Another "Prepping for first Auto X" thread
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This is a discussion on Another "Prepping for first Auto X" thread within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; I've read quite a few threads on prepping for my first Auto-X, and wanted a general summary of what I've ...

  1. #1
    Registered User rory_a's Avatar
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    Another "Prepping for first Auto X" thread

    I've read quite a few threads on prepping for my first Auto-X, and wanted a general summary of what I've read in order to compile a prep check list.


    (I'm going to be driving my daily driver '07 WRX Wagon that's currently bone stock except for wheels/tires)


    So, from my understanding (and inherit thoughts), to get ready for my first Auto Cross event (coming October 2-3), I need to:

    1. Check tires, suspension, everything else. It's a daily so this is basically covered - the car's running great, feels great, stops great, etc.

    2. Air up the tires to 38 all around.

    3. Remove spare tire and gear - anything from the interior really.

    4. Change oil and install K&N air cleaner (current cleaner is dirty anyway).

    5. I'm also going to perform the DIY intake silencer delete.

    6. Grab my gear - jeans, a long sleeve, and my helmet.

    7. Alignment - 1.5* front camber, stock rear camber, 0 toe.


    Other than that, considering that my wheel/tire set up puts me in the Street Touring class, any last minute, affordable mods to do? I know that my suspension will be a major handicap. I'll be addressing that over the winter.

    I think I've located an '02 sedan rear sway so I'll install that with new bushings.

    Considering I have a few hundred to spend on last minute mods, what should I do? What would help me the most? Short shifter? Better sway? Whiteline Com Cs?

    Just looking for some advice to get me out on the track, and back home with the best results my first time out.

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  3. #2
    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Run your car as-is. Find out where your weaknesses are, and then modify accordingly. No sense spending $$ on something that isn't your weakest link

    Do you know anyone more experienced who will be competing with you? If so, see if they would be willing to help you with the walk-through. If not, maybe someone helping to run the event would be willing to help. Complete the walkthrough multiple times (the last thing you want to do is get lost in a run).

    Swallow your pride. Have a more experienced person do a ride-along with you through at least the first heat. If someone more experienced is willing to let you ride-along with them, do it.

    If possible, have someone record your runs. This will give you a 3rd-person perspective of your driving.

    As long as the course allows it, get the car in 2nd gear and leave it there for the remainder of the course. Focus on driving rather than shifting.

    When was the last time you did a brake fluid change? If it's been a while, do one with some quality fluid (e.g., ATE Super Blue).

    Most of all, have fun!
    2005 WRX STi (Mods | Virtual Dyno)

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  4. #3
    Registered User rory_a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJ257 View Post
    Run your car as-is. Find out where your weaknesses are, and then modify accordingly. No sense spending $$ on something that isn't your weakest link

    Do you know anyone more experienced who will be competing with you? If so, see if they would be willing to help you with the walk-through. If not, maybe someone helping to run the event would be willing to help. Complete the walkthrough multiple times (the last thing you want to do is get lost in a run).

    Swallow your pride. Have a more experienced person do a ride-along with you through at least the first heat. If someone more experienced is willing to let you ride-along with them, do it.

    If possible, have someone record your runs. This will give you a 3rd-person perspective of your driving.

    As long as the course allows it, get the car in 2nd gear and leave it there for the remainder of the course. Focus on driving rather than shifting.

    When was the last time you did a brake fluid change? If it's been a while, do one with some quality fluid (e.g., ATE Super Blue).

    Most of all, have fun!
    Having a more experienced driver walk through with me is definately something I didn't think about - thank you!

    I basically decided that there's no sense waiting for suspension to run the car - meaning waiting for next season, and to get a run in before I change out to winter tires. So, figured running it as is is the only way.

    I do NEED to get the alignment done, though, as my front camber is off. I think I'll get that done, change the oil, brake fluid (probably Super Blue) and air filter as it's time for all, and have a good time.

    Also hoping to find another subie owner there to give me a ride along so I can start to get a feel for other suspensions, and how these cars work.

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    Sammich Makin' Pwincess wrxtreme06's Avatar
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    make sure you take EVERYTHING out of your trunk
    dont leave CD holders on your visors, garage door openers, etc.
    anything that is loose inside your car needs to be put in a glovebox/center console/etc.

    when i did my first auto-x, i didnt do any of this. i had my spare tire, subwoofer, garage door opener, cd's etc.. and had to take all my stuff out last minute.

