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ABS and Power Steering for Track Car?

Old 04-08-14, 02:20 AM
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ABS and Power Steering for Track Car?

Im in the process of building a dedicated time attack FD and wondering what those of you who track regularly have to say about ABS and power steering. I know ABS is a great tool on modern sports cars but considering the system on the FD was designed using 20 year old technology Im not sure if its up to the task or even safe for serious track use.

For depowering the rack Im talking about removing the internal seals and welding the quill...not just looping the line.

Your thoughts and insight are always appreciated.

Cheers.
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Old 04-08-14, 10:40 AM
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most track cars keep the PS nowadays, it keeps the driver from getting fatigued as fast, which is good.

we tracked an FC with ABS for a while, it works fine on the track, it makes the tires octagonal its far from the best ABS setup, but i don't see a downside either
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Old 04-08-14, 12:56 PM
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Aside from those being possible failure points (which those don't really fail on these cars), I don't think it's worth it. Once you go with a smaller steering wheel, something like a 320mm, you will have all the feeling and effort you need in a Time Trial car.

I would only look at removing the ABS if you plan to go all the way with an in-cockpit adjustable bias system.
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Old 04-08-14, 01:00 PM
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I would get rid of both personally. Less weight, less complexity, less stuff to break, more driver feedback.

ABS is technically better, but a stock ABS system will never be optimally tuned for track use, so once again get rid of it. PS to me is more of a personal preference. If you are running big front tires and/or tight, low speed tracks, you may get tired of working so hard and decide to keep it.
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Old 04-08-14, 03:23 PM
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If you were to go all the way....Bosch motorsport ABS - there's at least one car here with it. Removing power steer, only attraction is improved access, otherwise half-baked....especially if you do suspension pick-up mods....I'd go towards electric which lots of circuit cars here use when there's lots of castor cranked in.
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Old 04-09-14, 10:56 PM
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Depends on the rules for my area.

We outlaw ABS and for good reason.

Older ABS systems have a big problem when they fail. If it fails in the wrong position it can actually block brake pressure from going to or from the calipers. IOW, you have no brakes or full brakes.

Another issue is that it can make the car uncontrollable by darting in different directions on rough tracks. Two different 2010 model year cars found their way through a guardrail because their "track set ABS" activated on a bump before a corner and reduced their braking ability. Each time was about 10k worth of damage to car and track.

Power steering is a personal thing. If you have longer races, keep it. If you drive a short track, up to the driver. If you keep it, keep the pump revs down and add a cooler to avoid, cavitation, burning out your pump, boiling fluid and possible fires.
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Old 04-09-14, 11:19 PM
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If your doing a time attack car and want to be fast you are going to have wide wheels and tires.

I have 18x11 +45 295 Ventus TD on my stock body FD that I auto-x.

The power steering that used to be feel overboosted on 245 V710 gets me sweating in short 4 minute races. I seriously make sure the cabin fan is on as part of my grid procedure.

I haven't tried racing without ABS on my FD.

I believe I did have it go into "black ice mode" one really wet auto-x on slicks. It just was braking super slow with the brake pedal matted until I went off course into gravel at about 15mph and the brakes started working normally.
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Old 04-15-14, 07:42 PM
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Thank you for the great input guys. As usual, it seems much of the decision boils down to personal preference. However, ABS issues in a spin situation or undulated road surfaces are interesting and something to consider. It seems most are quite happy with manual steering on the track, so I am leaning towards depowering the rack.
Still undecided on the ABS...Im running Stoptech 4 pot with 13" rotors up front and stock rear. Im wondering...how does the stock FD ABS react to big sticky tires and aggressive track driving? Is it set up super conservative, or does it allow the driver to push right up to the limits of traction?
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Old 04-15-14, 09:03 PM
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FD ABS seems quite aggressive to me.

My racer friends watching have told me on a couple of occasions my ABS isn't working because its smoking the the inside tire a bit sometimes, but its obviously working great.

I went with 14" rotor 6 pot Willwoods kit up front and it still works well enough as far as bias goes, just not as good pedal feel as with stock calipers (need larger master).

One thing to remember with big front wheels/tires /brakes is the piston gets knocked back into the calipers as the spindle flexes so you have to get used to tapping the brake before use and the horrible initial pedal feel when you do so.

Time attack rules are probably loose enough you could build or buy the reinforced spindle/upright assemblies.
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Old 04-17-14, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BLUE TII View Post
FD ABS seems quite aggressive to me.

