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Goin Road Racing

Old 03-15-10, 04:04 PM
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Goin Road Racing

I posed this question in the FC specific forum and it was suggested that I move it here. Ill just copy and past most of it...

Hey guys. I'm about to pick up my 87 Turbo II next week, so I've been doing a lot of dreaming, and the first thing that has got to change is the wheel/tire combination. The guy I'm buying from has it set up with factory wheels up front, FD wheels in the rear.

Now I have done a lot of searching around these forums and elsewhere and have not found any definitive answers. I am looking for the best performance for ROAD RACING. I'm not concerned about drag, I'm not concerned about shoe horning some 19's under there or a "hella flush" look (although if they fill up the wheel well nicely that would be good) I found the FC wheel thread, but everyone seems to talk about the absolute widest tire that will fit without much reference to rubbing. Plus, if joe schmoe putts around on the street on the weekends and never experiences rubbing, that will not necessarily translate to a road racing situation.

So you guys out there really pushing your cars on the road course, how wide have you gone with ZERO rubbing issues? Rolling the fenders may be ok if the benefits are significant. I plan on painting sometime in the future anyways. What diameter wheels are you using? 17's seem to me to probably have the best compromise of weight/sidewall stiffness/looks (hey this is gonne be a street car too)

I'm not worried about being competitive in any particular class (at least not yet). I just want to be able to modify my rex as I please and whatever class I fall into is fine by me. I just want to enjoy my car!

It currently sits on KYB (AGX I believe?) struts and stock springs. Coilovers are in the future though, so I'd like to plan accordingly.

From what I gather, 235f and 245r may be a safe bet.
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Old 03-15-10, 04:22 PM
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to me, i would go toward a square wheel/tire setup.

If you can bear to run wider front fenders, i would run 255/40R17's all round. To me this is a nice combination, being able to rotate tires, and give the same feel front to rear.


Otherwise going 235 front and 255 rear to keep the fenders stockish would be my other suggestion.

I went 275/315's but only ended up that way after plenty of minor decisions ending up with me munting the front guards when i rolled them, and finding replacement wider fenders then decided i wanted wider in the rear etc... scope creep. If i were to do it all again, 255's all round would have been my choice.
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Old 03-15-10, 04:57 PM
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Wide fenders, now there's a thought... I'm not sure that I would be willing to invest into body modifications like that until the car is where I would like it to be mechanically and at least has a cleaned up, race-functional interior. And I'm not sure I'm willing to wait that long to ditch these factory wheels.

This may take the conversation in a different direction, but is there an in expensive fender flare solution that will work with otherwise factory body work? I value function over form and honestly think it would look all business with some unpainted fender flares and exposed rivets.
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Old 03-15-10, 05:05 PM
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just your typical 20mm front fenders would work well, or bolt on fender extensions would work well (think RE Amemiya white time attack FC)

20mm front fenders are cheap, for you guys in the states anyway. Would easily work with stock bumpers.

The front of FC's don't have a lot of room from the factory to fit big wheels up front. The rears can fit (albeit at the limit) 275/40R17's. Blue TII managed to get a 255 under the front stock fender, but that was using every mm of space available. 20mm fender would give you plenty.
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Old 03-15-10, 07:02 PM
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If you are actually ROAD RACING, as you say, you are limited by what the rules allow. So to answer you question, pick up the GCR for the organization with whom you are racing and check out what the rules are in relation to the car and class you intend to compete in.

If you are building a track car, which is sounds like, then you have plenty of options.
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Old 03-16-10, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by gracer7-rx7 View Post
If you are actually ROAD RACING, as you say, you are limited by what the rules allow. So to answer you question, pick up the GCR for the organization with whom you are racing and check out what the rules are in relation to the car and class you intend to compete in.

If you are building a track car, which is sounds like, then you have plenty of options.
I suppose youre right as in road racing the course would either be on a public road or at least simulating one. Track car then. Apologies.

As I said before, I'm not concerned with falling in to any particular class anyways. I will probably just be starting out at HPDE's. My experience lies solely in autoX and drag (ex muscle car guy) and I could probably use a little guidance.

