SCCA Autocross setup thread

Discussion in 'Fiesta ST Autocross' started by AlanBDahl, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. F1ST

    F1ST Member

    Going to try and make this event.
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  3. AlanBDahl

    AlanBDahl Active Member

    Its interesting to read everyone else’s frustration with the car’s lack of rotation and compare that with the extreme tail happiness I saw at my first event. Granted it was pretty wet and my tires (225/45-26 ZIIs) were brand-new but with the exception of one corner that was basically a pin turn the car worked very well as long as I set up for the corners. Wthout sport mode on the rear end would have been way too loose and I can imagine that a rear bar would have made it almost uncontrolable. Perhaps my car’s alignment is somehow different (I have not checked it yet) or perhaps my driving style is somewhat out-of-the-box (I have been told this many times) but all in all I am very happy with the car and excited to get a win my first time out. We’ll see how things go next weekend on the Bremerton airport runway, I’m hoping for dry weather this time so I can get some more data!
    Mr UFO likes this.
  4. Cligedy

    Cligedy Active Member

    +1 on the car being wildly oversteery in the wet. With tc fully off, my last run looked like I was at a drift event. Opposite lock ftw!
  5. Des

    Des Active Member

    My experience is largely the same. Are you finding the car pushy, like a bad FWD car, or just unwilling to rotate at more modest speeds? With the Eibach rear bar AND very low pressures in back (under 30) I can get very mild lift-throttle oversteer above 40 mph or so. But after turn-in, a lift that makes the Focus rotate around a cone just plants the Fiesta's outside front tire more firmly.

    Yours may differ, but mine has a little over a quarter inch total rear toe-in from the factory, actually a bit out of spec of 0 plus/minus .2 inch. I would love to see zero toe to a little toe-out. But there's nothing in the factory manual about corrective procedures if out of spec. Shims would be our only option -- someone's just got to try them out. You can get dial-a-shims at most auto parts stores -- they 're very cheap -- but it's possible they may move the ABS sensor too far from the hub, according to an earlier post. Someone's got to try it first ...

    I think we might also try a different tire in the rear (maybe go with the stockers in back).

    Then there's the old trick the Sentra SE-R guys used to do: BEND the rear axle.

    I did an El Toro event over the weekend that was much more like a Nationals course than those in the Bay Area, and drove a Focus ST on stock tires right afterward. Fiesta: 67.4; Focus: 69.2. It wasn't just tires (the Goodyears don't suck) -- there were at least two thread-the-needle spots that the Fiesta ate up but required a lift or a tap on the brakes in the Focus. This isn't me but will give you an idea of the course:

    Usually I pax in the low 20s in SoCal events, but this one was bigger than most (250 drivers), and I came out 33rd, not bad when you consider then number of sweepers.

    We'll figure this out.
    Smokin likes this.
  6. EBinVA

    EBinVA Member

    The car was just largely unwilling to rotate in slower corners. I felt comfortable going through all of the higher speed areas and slaloms, the car is predictable, responsive and nimble at speed. There were a couple of higher speed sweepers in the course too that the car handled well enough. Basically if I could make the car point the right direction it would be fine, but at lower speeds making the car point the right way was practically impossible without waiting for what felt like forever for the rear to come around. The back of the car wouldn't move no matter what to the point where actually felt like the car weighed an extra 500lbs. Once I am able to post a couple of my runs the spots I suffered in should be painfully obvious. I had the camera mounted on my roof so you can't see me going full hulk on the inside the car but you'll probably be able to see where the car should be turning but isn't yet. In a few instances I was overdriving or braking too late but even after I cleaned up my act it wouldn't do.

    So you have the Eibach bar and it still isn't doing too well for you? That's... discouraging to say the least. I could see this becoming something like front bars for the AS/BS S2000s (well, before the switch to street tires anyway) where all of the normal production aftermarket ones are nowhere near as stiff as needed and it required buying a really expensive (like $700 for a sway bar expensive) built to order huge front bar to settle the car properly but hopefully that won't happen and someone will come out with a must stiffer rear bar for us to play with (Eibach's normal aftermarket stuff seems fairly standardized and generally pretty conservative). Do you think making the back of the car even stiffer than what you've got now would help you more?

    I haven't really looked too far into my alignment yet and I completely lost the printout I have of it (doh!) so I have to get back into the shop and take a peek. The guy who originally got me into autox 8 years ago was running a Sentra and he had to wait forever to get his bar bent but when he finally did he said it was like driving a completely different car. I hope it doesn't come to the point where we have to do something like this, it just seems to silly to need to do that to a car made in 2014 to make it turn.

    That course looks like it was a pretty fast one and really fun. I think I noticed the spots the Fiesta would really enjoy compared to the focus, were they that half box around midway through and then that quick 2 cone change right near the end at around 1:06?

    I'm sure there's a solution to make the back of the car come around more out there. It might just take some time and pressure for a company to make a big enough rear bar and/or some alignment tweaks, or it could be something more obscure and undesirable (such as bending the rear beam) but I have a hard time believing it's impossible.

    I'm probably being a bit overly critical in comparing my times to Jack's too, he's a substantially better driver than I am for sure. I just looked up the results from the race on Sunday and he was 2nd overall PAX with a scorcher of a run that was only around a half second slower than one of the local hotshoes in his STR S2000 (this same guy was over 2 seconds faster than both me and Jack on Saturday). If I'm able to get back up there for another race I'm going to try and get him to drive the Fiesta for a fun run or two and see how he does.
  7. Nik17

    Nik17 Member

    Let's hope the snow holds out
  8. Des

    Des Active Member

    No, it's already so stiff the rear tire is a foot off the ground. Like you, I think it's an alignment issue.


    I'm going to try crummy tires on the back before I try anything radical.

