20 hours ago in Articles
Christina Lam went from the sidelines to full-on track enthusiast in 8 simple steps.
So either my googl-fu sucks or GRM is awesome because when I google any combination of Porsche 944 Autocross Build, it always points to my thread about my car on GRM. Cool, but of no use to me as I change up classes!
Here's what the car needs:
Clutch: It's 40K miles old and slips after a day of double-driver autocrossing
Timing Belt: It's 15K and 4 years old now, time to change it.
Oil seals: The engine developed a few leaks and I want to seal them back up.
Rear shocks: The backs are totally dead. They are the original M456 non-adjustable Sport Suspension ones as far as I know.
Here's what I need to do to go faster:
Front camber: I only have 1-1.5 degrees negative and review of the GoPro videos shows the front end washes out a lot more than I thought.
Power!: Yes, I know there's not much you can do to a 8V 2.5L N/A, but even 10HP would be huge for me just to get it back up to the OE HP level.
Lightness: My main competition is a 914-4 and some original narrow-body 911's that are all way lighter than me. I've lost 30Lbs off of me (and am angling for 10-15 more), but the car is a loaded out chunkmuffin and needs a diet.
It's got 227(?),xxx miles on it, but great oil pressure.
The A/C doesn't work.
Already has: steel competition lower ball joints, throttle cam, and I'm replacing the heavy as hell stock power Sport seats with my $250 lightweight cloth specials on manual tracks.
So it's going to be in the PCA's I01 class, which has very similar modifications as STR. Right now the throttle cam is the only thing non-SCCA legal, and swapping back to the stock one is a 5 minute job. I'd like for the car to stay multi-legal. I would also like to HPDE it eventually.
So, what should I be buying? I'm thinking of pulling the whole engine, doing the clutch, seals, and t-belt out of the car, and dropping the pan to do the rod bearings. That would cure 90% of the car's issues in one go, and I have a spot in the garage on my engine stand ready to go for the winter off-season.
Can I dump the back seat for a roll bar? Should I? Should I send out the stock shocks or upgrade to modern Koni Yellow's and sell the OE stuff? What should I do on the front end, C/C plates?
Why the heck am I the only person trying to seriously autocross a 944 in a non-Stock class?
Also, what color goes with Zermatt Silver? (Which is sort-of goldish color and mostly silver. Kind of like late 90's GM Platinum.) Our #'s are Royal Purple, but I need graphics this year! (Getting sponsors, so if you want to advertise in WA/OR, PM me...)
One day I really need to learn the PCA classing system. I have spent so much time figuring out SCCA, I just never bothered.
What are you "able to do" with the shocks? If the rears are bad, now is the perfect time for a good kit.
Clutch is easy. If you want it to remain a street vehicle, I would stick with the stock Sachs. You would be surprised how much of a difference a new OEM clutch makes over a worn one.
Timing belt is better now than later.
As for your go-faster stuff, I will obviously have to consult the rules. They respond fairly well to a quality cat-back, but some of those cost as much as the car is worth. Perhaps a fairly inexpensive CAI?
Weight savings - if the A/C doesn't work, CHUCK IT! NOW. I can get you the shorter belt for non-A/C cars. It even has an OE part number.
I think your only choice with Zermatt is black. black numbers on silver. Yeah, it's boring...
I don't have the latest PCA rulebook (I have a 2008 one, I'm trying to get a 2011/2012 one), but from what I understand I can pretty much do anything on shocks and springs. I'm thinking the adjustable Koni's with some stiffer front springs (paging fiat22turbo! Don't you have some Weltmeisters's in the for sale pile???), camber bolts or C/C plates, and the alignment and ride height adjustments to match. I already have the factory F&R sway bars.
On the clutch, the whole thing was done 40K ish miles ago (I have to look in the records for the actual #) with a sprung hub Sachs kit. I think the same thing will be fine, it just needs to be fresh. Should I bother with clutch master and/or slave and/or SS line?
Timing belt: It's due, period. 4 years and 15K miles is pretty much the max any real 944 enthusiast goes. It was a factory kit including balance belts and rollers last time, and they did a Turbo water pump at the same time. I think just the t-belt itself this time will be fine?
On the go-faster stuff, a cat-back is definitely allowed. Honestly, I'd have the local shop build it over buying one. Magnaflow? Flowmaster? I'd like to do some sort of a real CAI. Anything to be had in coil and plug wires? Are there any UD pulleys on the market? Is a tuned ECU/chip worth the $$$?