In any case, I think I got the answers I was looking for. Thanks for your help, this is a great forum!

Last edited by nate_birner; 03-16-10 at 07:06 AM.
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Old 03-16-10, 11:39 AM
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No you had the terminology right, Road racing is typically defined as racing on a closed course with left and right turns, not on public roads. It's just that if you're actually racing, i.e. you're trying to win a trophy, then typically you're racing within a set of rules, and a lot of those rules require a certain tire size, width, and/or type of tire, and you'll need to know those before choosing an appropriate tire for yourself.

However, track driving (aka HPDE, or open track) is not a competition, but still on a closed race course. In that case, your tire choices are completely open, since there are no rules to govern your choice.

So if don't ever plan to race competitively, then do what works best. If you do, stick to what the class requires. Saves you having to buy sets of expensive wheels and tires down the road. If it were me, I'd stick with a balanced size all the way around, but remember I never drove a turbo car, so I'd take that advice with a grain of salt.

I agree with the 17" choice, lots of tire choices in that wheel size.
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Old 03-18-10, 02:31 PM
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I run the 17" mustang GT wheels (cheap and plentiful) with Falken Azenis 615 (225/45/17) all around. Works great on the track and you can still drive them on the street.
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Old 03-18-10, 03:21 PM
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You are going to be limited in size on the front to what the front fenders will accommodate. Most serious track FCs eventually wind up with wider aftermarket fenders as a result of that limitation.

Till you get the car sorted and get practice under your belt and get faster, the overall size won't matter a helluva lot. You may just want to consider running what you have for the first year or so with whatever decent track tires will fit then get the coilovers, fenders, wheels and tires in whatever order best fits your budget. I'd definitely get the front fenders before spending money on a new wheel/tire package though.

Might want to spend some time searching and reading posts from Carl Byck in this section as he built up a real nice track FC.

Good luck.

PS - Don't forget to research bushings also.
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Old 03-18-10, 04:38 PM
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[QUOTE=gracer7-rx7;9876369]You are going to be limited in size on the front to what the front fenders will accommodate. Most serious track FCs eventually wind up with wider aftermarket fenders as a result of that limitation.

Till you get the car sorted and get practice under your belt and get faster, the overall size won't matter a helluva lot. You may just want to consider running what you have for the first year or so with whatever decent track tires will fit then get the coilovers, fenders, wheels and tires in whatever order best fits your budget. I'd definitely get the front fenders before spending money on a new wheel/tire package though.QUOTE]

This is actually something I've been considering more and more...

The tires on there are some Kuhmo Ecsta SPTs with probably 80% tread left. I hate to get rid of some perfectly good rubber and dont want to cut any corners if I decide to spring for wide fenders just to hurry and get some wider wheels.

hmm.. Maybe Ill put that money into maintenance, brake pads/lines, a better oil cooler, and track time
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Old 03-18-10, 09:48 PM
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That's a much better plan, concentrate on making it reliable so that it can survive the track before going crazy with mods. I've tracked my car with SPTs and they stood up very well. Yes they're slower than race tires, but they still worked quite well. Get instruction, don't just go to some event that will let you out by yourself. The Porche and BMW clubs run schools all over the place for good prices.

Always make sure that your brakes and suspension will be up to the task of handling big and/or sticky tires before gettin them. Always make sure that the tires, suspension and brakes can handle more power before adding it. Always make sure the driver can handle the car as it is before making the car faster. If you can't drive a slow car fast, making the car faster won't solve the problem.

The stock rad is probably going to be more of a limitation for you at first than the oil cooler. Even then, the stock FC coolers are massive, most just add a second one and be done with it (they've got a thermostat, so you can't really over-cool).

So, my reccomendation is to do as you say, maintenance, brakes and track time.
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Old 03-19-10, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Black91n/a View Post
That's a much better plan, concentrate on making it reliable so that it can survive the track before going crazy with mods. I've tracked my car with SPTs and they stood up very well. Yes they're slower than race tires, but they still worked quite well. Get instruction, don't just go to some event that will let you out by yourself. The Porche and BMW clubs run schools all over the place for good prices.

