts: 169
Location: edmonton
Autocross is a lot of fun....for the 5-8 mins of seat time not including fun runs :) My thoughts on car setup,
since I run the same model albeit a wagon. you should definitely invest in camber plates, and coilovers to take max effect.Contrary to popular belief...I find that 300lb front springs to be fine for me, and not to bone jarring on the donkey trails we call roads these days. I run about -2.2 degrees and with a good alignment drives very good on the street. this has been the greatest saver of my front tires :) I have the trutrac...if I were doing it now I think I would get the wavetrac, a little more spendy but promises to solve the unloaded spinning wheel syndrome (however it hasn't been that big of an issue with me). I run the 25mm rear bar and this year swapped back my wet noodle stock front bar (17-18mm ??) this in an effort to combat the understeer you noted. I can say after one event so far, has helped a lot. Not so much plough....although I did kill about 7 cones, mostly pure hooning and it was cool, and my star specs are getting old and hard, and.....excuses, excuses. Another thing, if you are running stock seats (?) you should add a harness...I have. I integrated it with my stock seat belt mountings with detachable upper belts bolted to the rear seat belt mounts, so I can just use the regular belts for day to day. Trust me, the more you can anchor yourself the more you can concentrate on the driving and not trying to prop yourself up.
We have a full array of events this year, and we get to run on the new road course...in itself very nice on tires as it is so smooth :) I am thinking I may try one or two of our lapping days, we will see.


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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 8:07 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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I'm running BMW 3 series seats, working seat belts and wasn't getting chucked around in the car like I have on stock 240 seats. My new seat belts are really effective - while my old ones were mushy. I hear your comments on camber, but coil overs will have to wait as I'm building the 122 and cash is tight. So it's going to stay where it is and just get as much camber as I can get on the stock struts. Camber plates will be in the mix with the coil overs in a few years.

We'll call that 242 v. 2.0.

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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 8:50 am 
First volvo in outer space
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Very interested in reading about your experience, thanks for sharing. I've thought about Auto-x but have to admit the road course stuff you did before has more appeal. You should post up the next event, I'd be interested in spectating.

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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 10:35 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Good times. I will be joining you hopefully soon. Your list of what cars were RWD is off though...

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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 11:26 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!

Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:03 pm
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volvoshredder wrote:
Good times. I will be joining you hopefully soon. Your list of what cars were RWD is off though...


Ya...was wondering about that myself. BRZ, Miata and S2000 are all RWD...

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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 1:23 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Pylon wrote:
volvoshredder wrote:
Good times. I will be joining you hopefully soon. Your list of what cars were RWD is off though...


Ya...was wondering about that myself. BRZ, Miata and S2000 are all RWD...


Whatever - they're also all basically sports cars. Volvo's aren't sports cars.

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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 4:05 pm 
Vmax 200mph w00t!
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=D>

I love this. I'm too scared to run my car at any sort of event so reading this has put my mind at ease that maybe i'll try and compete one of these days.

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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 4:36 pm 
0-60 in VERY FAST

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Are you taking the school Reijo is running ? Costly course, but is worth it they say. We used to run a school just through the club here, it was a good learning experience with lots of track time. They dont run it anymore due to the cost of Castrol.....I heard someone mention on Sunday that our 4pm til dusk was $3800


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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 7:15 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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frepea wrote:
Are you taking the school Reijo is running ? Costly course, but is worth it they say. We used to run a school just through the club here, it was a good learning experience with lots of track time. They dont run it anymore due to the cost of Castrol.....I heard someone mention on Sunday that our 4pm til dusk was $3800


That's the one. He's running it out at Fort McLeod. It's $300 for each stage (beginner, intermediate, extreme). I'm only doing the first stage. Can't afford to do more than that right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Autocross - The latest bit of fun.
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 5:36 am 
Cams + Headers

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Autocross is definitely a gateway drug into the very expensive habit of racing. As they say, it's easy to make a small fortune in racing, you just have to start with a big one.

I haven't autocrossed in years now, but it was always a lot of fun. But once I tried lapping (racing against the clock on a full on road course) I couldn't go back to autocross. Probably because autocross amplified all my little errors. :oops:

For those wondering how expensive racing actually is, I figured it out after I did Chump Car at Race City a few years back. At the time, I was playing recreational soccer, which cost me about $10 per hour of time played and hockey, which was about $50 per hour of time played. Chump car cost me about $1000 per hour of seat time. :shock:

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