My racer friends watching have told me on a couple of occasions my ABS isn't working because its smoking the the inside tire a bit sometimes, but its obviously working great.

I went with 14" rotor 6 pot Willwoods kit up front and it still works well enough as far as bias goes, just not as good pedal feel as with stock calipers (need larger master).

One thing to remember with big front wheels/tires /brakes is the piston gets knocked back into the calipers as the spindle flexes so you have to get used to tapping the brake before use and the horrible initial pedal feel when you do so.

Time attack rules are probably loose enough you could build or buy the reinforced spindle/upright assemblies.

Another nod to the ABS...I think Ill keep it.

Regarding the knockback issue, Stoptech offers anti-knockback springs for this. Not sure about Willwood. Might help improve your initial feel if its really bothering you.
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Old 04-17-14, 05:28 PM
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I found some AKB springs that will fit the piston sizes on my calipers, but haven't tried them out yet.
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Old 07-13-14, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by nofords View Post
We outlaw ABS and for good reason.

Older ABS systems have a big problem when they fail. If it fails in the wrong position it can actually block brake pressure from going to or from the calipers. IOW, you have no brakes or full brakes.
This is why I am pulling the ABS on my FD.

Sometimes it goes into ice mode - braking pressure reduced to 25%, which feels like no brakes ( I have replaced the relays )

Last week at an autox the ABS was allowing a front tire to lock up, sending me too deep into the corner.

Out it goes.
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Old 07-13-14, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by BLUE TII View Post
FD ABS seems quite aggressive to me.

My racer friends watching have told me on a couple of occasions my ABS isn't working because its smoking the the inside tire a bit sometimes, but its obviously working great.

I went with 14" rotor 6 pot Willwoods kit up front and it still works well enough as far as bias goes, just not as good pedal feel as with stock calipers (need larger master).

One thing to remember with big front wheels/tires /brakes is the piston gets knocked back into the calipers as the spindle flexes so you have to get used to tapping the brake before use and the horrible initial pedal feel when you do so.

Time attack rules are probably loose enough you could build or buy the reinforced spindle/upright assemblies.
Yep knock back is a problem for sure I think it's related more to pad thickness than the spindle flexing.

Originally Posted by jkstill View Post
This is why I am pulling the ABS on my FD.

Sometimes it goes into ice mode - braking pressure reduced to 25%, which feels like no brakes ( I have replaced the relays )

Last week at an autox the ABS was allowing a front tire to lock up, sending me too deep into the corner.

Out it goes.
If you drive on a bumpy track I'd get rid of the ABS otherwise I would keep it. It's really hard to get a manual brake setup dialed in as well as the stock ABS unit which works well and is consistent. However icemode caused by bumps is a real problem for any ABS setup and will lead to longer brake distances and possibly a risk of leaving the track.

Again though manual brakes are not easy to get dialed in and even when you do they are never going to be as consistent because the weight is changing, the tires are changing and the track is changing but your brakes are staying the same unless you have bias control in the **** pit and you are good at using it and have a really good shoe, manual brakes will likely not perform as well as ABS. Best option would be some sort of bosch race unit which is something I may do as time goes by but I doubt I'll go manual. Been there and done that and it sucks compared to stock ABS.

Power steering is nice to have and it would certainly keep your hands quieter BUT it's extra weight and it gets in the way of changing spark plugs etc...LOL.

I move my hands all over the place because I'm a weak little bastard and must keep my hands in a nice low position where I have plenty of leverage on the wheel to move it quickly and comfortably. I drive on 275 40 17 hankook c51 or 71s and my forearms will literally be aching after the 1st event each year.

My vote is to keep both but you will need a PS fluid cooler if using fat sticky tires and I happen to have one for sale LOL
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Old 07-14-14, 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Fritz Flynn View Post
Yep knock back is a problem for sure I think it's related more to pad thickness than the spindle flexing.



If you drive on a bumpy track I'd get rid of the ABS otherwise I would keep it. It's really hard to get a manual brake setup dialed in as well as the stock ABS unit which works well and is consistent. However icemode caused by bumps is a real problem for any ABS setup and will lead to longer brake distances and possibly a risk of leaving the track.

Again though manual brakes are not easy to get dialed in and even when you do they are never going to be as consistent because the weight is changing, the tires are changing and the track is changing but your brakes are staying the same unless you have bias control in the **** pit and you are good at using it and have a really good shoe, manual brakes will likely not perform as well as ABS. Best option would be some sort of bosch race unit which is something I may do as time goes by but I doubt I'll go manual. Been there and done that and it sucks compared to stock ABS.