Always make sure that your brakes and suspension will be up to the task of handling big and/or sticky tires before gettin them. Always make sure that the tires, suspension and brakes can handle more power before adding it. Always make sure the driver can handle the car as it is before making the car faster. If you can't drive a slow car fast, making the car faster won't solve the problem.

The stock rad is probably going to be more of a limitation for you at first than the oil cooler. Even then, the stock FC coolers are massive, most just add a second one and be done with it (they've got a thermostat, so you can't really over-cool).

So, my reccomendation is to do as you say, maintenance, brakes and track time.
The car comes with upgraded KYB suspension, but I don't think anything has been done with the brakes. Forunately I'll be getting the car with a nice Fluidyne rad set up for a vmount which will make my job easier when I upgrade the intercooler. I've already found a track relatively near by that hosts open track days with instruction for ~$200-300 per day.

On the topic of maintenance... I have some detergent engine flush that I've accumulated and used on my wifes car (piston engine). Would this be harmful for a rotary?
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Old 03-19-10, 10:05 AM
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Don't bother with that engine flush stuff. It can cause more problems than it attempts to fix. Some people have run water through the intake to de-carbonize and try to clean the motor. Search on that term de-carbonize. I know there was a thread in the 3rd gen section. Run a few quick oil changes to freshen things up.
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Old 03-19-10, 04:00 PM
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Aftermarket water temp and oil temp gauges are highly recommended. The stock water temp gauge is mostly worthless.

Always bring spare pads and rotors to the track with you, you never know when they might give up the ghost. My personal record is one session to trash a set of pads (chose wrong compound) and one session to wreck a rotor (cracked all the way through one face in two places) As your experience level rises you are going to need to invest in brake cooling ducts, but you'll probably be ok without them for a while.
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Old 03-19-10, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Gene View Post
Aftermarket water temp and oil temp gauges are highly recommended. The stock water temp gauge is mostly worthless.

Always bring spare pads and rotors to the track with you, you never know when they might give up the ghost. My personal record is one session to trash a set of pads (chose wrong compound) and one session to wreck a rotor (cracked all the way through one face in two places) As your experience level rises you are going to need to invest in brake cooling ducts, but you'll probably be ok without them for a while.
I have read that the stock gauges are troublesome... I know this car comes with an aftermarket water temp, but an oil temp is high on my to do list.

I've seen that many people who track their 7s use dual oil coolers or an aftermarket unit on top of the stocker, would you consider this necessary on a car that isnt seeing high boost levels? Im concerned that this TX heat might create some problems for me with just the factory piece. The fluidyne radiator seems to be doing its job though, water temps never exceeded 190F even after some pretty... ahem... spirited street driving.
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Old 03-26-10, 02:58 PM
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one thing to keep in mind is where you are going to run and if they have any site specific rules!

My local track has strict rules on what is allowed to run on the track even at the full interior "Just off the street" class. One of their rules is every car must have a minimum 4pt roll bar unless a specific class rule says otherwise. Another rule is that no car can have any larger than 16"x7" wheels unless the vehicle being raced/tracked had larger/wider at the date of manuf...and you have to prove it! Every vehicle must have a tire that is rated higher than the top speed of the car.

I agree with others and my recommendation too is run with the stockers and decent rubber (used as you have already mentioned) and gain experience with the car until you out drive your kyb's and street rubber. I also agree that aftermarket water and oil temp is a must. if you are running stock IRS diff, then once you are getting good at driving, get a diff temp gauge too. Too hot and they can burn up! There is a thread around somewhere about adding coolers and gauges to your diff housing.

WRT your rad, it seems you may have a good handle on you rad choice but I must stress, spirited driving isn't quite the same as 15-30min of absolute harsh engine conditions and high revs! you may find it overheats!

Good luck!

Last edited by nofords; 03-26-10 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 03-26-10, 07:16 PM
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Hey Nate,

I rebuilt a well-worn racing FD and ran in eight SCCA events last year. I would echo what others have said. Look at a rule book and see what group you will run with and concentrate on reliability. In SCCA forced induction will put you in STO or in a regional only class like ITE or Super Production.