On the A/C, I'd really, really like to chuck it, but I get the feeling that it mechanically works and it's my interior control box that is INOP. I've gotten cold air a few times, but then again next season we'll be taking 2 cars to all of the races anyways since Javelin Jr. won't fit in the 944.
Any feelings on the roll bar?
Oh, and black? Ewww... I was thinking Guards Red maybe?
PS - Is your new employer ready to start selling parts? If so, you know what I need price checks on now :P Any recommended DIY maintenance books? I have the Chiltons.
40k miles on a stock clutch and it needs replacement already? Wow, someone either really mistreated it or it somehow got oil on it.
Those should easily last 100k miles...
Best thing you can do to the car is suspension and add lightness. If you pull the back seat and add a rollbar you're going to net sum zero the weight. Unless you track the car there's no need for the rollbar.
You can easily pull weight out of the car, but the more you do the less dual purpose the car is.
For suspension do camber plates, koni's, larger rear torsion bars (I'm running 30mm solids) and bigger swaybars, along with stiffer front springs. Or try and find a set of Bilstein Escort Cup coilovers...
It could be way higher than 40K honestly. I've put 5K on it (including 7 dual-driver autocrosses at 8 runs each driver average) and it was already about 5-7 years old when I got the car. It doesn't slip in normal driving or even autocrossing on the first few runs, but by runs 7-8 (especially with a long straight that causes rev limiter) it'll get hot and start slipping. If this was a normal car, and not basically a competition car, I wouldn't worry about it or bother with it, but if I want a worry-free season next year I need to at least look at it.
On the weight loss/roll bar, I haven't done an HPDE or Track Day in 2 seasons now, so I do want to do at least one next year. I would like to have a roll bar for that, if possible. I already pull the spare/tools/jack/rear carpet at the autocross. I'm contemplating a lighter battery, plus the aforementioned front seats. I'm looking to do small things that won't take much street out of the car, like replacing components with lighter versions.
Camber plates sounds like a good idea, and Koni's. I'm 99% sure I can't change the rear torsion bars for my class though. Front springs are fine (but I don't think they can go coil-over, they have to be OEM style). Are bigger than factory Sport Suspension swaybars really necessary for autocross? Or am I looking at adjustability?
Increasing caster is a big help Might be a good idea to a compression test or better a leak down test just to determine the health of the engine. With that mileage, rings and valves could be iffy.
There's a roll bar that bolts to the 4 mounting points for the rear belts available. No cutting required and easily added/removed. If you can't find a link on Pelican, etc, LMK and I'll see if I can track it down.
For a track day, the bar isn't necessary as YOU SHOULDN'T BE PUSHING THE CAR THAT DAMNED HARD! Now with that said, it doesn't hurt to be safe. Also, unless you're planning on hitting SIR or Grass Valley, there aren't a lot of chances at PIR where you could roll a car at Track Day speeds.
Also, my buddy, James is an instructor for Cascade Sports Car Club (used to help run and instruct the PCA's track days as well), DD's a 924 Turbo and races a 924S in ITS. When you get ready to do a driver's training, check out CSCC and see if he'll ride along with you.
On my own 924, I've found that the Fiberglass panels from AIR really help drop a lot of weight and are pretty close to bolt-on. Losing the rear seat and carpet is probably several 10's of pounds off the car. HomeDepot Indoor/Outdoor carpet in gray is incredibly lightweight and easy to cut to fit the car. The rear carpet and backing pad are heavy to cut down on noise. Rear hatch is about 50-70lbs of glass, plastic is a good solution there. Bumpers and power sunroof are other options to look at ways to reduce weight/complexity.
For suspension, some 17mm VW balljoint spacers will help correct geometry when the car is lowered.
Bumpsteer is another issue with the 924/944/A1 Rabbit strut front end.
The better camber plates on the market provide caster and camber adjustment.
Pregnant wife said no roll bar = no track day.
Also, the P71 hit 140MPH on the back straight at PIR. I'm pretty sure I'd rather have a rollbar if something happens at that kind of speed. Plus I'd rather jettison the useless rear seats anyways. That bolt-in 4-point unit sounds like exactly what I need.
Caster/camber plates are definitely on the buy list. Any preferences? Will those balljoint spacers help w/bump steer? I don't want to lower the car too much, it already bottoms out the nose everywhere, especially autocrossing at PIR.
A track day w/CSCC is definitely on the to-do list. I've done HPDE's with the PCA and MR2 Club. I've heard nothing but good things about CSCC.
+1 on the compression test. No cence trying to up the HP on a motor that is tired.
Koni sports (yellow adjustable)
Stock bars are.. . well .. . . Stock. If you can up them to something larger. I have the weltmeister bars in my car and they are HUGE compared to stock ones.