Power steering is nice to have and it would certainly keep your hands quieter BUT it's extra weight and it gets in the way of changing spark plugs etc...LOL.

I move my hands all over the place because I'm a weak little bastard and must keep my hands in a nice low position where I have plenty of leverage on the wheel to move it quickly and comfortably. I drive on 275 40 17 hankook c51 or 71s and my forearms will literally be aching after the 1st event each year.

My vote is to keep both but you will need a PS fluid cooler if using fat sticky tires and I happen to have one for sale LOL
Hey Fritz, thanks for the informative post.

The car will mainly be living at the "local" tracks here in southern california. Willow Springs, Button Willow, Cal Speedway, and Chuck Walla. Button Willow 13 being my main focus. Button Willow is not the greatest as far as smoothness goes, but not a catastrophe either. Ive decide to give the ABS a shot so hopefully all works well.

I did away with the power steering in favor of a Chips manual converted rack. The quality looks great and I can't wait to try it out. Just pushing the car around the shop the steering effort is really not bad at all. I imagine at speed it shouldn't be much of an issue but time will tell. Also, for time attack, you're only out there for a handful of laps at a time so arm endurance demands should be manageable as well.
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Old 07-14-14, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Fritz Flynn View Post
Best option would be some sort of bosch race unit which is something I may do as time goes by but I doubt I'll go manual. Been there and done that and it sucks compared to stock ABS.

Power steering is nice to have and it would certainly keep your hands quieter BUT it's extra weight and it gets in the way of changing spark plugs etc...LOL.
...
My vote is to keep both but you will need a PS fluid cooler if using fat sticky tires and I happen to have one for sale LOL
I've driven without the ABS before, so I know it can be done.
Preference is for ABS, but it is just too inconsistent.

As for P/S, pretty hard to autox with 285/30/18 R compound.

My FD has a Setrab cooler for the P/S and much larger than stock aluminum can for the P/S fluid, so overheating has not been an issue.

As for changing the plugs, I am used to doing it from underneath anyway.
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Old 07-15-14, 10:38 AM
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for ABS there are actually some options, the later FD's had a much upgraded system, which physically bolts in, but needs a little wiring.

then we also noticed that the ABS system in the honda is a completely standalone system, it has a separate harness, and even the 90's hondas are 4 channel, vs 3 for the FD...
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Old 07-15-14, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by j9fd3s View Post
for ABS there are actually some options, the later FD's had a much upgraded system, which physically bolts in, but needs a little wiring.

then we also noticed that the ABS system in the honda is a completely standalone system, it has a separate harness, and even the 90's hondas are 4 channel, vs 3 for the FD...
I my experience the older more basic ABS units are better for road racing. The very fancy unit in my 997 GT3 was terrible and the later model cars are more prone to ice mode so I'm not sure if the later fd unit is an improvement or not.

However after driving a cayman with a fancy race bosch unit (needed some more tuning setup time), a 996 GT3, a 997 GT3 and my 1993 RX7 I'll take the FD ABS over the others.
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Old 07-15-14, 05:14 PM
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Just started driving my 2500lb TII with no power steering or ABS again as I am getting it ready for a hillclimb.

What a beast. I got spoiled by my FD and RX-8.

Right away I noticed I can't always downshift when I want because 1 hand on the wheel won't let me "flick" the car for weight transfer as I grab the lower gear on decreasing radius tuns.
I think I will have to set it up for throttle lift oversteer instead.

Brakes- you gotta ease on them. Feels like I am wasting 2/10th second on the braking transition compared to ABS where I use much more abrupt pedal. Plus, I have to modulate the brakes over bumps as the car starts to skate toward exciting directions.

On the upside, I feel very "involved" in the driving experience- ie trying to stay alive.
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Old 07-19-14, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by BLUE TII View Post
J
Brakes- you gotta ease on them. Feels like I am wasting 2/10th second on the braking transition compared to ABS where I use much more abrupt pedal. Plus, I have to modulate the brakes over bumps as the car starts to skate toward exciting directions.

On the upside, I feel very "involved" in the driving experience- ie trying to stay alive.
There is also the flipside:
Trying to stay alive when ABS goes into ice mode in a bumpy corner - on a hillclimb. I would not care to experience that.
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