Last year I chose to run stock 16 x 8 wheels and 245/45/16 rubber. I did this for two reasons: 1) it was less expensive than 18 inch wheels/rubber and 2) I wanted to learn about the car and how to drive it before I started going faster.

The main issues I had were with managing engine temperature. When things are out of sort, these motors heat up really fast. I'd recommend the largest, high quality radiator you can fit and build a sturdy, well sealed air box for the radiator and oil coolers.

When you are comfortable with your car and want to go faster there are lots of things you can improve. Beware that every saying you've heard about motor sports and spending money are true. Also you may come up against cars that have well over 150K in development costs. In my region I race in ITE and compete against WSC cars, GT-1 cars as well as miatas and honda civics.

Remember to set a budget and reasonable goals.

Good luck with your project,

Guy
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Old 03-26-10, 08:13 PM
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Nate

Perhaps a little light reading:

http://www.reganrotaryracing.com/fc/fcpart1.htm

From pile-O-parts to podium finishing car.

Apply the KISS principle...and invest the lrger percentage of money in the driver not the car.

Regards,
crispy

PS: It's FS
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Old 03-27-10, 09:00 AM
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One rather significant reliability mod is an underdrive main pulley. The stock setup spins the water pump REALLY fast at high rpm and it can cause cavitation rather than pumping the water properly. This is bad for the pump and bad for your cooling.

Tell you what though, you're where I was 8 years ago right now and if I had it to do over again I would have used a non-turbo. Yeah it's slower, but the NA car is a zillion times more reliable for track use.
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Old 03-29-10, 12:57 PM
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Well I had the chance to pull the car into work this weekend and put her up in the air, a few things I found...

No leaks whatsoever. Rust free. For a 22yr old car it looked really good.

Needs front driver side wheel bearing.

Will need new brake pads soon, but has stainless braided lines. Calipers and rotors good.

Does not have KYB suspension. He has some blue tokicos up front with konis out back and eibach springs all around.

Racing Beat front and rear roll bars look fairly new

stock cat looks like a pretty big restriction on a full 3in exhaust. heat wrapped as well

stock oil cooler is lookin pretty nasty, rad is in great shape.

electric fan is not coming on at 220F as it should, may just run a toggle switch.

Everything else looked great. After putting a few hundred miles on it in the last couple days I have gotten more comfortable with the car at its limits and am starting to learn more of its quirks. The car is a riot to drive and with the ac/ps removed and exedy clutch it beeegs to be driven. I think this will be a great starter car to build a budget weekend warrior and develop some on track skills. The chassis is so well balanced and the motor so eager to run. It has also given me a little more insight into what direction I would like to go with this car.

Being my first sport compact, I picked the car up with visions of top shelf shiny parts, completely redone interior, maybe some nice carbon kevlar seats, widebody, showy paint, etc etc... After some seat time I realize how stuck in my grassroots past I am. This will be a budget, bang for the buck build with a strong emphasis on reliability, consistancy, and getting that track time.

First things first though, Ive got to replace that driver side hub before I wear out some perfectly good rubber, and I've got to get this power window problem diagnosed.

I can feel even from my limited experience why many people seem to prefer running the same size rubber on all four wheels. The tendency to understeer is a nuisance. (205f/225r at the moment) I've read that FD wheels will fit up front with 245s if I use a spacer and roll the fender. True? False? Any experience with that here?

The brake calipers seem to be in good condition, so at least for now I think some track oriented pads and some synthetic fluid will be adequate.

Suspension... is the aformentioned setup something you all are familiar with or is this just kind of random?

I am having a hard time deciding what to do in terms of the power... The car has an rtek ecu apparently set up for a t3/t4 (not sure of the specific level of tune, havent gotten around to digging out the ecu and getting a serial #) but now is running the stock turbo. Needless to say it is running very rich. I'm not sure whether I'd like to send the ecu in and downgrade to run with the stock turbo, or go for a new manifold/downpipe/turbo... The car is zippy as is, would be cheaper to retune the ecu, and pulling a little fuel should help with the sputter I tend to get at idle and very high rpms. A new turbo set up will certainly cost more but the potential for more power is there and will help minimize the drop off in boost near redline.