Other random thoughts include:
Port and polish the intake and exhaust of the head (yes this helps) While you are there port match the head to the intake and exhaust headers. I have seen some that are way off and others that are spot on. The intake manifold can use a little cleaning up with the grinder as well just don't go nuts.
Update the coil to a high output unit. Also see about adding an MSD box.
See about re flashing the DME to increase / change the timing. The stock maps lay over at about 5000. Most aftermarket chips are not a huge improvement. If you are thinking of this rout I think the Wilks (sp) has got the best reviews.
Since my experimentation with aftermarket chips was less than satisfactory I went and converted my car to use an EDIS based ignition from a 94 escort wagon in conjunction with ahe MJLJr programmable control box giving me complete control of the ignition. This was a huge improvement due to the much better coils. and it being a high energy system compared to the stock set up. It also helped the high end due to it being two coils firing a wast spark instead of the stock single coil firing all 4 cylinders. The coils have enough time to recover between ignition events. I think this is part of the reason the stock maps are set to lay over above 5K as the stock coil is probably being taxed.
BETTER Brake Pads. I have been a huge proponent of the cool carbon. When they were going under several years ago I purchased 5 sets. I have one left. They are / were the best pad I have ever used in a porsche. I think they are being made again you should look in to them However they are more of a HPDE pad than a AC pad. Another pad I liked was porterfield I consider it an equal to the Cool Carbon.
Pelican looks to be selling the CC pads for the 951, the S and the 968 but I don't see a listing for the standard 944/924s These pads are so good I would consider upgrading the the 951 brakes just to use these pads!
Get rid of the AFM. This is the one really bad part of the intake system. Porsche got the rest of it rite. There are now options out there to replace this. There was a thread over at pelican discussing this with a manufacturer
Got to go NCIS is coming on. I will be back to finish my ramblings.
Javelin wrote: Pregnant wife said no roll bar = no track day. Also, the P71 hit 140MPH on the back straight at PIR. I'm pretty sure I'd rather have a rollbar *if* something happens at that kind of speed. Plus I'd rather jettison the useless rear seats anyways. That bolt-in 4-point unit sounds like exactly what I need. Caster/camber plates are definitely on the buy list. Any preferences? Will those balljoint spacers help w/bump steer? I don't want to lower the car too much, it already bottoms out the nose everywhere, especially autocrossing at PIR. A track day w/CSCC is definitely on the to-do list. I've done HPDE's with the PCA and MR2 Club. I've heard nothing but good things about CSCC.
Ground Control's plates are good. Most reduce suspension travel (since most use them with adjustable perches, etc), there was a set that had a tower built into them to keep the suspension travel, I think Rennbay has them? The cheap ones (Mookeh) on eBay have crap spherical joints, but are otherwise fine.
Balljoint spacers only fix the angle of the control arm in relation to the center line of the wheel. This won't really help with bump steer too much directly. They will improve the camber curve.
Bump Steer spacers are used on the outer tie-rod ends allow for tuning of the bump steer inherent in the strut-based front suspension. You won't completely eliminate it, but you can reduce it in the areas where the suspension moves the most.
Weltmeister makes some very nice adjustable sway bars. They aren't cheap, but they are worth it.
Bolt-in roll bar:
Mechanically there's nothing money can't fix or improve, so I'll leave my comment to your numbering. Dark yellow with a black outline.
Javelin wrote: PS - Is your new employer ready to start selling parts? If so, you know what I need price checks on now :P Any recommended DIY maintenance books? I have the Chiltons.
Factory manuals are the best, but they are expensive. And by expensive I mean Free!
The site has been up and running for a while now, but I am adding more parts to it every day. Send me an e-mail with your year, and a list of stuff you want pricing for. I will see what I can do .
That Redline rollbar is crap. It's just a very heavy harness bar. The bolts are mounted in shear, there's no triagulation, etc, etc. I've spoken with the builder (who does make very nice custom cages btw) and he basically said he did no testing with it, but assumes it's ok. I'm not ok with "assuming"...
Most of the bolt in bars are crap, because they mount to single sided steel, even with backing plates the bar can still punch through.
If you get one, spend the money on a properly designed weld in rollbar.
Turbo S got front coilover suspension, so you can swap springs. However if you can't change the rear torsion bar, it may not be advantageous to change the front springs.
You definitely should change the swaybars!
I have an auto power bar in my car. Good fitment easy to install. I will be updating the floor mounts to add some gusseting that ties it in to the car better.