    ANNOYING

    also when i did my first run ever, i had the habit of putting in the clutch everytime i went to brake & go around turns and stuff. my instructor told me to not put in the clutch because it wastes time.. just put in the brake & you'll be fine.. the car wont stall or anything. just a little tip that helped me. i ended up shaving off 10 seconds between my 1st & last run

    have fun!

    desiree
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    Registered User PurpleMongoose's Avatar
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    Stink-Eye Mob #666

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    Registered User rory_a's Avatar
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    Thanks all for all your help. After some digging I've found a local online Subaru community that does a lot of autocrossing, trying to get a ride at the next auto-x as well as someone to ride along with me. Also, trying to get local help as far as future setting up and whatnot.

    Figuring that I won't be able to fun the full season next year, or subsequent years, but will set up the car for daily use (and comfortable and as quiet as possible for potential future littluns ) with the intent of running when I have the chance.

    I'll keep you all posted

  8. #7
    Registered User rory_a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleMongoose View Post

    There goes my work day....

    Just read through the entire document, and printed it for future highlighting

    Thanks for the link

  9. #8
    Registered User rory_a's Avatar
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    Had a long weekend - last two events of the year, and my first two ever.

    Saturday I started at 82.4.. and my last - 10th run was 72.6.., almost ten seconds off. The last five runs were no-points, so the best run that counted was 74.... Still happy with the results. If it hadn't been for a course record taking Ariel Atom in Novice class, I would have nabbed 10th with the no-points 72.6 run. The day ended with cutting second group of second run mid-way through their fifth run - a few people only got 4 runs - called because of incoming lightning. By the time us workers were off course it was pouring rain.

    One thing that would have shaved a good deal of time off was shifting in a few spots - I held first into the first turn, then went to second and held it all the way to the last few turns, where I held first. I could have lost a bit of time by downshifting in at least one spot, and upshifting at the end. But, I definitely learned a little bit more about the car and what it's capable of.


    Sunday was WET!!! The course was set up for the rain, nice and open. It sprinkled a bit off and on. I was second group in the morning. I grabbed the first spot in the grid for two reasons - I wanted to offer a PAX competitor a ride to get a bit more course time before his first run (not sure if he sealed first or second yet, no results yet). I also wanted to grab a ride with someone.

    I was having issues with tire pressure - I lost a couple pounds in left front and when trying to use a borrowed air tank I drained the tire to 25 accidentally. Between the first five runs I was trying to take care of that. My forth run (out of six) I noticed a bit of clunking when loading up the right front on the lefties (it was a counter-clockwise course). On the fifth run I heard the clunking in the first few turns, followed by a scraping sound - metal on metal. I'm thinking the scraping was a rock in the brakes, but not sure. Nonetheless, I finished that run, taking my time. Parked the car after and skipped the last run.


    I've put about 50 miles on the car since and have not heard any clunking or scraping. No idea yet what was going on. Going to have a shop take a look at it tomorrow.


    I have a set of used RCE Yellows, and picking up a set of used KYB AGXs. Also going for Com Cs, stock rear tops, Scooby 921s, saggy butt shims, and rear camber bolts. Also a fender roll while we're there.


    Thanks all for your help before the fact, but honestly nothing prepared me for the nerves I had my first day, and the enjoyment I had there.

    I'm hooked, that's for sure.

  10. #9
    Registered User penelope's Avatar
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    Maybe check your swaybar mounts and endlinks for the source of the clunking?

    Glad to hear you had a good time otherwise!
    Karen Kraus
    2005 SCCA FS Southeast Divisional Champion | 2007 SCCA DSL National Champion
    2008 SCCA ProSolo L1 Champion | 2009 SCCA ESPL National Champion
    2010 SCCA ESP Northeast Divisional Champion
    2006 WRX (ESP 34) | 1996 Camaro Z28 1LE (ESP 34) | 1997 Camaro Z28 (DD)

  11. #10
    Registered User rory_a's Avatar
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    Didn't see this reply at all


    I have yet to have a re-occurrence of the front end clunking. I'm going with the assumption that the clunking was caused by the expansion joints in the track surface - when loading up the side in a hard left it'd clunk when it hit one of the expansion joints, causing the suspension to work overtime. I'm figuring the 86k mile old struts are tired, and it's time for upgrade anyway.

    All swaybar endlinks looked good. Nothing was loose, nothing noticeably broken, and the wheel bearings are solid.


    I have RCE Yellows ready to go on, rear camber bolts, PDE camber plates that I'd like to trade out for WL Com Cs, and will be picking up some KYB AGXs as well. Planning on WL 22-24 bars and endlinks. Basically, take everything out of the equation, and get the car ready for next season

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