I am also debating whether it's worth the cost of a FMIC if I am still running the stock turbo. Ideally I would like a ducted vmount with a vented hood, but if I can see greater benefits spending that kinda cash elsewhere... Any common budget FMIC solutions?

Interior... already has a 4pt autopower rollbar and sparco harness for the driver seat although they are currently mounted to the floor underneath the seat. (baaaaad) Some inexpensive, lightweight seats with proper holes to pass the harnesses thru are in the mix as well an oil temp gauge and possibly a diff gauge in the future. Maybe one day if I find a factory looking black interior paint Im satisfied with Ill think about painting the ugly grey interior panels. Still not sure about sound deadening, stereo etc... the speakers are terrible and can barely be heard over the exhaust. I havent even really used it for that reason and because the car is so loud and visceral I don't know how much it will bother me to get rid of what sound deadening is on the car. (Plus I can probably get a few bucks for the decent cd player before it gets stolen anyways and put that money to use elsewhere...)

Other than that I'm gonna clean up the car as best I can with some cheap DIY supplies and elbow grease and spend my money where it should be spent... Gas, tires, and brake pads. I know this was long winded but the advice Ive been given in this forum and elsewhere has been invaluable and is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-30-10, 08:20 AM
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When you start getting lots of track time, and going thru lots of tires, it really simplifies logistics to run the same size tires and wheels all around.
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Old 03-30-10, 10:26 AM
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where can one find these?
googled and ebayed and searched my *** off

Originally Posted by wvumtnbkr View Post
I run the 17" mustang GT wheels (cheap and plentiful) with Falken Azenis 615 (225/45/17) all around. Works great on the track and you can still drive them on the street.
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Old 03-30-10, 10:59 AM
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Nate, just saw you're in Austin. I assume you're planning to run at Harris Hill Rd. Those guys are very cool and as long as your car is safe and not leaking anything you should be good to go.
Good luck
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Old 03-30-10, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by nate_birner View Post
Well I had the chance to pull the car into work this weekend and put her up in the air, a few things I found...

.
i'd almost run it as is.... well fix the wheel bearing.

oil temp gauge will tell you if/when you need more oil cooling....

its actually a bit tricky to give advise like this, we don't know how fast you are.... if you're out in a slow school group, vs a race group it can be totally different. at our home track, thunderhill, the slow school group runs like 3minute + laps, spec miata runs like 2.05's.

you don't really need to do anything to the car to run in the school group.
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Old 03-30-10, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by j9fd3s View Post
i'd almost run it as is.... well fix the wheel bearing.

oil temp gauge will tell you if/when you need more oil cooling....

its actually a bit tricky to give advise like this, we don't know how fast you are.... if you're out in a slow school group, vs a race group it can be totally different. at our home track, thunderhill, the slow school group runs like 3minute + laps, spec miata runs like 2.05's.

you don't really need to do anything to the car to run in the school group.
For the most part I do intend to run it as is. The wheel/tire combo and suspension setup (although peculiar) is working for now and I will leave it alone until it becomes the "bottle neck" to my on track performance.

However I don't know that I would be doing myself any favors by showing up at the track with worn out brake pads and a poorly tuned engine... While I understand that it's not beneficial to learn how to really drive on a 500hp track monster, I also feel that if I'm going to track a car at all it should well sorted and running to its full potential. In that light it would make sense, to me at least, to freshen up the brakes and sort out the tuning issue before I push the car to its limits.

Also I am concerned about the cooling issue. At freeway speeds the car rarely exceeds 170~180F, and I feel pretty confident that it could handle some track time so long as I get the cooling fan to operate properly. I just don't want to shell out the cash, and wind up wasting the whole day because my cooling system isnt up to the task.

On a side note, my power window situation has been fixed and the 'click click' of my switches is like new! Thanks to all the people who have started threads asking questions about pw before me, it made my diag much easier!
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