    He's terrific -- I did a few events in New Orleans a few years back. Tell him Des said hi.
    Slowclimb likes this.
  9. AlanBDahl

    AlanBDahl Active Member

    Stiffer rear shocks would cause the car to rotate too. I used to run my Audi Quattro with the Konis set full stiff in the back and it rotated quite nicely and it was a 4WD car with the engine ahead of the front axle.
  10. AlanBDahl

    AlanBDahl Active Member

    FYI bending the rear beam is definitely illegal short of any service directions to do so and I would encourage everyone to not take that step as it would certainly would get you tossed from an event and could result in the negation of all your results for the season.
    Smokin likes this.
  11. Smokin

    Smokin Active Member

    Wish you would do it so we can clear up the 215/45x17 Rival question. Some say it will rub, some don't....
  12. Nik17

    Nik17 Member

    They're currently sitting in my basement. They'll be mounted on thursday or friday as I have an event on Sunday
    Cligedy likes this.
  13. Smokin

    Smokin Active Member

    Advice to me from multi-time National Champion Mark Smith:
    High rear pressures (45-55) will let the rear break loose, but fast and with less control.
    Low rear pressures (28-34) will let the rear break loose, but smoother and with greater control.
    He goes with lower pressures.
    I went that way with the GTI in '12 and '13, before it broke, and was consistently quicker riding on 245/40/18s. I am so looking forward to the 225/45/16s.......
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
    Mr UFO, AlanBDahl, k757 and 2 others like this.
  14. EBinVA

    EBinVA Member

    I've been thinking about this since my first race this season. The car feels a little bit undervalved, like the shocks aren't able to quite keep up with the springs. sometimes on longer sweepers/sustained corners it really feels like the car takes an extra second to settle and spends a little time bouncing/rocking while it sorts itself out. This could be down to shaky inputs from me or perhaps small inconsistencies in the surface as I haven't noticed it happening every time but it's certainly annoying when it does. If I'm the culprit then I need to knock it off ASAP before I trick myself into a few hundred bucks worth of shocks I didn't really need.
  15. EBinVA

    EBinVA Member

    To add to this, tire pressure impact works on a bell curve. The way it was described to me is that by running low pressures you cause the tire to fold a little bit, thus reducing contact and helping rotation. By running high pressures you prevent the tire from properly flexing/rolling over to utilize the entire tread, thus reducing contact and helping the car rotate.
    AlanBDahl likes this.
  16. spangenb

    spangenb Active Member

    I am very interested to see how much the added rate, valving, and front camber I get from the BC coilovers help with these handling observations as well as the rotation aspect and ability to tune the rotation with something other than tire pressure. On that note, it's still snowing here today :(
  17. Mightymango

    Mightymango Active Member

    I do appreciate all the findings you guys are mentioning. Sounds like for the most part the rear isn't coming around, though it seems like they are better in the cold which makes sense as their is less grip. I wish I could get out and see what mine does but we had snow....again.

    It is almost like we are all test dummies looking for the ultimate settings on these cars.

    Oh those that are looking at the Eibach rear bars...I ordered mine on the 4th and Tire Rack told me it could be another few weeks as they have not been given a date from Eibach.
    Smokin likes this.
  18. jasyatz

    jasyatz Member

    Did it and yes it does set the light. The select a shims are so brittle, they fall apart whence you cut the 7 holes needed to get them installed. IF you can run without the ABS ( or with the light on), you can have a set of shims made with the Lapp Racing template, only have them machined to remove toe ( add toe out)...You have to be accurate on your measurement though. You can try this out by using simple washers in between the hub and beam on the front side bolts to adjust for toe out...

    Been there, done that, does work but with compromise. Wouldn't recommend it until a better solution for getting the abs tolerance gets engineered. I'm working on something, but it's not on the top of the list right now.
  19. EBinVA

    EBinVA Member

    As promised, video of one of my better runs from the test and tune:

    This run was hilarious. There were a few younger guys there (freshmen in college/possibly still in HS) looking a bit intimidated by the whole thing. Only one of them was driving and the others just chilling and riding with him. The guy driving was looking a little out of sorts because he thought he should be faster. He was driving and SRT-4 and looked a bit like the stereotypical Neon dude, so I was hesitant to say anything. But I remember when I first stated autocrossing with my old VW GTI and I'm sure the impression I gave off then was not too far different from this kid and I'm a nice guy, so I struck up a conversation with him and took his buddy for a ride. That guy got out of the car super excited because I was a solid 10 seconds faster than his friend, he said it felt like a rollercoaster. I told him to tell his friend that I'm happy to give him a ride, sit in the passenger seat and help him out a bit, and answer any questions he may have. Queue excitement from their whole group... I helped the SRT-4 guy frop a good 5 seconds from his time and he was really happy. They were all also super nice and not even close to the kind of personality I'd usually associate with SRT-4 bros. Then I gave his girlfriend a ride in the Fiesta and she screamed bloody murder as I was braking going into the third corner (first turn around). That was this run and I'm really bummed the GoPro didn't pick up the audio because it was a really loud scream that even the worker station heard. As I went by them they were all laughing and it took me an extra second to get my shit together going around the corner. She yelled and cursed during the slalom, fast right handed sweeper and corner into the finish too. By the time the run ended I was teary eyed from choking back laughter and trying to concentrate.

    I guess I shouldn't be too upset that the car doesn't rotate because it still makes the ladies scream :)

    EDIT: Screw youtube for not uploading in 1080p like I told it to. Pardon the pixels :(
    Smokin, Mightymango, RodMoe and 2 others like this.
  20. Mightymango

    Mightymango Active Member

    That looks like a fun course and venue.
  21. Couldahadav8

    Couldahadav8 Active Member

    Does anyone know the stock shock specifications?

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