As it stands there is only a 3x4 plate that is sandwiched to the bar to the floor pan. After seeing several cases where these punch through the floor allowing the roof to collapse I need to improve this. I installed my roll bar back in 95 and it is still good as new (never had to "use" it)
Sway bars it is!
I found some carbon fiber bits on my local CL.
Buy my 944Spec car! It's got basically everything on the list that you want done, including a new clutch. I'm asking $5500. That's probably less than what you'll spend doing repairs and upgrades and you don't have to worry about a clutch job. For a little extra, I'll deliver it to you. Nah, you probably want something street legal.
In more seriousness, look at the 944Spec rulebook and sponsors. You can probably find some nice suspension packages set up to do just what you want.
Salanis wrote: I'm asking $5500. That's probably less than what you'll spend doing repairs and upgrades and you don't have to worry about a clutch job.
I own a $2000 944! I ain't blowing $5000-$6000 on it unless the word "LS1" is involved! I'm going to spend about $2000 max and do 99% of the work myself in the garage over the winter.
I hear ya on the compression check. The old girl runs like a raped ape, but I'll check it out this weekend and see if it's even worth freshening. FYI - In the entire season of autocross it only ate/leaked a single quart of oil and the oil pressure both cold and hot is great according to the factory mechanical gauge.
Koni Yellow's are the front runners for the new shocks right now. Sway bars are now definitely on the list as well. Weltmeisters? 968 M030's?
As for all of the other engine mods, they are not allowed. I can do the coil and chip, no internal mods. It has great AX/Street pads on it now and braking has never been an issue, but I will flush the fluid and look at everything anyways.
GC's or Rennbay's sound good, I'll look into it. Might try and find a used set to save some $$$. Same story on the Welt's... As for bumpsteer, will it be an issue if I don't lower the car? I may keep the stock front springs (since I can't mess with the torsion bars) and do shocks/sways.
Also, that rollbar is crap! I'd rather dump the rear seat and get something with bolt-in pads like the Autopower... I'd do a weld-in, but it would then have to meet a bunch of crazy track and/or SCCA GCR regs. Can 'o worms there. I really like the bolt-in 4-point I had in the Miata.
I'll get an email by the end of the weekend. Gotta get the damn rulebook...
I hear you on all (see above). Looking at leaving springs alone, changing sways, better rollbar than that belt-point bolt in thing.
Well, personally I don't like Autopower bars as they routinely set the landing pads on the sheet metal floors. To fix that, you'd have to build much larger landing pads and weld them in place.
At least that bar bolts to already reinforced portions of the car, but its your car and your head, do what you feel is safest for you. If you need professional assistance with bars/cages, etc, look up Russell Nyberg at Racetech Motorsports, he's a great local fabricator and has done several cages for 944/924 racers and is always willing to lend a hand with someone looking for help/clarification.
Just FYI, there's an Autopower bar for sale on Pelican for $350 + shipping.
Looks like the G-C plates won't work with stock springs. Not that it couldn't work, but that it won't work out of the box. The top-mount versions don't lose much travel and feature an integral stress bar, which is pretty nice, but at $539 they aren't cheap.
For the rear, a set of 150-250lb/in helper coil springs mounted to the rear shocks will help bolster the rear end and provide similar effects to changing torsion bars. The factory did this on the factory racers, so its tried and true as a solution (you can buy the Bilstein shocks for the rear with the threaded bodies from Pelican and they show up for sale used from time to time). I still have the Weltmeister 250lb front springs available as well. Just come get them out of my garage :)
Looking at the SCCA rules I realized I'd much rather run the 944 in the newly re-done CSP than STR! It also allows any clutch (so I wouldn't be technically illegal without the rubber centered OEM one) and any oil pan (hello baffles so it'll survive those track days!). SP also allows welded-in rollbars (4 points). Also, obviously, SP allows nearly anything with the suspension...
As soon as I get the PCA rules and see what they say about the springs/shocks/torsion bars and the rollbar.
I may have to split this into a 2 winter deal. Clutch, engine re-seal, t-belt, and rod bearings are #1. Shocks and suspension comes next. May have to save the rollbar, HPDE's, and other goodies for next year.
turboswede: I'll be in touch with you as soon as I confirm the rules...
Since you are about to have your first little one, I think you would really regret a roll cage in the car. The cage is way more dangerous to your head when on the street, and in a few years (after you are able to ditch the rear facing seat), it may be really nice to be able to take the little one with you in the back seat. I went through this same line of questioning a few years ago with my SVO and my kids love riding in the "race car". Logically the cage won't make a huge safety difference anyways in the 944 (hardtop with relatively thick pillars in the area the cage would be). Just my .02. Jcamper
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